Because of many articles I've written, the most common "attack" against me, is that I am a hate monger (or that I am vilifying individuals or groups). I would like to clear the air, so that people can better understand where I am coming from, and what I believe.
Whenever a group (or individual) tries to make a villain out of another group (or individual), I get suspicious of the first group. Why? Vilifying someone is a way to encourage you to hate them or their views in order to END discussion and to stop discussing and to stop being reasonable. It means that your mind is closed. So we must keep our minds open, and reassess ourselves, our actions and our surroundings. Now don't get me wrong. I expect people to take strong opinions -- especially when they know a lot on a subject. The more they know, and the more experience they have discussing and challenging a view, the firmer their opinion should be (because they've already questioned the view, studied it, and they've thought from an alternative point of view) -- but there should always be enough humility that they will think on what others are saying, and still question their own beliefs.
So groups that try to polarize a view, or make the others look more extreme, are really showing fear at their own beliefs -- they don't want people to think about it any more, they want to anger them, promote hate, and cause harm. They are basically appealing to emotion, as a way to hide from reason (and reasonable discussion). They are often promoting hate and hate labels, by labeling others with them. Their actions show what they believe.
Lets explore some of the most extreme and polarized examples in society, to show you my opinions. You can decide for yourselves whether hate (and vilification) are wrong.
Pro-lifers and pro-choicers are often at each others throats and spend a lot of their time hate mongering against the other. I have no problems with the strong philosophical disagreements, that each side should stand for -- but it often goes too far, and one side misrepresents the other side, or loses sight of their humanity (and views). They vilify the other group as either; a bunch of jackbooted thugs that want to take your freedoms away, force you into a police state (and will bomb you if you don't comply) -- or -- as a bunch of crazed loonies that want to murder babies, suck them out of Women's wombs at 9 months (partial birth abortions), chop them up in little pieces, and discard the scraps (all while giggling fiendishly at the fun of it).
Come on people -- what does that do? Do you honestly have that low a view of your neighbors that you can't see their views?
Pro-choicers either think that it is too hard (and too personal) to know exactly where a human life begins -- so they want to want others to oppress their will on others. They know that it will harm people to try to outlaw it (prohibition has never worked, and it will bring back the coat hanger "doctors" in back rooms). Or they believe that a fetus is not a human until some event other than conception (like quickening, viability, etc.). They are not evil people. They don't want to kill babies for sport -- many have not had, nor would have, an abortion. They just don't think that a few individuals should be allowed to make laws for all of society (separation of church and state and all that), nor should people be able to regulate society based on opinions (often founded in religion). Some are scientific types define life as the point at which a growth (fetus) is viable as a separate entity (which is second trimester stuff). This is not evil. These are good people, with a noble belief (in freedom and individual rights), trying to do the best they can with the information they have. They are trying to protect the rights of the weak, from the abuse of the strong (politically). They are trying to keep the personal views of individuals in the hands of the people (instead of the state).
Pro-Lifers are the ones that believe that a fetus is a life. They know that the cells start dividing (and the life process begins) at conception -- and they believe that is when a fetus becomes a human being. So they are going to do Everything they can to protect that human life. Excuses about freedom, Govt. intrusion, and quality of health care, hold no weight since what is at risk is a human life. They are not evil people. They just can't stand idly by and watch people killing people without doing something to try to stop it. That the victims are helpless innocents (babies) makes the killing all that much more obscene. They are out there doing their best to protect the rights (of what they see is a human being) from others, who would kill it. They are trying to protect the rights of the weak, from the abuse of the strong (physically). Protecting life is a very noble cause.
How can you hate others for either of those views? How can you see them as villains? Put yourself in the other sides skin for a while -- and really think as they think.
If you are a pro-lifer, see yourself as a scientist or as anyone that does not believe a few cells dividing in a body is automatically a life, any more than a mole or a tumor, just because it has the potential to someday become a human being. Now imagine you are them, trying to protect freewill and free-choice, against some individuals that would oppress all others with their views of the world. Can't you see that your cause is just -- and that you want to protect individual rights from govt. intrusion? Can't you see the good in that?
If you are a pro-choicer, see yourself as someone who believes that there are others out there who are naively (or maliciously) killing babies. They are making excuses about murder. Take all your maternal (paternal) feelings and apply them to poor innocents that are being slaughtered, because some group believes in Women's rights, over a babies right to life. Can't you see that defending that babies right to life is just? Can't you see the good in that?
So why vilify the other? Why pretend that all pro-choicers are extremists who want to use abortion as birth control? Why pretend that antiabortionists are a bunch of crazed bombers, who live to oppress others freedoms for the fun of it? Those extremes are such the minority that they barely exist -- but they will exist in some. Just don't lose sight of the fact that extremes are not the norm. Don't hate the other side because they see things differently that you do -- respect them for getting out there and standing up for what they believe in, for trying to make the right decisions, and doing their best to make a difference in our society.
I don't expect you to change your beliefs. Quite the opposite -- keep standing up for them. Keep doing what you believe is right, and keep trying to educate the other side. But stop the hate -- and instead focus on all your similarities of belief (like wanting to protect the weak against the abuses of the strong) -- instead of focusing on your differences and characterizing the other as evil!
We vilify the World War II Germans for being Nazi's. Or in the U.S. we vilify one group or another as being "Nazi-like" (1). I do not doubt for a minute that many of their actions were wrong (and many men were evil and deserved to be punished). But remember, that the National Socialist movement had the support of the German people. Do you think all Germans were evil, or that things are as clear cut as the black and white history we've been taught. If it was that clear, do you think that Germans are a bunch of idiots that can be duped by any guy with a dorky mustache? There are two sides to every story, and things happen in unusual ways.
(1) Many Democrats mischaracterize the Nazi's (national socialists) as right wing conservatives or republicans. That is an error, they were left-wing, pro-Govt. types -- far closer in philosophy (and legislation) to our Democrats than our Republicans. The vilification of the right or rich (in America) is a way to prevent discussion and thought -- but that point is best left to another article.
Can you really believe that the majority of Germans hated their Jewish people, mentally ill, or Gypsies, so much that they wanted to exterminate them? Hardly. The migration from a very warm and friendly culture, into one that allowed one of the greatest atrocities of all times (so far), was subtle -- sadly the migration is not so different than our own (which is headed down the same path).
Germany was a country that was burdened by a financial debt. that was strangling them. The National Socialists convinced the people that if they worked together (in a very socialist way) that they could make their country great. The Brown-Shirts (Nazi's), went into communities and convinced them to work together and to bind them together. They talked of unity, harmony and "the good of the many" and "societal responsibilities". The Germans bought the message, just like Americans are doing.
Their failing was the same failing that we have in America all too often -- they vilified one group as an excuse to redistribute wealth. Just like many do against the rich here. Over there it was easy to pick out one race/culture/religion of rich -- the Jews; here, we just apply our hate (resentment) to all the rich. They created subjective laws and subjective taxes (applying to some more than others) to try to "correct" things -- it really was only a symptom of the problem. They used a tool of force to oppress (instead of protect), and the results were not pretty. Many are advocating the same over here.
The Nazi party was about convincing the people that the rights of the group were more important than the rights of the individual. They believed in protecting society from itself with laws for gun-control. They believed that by centralizing power, they could make a utopia -- so they nationalized education, health care, transportation, national resources, parks, manufacturing, distribution and law enforcement. Hitler came to power by turning the working class, unemployed, and academic elite against the conservative republic.
The biggest tool that the Nazi's used to slowly take over control was bias in the media and selective information. People who challenged the party line were labeled as "Conservative Reactionaries", who didn't understand "the New World Order". They believed that the ends justified the means, and that they would overcome the "old style" thinking with a new, better, society. They appealed to the young, especially in colleges, when their minds were fresh (and programmable), and made them feel good about trying to control everything, and about not being afraid of wielding the power of govt. as a sword.
Nazi's later claimed that the Jews and Gypsies were arming themselves for revolution, and that they needed to sacrifice individual rights for the good of society. When a government building was blown up, an "antiterrorist" act was passed that gave the govt. unprecedented powers. Everything was seen as an excuse to increase efficiency by centralizing -- and by vilifying those that didn't go along. When separatists were found, they were protect from society, and taken away (or often killed while resisting) -- all for the good of the people.
They believed in getting "involved" in the affairs of other nations, since they believed that the best thing they could do for other countries was to help civilize them (in their image). They believed the best thing they could do for other countries was to get involved, and bringing their sort of order. Their arrogance allowed them to believe that conquest was better for the other nations than letting those nation learn (and govern) themselves.
Most of the people that followed this were not evil -- they were well meaning, but naive or misguided (the same as those with those same philosophies in our society). They didn't understand the consequences of their actions -- and later, the tools they gave to their leaders for the sake of "utopia", would be perverted into powers to intimidate, control or destroy those that disagreed with their Govt. However, the change had been a subtle movement that took years.
Only late in the war did the physical holocaust begin in earnest. Only the minority really knew what was going on -- and most of the largest atrocities were in foreign lands (that were already conquered), so there was little resistance, and it kept the masses naive. When the economic pressures of war (and their governing style) increased enough, it enabled many to rationalize slave labor, to reduce the costs to society of imprisoning those people -- then it progressed from there. Of course there are enough laws that anyone can be imprisoned for something, then the law enforcement will be subjectively applied (not unlike our society). But it was all "for the good of the country, society, and people" -- unless you were an individual that was singled out.
The soldiers who knew, had laws that said that if they did not follow orders (immoral or not), then they could be killed -- just like ours. Many complied, or did what was expected of them -- of course we punished them with trials that said that if they did do things (under orders) that we didn't approve of, then they would be killed anyway -- but such is life (damned if you do, and damned if you don't). Many people realized what they (or others) were doing was wrong, but had no power to stop it. They resigned themselves to go along with it, to avoid drawing attention and grief upon themselves -- it was far easier to pretend that things were fine. They caved to group-think and the will of the masses, instead of standing up (and standing out). They shirked their responsibility to say SOMETHING, and instead went along because it was easier. Many focused on their personal gains and that society was good, rather than the actions and morals of their leaders. Sure the leader had foibles, but why hold him accountable when things are going so well?
How can you hate the German people of W.W.II, when they are behaving like us? Look at the trends in our society (as compared to theirs), and tell me that we are not the same. They were just misguided, and started down a slippery slope that they could not pull back from (because their own laws, and powers granted to govt., had prevented that). That is not to say that all societies that start down that slope (like us), will end up in the same place. But the point is that their intent was not evil, it was sad. It was the same group think and attitudes about political correctness that have permeated our society, and the main power used was vilification of others, as a way to stop communication and thought -- and to get people to just comply. When someone uses those labels of hate, and tries to shout others down, it is really only a reflection on themselves -- their actions and words mean more about them, than they do about the others.
NOTE: I am not a historian, but I do read up on many issues. Not only that, but I can listen, discuss, and I am pretty good at seeing things through the eyes of others. It makes it a lot harder to hate someone, if you can understand what they are thinking.
I chose two very strong examples. But the point is to learn and think -- not to vilify or hate. Hate (vilification) is a tool of hate -- not of good. The ends does not justify the means.
I've had some pretty ugly things happen in my life (physical abuse, sexual abuse, been robbed, and more) -- I've seen (or dealt with) far worse happening to others (unfortunately). In no case will hatred or vilification improve the situation. Letting go of the hate is one of the most important things you can do (for yourself) in your life. But that doesn't mean that you need to blindly forgive, or naively trust. Many deserve to be punished, and must pay the consequences for their actions -- but you shouldn't hate them or vilify them, that just shuts down an opportunity for you (or society) to learn and grow.
All of these things require a balance, that is constantly adjusting. People need to make these choices and balance retribution with forgiveness, self-righteousness and beliefs against understanding and open-mindedness, and intolerance of the intolerable with tolerance.
Some people accuse me of hating Bill Gates (Microsoft), or Windows users, or whatever it is that I am disagreeing with them on at the time. That is sadder than they know, since it reflects on them (and they are not willing to listen to me) -- they are often trying to shut down communication, and end discussion. I don't "hate" people who stand against the causes I do; however, in many cases I dislike what they are doing, or what they represent. I try not to vilify them (other than jokingly). I do joke that Gates is evil, or MS is the dark-side -- but I never forget for a moment that Gates is a person, and Microsoft is a company. Gates seems to be a person who has let his ego (and desire to win) get in front of his conscience (and doing what is right), but he is a person none the less, and doing the best in his life that he can. (I pity him, but I don't hate him). Microsoft is a company that employs many, and creates products and tries to get profits for its stockholders. They are also huge, with many departments that do many different things. I don't like their actions (or the actions of many inside of it) -- but they are too big, and there are too many different groups to "hate them".
Most people (even when they are doing horrible things), THINK that they are doing good (or are trying to). So don't hate those people -- abhor their actions, try to enlighten them, try to help them, and if you must -- punish them (as a way to help them learn) -- but never give in to hate.
I will continue to stand for what I believe in. I will continue to stand against actions that I do not like (agree with) -- because of the harm I believe those actions will cause. But, in the cases of most groups (or individuals) -- even when they are groups (or individuals) that are not popular, I will not forget that they are humans, and they don't deserve to be dehumanized. I will stand against groups that vilify and dehumanize others -- even when I disagree with the others views.