Human beings and the emotions they feel and express are inherently complex. And not only that, the world is a sphere dominated by randomness and unpredictability. It is tempting to think of hate attracting hate. Because if hate did congregate in this fashion it would be, in many ways, easier to deal with. I certainly believe that hate can – and does – seek out hate. But to perceive this powerful force in this manner only is to undermine its insidiousness, its ability to proliferate, and its ability to negatively affect the lives of people who reject hate in all its forms.
If a hate-filled individual encounters another hate-filled individual, either in person or more likely on a social media platform, there most certainly will be a high level of attraction. You only have to look at the number of subscribers Ben Shapiro and Steven Crowder have amassed on YouTube. And it seems quite obvious that these individuals are actively seeking out people who share their twisted views as a means of validation. There is also greater strength in numbers, and since the majority of Americans are not part of the alt-right, it makes sense for them to come together. It’s the kind of primitive tribalism that has existed from time immemorial.
We’ve all heard of the adage that “what you put out into the universe is what you get back.” In my view, there are many examples that both support and contradict this notion. For example, during his campaign and presidency, Donald Trump has consistently spewed bigotry and hatred. And, yes, you could argue that as a result of this he has attracted a certain level of hatred from the liberal citizens of his country. However, when you look at the audiences of his “MAGA” rallies, it is filled with a plethora of like-minded individuals. So you could also argue that what Trump got back from releasing hatred in to the world was more fame and more power.
The adage is also problematic because how then do you explain the high levels of rape and sexual abuse? How do you explain moral, honest, law-abiding citizens getting murdered in broad daylight? The truth of the matter is that hate and hateful people cannot be contained. They don’t live in some special realm where they can only inflict pain upon each other. There is only one world, and we are ultimately forced to share it with people whose sole objective is to inflict as much misery and destruction on other people. No woman “attracts” a hate-filled rapist. No person “attracts” a hate-filled murderer. It’s an extremely unfortunate aspect of life.
The fact that good things happen to bad people and bad things happen to good people would again suggest that the quotation at hand isn’t completely true. Another significant example would be that of online dating and relationships in general. Masochists aside, the majority of people who venture online to find love aren’t looking for a psychopath. They’re looking for a kind and loving person with whom they can share a life with. But, as we know all too well, there have been countless people who have utilised technology to find love and have ended up in very precarious situations. This, therefore, wasn’t a case of hate attracting hate, it was a case of innocence and optimism attracting hate.
The idea of activism is also important to consider with respect to the quotation being discussed. If we think of societal ills such as racism, sexism and homophobia, these are essentially manifestations of hatred. History has shown that there are plenty of morally reprehensible people in the world who are willing to advocate these harmful ideologies. The Nazis are the most obvious example of this. However, what is also evident is that hate-filled movements such as Nazism and white supremacy have also attracted people to stand up to it. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr and Malcolm X demonstrated great strength and conviction during their intense battle for equality. The blatant hatred conveyed by racist segregationists actually compelled them to take action.
The 1960s in America were not only defined by the Civil Rights Movement but also by the anti-war movement. Many citizens strongly repudiated the Vietnam war. The mantra “make love not war” became a popular fixture in the zeitgeist. Self-described hippie pacifists chose to confront the hateful and destructive nature of war with their own philosophy of peace and love. And this once again lends itself to the idea that whilst hate certainly can attract hate, it can also attract an opposing force.
To summarise, it is clear that hate certainly can attract hate. Every single history book in the world will contain evidence of this. The majority of atrocities committed throughout history were able to be carried out by negative forces working in concert. What is also true, however, is the fact that hate also has the ability to attract forces that are antithetical to itself. And this is evidenced in all the political and social movements that aim to make the world a fairer place. Let’s not forget that in science it is the opposite poles of the magnets that attract each other.