It is with amazement and dismay that I watch many in our culture attempt to redefine common terms to suit themselves. Two words now frequently abused are “hate” and “tolerance.”
It sickens me to see people label any idea that disagrees with their opinion as “hate speech.” They either are unable to intelligently distinguish a legitimate disagreement with another person from what can reasonably be called “hate,” or they are very intentionally trying to redefine the meaning of the word by constant association of it with ideas that vary from what their political agenda demands.
Merriam-Webster defines hate as “intense hostility and aversion usually deriving from fear, anger, or sense of injury.” It defines tolerance as “sympathy or indulgence for beliefs or practices differing from or conflicting with one’s own.” Having a different opinion on a subject – even a subject of utmost importance to you – does not meet the definition of hate, no matter how loudly the accusers yell it. As for tolerance, if you want others to tolerate your views, then you’d jolly well better tolerate their views.
The allowance of “hate crimes” has only worsened the situation because of the injustice of punishing some people more than others for the same act based on the motive for carrying out the crime. If someone breaks a law and there is a punishment on the books for breaking that law, then the perpetrator deserves the punishment regardless of motive. Is murdering someone of the same race or sexual orientation any less hate-filled than murdering another? No! It’s murder (or assault or vandalism or whatever) and deserves the same punishment regardless of motive.
It is critical for the sake of language and rational discourse that we challenge every misuse of language that attempts to redefine common words to suit the fancy of some vocal group. If I disagree with your position on something, you can know that my position is thought out, reasoned, and may well have far more history behind it than your latest attempt to change culture. I do not hate, but I may well disagree. Be an adult. Be tolerant. Learn the difference.
Leap year lesson #215 is Do not redefine language to suit yourself.