Individual Hate Versus Collective Hate

Steven Spielberg spoke to NBC’s Lester Holt about the re-release of his award-winning Holocaust drama, “Schindler’s List,” and how times have changed for the worse since.

“I think there is more at stake today than even back then,” Spielberg told Lester Holt. “Individual hate is a terrible thing, but when collective hate organizes and gets industrialized, then genocide follows. We have to take it more seriously today than I think we have had to take it in a generation.”

Individual hate versus collective hate. Individual hate we Judeo/Christians saw first in Cain who murdered his brother out of hate for what he presumed his privilege given him by YHWH. We can easily identify collective hate seen in the English hatred for the Irish, a people they considered unhuman, not inhuman but not even worthy of being human. Lenin, then Stalin and so many Russians gave us a good example of collective hate as they starved out Ukrainians in an attempt at genocide. Of course, collective hatred from Hitler and so many willing participants in his genocide of the Jews sticks prominently out there. Mao’s hatred was also a collective hate, not just his individual hate for the proletariat class whom he moved into re-education camps to squeeze capitalism out of them.

Spielberg is no conservative, rather a supporter of Obama and Hillary, a progressive that wants to see a fundamentally different America. He’s not a postmodernist, he believes in certain absolutes, certainly a higher moral from a higher source than ourselves. I watched the interview that was about the re-release of the movie and for a brief moment touched on the reality of individual and collective hate, certainly the Holocaust was collective hate at its worse. Spielberg understood how hate gone collective ends in tragedies like the Holocaust and we need to understand this, especially today when hate has so proximately entered our lives because of political irrationalism. I don’t know if Spielberg was thinking politically when he made his statement about collective hate filled with one-sided thinking only about the hatred of the so-called alt-right. Or was his thinking more universally to include all sides of our political intolerance against each other, our collective guilt for a collective hatred, no names attached.

I’m certainly thinking that way. Our national addiction to outrage is devolving into a collective hatred on its way to a greater violence because all sides (people) of the argument are fighting. If you’re right now sticking you index finger out pointing to this group or that group and yelling, “They started it!” shame on you. As some like to say, when you point your finger your thumb is pointing back at you. How true. What I’m saying here is that unlike what we’ve historically seen where one group is the collective haters, in our modern society here in America we’ve all become collective haters. We call it “tribalism”, or label it identity politics where we’ve herded people into collective groups where it’s easier to hate the group than individuals.

This is where we are since Trump became President. I know some of you Democrats like to believe the hatred over Obama was worse, but you live in some alternate world of unreality and the evidence is on history shelves of newsrooms, both visual and print media. Take a seat before a monitor and review in full color real history. If you can’t be honest with what we both see in real time then there is no hope you will understand where we as a nation are going; the abyss of history. But I have to be careful here to not let my anger over false representation lead me to hatred that will lead me to collective hatred.

I understand that I, as a so-called white Christian male, am assaulted with every pejorative hateful title one can find in the dictionary, and some made up, and stapled to my forehead and collective hate is hurled at me. So some of you won’t listen to me.

If you like Steven Spielberg because he is liberal progressive, even though he is a white male who evidently “woke,” then listen to him and worry that you just might be caught up in collective hate and repent because it won’t end in anything good. If you are a conservative you too should listen to his words for the same reason. “When collective hate organizes and gets industrialized,” Spielberg’s most telling words. When we normalize hate we also organize it and next thing you know we form armies fully outfitted with weapons of war and charge into battle.

I watched an episode of Outlander last night, a scene where Jamie Frazer was confronted with several Cherokee and the tension between them made you wonder if fighting would break out. Then Jamie let his large knife drop blade first into the ground signaling, “Peace, let’s pow wow without hate driving us.” A fitting phrase comes to mind here, and appropriate because it comes from an American Indian tradition: “Bury the hatchet, let’s make peace, become friends.” Both feared the other, and with some good reason.

We on the left and right have some good reason to distrust each other, to think unkindly about each other, but let’s bury the hatchet, make peace, become . . . maybe not so much friends but at least reasonable with each other. Where we’re going right now is to a hell neither of us really want, but collective hate leads you there and right or wrong doesn’t matter as we all are swallowed up by hate.