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Hate as political virtue


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Hate as political virtue

Sunday August 31, 2008

posted by Rod Dreher

Jody Bottum at First Things has been looking in on Daily Kos. He found some shocking remarks, to wit:

I am prepared to do whatever is necessary to destroy the Republican Party as it exists today as well as everything it stands for.

If health insurance for all, an end to the Iraq War, an end to torture and illegal wiretapping, and a sane energy policy can be obtained at the price of destroying one teenage girl, her family, and the surrendering our self-respect I see that as a cheap trade.

And another:

This is about Power . . . How it is obtained--and how it is wielded in ways that affects all of us.

Are you telling me that you would not use character-destroying lies to ensure a war against Iran does not occur?

Are you telling me you would not spread lies about a man's integrity, even if it defeated a candidate who take away the right to choose?

Are you telling me you would not destroy the love a family holds for one another, even if it meant letting someone who would destroy the constitution become president?

And that's not even all of it. To steal one of the most frightening things ever said by a modern American politician (in this case, Barry Goldwater), extremism in defense of the Democratic Party is no vice. As

Jody posits:

What happens when the monsters are merely in your mind? When they are ordinary politicians whose views you so strongly reject that you have to elevate them into monsters to explain to yourself why they could hold such mistaken views?

This is the blade by which politics turns to bloodshed.

As the rightist commentator Watcher put it last night on this site:

I spent a good decade being the "nice guy" online debating libs. Then I realized that they just hated us. Not all, just the wild-eyed ranting and raving types like Gore, Moore, Pelosi, Carville, and so on.

And the rest just think we're morally defective. And they've intimidated you into thinking you have to be "nice" and gain brownie points. No, it doesn't work. It's like republicans compromising with Democrats. They lose, and get nothing whatsoever in return. No amount of being nice to the Daniel types, for instance, will EVER make him anything but contemptuous of you.

There's nothing to be gained with "bipartisanship", with people who have no integrity or personal honor. They have only one interest... destroying you politically, personally, financially, and socially.

On the other side, leftish commentator Scott R. said on one of the Sarah Palin threads:

The more I read these blogs, the more I realize that Republicans hate Democrats and Democrats hate Republicans, conservatives hate liberals and liberals hate conservatives, Xians hate non-Xians and non-Xians hate Xians. Our country truly is breaking into a Red State and a Blue State - and maybe we aren't worth saving. So bring it on. The dyings been a long time coming - let's get it over with already.

Well. Neither of these people see the world as it is, or as it should be. They don't speak for me. I'm the last person to deny the depth and irreconcilability of many of our conflicts, but neither do I want to give any credence to those on the left or the right who are determined to make enemies of people who are merely their opponents -- and their fellow Americans. This is the P.Z. Myers approach to politics: to convince yourself that those who disagree with you are such a unique and monstrous evil that Hate is not only a justified response, it's a virtuous one.

This poison will destroy the soul of the one who chooses to drink it, despite its initial euphoria. It can also destroy a nation. It's often hard to do, especially during election season (I know I fall down on this front often), but let's commit ourselves to refusing this cup when it is offered to us.


This guy is seeing things the way I'm seeing them. Our country has always had robust disagreement over important issues. What's new is the level of hatred a growing number of people on each side have for the other. Nothing matters anymore except winning. It's scary to think of the directions this could go.

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