This profoundly offensive catchphrase was coined by the well-known birther and “counter-Jihadist” Pamela Geller back in June, 2010, when Pay Pal temporarily suspended her website Atlas Shrugs’ account for violations of Acceptable Use Policy (specifically the “promotion of hate, violence, racial intolerance or the financial exploitation of a crime”). Geller revived it as a rallying cry in the fall of 2011, when a series of hotels abruptly declined to host her anti-Islam conferences; she and a number of her followers bravely Tweeted it in support of Rush Limbaugh after his troubles with Sandra Fluke a few weeks ago. Sometimes, Tourette-like, it appears on Facebook status updates and Twitter feeds for no discernible reason at all. I usually see it when it does, because I have been tracking the phrase “The New Hate” (the title of my new book).
Like the battle against the supposed tyranny of Political Correctness a few years back, the implication is that the kinds of statements that leftists excoriate the loudest–about the intrinsic evil of Islam, the sluttishness of feminists, the intellectual and moral shortcomings of people with darker skins–are in fact courageous acts of truth telling. In a paradoxical twist that might have come out of the pages of Through the Looking Glass, calling a person or a group out for bigotry is decried as an act of hatred in and of itself. From this perspective Media Matters, the ADL, the Southern Poverty Law Center, Right Wing Watch and other media watchdogs are cruel bullies, bilious with resentment and bloated with George Soros-supplied cash, hell bent on besmirching the reputations of innocent Tea Partiers, Know Nothings, white nationalists, anti-Semites, and right wing talk show hosts, whose only crime is that they told “an inconvenient truth.”
When Max Blumenthal wrote about the filmmaker and provocateur James O’Keefe’s past racist associations a few years ago, the late Andrew Breitbart leapt to his protégé’s defense. “You have been programmed by some ungodly creature to be this character of hatred,” he shouted at him. “Accusing a person of racism is the worst thing that you can do in this country.” With video cameras rolling, Breitbart set out to turn the tables not just on Blumenthal but on the entire left, giving the right a “have you no decency at long last” moment of its own. “Your entire job is trying to destroy people with Alinsky tactics,” he continued. “Guilt by association…..You’re trying to destroy people’s lives through innuendo!”
Never mind that Breitbart himself was the impresario of the infamous video in which, thanks to deceptive editing, Shirley Sherrod appeared to be declaiming her hatred of white people to an enthusiastic NAACP audience–in fact she’d told them an inspirational story about how she’d overcome the temptation to hate. Though Breitbart couldn’t bring himself to apologize to Sherrod when she was vindicated, he was quick to seize the moral high ground of victimhood for himself. “All I’m seeing is people right now seeing blood in the water and coming after me,” he complained to Politico, “and the amount of half-truths and falsehoods that are out there in the pursuit of taking me down because they perceive that I’m a threat, it’s astounding.” I have quoted Thomas Frank’s maxim a thousand times, but I might as well quote it again: “Indignation is the great aesthetic principle of backlash culture; voicing the fury of the imposed upon is to the backlash what the guitar solo is to heavy metal.”
I have been the object of some of this rhetorical ju jitsu myself. Some months ago, while blogging about Ron Paul’s notorious newsletters, I mentioned that the Political Cesspool’s James Edwards (“we represent a philosophy that is pro-White,” his radio program’s mission statement reads) and Don Black (“We are a community of White Nationalists,” proclaims the homepage of his website Stormfront, “There are thousands of organizations promoting the interests, values and heritage of non-Whites. We promote ours”) had both endorsed Paul. Edwards fired back, characterizing my piece as a “hate filled screed” and a “hit piece.” “Not that it matters,” he added, “But I’ve never considered myself to be a ‘white supremacist,’ which is just a liberal code word for conservative White person.”
A few weeks ago, the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Intelligence Report published an article I wrote about Men’s Rights websites. Though “some of them voice legitimate and sometimes disturbing complaints about the treatment of men,” I wrote, “what is most remarkable is the misogynistic tone that pervades so many.” Countless aggrieved bloggers from the “manosphere” took extravagant umbrage, claiming that my description of their writings was not only libelous but dangerous, exposing them as it did to the wrath of vindictive feminists. First of all, they argued, they’re not misogynists; second, radical feminism not only promotes misandry or man hatred but has made it the law of the land. “Have you ever visited feminist blogs…and seen the level of hatred in THEIR comments section?” one letter asks. “YOU are the HATE GROUP for trying to prevent MALES from attaining civil liberties which have been confiscated by radical feminist groups.”
In short, they lamented, the truth is the new hate speech.
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