Hello Curious Friend. Welcome to my book about Hate. The number tells you where you are in the sequence. I look forward to your comments.
Intention and Expression of Hate (Continued)
If you asked a conservative, “Do you hate the poor?” they would most certainly answer “no.” In fact, they’d argue that they love the poor, so much so in fact that by working to lower their income, they’re exercising “tough love” that will benefit them in the long run. So, no, conservatives say, this is proof that they don’t “hate” anyone.
But this rationale doesn’t stand up to scrutiny because our definition plainly states that if you’re taking action to lower someone’s standard of living, you are harming them. And if that was your intent, then yes, you do hate them.
That’s not to say this hate is necessarily bad. Perhaps these conservatives really do hope that poor people will work harder as a result of removing a source of their income.
For it’s not now our place to say. But, unambiguously, we can say these conservatives hate the poor. We know this because of the self report, and because we see them donate to and vote for like-minded politicians. All these expressions can be linked back to some original intent to inflict harm on the poor.
It’s time to pause and appreciate what we’ve done so far. Using our new tools gives us the ability to see old problems in a fresh light.
One old problem in particular reared its ugly head in the last section: equating a variety of expressions with harm to the target. I’m sure that a typical conservative as I described above would object to my statement: Conservatives hate the poor.
Of course they don’t think of themselves as hating anyone. But even they can’t argue with the fact that they are working hard to reduce the income of the poor.
That’s harm, and intent to harm equals hate. There’s no middle ground here.
Now they retort, “How can you equate free speech, or my right to donate, or vote, as being hateful acts?”
There’s a good point to be made here. It’s not as if a conservative has gone to the ghetto and taken money from a poor young mother’s purse at gunpoint. So no, nothing violent has happened.
Yet, given our definition, even the act of voting can be considered indicative of hate. Where, then, is the line to be drawn between what is, and is not, hateful behavior? In other words, if we ignore the intent to do harm, are there any behaviors in themselves that always indicate hate? And are there any behaviors that always show that hate can’t exist?
Strange to say, at this stage in our learning process there is no such line. Or, to be more precise, the line is blurred.
For instance, here are a few words we use in English that describe a variety of ways our lives can be diminished: sleight, insult, poke, jab, push, thrust, incident, injury, tort, and crime. I’m sure your thesaurus holds many more.
What we want to do now is appreciate the range of behaviors that can encompass these potentially harmful events, given our definition of hate and using our new tools.
To be continued …