Hate, the book: 108

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.

Part Three
Chapter Eighteen
Intention and Expression of Hate    (Continued)

Stopping it sounds good. But like real stop signs, most people just roll through it.

First, we will again start at the top.  Any behavior diminishing the standard of living for a target is considered harm.  And intent to harm is identified as a form of hate.  Now, as we’ve just seen, harm can come in many forms.

Let’s see if we can categorize some of them.

The first category of harm is the element of time: Is the harm that will result from a hateful act going to take place right away, or over a longer period?  We can give harm different names depending on this time scale, if we so choose.

Next, how does the harm impact the target?  Consider the kind that results in a lower standard of living.  What resources were affected?  Were there many of these resources, or just a few?

There are many different kinds of resources we could consider, including the most obvious one, money.

Let’s return briefly to the effort of conservatives to reduce welfare payments to poor young mothers.  Negatively impacting their income stream is a popular way for conservatives to try and implement their ideology.  But money isn’t the only resource they seek to take from the poor.

For example, conservatives favor requiring all voters to possess photo IDs.  They argue that this requirement ensures the integrity of the voting process.  For example, they say requiring photo IDs will prevent people from voting fraudulently.

But maybe there’s an ulterior motive at work here, that requiring voters to have a photo ID will reduce the number of voters who come from the ranks of the poor, which in turn will make it less likely that the poor will be well represented in government.

In this case, the resource conservatives are working to withhold from the poor is political power.

Other resources to consider include access to information, having enough space to live comfortably, and having adequate access to transportation, electricity, or water in order to live productive, healthy lives.

Another aspect of classifying harm is to consider the immediacy of impact that harm has on the target, and the source of the harm.

Our vocabulary already has an abundance of words for this concept, including violence, rage, and fear.  For instance, if harm’s impact upon the target is “sudden” then it’s violent, but not necessarily an act of hate.

For example, if an earthquake causes a building to topple upon you, then you have been harmed.  But hate can’t be inferred here, as even though the harm was violent and sudden, it was impersonal.

But if someone intentionally dropped an anvil on your head from that same building, we could safely say that person hates you, and the expression of their hate was “rage.”  Rage can mean all violent harm that has its basis in hate.

Finally, there’s fear.  With all due deference to the great minds that have come before us, our definition of hate allows us to recast fear as well.

Fear becomes a target’s anticipation of harm.  Again, not necessarily harm due to hate, simply harm.  And since we’re defining from the target’s perspective, the reality of the harm isn’t relevant.  Only the target’s anticipation of harm is what matters in this case, real or imagined.

To be continued …

Hate, the book: 107

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.

Part Three
Chapter Eighteen
Intention and Expression of Hate    (Continued)

Stopping it sounds good. But like real stop signs, most people just roll through it.

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.

New Definitions

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 …

Hate, the book: 106

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.

Part Three
Chapter Eighteen
Intention and Expression of Hate    (Continued)

Stopping it sounds good. But like real stop signs, most people just roll through it.

The first class of observation is when neither Sierra nor Tango know they’re being observed.  Oscar the observer, played by us, is invisible to them.  This class is best for our purposes because our invisibility ensures that we’re unlikely to influence Sierra’s or Tango’s actions.  Thus, our conclusions about their actions are likely to be good quality.

The second class of observation is when Sierra and Tango know they are being watched.  This knowledge probably affects their actions.  Hopefully our presence should encourage them to be on their best behavior.  However, it seems that this is rarely the case in the real world.

As a quick example of how to apply what we’ve learned, let’s consider the case of a powerful group working to remove a source of income from a weaker group.  Before I begin, keep in mind that hate is defined as intent to harm another, and that harm doesn’t have to be physical.  It also includes any action that adversely affects the standard of living of the target.

With this in mind, reducing someone’s income definitely qualifies as harm.

Yet this does not necessarily mean a reduction in income is a bad thing.  Many people are increasingly motivated when their income drops, a belief shared by the powerful group I’m about to discuss.

Here’s a backdrop.  For several decades in the USA, strong beliefs have emerged regarding the state of the welfare system.  Many so-called “conservatives” believe that, through the welfare system, poor mothers are encouraged to have many children in order to increase their income.

It doesn’t matter to these conservatives that there’s evidence showing poor people throughout the world have more children than the rich, regardless of the social policies of their countries.

Nor does it doesn’t matter if you point out that the amount of money in question is tiny relative to what the government wastes overall.

And heaven help us if you mention the fact that our society’s moral code is much more liberal than it was a century ago; it’s now common for all socio-economic strata to be practicing parenthood outside of marriage.

All that aside, we are talking about a belief, and our source – the conservatives I’ve just alluded to – believes that young poor women bear children simply to collect government money.

How does our collective conservative source express themselves?

Loudly.  Very loudly, and often.  There is no shortage of conservative politicians and their supporters railing against what they perceive to be a connection between poor young women bearing children and government welfare designed to aid these women.

These conservatives believe the best way to stop this “waste” is to convince their members to vote against politicians who approve funding these programs, and to vote for those who vow to cut them.  And, of course, they urge those who agree with their anti-welfare ideology to rail about it loudly and often whenever given the opportunity.

To be continued …

Hate, the book: 105

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.

Part Three
Chapter Eighteen
Intention and Expression of Hate    (Continued)

Stopping it sounds good. But like real stop signs, most people just roll through it.

It’s going to take time and patience, but only by employing a consistent approach to understanding expressions in general, and then comparing those expressions to long-term results, will we be able to learn what we need to know about hate in the long run.  One of the most important things we need to understand about hate is that its expression takes many forms, anything from genocide to something subtle like shunning someone.

Having given this considerable thought, I now classify all expressions of hate, no matter how big or small, into two grand categories.

The first is category is the “Direct Approach.”  This includes self-reported hate, the kind that’s revealed when we ask the hater if he hates, and he admits so freely.

I call the second category the “Sneaky Approach.”  This is hate revealed through the use of roundabout methods that, over time, induce the hater to reveal his hate.  These questions peel back layers that the source has constructed to hide his hate.

To illustrate these two categories in more detail, let’s revisit the actors from our short hate play: Tango, Sierra and Oscar.  Tango plays the part of being the target of hate. Sierra is the source of hate.  And we will play the role of Oscar, the observer of what happens between Tango and Sierra.

As a good observer, we will be without bias or motive.  In addition, we sit upon the highest pedestal, compared to Tango and Sierra.  Finally, Oscar’s motivation is to discover whether or not Sierra hates Tango.

As Oscar, can we use the Direct Approach and simply ask Sierra point blank whether she hates Tango?  Of course we can.  There’s many reasons why this wouldn’t work.  But there’s also a chance that it would.

If it didn’t work, we could use the Sneaky Approach.  Instead of asking Sierra “Do you hate Tango?” we would ask questions that seem unrelated to her hate.  But these clever questions would be designed to reveal her hate for Tango, if it exists.

Regardless of whether we ask Sierra directly about whether she hates Tango, or take the sneaky approach and asking more roundabout questions about this hate, the key takeaway is that these two approaches are the only methods to get self-reported hate expressions directly from the source.

The bottom line is that Sierra either knows what we’re asking about or doesn’t.
This brings us to another class of hate expression that is highly dependent upon the observer’s perspective.  It also can reveal the presence of hate within the source.  That class comes from passive observation.  We can simply watch Sierra “in the wild,” so to speak.

There are two classes of observing hate passively, illustrated below.  In the first, we are invisible.  In the second, Sierra knows we’re watching.  In both of these cases, we observe Sierra and Tango as they interact.  Perhaps we see her interacting with her peers as well.

To be continued …

Hate, the book: 104

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.

Part Three
Chapter Eighteen
Intention and Expression of Hate    (Continued)

Stopping it sounds good. But like real stop signs, most people just roll through it.

However, the case can also be made that our resentful son also harbors a deeper hatred, one that he doesn’t wish to share with the world.

Perhaps he’s plotting revenge.  In this case, his expressions may not lead us to conclude any hate exists.

But what if we catch him off guard?  Then yes, there’s a chance he might slip up and reveal his hatred.

A chance for such a slip up is the key to our assumption that there is a direct connection between someone’s intent to do harm to another and how they express themselves.  Not only is there a strong link between intent and expression, but we can describe it as probabilistic.

Therefore, if we ask our resentful son if he hates his family, he will probably say something hateful if he does.  Furthermore, the more he hates, the more probable it is that his hateful expressions will increase.

And that’s the connection.  If there’s lots of hate, then there are more chances that the hater will express that hatred.

Working backwards now, we can make this statement; expression of hate indicates the probable existence of hate.

Probable.  This single word introduces a new wrinkle in our attack on hate.  If we had a choice, we wouldn’t allow any grey areas in our analysis, but as is so often the case in other areas of serious study, there’s no choice.

Luckily for us though, this “probable” wrinkle is well-known and well-studied, so we have no reason to be concerned about it.  Taking this into account reveals another assumption we can use; it’s possible to hate someone and never express that hate.

Conversely, it’s also possible that someone might express behaviors of hate, yet have absolutely no hateful intentions.

How can these apparent contradictions exist?  Let’s consider two separate cases that shed light this question.

The first case involves the man who hides his hatred towards his parents from us because he’s plotting long-term revenge.  In this case he contains hate, yet never express that hate, as he may never act out his desire for revenge.

For our second case, let’s consider someone who was brainwashed or coerced into performing a horrible act of hate, something he would never have otherwise done.  A famous case from 1974 of Patty Hearst is a good example.  She was kidnapped and brainwashed by the Symbionese Liberation Army.  She then went with them on various crime sprees. It’s unlikely that she would have done this without the influence of her kidnappers.  Her kidnappers put the hate into her mind.  It was not hers to begin with.

In statistical terms, we call these two scenarios – the hiding of one’s hate and the apparent manifestation of hate absent of intent – false negatives and false positives.  In other words, our ability to connect the dots doesn’t always work, so we have to be on guard to the existence of these false signals.

To be continued …