Thursday, February 05, 2004

Been reflecting about how frequently Americans use the word "hatred" in political contexts these days - the Bushites keep repeating that liberals/foreigners all "hate America" "hate Bush" "hate freedom" etc, call Palestinians "hate-crazed", say Islamic fundamentalist terrorism is all about "hating Americans"... And I've also read some anti-war sites saying Americans should start to "hate" Bush for what he's done to the economy, for sending American troops to fight an unnecessary war, etc. etc.

To me this sounds strange and somehow shocking, it's not the kind of political language/climate I'm used to... I find it disquieting.

In Italy, "hate" isn't part of the political vocab: we use a lot of mockery, sarcasm, insults too, sometimes quite vicious ("sewer-rats" etc. ) ... but I've never heard the word "hate" - we usually say we "STRONGLY CONDEMN" something we disapprove of, say it's "a very grave error", "a perversion of democracy" or whatever, then go on to explain why. We'll say a politician/country is acting in an "unworthy" manner, that his/its behaviour is "shameful" ... "repulsive" et etc...but we don't use the word "HATE".. don't see or feel things in those terms. Same goes for NZ - in politics (national and international) we talk in terms of disapproval, not hatred.

The point being that the"judgement > disapproval > decision to oppose" sequence is a rational process which STAYS rational, but what seems to be insinuating its way into US politics seems more like a "judgement > anger > hatred" sequence - i.e. a sequence that starts off as apparently "rational", then totally abandons the rational sphere for that of passionate, irrational emotion..

So what comes after hatred... what's the next step, the culmination, the outlet for such states of hostile passion? Can all that hate really find adequate expression in anything as (let's be honest) tiresome/pain-in-ass-boring as normal political activism?? - Or does it naturally seek its most "appropriate" psychological release through some form of extreme violence??

Organized extreme violence = war - and irrational collective outbreaks of hatred produce mob violence - and also "berserker" warrior gangs (which is what soldiers degenerate into when they "freak out").

But for honesty's sake, I must admit that the rational side of the rational/irrational coin can also have a very dark side. In the years when Italy was devastated by political violence with terrorism from both far-right and far-left, "hatred" was NOT what it was about, it was NOT hatred that inspired those criminal acts, but various kinds of delirious "theorems". So the killing was NOT emotional, it was ... dutiful??? impersonal?? I mean, it seems those shootings/bombings were considered "necessary" but with no emotion even when targetting "enemy" politicians such as Aldo Moro - i t was all the result of a skewed analysis, a cold intellectual delirium.

Basically this was a "covert-op" or "military" mentality, an amateur version of the CIA /KGB and THEIR "cold war" theorems/theories - each murderous action carefully calculated not as an end in itself, but to create the desired political repercussions.

Incidentally, I think ALL "covert-ops" including non-state warfare aka "terrorism" operate in this same psychological mode ... the mentality is not emotional but one of impersonal "dedication" to the cause, i.e. not hatred but belief that the action is a "necessary sacrifice" for a final "good". a "national good" if the cause is national, a "universal good" if it's ideological /universal - which I think includes fanatical religious sects that split off from universal religions, including (as far as we know) Al Quaeda in relation to Islam??

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