Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Cause and Effect of Hatred

Starting at the kindergarten level because that is where a surprising number of people make their mistakes.

Why are so many people making so many mistakes about the basics of inciting hatred?

If a bully beats up a little kid every day and the little kid gets angry and hates the bully many people may not dispute the possibility that the reason that the kid hates the bully is because he is beating him up. This seems very simple and few people would argue about whether the bullying caused the hatred and perhaps contributed if the kid eventual strikes back.

This is quite routine with little children.

However when people become adults and they start dealing with much more complicated institutions there is often much more doubt about whether there is any cause for hatred. This has been clearly indicated when G.W. Bush declared that the terrorist hate us because they hate our freedom.

This is accompanied by an enormous amount of propaganda and ideological beliefs that confuse the issue and make it very difficult for many people to understand why they hate us. In many cases some of these people have said they don’t hate us they hate our government but our government and the Mass Media rarely mention this so many people overlook it. Our current society is controlled by a lot of big institutions that many people don’t understand but they influences a major part of everyone’s lives.

If the institutions put a lot of people in a situation where they have little or no opportunities and they see that others who control the institutions and ignore their concerns is it any wonder that this would make them angry at someone even if they don’t know who to blame? Joe Stack is a clear example of this, he was angry about his business which failed and he took it out on the IRS building which could potentially have killed or injured many low level IRS workers but had little ort no chance of hurting the most powerful people who control the major institutions that set up the tax system. Even if he was striking out at the right people this clearly isn’t an effective way to accomplish his goals. There may be a lot of people that sympathize with him and it is conceivable that some of them may strike out violently but this will only escalate the violence. There is no easy answer to why these angry people hate the US government or any other organization but like any other field of knowledge it is necessary to start at the basics to understand it; however unlike hard sciences like math social sciences are much more confusing and in some cases it may not be quite so easy to know exactly what the basics are although many people think they do.

It may be easier to understand this if you start with a few simple principles that can be subject to scrutiny and possibly confirmed. As a matter of principle if someone feels that another person has infringed on their rights and it is in a simple manner that they understand this may cause them to hate that person or if it is accompanied by a lot of other infringements it may be a contributing cause. However if their rights have been infringed on in a more confusing manner they may become angry but if they don’t understand the system they may not know where to direct their anger. In this case it is conceivable in some cases that there could be deception involved on the part of the people that set up the system one way or another.

This is more likely if the people in power set up policy behind closed doors and then come up with a system that clearly benefits the powerful at the expense of the poor. In this case those in power will almost certainly present an explanation to the public and attempt to convince them that this system is justified one way or another. In the current system it appears that one way or another a complex system has been set up to deliver many ideas to convince the public to support the status quo complacently; however few if any of these ideas address many of the simplest basics instead they present a series of complex ideologies that the public have a hard time understanding and few of if any of them help the public understand cause and effect. In some cases some people will figure some of this out on their own and try to convince others but they may encounter people who respect authority so mush they believe the version given by the leaders with a passion and are very reluctant to listen.

The reason why these people and those with other prejudices adopt their beliefs begins very early in child hood. In fact if people want to address hatred and violence in the most effective way possible it should be done before it escalates which means starting at childhood or tracing problems back through history to understand how many of these institutions including education institutions were developed. When sorting through history it will be necessary to keep in mind who wrote the history and what their biases may be if you want to sort them out.

People become angry because they believe that someone infringed on their rights; however in many cases they don’t seem to understand who did so and they often place the blame based on emotional grounds or prejudicial beliefs. The greatest cause of anger often starts early in life perhaps before many children even learn ho to talk or understand what is going on. This has been confirmed by many psychologists, psychiatrists, sociologists and other related academics.

They have found that abused children are much more likely to become angry and violent adults.

They have also found that patterns of behavior developed early in life whether they are violent patterns of behavior or not often remain with them throughout life unless something is done to change this.

Since anger often starts before they understand much about the world and that pattern of behavior may remain with them for life it isn’t surprising that they may not know how to handle it very well. In many cases the person who abuses them is the parent which means it is the same person they are dependent of for the necessities of life. They are often looking for positive feedback from them and if their parents dictate the truth without accepting much if any rebuttal then the child may learn to respect authority without question but this doesn’t make the anger go away. If this happens and they need an out let they may search for a scapegoat. If the parent tells them stories which they may not fully understand that blames a certain scapegoat they may accept this then if it is repeated over and over again they may consider it sacrosanct. For example blaming the Jews or blacks in many white supremacist cultures may often bring positive feedback from their peers which are accompanied by an explanation why they are to blame.

This explanation may not be rational but it brings positive feedback and since this eases their anger it becomes more import than sorting out the truth. One of the clearest examples of this may have been demonstrated in a photo that was taken during the early 20th century of a lynching of a black man. This photo showed many white southerners celebrating with the black person that was lynched in the middle and in the front of smiling crowd was a young child who was also smiling.

(This isn't the picture that was described by someone collecting lynching photos but it comes close.)

There is a strong possibility that this child was raised in a strict disciplinarian manner and he may have found that if he went along with what his parents told him he would receive positive feed back. He may have been accustomed to hearing them talk about how bad the blacks are and how they should be punished and even executed when they get out of line. This child may have lived in fear of punishment from his parents but looked forward to the times where he received positive feedback. The way he may have learned to do this may have involved joining in the cheering when the white mob lynched the black person. If this is the case then it wouldn’t have involved any attempt to figure out whether the black infringed on anyone’s rights although there would almost be an accusation that would have been accepted without question.

This is conceivable the way many prejudicial beliefs develop.

If you look at Germany and many other parts of the western world and how the Jews were demonized by those in power you may see similar examples. The hatred from Irish Catholics, Muslims, Palestinians or any other group of people may be established in a similar manner although if they are the underclass it is more likely that they will also be the victim of legitimate infringements on their rights which also contribute to their hatred. If they challenge these beliefs it brings negative often violent feedback so if this happens when a child is young and insecure they are very susceptible to adopting irrational beliefs. When this happens early in life the child may grow up making most of their decisions based on emotional reasons or beliefs they feel comfortable with even if they aren’t rational.

Philip Greven reviewed the methods used to discipline many fundamentalist protestants and found that they relied heavily on corporal punishment. In the most extreme cases some of the methods recommended to many of the people involved using punishment to obtain obedience starting before the child even learns how to talk. Some of these religious leaders look at this as a battle of will where they have to decide who is going to be boss the parent of the child and they use fear to enforce their beliefs. If a child doesn’t accept the appropriate beliefs as they are dictated by the parent they are punished. This method stifles free will and encourages the child to accept what they’re told without question. This includes beliefs about who the enemy is. In many cases the enemy of a child may be chosen at birth and dictated to the child ensuring that hatred is passed from one generation to the next. This type of child rearing isn’t limited to fundamentalist protestants it has also been used by Catholics and Muslims for thousands of years. Ayaan Hirsi Ali has stated that she has observed this type of treatment routinely in Ethiopia, Kenya and Saudi Arabia although there were some variations in many countries and many children including Francesco Forgione were raised and educated with similar disciplinarian methods.

It was much more common to use these tactics to control the population including the adults when the Inquisition was still at it’s peak. When children are raised in this manner they are much more likely to accept what they are told from authority without question but not necessarily from just any authority. They expect authority to use might to enforce beliefs if the ruling authority doesn’t use this method but the authority in their local community does they may accept the authority that is backed up by force or coercion. An example of this may be the Neo Nazis who may not respect the governments’ authority but they do respect the authority from their own leaders who may use force and peer pressure to encourage conformity. Other examples may include people who were taught to accept only one form of beliefs or religion. If they are forced into another belief system they may be reluctant to adopt the new beliefs especially if they are kept together as a group. If they are separated some of them may be more likely to adopt the new belief system or at least they may appear to while others may resist and this may lead to escalating violence until the minority is forced to submit or they are killed. It may seem easier at times to control people like this with authoritarian methods but this will only lead to escalating violence in the long run which will do more harm than good. In order to break this cycle it will be necessary to reduce or eliminate child abuse and teach the children to think things through.

This could help polarize people’s beliefs and prevent them from looking at things from the point of view of opposing factions. Programs that address early childhood are much more likely to prevent hatred than those that wait until it escalates and they have to deal with adults with a lot of political power. Preventing child abuse at very young ages and participating in programs like Seeds of Peace when children are old enough may help to reduce hatred. However it will also be important to make sure that these peace efforts aren’t disrupted by more extreme people like when Ariel Sharon visited the Temple Mount complex and other holy sites for both the Jews and the Muslims and declared it would remain under control of the Jews. He did this with an escort of a thousand Israeli police officers because he knew it would enrage the Muslims which it did and conflict escalated. Instead of trying to encourage peace discussions with organizations like Seeds of Peace the conflict escalated and people on both sides became more polarized. The Seeds of Peace organization found that they had little or no support from their own people on both sides, and it took years before they could try again.

To make matters worse they elected Ariel Sharon to prime minister and refused to acknowledge that he may have been partially responsible for antagonizing the Muslims. The check points that have been hailed by some as preventing terrorists from carrying out their attacks have also deprived the public of many of the necessities of a reasonably decent life. This has done as much if not more to increase the anger of the Palestinians and encourage support for the more radical factions of the opposition than it has to prevent attacks. If they want to stop the tension in the long run they have to stop inciting hatred and driving the moderates away. Until both sides learn how to consider the point of view of the others and understand that when they deprive the children of basic needs including education they are only creating another generation that is raised on hatred. Reducing violent child rearing methods if and when they are being applied and preventing the hardliners from polarizing both sides is one of the most effective ways to reduce the hatred and resolve differences in the long run whether it is the Israeli/Palestinian conflict or any of the other conflicts around the world.

While some of these causes for hatred are emotional with little or no real grounds like when the whites hate the blacks or when anti-Semites hate Jews there are also many contributing causes of hatred that are based in accurate fact and these are often mixed in with the prejudicial causes of hatred which appears to make these prejudices legitimate. In order to address this in the most effective way possible both the legitimate causes and the prejudicial causes will have to be addressed although it may be easier to address them separately at times when possible. This will involve slow examination of many of the details and it will require people to find a way to control their tempers as much as possible for the duration of the process. If only one side is allowed to present points of views then it is guaranteed to fail even if it seems as if that side is by far in the right. The reason it may seem this way may be because the other side can’t present their views. It may also be that when the other side does have a chance to present their views that they are not very good at it. This may be the result of a poor education or being raised in a conflict or war zone. People raised outside of the conflict zone may have a much better ability to control their emotions and sort through the details but if they are involved in the system that influences the conflict they may have biases that interfere.

As I stated before many aspects of our life are controlled by many powerful institutions, these institutions are controlled and influenced by many people including the public. The majority of the controls of the institutions are not in the hands of the public although they often attempt to give the public the impression that it is, even if it was then many members of the public wouldn’t know what to do with the control of these institutions since they may not have an adequate education. Until the public does have an adequate education they may not have any choice but to leave the control in the hands of those that do; however that doesn’t mean that they have to continue leaving them with little or no accountability as the current system does. The people that currently control the Mass Media are only a very small percentage of the public and they are the same people that control many of the other most powerful capitalist institutions. This leads to a situation where the people with the most power have little of no accountability under the current system. In order to hold them accountable they need to rally a lot of support from the majority of the public but they can’t do this without the help of the Mass Media. This means that in order to sort through the real causes of hatred if some of it is caused by the corporations then it will be necessary to either reform the current system or create a new system at the grass roots level or both.

When it comes to the “war on terror” the USA is fighting against an enemy that hates us but many people don’t seem to have any idea what the real reason is. This is because the Mass media isn’t telling them about many of the most important facts but the “terrorists” are fully aware of some of them because they have to live with them. This doesn’t mean that all their reasons for hating us are legitimate as I said before but if the legitimate reasons are addressed then they will have a much harder time recruiting the more moderate people for their cause and the war may eventually come to an end if these moderate people recognize the extremists are not looking out for their best interests. If on the other hand the legitimate causes for hatred continue to be ignored then the moderates may continue joining the extremists if they’re the only ones that seem to be addressing these issues. This isn’t limited to the war against angry Muslims. It could include anyone that has a grudge with the capitalist system.

The capitalist system worldwide is supporting many regimes that provide little or no democracy to their own people and they often help increase profits by using slave labor, virtual slave labor where they consider the people free but deprive them of opportunities, destroying the environment, encouraging divide and rule tactics or many other tactics that lead to conflict around the world. If an American child from a rich family was kidnapped and forced to work in a sweat shop it would be considered an outrage but if the child come from a poor country it is ro99utine and this is often done to increase profits for many corporations although due to the complexity of the system and the fact that the Mass Media pays little or no attention to this many people don’t recognize it as a potential cause for hatred. This is just a tiny example there are also many examples where people are forced to live in environments that have been devastated by war and or industry that also lead to hatred. The majority of the public wouldn’t approve of these types of activity however since addressing them would infringe on the profits of the capitalist and they control the press they simply don’t tell the public about many of these facts. Instead they give them an enormous amount of propaganda and manipulate their emotions.

If the people of the developed world convince themselves that these legitimate causes they may believe that everything they do is justified but that won’t change the fact that the anger and hatred is still there and unnecessary wars will continue indefinably until either people address the facts or society self destructs. They can’t change these facts they can only prevent themselves from recognizing them and ensure that important decisions will continue to be based on lies. To put it in an overly simplified manner if someone threw a rock through a window and refused to acknowledge that by throwing the rock at the window they caused the window to break he would be considered absurd yet when it comes to inciting hatred many people including those with power do this on a regular basis however they always have a more complicated story to justify their actions and the opposition has another more complicated story as well. In many cases some of those with the most power have to know that there is a problem with the beliefs they present to the public they couldn’t possibly run many institutions if they could use basic reasoning skills. They don’t seem to be willing to change unless they are held accountable and this can only be done by an educated public that can control their tempers. In some cases where the leaders clearly have the discretionary skills to run a complex society they surely must have some understanding that they are infringing on the rights of the lower class. This may imply possible intent to use divide and rule tactics which have at times been clear. Jay Gould once said that he could “hire one half of the working class to kill the other half.” The alternative may be that they repeat their stories to themselves so often they start to believe them.

The major corporations that are impairing democracy are not just doing this abroad but they are doing it in the western world as well. In order to have a true democracy the public needs to have access to the information they need to make rational decisions and they need an education that enables them to process this information. We don’t have that either in the west or anywhere else in the world and until it is reformed there will be no true democracy and few if any people will have the information they need to understand the true causes for hatred and how to prevent it and stop wars.

This child doesn't seem to have been taught to hate ..... yet.

First posted on Tripod on 03/05/10

Seeds of Peace web site

(For more information on Blog see Blog description and table of context for most older posts.)

The following are the original replies when this was first posted on Open Salon.

You've made an excellent and cogent case, but I will never understand the cause for hatred. But I can see it's effects everywhere.

Fay Paxton October 20, 2010 07:04 AM

It might help to understand the early causes of hatred if you looked into how early child abuse leads to much more hatred later in life. As many people recognize hatred is often caused by immediate activities but there is much more predisposition to hate with people who have been abused as little children. To understand this better it might help to read something like “For Your Own Good” by Alice Miller or "Spare the Child: The Religious Roots of Punishment and the Psychological Impact of Physical Abuse" by Philip J. Greven. These books and more like them clearly indicate how important it is to reduce child abuse if society wants to reduce hatred and violence in the long term. Even if many people can’t see how it affects us in the long term it is hard to see how you can go wrong by reducing child abuse.

zacherydtaylor October 20, 2010 11:49 AM

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