THE LAST DITCH An Englishman returned after twenty years abroad blogs about liberty in Britain
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“Hate speech” is ok, if it’s right on

Why is the Left so obsessed with “hate speech” and “hate crime?” If I am injured, I want justice, whether my attacker was motivated by hate or merely indifferent to my plight. If my goods are stolen, I don’t care if the thief was driven by envy, hatred or greed. I just want my stuff back and the thief out of circulation. If anything, while most of us would prefer to be loved, surely hatred is better than indifference?

So what is it with the Left and “hate?”

The Labour Party is having tactical discussions at present about Gordon Brown’s recommencement of hostilities (as if there was ever a truce) in the “class war.” The Blairites may point out (sensibly) that it is a turn off for floating voters, but class war is no mere option for Labour. Trust someone who grew up in the Labour heartlands; it is no aberration - it is its vile beating heart. Never an hour went by in my Northern school without some snide class-based remark from pupils or teachers. The enemy was invisible (there were no “toffs” in our bog-standard comp, comrade) but the hatred was relentless. It bound the tribe together. Denouncing someone as a “toff” was enough to make him or her an enemy. No further discussion was needed. I was caught up in this hatred myself for some years. Only gradually did the obvious strike me. It is no more logical to be proud of one accident of birth than another. Proletariat-worship is - ironically - a weird kind of feudalism.

It’s quite simple really and dangerously so. Without the bourgeoisie (the baddies) there is no justification for the violent dominance of the proletariat (the goodies). Just like those action movies that begin with the hero’s wife/girlfriend/children being killed/raped/mistreated by the “bad guys,” it’s a plot device to justify the vicious excitement that follows. Just as the dehumanisation of the “capitalists” - their conversion into stereotypical hate figures - makes them like robots or aliens in a sci-fi movie or video game. You can attack them gleefully, without shame or remorse because they are "other." It’s all deliciously tribal. Post-Soviet Socialism has consisted largely of a search for new hate figures; racists, homophobes, islamophobes, AGW deniers, smokers etc.

Hatred is actually the Left’s vice. It's hard, in a chicken and egg sort of way, to know which came first. I suspect that the malicious are actively drawn to left-wing thinking by the endless opportunities for hatred - of class enemies, of class traitors, of scabs, of blacklegs, of anyone - in short - outside the hate-defined tribe. Hatred unifies, purifies and creates all-important solidarity. Perhaps it is simply seen as a weapon too valuable to be available to the enemy?

When negotiating an agreement, the parties spend a lot of time worrying about how the “other side” might do them down. Their respective advisers get a lot of insights into human insecurities. One of the clearest lessons my 27 years as a commercial lawyer have taught me is that people fear most the wrongs they are themselves most likely to commit.

If you want to know what to fear from a man, look at what he fears in others.