Monday, 20 March 2017

Two-minute Hate

After a week in which a long fought-for dream was reduced to rubble in just eighty minutes you would imagine England rugby followers would hate the Irish team for their outstanding performance. But that’s not how rugby fans roll. The Irish were roundly applauded and the losing side – for so long seemingly unbeatable, despite some very beatable starts – picked up their Calcutta Cup, their second Six Nations trophy in a row, their world-record-equalling eighteen straight wins – and went off for their bollocking from Eddie Jones. It may be more than a game, but in the end it really is just a game; no place for hate.

Hatred is such an extreme reaction to events, don’t you think? It’s an immature, teenage lashing-out, often against those who have only their best interests at heart. ‘Oh, I hate that!’ they say, when they really mean ‘that’s inconvenient’. True hate is a slow-cooked build-up of repressed animus, marinated for years and slowly brought to the simmer by repeated slights and prolonged ill-treatment. Hate is also personal, visceral. Countries don’t hate each other; one may fear the other nation, or even despise it, but hate is a tricky thing to control and has no place in civilised discourse.

Also, if your first recourse to show your disaffection is to use the word hate, where do you go after that? Don’t you hate exaggeration? Just as with all the ‘literally shaking right now’ tweets following the most insignificant of slights, it’s akin to putting all your cards on the table immediately following the deal. I ‘literally’ hate you, so there is literally no point in trying to discuss things with me; I am so far beyond reason and I hate you for putting me in that position. Hate is like slamming the door and stomping out... you look so much more foolish when you then have to go back and ask nicely for your car keys.

But I suppose hate does allow you to quickly segue into accusations of Nazism and thereby identify with the legions of brainwashed adolescents who believe anybody in a position of authority over them is, literally, Hitler. I find the best way to deal with being called a fascist is to smile sweetly and suggest I have to rush off to barbecue some babies, or gas some Jews. What’s sauce for the goose; at least it saves me getting into complex arguments where you have to find some bizarre middle ground before ‘agreeing to disagree’, which is, of course, mealy-mouthed code for ‘you are still wrong and I will go on believing I have won’.

A ready cleaving to the notion of hate also opens the door to the acceptance of more hyped-up hyperbole to further your incisive discourse. Instead of accepting that Trump and Brexit and Le Pen and Wilders are natural reactions to years and years of concerted left-wing attempts to browbeat people into behaving against their conservative instincts, idiots like Tim Farron have to leap to wild conspiracy theories about some New World Order to explain to themselves how they lost.

Bad losers, whose ‘progressive’ world view has been shown to fail, instead of accepting this and getting on with it are fomenting unrest. People like Farron, possibly in the sincere belief that they are right – which makes them dumb as well as dangerous – are going about, stirring up antipathy, encouraging others to believe themselves victims and take up cudgels against those who genuinely want a world for the many, not for the few. Don’t you just hate that?

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