This is being posted from the south of France, and the annoyance some of you feel for that nation only underlines my point: that we have become a nation that hates instead of thinking, and shoots before it thinks. The knee jerks up before the doctor has even tapped his hammer. “The sleep of Reason produces monsters”, Goya said, and we’d best remember— but no, that’s already way too much metaphor for most.
We might tell our children that hatred is immoral, and yet the hatred of foreigners, and the hatred of Americans who happen to agree with those foreigners, that hatred is now a source of strength for the political Right. Witness the career of Ann Coulter, who has almost nothing to say without her hatred. The political world has always been full of men who hate, but when we make best selling authors out of women who hate, it might be time to look for cover.
This is no puff piece for the French, though I’m having a wonderful time. They have their national quirks and flaws as do all human beings, and if I were French I would probably be hollering about those. As an American my primary concern is with my own country being turned to garbage by its appetite for hate.
People like being given an excuse for hating, especially when Hatred masks itself as Virtue. How else explain the rise of Falwell, Dobson, Robertson and now Ratzinger, all of whom spend more time talking about what they hate than what they love.
Another fine hater is the representative who so hated “the French” that he changed the name of pomme frites to “freedom fries”. (They seem to keep electing these folks in the South, where they admire men who play at soldiering and shoot off their mouths as carelessly as their granddaddies shot off their guns. When Northerners starts to catch the same disease…)
This extraordinary fellow has become one of the first right wingers to call for the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq. This puts me in the uncomfortable position of someone who demonstrated against the invasion of Iraq, but who now objects to withdrawing the troops. If you break it, you bought it—and what kind of monsters are we, to bomb hell out of a country and then say “Gee, we’re sorry we trashed your house, but those insurgency guys keep trying to blow us up, and if you’re still pissed off ‘cause we shot your grandma, so I guess we better go now. You clean it up.”
George W. Bush gave Al Quaeda a second front in Iraq, but he won’t be the one accused of treason, of aiding and abetting our enemies. And why isn’t the beetled brow of Bob Novak in jail?
How about we all Shut the Fuck Up about things like fighting for “freedom’? Those who hate are calling for a world of "freedom" in which people will be free only to agree with them.