Hate – My Last Gasp on the Subject


My last gasp on hate – at least for a while – has me pondering its definition depending on where you live. It’s been pointed out to me that people need to concentrate on similarities rather than differences; while agreeing in principle, I think this subject needs some dissection. Hate is a big word, a word meaning different things to different people, a concept seemingly open to interpretation.

In Canada under the Human Rights Act of 1985; no person or group is allowed to publish or display notices, symbols, signs or emblems that might express or imply discrimination or intent to discriminate. This law covers verbal intent, specifically banning telephone conversations of a hateful nature; also including communication by computer, be it email or the internet. The link below highlights a few of the more prominent convictions under Canada’s hate crime laws.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/story/2011/10/12/f-free-speech-hate-crimes.html

America on the other hand doesn’t seem to define hate until a physical assault has taken place. Section 249 of the Hate Crimes Act covers bodily harm inflicted on the basis of race, religion or sexual orientation.

http://www.legislationline.org/documents/action/popup/id/4161

In the United Kingdom, under the Criminal Justice Act of 2003; a judge must consider a crime “aggravated”, thus ruling a tougher sentence if the crime was motivated by ethnic or religious bias.

http://www.legislationline.org/documents/action/popup/id/15773

Hate laws vary drastically from country to country; Turkey for instance has no laws whatsoever regarding hate, the Sudan defines hate as “blasphemy against religion”. All of which take me back to my original ponder – one without a definable answer. I wonder if hate is the wrong word, perhaps the word is too subjective. Maybe we should put “hate” to another test. Obviously “hate” is a strong word, a word that tends to divide and muddy the waters.

It could be that we need to settle everyone down and take it back to playground rules. Trash talk wasn’t allowed at school so why should it be allowed when we “grow up”? Children aren’t allowed to talk smack about anyone – that is defined as a bully. So why should they “grow up” and be allowed to say anything they damn well please? I realize I’m over simplifying things, yet put that aside for a moment and ask yourself if replacing “hate” with “bully” might help put the issue in perspective.

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?

Why Do We Shoot Ourselves In The Foot?


Far from being an expert in any way other than my wits; my mind has been plagued recently by this ponder. I can’t stop wondering if mankind has reached the limit of evolution. The basis of my thesis is our seemingly endless capacity to shoot ourselves in the foot.

It is entirely possible that I mistake common sense for reality – I’ve given that point considerable thought – and every time I reach the same conclusion. Despite our technological advances, understanding of science and nature, or light speed communication; we’re taking one step forward two steps back.

Call me a crazy idealistic fool, but I don’t see us getting over this hump without a few things happening. First – religion has to be taken out of politics. I mean eradicated; delegated to the privacy of our homes. Abolished from political speeches, made accountable for their actions, and subjected to the same rule of law as everyone else. Religious leaders who speak out against homosexuality or abortion should be charged with hate crimes. As should any group such as the Boy Scouts who choose to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation. Until we move beyond religion, and biased thinking based on religion – we’re simply shooting ourselves in the foot.

Next we need to come to our senses in regard to organizations like the NRA. It boggles my mind to watch unelected spokespeople dictate policy from the comfort of their tax exempt, non profit towers. I find it beyond comprehension for this or any other lobby group to be given the time of day. Shooting ourselves in the foot is putting it mildly.

Third – lets get over rehashing done deals; women have the right to vote, blacks don’t sit at the back of the bus – and news flash religious fundamentalists – abortion is legal, gay people don’t burn in hell. Memo to the state of Arizona – life begins at the end of a woman’s last period? You geniuses made this law which makes you about as clever as the 63% of Canadians who responded in a recent poll to be in favour of bringing back the death penalty. Shooting ourselves in the foot.

I can’t help but think evolution has ground to a halt. Correct me if I’m wrong but I see no chance of moving forward while stalled on out dated concepts and perceptions. Worse still, we’re too busy shooting ourselves in the foot to even realize it.