Saturday, November 17, 2007

The Haters

Occasionally, you will encounter haters. The hater often believes that he or she is motivated by idealism and that may be true. It was once said of Henry Wallace that he would give his right arm for an idea ...and yours too, for that matter. Haters frequently possess a self-righteousness and a passion for excellence that can serve as convenient excuses for harsh action and for condemning anyone who is not quite with the program.

To the hater, an opponent is not simply misguided or mistaken, but evil. Conspiracies explain events that would more accurately ascribed to blundering or happenstance and the other person's motives are always suspect.

The hater sets impossible standards and then attacks people for not meeting them. The hater may be able to get the trains to run on time but if a hater gains enough power you can be assured that eventually the trains will run to a camp, either one dedicated to "re-education" or something far worse.

The hater does not just worry about how you behave, but how you think. If you think differently, the hater's initial reaction is that you must be poorly educated or must not have understood because if you had, then you could not possibly hold an opposing opinion. Once it is established that you are quite comfortable with your thoughts, however, the hater will cast you into the darkness. You are a heretic and the hater would much rather punish heretics than persuade unbelievers. The former activity indulges the passions while the latter frequently requires the reassessment and restraint of those very passions.

A baffling feature of haters is that they so often perceive themselves as considerate humanitarians. ["Afterwards," Hitler once remarked, "you rue the fact that you've been so kind."] Many a joke has been told of those who love humanity but hate people. The reason why the joke is so common is the practitioners of that concept are a sizable tribe. I've met many a self-described "people person" who would be far more oppressive than the insensitive power structure he or she rails against.

They're a sad lot, of course. The haters have little joy except for whatever pleasure can be squeezed from searching for the negatives in life. Unfortunately, they will always be with us and one of the wisest things we can do is to review our own attitudes to ensure that we aren't slipping into their ranks.

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