The Politics of Hate: an Interesting Opinion

Athanasius

Senior member
Nov 16, 1999
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I read an interesting article by Robert Samuelson in the Washington Post. Let's see what the AT P&N crowd thinks about it:

What Does the Hatred of Bush Mean?

I would particularly note these final paragraphs in the article:
Once disagreement turns into self-proclaimed hate, it becomes blinding. You can see only one all-encompassing truth, which is your villain's deceit, stupidity, selfishness or evil. This was true of Clinton haters, and it's increasingly true of Bush haters. A small army of pundits and talking heads has now devoted itself to one story: the sins of Bush, Cheney and their supporters. They ruined the economy with massive tax cuts and budget deficits; the Iraq war was an excuse for corporate profiteering; their arrogance alienated foreign allies.

All ambiguity vanishes. For example: The economy is recovering, stimulated in part by huge budget deficits; and many traditional allies of the United States like having Bush as a political foil to excuse them from costly and unpopular commitments.

In the end, Bush hating says more about the haters than the hated -- and here, too, the parallels with Clinton are strong. This hatred embodies much fear and insecurity. The anti-Clinton fanatics hated him not simply because he occasionally lied, committed adultery or exhibited an air of intellectual superiority. What really infuriated them was that he kept succeeding -- he won reelection, his approval ratings stayed high -- and that diminished their standing. If Clinton was approved, they must be disapproved.

Ditto for Bush. If he succeeded less, he'd be hated less. His fiercest detractors don't loathe him merely because they think he's mediocre, hypocritical and simplistic. What they truly resent is that his popularity suggests that the country might be more like him than it is like them. They fear he's exiling them politically. On one level, their embrace of hatred aims to make others share their outrage; but on another level, it's a self-indulgent declaration of moral superiority -- something that makes them feel better about themselves. Either way, it represents another dreary chapter in the continuing coarsening of public discourse.

Have fun!
 

Zebo

Elite Member
Jul 29, 2001
39,398
19
81
Exactly don't take it so personally. First they are not all that different second even the opposition wants your viewpoint for more votes. Bend over regaurdless because government by it's very nature grows, passes more laws, imposes more restrictions on your personal freedoms some which you may find offensive even with your man in charge.
 

GrGr

Diamond Member
Sep 25, 2003
3,204
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Lol, don't you just love it when people tell you what you think? I saw a similar piece in Time Magazine some time ago. The Time journalist had no clue any more than this WP dude has. It is not the opinions in themselves that matter. It is the reason(s) people have reached their opinions.

I despise Bush because he is a fascist at heart. That has been proven by his policies. I firmly believe that Bush is a sociopath, that isn't a medical diagnosis, as I am not a psychologist, but a belief based on his actions as a politician and his past before he turned to politics.

However, I do not hate Bush. I pity him, in a way, but having a man like him as President of the most powerful nation on earth is just too dangerous, too sad and too humilitating for the USA and mankind.

My hope for Dr Dean is that at least he has the capability of empathy. That his policies are superior to Bush's is a matter of course. How can he not improve on fascism?

To quote Kurt Vonnegut:

I myself feel that our country, for whose Constitution I fought in a just war, might as well have been invaded by Martians and body snatchers. Sometimes I wish it had been. What has happened, though, is that it has been taken over by means of the sleaziest, low-comedy, Keystone Cops-style coup d?etat imaginable. And those now in charge of the federal government are upper-crust C-students who know no history or geography, plus not-so-closeted white supremacists, aka ?Christians,? and plus, most frighteningly, psychopathic personalities, or ?PPs.? To say somebody is a PP is to make a perfectly respectable medical diagnosis, like saying he or she has appendicitis or athlete?s foot. The classic medical text on PPs is The Mask of Sanity by Dr. Hervey Cleckley. Read it! PPs are presentable, they know full well the suffering their actions may cause others, but they do not care. They cannot care because they are nuts. They have a screw loose!

And what syndrome better describes so many executives at Enron and WorldCom and on and on, who have enriched themselves while ruining their employees and investors and country, and who still feel as pure as the driven snow, no matter what anybody may say to or about them? And so many of these heartless PPs now hold big jobs in our federal government, as though they were leaders instead of sick. What has allowed so many PPs to rise so high in corporations, and now in government, is that they are so decisive. Unlike normal people, they are never filled with doubts, for the simple reason that they cannot care what happens next. Simply can?t. Do this! Do that! Mobilize the reserves! Privatize the public schools! Attack Iraq! Cut health care! Tap everybody?s telephone! Cut taxes on the rich! Build a trillion-dollar missile shield! F*ck habeas corpus and the Sierra Club and In These Times, and kiss my ass!


And for the record I'm no Clinton fan either. I think Clinton is flawed in his own way, even if he isn't a sociopath as Bush. And let's not even talk about Reagan. Does this little rant mean that I am guilty of playing the "moral superiority" card? If you think so you can "kiss my ass"!

 

Witling

Golden Member
Jul 30, 2003
1,448
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Quote from the original article,

"The anti-Clinton fanatics hated him not simply because he . . . exhibited an air of intellectual superiority."

This administration doesn't have that problem.:D
 

CADsortaGUY

Lifer
Oct 19, 2001
25,162
1
76
www.ShawCAD.com
Originally posted by: Whitling
Quote from the original article,

"The anti-Clinton fanatics hated him not simply because he . . . exhibited an air of intellectual superiority."

This administration doesn't have that problem.:D
Remember...they called Reagan dumb too;)

CkG
 

Moonbeam

Elite Member
Nov 24, 1999
69,155
4,871
126
Reagan wasn't dumb, he was brain dead. He had a condition, sadly.

You have to understand, Athanasius, that if it's war they want it's war they'll get. Bush is a fine outstanding average person, representative of millions of people. But he started a preemptive and illegal war based on lies. He stands for the principle that the ends justify the means. It becomes quite appropriate, therefore, to remove him by any means possible. If it's necessary to gin up a massive hate campaign to bring him down, so what? Right? It's merely playing by his rules. The means justify the ends and you reap what you sow. No?
 

busmaster11

Platinum Member
Mar 4, 2000
2,875
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Originally posted by: AthanasiusA small army of pundits and talking heads has now devoted itself to one story: the sins of Bush, Cheney and their supporters. They ruined the economy with massive tax cuts and budget deficits; the Iraq war was an excuse for corporate profiteering; their arrogance alienated foreign allies. [/b]
I don't recall Clinton having such an impressive resume.
All ambiguity vanishes. For example: The economy is recovering, stimulated in part by huge budget deficits; and many traditional allies of the United States like having Bush as a political foil to excuse them from costly and unpopular commitments.
Thats it? The huge budget deficit is stimulating recovery? Thats the grand reason we shouldn't hate bush? Thats his greatest accomplishment? WOW...

If he succeeded less, he'd be hated less. His fiercest detractors don't loathe him merely because they think he's mediocre, hypocritical and simplistic.
Wrong. If he succeeds less, he would be hated more, because it affirms that his decisions have hurt more people. And the mediocrity and hypocrasy really, really, really do account for most of that hatred. :)

What they truly resent is that his popularity suggests that the country might be more like him than it is like them. They fear he's exiling them politically. On one level, their embrace of hatred aims to make others share their outrage; but on another level, it's a self-indulgent declaration of moral superiority -- something that makes them feel better about themselves.
His popularity is largely due to the solidarity and pride many americans feel is obligatory after an event like 9/11. If this country wants to be more like him, if they think that unilateral attacks on sovereign countries is justified, that lying to the nation aout WMD is justified, that whoring out the environment in every way possible for campaign dollars is justified, that repetitive tax cuts for those making over 300k at the expense of the budget deficit is justified, that obliterating social security is justified, that pride leading to arrogance leading to isolationism is justified, then this country is screwed up.

Insecurity? LOL. I love this country, but if this is an accurate description of the American people, you'll have more pressing things to worry about than I. Am I morally superior to bush? You better believe it.

And CAD can quote that.
 

Moonbeam

Elite Member
Nov 24, 1999
69,155
4,871
126
There is a saying and a comment on that saying I think about all the time as I post here:

The answer to a fool is silence, but experience has shown, in the long run, that any other answer will have the same effect.

That raises, for me at least, the question of my moral responsibility. In what manner shall I post. Your thread here, Athanasius, of course picks my conscience, the little manner of exemplifying my real belief. Where and in what manner shall be the examples I set and of what use will they be? In the long run won't anything have the same effect?

So the question is, how do you teach if you really know something? He who loves is the doormat on which we wipe our feet. The need we feel is bottomless and cannot be filled. What separates the seer from the blind is some kind of miracle, a grace that can't be called. Run around on the highway if you want to be hit by a train. For me my joy is trying to satisfying the wolf and the sheep within me that struggle for center stage. I can think of nothing better to do than mirror who we are. But I would sure invite your example. You're something of a miracle to me.


 

LunarRay

Diamond Member
Mar 2, 2003
9,993
1
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Moonbeam,
The wolf and the sheep.. hehehehehe... the hungry man and the apple stand... when does honor get overwhelmed by hunger.. or greed..? When the shop keeper ain't looking or when the shop keeper riles one enough by ignoring the plight of the hungry ole sod.. We deserve it now... he made us mad..:D
What we value most in ourselves we expect from others. What the term Stategic Importance is to me is quite different than what it is to some others. Especially the others who invoke stategic importance when justifying the actions they endevor to accomplish that I find repugnant. To me, Honor and the Rule of Law that seeks to protect all people from its violation are easily set aside by those who seek to impose their notion upon others. Even the saving of life, as 'Iraqi this time' is lauded to be, must meet the rule of law. To do less is to possess no Honor. To be silent in its face is to acquire apathy when our agent - government- so freely sees to our assumed greater needs at the expense of our fragile honor.
So... To scream at the top of one's lungs or defend as one will is good. I don't seek to envelope anyone with my beliefs nor shall I allow anyone to envelope me and thus I opine.

edit to add an 'e'
 

chess9

Elite member
Apr 15, 2000
7,748
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" But people who claim to hate really mean it, and that's serious. It signifies that you've gone beyond discussion, compromise or even (to some extent) coexistence. The differences are too basic to be bridged. Genuine political hatred is usually reserved for true tyrants, whose unspeakable acts of brutality justify nothing less. "

Oh?

Well...............

And, Bush hasn't succeeded but simply survived. As President he has enormous advantages and ways to succeed but has not made proper or effective use of them. Has Samuelson checked in with all our allies on this "success" notion? I think not. Most Americans aren't paying close attention and Samuelson knows it. I smell disengenuity.

Furthermore, I doubt many people truly hate G.W. That is the worst hyperbole for someone who is a respected journalist. Many people think Bush is a moron. Does that mean they hate him? Just because you use a humorously pejorative term for a politician doesn't mean you hate him. Hate is an overworked word for those whose wordsmithmanship (ugh) is even more lacking than mine. :) But, even assuming that people hate Bush, does that really mean they have sunk to the depths of depravity as Samuelson suggests? Since we've all had these feelings we know they are perfectly normal. What isn't perfectly normal is the extent to which some people will go to realize their hatred. Impeachment comes to mind. I'm sure it didn't enter Samuelson's. And, where was Samuelson when Clinton was getting whacked? Sheezh...quiet as a church mouse?

On the other hand, he's right about the quality of discourse. That started at least 20 years ago and has been going steadily downhill since. I'm waiting for the repeat of the Hamilton-Burr matchup at this rate. :)

So what made this piece publishable? It is written by Robert Samuelson. That is all it has going for it IMHO. It is trite, stupid and, even worse, boring. It puts platitudes on the table for your delectation. I prefer real analysis and understanding, not pop psychology.

No heavy lifting required.

But thanks for posting it. :)

-Robert
 

Athanasius

Senior member
Nov 16, 1999
975
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Hi chess9:

You are right; all the article represents is Samuelson's opinion. I, for one, have not been as impressed by Samuelson as I have been by someone like David Broder. Still, though I agree with you that "hate" is dangerous hyperbole in journalism, it raises a good point about the level of strong emotions leveled at the last two presidents. I agree more with Moonbeam here. The heightened level of strong negative emotion says more about us than it says about either president.

Let's stick to the so-called "moral" issues. The false WMD claim and the Pre-emptive war doctrine spark "moral outrage" from one segment of the population, but Clinton's veto of the partial-birth abortion ban (I believe he did it two times?) is the kind of action that sparked "moral outrage" in another segment of the population. Now I've dared to mention abortion and the thread may be hijacked in that direction now, but that is not my intent.

It seems that the level of strong emotions is present in those who actually claim some type of moral law or high ground that they are ascribing to. Yet I don't think any of us has a very clear and comprehensive understanding of what a Truly Moral Man would be. And if we did meet him, no doubt both the liberals (Saducees) and the conservatives (Pharisees) would crucify him. I think both the common patriots with a flag in their pickup trucks (Zealots) and wealthy elites maintaining the current Pax Romana (Herodians) would scream for his head.

Such a truly Moral Man would seem such a contradictory bundle of conservative and liberal ideas. He would have such a weird mix of strong authoritarian government and great tolerance for the individual. Such paradoxes in one man would surely get him labeled as insane.

He would be so self-assured in his proclamations that he would be viewed as a megalomaniac (or worse). He would not label some people as evil, he would label all people that way, yet shower on them the most uncommon and consistent grace. He would do good to the abusive and ungrateful, yet warn that the death penalty was better for a man then what he would do to that man if that man abused a child.

No doubt his own closest friends would betray, deny, and/or abandon him.

I guess the real test of such a man would be whether or not he could walk away from power and money.

As long as I am guessing, I guess I ought to be fair. I believe partial birth abortion is nothing short of infanticide, that Bush was wrong for going into Iraq under the pretenses for which he justified it (and I wanted to give him the benfit of the doubt), and that he was right for going into Afghanistan for the pretenses under which he justified it. So I also make moral judgments about things.

But I also think that international politics is far more complicated than we want to admit and that a lot of the angst in the world now is a hangover from imperialism, the Cold War, and the manipulation of many countries done by both the United States and the Soviet Union as they raced to prevent the evil enemy (each other) from gaining preeminence. Since the U.S. won, we inherit the mess that is left behind and the resentment that is always directed against the existing empire.

But, as Moonbeam said, we reap what we sowed. I think the most deadly thing about evil is the response it forces us to make. How does one respond to evil without becoming more evil? If I play by the same rules as my evil opponent, who really is my evil opponent?

As long as I mentioned the beloved Moonbeam, this is pretty heady praise:
But I would sure invite your example. You're something of a miracle to me.
How can the blind lead the blind; won't they both fall into a pit?
 

chess9

Elite member
Apr 15, 2000
7,748
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Ath:

Without commenting on the rest, I agree 100% with your comments in paragraphs number 8, 9, and 10.

Also, I was expecting a humorous response to my "No heavy lifting" wisecrack. :)

-Robert
 

Bitdog

Member
Dec 3, 2003
143
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0
Quote:
Once disagreement turns into self-proclaimed hate, it becomes blinding.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

That's a two way street.
Once agreement turns into self-proclaimed approval, it becomes blinding.

If a Bush lover heard of Bush taking our rights or some other unAmerican activity,
would they justify it somehow.
Answer: Of course they would.

Even though Rush Limbaugh stated: "drug users should be hunted down and sent up the river."
Rush fans are ready to forgive him for his contuing illegal drug use & criminal activity.
(Remember he has been to dry out centers a few times in the past.)
They are also hungry to forgive him for being a drug addict WHEN he stated that
"drug users should be hunted down and sent up the river."
A hipocrat as head of a hate group, using national media to recruit, is even forgivable.

The issues are important.
This isn't a ball game where the Tigers eat up the Beavers and the Tiger fans cheer.
These issues go way beyond that kind of childish behavior.

So you can test your self for maturity.
Since there is good, bad, & ugly in everything & everybody.
Try saying one good thing about Bush, then one bad thing about Bush.
If you choke every other time, you need some self improvement.
If your excuse count runs high, more work is needed correcting that problem.

Any way you look at it, saying one good and one bad,
stops a one sided feeding frenzy from getting out of hand,
and brings one closer to being reasonable.

I've used it in the past. When a group starts be_little_ing some one,
if I say one good thing about him, the feeding frenzy stops.
If I fail to tell them first about the good,bad,ugly in everybody & the one good then one bad thing,
they will often turn on me & use me as an outlet for their hate.

 

Moonbeam

Elite Member
Nov 24, 1999
69,155
4,871
126
Originally posted by: Athanasius
Hi chess9:

You are right; all the article represents is Samuelson's opinion. I, for one, have not been as impressed by Samuelson as I have been by someone like David Broder. Still, though I agree with you that "hate" is dangerous hyperbole in journalism, it raises a good point about the level of strong emotions leveled at the last two presidents. I agree more with Moonbeam here. The heightened level of strong negative emotion says more about us than it says about either president.

Let's stick to the so-called "moral" issues. The false WMD claim and the Pre-emptive war doctrine spark "moral outrage" from one segment of the population, but Clinton's veto of the partial-birth abortion ban (I believe he did it two times?) is the kind of action that sparked "moral outrage" in another segment of the population. Now I've dared to mention abortion and the thread may be hijacked in that direction now, but that is not my intent.

It seems that the level of strong emotions is present in those who actually claim some type of moral law or high ground that they are ascribing to. Yet I don't think any of us has a very clear and comprehensive understanding of what a Truly Moral Man would be. And if we did meet him, no doubt both the liberals (Saducees) and the conservatives (Pharisees) would crucify him. I think both the common patriots with a flag in their pickup trucks (Zealots) and wealthy elites maintaining the current Pax Romana (Herodians) would scream for his head.

Such a truly Moral Man would seem such a contradictory bundle of conservative and liberal ideas. He would have such a weird mix of strong authoritarian government and great tolerance for the individual. Such paradoxes in one man would surely get him labeled as insane.

He would be so self-assured in his proclamations that he would be viewed as a megalomaniac (or worse). He would not label some people as evil, he would label all people that way, yet shower on them the most uncommon and consistent grace. He would do good to the abusive and ungrateful, yet warn that the death penalty was better for a man then what he would do to that man if that man abused a child.

No doubt his own closest friends would betray, deny, and/or abandon him.

I guess the real test of such a man would be whether or not he could walk away from power and money.

As long as I am guessing, I guess I ought to be fair. I believe partial birth abortion is nothing short of infanticide, that Bush was wrong for going into Iraq under the pretenses for which he justified it (and I wanted to give him the benfit of the doubt), and that he was right for going into Afghanistan for the pretenses under which he justified it. So I also make moral judgments about things.

But I also think that international politics is far more complicated than we want to admit and that a lot of the angst in the world now is a hangover from imperialism, the Cold War, and the manipulation of many countries done by both the United States and the Soviet Union as they raced to prevent the evil enemy (each other) from gaining preeminence. Since the U.S. won, we inherit the mess that is left behind and the resentment that is always directed against the existing empire.

But, as Moonbeam said, we reap what we sowed. I think the most deadly thing about evil is the response it forces us to make. How does one respond to evil without becoming more evil? If I play by the same rules as my evil opponent, who really is my evil opponent?

As long as I mentioned the beloved Moonbeam, this is pretty heady praise:
But I would sure invite your example. You're something of a miracle to me.
How can the blind lead the blind; won't they both fall into a pit?
Not to worry, I'm only going in circles anyway. I heqrd the deaf man and the blind man had one heck of a time, but a man with no arms carrying a man with no legs can get somewhere.
 

NesuD

Diamond Member
Oct 9, 1999
4,999
106
106
Originally posted by: Whitling
Quote from the original article,

"The anti-Clinton fanatics hated him not simply because he . . . exhibited an air of intellectual superiority."

This administration doesn't have that problem.:D
You just proved his point.
 

GrGr

Diamond Member
Sep 25, 2003
3,204
0
76
The modern era of politics of hate began with the reactionary movement led by Reagan and his attack on, and rollback of, the percieved excesses of the "Great Society". This reactionary movement has gifted us with demagogues like Newt Gingrich, Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter. Thank You.

 

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