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The Pyramid of Hate

“Hate-fuelled attack on values that unite us all”

It shows zero self-awareness that Daily Express ran this headline the day after the white terrorist attack on a mosque in Christchurch,.

This is a newspaper that, when its front page is not about Madeleine McCann or Lady Di, create headlines at random from “Muslim”, “immigrant”, “scrounger”, “jobs”, “attack” and “criminal”.

People like the white terrorist who shot 49 people in a mosque yesterday do not hoist themselves into existence by sheer force of evil. They represent the pinnacle of a particular pyramid of hate that has as its base stupidity, distrust, arrogance and misdirected grievance.

Newspapers such as the Daily Express, Daily Mail, Sun and Daily Star are part of that pyramid. Their eat-as-much-as-you-can hate buffet accustoms readers to a basic level of hostility. Above the readers, are repeaters, above the repeaters, creators of new hateful material, above them the marchers and at the top, those whose hate, supported and encouraged by all the lesser haters, moves them to violent action.

If you read one of these papers, please stop. There’s no excuse. You might like a particular columnist, or have been doing the crossword for years. Of course you don’t believe what you read. Nobody believes what they read in the papers, yet you can read the papers to find out what a country believes. Every copy purchased of these newspapers, which habitually publish stories that increase fear of Muslims, immigrants and people of colour, contributes to at least the “indifference” level of this “pyramid of white supremacy”, as produced by The Equality Institute.

 

If your parents read one of these papers, get them to stop. If you have kids, ask your parents to put the money aside into a savings account for the children. Match what they put in. It will build up to something worthwhile, and they will be better grandparents in the meantime, because they will have less to be angry about.

 

11 Comments

  1. Az on March 17, 2019 at 3:18 pm

    Thank you for speaking out about this Jason!

  2. Benny Ross on March 17, 2019 at 4:07 pm

    Yes! Sometimes it’s right to be angry with people and institutions that cynically exploit people’s fears and disappointments for commercial gain or political power.

  3. Karen Shuker on March 17, 2019 at 6:25 pm

    Thank you, I agree with all you have said. From Karen Shuker (New Zealand) today we will be talking and supporting our middle school students after a weekend of horrific news and a shift in our views about the beautiful country we live in. Our wonderful Primeminister is inspiring us all!!

  4. Jon Fentiman on March 17, 2019 at 10:12 pm

    An interesting pyramid. Topical and relevant to the outrage in NZ and other far right atrocities. But in the interests of a more balanced polemic and philosophical enquiry, I would also like to see a pyramid that has the mass murder of Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot at its apex. It would be interesting to see what “ All you can eat buffet” underpins this ideological genocide.

    • Jason Buckley on March 17, 2019 at 10:34 pm

      I think in all those cases, institutional terror is the biggest factor, but the role played by propaganda is very similar: it is always a matter of very simplistic, binary thinking, with one group (Muslims, the rich, the educated, the bourgeoisie, the kulaks, those influenced by the West) being bad and the other (whoever “us” is) being good. This is one of the reasons why, whether people are dealing with countering or preventing Islamic, right or left-radical violent extremism, successful interventions are often similar, and revolve around getting people to see the world in shades of grey rather than black and white. That said, some things are black and white, and the insidious influence of the tabloid press on British political life is one of them.

  5. Brian Thomas on March 18, 2019 at 8:13 am

    As an American living in China, I am extremely fascinated by the push-pull of liberalism / tolerance and censorship and control. What is happening in the Western part of my country is a tragedy. However, – and I do annoy a lot of my colleagues that use Facebook or Twitter (I do not use) – I always appreciate that the Chinese government has the ability to control the message. Yes, we all know that balance is preferred. Yet were I to choose between Powerful Censorship or leniency forming the Pyramid of Hate, I certainly prefer the former. My old friends in Ohio worry about Fentanyl and gun violence. At least here in China my children only suffer from air pollution – a suffering I was able to choose. More control issues, yes? Thank you for your post, and I think a lot of people may benefit from an expanded posting. Do you want to write more? Thanks so much. – Brian

    • Jason Buckley on March 18, 2019 at 9:17 am

      I’d be very interested to hear more about this. There is very rarely any problematisation of the freedoms that are totemic in the West, and yours would be a valuable perspective. Thanks.

  6. Suleman on March 18, 2019 at 8:20 am

    Spot on! You have called out Jason what we all know to be true; the far-right supporting biased newspapers.

    No human being with an ounce of love and compassion would every justify or at least bit support the abhorrent act like that in New Zealand.

    We all need to look at ourselves and see if we anyway are supporting this insidious influence of bias against Muslims in particular or any other community for that matter; Mrs Warsi ex-conserative MP once said something like this, ‘The anti-Muslim views have passed the dinner table test.’ Referencing, that normalisation of hate amongst our young against others. Is this what we want to ‘feed’ our children at the dinner table?

    Remember, we all belong to some type of community!

  7. Vivienne on March 18, 2019 at 6:53 pm

    Bit preachy I thought. Is philosophy not about thinking wide and allowing a range of opinions? Are people not be trusted to read what they want and make their own decisions. At what point do we drift into allowing state controlled media only?

    • Jason Buckley on March 18, 2019 at 11:52 pm

      You’re absolutely right that it is preachy, which is why I flagged up the difference to my normal practice in the body of the bulletin. I’d also agree that philosophy is about thinking wide and allowing a range of opinions, but I don’t think that “in philosophy there are no right or wrong answers”. Otherwise, I think philosophy would be just a frivolous exercise, and have nothing of substance to say about how we should live. I think that at the very least, there are wrong answers. Those answers could be wrong because they are mistaken in fact, or have a twisted view of what makes for a good life; or they could be wrong on logical grounds, because they contradict themselves. Through a combination of those ways of getting it wrong, I can’t see why it should be controversial to say that a newspaper that has made money from stirring up anti-Muslim hatred through sensational, selective and exaggerated cover stories cannot, without hypocrisy, suddenly turn on the crocodile tears when Muslims get shot in accordance with the sort of hate-filled rhetoric it has previously published. You can’t both encourage and decry hatred of Muslims without being inconsistent.

      You ask, “Are people not to be trusted to read what they want and make their own decisions?” My answer to that is “yes and no”. “Yes” in the normative sense, that that is the only way we should run a democracy. “No” in the descriptive sense that it’s obvious, from what people do actually want to read, that many of them choose to read hate-mongering newspapers that present a misleading picture of society. You have to trust people, but you know that many people will fail to live up to that trust and choose to read lying, sensationalist rags.

  8. Pamela Stagg-Jones on March 19, 2019 at 11:52 am

    I have often done a similar “preachy” philosophy lesson when circumstances required it. I did this when there was a bad case of bullying in one of the schools where I teach. I wholeheartedly agree with you on this point and also on the way you have presented this particular wrong-doing. I found that “doing the philosophy lesson differently” got the point across very well. The response was as serious as the subject matter with classes aged 4 to 11 years of age. Thank you very much for being forthright and persuasive not only on the subject matter of racism and violence but also on the idea that there are right and wrong answers to some of life’s most difficult problems.

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