More on Ritual Hatred

Unfortunately the photos in my last post gave some of my readers the vapors. I promise that in the future I will provide a ratings system for dear old ladies of Victorian sensibility, autocratic patriarchs who are offended by the image of young ladies participating in a “man’s” sport, and serial blowhards who like to make themselves feel good by going ballistic over graphic design choices.

In the interest of balanced discussion, here is the substance of the article in which I examine why people get express feelings of hatred on the internet towards others who engage in activities they find wrong or distasteful.  

Social media seems to be taking on a sociological role of letting people feel morally superior by conforming themselves to the right opinions, independently of their actions. Someone can feel like he is accomplishing something, taking a stand, when he is in fact doing nothing. Millions of people tweeted #bringbackourgirls knowing full well it was not going to do anything to save the still-kidnapped Nigerian school-girls, but it made them feel good about themselves: it was a way of showing they were good people with good feelings.

Ludicrously, this notion that correct feelings are a substitute for action seems to have infected the United States government: hence the First Lady tweeting #bringbackourgirls  knowing full well that her husband had long since decided that he was not going to send Delta Force on a risky rescue attempt… which was the only thing that might have done any good.

The more sensitive you are to “right feelings” the higher your imagined value and social standing. Hence, it is not enough to be against ordinary racism like denying someone a job just because he is black. You want to be on the cutting edge of right-feeling, and be against things that nobody ever thought was racist, like “The Washington Redskins”, which was not racist until 2014. The more violent your objections, the more sensitive you are to perceived wrong-doing, the better person you become, at least in the eyes of your twitter followers.

The inverse of this need to conform to “right-feelings” is the need to ritually abuse anyone who operates under a different standard. The girls above are not particularly sensitive to the emotional needs of animals, they rather enjoy the thrill of the hunt, which is something all human beings would have understood perfectly well up until a generation ago. That makes those girls inferior. As a sign of superiority, the right-feeling person must hate them, wish them dead, raped, eaten alive, etc.

The expressions of outrage are largely indifferent, since the victims of have their own internet supporters who will flock to their defense out of similar motives of right-feeling, and internet tantrums by definition have little real world effect (#bringbackourgirls). But it is not totally indifferent: people can lose jobs over things said about them online. The Belgian girl seems to have lost a modeling contract. (Though she’ll probably find another, being so cute.)

Of course, if the girls above were not girls, if they were middle aged men, no one would care as much, which comes to another point: people always get more enraged when the perceived “enemy” is a woman. For example, both Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin transmit personality quirks (the former dishonest and cold, the latter self-promoting and flippant) which I find annoying, but I can’t relate to the deep, visceral, fanatical hatred they inspire in their political opponents. The same flaws in a man would not be so enraging.

In closing, I’d like to hazard a guess: I’d be willing to bet that the majority of the internet outrage against the girls above did not come from “patriarchal” men angry that they were stepping out of traditional roles and invading a male sport: those guys were probably delighted and wished their own daughters were more like that. No, I’d suspect the outrage came mostly from other women. Women seem to be more likely to cut down other women to make themselves feel good.

Judging by the reaction to the last post, the last paragraph seems wrong. The angry people were men. Go figure.



  1. “…For example, both Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin transmit personality quirks (the former dishonest and cold, the latter self-promoting and flippant) which I find annoying, but I can’t relate to the deep, visceral, fanatical hatred they inspire in their political opponents. The same flaws in a man would not be so enraging…”
    This is because men do not claim to be inherently more virtuous, vulnerable or worthy on account of their sex. Clinton has often referenced her femaleness to imply moral integrity, virtue and a ‘heart’ to an audience and generally this is an effective tactic. She has shed crocodile tears and spoken about ‘how hard it is to be a woman’ to provoke sympathy and avoid answering questions from the floor. All politicians at that level are heatless, violent, immoral sociopaths by definition. But women behave that way are hypocrites / bad actresses too.
    I think it’s worth mentioning that moral outrage is a force for good in the world. Every instance of social (ie moral) progress has been fundamentally the result of moral outrage building among the population and being expressed in public.
    Moral outrage might express itself as “I hope you die/ fall of a cliff/ get run over” on the internet, but in real life it manifests as boycotting that shop which refuses to serve an ethnic minority or gays… or boycotting a brand which uses inhuman working conditions…… or not inviting that racist guy from work to your birthday drinks bash. Moral outrage leads to social/ economic ostracism. This is the most peaceful and effective way to encourage a more moral and civilised society. It is arguably the only way to achieve a more moral and civilised society.
    I think it’s important to distinguish between true moral outrage and genuine moral arguments on the one hand….. and herd mentality, scapegoating and moral hypocrisy on the other.
    We live in a society where the ruling class enforce a monopoly (via ‘government’) on the legal right to violate the most basic moral rules with impunity. ‘Government’ literally claims a monopoly on the moral / legal right to assault, coerce, steal, kidnap, extort and murder to achieve its aims. No other group in society claims that right.
    They only get away with this by brainwashing the general population (via state schooling) that it is somehow necessary for them to violate moral rules in order to enforce those same moral rules. (..say again?)
    This brainwashing does not stand up to five minutes of critical thinking, and so to distract us from ever applying basic moral rules that any six your old understands to ‘government’ they keep us distracted with an endless stream of (relatively) inconsequential, but emotive, moral hot topics. Blood sports is certainly one of their favourites.
    The moral ‘hot topics’ that appear in the corporate media and form the basis of political debates and election campaigns are all issues which do not address, let alone debate, let alone challenge the government’s moral authority to coerce, steal, assault, kidnap, torture and murder. Go figure.
    In fact most moral hot topics are framed in a way that encourages us to demand MORE government coercion, theft, assault, coercion, kidnapping, torture and murder as the ‘solution’. (go figure again).
    What’s sad is that most people genuinely desire to live in a moral society, which is not the same thing as desiring a utopia. It just means a society were basic moral rules (don’t hit, don’t steal, don’t coerce etc ) apply to EVERYBODY and not just the the slaves. A ‘rule’ that does not apply to everybody is not a ‘rule’. We live in a society without rules. Instead of rules we have rulers (people who claim the right to violate rules with impunity).
    Because a morally consistent society is denied to us by the ruling classes we always end up grabbing whatever minor but emotive moral issue they feed us with and we use it to vent our frustration.
    For example, even though it is the 21st century we are still forced to fund the hunting and killing of men, women, children and babies by drone aircraft, ‘smart’ bomb and foot soldiers. If we refuse to fund this human hunting we will be hunted down ourselves by men in matching blue costumes, captured and put inside a cage…. if we try to defend ourselves from this aggression (or if we try to escape the cage) we will be shot.
    So we vent our frustration on people who shoot animals instead. It is the closest thing to protesting against the hunting of humans that we can be involved in without risking being hunted and caged/ shot ourselves.

    1. I don’t want to get into a discussion of libertarian theory here, but I do want to point out that your notion of “useful moral outrage” is incomplete.
      The “moral outrage” is almost entirely faked. Sure it is felt, to a degree, but it is intentionally whipped up in a highly selective manner. The “outraged” pretend to be morally offended in order to bully people they don’t like. It is cynical power politics, nothing else.

      1. Really? You think so? I am morally outraged that you would condone the killing of animals for pleasure.
        I would shed not a single tear should a domestic cow somehow sit on your head. Not one.

        It is you, sir, who is the bully, by demanding you have the right to kill animals simply for fun.
        I reiterate. You are disgusting.

      2. Yes, I’m the bully, which is why I linked to your blog and told all my buddies to go over and call you names and describe juvenile death fantasies about you…
        Oh, wait..!
        “Outrage” is a load of bull. How many endangered species have your hissy fits saved today? It has achieved nothing but to make you feel good about yourself. It is a baseless emotion you whip up when it pleases you to do so. It is self-indulgent and stupid.

      3. It is unfortunate that not everyone is able to be actively involved. My brother is. And he has never shot or killed an animal for pleasure in his life.

        If nothing is said regarding what you do then apathy becomes the norm.
        Yes, I encouraged people to come and visit.
        You will note, though, that not all agree with me.

        Oh, it has achieved something.
        It has once more brought to the attention of a great many people that repugnant behaviour will not go unregarded and you will not be allowed to indulge your sick fantasies with impunity.

        Blood sports in the UK were curtailed because someone was prepared to make a noise.

        If adequate finance was made available and more stringent gun control was in place, you would have to get your jollys in some other way.

        Watch out for those cows, DP. Y’hear, y’all?

      4. “…. I don’t want to get into a discussion of libertarian theory here, but I do want to point out that your notion of “useful moral outrage” is incomplete…”

        What about the bit where I said: “I think it’s important to distinguish between true moral outrage and genuine moral arguments on the one hand….. and herd mentality, scapegoating and moral hypocrisy on the other.”

        My point was that what the world desperately needs right now is more moral outrage ….. but what we seem to get instead is moral distraction, moral apathy and moral hypocrisy.

        Those who brush off moral issues such as the legalised murder of whole populations by the state (a genocide which they are forced to fund by law) by calling it ‘libertarian theory’ are just as bad as those who act like hunting animals for sport is the most pressing moral issue we face.

        It seems everybody has their own convenient excuse to avoid actually passing moral judgement on blatant acts of evil such as the mass murder of human beings by the state …. and their own participation as tax payers funding this genocide and environmental destruction.

      5. You are treating the notion that the state is nothing more than a monopoly on violence as if it were fact. It is not fact; it is libertarian-anarchist theory. I’m dismissing it not because it does not deserve an answer, but because this is not a post about the nature of the state.

  2. “..You are treating the notion that the state is nothing more than a monopoly on violence as if it were fact….”

    The state is not a monopoly on violence, it is a group of people who claim (and violently defend) a monopoly on THE LEGAL RIGHT to coerce, assault, steal and so on. It is therefore a monopoly on LEGALISED violence.

    This is not a theory or even a judgement. It is simply a fact. It is an observation. It is simply the truth. It is literally written into laws.

    “…I’m dismissing it not because it does not deserve an answer, but because this is not a post about the nature of the state…”

    There really is no such thing as ‘the state’. There are only PEOPLE. A ‘state’ or ‘government’ cannot change a lightbulb, dance a tango or commit assault, theft, murder….. only PEOPLE are capable of performing those actions.

    But if we oppose the people who hunt other human beings for sport to the point of refusing to fund their activities we will eventually be kidnapped by them and put in a cage. And if we try to defend ourselves we will be shot. Again, this is not a ‘theory’ it is a fact.

    I am suggesting that that is why so many people vent their frustrations and express their moral outrage on game hunters instead. They have become the symbolic target for people who oppose senseless (ie unnecessary) violence. They are considered, shall we say, ‘fair game’ for the simple reason that they are unlikely to actually shoot people who oppose their activities (unlike the people who call themselves ‘government’).

    This is just basic psychology. It’s ‘kick the dog’ syndrome.

    1. I said “nothing more than” a monopoly on violence. That the state claims the monopoly is a given; but to say that is its essence is a theory.

      1. “…I said “nothing more than” a monopoly on violence…”

        Well of course the state is more than *just* a monopoly on violence. If the state was *just* a bunch of people stealing half our wages each week and putting anyone who resisted in a cage then they would not last very long.

        The ‘imposing-a-monopoly-on-the-monopolistic-right-to-initiate-force-under-the-pretense-of-enforcing-moral-rules’ scam has been developed and perfected over thousands of years. Government inherited the scam from religion. Statism is just another form of religious control designed to fit our more scientific age with its more secular population. God has been given the new name ‘government’. Priests are now called ‘politicians’ and cathedrals are now called ‘parliaments’. Tithes are called ‘taxes’ and praying to god is called ‘voting for government’. Other than that it’s business as usual.

        Sure… they use some of our stolen money to ‘provide’ us with some crappy services (whether we want those services or not). But they are not really providing us with anything because it’s all paid for by our stolen money – minus their enormous cut to pay for big government, empires, wars etc.

        Government is not just a monopoly on legalised violence just as a rapist is not just violent imposer of sex. He bought his victim dinner and gave her a bunch of flowers!

        I fail to see what you are trying to argue here.

        If you are arguing that immoral behaviour can be cancelled out by – what basically amounts to – various forms of bribery then I strongly disagree. If you are arguing statism is childhood trauma (neglect, violence, abuse, humiliation, tyrannical upbringing etc) expressing itself in adult life then I would agree. All the tyrannical rulers of history were severely beaten, abused and humiliated as children. Whether people become ‘tyrants’ or ‘voters’ or ‘jackboots’ the severity of the trauma they suffered in childhood (coupled with statist propaganda) reliably predicts the level fanaticism with respect to ‘authority’ and statism.

        “..That the state claims the monopoly is a given, but to say that is its essence is a theory….”

        It is the essence of statism for the simple reason that everything the state does (including how it funds itself) is dependent upon having a monopoly on the legal right to initiate force and violate property rights. And in the statist system the state’s legal right to initiate force trumps all other codes, principles or authorities such as moral principles, property rights, equality among humans, the authority of logic etc.

        Therefore to say the essence of statism is a monopoly on the legal / moral right to initiate of force is not a theory, is is just an accurate observation.

        If we remove the legal/ moral right to initiate force from the state we are left with a bunch of people offering their (typically crappy/ overpriced/ inefficient/ destructive/ immoral) services in the free market. They are now equal to everybody else which is fair because they are just people after all. This means they must behave like the rest of us and make a living by offering goods and services of enough value to attract customers voluntarily (ie without needing to resort to coercion, theft and violence). Nobody is obliged to use their services or pay for them – unless they mutually agreed to do so and entered into a two way contract, which is the normal and civilised way we humans transact with each other (example: your two way contract with your internet provider).

        As you can see, without a monopoly on legalised coercion, theft and violence ‘governemnt’ would cease to be a government. This is why the initiation of force is the essence of the state and essential to the existence of any statist system.

        My thesis is that when a society is forced by its rulers (with the threat of caging and or shooting) to suppress and violate their most basic moral standards they often end up lashing out at the nearest and most obvious substitute target who do not threaten their safety – in this case game hunters. They perfectly represent unnecessary violence. They literally pose for photos with a weapon in one hand and a dead animal at their feet which posed no threat to their safety and meant the no harm. Swap the dead tiger for a dead brown baby and you have the perfect symbolic representation of the state. But we are not really allowed to condemn the murder of babies by the state and we are certainly not allowed to stop funding the practice. So opposing hunting is the next best thing.

        I guess I could also add that when a society is forced by its rulers (with the threat of caging and or shooting) to live by irrational (double) standards and ignore obvious facts they often attack anybody who brings up those facts and uses them to make rational arguments.

        We are the backward, irrational, morally bankrupt, hypocritical, uncivilised and extremely stupid ancestors of the humans who will live 100 – 500 years in the future. They will make Monty Python style films mocking our primitive, barbaric and idiotic society 😉

      2. OK, so the subliminal motive for ritualistic displays of hatred on the Internet is frustration with the modern state? The problem with your theory is that it is not provable or falsifiable. Something tells me you would attribute every stupid social convention to government abuse of power.

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