Saturday, June 25, 2016

Reprise: The Poison Fruits of Hatred

I do not often agree with Washington Post political cartoonist Tom Toles. His left-leaning drawings are usually too much for my moderate Independent leanings. But when he published the above cartoon on June 14, 2016, he absolutely nailed the importance of hatred as the nexus that connects many of the ills that plague society today. I was at once reminded of a blog post on hatred I published last July. I am repeating it today to emphasize that hate is a dead-end street that leads to nowhere.

July 25, 2015: Today’s world appears awash in hatred. From lone-wolf shooters to suicide bombers, the results of hatred fill our newspaper headlines and television news broadcasts. Hatred takes many forms, and all of them are evil: racial hatred, religious hatred, tribal hatred, regional hatred, class hatred, and, of course, personal hatred.

Religious hatred fuels many of the conflicts in the world. The Moslem world is split between Sunnis and Shia, and these groups have been in conflict since the Dark Ages. The fall of Saddam Hussein in Iraq let loose a torrent of bloodletting between the branches of Islam that continues to this day. Mass suicide bombings and the rise of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), which practices “Shia cleansing” by massacring “enemy” forces, goes on daily. Women are frequently kidnapped into sexual slavery.  No end to this conflict is in sight.

Racial hatred still haunts the world, and not only in the American South. Much racial hatred harks back to the concept of “white supremacy” that pervaded Europe and the Americas during previous centuries. Less evolved civilizations and their inhabitants were deemed to be “inferior.” Lopsided military victories by the better- armed Europeans reinforced that view. And when Spanish priests seeking to save Native Americans from extinction began preaching that African’s black skins were a punishment from God that marked their ancestors’ evilness, generations became doomed to chattel slavery. The concept of world racial equality only began to receive acceptance in the last half of the Twentieth Century. Racial hatred still pervades many parts of this planet.  Racial hatred is a two-edged sword. Any race hating any other race(s) is racial hatred. Any race or nationality that feels itself superior to any other is, by definition, racist.

Hatred for people of Jewish extraction is a combination of religious and racial hatred. During the Middle Ages, Jews were condemned as “Christ killers” by the European churches. During the Crusades, large massacres of Jewish populations occurred all over Europe. These attitudes continued into the Twentieth Century. Anti-Semitists began to decry the “undue influence” of Jews on European history. But it remained for the Nazis of Germany to dub the Jews a “race” that needed to be exterminated. The Holocaust was the result. Creation of the State of Israel in Palestine was the United Nations’ attempt to compensate Jewish survivors for the atrocities they had suffered. Many Arabs viewed the event as the reestablishment of the crusaders’ Outremer kingdom. The attempt by surrounding Arab nations to snuff out Israel in its infancy led to the first of a series of wars that solidified a lasting hatred between the parties.

History is replete with other “holocausts” around the world. Many consider the subjugation of Native Americans by European settlers and their descendants to qualify in this category. The massacre of Armenians during World War One and the inter-tribal warfare in Rwanda clearly meet the standard. Massacres in the wars in the former Yugoslavia, the so-called “ethnic cleansing,” are another example.

Hatred on a personal level results in much of the violence in the world. Many cultures include the concept of vendettas, warfare between families over some wrong or perceived slight done to one of the parties. The cartoonist for Doonesbury captured the absurdity of some vendettas during the Iraq war. A mixed American/Iraqi team is about to go on a raid. The American tells the Iraqi that they must capture the target of the raid alive. The Iraqi replies that he must kill the target because of a family feud. One of the target’s kinsmen had killed one of the Iraqi’s family. The American asked when the killing occurred. The Iraqi replied, “in the Fourteenth Century.”

Hatred is corrosive to the human spirit. No good can ever come of it. Hatred makes a person bitter, paranoid, and spiteful. It consumes valuable mental energy that is better focused on bettering the human condition. It can also destroy the holder as well as the target. Author Jack Higgins likes to quote the old European proverb, “Before beginning a journey of revenge, it is necessary to dig TWO graves.” That sums up the fruits of hatred concisely.

I don’t have enough time left in my life to waste it on hatred. Humans all need to stop hating each other! 


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Warren Bell is an author of historical fiction.  He spent 29 years as a US Naval Officer, and has traveled to most of the places in the world that he writes about.  A long-time World War II-buff, his first two novels, Fall Eagle One and Hold Back the Sun are set during World War II.  His third novel, Asphalt and Blood, follows the US Navy Seabees in Vietnam.  His most recent novel, Snowflakes in July, is a Pentagon thriller about domestic terrorism.  He is currently working on a new novel, Endure A Cruel Sun, the sequel to his best-selling novel, Hold Back the Sun. For more about Warren Bell, visit his website at: wbellauthor.com or see him on twitter @wbellauthor.  

68 comments:

  1. Jun 26, 2016: Hate? idk, call me crazy, but I see religion as the common factor.

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    1. A lot of evil has been done in the name of various religions. Warren

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    2. Jun 29, 2016: Vairous? All religions. Some of the most pacifistic, romanticized religions, such as Buddhism, conduct 'evil'. And yes I am aware Buddhist's don't say its a religion, but who's kidding who? If it walks like a duck...

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  2. June 30, 2016: It's not rocket science...

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  3. Jul 1, 2016: That Venn diagram does not distinguish between rational and irrational fear. Who are the actors in terrorism?

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    1. In my novel, SNOWFLAKES IN JULY, they are from the New Left al la Weathermen and Symbionese Liberation Army.

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  4. Jul 2, 2016: Yep. Gotta wonder what makes that emotion so appealing to so many...

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  5. Jul 3, 2016: Just need a guy dressed in Zionist gear standing next to the Yank...

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  6. Jul 3, 2016: I couldn't agree more, Sir. We must find a way to educate out the ignorance & fear that leads people to hate. I don't know how.

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    1. I'm glad you agree. We can all do our part, 1 person at a time. Warren

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  7. Jul 3, 2016: The consciousness of politics. 4 Wise Monkeys. http://www.wakeup-world.com/2015/07/22/idiots-zealots-elitists-and-patriots-the-four-wise-monkeys-of-modern-society/

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  8. Shouldn't the centre circle say "natural judgement and sound instinct of self-preservation"? Protection against anarchy?

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    1. Only if you believe that hatred is basic human nature.

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  9. Jul 3, 2016: Good luck with abolishing hatred in this world, the religion of Islam teaches it and Obama and Hillary want to deal with it on Western soil. Blind tolerance is not the answer.

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  10. Jul 3, 2016: Islam yies it all together

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    1. Some Christians, Jews, and atheists also hate. People who blow up government employees and medical clinics are as hateful as ISIS.

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    1. What about them? I'm an unaffiliated moderate.

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  12. What an bunch of crap. If you accept such a thing as "homophobia" you must accept "straightophobia" by queers, too. A bunch of crap. Nobody is "homophobic." However, some resent the Queer Agenda being forced by law into their lives.

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    1. Dev, Homophobia is defined by Google as "dislike or prejudice against homosexual people." During my 80+ years on this earth, I have seen many instances of homophobia, most notably in the Vietnam era Navy. We spent a great deal of energy rooting out homosexuals from the service at that time. The legal actions that have changed the status of homosexuals over the past few years were actions of various courts, which struck down limits on homosexuals as violating the "equal protection of the laws" clauses of the U.S. Constitution. As a fellow combat veteran, I respect you for your service and thank you for it. However, I must stick by my original premise in the blog post. Warren

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  13. Warren I reblogged your piece. It's so appropriate today, sadly.

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  14. What you call Islamophobia is not hate, it's a natural defense mechanism based on logic.

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    1. Pretty stupid artist. His pic means that most homophobia, Islamophobia and terrorism are NOT hate.

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    2. Based on Venn diagram theory, you are technically correct. Warren

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    3. Please see my comments below to Lichen Craig. Thanks. Warren

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  15. I feel we can add jealousy 2 this equation. Many stop at nothing to achieve their goals at the expense of integrity/reputation

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  16. I wouldn't tie 'Islamophobia' to hate. It's more about common sense from what I can see.

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    1. The 1991 Runnymede Trust Report, which introduced the concept of Islamophobia, defined it as, "unfounded hostility towards Muslims, and therefore fear or dislike of all or most Muslims." I assume that you are arguing that such fears are not unfounded because of ISIS and other terrorist attacks. I would argue that it is no more fair to blame all Muslims for the jihadist terror attacks than it would be to blame all Christians for the bombing of abortion clinics by Christian fundamentalists. In my many years on this earth, I have known and been friends with many Muslims. They are as revolted by the actions of ISIS as I am. Warren

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    2. Again, I'd argue that what the Left labels "islamophobia" isn't hatred at all: it's common sense reaction to danger.

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    3. Then we agree to disagree, Warren

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    4. BTW, I'm not a leftist. I'm a middle-of-the-road Independent! Warren

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    5. I don't see that I said anywhere that you were a Leftist. Read again. I was simply disagreeing with your assessment of cartoon.

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    6. Just wanted to make sure that you knew I was not. Thanks! Warren

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  17. Islamophobia? An irrational fear of Islam? Sorry, not buying it. Consider what ISIS has done, it's impossible.

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    1. Please see my comments above to Lichen Craig. Thanks. Warren

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  18. Killing another is the ultimate expression of hate. Until all Islamists are dead or no longer have the means or will to kill us we must defend ourselves, as in the Crusades, as in the Barbary Wars, and so too now. "One hundred victories in one hundred battles is not the most skillful, subduing the enemy without battle is the most skillful." - Sun Tzu. We must think our way out of this. We must use all of our faculties, experience and intelligence. Tai Chi teaches to use the energy of the opponent against him. But in order to perpetrate this victory we must defeat the overt forces of the enemy in creative and ruthless ways, and then stay. It worked in Germany, Japan and Italy after WWII. We must return to Iraq and Afghanistan en force, subdue Iran through Finlandization or invasion and then institute a Middle East Marshall Plan. If neighboring Arab nations choose not to participate, so be it. We'll go back in and then stay, taking all the risk and reaping all the reward of peace and prosperity. Nothing else seems to work. As for racial and religious hatred, reminding people in this country especially of the enlightened Malcolm X and the peaceful protests of Dr. King that invoked political change needs to come from all leaders. We are one people,one family, the American family; only red, white and blue.

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    1. That's a good analysis, Montgomery! I agree with you. Warren

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  19. Yes 'hate' is powerful. So is 'intolerance'. Why should all people be alike, look alike, think alike? I differ.

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    1. As long as we tend to associate only people who are just like us, the problems will exist! Warren

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  20. True, I think. Now for doing something about the reasons for hate... #complex

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  21. NOT hate - FEAR. Phobia ="the fear of" People see these threats taking something away from them. Maybe freedom?

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    1. Fear is also a nexus. The definitions of all the phobias seem to begin with, "an unreasoned fear of..." Warren

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    2. SOME fears are justified. Globalists push words that connote mental instability, placing pejorative labels on the opposition.

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    3. Rational fears are, of course, justified. If, for instance, all terrorists are from a particular group, it is reasonable to look harder at them. Fear becomes a phobia when one attributes the misdeeds of a small percentage of a group to the whole group. Overgeneralization. Warren

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    4. Viki, I placed a comment on your post. Very cogent argument. Warren

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    5. Thank you for taking the time to read my blog.

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    6. I found it very interesting, Viki! You're obviously a deep thinker. Warren

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    1. It does exist. Contrary to Founding Fathers, many want to wipe all references to Christianity from our public life. Warren

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    2. I agree with that. Completely. It should be on diagram. goes unsaid, unreported way too much.

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  23. I just saw this. Excellent post. I think if we all tried to understand each other it would go a long way toward reducing the hate quotient; unfortunately, a lot of people are not interested in making that effort.

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    1. You're right about that. One of the biggest problems today is that people have self-segregated themselves into groups that have all have similar ideas about most things--people who look and think alike. We never hear contrary opinions on a regular basis. What happened to the "marketplace of ideas" that we used to talk about? Warren

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