I concur with your logic that “the best response is sometimes no response”. I chuckle too at the risk that you may not even respond to this critique on the matter as well.
Sometimes I feel the need to respond to ill-conceived remarks or basically half-witted insults in an attempt to elucidate on their ignorance and faulty logic — without insult. But as you mentioned it is generally a waste of time, especially when certain people have belief-insensitivity, and are driven by motivated ignorance.
However, deep down inside what I am looking for is an apology with getting ‘the last word’ in. In hopes of geting that win — in what could very well end up in an ongoing infantile battle of a game I never intended to play in the first place. This is when naiveté gets the best of me.
Instead when I do “fall back” and end up not responding I feel misunderstood, disrespected, and unfulfilled. This eats me up inside especially knowing that I am not lacking competence when it comes to deliberation and debate.
My take away is that you should never feed these animals (no offense to animals by the way). These beasts of prey hold no rationale, oftentimes going off-topic and relying heavily on insults, the truth or evidence for that matter barely registers to them. They also don’t realize that they do a great disservice to themselves in the process by inflicting harm onto others. It makes no sense and I have written about how we underestimate their numbers in circulation. One person took a swipe at me in said article to which conclusively and ironically was the point of my essay. I never responded.