Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Pathological Hate

"Just as Labradors are born to fetch, we are born to bond."
-James Q. Wilson

In groups individual beliefs are often intensified and reinforced by the group. Individuals tend to bond with others who are like minded. If an individual is “hate minded” he will more readily bond with others who believe the same.

But what is hate?
William Gaylin, M.D. writes in his book, Hatred: The Psychological Descent into Violence, that hate is more pathological than simple emotion. He goes on to describe in depth how hate works and exactly what its components are. And the findings are startling…when the subject of group dynamics becomes involved.

…suicide bombers in every poor neighborhood in the country.
When discussing the issue of terrorism Gaylin makes a poignant observation. Too often especially in the media culture we want to know what “we” have done to incite terrorism. How have we been the cause of terrorist acts? Gaylin states that the focus here is all wrong and I agree with him. Just as poverty is blamed for terrorism the facts tell us that this is nonsense. It could serve at most as a source of agitation but it is not the catalyst. If it were there would be suicide bombers in every poor neighborhood in the country. Yet there are none. In fact to state that poverty or lack of education causes terrorism is an insult to those who live in poverty.

Gaylin says:
“We have behaved like the well-meaning narcissists that we are. We have asked why they did this to us. We have been searching our souls when we should have been examining theirs.”

The same approach seems to be a societal norm of the misinformed. We blame poverty as the primary cause of gangs. Though it is a contributing factor it is not the primary driver. There are far too many gang members making more off of crack sales in a day than any of us ever will in a week. Yet they continue to live the gang lifestyle.

Bin Laden and his ilk are often from middle and upper class society. Educated and well financed. Neo-Nazi members tend to be from middle and upper class society as well.

It is ideology tied into a need to focus hate that drives many of these groups. The “causes” are many but too often we simplify the “cause” to some pop culture sound bite, throw a little money and good PR around and expect the problem to go away.

We are afraid to confront things we feel we cannot control.
Rarely do we attempt to address the issue of pathological hate. We are afraid to confront things we feel we cannot control. This is human nature. We have to find something that we must be responsible for so that we can collectively work to change things. When we do this we feel we regain control, thereby reducing fear. As I continue to say, fear and control are intrinsically tied together.

Gaylin defines hate in the following way:
1. Hate is fundamentally an emotion. (but beyond that it is a passion.)
2. Hate is more than an emotion. It is also a psychological condition, a disorder of perception; a form of quasi-delusional thinking.
3. Hatred requires an attachment. Like love it needs an object. (this object can be rational or irrational.)

Gaylin’s work is brilliant in that it tears down the simplicity of the pop culture definition of the “causes” of hate groups, deviant groups, and terrorist groups.

If you look into the ideology of various hate groups / dev-groups you will see different details but similar means.

There has to be a “war”…
Crips hate Bloods. Gangster Disciples hate Vice Lords. Al Qaeda terrorists hate “infidels”. Skinheads hate anyone who is not white. In this hate something beyond dehumanization takes place. Demonization is a step beyond dehumanization. The “enemy” is not only less than human but a target that needs to be destroyed if the group is to survive. These groups must create and maintain the image of “the great threat” in order to keep the group solidified. There has to be a “war” or the threat of a war if the group wants to continue to exist.

To demonize we must first dehumanize and remove any ties to humanity. Crips call Bloods “Slobs”. Bloods call Crips “Crabs”. Gangster Disciples are called “Glazed Doughnuts” by Vice Lords. Al Qaeda calls the West “infidels”. Skinheads call Jews “Kikes”. Even in our own military killing is made easier by giving the enemy a “name” that removes the human element... “gooks”, “krauts”, “slopes”, “towel heads”, and so on.

Hate is the unifying factor in the cohesiveness of such dev-groups. Hate that will not be satisfied by good PR, financial assistance, or feel good sound bites. Hate that must be first understood in order to better deal with the threat. Then we must deal with a sense of fear that we just might not have the kind of control we’d like to have over the attacks of the opposing force. Sound bites may make us sleep better at night but they will not protect us from biological, chemical, or nuclear attacks.

They will only make us more susceptible to the whims of those who HATE us.

Neo Nazi Hate Group Photo Link: