Greg Gutfeld is a host of the Fox News late-night political show Red Eye as well as the channel’s daily news roundtable, The Five. He is also the author of The Joy of Hate: How to Triumph over Whiners in the Age of Phony Outrage (Crown Forum). In November, Reason TV Editor in Chief Nick Gillespie spoke with Gutfeld about tolerance, liberalism, and why it’s so much fun to hate people.
Q: Your book concerns itself with something called the “tolerati.” Who are they?
A: The tolerati are [people] who claim to be tolerant until they run into someone they don’t agree with—primarily a conservative or a libertarian or anyone who doesn’t hold their liberal assumptions. If you have anything that deviates from that belief, you are considered a bigoted, inconsiderate monster.
Q: You started developing this concept of fake tolerance or repressive tolerance when you were a student at Berkeley.
A: This is the early ’80s, and I think it was the beginning of the politically correct movement, where language was under fire. There were certain things you couldn’t say, or there were things that had meanings that you didn’t understand. And I think that came from deconstructionism.
Q: And you had gone to an all-boys Catholic high school?
A: Serra High School, home of Barry Bonds, who used to sit behind me in Spanish class and cheat off me.
Q: But did you come out of that as a liberal?
A: I remember there was a time when one of the religious teachers asked if anybody had done drugs, and I raised my hand and nobody else did. And he said that he had such tremendous respect for me because I said I’d done drugs in front of everybody. To me that was like: Wow, if you make a stand or draw attention to yourself in a certain way you get points. And I learned that.
Q: So you come out of a high school where to be liberal is to be good. You go to Berkeley where to be liberal is to be good and then you realize…
A: …it’s an intellectual fascism. They dictate what’s good without ever having to experience the consequences of their own beliefs. The media will always give a pass to liberal humor, liberal ridicule, or liberal mockery—because they are liberal.
Q: To bring it back to The Joy of Hate. You enjoy hating people. You kind of live on it, in the way that other people live off, I don’t know, Twix.
A: Yes, hate is my love.
Q: What do you want people to take away from The Joy of Hate?
A: The Joy of Hate explains the physiological response you get from hating something. When you’re online and you’re reading comments on a blog that you wrote, you can actually feel that adrenaline stuff, and you turn it around on Twitter or whatever, and it’s a nice rush. It is physically like fighting. That’s the joy of hate. People like that feeling. My feeling is that you have to resist that kind of hate because you have real people in your life. You have a family.
Q: And you should direct the hate at them, not the online world.
A: Yes, exactly! Direct the hate to the people around you! Actually, now you’ve blown my mind, because maybe online hate is a way to channel hate away from real people, so maybe it’s a good thing. Don’t buy my book! No, wait! The joy of hate is that you don’t have to love everybody and everything. In fact, if you love everybody and everything, then your love is meaningless; there is no love in a relativistic world. You have to have some hate.