Matt Walsh writes:
To my leftwing friends:
Last night, someone sent me an email threatening to murder me because they disagree with my opinions. It read, in part:
“F*ck you… I will find a way to kill you. Make no god d*mn mistake, you filth.”
Concise. Eloquent. And now on file with the state police.
After I reported the threat to law enforcement, I didn’t pay it much mind. But then, a few minutes ago, I received this message from someone else:
“Matt, you are so filled with hate in everything you write. You are part of the reason why conservative teabaggers in this country are nothing but hate mongers and bigots. Do you want to know why I’m a “liberal”? Because liberals know how to make a point without being hateful and spiteful.”(Emphasis mine).
I laughed quite heartily when I read that. Perfect timing. Mere hours after someone called me ‘filth’ and announced their plan to end my existence all because of my beliefs, I’m informed that these are precisely the people who ‘know how to make a point without being hateful and spiteful.’ Granted, you didn't provide much context, but how do you know the author of the first message was liberal? Why not, say, a transgender conservative (upset about your last post)? Your baseline assumption seems to be that everyone who doesn't think exactly like you represents one homogenous group - Liberal Tyrants, Secular Progressives, or whatever you feel like calling them on any given day.
At first I dismissed this claim and concluded, as I often do, that the person who said it couldn’t possibly be serious. Does he really not notice the hate and hostility pouring like sewage out of his own ideological camp? Does he really think that hate is somehow a ‘conservative’ thing? No, I thought. Nobody is that oblivious.
But the more I reflected upon it the more I realized that I have to stop looking through the prism of rationality. No, that is not your problem at all. If the prism of rationality were a real, tangible object, I'd be the first one to take up a collection for you so you could get yourself one of those. Many people in this country have bought into the propaganda that paints us cultural non-conformists (cultural non-conformist = one who repeats all the carefully crafted sound bites of the most well-funded and well-organized media-industrial complex) as hateful bigots. [Hey everyone, I've got an idea! Matt Walsh drinking game! One shot every time he uses the word bigot. Guaranteed to get you drunk enough to be able to read one of Matt's posts.] They’ve had this notion instilled in them, and it is only reinforced by virtually everything they see and hear from their teachers, the media, their pop culture idols, their parents, and their president.
So I’ve decided that maybe it’s time I address the misunderstanding head-on. I think we need to have a dialogue [In Matt Walsh's mind, the word dialogue = ranting on my blog], as politicians like to say, about this thing known as ‘hate.’
Our society is obsessed with the term. Every idea you oppose is ‘hateful,’ every person who expresses it is ‘full of hate,’ every time someone hurts your feelings or makes you uncomfortable they must be dismissed as hateful haters who want to spread hate and hatefulness all over the world.
I know, like I'm always reading this Matt Walsh blog and he's always talking about how feminists hate all men, and how Secular Progressives hate Christians. Every morning I sift through dozens of messages informing me that I am a hateful monster who hates gays, minorities, endangered species, trees, flowers, puppies, jelly beans, and dolphins. It’s fortunate that they take the time to tell me this about myself, because otherwise I’d go through life generally believing myself when myself tells myself that I don’t harbor even the faintest hint of hatred for any of these groups. I guess I do hate women, though, as is evidenced by a thorough investigation of my Twitter account:
Yeah, we just throw around this word "hate" and apply it to such diverse, and obviously non-hateful sentiments as:
"It’s this propensity — this constant, relentless, soul-sucking cynicism — that will forever make the purity of their [feminists'] motives appear, at best, dubious. "
"That’s why the white liberal man is such a difficult creature to tolerate."
"Christian-hating liberal fascists have once again demonstrated their 'tolerance.'"
"They have no interest in listening to a bunch of politically correct, bigoted, mewing, leftwing carnival barkers. Still, the leftwing fascists get their way... They are not progressive — there is no ‘progress’ in their ideology. They are fascists. They follow the same playbook as many of the 20th century’s most prolific tyrants."
"I’m waiting for Sharpton to boycott himself for the crime of being Sharpton — i.e. just an overall lying, shameless, despicable, crook."
"Dear gay rights militants, dear progressive tyrants, dear liberal fascists... In the name of ‘fighting for the freedom to love,’ you’ve utilized hate. For the sake of ‘tolerance,’ you’ve wielded bigotry... You fancy yourselves the ideological descendants of civil rights pioneers, but these tactics put you in the same vein as book burners and Puritan witch hunters."
"Ms. Sandberg tells the harrowing tale of being labeled as bossy by a teacher in ninth grade. She says this experience damaged her emotionally and caused her immense grief. Poor thing. A very tragic incident, no doubt, but one thought occurs to me: what if the teacher called her bossy because she was pompous, arrogant, and pushy?"
"How do you wade into our societal pool and find employees who aren’t thin skinned, self-entitled narcissists? "
Why on earth would anyone accuse you of being hateful, Matt? It's like you're just sitting there singing Kumbaya.
(By the way, it's kind of interesting to do a survey of how many of your post titles include the word "hate")
The ‘you’re hateful’ schtick really kicked into overdrive the past couple of days, after I published that post explaining why I don’t think a six-year-old girl should be told she’s a boy. When I wrote it, I felt driven by concern for both the child and the truth, but it’s once again been explained to me that, no, I was actually motivated by hatred.
Some guy who goes by the name ‘Naked Pastor’ wrote a blog post on the subject, calling me the ‘equivalent of the Taliban.’ He even he drew this pretty picture:
I am a terrorist. A violent terrorist who plans to blow up the world. I’m a dangerous, dangerous, hateful man. [Complains the man who called gay rights activists "Puritan witch hunters."]
Now, before we get into defining hatred, let’s go over some legitimate examples. Here’s a quick peek at excerpts from a few more emails I received, mostly reacting to my opinion that toddlers can’t be ‘transgendered’:
“Matt, f*ck you. I seriously hope you die.”
F*ck you and your entire website you f*cking douche. I have known I am transgender for a long time… You are very sick in the head and I hope you rot in hell. I will pray Lucifer himself finds you.
“Hey f*ck you. Die. That’s all.”
“You’re a f*cking bigot piece of shit…”
“I’ve decided that I’m going to block any friend who reposts your trash on Facebook. You are the worst human being on the planet and the world would be better if you weren’t part of it.”
“Dear Matt, you’re horrible. Kill yourself.”
“Oh, like you don’t already know you’re a piece of sh*t. F*ck you.”
“Matt, I saw a Tweet that said you’re a flaming bag of dogsh*t on the doorstep of the internet. I thought it was great but kind of insulting to dog sh*t.”
“Matt, shut the f*ck up with your hate and homophobia. You are the biggest assh*le I’ve ever seen. Go crawl into a f*cking hole somewhere and die.”
“Anytime someone retweets or shares your posts I die a little inside. Your like a cancer on the internet. You’re an embarrassment bro. Seriously, you’re the worst.”
Look, see? Hatred.
Loathing, despising, detesting, hating.
Yeah, there's a lot of hatred on the internet. I mean, just look at the things your supporters say to people who disagree with you on the comment threads! I don't often look at the comments, but I have seen your fans wishing death and cancer on other people.
Not just hatred of my ideas or my actions, but hatred of me personally. A boiling, ungodly rage. A yearning to see me burn in Hell for all eternity. Malicious feelings targeted at me, the human being. A desire to see me dead, hurt, dehumanized. A wish to kill me because of my ideology.
Hatred. Let me assure you that it is a huge problem in the liberal ranks. I experience it everyday. Before you spend another minute lamenting the perceived ‘hatred’ of conservative bloggers and media personalities, I suggest you look into your own souls. Okay, Matt, and before you spend another minute lamenting about the hatred of, apparently, every liberal that exists, I suggest you look into your own soul. I have seen and felt the cold, stinging hatred that lives there, and it is surely the nastiest and most brutal sort. It is these sort of topics that always engender the most obvious hypocrisy. "No! It is YOU liberals who are hateful, not me. In fact, I have seen the cold, stinging hatred that lives in your souls, and it is surely the nastiest and most brutal sort. I, on the other hand, always try to see the best in people."
But what about me? Do I have hate of my own? Yes, I do. Sometimes we should feel hatred. It’s just that progressive hatred is often the wrong kind. Ahhh, I see. You admit your own hatred, but it's okay because it's the right kind of hatred. Your hatred is for individuals, whereas mine is for certain actions and ideas. Um, no. You can just go back and reference a few of the quotes I pulled from you above. You reserve your hatred for individuals. For the woman who wrote the blog about Stay At Home Moms, for Obama (lotsss of hatred for Obama), for a whole list of celebrities, etc. You attack feminists and liberals and gay rights activists personally - you say they are inherent liars who are incapable of telling the truth, you say they are evil and murderous. That is hatred of people, not merely hatred of actions and ideas.
Interestingly, your tone has been criticized by fellow conservative Christians. If you read the blog post I just linked to, you can even see how it is possible for a conservative Christian to not sound hateful.
Perhaps this is the root of our massive communication failure. I’ve noticed that many liberals don’t understand how it’s feasible to detest an action without detesting the actor, or how one can possibly hate an idea without hating (and wanting to punish or censor or kill) the person who articulated it. They laugh hysterically when a Christian suggests that it’s possible to condemn the homosexual act without hating the homosexual person. I’ve attempted to make this clarification so many times, and, on every occasion, I’m told that such a distinction is impossible. Hate what a person does, hate the person. It’s that simple. Perhaps in this case, people are arguing that homosexuality is more than just "what a person does."
Progressives are so insistent on this point because this is how they operate. They make no delineation between the individual and the action, and they project that thought process onto everyone else.
You hate my beliefs, so you hate me. I hate certain beliefs and actions, so you assume I hate the people behind those beliefs and actions. Only, if you asked me, and if you were open to the answer, you’d find that your assumptions are baseless. I think you may have missed the opportunity for open dialog when you started calling everyone who disagrees with you fascists.
I hate attacks on marriage, on the family, on my faith, on liberty, on truth, on reason, on the constitution, but I don’t hate the attackers. I hate what they stand for, I hate their agenda, I hate their lies, but I do not hate the individuals. I don’t hate the person who wants to kill me, or the myriad of people who send me anonymous messages wishing sickness and suffering upon me and my family. I harbor no ill will for them at all. Right... I don’t even hate the guy who compared me to a flaming bag of dog sh*t on the doorstep of the internet, but mostly because that one was kind of funny.
The point is, I don’t hate these people. I want them to be successful and happy. I want them to be healed of the psychological and spiritual affliction that causes them to be so lost, confused, and consumed by horrible feelings of animosity towards strangers they’ve never met. Fine, let's set aside the word "hate" for a minute. It is precisely the patronizing, demeaning tone that you exhibit here - very disingenuously saying you want these people to be successful and happy, and then simultaneously commenting on their "psychological and spiritual affliction" and deeming them "so lost, confused, and consumed by horrible feelings of animosity..."
Sometimes I get very angry at the legions of progressive nihilists who stand as staunch advocates for some of the greatest evils mankind has ever witnessed (like abortion, for instance), but beyond anger I always feel pity. Patronizing I believe that you’ll destroy yourself with your philosophy before you destroy anyone else, and I sincerely wish for you to avoid that fate.
If I truly think that my views are correct, and that the rejection of neo-liberal haha! I love it! Using words without having any clue as to their meaning cultural dogma will lead you to greater joy and fulfillment in life, ultimately bringing you out of the darkness and into the light of truth, why would I try to help you in that process if I hated you? Patronizing!
I wouldn’t. I’d let you drown and die. I’d watch and relish the sight.
That’s how a hateful person would handle the situation. He’d keep his opinions to himself. He wouldn’t bother. Okay, Matt, then you should appreciate it when people try to "save" you. He’d let society run headfirst over the cliff, and he wouldn’t care as long as he personally remains standing at the top. The real hateful conservatives and Christians are the ones who say nothing. They see the same truth that I do, and that so many others do, yet they have no interest in opening anyone else’s eyes to it. In fact, they are examples of something worse than hate: indifference.
That is, truly, the worst of all things. Even hatred for individuals is preferable to indifference towards them. Hate, at least, is something. It’s a feeling. It’s fiery and passionate and energetic. A person who hates deeply can easily become a person who loves deeply. They have the raw material, it’s just being misused and misdirected. An indifferent person, on the other hand, lacks the depth and interest to feel either way about anything. So, if you get upset at any of us, get upset at those of us who think we know the truth yet are too lazy and selfish to speak up and share it. So then... you appreciate the people who say mean things to you more than those who don't bother to contact you at all? Somehow I doubt that.
Indeed, just because someone voices a disagreement with you doesn’t mean they hate you. Often, it means the exact opposite.
If, on the other hand, they call you a piece of trash, or wish for your imminent demise, or plan to personally bring about your imminent demise, then you’ll know that they do hate you. But if you’re looking for that kind of hate, you can find plenty of it on your end of the ideological spectrum. Trust me.
I'm having so much trouble following your train of thought right now. This is what I've got: Hatred is better than indifference because it shows some feeling. But saying mean things constitutes hate and hate is bad.
Yup, still confused.
Or maybe you meant it this way: When I am hateful, it is okay because I am showing that I care. When other people are hateful to me, however, that is bad.
One time Matt wrote a blog post about how the liberal media manufactures controversies to get clicks or views, or whatever marker of success they are after. I pointed out that this is true of all popular media, liberal or conservative. I felt it was unfair and divisive to characterize it as a "liberal" thing. Same goes for this post. Hatred on the internet is, unfortunately, not uncommon. It is also not partisan. You cannot, without willfully deceiving yourself, characterize it is a liberal thing, or a conservative thing, or a libertarian thing, or a tea party thing, or a feminist thing, or a socialist thing, or anything else.
If you are troubled by internet hate, the worst way you can respond is by attributing it to a single group of people and further exacerbating divisions. I don't know if there is a good way to respond... maybe, for starters, if you run a successful blog you could call out your own supporters when they exhibit this type of hate. They are more likely to listen to you, after all. Some self-reflection would not hurt, either. Make sure you are not part of the problem.
WARNING: SELF REFLECTION TO FOLLOW (potentially not interesting)
Now, I know that I am not immune from this hypocrisy trap. I think about it all the time. However, I started this blog as a form of personal catharsis and I only have a handful of readers. From what I can tell based on the comments I've received, the people who look at my blog just want something to make them feel like "I'm not the only person who doesn't like Matt Walsh's blog posts." Thankfully, my comment threads are not filled with people saying all sorts of unflattering things about conservatives or religious people. That would definitely make me feel uncomfortable. Furthermore, if I ever had the type of following that Matt does, I would do something more productive than commenting on the posts of some mediocre shock-jock blogger.
While I try to mirror Matt's tone for rhetorical effect (like I am conversing with him), and I am sure I have crossed the line at points, I try very hard not to generalize and attack entire groups of people (say, conservatives). I attempt to distinguish between Matt's particular remarks, or the particular strand of conservative or religious ideology that he is drawing upon, from conservatism or Christianity more generally. I will keep trying.
Initially, I also did not want to ever attack Matt as a person. I wanted to find some way to understand him. I changed my mind when I started reading more of his posts and digging into his career in radio. Based on everything I have seen and heard, there is no doubt in my mind that he is racist (and sexist and homophobic). He has said a number of other things to make me believe that he is probably not a person of good character. Of course, this is the internet and I do not know him. Certainly, I do not wish him any harm and would never send him any threatening messages. If I wished anything, maybe it would be that people would finally get tired of him and he would have to become a productive member of society. I will still even try to refrain from personally attacking him and I do not hate him. But I definitely do not like him and I don't feel bad about anyone calling him hateful or stupid or ignorant. That is, in my opinion, more valid than calling an entire group of people hateful or stupid or ignorant, as Matt often does.
I could even dispense with the word "hate" as Matt wishes, and still complain that, by calling anyone who disagrees with him a fascist, he is certainly helping to destroy public discourse.