A Problem With “Hatred”

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“We should have a great many fewer disputes in the world if only words were
taken for what they are, the signs of our ideas only, and not for things
themselves.

For when we argue about matter, or any the like term, we truly argue only about the idea we express by that sound, whether that precise idea agree to any thing really existing in nature or no. And if men would tell what ideas they make their words stand for, there could not be half that obscurity or wrangling, in the search or support of truth, that there is.

This makes errors lasting. —John Locke, An Essay concerning Human Understanding Part II (1690)

I wonder how many Canadian political and philosophical bloggers have ever read John Locke. I wonder if many bloggers understand the difference between words and things, and understand that words are signs of our ideas only, and not for things themselves, as John Locke rationally figured out over 300 years ago.

I’m finding myself confused about the use of the word “hate” recently. Robert McClelland talks about George Bush “hating children.” Warren Kinsella felt “hate” against him when he was being criticized. Simon of Against All Flags seems to show his own “hatred” against the Red Ensign in his direction to not fly the Red Ensign based on how his mind interprets some groups that do fly it for their own reasons.

And now, we’ve got Timmy The G, someone whom I have had some discussion with regarding symbols recently, expressing dismay at the “hate” he is finding in many right wing blogs.

What does Timmy The G consider “hate?” Well, let’s take a look:

 

“But I have also discovered a very deep vein of hatred for
Canada. I must say I am appalled. I realize that people on the right have
many issues with the way the country is run. Heck, so do I. But I didn’t
really think that a great many of them hated everything we have become over
the past fifty years. Clearly, I was wrong.”

 

So, we have Timmy’s first indication of his emotional state here, somehow recognizing a “deep vein of hatred for Canada.” I wonder how exactly someone can “hate” or “love” a land mass with geopolitcal borders? Why should someone love or hate the Canadian or American side of Niagara Falls?

Or love or hate the American or Canadian Rockies?

Ah, perhaps Timmy means something else by the term “Canada.” It’s not a geopolitical thing, so let’s keep on reading what he has to say.

Apparently, Timmy goes to a blog named “Canadian Comment” which he calls “a swamp.” He then alludes to a “charming Yank” named Joan (I wonder if Joan calls herself a “yank?”) and quotes this comment on Canadian Comment:

“Canada is the ugly cousin of North Ameica (sic), jealous that
its seemingly less sophisticated cousin done learned some reading’. Guess
what, Canada, You’re the global village idiot.”

 

So, Timmy takes offence that someone named Dana apparently “chortles” in response, agreeing with Joan’s comment, only Timmy the G calls Joan’s comment, “bigotry.”

If Timmy The G had studied a bit more about communication and logic, he could have done much better than to call Joan’s statement “bigotry.” The fact is “Canada” is not an entity that can feel anything, let alone jealous. And I would love to know how Canada has a “sophisticated cousin.”

All these words are better refuted by simply saying they are meaningless noise. Instead of bigotry, they are the words of a nincompoop. And as far as I know, we give rights to nincompoops to speak their mind. We also give rights to nincompoops that fail to recognize the difference between words, things, and ideas.

Then Timmy goes on to say:

“One of the most depressing thing
about blogs is the hatred they have released as communities coalesce into
rabid camps. As each community ratchets up its rhetoric, the bounds of
propriety go right out the window. It’s an anything-goes world out there,
opinion-wise.

 

It is absolutely impossible for blog communities to “coalesce into rabid camps.” “Ratcheting up rhetoric” is meaningless noise. Words only express ideas – perhaps your ideas are influencing the words that you are reading.

The rest of Timmy’s post is made up much the same thing. Dissecting words (which he doesn’t like when it happens to his own words) to imply something
called “hatred.”

I have no idea what it is like to “hate” a geopolitical unit with a name. I neither “love” or “hate” Canada. I have no idea what that means. There are some things within Canada, that I dislike (I don’t know if I’ve ever felt the emotion of “hatred”), and there are things within Canada that I like.

There are individuals and opinions of individuals that I dislike. There are individuals and opinions of individuals that I very much like. Love? I don’t know. There are individuals I love, but don’t always like their opinion.

And if I learned someone “hated” me because of my opinion, then I’d likely think that the person with this hate emotion towards me needed some psychological help. Regardless of my opinion, I would never want “harm” to come to others. In fact, that is what I LOVE about this geopolitical boundaries I live within, that for the most part, we’re free to say what we
think, and express opinion. We’re also free to challenge opinion as well.

Is that “hateful?”

Timmy ends his post with this: “They are welcome to offer their viewpoints.
But don’t expect me to play the polite Canuck when you dump on this great
country.”

But what is “dumping” on this country? Disagreeing with the health care system? Disagreeing with gun control laws? Disagreeing with multiculturalism policies?

I am neither a left winger or a right winger. I dislike many policies on the “right wing.” I dislike many policies on the “left wing.”

I especially dislike policies that would curb my consentual behaviour into what others think it should be, and try to police my thoughts.

I don’t “hate” those who hold their own opinions about public policy, but I’d sure as hell hope they’d be as respectful of my opinion, without resorting to
allegations of “hate.”

I think we probably all share the same goals, for the most part. I’d like to see health care that was available to as many as possible. I do not think it is possible for ANY health care system to be “equal.” It is impossible for some individual who chooses to live in Little Patricia, Ontario, to have the same “quality” of health care that someone who chooses to live in Toronto,
might receive. Quality meaning timely delivery, availability to specialized care, in exactly the same amounts of time.

Once left wingers can admit this is impossible, then perhaps we can have a dialogue on opinion regarding the best possible way to deliver health care.

I would like to see an economy where all benefited, to the degree they participated. I don’t believe that securing welfare for all people, all the time, accomplishes this. That does not mean to say that I hate welfare.

Instead, what I am saying is that I believe that those who think this is the best way of accomplishing the goal of increasing the wealth of all, and “sharing the wealth” is wrong and illogical.

This has nothing to do with hate. In many ways, my goals are the same as the goals of many left wingers. I am sure there are realistic left wingers out there who realize their own idealist goals are utterly impossible, 100 percent of the time. They however believe that their “process” is the best way to achieve the “greater good.”

I just don’t see that from a logical perspective. Does that make me a “hater of Canada?

Does it make me a “hater” of Canada to agree that people should be able to fly whatever flag they want, or have whatever symbols they want? That MY issue is with actions of individuals, and not their thoughts? That I want folks, on the left, right, or in between or wherever they may be, to feel free to have whatever thoughts they wish, and not feel guilty about their thoughts?
Does that make me a “hater” of Canada?

Does it make me a “hater” of Canada to point out the weaknesses of this geopolitical land mass, that seems to require it’s citizens to go through illogical things, or based on some “value,” in the end hurts individual citizens?

Does it make me a “hater” of Canada to publish the fact that for over 4 years, I could not get an appointment with a doctor, and instead, had to go to clinics, and stand in line, while others who had doctors, were able to make appointments, and point out that this is one of the results of our so called wonderful health system that in some areas, simply does not work?

Does it make me a “hater” of Canada to suggest ways that might make our common goals more efficient, but through a completely different process? Is it the process you value more than the results?

What IF my process has better results for the most concerned? Does that mean I am a hater of Canada?

No matter what process we have, there are people who are going to be on the outside. We will NEVER EVER get to 100% satisfaction rates with ANY system.

Suggesting alternatives does not make us “haters.”

In fact, perhaps in some ways, we have more love than you do. Perhaps in many ways, it is you that has the hate. From a personal point of view, I really have never felt “hatred,” either as a “victim” of hatred, or as one who “hates.” But then perhaps we just have a different sense of emotional capacity as well.

Many folks have used quite creative and even non-creative insults toward me. I didn’t assume though that they hated me. It never crossed my mind.

So I guess because I have no personal experience of this emotion of hatred, I just don’t understand. But does that mean I have less to offer citizens of this country? And objectively think that many are wrong, objectively while ignoring the emotional stuff?

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