American Politics 102: Hate Hoaxes

“A Kansas police officer resigned … after admitting to fabricating a story that employees at a local McDonald’s wrote the words ‘F—ing Pig’ on his coffee cup.”

This is not an isolated incident. There have been hundreds of hate hoaxes across the US in the past several years. The most famous one is probably Jussie Smollett’s, but there’s a long list of other cases; in fact, one researcher “compiled a database of 346 hate-crime allegations and determined that less than a third were genuine.”

Politics is war, and war is as old as mankind (or chimpanzeekind). But hate hoaxes are relatively new. What can they teach us about how political war works?

In real war, with swords or guns, you generally want your side to appear as strong and intimidating as possible. Your goal is to scare your enemy.

In American political war today, you generally want your side to appear as weak and oppressed as possible. Your goal is to demonize your enemy.

And with that goal in mind, hate hoaxes make perfect sense. A hate hoax makes you look weak and oppressed and your enemy, well, hateful. It makes you look like the victim deserving of sympathy—and validates your anger and retaliation against anyone who opposes you.

Hate hoaxes, in other words, exaggerate your enemy’s hatred and power. And in political war, exaggerating your enemy’s hatred and power is the smart thing to do. Most people are anti-hate, so if you can successfully portray your enemy as a hateful oppressor, you can get most people to turn on him. You can make him the target of their outrage and indignation (and hatred). And then you’ve won the political war.

Especially if you’re the Blue Establishment. There are hate hoaxes on both sides (and genuine hatred on both sides), but Blue is the Establishment, Blue dominates American culture, and Blue’s morality is victim morality, so only Blue has been able to turn its hate hoax into a full-fledged Narrative and worldview.

We’re all familiar with the Blue Narrative because, well, we’re all living in it. It’s the hate hoax according to which whites/men/Christians/cops are exclusively and systematically oppressing nonwhites/women/non-Christians/criminals. The Blue Narrative is a hoax not because no such oppression exists—white men have done plenty of awful things throughout history—but because it shamelessly distorts and exaggerates. Which is why millions of Americans are protesting a police brutality “epidemic” which simply does not exist.

(How many unarmed black men would you guess were killed by the police in 2019? Hundreds? Thousands? The answer: as few as nine—and of course the number of unjustified killings is even lower. But the Establishment has convinced half the country that a genocide is underway because it wants us hysterical and under its control.)

(Another case study: What proportion of anti-Semitic hate crimes in New York would you guess were committed by right-wing extremists after Trump’s election? Most? All? The answer: none. “During the past 22 months, not one person caught or identified as the aggressor in an anti-Semitic hate crime has been associated with a far right-wing group.” If you answered “most” or “all,” you have probably been hate hoaxed by the Establishment.)

(Final case study: Have you seen any recent video or photographic evidence of roving bands of “white supremacists” doing anything like this, this, or this—not to mention this? If not, then consider the possibility that you are being lied to about the nature of hatred, violence, and crime in America.)

The truth is that America in 2020 is about as unoppressive a place as has ever existed for nonwhites, women, and non-Christians, and that Reality is much more nuanced than the Blue Narrative admits (and often the opposite of what the Narrative says). The truth is that the Establishment is not ignorant Trump supporters but rich people in Washington, New York, and San Francisco—not white men in general (many of whom are profoundly unprivileged) but woke Blues.

The Establishment, however, has done everything in its power to get you angry at the Great White Bogeyman instead of at it, because the the actual people with actual power want your anger directed at scapegoats (white people, men, cops, “racists”) rather than at them. It’s not hard to see why: The more the powers of this world can control your worldview and anger, the more they can control you.

But I don’t want to be controlled by anyone but God or hysterical and unhealthily angry. I want to be rational and free. For me, and for most of us, that means erring on the side of being less angry, for at least two reasons. The first is that anger is generally bad for you:

Of the Seven Deadly Sins, anger is possibly the most fun. To lick your wounds, to smack your lips over grievances long past, to roll over your tongue the prospect of bitter confrontations still to come, to savor to the last toothsome morsel both the pain you are given and the pain you are giving back—in many ways it is a feast fit for a king.

The chief drawback is that what you are wolfing down is yourself.

The skeleton at the feast is you.

Frederick Buechner, Wishful Thinking: A Theological ABC

The second is that clamping down on anger is a necessary step to seeing the world clearly. It keeps us from rushing to judgment when we hear about the latest incident (which may be a hate crime or a hate hoax—or just an honest mistake). And it allows us to see through the Blue Narrative—or any other narrative—and understand Reality for what it truly is: something quite different from the hate hoax in which we currently live.

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