Recent reports that disabled people are being harassed because of perceptions that they are benefit cheats are worrying.
It shows that people are not only able to rush to judgement but are prepared to act on their conclusions. Abusing people in the street is not far from physical harassment.
In these tense times, disabled people are drawing fire.
In another report this week, the Scotsman reported that Fred Goodwin may have to leave Scotland following the latest turn in the RBS debacle.
Mr Goodwin has become the lighting rod for banking hate, at least north of the border.
Far from suggesting that people have weighed up the various things that may be a drain on our finances - benefit cheats and bankers - and reached a view that these people deserve our ire, it suggests that lurking below the surface in many is a propensity to hate.
All they need is a subject and an excuse.
Some people, it appears, are keen to rush to judgement.
Last week, various people suggested that the Sir Fred thing was more complicated. Alistair Darling said Sir Fred was not the only Knight of the Realm involved in the RBS situation.
And anyone looking at the benefits situation would realise that our nation's dependency on government support is quite complicated and long-standing. Knowing what to do to get people to move from benefits and into work is not at all straightforward.
This government is not the first to try. Nor will it be the last.
Some people, by virtue of their circumstances, will not be able to move off benefits.
The common factor here is the presence of hate.
It's not just that some people love to hate. It's that policy makers and politicians can encourage unhelpful simplification. In an effort to garner headlines complexity is reduced to sound-bites and these, in turn, are turned into policy.
Why else would it matter whether Fred Goodwin had a knighthood?
Nobody was proposing a new policy on honours. No-one suggested that honours should be awarded when people satisfy a number of key tests and must therefore lose them when failure is clear to one and all.
It's almost as if politicians have become news editors and can smell blood in the air. The rush to take a clear and unequivocal position is uncomfortable.
And while it may guarantee that they make the running in the battle of the front page splashes, it may create unfortunate and unforeseen consequences.
Already, it's said that bankers now keep their heads down. Who would admit to being a city trader these days?
They didn't create the mess we're in. Ask any economist.
But bankers won't be the last in the line of People We Love To Hate.
Before long, anyone who works in local government will be berated for wanting "gold-plated pensions". Anyone who knows council retirees will know that they are anything but.
Hospital consultants will be viewed with deep suspicion before long - they are presented and probably perceived as high-earning part-timers.
Look over there
When one wants to misdirect, it's always helpful to have someone else in the frame who can take all the hate when it's needed.
Enter our friend, the Fall Guy. Man in the stripy suit over there, take a bow.
But things could get much worse. We may be entering another recession. And history tells us that massive downturns do strange things to people. Look at what happened in Europe in the 1930s.
Review Hitler's rise to power and you will note that he singled out people to hate early on. Those with mental illnesses, the disabled, radicals and, of course, the Jews were labelled. At first, they were abused in the street. In time they were physically attacked. It became normal to hate them.
There are some things we can't change, at least not easily. There will always be those who rush to judgement. There will be people who simplify the world and divide it into those they love and those they hate. And there will always be reasons to blame someone else.
Eric Berne noted that people play a game in their relationships to shift the blame for their own failings. "If it weren't for you I would have..." is an easy way to explain away our own inadequacies.
But we are in danger of playing the same games culturally. It may be easy to say that if it weren't for bankers, disabled people, public sector fat cats, those on high bonuses and those who live on benefits we wouldn't be in this mess, but it wouldn't be true.
It wouldn't even come close.
We need to resist our innate desire to blame and to hate. It's not how we got to here that matters; it's what we're going to do about it now that we are.
And that's a lot harder to do than grabbing headlines.
Follow Mark Fletcher-Brown on Twitter: www.twitter.com/morque