Is Hate Ever Justified?

November 15, 2016


Have you noticed a lot more hate lately?

Over the past decade or so we’ve at least heard plenty more accusations of “hate.” But let’s unpack this seemingly ubiquitous phenomenon that is one of the newly identified ways to claim the mantle of “victim.”

Hatred and evil will always exist among us imperfect beings in this imperfect earthly world, right? But any recently observed uptick in the existence of hate can be tied to two identified factors. One, the increase in the willingness to label someone “hateful” or a “hater” that comes from the realization that hate-labeling can result in power or control. And, two, the narratives that say hate in response to hate is “justified.”

In our so-called politically correct society, “haters” are now more despised than people who commit actual crimes, and according to the “Social Justice Warriors,” hating someone who is portrayed as a hater is acceptable. Why? If someone supposedly hates you, how does that harm you if there is no acting out on the hatred? It’s my contention that “hating back” or “hating someone who hates” is far more self-destructive than being hated.

Clearly, crimes against humanity such as the Holocaust were horrific actions motivated by a level of hatred that’s difficult to fathom or even acknowledge. We deplore such actions and the hatred that motivates them. It’s unsettling to recognize the existence of such intense hate in fellow-humans, so we prefer not to think about it. And, as a way of coping by thinking we can control or eliminate it, we want to punish hate when we do see it, or when we see something close. We even assign enhanced sentences for so-called hate-crimes, though the victims of the crimes are no more dead or harmed than the victims of the same crimes that are not motivated by hate.

The castigation of hate is an easy bandwagon to jump on. It’s not reasonable to defend hate, and trying to justify hatred is unsupportable (though, ironically, we’ve seen more of it). More enticing though is that condemning hate also gives people a feeling of moral superiority – or the appearance of it. This is especially true when entire populations of adults can be infantilized and portrayed as less able to handle the imperfect human condition, and as victims of hate or verbal “bullying.”

Naturally, then, regular folks who want to feel better about themselves, or the media, politicians, celebrities, special interest advocates, lawyers, and others who benefit from publicly looking better to others, find incentive to turn more and more people into victims of hate and bullying in order to champion their “cause.” Unfortunately, many who have the most incentive to divide people and profit from that division are opinion leaders and trendsetters because of their fame or positions of influence.

The corresponding negative result of the inducements to create victims of hate so that they can be protected or championed is threefold. First, using the “hate” label as a weapon has dramatically increased in popularity as the threshold for hate-labeling has steadily dropped. Second, many in the populations who are supposedly protected from hate by their “champions” feel distraught or desperate and make bad life-decisions due to the belief that the world is out to get them or the deck is stacked against them. And, third, identity politics has divisiveness on the rise.

At this point in our history, if someone doesn’t agree with a particular cause, they are readily branded as a “hater,” sometimes with dire consequences. For example, the gay marriage issue has (at least) two reasonable sides. One side says gay couples should be treated the same as heterosexual couples, the other side says the age-old institution of marriage should not be redefined to validate gay unions but some laws should be changed to allow for the same treatment as married couples in terms of taxes, survival benefits, visitation privileges, and other ways. In fact, the vast majority of Americans believed that the latter position was right and good. But then the hate-label weapon was utilized to say that anyone who didn’t think marriage should be redefined must hate gays and therefore is an awful person. It worked. One widely-publicized repercussion came when the CEO of Mozilla (the maker of the Firefox internet browser) made a small donation in support of California’s Proposition 8, the ballot issue that passed with broad support in California defining marriage as being between one man and one woman. When a dating website painted the CEO a “hater” and wished for Mozilla’s failure, there were many blistering, hateful responses directed at him and he eventually was forced to resign. You may also recall the vitriolic backlash against Chik-fil-A because its owner held a similar position about marriage that people were saying was a “victimization” of gays and lesbians. Other recently claimed victim statuses, such as victims of “privilege,” “man ’splaining,” “triggering,” “micro-aggressions,” being “offended,” and more are also used by people to position groups as victims of hate, in order to get what they want.

Because so many people quickly scramble to publicly condemn alleged hate (often without substantiation or critical analysis), the tactic of hate-labeling has worked for many “causes” to silence others, and to gain power and control. The manipulators even say things like, “we have an obligation to speak up.” Oh really, you’re obligated to publicly judge without all the facts? Isn’t that supposed to be what the Social Justice movement opposes?

So, yes, we’re seeing more allegations of hatred and more hatred of people because they allegedly hate (let that sink in a while). But the “victim card” is starting to be seen as overplayed. How are Social Justice Warriors able to magically see into people’s hearts and minds in order to judge them as “haters?” And how is equating folks with “Hitler,” because they disagree, a consistent or reasonable approach? Does sanctimony justify vilifying people and attacking their livelihoods? Is it consistent with their pious proclamation that “love trumps hate?”

It’s not easy to find the positive in the divisive trend of hate-labeling. But the hopefully waning effectiveness is one potential bright spot. Because, as we’ve seen, it can not only be harmful to the hate-label targets, but also the people who believe that hate is the motivating factor for any views that are contrary to their own. The “cry-ins,” canceling classes, and canceling exams, following our national election are Exhibits A, B, & C for hate eating people up internally.

While many people – college students especially – have demanded “safe spaces” in which they believe they have a “right” to be shielded from ideas they don’t like or anything they find “offensive,” that kind of protectionist coddling does them no favors. When anyone comes to believe that something not turning out the way they want is reason for extended protests, riots,  flag-burning, and emotional meltdowns, these are Exhibits D, E, F & G for the proposition that “Political Correctness” and “Social Justice Warriors” have created a dangerous, victim mindset that is defined by fear (which is often unsupported). That kind of perspective helps no one (except those who rise to power, and/or profit from, cultivating the victim mentality and promising to advocate for the “marginalized”).

While I think the apoplectic crying and demonstrations attempting to change the result after a presidential election are ridiculous and devoid of maturity, I want only to help them see the light. A great many of these protestors and rioters, as well as social-media commenters, are motivated by their admitted hatred/loathing of Donald Trump. Hate is never justified, never the answer. Yeah, I’m pretty sure I’ve read that, “Whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes.”

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