In a liberal society people have the right to hate one another but if this right is exercised too much then liberal society becomes impossible. I’m not speaking about just ethnic, religious, or sectarian hatred but interpersonal hatred, as well. I’m a Swiftie (albeit not a hardcore one), as said in earlier blogs, and the arc of the superstar’s canon is self-pity about non-abusive boyfriends. Including her early hit “Picture to Burn” in which she describes how she hates an ex so much that she is burning his picture in effigy, spreading malicious gossip about him, and will have him hurt if he dares near her residence. The list of wrongs afflicted upon the narrator amount to, perhaps, a slightly inconsiderate partner but one the average user of a women’s shelter would give anything for.
My response would be “Holy shit, girl! He’s some mother’s baby. I’m a Christian with hippie leanings and I know you’re not but it seems, um, insanely cruel. He’s got a soul and feelings and burning innocent civilians in effigy is something brainwashed nationalists do before they commit genocide.” While a genocide is unlikely to be an immediate result, the psychological inability for civil intercourse between people with differences will eventually lead to things like nationalism. In the arc of the superstar’s canon is the hyperbolic inflation of non-abusive behaviors as abusive which is how the small crimes of an extremist group get attributed to their entire ethnic group and are used to justify attrocities.
A routine example of that is when Hamas stages an attack with relatively few casulties, the IDF responds with a vastly disproportionate measure killing way more people. Or how the Royhinga genocide began in Burma with Royhinga fringe miltiants launching a few terrorist attacks and the Burmese government using that to justify a genocide. If microaggressions lead to major retaliation justified by a solipsistic self-pity using hyperbolic adjectives to demonize one’s opposition then the diplomatic avenues and capacities for conflict resolution no longer work and the gears of liberalism can’t turn anymore and the machine ceases to function.
Pop culture is filled with revenge anthems like that but Carrie Underwood’s famous “Before He Cheats” not only offends the God whom she supposedly devotes her life to but also makes liberalism impossible. If people cannot forgive minor offenses and society becomes an interpersonal Hobbsian war of all against all then democracy dies. That level of punitive sentiment ultimately threatens civil liberties and the humane treatment of the accused. The #metoo movement, famously, was not focussed on how to make institutional cultures more respectful of women through psychology and sociology but was dominated by vigilante mobs on social media calling for the heads of anyone accused of anything. It is easy to imagine that such sentiments will bleed into the criminal justice system. Recently, Miranda Rights were weakened by the Supreme Court.
Of course, that approach to politics doesn’t really get the results the vigilantes want because as soft as Satygraha (Gandhi’s term for love-oriented, non-violent, resistance) and being forbearing with one’s opponents is, it doesn’t alienate the opposition which must have their hearts won over if any victory is to be lasting. The #metoo movement’s literally merciless and vigilante tactics enlarged the manosphere, the right-wing populist “men’s rights” movement. It’s unsurprising because if someone accused of sexual harassment can never live it down and never be accepted by feminists then they’ll never become feminists. The gay rights movement made no attempt at empathizing with the people against their rights as socially conservative humans but, at every oppurtinity, demonized them as homophobes opposed to human rights.
A strategy which led to those homophobes correctly seeing the LGBT community as hating them which did everything but engender goodwill from them and only hardened their opposition. The fact the supreme court will likely reverse the gay rights victories of the 2010s is partly due to most moderate conservatives having never been converted. Because unlike the Civil Rights movement which forgave and welcomed racists, the gay rights movement never regarded their opposition as anything less than monsters.
The opening picture for this article is Johnny Depp and Amber Heard. The best thing they could possibly do for the world is to end their insane feud and forgive each other publicly. Their public brawl has spawned factions that rage in flame war. The allegations made by both sides are worse than what has been listed in this article thus far but the example they set for their fans and everyone else is toxic. They need to adult-up, be magnanmous, stay on speaking terms, and stop trying to claw each other’s throats out and implore their fans to follow their example.
Our culture has almost no one saying “Pale Blue Dot” or “All You Need is Love”. Our culture has always had expressions of hatred but there was, some, counterbalance with messages of love. That ended in the last few decades and the cultural forces abandoned the belief that humans should regard one another as siblings and from exes to former bullies and their victims to every other sour relationship, hatred went viral and the possiblity of reconciliation so vital to the survival of liberalism was thrown away and every quark of love withered away from the mainstream.