Archive for February 25th, 2023

Days of Hate

9919166 Faces Off detailIf we are not prepared to defend a tolerant society against the onslaught of the intolerant, then the tolerant will be destroyed, and tolerance with them.

–Karl Popper, The Open Society and Its Enemies, 1945

If you haven’t been paying attention to the growing number of incidents of racial and religious hatred taking place, please begin. Law enforcement and groups like the Anti-Defamation League are warning that today has been targeted as a National Day of Hate by white supremacist and neo-Nazi groups, marked with rallies designed to draw attention.

There are some who say that we should just ignore them and they will fade away without the spotlight. Unfortunately, that will most likely only move the point of normalcy, allowing them to move on to even more drastic actions.

We’re already seeing a normalization of harassment and violence from neo-Nazi groups who have been emboldened by the relative lack of response against their actions as they openly taunt and threaten people.

Social media is filled with more and more of these gatherings and confrontations, often filmed by the neo-Nazis themselves. The theatre in NYC at the premiere of Parade, a play based on the story of Leo Frank, who, in 1913, was accused of raping and murdering a 13 year old. He was kidnapped and lynched by a mob spurred on by antisemitic propaganda. At synagogues in Florida and elsewhere. Signs hung from highway overpasses.

This week Scott Adams, the cartoonist behind Dilbert, released a video spewing racial hatred against blacks, advising whites to stay as far as possible from blacks. He tries to rationalize it with anecdote and misguided social myth but his racial animus is undeniable.

And it goes on and on.

They’re not trying to be secretive or hide their actions. They want the attention. Their hatred is a rage that blinds them to reality, allowing them to believe that most people support their actions. That they are in the right.

I don’t get it myself. I look at these people and wonder what is in them that drives to hate so much. You can almost see the toll that hatred takes on their faces. Not to mention their psyches, spirits, and souls, if indeed they have them. I also wonder, with how little time we get to spend in this world, why they choose to devote so much time to hating others. I certainly don’t have time to spend on hating or attacking any group of people.

Maybe not understanding that level of hatred allows us to dismiss it, to try to shrug it off. To think that there will always be hatred and there’s little that can be done. an That’s understandable position. But it’s also a foolishly dangerous one.

At some point, you have to take notice and take action against this level of hatred and intolerance, or it cascades and grows into a greater threat to society as a whole. We may be past that point. I wrote about Karl Popper’s Paradox of Tolerance back in 2017 and, as predicted, the situation has only grown more dire over the intervening years. Hate groups have grown unchecked and have continually learned to better use the tolerance of our society against it.

Here’s a longer excerpt from Popper’s book:

“Less well known is the Paradox of Tolerance: Unlimited tolerance must lead to the disappearance of tolerance. If we extend unlimited tolerance even to those who are intolerant, if we are not prepared to defend a tolerant society against the onslaught of the intolerant, then the tolerant will be destroyed, and tolerance with them. — In this formulation, I do not imply, for instance, that we should always suppress the utterance of intolerant philosophies; as long as we can counter them by rational argument and keep them in check by public opinion, suppression would certainly be unwise. But we should claim the right to suppress them if necessary even by force; for it may easily turn out that they are not prepared to meet us on the level of rational argument, but begin by denouncing all argument; they may forbid their followers to listen to rational argument, because it is deceptive, and teach them to answer arguments by the use of their fists or pistols. We should therefore claim, in the name of tolerance, the right not to tolerate the intolerant. We should claim that any movement preaching intolerance places itself outside the law, and we should consider incitement to intolerance and persecution as criminal, in the same way as we should consider incitement to murder, or to kidnapping, or to the revival of the slave trade, as criminal.”

Karl Popper, The Open Societies and Its Enemies, 1945


No rational argument will have a rational effect on a man who does not want to adopt a rational attitude.

So, please don’t turn away or dismiss it as just a fact of life when you hear that there is National Day of Hate or some other act of hatred taking place. It will not stop from its own inertia– it has to be stopped from without.

And it’s up to all of us to do that.

Remember: Silence is Compliance. Silence is Complicity.

Here’s a brand new song from Ian Hunter, best known for his work with Mott the Hoople. This is a song called I Hate Hate.

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