This is the beginning of my blogging career. I’ll be fumbling around with just how to do what I want to do for awhile, but here is where it starts. I’m going to be writing about things that interest me, and hopefully will interest some other people too. If you like anything I have to say here, you may like some of my poetry, somewhere down the line. Let’s begin.
Arthur Goldwag has written a book, The New Hate, which finds that it’s not a lot different from the old hate. The main difference is that rather than George Orwell’s Two-Minute Hate, the hatred is now on 24 hours a day, and the media magnifies its effects. The objects of hate are still the same old reliables: blacks, Jews, secret societies, Catholics and homosexuals. Maybe liberals are a little bit newer than the aforementioned, but not by a lot.
Mr. Goldwag characterizes the haters as conspiracy theorists; not because he denies that there are any conspiracies, but because such theorists see conspiracy as superhumanly able to affect practically everything that happens. This leads to some interesting ideas that are logically opposed.
For instance, if whites are so superior to blacks, and other minorities, why do whites feel so threatened? People may hate President Obama for a variety of reasons, but I think few believe that he’s the stereotype black: stupid, and barely able to take care of himself. I suspect the picture most haters have of him is more like the stereotype of the Jews: subhuman, but at the same time more intelligent than most whites, which means that poor innocent whites can be manipulated into slavery, or whatever other diabolical fate the villains have in mind.
This leads to some unintenionally amusing ideas. Dinesh D’Souza supposes Obama to have been greatly influenced by his father (who left Obama’s mother when the President was two years old) into Kenyan anticolonial sentiments (his father was Kenyan, which I suppose most people already know). This influence is supposed to have led him into hatred for the United States.
Silly me! I thought the United States was anticolonial (or at least that we used to be), and that colonialism was something it was perfectly okay to dislike.
The author does a conscientious job of tracing the historical roots of various hatreds, incidentally giving a more complete account of the forgery known as The Protocols of the Elders of Zion than I had previously come across. An interesting aspect to that book was that it originally was a satire about Napoleon III of mid-19th century France, and had nothing at all to do with Judaism. The person who put The Protocol together seems to have been associated with the Okhrana—the Czarist secret police–, and the book became hugely popular and influential when it became widely known in the 1920’s. Hitler seems to have taken it at face value, but also to have used a number of its ideas for his own tyranny. Quite possibly others in the 20th century did too.
Hitler was also influenced by Henry Ford, who was anti-Semitic, perhaps because he saw Jews as generally controlling financial interests (another popular stereotype about Jews), and published a newspaper to publicize his ideas. Not only did Hitler eagerly agree with Ford about Jews, but he also used Ford’s innovative assembly line in his death camps, making his genocide perhaps the most efficient so far seen in the world.
Ford was concerned about farmers being pushed off their land by moneyed interests, but ironically, it was probably his assembly line innovation that did the most to break up the old family farm system. Close to half of Americans were farmers at the beginning of the 20th century, while only about 2% of the population are now. The factory farm (assembly line again) have almost completely taken over agriculture in this country.
While hatred has a long history, it tends to become virulent during uncertain times, and our times have become very uncertain. Hatred often appeals to people who feel insecure, and there’s plenty to feel insecure about right now. The future looks very dangerous, and people want to have someone to blame. There are a lot of media figures around to tell them who to blame, too. Perhaps most prominently on the Right, but there are also Leftist propagandists, though they seem to be generally less effective. I think most will know the various names.
One who is of some interest to me is Glenn Beck, though I can’t claim to know a lot about him (I watched part of one of his TV shows once). I first heard of him because he is alleged to have said that everyone claiming to be concerned about social justice is either a Nazi or Commnist. This statement, if true, implies that Beck believes in social injustice, which I find an interesting stance to take. It’s also deeply disrespectful to my parents, who, I think it is safe to say, Mr. Beck must never have met.
My father was a Republican, and when in 1960, John F. Kennedy came to our town to campaign, my father was invited to sit on the stand from which he would speak. My father refused, because Kennedy was a Democrat. If my father was alive today, I think he’d be appalled at what the Republicans have turned into. He was a devout Christian, and believed Christians ought to stand together, rather than the different denominations being suspicious of each other, as they had been for most of his life. And he didn’t draw any distinctions between black and white Christians.
My mother was very much in favor of the Civil Rights movement of the 1950’s and 60’s, though as a busy mother with 4 children, and later a job, she had little opportunity to support it directly. My parents didn’t hold these positions for reasons of financial gain. They held them because they believed that was what Christians were supposed to do. A good many disagreed then and now.
Interesting as it is, The New Hate in the end is sad. Once someone decides to hate, that person is unlikely to ever be persuaded to change his or her mind. That doesn’t make for a harmonious society, and I think that with all the objective problems that we can see and foresee, a harmonious society would be an immense advantage in trying to solve them. Right now we don’t seem to be that lucky.