Thursday, July 7, 2016

Hate: the Fuel of Tyranny

I did a lot of reading over the last few weeks.  I noticed that the tyrants of the last 100 or so years have needed something to catapult their rise to power: hate.  The communists needed people to hate the wealthy, the middle class, land owners, ethnic minorities, and religion.  They fed the hatred of their target audience until critical mass was reached.  The death toll they mounted climbed into the tens of millions.  The National Socialists needed to incite hate towards Jews, communists, those that defeated Germany in WWI, Slavs, and a whole host of other non-Aryan types.   Their death toll also ran into the tens of millions between genocide and war.  There are other examples, as well,  where those who wanted absolute power incited, nurtured, and even manufactured hate as a way to gain power.

This comes straight from the devil himself.  Satan is the master of division.  He incites it wherever he goes.  To build his kingdom is a process of isolation, division, and conquering.   The devil, while supremely blinded by pride, is no fool.  As one, we cannot be conquered as that union is forged by God.  Divided against each other, though, we can be picked off like the weakest member of a herd until the herd is eventually destroyed.  What separates us from the herd is hate; a turning against the good of the other.  Evil needs us to see each other as the enemy.  As long as we are at each others throats, we are easily conquered.  Every power hungry tyrant know this.  The devil does.  So do his minions.

One of the reasons I fear the coming election is that it is following a pattern we have seen develop and severely deepen. The politics of destruction.  A scorched earth politic that requires pitting one groups of special interest groups against another.  Coalitions of groups are cobbled together to achieve power. They demand we see each other as groups and characterizations rather than human beings. That way we can strip the humanity away and then dispose of the isolated as we wish.  We have been cultivated to hate people based on race, gender, faith, culture, socioeconomic class, orientation, ethnic background, and even area of the country.  We are supposed to see each other as the enemy of my own interest; that you cannot exist with me because you are a threat.  Who shall we dehumanize today?  The unborn, blacks, whites, Muslims, Christians, Jews, the wealthy, the poor, Hispanics, the 1%, Democrats, Republicans, children, men, women?  Who gets to be on the outside looking in?  Who needs to be eliminated at worst and be silenced at best?  Whose liberties and freedoms are we go to strip away?  Who do we sue or legislate out of existence? Who do we make it legal to persecute?  Both political parties are going down very dark roads. 

It is ingrained into our society.  The unborn get dehumanized so we can feel secure with abortion on demand.  Women and children get dehumanized so we can feel okay with human trafficking.  Women and men  of all ages  get dehumanized so we can justify pornography, promiscuity, rape, molestation and a whole host of other sexual misconduct; so we can justify actual slave wages, slavery, and withholding the pay of workers.  We entertain ourselves with death and destruction: movies, tv,  and video games glorify i high death counts and sexualizing entire groups.  Our music, TV, movies, video games (doesn't matter what type, by the way) glory in the hypersexualization of human beings. One by one, sexual taboos fall like dominoes until we manage to justify any and all sexual activity no matter how stomach churning it might seem.  Is it any wonder is such a society drug and alcohol use are what they are?  Anything that makes the inherent pain that division and hate make possible go away for a moment.  All of this requires that I hold you is lesser esteem...that I do not care what happens to you as long as I am satisfied.  It reduces the others happiness as to how well they have pleased me.

The children of this hate are envy,  wrath, and entitlement.  If we see each other as the enemy by virtue of the fact you are not like me then it is permissible to resent anything you have that I don't. to inflict revenge upon you even though you have not done anything personal to me, and it permissible for me to demand that, to make things even, you give me what I want for free.  You owe me because you have a different skin color, belong to a different socioeconomic class, a different religious faith, or a different culture.  If you don't give me for free what I want then it is my right to forcibly take it or destroy what you have!  Ugly isn't it?  The ultimate goal of this hate?  Self-absolution of any and all sins and responsibility for my life choices!  So divided, all we need is a charismatic figure who promises to get what is yours utilizing the apparatus of the government.  Hello Vladimir Lenin!  Hello Adolf Hitler! Hello Mao Tse-tung!  Who shall be the next tyrant in the queue?

What is the antidote to all this hate?  Love.  When I use this word, love, I do not mean what this world means.  The world means an emotion that is stirred becasue you have done something for me.  In the Roman Catholic faith, love is a virtue.  It is a theological virtue furthermore.  What this means is that it is a discipline that needs God's help.  What the virtue of love does is the exact opposite of what the emotion of love does: it helps me see your needs (not wants) and respond in a way so as to look to your good.  This love does not approve of sin and the division it brings.  No, it does look to the good of the person who has committed sin; not seeing the other as an enemy to be isolated, but as human being with which to be united.  Jesus commanded  us to love one another as He loves us.  He then turns around and prays to the Father: May they be one!  This union is not possible without the theological virtue of love!

For this to work, though, there has to be an essential transformation in each person.  Life cannot be about me anymore.  I cannot see the other as not me and hence ripe for whatever I want to do to the person.  I cannot strip the humanity away from anyone regardless of how they are different than me.  I do not have to approve of their choices, but I must recognize that isolation and destruction are not options either.  Love is the bane of tyrants!  If they cannot divide and conquer, they have to do the harder task of telling us positively what they bring to the table.  Unfortunately in so much politics, there is nothing positive being brought.  We must quit rewarding such behavior.  We cannot remain selfish toads and expect any consequence other what we are getting.  We have seen for millennia the consequence of hate.  We know that it doesn't merely not work, but that it exacts a terrible price on whichever populace it enslaves.  Jesus doesn't command us to love because it is nice and sweet.  no, He commands it because it is the only thing that will keep us from self-destruction: as individuals, societies, nations, and as a planet.

Each of us has a choice: to which side shall I contribute?  To that which is able to call upon our better selves or to those who sow fear, hate, and isolation?   Whom we contribute to will either mold a nation fit for destruction or a nation that will unite and be strong.  In a federal republic, such as we live in the USA, we create a government in out own image?  Who is it we wish to be?

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