In Praise of Hate.
Everyone is against hate. President Donald Trump appears to his critics as a hatemonger, while Trump's defenders, rather than claiming the president hates wisely and well, accuse critics and Democrats of being hateful themselves. Yet we are rarely told what is wrong with hating our political foes. Hate is perhaps too emotional and subjective, or too destructive, while politics should be a domain of impersonal reason in which force has no role. Yet in a 1946 essay, "An Eye for an Eye," the French philosopher Simone de Beauvoir concluded that precisely insofar as hatred is a violent, personal feeling, politics cannot do without it.
In early January 1945, the French writer and editor Robert Brasillach was about to go to trial for collaboration with the Nazi occupation. A pioneering film critic and less successful novelist, Brasillach was also a virulent anti-Semite who welcomed the German invasion of France as an opportunity for violence against Jews. In a weekly column of his menacingly titled newspaper Je Suis Partout (I Am Everywhere), Brasillach listed the names, aliases, and last known whereabouts of Jews who had gone into hiding. He was a gleeful advocate of genocide. The outcome of his trial was a foregone conclusion: He would be sentenced to death.
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