UNE philosopher David Livingstone Smith blogs about nonsensical hatred of hate

David Livingstone Smith
David Livingstone Smith

September 08, 2017

Philosophy Professor David Livingstone Smith, Ph.D., wrote a blog, titled “Hate! Hate! Hate!” that was posted on the Philosophy Talk website on September 1.

In the blog, Smith addresses the widespread talk in the media about fighting against hate, an idea that, he claims, “doesn’t make any sense” if taken literally. Even if interpreted metaphorically, he says, the concept is not sound.

“Love and hate aren’t good or bad all on their own,” he explains. “Their goodness or badness, rightness or wrongness, depends on what it is that’s being loved or hated. It’s good to hate injustice, or cruelty, or indifference to the suffering of others, and it’s bad to love these things. So there are good hates and there are bad loves.”

Smith argues that calling groups, such as the neo-Nazi protesters in Charlottesville, “hate groups,” is not entirely accurate. “Even the Nazis – the original German ones – didn’t conform to the FBI definition of hate group,” he states. He quotes historian Claudia Koonz from her book The Nazi Conscience to point out that German Nazism was not packaged as hateful but, rather, as loving of “old-fashioned values of honor and dignity.”

Read the blog

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