One of the ubiquitous and relentless features of life under “Big Brother” in George Orwell’s novel 1984 was the Two Minutes Hate. Within the book, the purpose of the Two Minutes Hate was to re-direct the citizens’ subdued feelings of angst and hatred from leading their wretched, controlled existence away from their own government and toward external enemies (which may not even exist). By such a device, the ruling Party hoped to minimize subversive thought and behaviour. Orwell’s protagonist says, “The horrible thing about the Two Minutes Hate was not that one was obliged to act a part, but that it was impossible to avoid joining in. Within thirty seconds any pretence was always unnecessary. A hideous ecstasy of fear and vindictiveness, a desire to kill, to torture, to smash faces in with a sledge hammer, seemed to flow through the whole group of people like an electric current, turning one even against one’s will into a grimacing, screaming lunatic. And yet the rage that one felt was an abstract, undirected emotion which could be switched from one object to another like the flame of a blowlamp.”
Orwell did not invent the idea behind the term “two minutes hate“; it was already in use in the First World War. At that time, British writers satirized the German campaign of hatred against the English, and imagined a Prussian family sitting around the kitchen table having its “morning hate”. The word itself provokes all kinds of negative associations, from both “hate-ers” and “hate-ees.” But is hate, per se, always a bad thing? I hate cockroaches, stop-and-go-bumper-to-bumper traffic, both hard and soft-boiled eggs, the taste of vodka, among other things. While hatred of anything is not universal, I can say with confidence that two things out of my list of four come darn close to being universally hated. Oh yeah, I also hate “hate-crime” legislation!
Wikipedia definition: “Hate crime laws in the United States are state and federal laws intended to protect against hate crimes motivated by enmity or animus against a protected class of persons. Although state laws vary, current statutes permit federal prosecution of hate crimes committed on the basis of a person’s protected characteristics of race, religion, ethnicity, nationality, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, and disability. The U.S. Department of Justice/FBI, as well as campus security authorities, are required to collect and publish hate crime statistics.” I simply don’t understand this whole concept. From the victim’s standpoint, how is being stabbed, shot or robbed made worse by supposing the emotional state of the perp? “Uh, gee, it wouldn’t have been so bad if the shooter had liked me.” Is that what the victim is thinking? What about the victim’s family? “We miss dad more because the killer hated him” or “we would feel so much better if the killer had liked him.” Is that what his children are saying? What a stupid idea!
It seems to me that the most vocal promoters of hate crimes laws are often the same activists who champion so-called “non-discrimination” laws that include their favorite words: “sexual orientation, gender identity, Islamophobia.” Once codified, do those laws do anything to prevent discrimination? No they don’t, but they do provide a legal method through which those same “hate-crime” law enthusiasts can harass, bully, financially intimidate, and exact debilitating punitive fines and punishments on people whose conscience offends their agenda.
Should you ever be robbed, beaten or wounded by someone, and they haven’t explained to you why, with your remaining gasping breaths, ask “do you hate me”? If he says no, at least you’ll feel better. Or not.