Read The Joy of Hate Online

Authors: Greg Gutfeld

The Joy of Hate (3 page)

BOOK: The Joy of Hate
11.48Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

But feeling, instead of thinking, can only get you so far, and sometimes you have to start thinking and abandon feeling. For me, thinking began during a high school debate on nuclear disarmament. I was arguing against mutually assured destruction, again from my heart and not my brain. As I mentioned in my previous book,
The Bible of Unspeakable Truths
, my opponent surgically destroyed my arguments so convincingly that he did one thing generally impossible to do in an argument—he changed my mind. It was then I realized that while playing the well-meaning tolerant individual (in short: liberal) garnered you fans and grades, it didn’t matter. In my heart and head I was a fraud.

College, for most of us, was nothing if not an instructional guide to the concept of repressive tolerance. I learned early, from high school, that phony outrage about an issue you do not understand is rewarded, but I saw it in full force when expressed by college students, who were really up on the game. Side by side with their instructors, they made the grade by hitting the streets. And
later, Kinkos, to print flyers featuring the key word “oppressive,” which could describe their body odor.

At Berkeley, I found myself surrounded by purveyors of repressive tolerance, a group of pointless freaks who might have been the most strident, intolerant automatons I’d ever come across. And it was their tolerance that masked their own fascism—their strident beliefs made opposing beliefs unacceptable. I’ve said it before: The more caring they were on the street, the less they cared at home. Sure, they worried about the dietary deficiencies of Guatemalen water snakes, but they’d never pay their “fair share” for food. They were the worst roommates in the world. If it was their turn to buy toilet paper, you can bet you’d be on the bowl using pages from
Mother Jones
. (I still use
Mother Jones
for that. The articles by David Corn tickle.)

It was there, at Cal, that I discovered what I could not tolerate. And that was the loudmouth, ultratolerant, shrieking outrage junkies who demanded I think the same. One night, walking home from the library, I came upon a “march” for God knows what. There were a lot of marches at Berkeley in the eighties, and frankly I lost track of causes. It’s sort of like a giant incubator where parades gestate. If they weren’t about apartheid or homelessness, they were about transgender issues or starving pandas with substance-abuse problems. (I seem to remember Poo-Paw, a panda addicted to crack cocaine who’d fallen on hard times and was now turning tricks in the Chinese province of Gansu. But that’s another story for another time. Please remind me when you see me—it’ll bring a tear to your eye.) But this particular group was very loud, very female, and so very outraged about everything. On the sidewalk I sank into my jacket as I walked with my books (some “borrowed” from the library), while they chanted
“No means no, no means no” over and over again. I felt their eyes on me. And sure enough they were. (Then again, I was addicted to cough syrup during that sophomore year, so this could all have been a hallucination. I remember spending most of my nights arguing with a poster of Heather Thomas.)

Now, I get the concept “no means no,” but you’re wasting that precious energy on me. Just to clarify: I’m not a rapist. I’ve never contended that no means, “Sure.” It didn’t matter. I was the target of their raging rage machine and I would have no choice but to take it. My no apparently doesn’t mean no at all. Anyway, they yelled at me, wild-eyed and gesturing, convincing me to avoid eye contact, speed up to a semi-jog, and scamper through a driveway and up the side stairs of the dilapidated fraternity I called home.

It was at this point in my life that I developed a very simple theory, something I call negative identity formation—or NIF for short. Through NIF, I found out who I really was. Through rejection of an abundance of beliefs, discrimination against earnest ideas, and intolerance of those who were trying too hard to be different, I found out that hate isn’t so bad after all.

I mean, without it, where would I be? I would be marching for anything and everything. I’d protest for the sake of protest simply because every issue is the same: just a conduit to express rage as a method to raise my own self-esteem. And so I embraced my own narrow-mindedness, because without it I would have become an amorphous blob, floating through life, incapable of making decisions or even the bed (like most lifelong “activists” who are currently avoided by their relatives). And I realized that by refusing to make concrete, narrowed decisions about your life, you’ll be living on the street in a refrigerator box—which isn’t a bad thing if that street is, say, on sunny College Avenue, where a bum can cultivate a yearlong lustrous tan. But the bottom line,
the overarching idea of intolerance—not liking things—actually makes you a better person. You cannot go through life being tolerant of everything, unless you’re Deepak Chopra, who is a living hologram making millions off unhappy people, only to spend it on embarrassing caftans and nervous assistants.

But I want to be clear: Being an intolerant person doesn’t mean you wish to impose your beliefs on others. I can hate people but at the same time be completely fine and even encourage them to live whatever life they lead. Fact is:
I don’t care
. I don’t care, I don’t care, I don’t care. When a gay man tweets me, saying, “I’m tired of people judging me on my sexuality,” my feeling is, Then stop tweeting about it. I don’t care if you’re gay. I do care, however, if you’re an idiot. I hate idiots. Gay or straight. But when it comes to lifestyle choices that cause no harm, have at it. Send me pictures. High-def, preferably.

Gay marriage is a perfect example. I don’t believe a human being has a right to tell another human being whom they can love or whom they can marry. At this point you might hear the response, “Well, what’s next? People marrying dogs?” Well, if you wanna go there, sure, marry a dog. Some of these little poodles are kind of hot, in a Nicole Richie sort of way. Just pick up the poop after your spouse and I’m okay. My wife does it for me, and we’re very happy.

But if I’m running a business, I don’t want to pay for your dog’s health insurance, even if he is your spouse. So that’s where my tolerance ends. Same with polygamists. Sure, marry all the women (or men) you want, but if I’m your boss, I ain’t paying all those insurance premiums. I would go bankrupt. So there are limits to tolerance.

Fact is, though I am proudly intolerant, I don’t want to have any part in dictating what people do in their bedrooms, or their lives. But I also don’t want an activist getting in my face (or in my
pants), telling me who I should accept or what I shouldn’t. You do no one any favors by screaming at Mormons or Catholics because they think only men and women should marry each other. (How funny is it that gay activists stay away from black churches; it’s the same hypocrisy you see with the animal rights group PETA. They’ll throw paint on a white guy wearing ostrich boots, but they’d never do that to a Native American strangling a bald eagle to make a feather headdress.)

Organized religion has done a lot of great things for society (in some ways, ensuring that it existed), so bear with the parts you find ridiculous. You’re winning that battle anyway. More and more Americans are fine with gay marriage, and I hope in a decade or so I will be able to marry my Pekinese, Captain Furfoot, in a tasteful wedding on the beach. And if you don’t tolerate that, fine—I just don’t want to hear about it. But I swear it’s going to be a great wedding, and I condemn you if you don’t allow me to follow my bliss.

People ask me what I am politically, and I’ve previously offered this equation: I became a conservative by being around liberals. And I became a libertarian by being around conservatives.

So what made me move politically from one side to the other? It wasn’t the politics. It was the humor. Or lack thereof. As I hung around more liberals—well-meaning, self-serious, and ultimately annoying—I found them utterly devoid of humor. It was replaced with earnest outrage, most of it cultivated as a method to exercise superiority over their parents and everything they’d worked for all their lives. Leftism = I hate you, Daddy, for being tough. And successful.

I guess I owe my conversion to intolerance, and to Berkeley. I was a good-natured kid when I got there, with good-natured ideals and ready-made politics for that campus. But when I came
face-to-face with the “believers,” I realized that they lacked one thing that made life enjoyable: they couldn’t take a joke. I noticed this at the daily protests on Sproul Plaza, populated by suburban kids who’d just discovered piercings and tie-dye but had not yet embraced independence from their parents’ checkbook. They were as funny as hepatitis. With complications.

Over the next three months after that night running into that march, I faced this strident ideology everywhere—from my course-work among deconstructionists, to students who harangued me for being in a fraternity, to a daily college paper that had created its own foreign policy, in which the only enemy was us. Aka the U.S.

One summer, an ex decided to rent a room in my vacated fraternity. I humored myself into thinking there would be an opportunity for a month of rekindled hazy summer sex—but then she called me, telling me how excited she was to come. All she kept saying was how she looked forward to “the vibe,” and how Berkeley was “like the coolest most open place ever.” That was the warning.

When she arrived, it became clear that she had stopped shaving. She still had the body of a cheerleader, but covered in the mane of a yeti. She was Bigfoot in Birkenstocks.

And her politics made her a perfect fit for this asylum. From afar, not dealing with the daily machinations of Berkeley’s corrupt and destructive utopian adventures, she had no idea what would transpire. Within a month, she left town—without paying her rent. And when I cashed her deposit, she threatened that her daddy would sue me. This is how modern feminism culminates. When reality strikes, someone—a daddy in the form of a real one or a government substitute—inevitably must bail you out.

It was around this time something special happened. I found a
friend. That friend was a magazine. A fraternity brother of mine was picking up his mail when I saw him grab this oversized glossy-covered magazine (inside, though, the pages were like newsprint, with odd-looking illustrations and weird fonts). I asked him what it was, and he lent me his copy. That night I read
The American Spectator
, and understood almost none of it.

It confused me, because it was funny—and it was poking fun at things you weren’t supposed to laugh at. The targets were all liberal icons. What the
was committing in my world was sacrilege. My favorite part I didn’t even understand at first. It was called “Current Wisdom,” and it consisted solely of excerpts from various liberal columnists like Anthony Lewis, and rags like
The Nation
. They ran without comment—as a statement that these ideas are so ridiculous, they require no explanation or joke. That back page turned me into a conservative, when I realized that no one needed to make fun of liberalism. It was hilarious on its own.

This was an epiphany. Probably the only one I ever experienced in my life (if you don’t count the incident in Key West that culminated in a series of painful apologies and injections), and it changed me forever. I mean, how do you make fun of something that is already a joke? No wonder leftism gets away with its craziness—no one knew how to write a punch line for a punch line.

I started reading the mag from cover to cover—from Bob Tyrrell’s “Continuing Crisis” to the book and movie reviews that seemed light-years ahead of anything I’d find in
The New Yorker

Once I “got” it, boy did I get it. I started writing parodies of liberals I knew, and even filmed an amateurish skit called
Poetry and Progressives
. Finally, I was given the key to confront the outrage of the left, and that key was mockery, pure and simple. I wasn’t
that good at it at first. But it became my bread and butter for the rest of my life.

This happened again, much later in life, when I began to run into young conservatives who, sadly, started adopting the pretensions of their counterparts on the left. The Republican Party was supposed to be the “who gives a shit” party of P. J. O’Rourke, but it was starting to mimic the anger of the left. Part of this came with success. There was an explosion of young conservative bloggers and writers, many of them amazingly funny, others not so much. The angry ones, who forgot the humor, made me wince. They were adopting the voice of perpetual outrage, and it wasn’t doing them, or me, any favors. That’s how I ended up investigating libertarianism. To me, libertarianism happily rejects the moralism on both sides—the only time it pops up, really, is when you say something negative about Ron Paul. By the way, Ron Paul may be the sexiest presidential candidate with two first names ever, and I dare you to refute that fact without becoming visibly aroused.


we have plenty of gay bars. There are three within my block, and one in my shower. Still, I disagree. We needed one more. And so let’s hark (how do you “hark,” exactly?) back to the summer of 2010, a marvelous time for loudmouths like me, when a controversy bubbled up from the blogs—and downtown Manhattan—all thanks to something called Park51.

It became known through various websites—and then the networks slowly and belligerently followed—that a mosque was going to be built near Ground Zero, the gaping wound New York still has from 9/11, and a reminder that radical Muslims flew planes into our buildings and killed our people.

Understandably, most people thought this mosque idea was a pretty weird thing, to put it mildly. How can any civilized person consider building a mosque so close to a place where nearly thousands of people died at the hands of a select group of radicals who hung out in mosques?

Yeah, we all get the whole freedom-to-practice-your-religion thing—and the fact is, if you want to build that mosque, we can’t stop you. That’s the intellectual argument and what makes our country so much better than yours (“yours” is directed at anyone reading this book in France).

BOOK: The Joy of Hate
11.48Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

Other books

05 Ironhorse by Robert Knott
Shallow Creek by Alistair McIntyre
Written in Red by Anne Bishop
The Great Bedroom War by Laurie Kellogg
The Hostage by Duncan Falconer
A Sound Among the Trees by Susan Meissner
Redemption's Edge by Shirleen Davies