Freeing Ourselves of Our Obsession
with Hatred and Violence
Hatred and violence now infuse virtually every aspect of our culture. The movies we watch, the games we play, the music we listen to, the television programs we follow, and even the newscasts we rely on for information provide us with daily exposure to levels of graphic violence unthinkable only a few generations ago. While many critics blame the sheer saturation of violent images for the reality of violence in American life, I contend that the problem is far more subtle. As I have demonstrated throughout Love to Hate, violence per se is merely a symptom of a more fundamental issue: namely, our ongoing obsession with hatred.
Violence does not arise spontaneously. Violence results from hatred. And while we publicly profess to despise hatred, our behavior as a society gives the lie to our claims of tolerance. From our fascination with hate groups and serial killers to our casual reliance on the thought and language structures that enable hatred and violence, we tolerate not only intolerance in others but also the seeds of intolerance in ourselves.
I want now to take a look at the process of freeing ourselves from our obsession with hatred and violence. First, I consider a case study of the power we actually have to stand up against hatred and violence. The movement against hatred inspired by the murder of Matthew Shepard