Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Hatred is stupid


     We're getting into the hateful part of April.
     We just passed the anniversary of the Boston Marathon Bombing.
      Today is the anniversary of the 1995 bombing of the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City. 
     And tomorrow is the anniversary of the massacre at Columbine High School and, perhaps not coincidentally, Hitler's birthday. 
     Which brings to mind an old saying...
     I actually try not to use old sayings.
     As a writer, I try to conjure up fresh stuff.
     But there's one that's so true, and, unfortunately, so handy, it deserves mention:
     "Hate is like taking poison and expecting someone else to die."
     That's it, in a nutshell (one reason to avoid old sayings: one leads to another). I thought of it, again last week, when I was hearing on Twitter from Mississippi's Neo-Nazi community, who were upset when I compared their hate-based philosophy to ISIS's. 
      Instead of responding—what would be the point?—I would look at their Twitter pages. Considering the source (a cliche more than a saying) with graphics straight out of Julius Streicher's Der Stermer. I reported a few that were over-the-top to the authorities at Twitter and, to my surprise and satisfaction, Twitter took a few of the most hateful pages down.
     I didn't chat too much with the White Supremacists because "you can't fix stupid," another useful saying—but if I did, I would tell them, "This Hitler you so love. This Nazi stuff.... You do know, it didn't work out well for the Germans."
     Five million German soldiers died in World War II, a fact that doesn't get aired much because the world withheld its sympathy from the monsters who started the war. Another half million German civilians died, unmourned, even, in a way, by the Germans themselves, who had the good sense, post-war, to be revolted by what they had done (generally; the East Germans, denied freedom of thought, never quite got it). 
     Bigotry is a form of ignorance—that isn't an aphorism, I made that up myself. And so if you don't know that people are pretty much the same, you don't know that your self-adoring worldview inspires you to do self-destructive things, and to throw away your one precious life, either focusing on the thing you hate, or in some spasm of violence. 
    Underline "self-adoring." These hateful world views are a blend of ignorance and unrestrained ego. Hegel told the Germans that Providence intended them "to occupy the supreme place in the history of the universe," and, stupid and pompous, they believed him.
     The stupidity of hatred is not remarked upon enough; it should be. Otherwise, the haters have an easier time fooling   themselves that they are somewhere in the realm of the acceptable. They're not. They feel emboldened now, with Donald Trump giving the a double thumbs up, to wander into the public sphere and air their idiocy. When I would hear vicious things from White Nationalists, I'd sometimes reply, "Given the bullshit you seem to believe, who could possibly care what your opinion is?" They never reply, and I'd be tempted to think it might sink in, a little. But then, the truth has to be, if they were capable of self-assessment, they wouldn't be the way they are.

15 comments:

  1. Glad to hear Twitter shut some of that down. Be careful, who knows what some of those nuts will do.

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    1. Be careful how? By toning down my prose so as not to offend haters? A bit late for that. William Cowper Brann was shot in the back by an angry reader. There are worse ways to go.

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    2. there are haters on both sides of the pathway of reason and tolerance . everyone who doesn't share our point of view is not ignorant or stupid. how may i ask do you deny someone freedom of thought?

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  2. Oh but if you'd read the Tribune editorial this morning, you'd know that Trump is just a rightward tilt for the Republicans, balanced out by the leftward tilt of the Democrats, and how terrible that moderate Americans don't have a home in either party anymore both sides blah blah bullshit.

    Bitter Scribe

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  3. You make a good point that the haters are stupid and pompous, and that is a lethal combination. It's especially lethal if they're not given any guidance to move in the right direction and just left to their own devices. I think that's what makes them evil.

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  4. I agree, of course, that people everywhere can become blinded by their beliefs, and those who are consumed with hate, whatever their reasons and whoever they target, are doing it out of ignorance and fear, their only way of validating their own screwed up self-worth. It's a waste of time to try and enlighten these folks, but I admire NS and anyone else who attempts it. One can only feel sorry for such misguided souls.

    SandyK

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  5. Hatred only works when you've gathered up enough like people to effect change, what Sanders and Trump supporters seem to believe they have going for them. The fact their candidates have unworkable messages that will never come to fruition doesn't occur to either side. Their emotion will carry the day. These same people whom have deserted establishment candidates, dividing their respective parties, have forgotten extreme promises not delivered in the past is why they left for the current angry candidates.

    Well, stupid is as stupid does.

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    1. While I didn't vote for Sanders in the primary, I don't consider his message to be "unworkable." Basically, it's the way things work in much of the rest of the world. There's already a large "socialist" component to American government. Bernie, in my opinion, wants to add just a few more bits and pieces to that component, but he definitely wouldn't be able to change the entire system. Wall Street may be weakened, but it still wouldn't be weak. It too is a vital component in our system.

      john

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  6. Wendy- Sanders and his followers certainly do not belong in the same category as Trump & his fans.

    There is good reason not be a Hillary supporter.

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    1. This just in - how droll or sad is it to have the Trumpster call 9-11, 7/11. Anyone can make a speaking error but really...7/ 11? Next he will say he was cleaning up the area.

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    2. Where is Elizabeth Warren when we needed her?

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  7. woodman2,

    I think Sanders does belong in the same category considering the broader message. This is his war, his revolution. He'll stop the powers that be controlling the establishment and destroy the banks no matter who gets hurt (including future retirees dependent on investments). He promises the impossible: free tuition for college for all, free medical for life for all, substantial increases in social security. HOW?!! Who will pay for this? Trump: I'll build a wall, I'll reject 1st Amendment protections for Muslims and Mexicans, I'll destroy all enemies and end trade with nations taking jobs away from Americans, bringing these jobs back. HOW?!! Who will pay for that?

    Unrealistic. Both are getting uglier in their attacks against foes, as are their followers.
    Both believe it's worth anything to gain power. Both would be completely impotent if elected.

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  8. of that could be done if the wealthy and Wall Street did not have tax loopholes and hiding places and didn't have some of the members of Congress and lobbyists in their pockets.

    Certainly it would be wrong to compare the followers of the two as being similar.

    Nor is Sanders as ugly in his attacks as Trump. Hillary is no wallflower in her attacks or behavior either.

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    1. Taxing investment speculation is one way. See article by former Clinton admin. Sec. in the Wed. ST. That's what caused so much trouble years back, anyway.

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