Wednesday, May 17, 2017

What Is Hate and How Do We Oppose It?

Posted to a forum where people have been discussing whether social media sites should censor hatespeech, earlier...

There is a horrible, hateful, hypocritical meme the left wing have been circulating for many years, to the effect that all conservatives are haters (presumably of the White male variety). Since most of us here are mature enough to have become at least somewhat conservative about some things, and we're not haters, what are we doing about this Big Lie...in the sense of showing active good will, or in the sense of refuting specific fallacies within the Big Lie, or (preferably) both? 

Opposing a policy that might or might not benefit even the group supposedly demanding it (at everyone else's expense), or might be mere quarrel bait to distract attention from other issues, has nothing to do with hating or persecuting people. Opposing same-sex marriage, whether you do or not, is a different thing from hating homosexuals. Opposing aid to Israel, whether you do or not, is a different thing from hating Israelis or Jews or "Semites" (which means Arabs and Jews impartially, as a "race" some people claimed to hate back before the settlement of modern Israel). 

Laughing at the "snowflakes" who want to censor anything that might make anybody other than themselves feel bad, specifically including all conservative political ideas, has nothing to do with hating or persecuting people. 

Believing that the whole idea of "hatecrimes" is specious, because it's so hard to tell to what extent a crime was motivated by hate of a group of people as such versus hate of an individual as such versus ordinary greed and/or rage and/or a desire to force society to feed and shelter the criminal in prison, has nothing to do with hating or persecuting people. 

Believing that censorship is worse, in several ways, than hatespeech is (one reason being that tolerating hatespeech makes it easier to identify those seriously planning crimes, and stop them!) has nothing to do with hating or persecuting people. 

Even distrusting a group of people identified with the Old Left, which I vividly remember some right-wingers used to do during the Cold War, is not the same thing as hating or persecuting those people. 

My suggestion to Twitter would be that tolerating *and monitoring* anything reported as threats of violence, against either individuals or groups, could be a very helpful way to prevent that violence happening. Let the individuals block whatever they don't want to read, whether because it's threatening or because it's annoying or just because it's in the way of the updates they're watching for...and let Twitter staff reroute threats toward local law enforcement and watch them. 

(Alternatively...Facebook tries to monitor individual users all by itself, collecting and publishing information about who they are, where they live, where their children go to school. Nice way to hand that information directly to the violent haters...Facebook can ban them, and they can then stand behind other people whom Facebook hasn't banned and collect all the information they want to use to harm the Facebook users they hate. Another alternative for Facebook might be to store the information without publishing it; that would give the information resale value for hackers! No, thanks. We're all safer when web sites do monitor activity from specific IP Addresses, if necessary, but do not collect or store information about anyone's real-world identity. Leave that for the police to collect when they arrest those using computers to commit crimes.)

Now, what's going on? No, the computer I've been using was not taken into police custody because it had been used to commit a crime! I gave someone headed in a different direction the key ring that has the key to the building where that computer is, for today, and had to drag out the good old Sickly Snail this morning. I actually thought it'd be interesting to find out what the Sickly Snail, which may well be the oldest privately owned laptop computer in North America, could still do online. 

What it can do is of course frustrate the livin' daylights out of me, by making things that ought to take ten minutes take an hour--that's why it's been named the Sickly Snail. It can open the e-mail inbox and, at its standard snail-like pace, delete the spam, file the bacon, and determine that you've not been sending payments and don't deserve a live blog post today. It can view, but not post to, Live Journal; it can open some of the news-and-opinion-'zine sites for long enough for me to copy and paste an article, but not longer; it can open a new Blogspot post from the Blogspot page you readers are seeing, but not from the "inside" page that's supposed to open when I log into Blogspot. I was surprised that it could open any of the forum sites. I'll be even more surprised if it can open Amazon or Twitter, although those fancy graphics-heavy sites do have "mobile" versions the Sickly Snail was able to use a few years ago... Fascinating, anyway.

Meanwhile, since the Sickly Snail will absolutely not do the other things I'd planned to do online with the other laptop,  here's a me-me-me story for those who care. I seriously think our Russian readers, who the computer reports have been fascinated by the keywords, need to see this one...

As they probably remember, my parents were whole-Bible Christians and were affiliated at various times with three whole-Bible Protestant churches, including one that's been (quite easily, I must admit) misidentified as a hate group...the Lord's Covenant Church. What was it like, being a "tween" and early teen in the L.C.C.? Was I being taught to hate? I was not.

I was picking up some older people's fear--loudly and clearly--although my parents tended to debunk those older people's fear. I was being taught wariness...specifically about Eastern Europeans, about Russians, and about Ashkenazic Jewish Americans, but really about everybody. Wariness is a different thing from hate. My parents didn't have to say much about hate during our L.C.C. years, except that they wouldn't have stayed around if they'd smelled it, and back when Dad (who'd volunteered to go over and kill Nazis) was still a strong young man with HSP "super" long-distance vision, if there'd been any Nazis lurking around, you pitied the fools. There were not, noticeably, any Nazis in my childhood world. Conservative Christian communities in the U.S. were not healthy places to be a Nazi.

What my brother and I learned from the version of Anglo-Israelite theory to which the L.C.C. subscribed was...well, first of all, that it's a feeble theory, based on the oral traditions of feuding European tribes. It can't be disproved but neither can it be proved. It rests heavily on words that sound alike, and may or may not have meanings that were once related to each other, in different languages. 

Anyway, each of the three churches to which we were exposed had a different view of the Anglo-Israelite theory. Seventh-Day Adventists ignore it; they say nobody really knows who their ancestors were, that far back, and if you feel called to be a whole-Bible Christian you may consider yourself an adoptive or spiritual child of Abraham. The Worldwide Church of God accept the theory that different European tribes were physically descended from the different tribes of Israel, with Jews representing, specifically, the tribe of Judah. The Lord's Covenant Church (which no longer really exists) went further and accepted a version of that theory that...appealed to haters, but the L.C.C. actually got it from Jewish sources, so if you're Jewish please bear with me. 

According to this speculative version of history, Bible prophecies that foretold an attack on Israel by the Edomites, which never happened in Bible days, actually foretold an attack on the United States and Canada (the gathering place of the modern descendants of the various tribes of Israel) by the descendants of Edom. Who were they? Well..."Edom" means "red," as discussed in the Bible, and which European people (1) had names for themselves and for their ruling political party that meant "red," and (2) were threatening North America in the mid-twentieth century? Yes, those big bad ugly anti-Christian "Asiatic" Soviets. 

And also...in European history there's a lost tribe of Northern Eurasians whose name for themselves was Khazars. They faded out of such records as were kept, back when they existed, right around the time the Jewish population of Northern Europe and Asia expanded, and Ashkenazic Jews came to be recognized as culturally different from Sephardic Jews. With a higher incidence of blond hair, even. And although "Khazar" was that tribe's name for themselves before they were noted as having reached relatively harmonious terms with the local Jewish community, and probably meant something like "men" in their language, it happens to resemble a Hebrew word for "impure"...

Hence Arthur Koestler's Thirteenth Tribe, which isn't exactly science fiction, although some people prefer to regard it as such...and hence the L.C.C.'s somewhat ironic recognition of Koestler, who identified himself with those hypothetical Khazar converts to Judaism, as "an honest Jewish scholar." 

For the L.C.C. "Jewish" had two distinct meanings, sort of like the word "that" in "that person"...or, apparently, like the word "Irish" in North America in the 1840s and 1850s, when there were prosperous, well established Irish-Protestant-Americans who participated in the prejudice against desperate, destitute Irish-Catholic immigrants. Sephardic Jews had been in the United States for a long time, often respected and influential, before the mass immigration of Ashkenazic Jews from Eastern Europe starting in the late nineteenth century, and some Sephardic Jews behaved very much like some Irish Protestants toward their less fortunate fellow tribesmen. Some of the ugliest words and stereotypes can be traced to them. 

So there were, for L.C.C.'ers, ordinary Jewish people who were sincerely religious but, for whatever reasons, unable to accept Christianity. This was sad, because in the L.C.C. interpretation of more remote Bible prophecies those people weren't going to be resurrected at all. You could pray for them, if you knew them personally and were fond of them, but you might as well know it was probably going to be a wasted effort. The majority of humankind, including some Anglo-Americans and almost all foreigners of all kinds, were in this category actually. 

And then there were those anti-Christian, anti-American, pseudo-Jewish Khazar types, who were "of the synagogue of Satan," who were actively working to suppress Christian religion and conservative politics in order to help their fellow tribesmen in the Soviet Union cause the United States to drop like rotten fruit into their nasty hands. They could be recognized by their work not merely by their ethnic origin, but they were going to be resurrected and dumped into a lake of fire. 

According to the L.C.C. there was no call for hate or violence at the time when that church was active. One popular L.C.C. book had the title The Bible Says Russia Will Invade America and Be Defeated but only when the enemy was actually on our shores were we supposed to start fighting. In the meantime we were supposed to prepare ourselves by studying the whole Bible, practicing its teachings as best we could, educating anyone willing to be educated--and, yes, accepting any individual foreigners who sincerely wanted to be whole-Bible Christians as adoptive Israelites, too. 

The L.C.C. taught that, after the rout of the invading Soviet army, then foreigners would start to appreciate the benefit whole-Bible Christianity would have for North Americans who practiced it, and would become enlightened enough to embrace whole-Bible Christianity for themselves. Before that time, missionary activity would be a waste of time and money, but sincere conversion was possible and not to be discouraged. Sincere converts would not be put off by the unfavorable observations L.C.C.ers had published about the rest of their nations, as groups...the L.C.C. did in fact admit and baptize Black converts, although it never attracted many of them.

I say this to anyone who may be thinking, "As a conservative Christian, the writer known as Priscilla King must be aware of, and tolerant of, a lot of anti-Jewish hate." I am not. 

I'm aware that some things reported as expressions of hate, by snowflakey types, are not expressions of hate at all--that even being pro-Palestinian in no way presupposes that you wish the Israelis anything worse than the blessing of being able to live peacefully in places the Palestinians aren't fighting for. (How realistic that wish may or may not be, I wouldn't know.) 

I'm also aware that real hate and violence, targeting Jews-as-such, here in these United States, as reported by a fellow respondent on one of those forums...have been rare, thank goodness. Because they make me as a Christian pretty dam' mad

Scared? Maybe...to the kind of people who think you can recognize Jews by looking at them, I've often been told, I look Jewish. I've received some social "benefits," to which I hastily explained I was not entitled, for possibly-being-Jewish even when I've been making active Christian noises. I've not been a target of hate, ever, nor have friends or e-friends who really are Jewish. I've known that, like the violent rape of women over age 25, violent hate may pop up here and there but it's not really high on any list of things to worry about.

Mostly, I pity the fools! For one thing, hundreds of thousands of people joined the best army on Earth just for the purpose of beating that kind of stupidity to death in 1940. They may be dying out, but their children and grandchildren are still around, and well represented in conservative Christian circles. Don't mess with us, haters (though I seriously believe the L.C.C. got away with some of the things some of them published, without being claimed as allies by haters, because relatively few haters know how to read).

For another thing...some S.D.A. types are still calling me a heretic, which is fine by me, but I believe there are going to be a lot of Jews in Heaven. And a few Muslims. And the Jewish neighborhood in Heaven is not going to be occupied exclusively by the great saints of the apostolic church, either, although they didn't stop being Jewish when they became Christians.

In the book of Matthew (the Sickly Snail won't give me a direct link) Jesus shared His vision of the Last Judgment. Whether everybody on Earth is resurrected, or only a minority of people who deserve either eternal life or special punishment, is not specified. In any case, He said, every tongue shall confess that He is Lord. Only those who confess that He is Lord will be saved, but not all of those who recognize that fact, on the Judgment Day, will be saved.

Some of them, He says, are trembling in fear and shame. "Forgive me, Lord, I never realized..."

"Well done, you good and faithful servants! You did various nice things for Me. Enter in to the joys of Heaven." (I'm paraphrasing--in a bit of a hurry to type this thought.)

"What did I do for You? I mean, I would have..."

"What you did for the poorest, sickest, most miserable or pathetic people on Earth, you did for Me, not knowing it. You are saved. You go to Heaven." And that's where the sincere Jewish, Muslim, and other types of people get into Heaven.

Then, turning to a lot of Christian churchgoers and preachers...they're saying, "Oh, Lord, I did this and that for you," but somehow they're not going in the doorway...

He says, "When you refused to do what you could have done for those who were poorer or more disabled or in any way more wretched than you were, on Earth, you refused to do it for me. You never fed me, you never visited me in the hospital, you didn't even share your water with me in the desert. Depart from me ye cursed into everlasting fire!"

And that is why,

"To dwell above with saints we love,
Indeed that will be glory.
To dwell below with 'saints' we know,
Oh, that's another story!"

And if anybody out there is claiming to be a Christian and hating on the people Jesus chose to claim as His blood relatives...what's there to say? Pity the fools. Pity the damned fools!