George Floyd in the United States was a common private man, as his mother repeatedly told him, he as born with two strikes, two opportunities and you are out. His tragic death after nearly ten minutes of choking in the hands of a police officer sparked a racial reckoning in the United States and the entire world. Opportunities for African Americans are well documented to be lower than white Americans and even other races and ethnicities.
Racial hatred has grown since the start of the United States. Denied of humanity, African Americans die more frequently, have worse life expectancy, worse incarceration rates, and overall lower income than white Americans. But this essay is not about racism or exclusion of a particular class of people, this writing is about hate.
Why do we hate?
I hate the rain, the winter, I hate homelessness, I hate. We all hate something. Hate is a human emotion embedded in our own aura of self-importance. We hate viscerally, something inside the ‘gut’ is not right when we experience this emotion.
Sigmund Freud said hatred “derives from the narcissistic ego’s primordial repudiation of the external world with its outpouring of stimuli. […], it always remains in an intimate relation with the self-preservative instincts.” He could not be more right about hate. We hate because we want to self-preserve our own hedonistic pleasures. We hate because we would like to feel superior and justify our own self-preservation.
Other animals do not seem to hate. They wander about attacking whatever goes in their path, but they do not seem to preserve these feelings once the attacking element goes the other way. In this sense, hate is an entirely human emotion, a basic instinct of sort, an element our own self-preservation wants to keep.
But hate does not always come from naturally or from the ‘gut,’ hate is taught, nourished, stimulated, and kept. We are taught to hate other tribes, the different, the external to our own survival. These facts are clearly a contradiction to the human experience, we are all different, and strive to be different from others at the same time we want to be a part of a common tribe.
Our own classifications and shortcomings as humans force us to classify people into winners and losers, liberals and conservatives, democrats and republicans, tall or short, and in the end, better or worse than me.
It’s all about me, about my death.
It is about our own sense of self-importance embedded in our own need for survival. These primal fears of death are difficult to overcome without awareness in they exist. We do not recognize these fears because they are not conscious, but they are there, lurking until exposed.
Global poverty never was so low in the course of human existence as it is now, located at 10% in 2015. We can attribute these gains to democracy and our own self-governance. Deirdre McCloskey, an economist from University of Chicago, acknowledged that the idea of equality, born from philosophers in the XVIII and XIX centuries, has come to be the deciding factor to improve the living conditions of people worldwide, and she is right. How could it be any different?
Modern democracy was born in the United States, for which the world owes a large debt. As a beacon of democracy, as the shining city upon the hill, as Reagan said, the United States has always been an example of what to do or not in international politics, on our own self-governance as societies. Democracy, and the government of the people, by the people, and for the people, are the basis of the improvement of the quality of life of societies worldwide. And strongly embedded in the foundations of democracy is the idea we are all equal, and deserve the same rights as the person next to me, irrespective of the luck of our parents.
Democracy has proven resilient to other noble but flawed ideas of self-governance, most notably, from communism. The idea, born in rage, that an external entity should decide our own happiness is anathema to the human experience. Communism forces our own desires and ideas of self-preservation upon others. Democracy is much more flexible and kinder with human self-preservation instincts, allowing us to be freer as individuals.
In a sense, democracy allow us humans to develop from the ground up, from childhood up to old age, without the imposing and pressure of external forces deciding instead our own self-determination.
But, why do we hate?
We hate because we are afraid, we are afraid to die. We believe, wrongly, that the other is a threat to our own survival. These fears are taught, our own education and upbringing determine who or what do we hate. Hate goes along with own self-survival, making it visceral and powerful.
Hatred towards others is a denunciation of democracy, is a rejection of the human experience in this earth. It took nearly 2,500 years for democracy to thrive since first appearing in Athena. Perfected by a bunch of wise humans with an opportunity of self-governance, modern democracy improves the individual by allowing the human mind to grow, to make mistakes and reborn all over again.
We are all born equally right to be different. It is the fact that by being in charge of our own lives is what makes humanity so rich, letting us carry our own paths. Hatred by race, income, gender, disability, or any other class goes against of being born equal to the state, to others, goes against democracy. Radical equality is necessary in a democracy to achieve a better quality of life in societies worldwide. We are all different and live in a community. Human beings must acknowledge the need for tribes, for the other. As Aristotle said 2,500 years ago said, human beings are ‘political animals’, and I would add, thriving for self-preservation.
Radical equality does not mean we are all equal or equally deserve the same achievements, the radical part of equality resides in equal opportunities for all, irrespective of their class or self-imposed human classification. Those with the idea that humans have strata, class, winners and losers, white or blacks, are just self-deceiving themselves out of their own fears. Radical equality is not only what will improve our democracies, but also an ethical and moral imperative.
After nearly 200,000 years of existence, it’s about time.