The Hate that Feels like Love

The Hate that Feels like Love March 1, 2011

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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