Fear and Hatred

I’d be the first to admit that there are people I do not like; faiths which I feel are destructive, prejudicial, and antithetical to human rights; and politicians who I believe pursue unproductive and often evil ends. But, at least so far, I haven’t gone around shooting them or filling the air and the internet with vituperation and hate speech. And I certainly wouldn’t even think about doing violence to individuals merely because of their beliefs, sexual or political orientation, gender, or their ethnic background. I might well consider violence against those who have actually committed violence against others on grounds of belief, gender, ethnicity or the like.

But what I want to know is why so many people in the world believe that it is their right, duty, or obligation to beat up, torture, kill, or restrict the personal freedom of those who do not share their religious faith, sexual orientation, or political beliefs. I can understand locking up people who commit violent acts, and I can even understand violent protests against oppression.

But what earthly or unearthly good is accomplished by staging a protest against someone’s sexuality at that person’s funeral? Especially when someone has been cruelly murdered because of their sexual orientation?

Europe was wracked with centuries of religious wars over which faith would control what government. Tens of millions of innocents died. That was exactly why the Founding Fathers wanted separation of church and state, yet today we now have millions of various religious fundamentalists here in the United States demanding that secular law conform to their beliefs.

Just because it’s far worse in much of the world shouldn’t really offer much comfort. In terms of basic human rights, why should any government have the right to support or to enforce practices that insist that leaving the faith – whatever that faith might be – merits a death sentence? Or that anyone who criticizes or mocks a faith or its tenets or its prophets or leaders deserves to die? Or that genders other than straight heterosexual males have lesser or no rights, or perhaps even no right to life?

All of that boils down to outright hatred of anyone who is different. It’s one thing to hate someone for actual despicable acts; it’s another to hate simply because people are different. Or perhaps, it’s just an excuse to grab or hold power, and that makes it even more despicable.

But then, it’s oh so much simpler just to claim that all differences are “wrong,” and should be punished… or that people deserve what comes to them because they don’t share the same beliefs. It’s funny, too, how so many people who pray to the same almighty god are so willing to kill people who don’t believe in that same god in the same way.

Hatred, anyone?

4 thoughts on “Fear and Hatred”

  1. Robert The Addled says:

    To be honest – general hypocrisies like the above described example – are why I generally eschew ORGANIZED religion.

    My personal religious philosophies may be influenced by others and by my experiences both direct and indirect. However – it is my own personal choice to determine which values to embrace or discard – and to what degree.

    That is partly why I’ve enjoyed so many of your books – the characters think for themselves….

  2. John Prigent says:

    Well said, Lee!

  3. aleciaf says:

    It seems that the main thing that fuels the hatred is religion – look at all the so-called Christian leaders who basically complained that only 49 were killed in Orlando, and that the entire population of LGBTQ should be put to death. Religion has been used to control the populace, to enforce the status quo (you’re born where you are because God willed it, e.g.), and to give each of their congregants something or someone to look down upon, thus make themselves more than they are. What is scary is the current political climate is enforcing those biases and making it even worse – and I have no idea if what can be done to change it. Now that being a racist and/or bigot, or hating whatever is an acceptable form of interaction, how do we ever go back (or, better yet, forward)?

  4. invah says:

    >But what I want to know is why so many people in the world believe that it is their right, duty, or obligation to beat up, torture, kill, or restrict the personal freedom of those who do not share their religious faith, sexual orientation, or political beliefs.

    It’s more than hating people who are different, more than an exercise of power.

    My area of interest happens to be violence and the transmission of violence. I actually started with a focus on abuse, but, through my reading and research, I realized that I was actually dealing with violence; and that many concepts apply to both the personal and interpersonal level (micro) and organizational/systemic (macro).

    Here is the general layout, as I understand it:

    • anger is a moralistic emotion

    • anger lies at the disconnect between expectation and reality

    • show of anger is part of the system of ‘checks and balances’ in our social contracts

    • anger is therefore confused with aggression, even though aggression doesn’t require anger

    • aggression (dominance) is an exercise of entitlement over another person

    • aggression is a form of violence

    • violence is intended to regulate social relationships

    • violence is communicable

    • people who commit violence both feel justified in their violence and, per the Ben Franklin Effect, justify that violence and future violence after the fact

    This exists in context of, and is determined by, the social framework; e.g. the social contract. This, in conjunction with the intrinsic structures of power, determines: (1) social roles and responsibilities, (2) what individuals in this system are entitled to. More importantly, the social contract is based on cultural values and beliefs. These values and beliefs create the narrative of the culture/society; THESE ARE REALITY-DEFINING NARRATIVES.

    Our models of reality include relational stereotyping: what roles exist, who can ‘perform’ or identify with those roles, limits on action and expression within those roles, what that means about the identity/character of the people inhabiting/claiming those roles.

    Abuse, for example, is strongly related to our models of reality, and this form of stereotyping shows up in different iterations:

    • An abuser has created the role for the victim to play1 and forces or coerces the victim into playing this role. The abuser punishes the victim for stepping out of this role.

    • A victim has created a role for the abuser to play and is confused and hurt when the abuser does not play this role.

    • Society both creates and enforces roles for individuals to play, and reacts harshly when people act outside these social norms

    The ‘reasonability’ of a person’s expectations – the presumptive accuracy of their modeling – is determined by their culture. Cultural norms determine whether the ‘moralistic’ expression of emotion or entitlement (aggression/dominance/violence) is acceptable.

    Authoritarian cultures, specifically, are highly oriented toward honor and respect. Perceived disrespect and perceived dishonor are processed as an “attack”. This ‘disrespect’ and ‘dishonor’ is assessed as dominance-behavior by someone the authority believes to be in a position of power UNDER them.

    The problem is that authoritarian cultures define honor and respect as unquestioning obedience: “favoring complete obedience or subjection to authority as opposed to individual freedom, exercising complete or almost complete control over the will of another or of others”

    So anyone who doesn’t immediately submit to the authority figure is someone who is ILLEGITIMATELY challenging their authority and needs to be corrected. The transgression is perceived to be an attempt to exercise power OVER, and so the ‘correction’ must redress the balance; the authority figure, instead, exerts power-over, and believes in their entitlement to do so. Because authoritarian cultures are socially position-oriented, this ‘corrective’ action must re-establish their position and entitlement to power-over publicly.

    When cognitive distortions, such as hostile attribution bias, factor in this dynamic, the authority figure perceives and treats the ‘offender’ as the enemy.

    Authoritarian power structures, either on the nation-state or family level, are highly contingent on the functional mental and emotional health/awareness of the authority-figure in order not to be abusive or exploitative, punitive or violent.

    Some people find the ability to subordinate another intrinsically rewarding on a neurological level.

    An authoritarian position- and power-oriented person can hold these beliefs even if they don’t live in a society or group organized this way. They will attempt to create this power structure, with themselves at the apex, wherever they are; and will force their version of reality, beliefs, and values on others. Additionally, they feel perfectly entitled to do so.

    IN CONCLUSION

    Beliefs, entitlement-orientation, and moral righteousness are the underlying motivations for violence and aggression. The ‘reasonability’ of those beliefs, entitlement, and morality are determined by the values and culture of the society in which the aggressor operates.

    This culture may not have value-hegemony, or the aggressor may participate in a subculture that has a different values paradigm than the society in which in operates, or the society itself may have a disordered and inconsistent approach to the application of those values.

    A person who commits violence or engages in aggressive behavior benefits from doing so.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.