Sunday, April 06, 2008

On "hate"

Dr. Dawg blogged about how "hateful" the right is. I don't take such pronouncements too seriously. It's not that I don't think there isn't any genuine hatred on the right. It's that left-wingers tend to be very self-serving in their definition of "hate".

Consider some of the things typical left-wingers consider hateful:

-- Criticizing or condemning homosexual behaviour

-- Opposing legal abortion

-- Policies that emphasize the free market (considered hatred of the poor)

-- Asserting that the poor are largely the authors of their own poverty through their poor life choices (i.e. drug use, alcoholism, criminality)

-- Opposing any kind of identity-based policy, e.g. Status of Women agency, Status of Disabled people, affirmative action, no taxation for Indians

-- Believing in innate differences between men and women

-- Opposing statist policies such as social programs and preferring intervention from churches and private charity

-- Criticizing an ethnic group for social problems (sometimes unacknowledged) that run rampant in that group, e.g. fatherlessness in the black community, glue-sniffing and alcoholism among Indians, Jew-hatred among Muslims, etc.

-- Denouncing Islam as a religion

-- Suggesting that a certain category of person shouldn't have a job because he is unable to perform it, i.e. a disabled person shouldn't be a CHRC investigator, a woman should not be in combat, etc

-- Supporting less immigration.

I believe this is an ideological branding of hate. "Love" or "caring" is whatever the left says it is.

And that's wrong.

Personally, I think that besides key moral issues, there is lots of room for disagreement on such issues without actually falling into hatred.

We, as a society, have been so successful in marginalizing white supremacy as "haters", that the left wants to use that same tactic to smear anyone that disagrees with them.

Whereas white supremacy was based on hatred-- consciously desiring to keep a whole group of people marginalized, right-wingers are not out to consciously marginalize anyone.

There's no group of conservatives saying: women should be subservient. Disabled people should be segregated. Poor people shouldn't have rights.

And so on. The left-wingers might attribute a desire to oppose their policies to these supposedly unacknowledged intentions. But that again is a self-serving assumption. If you think that you're philosophy is the very epitome of compassion, then it's only natural that you assume that people who oppose it are not compassionate. A natural assumption, but a wrong one.

Saying women are inately different than men is not hatred. It's an assessment based on personal experience, philosophy, biological and psychological research. Saying that people should only be hired for jobs when they merit them is not hatred. It's applying the principle of equality-- your qualifications should be what count, not your socio-demographic identity. Making people realize that poor life skills, not circumstances are what is behind most cases of poverty is actually empowering not hateful. When I made that realization after having lived on my own, it was actually very liberating. It meant that I was not a creature of circumstance but someone who could mould her own destiny.

This ideological branding of hate demonizes genuine policy differences all the while making it okay to demonize one's own opponents. Pro-lifers are a beautiful example of people who are demonized strictly for their stance. An official with the York University student union compared pro-lifers to Nazis. How is that not contemptuous? Left-wingers regularly call right-wingers names like f*cktards, knuckledraggers, mouth-breathers, rednecks, and so forth.

To me, that is far more contemptuous than wanting to cut government spending and lower taxes in the name of creating economic prosperity.

Left-wingers decry false stereotypes, when they regularly use the same tactic.They think: social conservative women are all uneducated June Cleaver types who are emotionally clingy and must live vicariously through their husband and children. "Free Speechers" are all covert white supremacists. Libertarians are heartless, moneygrubbing individualists who have no concern with the welfare of the poor.

And so on.

In the minds of many left-wingers, that's not hatred. Or it's justified hatred and contempt. It's okay when they do it. It's all very self-serving.

It's true that people will make some generalizations as a kind of rhetorical shorthand because it would take too long to underscore nuances, and they assume that their audience knows what they mean. For instance, people say Evangelicals oppose abortion. Of course not all Evangelicals oppose abortion, but we know that is generally true, and we know that not all self-professed feminists support legal abortion, but the reader is expected to be able to make that distinction.

I think such generalizations are necessary for efficiency's sake.That's why I don't take charges of racism against right-wing bloggers too seriously. It is not racist to underscore social problems that are rampant in an ethnic group in an effort to raise the issue and hopefully make this group realize that the solution does not lie in self-victimization and government handouts. Kate MacMillan and Kathy Shaidle are not racists. They judge people by their individual qualities. Frankly, I think Kathy Shaidle gets off on infuriating the left. She's like the guy who posts purposely chauvinist messages in a message board full of feminists just to see them get angry. I don't think she gets off on hate. She lives for outrageousness. That's her schtick. I don't think the left realizes that the more outraged they get, the more traffic she generates. The more she is condemned for the things she writes, the more people want to find out about her.

And by the way, Kathy likes pissing off the right, too. She's dumped on pro-lifers, Catholics, homeschoolers, Evangelicals, Blogging Tories, etc. She's not entirely ideological in her choice of targets. That sometimes gets overlooked.

One blogger said that Shaidle and MacMillan are fading into irrelevance.

I don't think so. Why? So long as the left remains perpetually outraged at any kind of dissent, they will loudly denounce whoever dares to challenge their most cherished beliefs. And seeing that left-wingers are constantly pushing the boundaries of what is considered good and true, there will always be fresh targets for Kate, Kathy and all bloggers who revel in denouncing socialism as a whole.

And that's another thing about the whole "hate" meme among the left. What is considered "not hateful" now, may be considered hateful 20 years from now. That means that a lot of left-wingers bear hatred in their hearts (because they haven't acknowledged that as-of-yet undetermined "hateful" thing). And they denounce right-wingers for being hateful.

Does that make sense?

Fifty years ago, it was perfectly okay to denounce homosexual behaviour. Tommy Douglas treated it as a mental illness. Was he a hater? If he wasn't a hater, was it his intentions that made him not a hater? And if his intentions are good enough to excuse his beliefs, why aren't the intentions good enough today to excuse people?

The hate meme is self-serving. There is hate on all sides of the blogosphere. But the left seems to put itself on a pedestal when it comes to this issue.

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