The Duality of Hate: Manufactured Outrage Drives Us Deeper into the Abyss

This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion
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Political Disagreements Can Result in Idea Sharing

Last Saturday, I had a Facebook discussion with a friend from high school. He had posted something about gun control in response to the El Paso shooting which which I disagreed. Rather than spreading anger and hate, I responded with some facts which I believe countered his view.

About twenty minutes later, he replied in kind, identifying facts that directly related to my point. This conversation went on for an hour, with trolls trying to “ignite a flamewar” by provoking us. This tactic did not work.

He and I continued a respectful conversation even though we disagreed and ended the chat talking about an Atari that he wanted to buy from me. This conversation (which I did not print in full to keep his identity private) is an example of what is good about America; we can have debates without hating each other just because the other person disagrees.

Hiding on a social media island only amplifies the divide in the country.

Apart from the guns and the mental illness, I truly believe that it is hate which is causing this crisis of mass shootings. Whether the tool of atrocity is guns, bombs, knives, acid, or planes, one thing is clear: Hate is the impetus of the action. It is hate that we need to deal with to try to heal this gaping wound in our country.

Calls for Unity Rejected

After the shootings, NRN’s own Carmine Sabia was one of the first nationally known conservative commentators to call for President Trump to condemn the idiotic concept of white nationalism. This thought is simple enough that you would think everyone could get behind it as we bring forth our heartfelt prayers for the victims of the mass shootings this past weekend.

However, almost as soon as he posted his call for describing white nationalism what it is, idiocy, Carmine Sabia was bombarded with hateful tweets about how “anyone who supports Trump is a white nationalist” and “all gun owners are murderers.” The ignorance of some people means that you cannot fight hate with hate. You fight it with knowledge. Hiding in a hole of your own echo chamber on Twitter or Facebook only amplifies the divide in our country, something that we should be working to bridge.

Hate is an unnatural state for human beings; it is something that has to be carefully cultivated and nurtured. It is often said that while loving someone is easy, hating a person requires working hard to be ignorant of the good things.

We can hate evil actions, but hating people creates a problem of a different kind. In his book Rules for Radicals, the far-Left community organizer Saul Alinsky famously detailed his 13th rule: “Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.”

This strategy is one of the most damaging processes for a free nation built on the principles of a republic to endure. Even in the 1970s, it was harmful because, among other things, it taught an entire generation to hate those men and women in uniform who were serving our country just because it furthered a particular political narrative. Now we see this pattern unfortunately played out in every issue that the nation faces.

Rules For Radicals, 2019 Version

  1. Picking an issue: It seems like everybody you meet nowadays is a “one-issue person.” This means that they have their big issue and that is the reason they vote (if they do vote). This id the first step in this damning process as it encourages people to put blinders on: “Well you agree with me on [insert issue here], that means you must be a good candidate, even if you also support [insert negative issue here].” As a nation, we need to avoid being trapped into centering our life around one issue. Politics is complicated; there are dozens of issues that affect us each day. Don’t let a talking head trick you into becoming a one-issue voter to your own detriment.
  2. Freeze the issue: Another blight on civil discourse in this country is freezing the issue. This occurs when someone sets the “rules” of the issue that no one in the movement can change. Recall that Black Lives Matter refrained from doing this until it was taken over by radicals who destroyed the message. (The original message was not one of hate; it was just meant to draw attention to the rampant loss of black lives, which the media ignores in its gun control crusade.) The #MeToo movement did the same thing; started by women who were abused and wanted their stories told, it became a tool of the Hollywood elite to target political opponents. The failure in these instances shows why this rule is so effective. Look at stupid causes that have maintained their efficacy over the years such as white nationalism, black nationalism, oppressive religions that deny free will, radical unions, and terrorist cells. They all keep their cohesion by freezing the rules. Moreover, activists are forcing some in the gay community to accept lifestyles with which they disagree. Anyone who stands up against this “expansion” is labeled a bigot and becomes a pariah. Freezing an issue is nothing more than social control at its worst.
  3. Personalize the issue: Please bear with me here; I am not going to discuss the conspiracy theory that the mass shootings are orchestrated to draw attention away from liberal failures. Instead, it’s about how issues are now personalized to ensure that people “care” about them. Think of Black Lives Matter: “How would you feel if your son was shot by the police?” This question is legitimate. So is the personalization of #MeToo: “How would you feel if your mother or sister had this happen to her?” Once again, a legitimate question. The problem arises in the way they are marketed; by and large, the agitators behind the movement do not care how you would feel. They want you angry. When an issue is personalized, people allow their emotions to do the thinking for them. They can be guided by the next enragement and are less likely to go their own way. When an individual or group personalizes a problem for you, be wary. This is a way to take control away from you so you do whatever they want.
  4. Polarize the issue: This is the scariest part of the whole process. Moderates often experience rejection because those of us in the middle take the time to think and do not simply “walk the party line.” When you polarize an issue, you help people create an echo chamber of what they want to hear, whether through group meetings or through social media. This echo chamber allows activists to slowly lead others by the nose through the obstacles of logic that may turn people against the crusade. The truth of the matter is that every single American is entitled to his or her own opinion. If you are anti-gun, fine. If you are pro-gun, also fine. That is your right, and you can lobby for your position. What is not okay, and frankly not healthy, is when you start hating people who are opposed to you or the position that you take. Just because someone disagrees with you, even if it on the biggest issue of your life, does not mean that you should respond in a hateful manner. It just means they have a different viewpoint. You can try to convince them they are wrong or accept that you will disagree. When others force you to polarize the issue, this leads to hatred, and hate is the core of these mass-shootings (Note: I also strongly believe that mental illness allows for people with hate in their hearts to do what is unthinkable; no sane person perpetrates a random mass shooting.)

Americans Isolated in Their Own Echo Chambers

As you can see, this process is very effective at creating an issue and isolating people to the point that they are 100 percent for or against you. The more deeply anyone follows this evil strategy, the more free will disappears, with people forced into one rigid camp or another.

This problem that is facing our nation needs to be addressed. We cannot continue to allow this divide to be made greater because of an orchestrated strategy that is being used by both sides. Those of us in the middle, those who are still willing to use logic, must be willing to look past the groupthink and apply logic to the present situation (which is interesting in the week that Kindle removed George Orwell’s 1984 from its free libraries).

The duality of hate is that hate is a choice; you either choose to hate a person or not. An unwillingness to hate does not mean that you support a particular point of view; hate is thoughtless, mindless absolutism.

Prayers for a Better Society

I want to end on one of the most disgusting things I have seen around the gun debate, i.e., the attacks on “thoughts and prayers” included as part of condolence messages. Liberals have been attacking thoughts and prayers since Columbine, arguing that the expression accomplishes nothing. I would beg to differ.

If you study those who are doing the mass shootings, very few are on the thoughts and prayers side of the equation; most of them are of the secular humanist cohort. Those who are promoting hate to combat hate are just creating the next generation of violent actors. Thinking about societal challenges helps us create real solutions rather than gut reactions like excessive gun control, which does nothing.

Prayers and meditation on these issues help people see the hurt that things cause. If you are Christian like I am, your prayer is not simply for God to “fix” this problem: it is for the strength and understanding that we, as the people who live on this planet, can affect real change.

We pray not so much that the world is fixed, but that we are fixed so we can make the world a better place. Thoughts and prayers help us overcome the emotional reaction, which is instinctive rather than logical, emotional rather than thoughtful, and based on anger rather than a true desire to make things better.

The duality between the two conversations that started this article show where we could be as a nation and where we are. The aforementioned example with Carmine Sabia illustrated that even when a person is trying to do something good, those on the other side will attack because the speaker is considered an ideological enemy.

Carmine was calling for President Trump to condemn white nationalism (which he did), and yet those on the radical Left attacked him and called him hateful names because of it. This is the demonic polarization, the lack of free thought, that we see in society.

Disagreeing Without Being Disagreeable

The above-mentioned Facebook conversation demonstrates the good that can happen if we respect each other and have well-thought-out discussions. My friend and I disagreed, and still disagree, but that does not mean that he hates me or I him.

Issues do not define the person; actions do. We need to start teaching this in schools and put an end to this era of thoughtcrime where someone is convicted in the court of public opinion because of an opinion or tells a bad joke, all the while we ignore rapists in Hollywood, politicians using taxpayer money to silence sexual abuse victims, and the dozens of people who die in the inner cities each week.

We can make this nation better by thinking for ourselves. Are you ready to take that step and not be led around by the mainstream media?

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Dr. Christopher W. Smithmyer

Dr. Christopher W. Smithmyer

Dr. Christopher W. Smithmyer is a writer for NRN and an adjunct professor at both Penn State University and the University of South Florida. He is the author of several books, most recently “A Criminal History of the Democrat Party” which is available on Amazon and via the publisher, Elite Exclusivity. Follow on Twitter at @Acriminalhisto1

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