A few days ago I alluded to the dangers that go with the politics of fear. I drew a distinction between rational fear caused by events out of ones control, and irrational fear caused by perceptions of social, moral or physical danger – real or not to oneself. All very well, but what about when that irrational fear turns into outright hatred?
To be clear, hatred is defined as thus:
- The feeling of one who hates; intense dislike or extreme aversion or hostility (Dictionary.com)
Hatred can start wars. Hatred can be a blinding force that prevents people from seeing the harm they are causing. It was hatred of the Jews in Germany that led Adolf Hitler to write Mein Kampf and then see how far he could go in making his blood print a reality. The methods used to carry out his agenda are well documented and need no further mention. The resultant blood bath changed the world forever and casts a long shadow over the global community.
Hatred can also, as we saw – and continue to see – lead to violent localized acts such as the mass murder in Orlando of people in the Pulse nightclub. It can lead to attacks on individuals based on skin colour, religious, sexual, political or other orientation.
It can come from many sources, such as news channels with a particular bent (Fox News springs to mind for its constant anti-Muslim slant)or individuals in a position of power with a large following (made much more immediate with social media in the 21st Century)such as senior leaders inside religious communities – radical Imams, evangelical Christians and ultra-nationalist Hindu’s and Buddhists all spring to mind.
To disarm the fear before it becomes the hatred I have defined above, communities and individuals alike need to refuse to cower. To refuse to accept the installment of fear as the new state of being is to beat hatred, because without fear hatred is nothing but extreme irrationality. This is why hate speech must be frowned upon one and by all without regard for discriminatory characteristic – nationality, gender, religion sexual orientation and so forth. This is why minority groups in New Zealand and around the world must be made to feel welcome and valued by their communities.
On an international stage, stopping the funding and arming of despotic regimes that sow the misery out of which contempt and distrust – the key ingredients in irrational fear – is essential. That means stopping the supply of military hardware to places like Saudi Arabia so that they can bomb Yemen. Stop the military aid to regimes that suppress their own people and make people want to flee and try to become refugees in the place. And if that means changing ones own Government, so be it.