I have been preoccupied with soi-disant enemies of Hate, those men and women who are on fire to abolish what cooler heads must recognize as a highly ambiguous sentiment. Hate is an ambiguous sentiment because it is always joined to love, like follow and lead in a partner dance. Thus a world without hate would be a loveless world, an apotheosis of apathy, a United States of Whatever.
Hate is the emotion one naturally feels towards that which threatens to harm, is harming, or has harmed something one loves. When the harm is prospective, hate steels the heart to prevent it. When the harm is in progress, hate strengthens the arm to stop it. When the harm is accomplished, hate feeds the resolve to revenge it.
This is why a man can say that he “hates hate” without contradiction. But what he means is that he hates what he believes to be a disordered hate. Disordered hate is hatred directed at an object that does not deserve to be hated, or at least hated to the degree it is hated. Disordered hatred is a species of injustice.
Disordered hate is the always partnered in a dance with disordered love, which is love directed at an object that does not deserve to be loved, or at least loved to the degree that it is loved. This too is a species of injustice.
Thus beneath all the sound and furry about Hate lie questions about the proper order, and principal disorders, of the human heart. It appears to me that there are four varieties of disordered hate: wrathful hate, hysterical hate, fanatical hate, and satanic hate.
Wrathful hate is hate that has broken its tether to love. It is no longer directed to the prevention, cessation, or vengeance of harm, but has swollen to mere madness. Wrathful hate is what used to be known as a passion, back when we understood that passion was not a good thing. Rage is another name for wrathful hate, and is almost always transitory.
Hysterical hate is hate aroused by misplaced fears. It is directed at chimerical threats and imaginary dangers. It is sometimes called a “moral panic” because it forecasts harms that will not come. “Homophobia” and “Islamophobia” are, for instance, charges of hysterical hate because (it is claimed) homosexuals and Muslims pose no danger to anything. Those who think that they do are in the grip of hysteria.
Fanatical hate is hate aroused by misplaced love. In this case the threats and dangers may be real enough, but the thing that is threatened or endangered does not deserve protection from harm, or at least protection of the ferocity the fanatic is ready to offer. As the name implies, the prototype for this is hatred of men who desecrate the temple (fanum) of a false god, although today such hatred is more often seen among ideologues of one stripe or another. Touch the idol of a fanatic with unclean hands, and watch the molten hate erupt.
There is, to be sure, a grey zone between hysterical hate and fanatical hate, but most cases are easy to classify as one or the other.
Satanic hate is simple hatred of the good, the prototype being, of course, Satan’s hatred of God. Satanic hatred is hatred for everything that is loved by a heart that is properly ordered, which is to say everything that is good, beautiful and true. I suspect that envy lies at the heart of satanic hatred, for a man in the grip of satanic hatred feels humiliated rather than exalted in the presence of anything greater than himself. The well-ordered heart honors and reveres things that are greater than itself; the heart disordered by satanic hatred burns to tear such things down.
A well-ordered heart is not a heart without hate, for to be well ordered it must burn with hatred for hateful hatreds. To do so is a simple matter of justice.
The question, of course, is which hatreds are truly hateful, and which are perfectly just. No thoughtful man is an enemy of Hate, but only of what he believes to be disordered or unjust hates directed against things that are not truly hateful.
But most of the soi-disant enemies of Hate are not, so far as I can see, remarkable for thought.