I just read your article on Storm Front, the hate group. Your article arrived in my Email, as I am a regular recipient of NYT commentaries.
Hate is a powerful, dangerous emotion. As a man who “came out” 46 years ago as gay, I am somewhat familiar with hate. However, “coming out” in 1968 did not mean making a worldwide pronouncement about one’s sexual orientation. It meant, simply, finding others like oneself.
I have worked in the private business sector for 45 years. 30 of those years have been at senior executive levels.
Of my five closest friends, two are Jews; friends for 30+ years.
I suspect the level of hate among those 64% under 30 about which you write will diminish over time. Well, I can hope, right?
When I was 20, a young Airman, I was enthralled with Barry Goldwater. Ask me why today, and I cannot tell you. I do recall that when I told my older sister were I old enough, I would vote for Goldwater. She retorted, “Thank God you are not enough to vote!” I have “evolved” since that time.
Hate is an interesting human dynamic, and why it thrives so much vitality within us humans confounds me. Each person has a “hate switch”. My “hate” is felt toward certain personalities (Ronald Reagan, Dick Cheney, Rush Limbaugh); not toward specific groups. One thing I have noted about haters over the years is when asked, “Why?”, they seldom seem capable of actually explaining their hatred. “I just do!” Or, they may blurt out a litany of reasons that lack all basic and common sense. Their stupidity and ignorance is palpable.
Hate also comes from ignorance and the fear that ignorance foments. The Enneagram outlines ten different personality types, “6” being people who live with consummate fear. In the Germany of the 1930s, over 60% of the German population reputedly lived in and with fear. That is one reason Hitler was so successful. Hitler was astute and intuitive enough to feed into that temperament, even if subconsciously on his part. Why make the Jews the enemy? Frankly, I have yet to resolve that sociopathic conflict in my own mind except to believe the Jews were often seen as — seen as — very wealthy, stand offish and cliquish. As a minority of small numbers, they also were easy prey. Had Ariel Sharon been around at the time, I suspect the outcome for Hitler would have been somewhat different where the Jews were concerned.
I suspect much of the hate about which you write is a direct result of idle minds with too little to do, and too lazy to seek out the facts. “Idle minds leads to the devil’s deeds” is what my late father might have said about all this. I believe hate also generates from hearsay and alpha types who many gravitate toward and fawn over. There are far more “needy” people in the world than there are independent free-thinkers who find neediness repulsive.
Yet, your commentary alerts me to another reality: “Hate” has become the operative word toward many topics. As a longtime supporter and advocate for safekeeping and survival of endangered species, I periodically receive articles about how much certain groups “hate” the wolves; or, any number of other non-human species. In the Gospel of Matthew (I recognize you are Jewish, and hope you do not consider it arrogant of me to raise up a piece of Christian Bible), Chapter 6:6, the passage remarks about how evil resides in the hearts of men. Hate is the most representative of that evil, and the most acted upon. In fact, isn’t ALL violence the result of hate?
I realize I have gone on a bit, but feel the need to share on this one. I hope your eyes did not glaze over too quickly!