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.