The other night I was accused of being a dangerous right wing extremist. This accusation came from someone I considered a friend, someone I play golf with. I knew he was a was an ardent follower of the Democrats, and I had seen him in the past become very emotional when discussing politics, so I always did my very best to avoid that topic with him. On this particular night we had just finished a round of golf and I was discussing the dismal season both Chicago baseball teams were having with another golfer when this man sat next to us and he brought up the topic of politics.
It seemed the ideas I espouse were quite radical to him. Wanting to know exactly what's so radical about freedom and in an attempt to pin down the details of his political beliefs, I tried to ask him some questions. The more I probed, the more excited and emotional he became. He seemed to believe that big government was the only answer to our economic problems and that my ideas of smaller governments with less power, free market regulations instead of government imposed restrictions and the empowerment of individuals to make their own decisions, both financial and personal, were dangerous. I suggested to him that big government was the purview of socialistic systems that had failed in the past, even the recent past. At this point he became very angry and claimed I had just accused all Democrats of being socialists.
I have to admit I was a little bit confused. I had not mentioned Democrats or Republicans. In fact, as most of you know, I believe that the two party paradigm is a big part of the problem and that we really have a one party system with two faces. I could tell, however, by the tone of this man's voice and the redness in his face, that he was not in a condition to listen to reason. Not wanting the situation to devolve and being one who wishes to de-escalate situations, I tried to find common ground. With the now clear knowledge that this man was cemented in the left/right paradigm as a Democrat, I decided to bring up my opposition to war and how we can scale back spending in that sector. I was surprised when he made the claim that these wars were necessary. I suppose I shouldn't have been.
By this time, however, I was completely befuddled by this man's insistence. I had tried to find common ground, but was unable to do so. I explained to him that I wasn't very good at explaining my point of view verbally, but was much better at the written word. That's why I had started writing my perspective in opinion articles, so I could avoid discussing them in inappropriate venues and manners. I tried to give him a card so he could look up my website and read my articles, but he refused to take it. His mind was made up and I was wrong and a dangerous extremist, there was nothing more to it. The conversation ended uneasily and I nervously changed the subject back to sports.
As I drove home, I began to wonder why it was my friend felt I was dangerous. I could understand that from his point of view I could be considered a right wing extremist, but dangerous? I'm a peaceful man. I advocate for peace. I advocate for civil disobedience and peaceful non-cooperation. I abhor violence against the state almost as much as I abhor the violence of the state, though I do understand the need for self defense. I merely want the government to leave me and anyone else who wishes for freedom alone. Is that so dangerous?
It struck me that perhaps, in his eyes, it was. I realized that he had not been arguing from reason, but from emotion. He was arguing to maintain the beliefs that had been pounded into his head since his youth. He had never been exposed to the possibilities of free market solutions and his imagination just couldn't fathom how they would work. He had been taught his entire life and indoctrinated into believing that big government was the answer. That is the way things have operated his entire adult life. He couldn't come to terms with the fact that his whole way of looking at politics and government might be an illusion, that they are just shadows dancing on the wall of the cave while the real answers to our societal and economic problems lie outside the cave of collectivism in the bright light of freedom. He was afraid to admit to himself that there might be a better way.
Fear and ignorance can lead to hatred. This is not a rational hatred, but one based on emotions. That hatred can easily be aimed at the wrong people. If you don't understand some culture, or concept, or philosophy, it becomes easy for manipulators to use a few extreme examples to get the ignorant to believe that all connected with that culture or concept or philosophy are the same. All anarchists become assassins and bomb throwing madmen. All Muslims become blood thirsty murderers wanting to kill the infidel and impose Sharia law. All libertarians become selfish money grubbers with no compassion for the poor and downtrodden. These are hardly enlightened points of view and lead to grave errors in judgment. Just look at what happened to the Jews in Germany in the 1930s and 40s when they became the reason for everything bad that happened in the economy.
Aiming hatred in this way leads to innocents getting caught up in an attempt to punish a few who may or may not have done wrong. Peaceful people should not be targeted for attempting peaceful change. People longing for independence should not be targeted for asking to be left alone. Those with open eyes should not be targeted for whistle blowing or for pointing out the wrongs that are done by governments and their agents. Most of all, human beings should not be targeted for exercising their God given freedoms, the freedom to own themselves and the products of their labor, to pursue their happiness as they see fit, to express themselves, to defend themselves, to practice their beliefs, to report the truth as they see it, etc. This is especially true in the United States of America where such rights were codified into the supreme law of the land and expressly forbade any government from violating these most important natural rights of individuals. Fat lot of good that's done us when no one in government is held accountable when they decide to violate those rights anyway.
Yet there are times when hatred is a reasonable response for wrongs that are done, albeit hardly ever a good one. I believe that forgiveness is a powerful healing force for yourself and others, but I can understand when people target their hatred at those who have harmed their family and friends, and I can't blame them for doing so. Yet I think it's more important and perhaps more effective to step back and examine the power structure of the organizations that have caused the harm. It seems to me that it hardly seems worthwhile to hate the human drones who seem to have lost their ability to think or tell right from wrong. They simply follow orders. It would make more sense to target your hatred higher up the power chain. I think it would be even more effective if the hatred one harbored was to be aimed at the hidden powers, the men behind the curtains so to speak.
Indeed, if one is to harbor hatred, wouldn't it make more sense to aim it at those who have brought the present situation to bear? Hasn't it become obvious by now that what we have been trying for the past few decades has utterly failed? Shouldn't the hatred be aimed at those who insist on doing things the same way and maintaining the status quo rather than at those who want to instill some genuine change into the establishment and actually try make them follow their rules and hold them accountable when they don't? Better yet, shouldn't that hatred be aimed at those who are able to pull the financial strings of the establishment and get whatever they want for their benefit and to the detriment of the rest of us?
Again, I don't think hatred is a good thing and I try not to let it live in my heart, but it seems to me that the ruling elite of this world, those in control of the central banks and the international corporate establishment, may harbor an extreme hatred for the masses of humanity. It seems that they hide in the shadows because they are not proud of what they do. In fact, it seems to me that they know what they're doing is wrong and they're afraid of being discovered by the common folk as being the real power behind the world's powers. Not that I blame them. They're likely afraid of the hatred that would be targeted at them should they be discovered for all the fraud and deception they've engaged in and how they've manipulated humankind into wars, occupations and other military operations for their own benefits and profits. They know how they treat those they harbor hatred for, so it'd only be natural for them to be afraid of how they would be treated by those who harbor hatred for them.
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