The hypocrisy of ‘love trumps hate’ liberals

‘Love trumps hate’ has become the rallying cry of the anti-Trumpers who have taken to the streets to protest against what they see as a rise in intolerance and division following Donald Trump’s election. Now, some of those same people have expressed interest in a film festival showing videos of Nazis getting punched in the face.

Taking place in New York, ‘Fash Bash: A Night Of Nazi-Punching On Film’ is the latest example of a new, liberal-approved form of hatred. It was inspired by the attack on Richard Spencer – a self-confessed white supremacist and Trump supporter – at Trump’s inauguration. The attack was praised across social media as a triumph for the kind of ‘progressive’ politics that prioritises love over hate.

Punching Nazis isn’t that controversial. They define themselves through hatred and violence towards others. A punch in the face is in many ways a taste of their own medicine – and left-wing groups in the past rightly faced off violent fascists where necessary. But not only is it a bit of a stretch to call the admittedly vile Spencer an imminent physical threat, it is also rather ironic, if not completely two-faced, for liberals to march against hate and then delight in Spencer’s bashing.

This double standard has come up time and again since Trump’s election. Liberals preach love over hate while at the same time spewing hatred at not just extreme right-wingers but also everyday Trump supporters. Those calling for a nicer, kinder, more loving politics can’t pick and choose when and to whom this should apply. It’s contradictory to promote universal love one minute, then indulge in your own preferred form of hatred the next.

Now, hate, whether it’s felt by neo-Nazis or those who take pleasure in punching them, is not something that should be censored. It is an emotion that has a place in politics. Hatred of Thatcher’s government fuelled the miners’ strike. Hatred of racism fuelled the black civil-rights leaders who took on the white supremacists of America. It can be a driving force for change, and those who want to police this emotion would do well to remember that.

But what should be ruthlessly challenged is the emerging double standard about hate among those on the left. Not only is glorifying Spencer’s attack unlikely to win over anyone who may be drawn to his crackpot ideas, but the love-hate binary is being used to demonise ordinary Trump voters – most of whom no doubt find Spencer loathsome. It is a simple, unthinking way liberals present themselves as being on the right side of the debate.

Want to punch a Nazi in the face? Be my guest. But if anyone’s on the receiving end of open hatred at the moment, it’s the ordinary American voters who had the audacity to vote for The Donald. If people are serious about tackling the authoritarian Trump, they should talk to Trump supporters instead of just hating on them.

Izzy Lyons is a writer based in London.

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