In an insightful column titled “Why the Left is consumed with Hate, historian Shelby Steele describes how the Left uses hate to keep and expand its power. The Left’s goal of redeeming the nation from its racist past, infused the movement with significant moral and cultural power. That power created a raft of government programs to atone for the nation’s failings and keep its children questioning its legitimacy. Half a century later however, that power still needs a menace to keep the Left focused and exercised.
Today’s left lacks worthy menaces to fight. It is driven to find a replacement for racism, some sweeping historical wrongdoing that morally empowers those who oppose it. (Climate change?) Failing this, only hatred is left.
Hatred is a transformative power. It can make the innocuous into the menacing. So it has become a weapon of choice. The left has used hate to transform President Trump into a symbol of the new racism, not a flawed president but a systemic evil. And he must be opposed as one opposes racism, with a scorched-earth absolutism.
For Martin Luther King Jr., hatred was not necessary as a means to power. The actual details of oppression were enough. Power came to him because he rejected hate as a method of resisting menace. He called on blacks not to be defined by what menaced them. Today, because menace provides moral empowerment, blacks and their ostensible allies indulge in it. The menace of black victimization becomes the unarguable truth of the black identity. And here we are again, forever victims.
Yet the left is still stalked by obsolescence. There is simply not enough menace to service its demands for power. The voices that speak for the left have never been less convincing. It is hard for people to see the menace that drives millionaire football players to kneel before the flag. And then there is the failure of virtually every program the left has ever espoused—welfare, public housing, school busing, affirmative action, diversity programs, and so on.
For the American left today, the indulgence in hate is a death rattle.
Steele’s column is worthwhile reading. The problems he describes are all too real in North Carolina. That’s why we created our Toxic Agenda series to expose and defeat the Left’s harmful policies. Learn more here.