Why is everything “hate”?

An annoying but puzzling feature of the left-wing rhetoric that passes for mainstream today is its tendency to reduce everything to the immediately personal, and to likes and dislikes. If you think immigration should be reduced or homosexuality is a moral disorder then you’re “anti-immigant” or “anti-gay,” and your attitudes are examples of “hate.” The rhetoric may be mindless, but it’s evidently sincere, and people who are otherwise quite intelligent see nothing wrong with it. Educated people use it more than others.

Those features—mindlessness, universality, intellectual respectability and evident sincerity—show that this way of speaking is not a ploy but a direct expression of the basic outlook on the world dominant today. That outlook, which in many ways is the modern outlook, is very simple, and it makes all things equally simple. Its model is the 19th century popular understanding of physics: the world is composed of particles in motion that stick together or bounce off each other in accordance with laws of attraction and repulsion. Scientists investigate these laws and their findings give us almost unlimited power. People who say there’s something wrong with this picture, and that things are more complicated, are obscurantist, bizarre, and not to be taken seriously.

Applied to human beings, this understanding tells us that only individuals that are real, that they deal with each other in accordance with likes and dislikes, and that if what they do leads to conflicts then scientific investigation and intervention are the answer. That view applies to everything. It was his readiness to apply it to something as complex and troubling as sexual activity among young teenagers, and to call other views “nuts” and “rigid, untested ideology,” that earned the Republican congressman we we discussed a few days ago status as a “moderate.”

Liberals consider their view of the world nuanced and flexible. It is not. It’s inhumanly simple, terrifyingly so, and the complications have to do with explaining why, in spite of appearances, they’re right and their opponents so wrong as to fall beneath serious consideration.
Posted by Jim Kalb at May 26, 2002 09:29 AM | Send


The personal is political. Such is the credo of many an academic and bureaucratic clique.

This means, firstly, that every liberal’s petty grievances should be avenged by the state. Secondly, the official orthodoxies of the ruling class must be on the mouths of every citizen.

Posted by: Jim Carver on May 27, 2002 1:16 AM
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