Monday, July 27, 2020

Who Are You Going To Hate Next?

The 2001 film Conspiracy has stuck with me for nearly two decades. It's based on the Wannsee Conference where the Nazis developed what became known as The Final Solution. The script is taken from the only surviving transcript of the meeting.

The film contains two elements that haunt me. First, the meeting is conducted in a matter-of-fact manner with a working lunch. The arguments are never about whether genocide should occur but how to most efficiently implement it.

Second, Kenneth Branagh who plays Reinhard Heydrich, the Nazi who conducted the meeting, retells a story designed as a warning. 

The story's moral is that hate should not become so all consuming  so that when the object of hate is gone one has nothing left to live for.

The story is becoming more salient in 2020 as I foolishly read the comment threads on various blog posts or Twitter threads. Anyone to the political left of Joseph McCarthy is a communist who threatens to destroy the American Republic and anyone to the political right of Angela Davis is fascist who threatens to destroy American Democracy.

Politics has gone far beyond the "tastes great/less filling" type of debate. In fact, the political vitriol has become closer to the religious hatred satirized in Gulliver's Travels where arguments over whether whistling being a vice or a virtue could lead to war. In short, for some, political opponents are now someone to hate.

I don't know how widespread the hatred is or how deeply it has set in. I'm certain, however, that once hatred becomes entrenched as part of a pseudo-religious doctrine, there will always be a new target to hate. If that entrenchment occurs, we may all look back at 2020 with nostalgia.


David Newquist said...

When I was a GI on a guided missile base to protect West Germany, we were giving training sessions on how Nazi hatred was instilled into the population which included accounts of the most prominent practitioners. While those sessions covered anti-semitism, of course, they dealt with how hatred was cultivated as a frame of mind which could be focused on any object at command of the leaders. Most of us were draftees who would return to the U.S. and civilian life after our tours of duty. At the time the military forces were still engaged in the process of desegregation, and the hope was that we would carry the indoctrination against hatred into the civilian world. I think it was a factor in the civil rights movement. But that training kicks in with alarm at the spectacle of people like Rush Limbaugh, our present day Goebbels. Especially now that Trump awarded him with a "peace" prize.

David Newquist said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
larry kurtz said...

If you want to see outright hate and divisive vitriol just surf over to Betty Olson's Facebook page or just to the Dakota War Toilet and it slaps you right in the kisser. They're two pathetic examples of the extreme white wing of the Republican Party capitalizing the wedge issues funding America's dissolution.