Wednesday, December 26, 2007


Ugly. From a site titled "my left wing."

And the consequence is this: I now find myself, for the first time in my life, hating Jews. I find myself hating the Jews on this site, both the Jews who have conducted their malicious campaign against me for so long and the Jews who have stood by in silent solidarity with them, never saying a word against their vile attacks, their cruelty and ugliness.

I find myself thinking that Proximity perhaps has the right idea, that Jews regard other human beings as objects, to be sacrificed to the interests of Jews. That Jews will always stand with other Jews no matter their guilt, and against non-Jews, no matter their innocence. The face of Jews has become unspeakably ugly in my sight, because of the ugliness of the Jewish haters here.

She said she began writing there intending to "rage at" the right wing, not to hate anyone. Is anyone but the writer surprised it ended in hatred?

You cannot go to the Internet to wage battle, because there's no matrix for winning. When you defeat an opponent in chess, he gets up and leaves the table, and your ranking goes up and his goes down. When you defeat an opponent in wrestling, he is counted out by the referee in front of the judges.

On the Internet, there is no referee. No end of the game. You can defeat the same opponent every day of your life and he takes no consequences. He will be back the next day, as fresh and active as ever. On the same thread or another. Doing what he has to do. It's like a chess player who keeps piling the pieces back onto the board after you've captured them. Which means you will be at war forever.

So instead of fighting, for an objective, people simply "rage." Like the elephant George Orwell didn't want to shoot.

When you speak only in rage and defiance and rejection, in contempt and mockery, you draw that back on you. When you bathe in what you spew, you find you can't get up and walk away from the smell. When you inhabit a crucible of hatred, don't expect to walk out with anything but the hatred left in you. And everything you once were turned to that hatred.

Back in Bill Clinton's day, there were those on the right who insisted it was not enough to be merely concerned or alarmed or opposed. You had to hate, to be willing to entertain any malicious wish or dark conspiracy. We watched them shrivel before our eyes into Gollums. "He hated it and loved it, as he hated and loved himself. He could not get rid of it. He had no will left in the matter."

Today, on the left, there is a mantra, "If you're not angry, you're not paying attention." Which means things are so dire in our world that the only appropriate response is a frothing rage. How that makes anything better I've yet to learn. But it is taken to heart. And it has the effect of making one's anger the measure of one's awareness. And it has the effect of making one's anger the proof of one's beliefs.

Which is what, I think, lends the comments threads on progressive blogs that peculiar taint that distinguishes them from the otherwise equally vicious threads on right-wing sites.

UPDATE: Edited a bit since Joe G. kindly quoted from it. When I first wrote it I was shocked and trying to comprehend this sort of evolution. I wrote it in a sort of shorthand to myself. I've since filled in the connectors.