Against All Hate

Behold, the vicious misanthrope,
The hater of the differences in skin,
The hater of the differences in kin,
The hater of what others would believe,
The hater who would hate without reprieve.

Behold, the vicious misanthrope,
The hater of the greatness man achieves–
When faced with man-made beauty only grieves–
The hater of the makers and the wealthy,
Who’s only happy when you are unhealthy.

Behold, the vicious misanthrope,
Who sees man as a plague upon the earth,
Denying humans have inherent worth,
Repulsed at all mankind has built–
Who wants us to dissolve in shame and guilt.

The ones who want us full of guilt and shame,
Inventing reasons humans are to blame–
From poverty to wealth and exploitation
To laziness, defenders of the nation–
This is the vicious misanthrope.

The nihilist denying life has meaning,
That value, values are a lie–those leaning
On nothing for support would dare deny
All beauty, justice, truth–say they’re a lie–
This is the vicious misanthrope.

You lovers of mankind, the rich and poor,
The individual–open the door
Of greatness, creativity and life–
Deny life’s haters, creators of all strife–
Oppose the vicious misanthrope!

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Ridiculous

When someone is laughing at us, it seems cruel –- if we take ourselves seriously. But people who laugh at themselves cannot hate others. Hatred of others come more from taking ourselves seriously as children take themselves seriously than from anything else. There is no one more serious than a child –- and no one is more easily hurt by others.

Mature people know not to take much seriously, and that not all things should be taken equally seriously at all times. Adults know that not every action done by others involves them or that, if an action turns out to be harmful or hurtful to them, that the person doing it did not necessarily always mean it that way. Adults are aware that not everything is meaningful, and that not everything is as it may at first appear. In other words, adults are aware of irony. Only children do not understand irony. And those who find meaning in everything are of a totalitarian spirit.

People who laugh with each other about each other do not want to kill each other. They do not even want to hate each other. Laughter dissolves meaning in a meaningful way, so we do not take each other so seriously we see each other as a threat. And when people do not take us seriously this way, we should not be offended –- they are learning to love us through laughter. But only if we laugh along with them. If we choose to get offended when people laugh at us we in turn show them that we are contemptible, that we do not or can not have a sense of humor. If we are perceived not to have a sense of humor, we will be taken seriously –- and if we are taken seriously, we are in danger of being hated.

However, we want people to laugh with us, not at us. All laughter is aimed at folly –- when we are acting good, we cannot be laughed at. Self-deprecating humor fits here too: people laugh with us as we laugh at our own shortcomings. Good people see the world as serious, but funny (as Aristotle says, serious people don’t take much seriously –- and know when to take something seriously). Good people laugh the most. Beware of the humorless -– even they know they are not good people.

Let me make a serious suggestion. How do we recognize a bad law? Can it be laughed at? Can we make a joke about it? If so, it is a bad law. Who jokes about the laws against murder, theft, or rape? You cannot vilify the good. You can only ridicule the ridiculous.

Excellence and Democracy

There are two kinds of equality: equality of outcomes and equality under the law. To get equality of outcomes, you have to have inequality under the law–you will have to treat everyone differently. After all, because people are inherently unequal in interests, intelligence, drive, etc., if people are living where the rules are equally applied, there will be inequality of outcomes.

The problem is that, much like with the two different ways one can be powerful, people confuse the two different kinds of equality.

“Everybody keeps calling for Excellence — excellence not just in schooling, throughout society. But as soon as somebody or something stands out as Excellent, the other shout goes up: ‘Elitism!’ And whatever produced that thing, whoever praises that result, is promptly put down. ‘Standing out’ is undemocratic” – Jacques Barzun

The problem, then, is that the pursuit of excellence is made increasingly difficult, as I’ve already observed. If we believe that equality means equality of outcomes, then democracy will inevitably drag everyone down into the mud. That’s why it’s so important that people understand that not all kinds of equality will result in equal outcomes. And, more, equality of outcome isn’t at all fair for that very reason.

Equality under the law, where people are literally treated the same through the rules of that culture/social systems/civil society, will result in unequal outcomes, but everyone will be treated the same. It also has the benefit of rewarding excellence rather than causing resentment toward it.

The Malady of the Age: Resentment

“Thus ressentiment becomes the constituent principle of want of character, which from utter wretchedness tries to sneak itself a position, all the time safeguarding itself by conceding that it is less than nothing. The ressentiment which results from want of character can never understand that eminent distinction really is distinction. Neither does it understand itself by recognizing distinction negatively (as in the case of ostracism) but wants to drag it down, wants to belittle it so that it really ceases to be distinguished. And ressentiment not only defends itself against all existing forms of distinction but against that which is still to come.

The ressentiment which is establishing itself is the process of levelling…a reflective and passionless age hinders and stifles all action; it levels. Levelling is a silent, mathematical, and abstract occupation….No one can be at the head of the levelling process alone, for in that case he would be the leader and would thus escape being levelled….The levelling process is the victory of abstraction over the individual.

The dialectic of the present age tends toward equality, and its most logical—though mistaken—fulfilment is levelling, as the negative unity of the negative reciprocity of all individuals.”

—Soren Kierkegaard, The Present Age

“Thus do I speak unto you in parable….ye preachers of equality! Tarantulas are ye unto me, and secretly revengeful ones!

Therefore do I tear at your web, that your rage may lure you out of your den of lies, and that your revenge may leap forth from behind your word ‘justice.’

‘Vengeance will we use, and insult, against all who are not like us’—thus do the tarantula-hearts pledge themselves.

And ‘Will to Equality’—that itself shall henceforth be the name of virtue; and against all that hath power will we raise an outcry!

Ye preachers of equality, the tyrant-frenzy of impotence crieth thus in you for ‘equality’: your most secret tyrant-longings disguise themselves thus in virtue-words!

Fretted conceit and suppressed envy—perhaps your fathers’ conceit and envy: in you break they forth as flame and frenzy of vengeance.

Inspired ones they resemble: but it is not the heart that inspireth them—but vengeance. And when they become subtle and cold, it is not spirit, but envy, that maketh them so.

But thus do I counsel you, my friends: distrust all in whom the impulse to punish is powerful!”

—Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spoke Zarathustra

Resentment perhaps drives more evil than any single thing. Other than covetousness. And the two are not unrelated. We resent those whose things we covet. We resent people whose husbands or wives we covet. But resentment goes beyond covetousness. We also resent the boss for telling us what to do; we resent the teacher for telling us what to think. We want to punish the powerful and bring them down to our level.

And therein lies the problem. Why do we want to tear people down rather than lift ourselves and/or the weak up? Of course, it’s easy to create equality among the trees by shopping them all down, while if we nourish them all equally, we will find that the trees will still manage to develop differently on their own.

And this doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t want to bring down the powerful. We should bring down governments when they become too powerful and oppressive. We should bring down institutions when they become too powerful and oppressive. We should bring down anyone who gains power through imposing their will on everyone.

But we should not resent, we should not want to bring down anyone who has gained through mutually beneficial exchange. The great artists, the great scientists, the great entrepreneurs, the great inventors should hold nothing but our highest esteem. Resenting them only shows just how much we hate the good for being good; hating them only shows the degree to which we hate humanity itself.