Thinking about hatred

Here’s a provocative if somewhat odd piece on hatred from Taki’s Top Drawer. A quote:

According to the old, religious “psychology” of hatred, people controlled by this sin are inherently quarrelsome, because they see slights everywhere. Hate-dominated individuals perceive as snubs actions in which others see nothing, for example a glance, a tone of voice or a lack of attention. Worse still, whenever hateful people believe they have been “insulted,” they regard it as an insufferable affront to their dignity that must be avenged. This thought takes over the mind, creating fantasies that magnify the “insult.” These fantasies are strengthened by the pleasure hateful people feel at revenge—the infamous “sweet revenge.” With time, the obsessive imaginations reinforce hatred and cause it to grow so strong that physical action to “pay back in kind” almost inevitably follows.

So it appears that demands for sensitivity training and speech codes would often be manifestations of hatred. No real surprise there, but it’s nice to have someone lay out the needed analysis, with references to further authorities (early modern religious writings, late medieval Catholic confessors’ manuals). The same writer, Kari Konkola, has another piece at Taki’s on pride, that includes comments on the Bush administration and “Christian values.” The basic point in both pieces is that present-day American Christianity has lost a serious and intelligent understanding of sin.

1 thought on “Thinking about hatred”

  1. clever and confused
    Skimmed the article at Taki’s site.

    It seems to me that the author confuses hatred with Anger. It is the latter that the church has traditionally condemned. Hatred can be objective and true—God has hatred of sin and evil. We should hate sin and evil as well, just like he does. Anger is most often subjective (the “emotion” he is speaking about); it often consumes an individual. God’s Anger is objective and true, unlike ours, because it is perfect. We have to “manage” anger in the spiritual life: e.g., “Do not let the sun go down on your anger” and “Be angry, but do not sin.” [Many spiritual authorities do not see anger per se as a sin, but because of its relationship to our ego and pride, it presents an almost irresistible temptation.]

    So, despite the fact that his analysis completely misses the point about Hate Crimes, he elides an important difference here.

    [Additionally, “hateful people” does not seem to me to be a precise theological or spiritual concept. Good people could be “hateful” with respect to certain evils.]

    Now, the author also assumes that “Hate Crimes” are actually about hate. They aren’t, of course. “Hate crimes” conceptualizations are a way to enforce public acceptance of things or to control discourse. Why this author does not think that this is a piece of hypocrisy vitally important to the religious community is a mystery to me. He should consult some convicted Canadian pastors on the issue.

    There is some merit in his reflection, taken as a freestanding reflection on “hatred”, I guess; nevertheless, this kind of clever reversal of a common and legitimate understanding of “Hate Crimes” hypocrisy and a dialectical exercise upon it (plus the category confusion, as above) seems to me theologically forced. One runs across this kind of theological reflection among those for whom the traditional categories just will not do. I cannot help but think it is an evidence of rationalism in theology, or ,if not that exactly, a kind of premeditated inversion of rationalism in theology, which just may not be that illuminating, after all. Sort of like “radical orthodoxy.”


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