What Fake Hate Crimes Reveal About the Left’s Bubble

After fumbling around in court for nearly three months, Michigan resident Halley Bass admitted recently to faking a hate crime against herself in November, following Donald Trump’s surprise presidential victory.

Bass claimed that a middle-aged white man had attacked her with a safety pin in an alleyway near a downtown Ann Arbor movie theater. Since she was wearing an anti-Brexit solidarity pin at the time, she told the police that she believed the man had slashed at her because her pin indicated she did not support Trump.

Although it was later revealed that Bass has mental disorders and fabricated the incident to hide the fact that she had scratched herself, fake hate crimes have become common in the wake of Trump’s presidential victory. Several other incidents occurred in Ann Arbor alone—which is home to the University of Michigan—most notably that of a female Muslim college student who claimed a man had threatened to set her hijab on fire if she did not take it off. Police later determined that this, too, was a hoax. In an even more recent incident, a Muslim man made false bomb threats against Muslim students at Concordia University in Montreal on March 2.

Now that Trump has been in office for a few months and his immigration bans and anti-Muslim rhetoric have gone through several iterations and revisions, the full effects of these fake hate crimes are becoming apparent. Fake hate crimes don’t stop Trump and they don’t prevent his administration from implementing unpopular policies. They harm the way we relate to each other.

When people deface their own identities to undermine an opposing ideology, they might think they are operating with the subterfuge of a defeated political faction, but they also show what happens when a society prizes individualism above all else. Hate crimes—real or fake—can only occur when we become self-obsessed and forget how to love each other.

In the case of the Muslim man at Concordia, his actions may have stirred up ire against Islamophobes for a couple of hours—until it was discovered he was only using an already socially polarizing issue for his own ends. The same could be said of Bass, whose actions were just another attention-seeking attempt to feel like part of the anti-Trump “resistance.”

People don’t attack their own identity, their own background, or their own faith without first forsaking their relationship to society. What makes us fully ourselves is the ability to give, to interact with each other, and above all to live in a community. When we can’t trust our neighbors not to sabotage us with things like fake hate crimes, we can’t live in a community with them.

It’s like the relationship between next-door neighbors. Because they live near each other, next-door neighbors are part of a relationship which helps define who they are. They trust each other to respect and take care of each other’s property. If one starts throwing poison on the other one’s plants and then denies culpability, the offended neighbor will likely not feel like they are part of a neighborhood community any longer; they might even eventually move away.

But we live in a society where moving away is no longer an option. We’ve been pushed into a small world, where we can either get along or create our own ecosystems, which, as many observers have noted, have come to resemble insular “bubbles.” Unable to compromise, we’ve chosen to draw into ourselves until we can no longer live in a community.

When a society starts to behave like this, people like Bass or the student at University of Michigan’s actions become plausible. They’re not crazy; they’re just protecting their self-contained world against the supposed hatred of the outside. Self-preservation becomes paramount. And if that means getting rid of their neighbors by blaming them for the poison they threw on their own plants, then so be it. In a world of one, the only integrity worth maintaining is autonomy.

The tendency for humans to build self-centered worlds is as old as pride itself. Especially since the Trump election—an unpleasant reality for many Americans—half of the country seems to be terrified of anything that might threaten their personal Xanadus. Cries of “Fake news!” and “Resist!” and “Not my president!” are oddly reassuring to those who make them, of course, giving them a sense of camaraderie and purpose, but they also highlight how displaced from each other we have become.
Dislocating ourselves won’t work in the long run—we’re made to love each other, not ourselves. As this rash of fake hate crimes shows, the more we try to double-down on identity politics and protect ourselves strictly as individuals, the less capable we will be of functioning as a society.

Only when we acknowledge that we live in a community can we escape the self-created islands of insecurity that push us farther away from each other. Hate or no hate, we have to be constantly giving of ourselves to keep our social and political communities healthy.

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  • Bob B

    Self-preservation is not the only basis for fake crimes. Many are to advance the cause of the left, or the actor within the left, by falsely “proving” the evils of the left’s boogeymen and creating self-serving publicity.

  • Fake hate crimes do not come from Individualism…they come from Group-Think.

  • Jon

    Those attempting to pull off fake hate crimes also are trying to change not just their own world, but the world of others, who might fall into a specific group targeted for at least shame and accusation, if not outright demonization, if the hate crime hoax isn’t exposed.

    It’s the concept of the ‘higher truth’ based on the idea that the target of your wrath is so evil and must so much be exposed, that you are then allowed to fabricate and/or lie about your actions to make others see the light.

  • Schlachtwerk666

    This seems backwards. These phoney hate-crimes are entirely groupthink driven. That the individuals responsible are reprobate losers hardly makes their actions stand out as exalting the individual over all else: by its nature, the conduct is about group identity, not individualism.

    • Lisa

      Bravo. You took the words out of my mouth. The message of of these fake crimes is intended for their group. The purpose is to foster greater victimhood within that group and with it increased group identity. The perpetrators may be troubled by their perceived victim-status but what REALLY bothers them is when other members of their group don’t see themselves as victims. These people are actually a threat to their own identity and worldview. The fake crime is a recruitment tool.

  • Bandit

    You’re confusing individualism with self-absorbtion

  • Stoutcat

    “… they also show what happens when a society prizes individualism above all else.”

    That’s exactly wrong. American society is and always has been about individualism. These fake hate crimes only show what happens when a society — or part of a society — prizes its own narrative, its own bubble, above all else.

  • HAPPY

    “Hate crimes—real or fake—can only occur when we become self-obsessed and forget how to love each other.”

    Sorry, Nic, I don’t buy this; at least not the “can only occur” part!

    As humans, we ALL of us are at times, “self-obsessed and forget how to love each other”. None of us are Jesus or even saints!

    Perpetrators of Fake Hate Crimes, at the most elementary level, lack respect for themselves! Since they don’t respect themselves, I do agree with you that they “attack their own identity, their own background, or their own faith”.

  • MO23

    In a society that has been fed “reality TV”, ahem, why is anyone surprised that a group of coddled, self indulgent twits decide to create their own reality? They can’t hold their breath until they’re blue anymore, so they use other means to tell a breathlessly awaiting world their collective social genius.. It doesn’t take accomplishment or earned status, you just have to “show up” to be whatever you think you are.

  • Immolate

    Conclusion: correct. Root cause analysis: wrong.

  • SGT Ted

    This analysis has it backwards. The Identity Politics assertions that leads to these hoax hate crimes are entirely rooted in collectivist thinking. Hoaxers attempt to demonize out groups to promote the virtue of their in groups by claiming to be “victims” of the out groups and thus in need of special consideration and protection by the government, usually in the form of promoting special rights for the “victims”. This type of thinking rejects the individual in favor of lumping people together in those groups. And when they cannot find anyone in their in group that is an actual victim of anything, they will “fake it until they make it” and, when caught, claim that their lies and hoaxes reveal a “greater truth” about our racistshomophobebigotfascist society.

    • Shelley

      Well said!!

  • Banned_by_KBTX

    Fake hate crime may happen because of a desire by the hoaxer to create a bubble (read: safe space), but that does not explain the fetish the media has for deliberately promoting them. I suspect a lot of hoaxers would think twice about doing it if the media wasn’t so willing to make them martyrs.

    The fakers are villains, but they are minor villains. The truly evil people in this sordid drama are the journalists who deliberately promote fake hate crimes for political gain (BLM, “Hands up! Don’t shoot!).

    • Teacher_in_Tejas

      Yeah and once the narrative is established it’s tough to get the intellectually vapid to change it. I’ve had conversations with liberals who are still posting those fake hate crimes on their Facebook pages, and about 90% of them believe the Pulse nightclub shooter was a closeted self-hating gay man, rather than a Jihadist whacko.

  • Dan Catron

    Although I agree that a lot of this comes from a removal of people from functioning in society, I disagree it is individualism and more people removing themselves into groups. These fake hate crimes are an attempt to create victimhood for a group of people who are not victims, and to villainize groups they feel are an opposition.

  • Shelley

    Nic, what was your major in college? When Obama won 2 times you did not see people going out and acting this way. The reason is because we were sensible, we knew we had lost, and to keep going. We don’t live on raw emotion and fear mongering as the left does. Get over yourself. You have no idea what you are talking about. By the way I was a Psych nurse and the only thing they played on TV all day was CNN. This, as a nurse, was not helpful.

    • Teacher_in_Tejas

      Was just thinking about this one the other day. I remember the days after Trump’s election and their were violent protests and property damage in many major cities, and liberals were like “just like you did when Obama was elected” and then they posted their “proof.” New stories from 2009 when one ignorant yahoo yelled “N***er President” to a woman at a gas station, or ten or twelve yahoos gathered at the public square in Mississippi were the exact equivalent of what was going on now! Ridiculous!

  • Alex Furlong

    I don’t think this analysis is correct. In every instance, these fake hate crimes share one commonality: It sets up the reporter as the victim. You don’t see two lefties conspiring to commit fake hate crimes against each other. It invariably someone defacing their own house, reporting events that didn’t happen to themselves, writing threatening letters to themselves, etc.

    This isn’t individualism. This is the natural result of a culture that prizes victimization. When being from a victim class gives you social status, people will strive to attain higher status by claiming to be a victim. And if it’s difficult for a college student with no work responsibilities, a joke of a courseload and a meat market of willing sexual partners to be seen as a victim… well, if those oppressors aren’t going to do the job of oppressing the victim, then they’ll just have to take matters into their own hands.

    When victimization is your currency, don’t be surprised that people will work to become victims.

  • SDN

    Occam’s razor: the Left lies. Continuously.

    And Nic’s complaint about the “bubble” obscures this truth: the Left can never leave us alone. They must control our lives. And their inherent dishonesty means we can never trust them when they say otherwise.

  • The Oatmeal Savage

    She has mental disorders?
    What lefty doesn’t?

  • The Oatmeal Savage

    Some stories are too good to fact check which is why the idiots and liars in the media don’t fact check them.
    They know if they do they will find out it is all BS.