Why We Hate

Sunday, October 18, 2020

What Is It

The Southern Poverty Law Center reports that the number of hate groups operating in the U.S. has risen to a record high. There has also been a corresponding increase in hate crime violence. So where does all this hate come from? Do we hate others because we feel a deeper sense of alienation or fear towards them? Is hating always the wrong response, or is there an appropriate kind of hate? Can we love and hate at the same time? And what's the difference between hate and other reactive attitudes like anger, disgust, and contempt? Josh and Ray shake off the haters with Berit Brogaard from the University of Miami, author of Hatred: Understanding Our Most Dangerous Emotion.

Listening Notes

Ray and Josh explore whether hate is itself a bad thing, and whether it is useful or solves anything. They ask whether there is a difference between hating a person and hating a concept or thing, like racism or a toaster. Ray thinks hatred could be good--it might help us fight for change--but Josh worries that hating always ends poorly.
The hosts are joined by guest Berit Broogard, professor of philosophy at the University of Miami and author of Why We Hate. Berit defines hate by starting with anger. Josh asks how hate differs from condemnation, and Berit notes that hate has an element of apprehensive respect while contempt involves looking down on someone. Berit argues that it is only sometimes wrong to hate, specifically when hatred is retaliatory and dehumanization. The conversation then shifts to hatred as healing. Berit and Josh discuss how sometimes hating your oppressor you help you reassert your status, which is a theme among certain civil rights activists. Berit agrees with Josh that it is difficult to keep healing hatred from becoming corrosive. 
In the final part of the show, the hosts ask what is causing the rise in hatred, Berit believes it is the glorification of a white supremacist past. Finally, they discuss Berit’s views on speech regulation--pushing back against philosopher Jeremy Waldron, she maintains that hate speech is not group libel, since libel concerns false claims about someone and hate speech, such as slurs, are neither true nor false--they are not about facts. 
  • Philosophy Rover (Seek to 5.20): Shereen explores factors that lead people to join and leave hate groups and how hate groups peak when discontent and protest emerge.
  • Sixty Second Philosopher (Seek 46.36): Ian Shoales talks about hatred between liberals and conservatives, and how hatred has become uncool.


Comments (4)

Alfredo's picture


Saturday, October 3, 2020 -- 1:10 AM

More than 70 years after WWII

More than 70 years after WWII, few topics stir such heated conversations in France as the collaborator vs resistant debate. It boiled back up after the Eichmann trial and never left the surface. In 2008, the Bibliothèque de Paris hung the work of André Zucca on its walls. The pictures depicted ordinary Parisians going about their daily lives under the occupation. His work revealed a third, seemingly larger category of French people: the passive citizen. It was a scandal. It seemed the passive citizen drew almost as much hate as the "collabo."

John D Thinkinfeller's picture

John D Thinkinfeller

Wednesday, October 28, 2020 -- 12:04 AM

Hello, I listened to your

Hello, I listened to your recent episode concerning hate. The guest Berit Brogaard suggested that hate when not acted upon can have positive benefits for a person, although she did not disclose any details about how these benefits manifest in individuals or society. The reason I believe is because there are no examples of this.
What happens when such a strong emotion as hate is indulged? I think it would seek an outlet. What happens when one is not provided because of philosophical constraints? Is the individual who holds hate and does not act on it destined to just constantly grumble and become bitter?
I think this creates an atmosphere wherein we want to blame other humans for all the problems in the world.
When we blame we create enemies. This tendency may feel good at the moment and bolster our egos but is ultimately self defeating. The reason is that whether we like it or not we are all to some extent dependant on each other collectively, and wouldn’t it be a more happy and functional collective if we held feelings of goodwill towards our fellow humans rather than hate?
I would like to ask your guest Berit if she thinks we are controlled by a need to hate or do we have a choice.
Cheers! Love the show!
PS: Most People are a product of their conditioning and do not make conscious choices.

Harold G. Neuman's picture

Harold G. Neuman

Monday, March 15, 2021 -- 8:16 AM

All good questions about a

All good questions about a universal human condition. But, as usual, I'll offer something a bit different. My question is: Do we hate people for who they are, or is our hatred more about what they do---or don't do? No one, it seems to me, is intrinsically abhorrent,solely based on their ethnic and/or racial characteristics. Anyone who claims to hate a group, is naive, as to the foundations of such hatred. Why? Because, those sorts of stigma are mired in fear; mistrust; suspicion and a few other misconstructions.. Such unreasoning behavior can also emerge from superstition and personal history. But, all else equal, it is not who someone is, but what she does that makes her abhorrent to someone else. I would charge gentle readers and thinkers to consider this position carefully. Think of those whom you dislike or with whom you may even violently disagree: ask yourself where that truly comes from.

Are you feeling threatened? Jealous? Envious?---because of something they have but you do not?
Is that ' something' a something you can, in all likelihood, never expect to attain? Hatred is a trickster.
It fools us, far more often than we are fooled by other people. And, it is such a drain on those better angels of our nature.. Think of these remarks as a primer on a philosophy of psychology. Whether you can agree with them, or no.

Harold G. Neuman's picture

Harold G. Neuman

Saturday, May 1, 2021 -- 6:56 AM

Or, in fewer words, we tend

Or, in fewer words, we tend to hate people and things foreign to us; those we don't understand. Hate then, at bottom, springs from fear. Blind, unreasoning, irrational fear...