IT GOES BOTH WAYS

In my last post we considered how the news media had perpetuated lies against a bunch of Catholic high school boys. Why did they do that? It appears they were victims of their own biases. As a result, they further damaged their already shaky reputations.

Hatred is self destructive. It destroys our objectivity, makes it more difficult to perceive the truth.

Here is how C. S. Lewis put it in Mere Christianity.

Suppose one reads a story of filthy atrocities in the paper. Then suppose that something turns up suggesting that the story might not be quite true, or not quite so bad as it was made out. Is one’s first feeling, ‘Thank God, even they aren’t quite so bad as that,’ or is it a feeling of disappointment, and even a determination to cling to the first story for the sheer pleasure of thinking your enemies are as bad as possible? If it is the second then it is, I am afraid, the first step in a process which, if followed to the end, will make us into devils. You see, one is beginning to wish that black was a little blacker. If we give that wish its head, later on we shall wish to see grey as black, and then to see white itself as black. Finally we shall insist on seeing everything — God and our friends and ourselves included — as bad, and not be able to stop doing it: we shall be fixed for ever in a universe of pure hatred.(from here)

I am hardly the first to use this quote in this context, but it is so applicable it is important we all consider it. This is true whether we like or detest MAGA hats. Just as it does no good to assume the worst of Catholic high school boys, it does no good to assume the worst of Liberal Democrats, even news reporters.

20 thoughts on “IT GOES BOTH WAYS

  1. I really like this writeup, and the CS Lewis quote, Citizen Tom.
    So true. This is why propaganda works…it appeals to our emotions.
    There’s also something akin to a “buy in”. It works in sales as well as propaganda because the emotional connection is the same.
    For example, when a sales pitch is made that convinces the customer they want the item and they agree to take it, but then the conditions change….they are very reluctant to back out of the agreement. They convince themselves it is still a good idea, when if those conditions existed at the beginning they never would have agreed to the sale. Think I might’ve mentioned it before.
    That’s why when (for example) the media released a story about a young black boy killed by a privileged white guy living in a gated community because he was holding a bag of skittles, many many people remained outraged even when they found out the real story was a hispanic man living in a low income community with a lot of crime shot a six foot tall black youth who had jumped him and was beating his head into concrete.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Coincidentally, someone just recommended this book to me. Think I’ll buy it.

      Summary: In this “landmark contribution to humanity’s understanding of itself” (The New York Times Book Review) social psychologist Jonathan Haidt challenges conventional thinking about morality, politics, and religion in a way that speaks to conservatives and liberals alike.
      Drawing on his twenty five years of groundbreaking research on moral psychology, Haidt shows how moral judgments arise not from reason but from gut feelings. He shows why liberals, conservatives, and libertarians have such different intuitions about right and wrong, and he shows why each side is actually right about many of its central concerns. In this subtle yet accessible book, Haidt gives you the key to understanding the miracle of human cooperation, as well as the curse of our eternal divisions and conflicts. If you’re ready to trade in anger for understanding, read The Righteous Mind.

      Like

  2. Tom,

    Teaching advice in schools about hatred wording seems to have evolved over time in this same as in the wording of this proverb 10:12

    New International Version
    Hatred stirs up “conflict,” but love covers over all “wrongs.”

    New Living Translation
    Hatred stirs up “quarrels,” but love makes up for all “offenses.”

    New American Standard Bible
    Hatred stirs up strife, But love covers all “transgressions.”

    King James Bible
    Hatred stirreth up strifes: but love covereth all sins.

    Hatred stirreth up strifes,…. A man, whose heart is full of hatred and malice against his neighbour, will stir up, or awake, as the word (d) signifies, contentions and quarrels which were happily laid asleep; these he renews by tale bearing, and whisperings, and evil surmises; by raising lies, spreading false reports and calumnies, and by virulent reproaches and slanders;.(Gils excerpt)

    Frankly, I never watched the video because the exchange was between adults and children.

    Young and foolish

    Nothing worse than an old fool

    Hatred Is a sin, in my opinion.

    Whether it was caused by a wrong, transgression, offense, etc. it is both a sin and foolish to allow yourself to get angry at words.

    However, if sinful deeds get you angry, it is justifiable anger to recognize the folly and make use of words …………………of love……….and if that doesn’t work,……………..I remember what I was taught by a nun in a catholic school what to do when people taunt you…
    ….
    Regardless if Conservatives, Liberals, fools, etc.etc.

    “sticks and stones may hurt my bones, but names will never hurt me”

    Obviously, that old saying is no longer taught or practiced, or lost in over time.

    Regards and good will blogging..

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Great CS Lewis quote,Tom. He is so right. Hatred is so self destructive.The darkness of the world just has to get ever darker and you actually will start to get angry when the bad news turns out to be false.

    Jesus actually told us to forgive and to love our enemies. That’s not so easy, in fact it can be really hard.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. I like this post Tom. I hope that you don’t mind, but I copied edited my last comment to your previous post below because it seemed to compliment your post here better.

    State tort laws of slander, libel, defamation, innuendo, false light, invasion of privacy, truth and other defenses, 1st Amendment constitutional press rights, speech rights, 14th Amendment application to states, National Security exemptions, “clear and present danger” requirements, the SCOTUS ”strict scrutiny” and “substantial state interest” balancing tests, and on and on and on filling whole sections of law libraries. Suffice it to say that, from a legal standpoint, this is far more complex than we might imagine, but is legality really the issue?

    If lying and breathless biased reporting is really the issue, then Fox News has become a virtual propaganda arm of the Executive Branch, although there are a few Fox News reporters that still maintain some journalistic credibility. I suppose no one is unbiased, but I think that to say the same factual in accountability is true for CNN or MSNBC, stinks of a false equivalency. Just my opinion though.

    Trump has played the “fake news” mantra in such a way that, since the beginning, he has gamed media for an amazing amount of air time and attention, making news networks rich and relaunching the falling stars of the dying print media.

    Social media, the real driver of the story in question, is a whole new animal because it is able to focus advertising dollars, including political advertising and pure propaganda, like a laser directly at its client’s target market like nothing else before. We all self select into our own bubble of information, enforcing confirmation biases and polarizing us even further. Why would such media ever self regulate for truth and credibility as we expect other media publishers to do when the business model of endless screaming outrage is so lucrative and so emotionally satisfying to its happy clients and frothing users?

    At first, outraged liberals got to vent their spleens onto the seemingly smug faced, MAGA hat wearing apparent epitome of the Trumpian youth corps. When that seemed to fall apart, outraged conservatives got to vent their spleens in defense of this poor innocent child nearly torn to pieces by the pitchforks of diverse brown radicals and virtue signaling white elites.

    It all reminds me of that gruesome scene from the movie “Gladiator” where, after an unshielded Russel Crow commits total murderous mayhem on six armor clad opponents completely decapitating the last one, he throws his bloody sword at the frenzied crowd, and shouts, “Are you not entertained? Are you not entertained?”
    Are we not entertained here? Are we not entertained?

    Liked by 2 people

      1. There’s a line from an old Leonard Cohen song that comes to mind:

        “…and here’s to the few, who forgive what you do
        And the fewer who don’t even care…”

        Liked by 1 person

    1. “Are we not entertained here? Are we not entertained?”

      Truth, this.
      A couple of years ago a soldier (black female) saved a family from a burning fire in South Korea. She ran into the home to the top floor, helped the kids out and then the mother. She died in the process of helping this family. I don’t think it even made headline news.
      Not entertaining enough.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. @Doug

      Pride is our undoing. Pride can even keep us from seeing our own sins. Consider the evil required to commit a massive genocide and the blindness required to commit so much brutality. The people who commit genocide must be persuaded — or persuade themselves — to ignore the vile evidence of their own hatred. When their hatred is standing before them and screaming obscenities, how do they do that?

      Like

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