First, I’m sorry for the delays in posting. I’m currently reading a book for the first “Indie” review, but I’m struggling to get through it. More on that when I actually finish the thing… As for this post, I probably ought to stay away from ranting after the last post, but I’m not feeling in an overly humorous mood, so this will have to do. My apologies in advance for being overly serious twice in a row ☹.
The Fallacy of Hating Hatred
So, this is a topic that bothers the hell out of me. Regrettably, it’s so common that I both want to pull my hair out and despair of the human race ever having any sort of real future. It’s also a bit hard to define. I suppose the best way I can put it is like so:
If you hate hatred, you are not reducing the amount of hatred in the world, only changing its target.
Examples of this are so hilariously common that I really shouldn’t have to highlight them, but suspect I may need to anyway. One of the more insidious ones (sorta, it’s overly obvious to me, but…) are the people who express hatred for racists, sexist, or the homophobic. Don’t get me wrong, I understand that such people are in the wrong, that being any of those things is a flaw on the individual’s character that should be addressed. However! Expressing hatred toward such people, be it in extreme phrasing like wishing they would die, or even in fighting to judge and exclude, isn’t any different than what the racist/sexist/homophobic themselves are doing. I cringe every time I see people cheering for violence being committed against, for example, a racist. Or, as another example, when I see a bunch of regular people bullying someone homophobic. Not because I sympathize with the racist or homophobe, but because I recognize the ugliness of those committing the violence/bullying as little different from what they are judging the very person they are attacking for. In essence, they are attacking someone for being different than them. Rather than trying to convince or educate, they are merely judging and lashing out.
Worse, they always seem to feel righteously satisfied once they’ve beaten or run off the person who doesn’t fit their idea of “good.” They feel good about themselves, because they took the “moral high ground” about who they should hate. Sadly, however, they are still hating, and there is very little difference between them and those they hate because of it. It is said, but all too often ignored, that one should hate the action, not the actor (or, hate the act not the person). Allowing yourself to hate, even if you feel justified about “who” you’re hating, does no one any good.
Hate is always poisonous, no matter how it is directed, and this should never be more obvious than when witnessing the extremes that campaigners for “good” causes go to. Feminists that go too far and become, themselves, oppressive towards men. Racial protestors that go too far and become themselves the oppressors, leaving the innocent in fear of their lives and livelihoods merely, ironically, because they are of the same race as the oppressors. (See the Ferguson riots for an example of that. Perfectly innocent business owners having their shops destroyed merely because the mobs spilled over into violence by enforcing each other’s hatred). Even the current protests against Donald Trump, a massive portion of the population turning violent, poisoned by their hatred for a single man to the point that they have crippled their own ability to effectively act against said man. How many complete innocents have been hurt in the riots that resulted? How is that okay? In any of these cases how is the hater any different from those they are hating?
I’m honestly not sure I’m doing justice by this, so perhaps an example of a similar mindset that has been repeated by many, often referred to as the “cycle of revenge.”
“A feud is this way: A man has a quarrel with another man, and kills him; then that other man’s brother kills him; then the other brothers, on both sides, goes for one another; then the cousins chip in — and by and by everybody’s killed off, and there ain’t no more feud. But it’s kind of slow, and takes a long time.
― Mark Twain, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
or, perhaps even better…
“Bloodshed begets bloodshed. Hatred begets hatred. The rage and emotion sinks into the land and stains it with the crest of blood. No matter how many times they repeat themselves, they never learn.”
– Hiromu Arakawa, Fullmetal Alchemist
This argument is likely one you’ve seen some version of before, but what I’m saying is that it applies to much more than violence. If you hate someone because of their hatreds, there is created a cycle of ever-escalating hatred that becomes impossible, or nearly impossible, to escape from. It bothers me immensely to see legions of supposedly “good” people pursue hatred, aggression, and violence as a way to “correct” those who they feel are in the wrong. Regardless of what you may think of the man from a religious perspective, Jesus of Nazareth had it right:
“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven.”
– Matthew 5:43-45
One cannot solve or fix the hatred of another with laws, or with yet more hatred. You can only dissolve hatred with care, with loving those who hate and desiring not to destroy them but the save them. At least, that’s the way I see it, and I rather hope I’m not alone.