Permission To Hate

A recent survey by the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University, San Bernardino, confirms what most people who follow the news would have expected:  the incidence of hate crimes has increased.

According to the study, person-directed hate crime has increased 26.7% over the past five years. All hate crime has increased 20% in that same period, while violent crime overall increased only 3.3%. Figures for the 10-year period to 2008 show that the total number of hate crimes has increased, even as both crime in general and violent crime overall have declined.

It isn’t hyperbole or “fake news” to attribute much of that increase to the rhetoric of Donald Trump.

In a recent issue of Salon, Chauncy DeVega interviewed a CIA psychologist about Donald Trump’s “damaged personality.” The interviewee’s credentials were impressive.

Dr. Jerrold Post is the founding director of the CIA’s Center for the Analysis of Personality and Political Behavior. As the CIA’s head psychological profiler, he served under five American presidents of both political parties. Following his 21 years of service with the CIA, Post became a professor of psychiatry, political psychology and international affairs at George Washington University.

Post is the author of 14 books. His latest (co-written with Stephanie Doucette) is “Dangerous Charisma: The Political Psychology of Donald Trump and His Followers.”

Asked to “make sense” of Trump, Post responded with an analysis that gave me chills–but is also consistent with the observations of other mental health professionals who have expressed concerns about Trump’s mental state.

A famous Canadian psychoanalyst observed, “The leader is the creation of his followers.” This is a very powerful relationship. Indeed, many people have been puzzled, given Donald Trump’s extremism, that the support and the dedication of his followers to him has been not hugely diminished. Trump’s rallies, in particular, show an almost frightening intensity of the power of Trump’s charisma and influence over his followers.

For a core of his base Donald Trump provides them with many things, including permission to hate. It is a striking phenomenon. (emphasis mine)

In the three years since the 2016 election, I have become more and more convinced that hate is at the very core of the Trump base–that his appeal is primarily, if not exclusively, to White Christian heterosexuals, male or female, who believe that White Christian heterosexual men are supposed to dominate society and who see that rightful hegemony being eroded by black and brown people and uppity women.

They see their tribe being diminished, while “those people”–Jews, LGBTQ folks, Muslims, African-Americans–are demanding and receiving a place at the civic table, and they are enraged. Social conventions that have prevented them from expressing that hostility (conventions they sneer at as “political correctness”) infuriate them further.

And along comes Trump, who says: it’s okay to hate those “others.”

It reflects Trump’s crying out to his crowd at his rallies and granting them permission when he says things like, “Hey, you want to smash this guy in the face, don’t you? And I’ll pay all legal costs.” The Charlottesville hate riot was another interesting example of how Trump has positioned himself vis-à-vis the far right. Trump finds a resonance with them. He stimulates the crowd with chants such as “Lock her up!” and “Build the wall!”  These all become powerful incentives for his followers to move to the extremes. It’s almost as if Donald Trump is inciting these feelings. Donald Trump is connecting to feelings in his crowd — feelings that he is stimulating…The danger is that such feelings, which are usually beneath the surface, are now being stimulated by Donald Trump.

There was a good deal more in the interview, and it was enlightening, but to me, it was the “permission to hate”analysis that most rang true.

I never doubted that there were people like Trump’s base in the U.S. But in my darkest times, I never thought there were so many of them.

The 2020 election will tell us whether ours is a country where most citizens believe in working toward a society of civic equals, or a country in which a majority of our neighbors were just waiting for someone who would give them permission to hate.


  1. Today’s blog works hand-in-hand with a post on Facebook by Dana Black; an article in Indianapolis Monthly Magazine by a resident of Danville, IN, regarding racist history in his own town he was unaware of till looking into it. I ordered a subscription to the magazine on line hoping to receive more local information than was printed in the Indianapolis Star which I cancelled my decades of home delivery subscription last year due to being kept uninformed. This lack of local information, in print and on the air, aids in the spread of hate by covering it up.

    Those who claim they see no hate, racism or bigotry in Trump’s chaotic “leadership” and continue to support him can be counted among the haters, racists and bigots. Having African-Americans, Hispanics, Lesbians and Gays in my family; I learn of the abuses directly from those who are hated and abused. I have always posted Democratic yard signs during elections but never talked politics with any of my neighbors; strangely enough those who had never posted political yard signs had “Trump for President” signs in their yards. Since 2016 I have not been visible to the naked eye by any of them. A form of hate or just the ignorance which breeds hate, racism and bigotry? The results on my street are covert but are the same shameful support of Trump and they evidence his “Permission To Hate”.

    I don’t need a survey or a study to know which way the wind blows in my small neighborhood.

  2. “Hatred is the most accessible and comprehensive of all the unifying agents. Mass movements can rise and spread without belief in a god, but never without a belief in a devil.”

    ― Eric Hoffer, The True Believer: Thoughts on the Nature of Mass Movements

  3. What I worry most about is what will happen if this man gets reelected. I fear that it will take a thousand years to recover our ecological systems from his damage. If you know of anyone who isn’t going to vote, you need to explain the damage that is being done to our planet and plead with them to just do this one simple thing for the sake of humanity.

  4. Fear is the core emotion of Trump and his followers. All the ‘isms come from fear, and Trump has tapped into this. Much of the modern-day religion also uses fear to attract followers. The conspiracy theorists thrive off of fear.

    Trump’s counterparts in the world mocked him on an open mic, and he pouted and left the NATO Summit early. Later he Tweeted it was fake news; that he had gotten along great with foreign leaders. I guess, except for Justin Trudeau, who Trump called, “Two-faced.”

    Americans slaughtered Native Americans and stole their land. Our economic system was built upon the backs of slaves. Freeing the slaves and then treating them as a government forced equals; a large segment of our population resented our government for those actions.

    Our Founders treated women as second class citizens. When did our government step in to correct that error? Women still don’t get paid equal wages, and based on scum like Jeffrey Epstein and his clients, they are only good for one thing (Trump included).

    And once again, a huge chunk of American citizens resent the government for attempting to make women equal to their male counterparts. “Look at what it says in the Bible!”

    I’m not giving Trump credit for waking up the fear in Americans because it has been there since we first began colonizing this land and then later when we formed our government.

    Why are the Republicans so fearful of education, science and even history? 😉

  5. Well, I’m just going to throw this out there!

    My family is very multicultural, that is mostly on my mother’s side. A lot of ethnicities of color. My father’s side is mostly French and German. My mother has, North African, sub-Saharan African, Native American, some Italian, yikes, LOL.

    I had to wrestle with hate all of my life. When I met my wife who is mostly Nigerian, she had some different experiences concerning hate towards her. That common bond brought us 40 years of marriage still going strong.

    To those family members of mine, on my father side, who seem to so willingly repeat hateful speech and debunked propaganda, you’ll be reading this after I post Sheila’s link on my Facebook once again.

    Since you consider yourself evangelicals, I have this to say, in Scripture, hate has several shades of meaning. It can indicate an intense hostility, it can indicate sustained ill will and malice, it can also indicate a level of perceived superiority by the hater.

    Scripture also uses hate in a different manner, it tells you to hate what is bad, love what is good. Leviticus says you must not hate your brother in your heart, also, we were told to love our enemies. Judeo teaching of loving your neighbors and hating your enemies was drilled down to, loving certain fellow Jews and hating everyone else. This was tradition imposed by the Sanhedrin and not by the Mosaic law. That’s why they added, “hate your enemy” which is in Matthew 5:43 and which Jesus Christ brought out so emphatically. This is simply explained in Leviticus 19:18. And nowhere does it allow for hating your enemy.

    As Christians, there is a huge contrast to the above unauthorized addition of hating your enemy by the Sanhedrin/Religious hierarchy, Christians are obligated to love their neighbor, Christians are obligated to love their enemies. This applies even to those who decide to cultivate a personal hatred against you. This sort of love is called Agape. It is a concern for others in a moral, civil or social love, based on assent of will with discerning duty, propriety, and searching for the good in everyone and concern for their well-being according to what is considered right, in Christ’s law!

    Agape love transcends the desire to persecute and retaliate against someone for a perceived wrong and look for common ground.

    Now, the Bible does tell the righteous hearted to hate certain things, brought out in Proverbs 6:18-19, summarizing, it states to hate Haughty eyes, A Lying tongue, Hands that shed innocent blood, A Heart plotting wicked schemes, Feet that run quickly to evil, A false witness who lies with every breath, And anyone sowing contentions among brothers.

    The apostle John brought out 1st John 2:9, “the one who says that he is in the light and yet hates his brother is still in the darkness.” The apostle Paul said in Romans, 12:9; “let your love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is wicked, cling to what is good.” Romans 12:17 reads; “return evil for evil to no one. Take into consideration what is fine from the viewpoint of all men.”

    Holding back the knowledge and discipline of Scripture, the true knowledge, is a disservice, not only to you, but to the youngest among you. Refrain from teaching the young how to hate their fellow man, it doesn’t matter what that persons lifestyle is or religion or politics or ethnicity, or gender, we don’t have the right to hate or judge. We do have the right, to find common ground, we do have the right to follow Christ’s will on loving our neighbors, loving our enemies, loving the widows and fatherless children, loving the foreign residents, and even those who would bid you ill will. ‘Conduct’ changes hearts, love changes hearts. Disrespect and hate, killing and violence, perpetuates ‘More’ of the same.

    You know what I had posted earlier, about the immense image in Daniel, the dream interpreted was from Nebuchadnezzar. The feet of the immense image represented disunity, a weakness of bond, because feet cannot be molded of iron mixed with clay, certain portions can be extremely strong while other parts are easily broken. The immense image represented the entire history of world powers. All of that history standing on a base that is brittle.

    I would venture to say, that this is extremely observable. The climate change, the inability to maintain treaties and develop new ones, the inability to realize the only home we have is right here on this earth. There is no place to run, there is no place to hide, money will be useless, everyone will be in the same boat, so to speak.

    I don’t expect any of this will change anyone’s opinions, but it is what, or part of what, Christian conduct is supposed to be about. But not just Christians, really it’s all of humanity. Because so many Christians and other folks who consider themselves devout to their religions, decide to follow Charismatic and hypocritical men instead of Scripture, it really is a shame. Christians know The Bible, or at least are supposed to, Muslims also know the Bible, besides the Quran, there is also the Pentateuch, or the Tevrat which are the 1st 5 books of the Bible, also known as the law of Moses, and the Zabuur which is also the Psalms written by King David, and the Insul which is the Christian Greek gospel of Christ.

    The history and commandments in these books, should theoretically allow everyone to live a happy and fulfilling life, with 0 strife. Unfortunately men have manipulated scriptures and their congregations to suit their will and power, instead of the will of the author which tells us to “Hate what is bad and Love what is good.”

    Christ said “give Caesar’s things to Caesar and God’s things to God,” I guess, they missed the memo! They are too busy polluting and looting the planet along with their chosen politicians and business leaders, these are there apostles now, these are their Gods now, and by this, they will destroy themselves and everyone else without a doubt, Unless there is an intervention, an intervention with Striking Observableness, which means an observation that is unmatched in magnitude.

  6. Basically he is predicting a revolution,based on a psychological premise the Trump followers are using his effect on a base of haters. That,and not mentioned this goes hand in hand with the pandemic of drug abuse and suicide,and the rise in sexual abuse especially amongst the young.Sounds like a good platform to write the prelim of chaos in the country,world!

  7. You can safely assume that you’ve created God in your own image when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do. ― Anne Lamott

    The Reactionary Evangelical and Conservative Catholics have been given permission slip to display their willful ignorance and hate. These Male Authoritarian religions seek dominance over the individual and there is a strict adherence to dogma that must be applied. Individuals that stray will be shunned. It is a take no prisoners approach.

    The old dog whistles are gone President Agent Orange with the empty suit of Pastor Pence smiling beside him, shouts out loud and strong. Attacks are a sign of strength, the louder and stronger they are demonstrate proof of dominance – Alpha Male. Decorum, compassion, and empathy are seen as weaknesses to be exploited.

  8. Todd comes closet to explaining the roots of hatred and why it is still so prevalent and easy to conjure up today. The thread of intra-species hate (with its most dramatic and defining acts, war and genocide) goes all the way back to the origin of tribes and the necessity to compete with other tribes for declining or scarce resources in order to survive. But in large civilizations, it is necessary for tribes to cooperate for, among other things, mutual defense against other “super” tribes, food growing and distribution and all the rest.

    As Rebecca Costa points out in her must-read book, “The Watchman’s Rattle”, humans have evolved MUCH faster socially than they have intellectually or mentally. In other words, we’re still trying to manage highly complex and very large societies using the emotional mindset of a caveman.

    So, it should come as no surprise that a REAL caveman, Donald Trump, is all about hate, bigotry and prejudice. Since he has no apparent intellect, he cannot bridge the gap between his primitiveness and what is necessary to promote the things that keep a society flourishing.

  9. Is hate anything more than the emotions behind feeling out of control and wanting to blame it on others? What makes those who support Trump feel out of control? Most of the ones who I know either in person or on line seem to feel out of control because they give others no reason to give them control, respect. They are in fact out of control but it’s more the fault of the combination of what they were born with and into, the early exposure that they had to people who they judged to be like them, and the experiences that they’ve had when trying to control others. They are out of control and others except those like them treat them that way.

    Unfortunate perhaps but is there any scenario in which others would want them in control? No. That puts the in the spot that they find themselves because of who they are.

    Is there a solution for them?

    Trump and his crime family.

  10. I am getting scared for 2020. At first I only worried that we could clean up or reverse Trump’s damage, but now I fear it may extend beyond unchecked. I still cannot understand how anyone on my friends list can support such vileness.

  11. Hate may be the driving force behind most of Trump’s support, but it does have its limits with some of his base. Case in point, a young man I know who attended Trump rallies, bought the obligatory hat and posted on FB about the greatness of the man stopped his support. He explained to me that it was “when Trump separated those families.” I cannot help but to wonder how many others out there are of the same mind.

  12. I think it’s time to pull that book off my shelf again Felix. It’s positively frightening how timeless his work has been.

  13. The scientific research of neuroscientists often focuses on the limbic system(s) of the brain. We still have the old animal brain which is based in instinct. Our survival instincts drive us to fear those who are different from ourselves.

    As a result, much of what appears to be rational is not. Much of what seems to be morally righteous is not. People who argue against the rights of minorities, supporting the poor, saving the earth, making health care affordable may sound reasonable. I think they are fear based.

    Many of the people who voted for Trump wrongly believe as he does that immigrants have robbed them of their manufacturing jobs. His rhetoric stimulates the limbic system of their brains.

    I find that Trump and his followers also arouse the limbic systems of my brain. They scare me. ie Hitler said let’s make Germany great again.

    What scares me even more is the Republicans who fail to stand up to him. ie Lindsey Graham and Mitch McConnell. It seems to me that many in our government have fallen to the lust for power and forgotten that they are to serve the greater good for our country. And why do people lust for power? They fear vulnerability.

    We need leaders who believe in servant leadership, not partisan power grabs. We need courageous social activists like Martin Luther King ,Susan B Anthony, Greta Thunburg, and Malala, and the kids from the “March for Our Lives” movement. How is it the kids show more courage than the adults?

    The question for me is simply this. How do each of us overcome our fear of “the other”?

    If Trump is not reelected in 2020( and I fervently hope he does not get reelected), I think that his base could well become violent. We saw violence in 2016 and protests against Trump. Violence is not a solution. It’s a problem.

    It is said “United we stand, divided we fall” Fear divides. Fear creates uncivil discourse. Fear creates lust for power. Foreign entities who wish to see America fall, use disinformation to arouse divisive fear in this country. But what I fear the most is that the sneaky, insidious , malignant fear that lives within each of us could destroy our country.

    ” The only thing to fear is fear itself.” Take courage my fellow citizens. Somehow we must find the courage even as progressives to reach across the table and love those with whom we strongly disagree and yes, those whom we strongly fear. How else can we recreate the unity that America once knew?

    I wonder what would happen if we created problem solving forums designed to address the challenges Indiana and our nation faces that included people of different races, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, people of different political orientations with moderators.

    Just imagine sitting at a table with this sort of diversity with a facilitator. And the objective is to create solutions together that would work toward the greater good for our fellow citizens. No finger pointing or uncivil discourse would be allowed and certainly, no hate speech. The proposed solutions would be forwarded to the state legislature and our representatives in Congress.

    Would each of us have the courage to go to such a forum? I wish someone had the courage to start hosting such forums.

  14. The same study cited, reflects higher hate crimes in every year from 2000-2008 than 2018, and notes “2018 was 30% above 2014’s record low and 27% below 2001’s record of 9,730. ”

    My only point here is to question how much science there is in making a causal correlation between hate crimes and Trump rhetoric.

  15. “Liberals and Progressives hate us,” the Trump supporters say.

    They are right. Every post in this blog today expresses such hate, and WE ARE RIGHT TO HATE. For the deplorables give us the one reason that makes it correct to hate. One way or another, through policy or through force, the Trumpsters intend to eliminate us; that is the reason it is correct to hate. That conquerors’ goal of theirs is an actual existential threat to us, as well as to the earth, both of which not only give us a reason to hate but give us also the RESPONSIBILITY to hate.

    And every post today expresses fear. We are correct to fear. For it is correct to fear those who intend to and are marshaling the forces to disappear us from the earth; and likewise, it is correct to fear those who would by accident or carelessness disappear the earth from us.

    There is a time to turn the other cheek. But that time is never when turning your cheek also turns my cheek. Beware the religionist who councils the strategy of acquiescence. Leaders of governments, societies and institutions may turn their own cheek when the abuse to be delivered upon it is to be delivered upon the leader’s cheek ONLY, but leaders must never turn THE PEOPLE’S CHEEK; that would be an invitation to mass suicide. And the people (us) acquiescing to a choreographed turning of face is the second invitation to mass suicide.

    We must not forget that the most dangerous animal on earth is the homo sapien. The humanized and socialized sapien is merely a TAMED animal and worthy of patience and tolerance and trust and love. . .until it reverts to its animal instincts, for the untamed homo sapien animal is to be feared greatly.

    Thus, when the enemies of us socialized and humanized sapiens are acting against us from the dictates of their homo sapien inner animal, it is right to understand that the war being waged is between the most dangerous animal on earth and civilized, tamed humanity: World War III. If it were not so true, it would make an excellent novel.

    Perhaps that is what is meant by the (long-awaited) “GREAT AMERICAN NOVEL”.

  16. Trump responds to every challenge to his control the same way; belittling the accuser – not challenging the fact of the behavior but challenging the accuser’s right to expect better.

    No wonder his base admires his ability to rise above the expectations of others when most of them like him fail that way every day due to their own choices in life.

  17. Larry Kaiser,

    You are correct in saying ” We must not forget that the most dangerous animal on earth is the homo sapiens.” Biologically we haven’t changed in only 150,00 years and 7,500 generations. Our entire history is filled with violence and war. And we have a right and duty to defend ourselves.

    But I just keep thinking its incumbent on all of us to try to check some of our hatred at the door.


  18. There are several “forum” groups working to ease the tension of our divisions. Check out is the best known and they do great work. They may already be working in IN and wherever you are….

    “First, they came for the African-Americans….”

  19. John,
    Wise it is to check some of our hatred at the door…our petty hatreds, our racial, ethnic and other biased hatreds, but not our fully conscious intellectual, purposeful, EXISTENTIAL hatreds: they are the hatreds that save us from extinction. It is important for our many well-meaning people, especially our religious friends, to know the difference, especially when they beg us all to trust our life and our planet to a strategy of polite acquiescence.

    I am fearful of survival when so many liberals seem to believe that even the worst humans respect the pickled, stoned, narcotized, why-can’t-we-all-get-along heart. I am aware, though, that the deplorable ones might someday celebrate the timid heart…if only it would sit down at the surrender table.

  20. What was it Martin Luther King said? We will not overcome hatred with hatred. I think he is right.

    I get angry, and I am often afraid as a lesbian woman. I was born in 1951. I often find myself very afraid and/or angry at straight people. I would guess that most of you are straight. And I would guess that most of you have at times been complicit in the oppression of LGBTQ people. I am also certain that Trump and his followers are homophobic.

    As an RN and substance use counselor I have treated people who were and probably still are homophobic. I have treated people who are racist and sexist.

    What bothers me about this site is that I read so many comments in which people rant and rave about the current political divisiveness and the corruption of the current administration without proposing anything that we can do to resist bad policies and/or behavior.

    Yes, it’s frightening especially to those of us in marginalized minorities. And I assume that some of you are, like me, in a minority, maybe a stigmatized minority like mine.

    No one, it seems to me, wants to talk about solutions. No one is talking about what he or she is doing to offset the harmful rhetoric and behavior of Trump and his followers.

    I simply refuse to let my fear and anger move me to behave as those I fear do. Obviously, Pete Buttigieg refuses to engage in hateful rhetoric and behavior as well. Do I think he will become the presidential candidate? I don’t believe he will. Because I am not sure that America is ready for a gay president, not even progressive straight people.

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