The Hate that Feels like Love

My Tuesday column this week was inspired by Fox News’ Mike Tobin’s thoughts on hate as he has covered the demonstrations in Wisconsin:

One thing I think should make clear – the people coming after us from every live shot here, these people hate,” Tobin said. “These are people who don’t respect diverse viewpoints . . .Now, I am not saying that’s all of the people. Those are the people that come here and heckle and try to disrupt things. I look in their eyes – there is hate in their eyes. They don’t want to hear any kind of viewpoint that is different from their own. That’s why they do what they do. . . . A teacher was giving me the business yesterday, and the teacher told me she hates me because it makes her feel good

As I write at First Things:

On the surface, attaching oneself to a hate-collective seems a safe way to belong. One feels invited to the party; one no longer has to think for oneself, or worry about individual appearances or instincts. To continue to fit-in, to feel as if you were truly loved, all one needs to do is continue to hate—and that not even willingly.

This hate that feels like wide-open love is paradoxically limiting and self-defeating. Once hatred has become one’s social vehicle of choice, the travel options become limited: either stay the course and wear the peripheral blinders or attempt to break free and risk the very real possibility of being altogether ditched.

Regardless of whether one hates a Republican governor or a pro-abortion president or Hollywood or “fundamentalism” or “the system” or even a sports team, if one’s sense of belonging depends on hatred, then second-thoughts will flee and stagnation will follow. The only way to re-energize and to delay the inevitable endgame described by Enright as “destruction, discouragement, and hopelessness” is to find a new hate to love.

Hope you’ll read the whole thing

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About Elizabeth Scalia