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Are you a hater? Well of course not. It would be very odd if you said you were. It’s like me asking: are you a bad person, but it’s even more specific — it’s asking you about a particular sin, the sin of hatred.

I think if you were deeply philosophical and introspective you would say, “sometimes”. It’s like asking about any of the other sins — envy, greed, lust, pride. I think all of us have elements of those in us, and part of our work as humans is to manage those, transcend those, tame those.

I think the great men of history have actually harnessed those sins and wrestled them and transformed them into energy to do great things. I mean, what wouldn’t a young man do to impress a woman, if he were motivated by lust; how much enduring beauty in the form of art, or, heck, sports achievements, was done to impress a woman!

If that’s an odd example for you, how’s this one — Adam Smith said:

It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own self-interest.

So, back to my question: are you a hater?

Well, then, philosophically, we all are a bit. Don’t pretend you’re not. You can’t love things and like things unless you also hate other things, even just the opposite of what you like. I love my family means, I hate or fear those things that would hurt it; I love my hockey team and want it to win implies you hate to see them lose. I’m stretching the words.

But I say that anyone who doesn’t have some hate in their heart doesn’t have a heart. It’s a natural human emotion. If you can watch 9/11 without having feelings of hatred, then you do not have a normal personality.

So, are you a hater?

Well, if a pollster asked you that, you’re probably not going to give them a five minute amateur philosophy answer like I just ham-fistedly gave here. You’re going to say, “of course not!” I mean, it really couldn’t be an easier question to answer. Because only bad people are bad. I’d call that a stupid question, actually.

But is it much less stupider to ask people, in a poll, are you against hate? Well it would be bizarre for anyone to say anything except “of course”. And it’s true — even those of us who wrestle with sins, especially those of us who wrestle with sins, say we’re against sins. Look how fat I am. Am I against gluttony? Yes of course — more than most, because I’m so familiar with its evil. If you ask a hater if he’s against hatred, he probably will say yes.

And so what value should we put on a poll, commissioned by a taxpayer-funded lobby group called the Canadian Race Relations Foundation, that commissioned a poll from a polling company owned by a Liberal party activist, that asked Canadians if they’re against hate?

NEXT: Spencer Fernando (@SpencerFernando on Twitter) on Canadian Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault wanting to censor the Internet.

FINALLY: Your messages to me!

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