So this good old boy at work enjoys reminiscing about his exploits in killing small, helpless animals. He brags to me about sticking firecrackers into the bodily orifices of terrapins, about burying cats up to their necks in the front yard and then running a lawn mower over them. He makes fun of the Jewish guy, leaving a smelly fart next to his computer and then quipping, "I wanted to give you a present. Isn't Hannakah coming up?" In fact, he derides everyone who disagrees with him. Then he can't understand why people don't like him. Hmm.

This, of course, is a small example of a widely observed phenomenon I call "Don't Hate Me Because I'm Evil". Plenty of wartime generals from third-world countries display this attitude - "Just because I tortured old men and had my troops rape young women, just becuase I ordered 7000 acres of virgin rainforest to be burned, just because I disposed of every person in my way, those are no reasons to hate me! I believed in a cause, and I acted on it." Advocates of cultural relativism tend to take this view, as well. "Don't hate people who practice female genital mutilation - it's just part of their culture!" Well, I'm beginning to wonder: What is a good reason for hating someone? We're not supposed to hate mass murderers becuase they have mental conditions. We're not supposed to hate those who practice acts of torture and mutilation when it's a "time-honored cultural practice". Who can I hate?

The one consensus everyone seems to be able to reach is: We can hate anyone who vehemently disagrees with us. We hate political candidates who advocate a government that's too large or too small; we hate producers and directors who make movies or TV shows portraying people we dislike; we hate actors who're more atractive than we are. Hate is a very strong word, and our culture seems to use it in cases it shouldn't be used in, and we don't use it in cases where we should. I, for one, don't think it's okay to hate someone who disagrees with me. I might not like them, but I don't have to hate them. I do, however, harbor a bit of hatred for those who take advantage of those less priviliged than they are. I hate people who create pain for the sake of seeing someone - or something - suffer. There are some things that are universally wrong - the massacre of innocents, the torture of the helpless, the abuse of power. These things we can and should hate. But lease, don't hate me because you disagree with me.

(End of Rant)

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