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Thread: Self-Hatred or Critical Eye for Your Own Side?

  1. #1
    Senior Member Array Lark's Avatar
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    Jun 2009

    Default Self-Hatred or Critical Eye for Your Own Side?

    What do you think about the labelling of individuals who criticise the groups they are perceived to be part of or are identified with as engaging in self-hatred?

    I've heard it applied to Noam Chomsky for his criticism of Israel and US foreign policy and I've heard it applied to Bill Cosby for his criticism of victim mentality among African Americans, I've heard it applied in a more abstract way to domestic critiques of US foreign policy, particularly liberals, which takes the right wing reaction against them beyond the realms of allegations of treachery.

    Is it a clever attempt to silence opponents of groupthink or an attempt to avoid cognitive dissonance by the group themselves or do these individuals actually hate themselves for failing to conform to a group norm?

  2. #2
    Administrator Array highlander's Avatar
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    For me, it has nothing to do with self-hatred or avoiding cognitive dissonance. Self-hatred seems to be particularly destructive.

    Since I'm always finding flaws in things, it is natural to find flaws in groups that I'm a part of as well as myself. However, it is a balanced view. I think I'm perceptive of the strengths as well as weaknesses. Since my orientation is to frame situations and problems in a different way and come up with a means for improvement, it is impossible for me not to do this. It seems like a natural inclination to not think the way everyone else is thinking. You have to do enough to fit the social norms but there is a streak of individualism and independence there. This way of being seems valuable to the extent that you can actually communicate it to others, influence the direction, and enact change.

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  3. #3
    Senior Member Array JHBowden's Avatar
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    There are individuals out there who are masochistic, who believe they are in bondage to sin and cannot free themselves.

    This has nothing to do with arguments-- a person can be self-loathing and still be correct.

    Still, if someone, let us say, describes America as a great imperialist bully, they shouldn't crybaby if someone wonders why they hate America.

  4. #4
    Order Now! Array pure_mercury's Avatar
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  5. #5
    heart on fire Array
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    People are individuals first. Why shouldn't they criticize groups that they may belong to my choice or fall into through birth or circumstance.

    Any healthy person should be able to critique themselves, else how can they grow? So why not critique groups? Why should anything be above critique?

  6. #6


    Being loyal to one's community and being critical should not be mutually exclusive. I am a Singaporean, and damned proud to be one. That doesn't change the fact that I can be very critical about my government and my fellow countrymen. An American who criticizes US foreign policy, in my eyes, is no "less" American than one who supports it. Any attempt to paint such a co-relation should be avoided. Differing perspectives are to be expected, and should be encouraged to flourish in the open.

    MORE IMPORTANTLY: Criticism is never enough on its own. Nothing should be above critique, but I must add that it can be terribly frustrating and hardly productive to be obsessed solely with criticism and nothing else. Some people do nothing but find faults with every single thing that they are presented with. Criticism has its role, but it should also be accompanied by alternative ideas, suggestions and productive discussion. Anybody can criticize anything- it isn't particularly hard to do. Solving problems, inspiring people, getting things done- that's much harder to do, and much more valuable to society.

  7. #7
    Dreaming the life Array onemoretime's Avatar
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    Jun 2009


    Most people incorporate their ingroup identity into their base self-conception. Consequently, when criticism of the ingroup comes from one of the members of that group, a psychological conundrum appears: the person is opposing the ingroup, so we should hate him, but he is part of the ingroup, so we cannot hate him. Instead, the people reason that the only reason a member of the ingroup could "hate" the ingroup is by hating himself. As such, this neatly pathologizes this internal criticism, and spares the other members from the potentially traumatic experience of having to silence dissent.

    It's also a useful thought-terminating cliche that prevents other members of the group from thinking too intently on the criticism.

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