What is Hate?

Pondering hate has my head in a spin, who decides what is or isn’t hate? The sobering fact being; my views of right and wrong are considered equally hateful by millions of people who see things differently. Last night I wrote about Christian Kerodin, the convicted felon behind plans for “The Citadel” – a fortified city accepting applications from prospective residents who want nothing more than to live with “like minded” people. Like minded in this case meaning an insular society free from “liberals”, city government or taxes, recycling, and criminal or background checks. All “The Citadel” asks in return is that you arrive with your own weapons, hundreds of rounds of ammunition, and the attitude needed to use them.

As repugnant as I find this, the reality is – Kerodin has served his time for extortion, isn’t breaking any laws, and under his constitutional rights can say anything he pleases. Stock piling guns and ammunition, wilfully excluding those who don’t fit your “mould”, and building a utopian society in a remote corner of Idaho are completely within the law.

Strictly speaking I have no right to criticise or condemn his actions. The flip side being that I wouldn’t want my voice or opinions to be squashed just because others didn’t agree. All of which takes me back to pondering hate.

I wonder at what point freedom of speech crosses the line? Are we so consumed with freedom of speech and religion that we allow hate to poison society? Is there anything wrong with a fundamentalist preacher attacking homosexuals; does that fall under freedom of speech or is it a hate crime? Are my pro-choice views hateful, and if so who decides? Freedom of speech appears to guarantee racist organizations the right to spread  hate, at what point if any does that become a hate crime?

There isn’t an easy answer – I wouldn’t want my voice silenced any more than a fundamentalist radical would want their views snuffed. That said – what is hate and where do we draw the line?

7 thoughts on “What is Hate?

  1. I find that with big words like hate, tolerance, crimes against humanity etc we tend to forget that the word is not what it stands for. We invest heavily in those words and make them pillars of our morality. Then we fight each other over their meaning, forgetting that this isn’t about interpretation of those words nor lines we draw around them.

    Forget the words. If your gut tells you to watch out for gun stockpiling ex-convicts, abusive priests or hatred inciting fundamentalists, be they Christian, Muslim or Buddhist, then listen to your gut.

    You have a blog to express those sentiments and are not expected to write one-word posts. 🙂

    PS your post on the unrealistic party client made me very happy the other day. To know that people are still allowed to believe in fairies that can do anything.

  2. Sometimes I like it better when you aren’t quite so provocative. I fear this post is going to rattle around in my brain for a while — partly because we have a 2000 mile trip starting in a couple days & I’ll have a lot of time under the wheel — but also because it’ such a serious issue.

    I like geneticfractals’ comment about not forgetting what the word stands for — but I think that’s part of the problem. What I mean is this: connotations become so important to us (the practical living of our lives) that the denotations tend to disappear, or at least become so insignificant that we may not realize the connotation is not the denotation.

    We invest so much in our own personal world view — being able to step back from our viewpoint and see the other side is not only hard, but it sure seems like there aren’t very many people who even want to see the other side.

    I have spent most of my life being an intermediary, a mediator, or just trying to UNDERSTAND other people and I have spent much of my life with people upset at me. It’s a price I’ve always been willing to bear because it’s been more important for me to understand than to make other people happy — that’s an issue of who I am, not who they are.

    But no matter what controversial issue is raised when I sit back and listen to the conversation mostly what I hear are people who are phrasing their retort instead of listening to the other side. How can we ever find compromise when it’s a majority who are willing to accept compromise and a majority who really want other viewpoints to assent to their opinion.

    I don’t know… there doesn’t appear to be any possible room for compromise. …

    A retired photographer looks at life from behind an RV steering wheel.
    Life Unscripted

  3. I’m biased because I’ve been writing about Kerodin and have discussed all of the things you have, and I don’t think it’s hatred at all. Not hatred in the sense that I think you’re worrying about. You’re not going after him because of his race or gender or sexual orientation or religion, etc. You’re not trying to take away his rights. You’re not saying he’s some lesser form of human being who shouldn’t be able to vote or work with children or do whatever legal thing he wants. You’re watching his behaviour and you think it’s completely nuts – so do I – but you’re not saying he doesn’t have the right to do what he’s doing, and you’re not saying people don’t have the right to join him.

    He is a convict, and I think that’s relevant to what he’s doing now. He wasn’t convicted for using drugs or hiring illegal immigrants, he was convicted because he was using lies to try to convince and/or force people to give him money. He may not be using lies or threats this time (I think he actually is using lies, but that’s opinion, not fact) but for months he was trying to get people to give him money without explaining who he was or what kind of organisation was running the show. All of that information was dug up by other people. The Citadel site still doesn’t have his name, or Miller’s, or the names of the multitude of corporations they’ve got set up. You know he is inconsistent with his explanations about where the money is going – anyone who listens to his Glenn Beck interview and compares it to what he blogs and puts on his website can witness the contradictions. Is that illegal? I don’t know, but it certainly doesn’t have the sort of transparency I’d demand before getting involved in such a venture, and there’s nothing wrong with pointing that out.

    He frequently posts that people who don’t think like him are evil and should be killed at some point. How is that not spreading hatred and fear? And oh, by the way, advocating murder. I think advocating murder should be illegal, but it doesn’t seem to be in the States.

    Your criticism doesn’t step over any kind of line. If someone has accused you of spreading hate, I’m going to take it in the same light as “You’re a bigot because you’re bigoted against bigots,” which is flat out stupid.

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  5. Speech and thought should be protected and we must not censor them, less our own be censored also. However actions are different. IF I use my right of speech to incite or cause harm to others, then I have voided my right and my protections for free speech. In your example of a preacher giving a sermon that homosexuality is wrong I would defend that preachers right to say what he believes. I might argue with him if he is willing to talk, but he has the right to his view. However if he then tries to get the crowd to hurt or infringe on the rights of homosexuals, it is not protected and it is illegal. I love the true statement your right to swing your arm ends at the tip of my nose. Great thought provoking post. Hugs

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