a conversation I had with my colleague Will Saletan on Friday.
Will asked me what I thought motivated the segment of Republican voters who are openly illiberal. Here’s my response:
I think they are voting on hating other Americans. . . . They have an eschatological view of the country they know exactly who they hate. And who they hate are not the North Koreans, not the Chinese. It’s not the Russians. Those are the far out-groups. What they hate are the near out-groups. They don’t disagree with them. They hate them. And that’s what they’re voting on.
I’m not describing every Republican. Maybe not even a majority of them. But it’s clearly a share that’s bigger than 2 percent. It’s a share that’s big enough that it has nominated gubernatorial candidates in Arizona and Pennsylvania and a Senate candidate in Georgia. It’s a share big enough to have made Alex Jones and Sidney Powell rich and made Donald Trump president of these United States.
Take Ken White’s admonition and put it on a pillow: “America can survive the demagogues themselves, it’s their audience that will kill us.”
That’s because democracy has no solution for how to fix itself when a large enough share of the populace goes sour.
You've got to be taught To hate and fear, You've got to be taught From year to year, It's got to be drummed In your dear little ear You've got to be carefully taught.
You've got to be taught to be afraid Of people whose eyes are oddly made, And people whose skin is a diff'rent shade, You've got to be carefully taught.
You've got to be taught before it's too late, Before you are six or seven or eight, To hate all the people your relatives hate, You've got to be carefully taught!
Except the learning doesn't stop at six or seven or eight. I attribute much of the present rise in hate to the televangelists of hate in the Rush Limbaugh/Alex Jones mold. There have long been apostles of hate like the KKK, but electronic communication in all its forms has really facilitated the teaching of hate. Dillon Roof at the Charleston, SC church and Robert Bowers at the Pittsburgh synagogue are prime examples of this trend.
How you stop this without trampling on the 1st Amendment is a hard question.
-------------------------------- Money seems to buy the most happiness when you give it away.
Why does everything have to be so complicated, all in the name of convenience. -ShiroKuro
A lifetime of experience will change a person. If it doesn't, then you're already dead inside. -MarkJ
Posts: 6972 | Location: Western PA | Registered: 20 April 2005
Electing a Black man president unleashed this. Trump made it okay to say out loud what people had been censored for saying. They love him because he embraces their secret feelings and makes racism ok.
The underlying cause is that America is and always has been a racist country. It's an intractible problem. I don't know how you censor again what is now uncensored. Certainly history tells us that racism is not going anywhere.
I've been discussing this with a group of friends. I think we have to make love and kindness more contagious than hate. Starting with ourselves.
-------------------------------- fear is the thief of dreams