Friday, April 29, 2005

Giving candy to a baby

I avoid naming names for the most part. That would be a way to wrap a useful insight in a package that would become dated and could be dismissed as personal. But for some readers, abstractions do not have the sharpened edge required to take the head off of a widespread folly whose time seems to have come. Hate mongering plagues every age but it takes a new name in each age. In any era, hate mongering is such a cheap accomplishment...

It is even easier to give candy to a baby than to take candy from a baby and just as harmful to the baby.

It was once unfashionable and low class to peddle hatreds. Hatred and action based on hatred got sort of a bad name from mr. hitler and mr. mccarthy to name just two of a crowded genre. For a long time after the programs of these two enterprising politicians were repudiated, it was noted that they were able to put over some very harmful lies on an uncritical population and leverage fear as a way to prompt the actions that those populations later saw as shameful and unwarranted harm. Why then has the disgrace of David Duke given way to the embrace of Michael Savage, Ann Coulter or Rush Limbaugh? Every time I read something these people say, the crude and undisguised hatred sears me. Every time I try to consider what their message and appeal might be, I conclude a bit more firmly that speaker and audience alike are tiny-hearted folk in great unspoken dread of losing something. What have they got to lose? They had freedoms but they are positively throwing those overboard in panic. What else have they got to lose? Belonging? To what group could you belong such that exclusion and persecution of or preemptive attack upon other groups would actually make the world a safer place or even improve your own well being in the long run? A bad conscience? Ah ha! who doesn't want to be told that his or her selfishness is natural and called for? That candy is poisoned.

The only real exit from a feeling of powerlessness is to look straight at the fear of which it is made.

Hatred and retaliation may look like exits since they face away from fear but you cannot move beyond them no matter how fast you run toward them. This is not leaving the fear but just turning your back on it so you can lose the awareness of it. "Here, drink the Koolade. Its sweet."

Note: the connections implied here would strike some as far fetched. Where after all, is the smoking gun that links the self congratulatory bashing of "liberals" and foreigners by the named cheerleaders to the excesses of the KKK or blood spilled by the "coalition" forces or the push to define freedom of speech as freedom to read the Bible? There never is a smoking gun because that would wake people up, the way the National Guard woke us up at Kent State. The process of turning a sickened zeitgeist into a groundswell of anger and hatred involves NOT shaking people up while assuaging any unease that might arise over little changes of policies and officials that ratchet towards the elimination or marginalization of the parties targeted by the escalating drumbeat of hatred. If reading books or blogs doesn't do it for you, spend a day at the Holocaust Museum in Washington and see how gradual the process is. Considering how often history has featured a little hatred parlayed into an orgy of horror , one does not need a conspiracy theory to sense that "here we go again": simple weaknesses of the human animal suffice to account for "strong trends and weak orchestration" leading eventually to "weak resistance to entrenched control".
Note: yes, I suspect that to some degree, I can't write this and be free of fear and hatred myself. This kind of self awareness requires constant effort. I don't think we need to get rid of anybody or even throw them in jail, just wake them up, remind them of their own humanity. I am trying to look at what I fear.

13 comments:

Jeremy said...

Congratulations. This is the most intellectually dishonest thing I've ever read on the Internet.

This type of pseudo-intellectual claptrap is the reason why Leftists are held in such disdain. If you had a shred of honesty, you'd update this post with the disclaimer that your definition of hatred centers primarily around those with whom you disagree politically.

If you were so concerned with hatred in the political and public sphere, you'd have included Howard Dean in your list of hate merchants. He stated publically he hates Republicans and called them all evil. I guess that is genteel politics to you. Where is the execrable Ted Rall? Where is the professional prevaricator Michael Moore. Those two have done more to debase political discussion in America that virtually anyone. Oddly, they are absent from your list. Why is that? Perusing your Blogroll gives all the hints anyone needs but I'd like to see if you have the stones to admit it.

You fear those who disagree with you.

The cognitive dissonance would probably cause your head to blow up.

The brass tacks are these: the ideologies of the extreme Left have been the catalyst and cause of more human misery, suffering and death than anything the extreme Right could dream up. Hitler, in all his despicable racism and insanity, was a piker compared to Stalin and Mao. So, if you want to fear an extreme form of hatred, you do well to look in your camp first.

The Ripper said...

Jeremy,

How dare you confront this left wing, self-hating commie bastard with a logical rebuttal.

You probably made her cry.

Keep up the good work.

GreenSmile said...

Jeremy:
I am politically quite naieve...never been to a convention or a rally, always registered as an independent, generally used to be fond of the "don't vote, it only encourages them" school of political involvement. It is not one bit better for, say Howard Dean to exagerate a point, emphasize only the negative or play to his audiances fears than it is for Ann Coulter to do so. I picked those names because, based on their books, articles and shows, that is all they do. They want to incite. They are making a good living fannng flames. Moore is a propagandist and its fair of you to mention him in the debasing of political discourse. The fact that you seem to consider everything he says a lie tells me more about you than about the scruffy scandal monger.

No sir, no disclaimer for you. I don't even think the problem is hatred...its fear. Have you read any of my other posts?

What I do owe you, beside a distemper shot, is a read of something by Al Franken to see if he writes factually or just bashes. Though I haven't read Zell Miller's book yet, the title, Deficit of Decency is on the right track and applies to all parties in America's increasingly them/us shouting match. All there is is US, doesn't anybody get that?

And just out of curiousity: why tell me about the extreme left? Did I promote some socialist law or program in this blog without being aware of it?

Welcome to the other side of the tracks!

Jeremy said...

I mention the extreme Left because your post shows that either you are dishonest or you seem to think that the Right has some sort of monopoly on extreme forms of rhetoric. Since you clearly recognize that Moore has debased politics, but didn't include him in your list, I am inclined to believe the former is more likely.

I mention the extreme Left because your oblique references to the Holocaust seems to suggest that people like Coulter, Savage et al.. are the precursors to concentration camps. I found it strange that you don't think that propagandists like Moore are the precursors to rounding up all the capitalists and shooting them ala Pol Pot and Mao.

I've read Franken. He is also a liar when it suits him. Franken is the worst kind of political commentator. He slanders people then hides behind the false shield of "satire" when people call him on it. And, while I'm thinking about it, please show me where I've said that everything Moore says is a lie. Since I can't see that in my response to you, there are only two things I can believe: either you read minds or you are making things up. Moore is a professional liar. He gets paid to create films that distort reality and does so for a Leftist political purpose. The fact that he gets paid obscene amounts of money for it is an irony lost on him but not on most other people. I'm not sure why recognizing Moore as a liar says more about me than him.

Just out of curiousity, have you ever read Coulter's books or do you get stuck on the titles? Tone-wise, he is no different from Coulter but you don't include him in your list of people who make a living off hate.

Oddly enough, I don't disagree with the philosophical point you are trying to make. Political discourse in our country has been phased out in exchange for polemics. That is what Coulter, Moore, Franken and the rest are: polemicists. You clearly think it only happens on the Right and your fear, whether you want to admit it or not, is of people with whom you disagree.

Your angst filled post had potential to be an accurate portrait of the political sphere. Instead it is a hate filled diatribe, couched in a bewildered tone, against anyone with whom you disagree.

Stephen said...

Liberal Larry did a hysterical send-up of your drooling idiocy.

It was just perfect.

I suggest you go take a look.

GreenSmile said...

Fair enough. I will buy one Al Franken and one Ann Coulter and read an equal number of chapters in each [if THAT doesn't cause my head to explode, cognitive dissoncce aint gonna scratch me] and then get back to you. [in a post, in a while]

Greg-o-rama said...

Disregarding people as "hate mongers" is just a way to discount ideas you disagree with without all that troublesome thinking required to disprove those ideas.

Norma said...

I've never noticed this awful hatred you speak of. Do you suppose your politics affects your hearing?

red loser said...

Hatred and retaliation may look like exits since they face away from fear but you cannot move beyond them no matter how fast you run toward them.

I understand the words, but the sentence as a is unintelligible.

GreenSmile said...

Norma: Seriously, I don't think I have politics! Its all those other crazies that have politics. Get it?

My hearing, BTW, always was lousy, it comes from traget practicing with my 30-outght-6 and never using hearing protection.

And even more seriously. You know what kindness is. You use the word. What you have left when you take away the kindness is something that easily passes for hatred. Is kindness only for some people and not others? I stumbled in this post in regard to kindess...see what it got me?

The Therapist said...

I just came here because Liberal Larry told me to.

Chairman eDog said...

One of the great things about the Internet is that it allows anyone to publish work for an audience. One of it's great pratfalls, though, is that it allows anyone to publish work for an audience. Please look up the word "catechrisis", understand it, and show us that you understand it in future posts.

While reading this post I got the feeling that it had some kind of point, but I was so lost looking for exits, poison candies, thiefs, babies, things thrown overboards,etc.. that it never quite came through. Metaphors are like big words; when they're overused or misused they tend to belie one's supposed intelligence. In this regard you make Thomas Friedman sound like Cicero. And, considering that you seem to imply conservatives are stupid, it's pretty ironic as well.

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