Universal Hate

post by G Gordon Worley III (gworley) · 2017-01-18T18:32:25.921Z · score: 4 (5 votes) · LW · GW · Legacy · 19 comments

This is a link post for https://mapandterritory.org/universal-hate-c8c994d26cd5#.jyn37r1ih

19 comments

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comment by TiffanyAching · 2017-01-18T20:19:34.925Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

I must state that I don't think this meets the general "relevance" standard for political posts on LW, and I don't personally want to see that standard lowered.

That said, I do agree with the central point - in fact it's because it seems so ethically obvious that I don't think it clears the relevance bar. Is there anyone here on LW who is likely to disagree with the statement "hating every member of a group X on principle is irrational and counter-productive"? I'm not trying to be sarky, it's a good post, I just don't see how it's likely to provoke a discussion or a debate here.

comment by Daniel_Burfoot · 2017-01-18T18:41:45.666Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Everyone has every right to feel as pissed off and angry at this bullshit that’s coming down the pike as they want.

This really is not true. You have a right to be annoyed, but if your ideology causes you to actually hate millions of your fellow American citizens, then I submit you have an ethical obligation to emigrate.

comment by TiffanyAching · 2017-01-19T05:37:40.037Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Okay. I assume you mean religions and political parties. Nominal membership in a religion requires no specific action. 90% of Irish people would be considered "Catholic" by virtue of having been baptized and confirmed as children. They need not have taken any specific action as adults to be afforded that designation, nor do they need to be "practising" in any active sense - going to Mass, for example. Many don't. They still go down as Catholics.

In the case of political parties, you're right that an individual needs to register, or vote a certain way, or take some action as an adult to be counted as a "member of that group". I still think that's a very obviously different kind of category to one like "murderers". Of course it's possible to argue that claiming membership of a specific political party is inherently immoral - a lot of people would argue that for membership in a neo-Nazi party, for example, though I did specify "large" parties up above (large as in mainstream, not niche or fringe, one of the main political parties of a nation, containing a decent percentage of that country's population). Is that what you're arguing?

And any comment on the "liars" question?

comment by TiffanyAching · 2017-01-19T05:11:43.679Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Perhaps I should have been more specific - I did not mean groups in the sense of "people who have all performed a certain action", like murder. I meant "groups" in the sense of things likes nationalities, ethnicities, major religions, large political parties. The kind of groups that are not morally uniform, if only by virtue of their size - even if membership in that group correlates to some degree with a negative action or attribute. Russia has the highest rate of alcoholism in the world, but saying "I hate Russians because they're drunks" is irrational. Millions of Russians - in fact most Russians - are not alcoholics. If you can suggest a more precise term than "group" so that I can convey my meaning better I'd be grateful.

That said, I'd be interested in a more detailed explanation of what you mean by "hating all liars". Do you mean that you hate people who have told at least one lie, people who frequently lie, people who habitually lie, or people who lie for specifically selfish reasons? "I hate all liars on principle" is a pretty broad statement.

comment by TiffanyAching · 2017-01-20T01:53:52.189Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

That's not helpful. One definition is "being willing to oppose someone even at personal cost", but that doesn't include cases like "I hate chocolate ice cream."

Okay - what would you say is the best way to articulate what you mean by "hating" liars, for example, as opposed to "hating" chocolate ice cream?

(You don't really hate chocolate ice cream, do you?)

comment by drethelin · 2017-01-20T01:03:07.622Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

It is in fact irrational and counter-productive to hate all liars on principle.

comment by TiffanyAching · 2017-01-19T20:12:30.403Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

As far as "rational" in some situations in may not be worth spending the effort to determine if this person is one of those extremely rare "good X's".

Granted - but it's not necessary to determine that. It's only necessary to recognize that there are "good Xs" and direct your hate to what you hate about the "bad Xs". If some but not all Blues are thieves and you hate theft, it's only necessary to recognize that and say "I hate thieves" instead of "I hate Blues" in order to make your real meaning and position clear.

I was going to start by questioning the utility of hating abstract concepts, then I realized part of the problem is that we may be conflating several things under the word "hate".

I think you're right. Maybe "abhor" is more useful in this context?

comment by Jiro · 2017-01-19T22:11:40.375Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

If some but not all Blues are thieves and you hate theft, it's only necessary to recognize that and say "I hate thieves" instead of "I hate Blues" in order to make your real meaning and position clear.

By this reasoning, one should say "I hate people who want to kill the Jews", but not say "I hate Nazis", on the grounds that there may be an extremely rare good Nazi who is only a Nazi because he was raised in a town where Nazis happen to be so common that he was a Nazi for cultural reasons or something like that.

comment by Good_Burning_Plastic · 2017-01-20T14:17:50.651Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

an extremely rare good Nazi who is only a Nazi because he was raised in a town

I'd guess that in late 1930s Germany such Nazis weren't extremely rare.

comment by TiffanyAching · 2017-01-19T22:40:44.582Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Well, Science having pointed out above that membership in a political party is a choice made by an adult, rather than a group people are born into like nationalities or - I'd argue - many religions, I conceded the point you're making. It was in among a bunch of other stuff so here's the quote:

With big demographic groups, your hate cannot be directed at a specific action that they all, by definition, must have taken - except, as you pointed out, in the case of freely-chosen political party membership, but then only in the case that you consider membership of that party in and of itself, regardless of other actions or beliefs, such an awful thing as to deserve hatred.

comment by TiffanyAching · 2017-01-19T07:38:27.740Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I'd say the most important property is whether being Catholic is part of one's identity. Specifically "I admire those who are better Catholics than myself and consider them to be holier and more virtuous people than myself. I feel somewhat guilty about not being more like them."

I take your point, but that gives the notional I-hate-Catholics guy a pretty difficult task of differentiation, since plenty of people who identify as Catholics - if you asked them if they were Catholics, they'd say yes - don't mean that. They mean "I was baptized". So a more accurate statement for IHC guy would be "I hate Catholics who do/say/believe X, Y or Z - though I don't count as real Catholics, and therefore do not hate, people who refer to themselves as Catholics but who don't do/say/believe X, Y or Z". Even among self-identified Catholics who do the odd bit of practicing - midnight Mass at Christmas, funeral services, praying to St. Anthony when they've lost their keys - many don't align with Catholic dogma on many subjects (pre-marital sex, contraception etc.). Identifying as Catholic means a different thing to them than the Pope would like it to, but they still do it.

And if IHC guy instead says "I assume that everyone who claims to be a Catholic means that they do/say/believe X, Y and Z, and therefore I will hate everybody who describes themselves as Catholic", then that's where "useless and irrational" comes in - because he's including in his hatred people who don't actually do/say/believe the actual things he has a problem with. That's the basic problem with attributing a negative characteristic to a huge group of people - the likelihood that it holds true for all group members diminishes as group-size goes up, unless the group is specifically defined as "people who have done X".

This is more-or-less where we disagree. Yes, you could define such a category by using a fractal shaped boundary, but it's unclear why it would be relevant to the question of whether one should hate members of that category.

I think my point above goes to this. If you hate the crime of murder then it makes sense that you would direct your hate at every "murderer". By definition they have done the thing you object to. Russians, however, are not alcoholics by definition, so hating Russians for being drunks makes no sense. With big demographic groups, your hate cannot be directed at a specific action that they all, by definition, must have taken - except, as you pointed out, in the case of freely-chosen political party membership, but then only in the case that you consider membership of that party in and of itself, regardless of other actions or beliefs such an awful thing a as to deserve hatred.

A decent definition is "one who lives by lies".

Thanks for clarifying.

comment by TiffanyAching · 2017-01-19T06:30:07.884Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

What about practicing membership? What about identifying as?

Well, what about it? There are people who practice Catholicism and people who don't. There are people who say "I am Catholic" meaning "I actively follow the rules of Catholicism", and and people who say "I am Catholic" meaning "I was baptized and confirmed in the Catholic Church when I was a kid". They all go down as Catholics on the census. Practicing Catholics are a subset of the number of people recorded as Catholics in the world.

How so? What's the relevant difference, and why? Especially when the comparison is with something like "fraudster"?

To be quite honest, simply because I think there's a category of group-memberships that includes things like nationalities and political affiliations and religions, and doesn't include things like "fraudster", "golfer" or "rationalist" and it was the former meaning I intended to convey in my original post. Group is clearly too vague a term. If I said "demographics" instead of groups would that be clearer?

Why is the size relevant here?

Moral uniformity and broadness of political platform, I'd say. As the party gets larger the pool of potential beliefs/positions that can be held under that party's banner becomes more broad - I accept that those two things don't always go hand in hand, but they do usually in democracies where people are free to choose their party, and in systems where people are less free to choose their party there's a whole other moral aspect to membership. As the potential beliefs or positions that can be held by an individual who still calls themselves an X-member rises it becomes less accurate to ascribe one specific noxious characteristic to all group members.

And to bring it back round to the initial topic of debate, would you say that it is useful to hate all members of a particular political party given that you thought that membership in it was immoral? Can you give an example? And what about the liars? I'd like to understand your position more clearly.