While the concept is hardly new, I have been amazed anew at the very aggressive practice by our colleagues on the left to devolve any matter of disagreement to a matter of hate. One need not look very far into political discourse over the last, say, 12 years to see that the typical pattern on the left when confronted by people who do not espouse their beliefs is to immediately ascribe a motive behind that disagreement to either fear (i.e. “homophobe”) or some form of hatred (i.e. “racist” or some such.)
My take on this fallacious approach is that leftists appear incapable of even making a logical analysis of any position other than their own. They hold that their position on any matter of debate is so clearly correct that it must be immediately and inarguably obvious to anyone – except, of course, those of evil intent. The only reason anyone would not approve of a woman 6 months pregnant having an abortion, for example, would have to be because of an emotional distaste for women asserting themselves. Therefore, such a person must hate women.
I, and many of my colleagues on the right, find such faulty rationale to be ludicrous. That’s why any attempt on our part to use such an argument against the left always has a feel that our hearts aren’t in it. We know that it’s possible, even common, to consider actions taken by people we like to be wrong. That does not connote “hate.” But no one likes to be accused of being hateful, which is why the tactic is so often used by people without real arguments to make. The problem, besides artificially shutting down needed discourse, is that it cheapens the the concept of hate. Hate is very real in the world and dealing with it requires a clear recognition of what it is.
What it is not is a synonym for disagreement. It should not be a method of avoiding rational debate.