Thursday, February 28, 2013

Disagreement Does Not Equal Hatred

There is an idiotic assumption that has taken deep root in our society that disagreement is synonymous with hatred. According to this notion, if I disagree with someone on political policy or matters of faith, that signifies that I hate that person, so therefore my opinion is not worthy of a hearing.
Accordingly, opponents of same-sex marriage are treated as though they hate all homosexuals and seek their destruction. Proponents of birth control mandates argue that opposition to their policies is part of a "war on women." Opponents of social welfare programs are accused of starving the poor. Foes of atheism are treated as opponents of reason and the forward march of civilization itself.
This "disagreement equals hatred" notion is complete and utter nonsense. Disagreement over the best way to love homosexuals or how to best take care of the poor or on the truth the Catholic faith or any other subject, by itself, does not constitute hatred. Hatred implies a deliberate desire to cause harm to another. The mere holding of unpopular ideas does not constitute hatred. 
The implication of "disagreement equals hatred," of course, is that holding certain ideas is tantamount to a direct attack on another. This creates a sort of groupthink where dissent against the prevailing intellectual currents is treated as hatred and is deemed worthy of being stamped out.
If mere disagreement equaled hatred, anyone who disagreed with anyone would be guilty of hatred. A mother could be said to “hate” her child for not giving her son cookies. Intellectual argument would be rendered impossible, and the world would be one giant cesspool of hatred.
The "disagreement equals hatred" claim becomes even more transparently foolish when one takes into account the fact that members of the “victim classes” often oppose policies meant to “help” them (E.g., women who oppose abortion and birth control). 
Claiming that one “hates” someone because he disagrees with a particular policy or faith is incredibly destructive. At best, adopting this tactic is an instinctive suspension of reason in the service of ideology. At worst, it is a cynical and deliberate method of dodging debate and attacking intellectual opponents.

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