By Scott Tibbs, April 26, 2012
There was a great observation on the NBA Today podcast a couple weeks ago: "If you say something that's negative, then you're a hater, and as I've said many times people that use the term hater are people that are, it's just childish. And they're unable to, they're unable to stomach criticism." (sic)
While the context of this quote is opinions expressed by sports analysts, it has implications for our political discourse as well. If you oppose taxpayer funding for Planned Parenthood, it is because you "hate women." If you disagree with government recognizing same-sex marriage, it is because you "hate homosexuals." If you are troubled by violations of civil liberties by law enforcement, you "hate police." This goes on and on, forever.
It's silly, it's childish, and it's a cop-out. Instead of honestly addressing the arguments presented, people who cry "hate" make an ad hominem argument to force their opponent to defend himself personally. If you can make a discussion personal, you do not have to deal with the logical arguments presented.
Disagreement is not the same as hate. Those who reduce disagreement to "hate" demonstrate their lack of ability to form a coherent logical response to an argument they dislike. They also water down the meaning of the word "hate" to the point that it is meaningless and ineffective. If all disagreement is hate, then what do we call real hatred - which is a sin that Jesus Christ said is no different than murder?