“People hate what it’s safe to hate.”

So today I was reading this blog post about the recent rise of anti-Semitism in Europe. (The blog post is a comment on this op-ed from ynetnews.com.) A comment on the blog post struck me enough that I had to pass it along. The comment comes from someone with the handle “Prologue.” Here goes:

When people are frightened they need someone to hate, but they rarely hate what they fear. That takes too much guts. People hate what it’s safe to hate. That’s why Europeans publicly take on the U.S. and Israel. They get to feel morally upright for speaking “truth to power” and there’s absolutely no risk whatsoever. There will be no retaliation.

One might disagree with the politics of the post, or the comment thread, or the websites in question, and no less an authority than Yoda would question the wisdom of hatred, but it’s worth asking the question: in troubled times, do we direct our anger and our vitriol at those who most deserve it, or at those who will tolerate it?

6 comments

  1. Without reading the articles, I do believe there is some serious truth to this idea. Allow me to elaborate.

    First, I’d like to switch from hating to acting unloving. Perhaps a trivial issue for some, but I believe it is possible for someone to behave unloving without having anger or hatred towards them.

    Now consider your family. I believe most of us would agree we do not act as lovingly towards them as we do friends or even strangers. No, I understand your love for your family far exceeds these other annoying creatures around you, but in general, you are more careful and considerate in your behavior towards non-family. This is due largely to the fact that they will tolerate your behavior. They will remain, family. Friends and strangers of course, have no such obligation and can be lost.

    I do want to address this idea of fear and hatred though. If you desire to overcome fear, hatred will be of no help. I believe 1 John 4:18 hits the nail on the head when it states, “There is no fear in love; instead, perfect love drives out fear, because fear involves punishment. So the one who fears has not reached perfection in love.” Think about any instance in your life. When has anger ever eliminated fear? Sure, it may have eliminated the source of fear (perhaps a spider) but your fear still exists. It simply hasn’t manifested itself again. Don’t believe me? Consider the terror a lion or bear would convey standing before you. You may be so scared you freeze in your tracks. Now consider a mother. What is it that would drive a mother to put herself between danger and her children? Simply, it is love. Love, which is giving of oneself, puts others higher than your fear.

    If anyone’s interested, I once had to establish my view of love and you can read it here: http://timmillr.blogspot.com/2012/01/what-is-love.html

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  2. I saw that blog post on reddit, I think that their seeming hatred towards us has the chance to hurt and eventually, but slowly, dismantle the USA. Here’s my reasoning, if America gets attacked, everyone (the mob in Europe) would say America had it coming, thus making it difficult for their weaker governments to do anything to help us, even though we’re the reason they have that right to form that mobish society.

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  3. @Noutheteo:

    “No, I understand your love for your family far exceeds these other annoying creatures around you, but in general, you are more careful and considerate in your behavior towards non-family.”

    I’d say that’s true for some folks, and the opposite is true for others. There are plenty of people who have no regard for outsiders– they aren’t family, so who cares what they think?

    Also, I can think of a very specific instance in my life when anger eliminated fear. Many, many years ago I was walking home with a sandwich, and I realized that some guys were tailing me. They were shouting taunts at me, and I was legitimately afraid that they might try to mug me since my path would take me through a poorly-lit alley.

    Then one of them said he was going to take my sandwich. I stopped dead cold, turned and confronted them. No matter that there were six of them; it was my damn sandwich. Long story short, several very angry words later, they changed direction and my sandwich and I continued on our merry path.

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  4. I think I would have to agree. Not every single individual follows that paradigm. However, I do think it’s safe to say a majority leans in that direction. But that’s speaking only from personal observation over my life.

    And of course, I could simply counter and say your love for your sandwich is what turned over your fear 😉 But then that could lead to a large philosophical and psychological examination of every instance of anger love and fear.

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