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Islam and Politics ( 7 Jan 2014, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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The Anatomy of Hatred and Pitfalls of Democracy

By Umm Abdullah, New Age Islam

January, 07 2014

Do you ever wonder what inspires blind irrational hatred? Not the everyday variety of contempt between individuals, but the kind of irrational hatred between one social organisms against another. Between tribes, religious and ethnic groups?

 In authoritarian societies blind hatred is inspired and dependent on a world where success is determined by the whims of superiors who are in fact inferior to the subjects they terrorize. And where competition occurs not on the basis of merit, but on the basis of inherited characteristics. A phenomenon commonly referred to as tribalism. In such societies it is not misery which leads to violence, because people are conditioned to and can adapt to the most unbearable environments. And it is not poverty, because hatred is just as pronounced in some of the wealthiest nations on earth.

The kind of oppression which leads to hatred and envy is not the kind which breaks a man’s back, but the kind which breaks his spirit. And the only way to break a man’s spirit is to arbitrarily and continually change the rules of survival. It is a political tactic designed to poison the most honourable man and totally corrupt the average one.

In a system governed by unpredictable laws, clinging to one’s “group”, where there is at least an implicit and socially enforced code of conduct, becomes critical to one’s sanity. Radicalism, under such conditions becomes the most common response to the hopelessness of one’s fate. Hatred becomes the only emotional response to those who fall outside of your social group. And religion and its call to benevolence and patience becomes the antidote to frustration for some, and the only tool of survival for others. For religious jurisprudence is at least predictable, and as unchanging as it needs to be in order to promote a sense of security in an insecure world.

Under such circumstances, it is difficult, if not impossible, to treat others as individuals, since no citizen has ever been made to feel like one. If you live In such a society, there is no psychological escape from its effects on your unsuspecting mind. The only way to escape is to quite literally escape.

So if blind hatred is induced by an arbitrary system of authority in a slave society.  How does blind hatred evolve in free societies, where such emotions are supposedly mitigated by an objective and fair system of government?

We are told that radical Muslims envy the west for their progress and wealth. And although there is a kind of Envy at work here, it’s the kind that goes in both directions and is not motivated by a disparity in wealth, but by a religious superiority complex which so malignant that it has developed an immunity to even the most objective and equitable system of government. Each side of this clash of anti -civilization is competitively rushing to assert that their religious ideology is superior, while the rest of us, so called moderates, are acting as referees, with hug your tree, your neighbour, and your right to vote campaigns.

There is this perverse envy of the sight of a Muslim willing to incinerate himself for his convictions, however warped they may be, being held up against the average American who will renounce his convictions in 15 seconds or less, for 15 minutes of fame. The religious right have become culturally defensive against the implicit accusation that Western culture is morally bankrupt. And so they are attempting to claim ownership of American values by renouncing Americanism.

And this is not a new phenomenon, for the religious right have been pushing for the integration of religion and politics since their inception. For decades they have been campaigning about the ideological consistency of God's will and America's path. And along comes an equally irrational force of Muslims making the same claims about religion and politics but without the civilized features of a moral majority style campaign. And all of a sudden the right has begun to wonder if maybe they have been too civilized in their entire approach. And so rather than remain culturally defensive they have decided to become politically offensive.

 We have been told that education is the means to neutralize hatred. Forgetting that it’s the most educated, who in the end become the progenitors of the most institutionalized forms of hatred. We were told that the origins of hate are fear, forgetting that we are the only ones who really should be afraid. Haters are never afraid of the haters they instigate.  But what haters are really afraid of, is that someone out there has hijacked, not their religion, not their country, but their methodology, which is to change the system from within.

 They recognize what we still fail to see, which is that Changing the system from within is a tactic more dangerous than random acts of aggression against the establishment. And they are correct in their assessment, for nothing can be more threatening to peace and security than the weight of state power acting against a particular group on the basis of a particular attribute. Which makes democracy not a particularly effective system of justice?

 A democracy is a system which believes in unlimited majority rule, where the standard of good and bad can be determined by a potentially errant majority. Tyranny imposed by majority vote is more dangerous than one imposed by minority force. After all, it was democracy that paved the way for a man like Adolph Hitler. 

 If you want to cure the world of hatred, the answer is not democracy. The answer rests with what religious radicals on both sides have been telling us all along, which is that right and wrong cannot be determined by public vote. And that truth exists independent of human perception and consensus.

 They are correct about this. But if truth is not to be determined by vote, then what should it be determined by? Well God they say, and specifically their God and their religion. But of course this is just as, if not more obscene, than relying on the whims of a fallible majority. Right and wrong cannot be determined by any one group’s religion of choice, but must be determined by the ideological root of American political theory- reason. Hatred will not be neutralized by a call to conscience or religion, but by a return to reason as the only universal standard of political theory. Historically this has been the only approach in political philosophy which has worked.

 Unfortunately, American democracy is becoming less and less ideological and more dependent on public opinion. But in spite of the erosion of individual rights in the country which is the champion of individualism, America still remains the best hope we have in our fight against that pernicious phenomenon of blind hate.

 Moderate American Muslims have not established an institutionalized religious identity, because they are entirely too consumed with defending themselves against a system which has made itself negotiable depending on the insecurity of an easy to manipulate public. If you want to know why moderate Muslims, who DO believe in an objective system with delimited government power, do not rise up and criticize their religious counterparts more aggressively, it is because subconsciously they recognize something about hatred which escapes the haters mind. Mainly that blind hatred is just that- it is Blind! And it makes no distinctions between those who are radical and those who are reasonable. To throw one Muslim under the proverbial bus is to throw all Muslims under. If we are sincere about peace, than we must not worry so much about infiltrating the system as much as we should in fighting to preserve our constitutional republic with its delimited government powers. Because if the law of your land does not protect you as an individual, you should not cling to your group for protections. A government which is more interested in delivering your group's vote, instead of protecting your individual rights, is a government that can only rule according to the dictates of the biggest baddest gang. 

Inas Younis is a freelance writer residing in Kansas. She has written for Muslim Girl Magazine and her work was featured in the anthology Living Islam Out Loud. She contributed this article to New Age Islam.