While I’m gladdened by the outpouring of support after another synagogue shooting, I’m getting tired of framing this as a battle between ‘love’ and ‘hate.’ Bigotries, whether they be anti-Muslim, anti-Semitic, or racist, are not just psychological dysfunctions, nor are they some kind of Lovecraftian elder god lurking beyond the veil, which can only be defeated by purity of spirit. Bigotries are ideologies, as some asshole with a blog noted about cruelty (boldface added):
…consider, instead, healthcare. A fair number of conservatives don’t have a problem with our current system. Why? Because they believe those who have problems paying for it likely deserve it. If they worked hard, saved more responsibly, were better liked by their neighbors, and had a church that would help them, then healthcare wouldn’t be a problem. If they were good people–and good people, oddly enough, seem to be disproportionately white evangelical Christians–then they would not be receiving this misfortune (or, at least, would have the previously mention support systems). Besides, we know how those people are. This is an abhorrent melange of Ayn Randian libertarianism, Prosperity Gospel, and racism.
Put another way, what many people see as cruelty, they see as a just order. Like racism (and in part, derived from it), the cruelty provides a powerful organizing principle for understanding the world around them. Someone can’t afford healthcare? It’s their fault.
…Movement conservatives, when they think nobody is looking, have tried to eliminate government funding for programs like this (and Meals On Wheels, which they hate too). Why? To justify their worldview, they believe government has no business in helping people (except via tax cuts for the rich). If you can help the disabled, or elderly shut-ins, then you start down the slippery slope of helping people who have lost their jobs, and the next thing you know, it’s TEH SOCIALISMZ! all the way down.
We shouldn’t underestimate psychological dysfunction or the need to create ‘others’ for group identity, but the ideology of cruelty is a force that gives too many people meaning.
Bigotries are powerful organizing principles through which bigots organize how they think about the world (that makes these ideologies no less reprehensible). They often find shelter and succor in other ideologies that are adjacent. We need to start treating bigotry as ideology, and not viewing it as some kind of personal dysfunction.