When the movement to abolish slavery began more than 200 years ago slavery was denounced as inhuman and unChristian, but beyond that the Abolitionists did not attack the slave owners. The apologists for slavery however, were not so charitable and began a campaign of slander and vilification. The rhetoric heated up even more when the movement put down roots in the US. Then the Abolitionists began to return the fire and each side demonized the other. To use modern examples, to the slave owners, the Abolitionists were “communists” and to the Abolitionists, the slave owners were “Nazis”. A cynic might equally condemn both the Abolitionists and the slave owners for this rhetoric, but this would not be fair. The Abolitionists were only human, and vilification campaigns do take their toll. Years of rhetorical hostility made violence inevitable. Abolitionists were attacked by pro-slavery mobs, and then in Kansas a virtual civil war broke out between the pro and anti-slavery forces. This resulted in the killings at Pottawatomie led by John Brown and finally his attack on Harper's Ferry. When South Carolina left the Union in 1861, both sides in the dispute were raring for a fight. This example proves to me that hate makes peaceful change unlikely.
It is not that I expect slave owners, bosses and reactionaries to treat their opponents like they were participating in a post-grad seminar. The differences are real and unbridgeable. But campaigns of lies and demonization, in other words, hate, can only make matters worse. The struggle becomes longer, more bitter and more bloody, and in the end the forces of retrogression do not win.
We have a similar situation occurring today. Todays reactionaries, call them New Right, Neocons or the New Authoritarian Tendency, engage in a level of hate propaganda against libertarians and progressives unmatched since Josef Goebbels and Julius Streicher. The hate that is spewed by these authoritarians has naturally created a backlash from us, the victims of their lies. Below is a sample of the hate propaganda directed at “the Left” and “liberals” from a neocon blogger called “Canadian Sentinel”
"They hate Christians, Jews, America, Israel, freedom, democracy and the rule of law...the left is just like the Taliban. Hateful, evil... and totally cowardly. Disgusting, offensive, hateful, mean-spirited liberal-leftist homophiliac Christianophobes. Knuckle-dragging, low-brow, buck-toothed, cross-eyed, anencephalic, hairy-backed, smell-like-unwashed-ass bigots and zealots. Neanderthals. Monsters. Terrorists. Nazis. Fascists. Am I being too hard on the moonbats? …the left only cares about homos and Muslims. What if Dion’s Liberals allowed the Axis of Evil to attack, invade, occupy and transform Canada into a holocaust slaughterland to make way for a new ‘master race’ of Sinos or Muslims? If the Liberals are ever elected again, they’ll force...polygamy upon Canada...Abortion, euthanasia, turning the other cheek at genocide, turning the other cheek at 9/11, turning the other cheek when people are executed in the Islamic world... yep, the left is on high moral and ethical ground and can look down, sniffing, upon everyone who doesn’t kiss their stinky feet...liberalism, like those other ideologies, looks for all the world like a death cult. (1)
Storm Front's ravings seem mild by comparison! Don't think for a moment with an attitude like this, bordering on psychosis, this person if given an opportunity would not torture or kill those he hates. Don't think for a moment that reading this makes me wish to teach him manners, say with a base ball bat. But that is precisely what hate propaganda does.
As the Empire falls, as the glorious New World Order proclaimed by the New Authoritarian Tendency proves to be as lasting as the Thousand Year Reich, the hate propagandists may be sowing the seeds of a future civil war.
1. A tip of the hat to Red Tory for reporting this http://redtory.blogspot.com/2007/03/cognitive