Why there is so much hate and violence?

Two men who hate each other.

People are inherently selfish.

And selfishness, if not kept under control, can turn into hatred.

As if natural selfishness were not bad enough, human society actually trains people to be selfish!

Generalizations, of course, do not always apply, yet certain attitudes are too prevalent to be rejected as simply aberrations.

Are not politicians often more interested in winning elections than they are in helping their constituents?

Are not businessmen often more interested in making money, unscrupulously if necessary, than in preventing harmful products from reaching the market?

Are not clergymen often more interested in being popular or in gaining money than in guiding their flocks along paths of morality and love?

Games and violence

Video games featuring violence teach young people to solve problems the selfish way—simply eliminate the enemy!

Hardly an attitude that fosters love!

Over a decade ago, the U.S. surgeon general warned that video games posed a threat to young people.

He said:

"Everything is zap the enemy. There’s nothing constructive in the games.”

 A letter to The New York Times noted that many video games “pander to the basest instincts of man” and added:

They are cultivating a generation of mindless, ill-tempered adolescents.” 

A video-game fan from Germany was honest enough to admit the truthfulness of this latter statement when he said:

While playing them I was transferred into an isolated dream world where the primitive slogan applied: ‘Kill or be killed.’”

Race and violence  

When coupled with racism, hatred becomes ever more sinister.

Racist feelings nourish what nationalism teaches children from infancy, namely, that hating your nation’s enemies is not wrong.

An essay by George M. Taber, a Time contributor, noted:

Of all the political isms of history, perhaps the strongest is nationalism.” 

He went on to explain:

More blood has been shed in its name than for any other cause except religion. Demagogues for centuries have stirred up fanatical mobs by blaming all their troubles on some neighboring ethnic group.”

Long-standing hatred of other ethnic groups, races, or nationalities is behind many of the problems in today’s world.

Xenophobia and violence

Xenophobia, fear of strangers or foreigners, is on the increase.

Interestingly, however, a group of German sociologists discovered that xenophobia is most marked where few foreigners live.

This seems to prove that it is more often caused by prejudice than by personal experience.

“Young people’s prejudices are fostered mainly by their friends and families,” the sociologists found.

Indeed, 77 percent of those interviewed, even though they endorsed the prejudice, had no direct contact, or very little, with foreigners.

Indeed, teaching the lesson of selfishness is not difficult, for all of us have inherited a measure of selfishness.