Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Hating on Hate Crimes

I am taking a momentary break from my normal hate-filled rhetoric against "Bugsy" Obama's health care takeover, in order to discuss something else I truly hate: Hate crimes.

Mind you, I don't hate people who commit them per se. Rather, I hate the fact we have laws which limit free expression, regardless of how stupid that expression may be.

When someone commits a crime, that is already illegal. If they are found guilty, they will go to jail. So what difference does it make what their views of their victim were?

If someone commits intentional murder, or even intentional assault, it is safe to assume they probably hate their victim. Whether they hate their victim for personal reasons or racial reasons is irrelevant.

Richard Cohen of the Washington Post makes some good points on this matter:
The penalty for murder is severe, so it's not as if the crime is not being punished. The added "late hit" of a hate crime is without any real consequence, except as a precedent for the punishment of belief or speech. Slippery slopes are supposedly all around us, I know, but this one is the real McCoy.

Let us assume that the "community" is really affected by what we call a hate crime. I am Jewish. But even with [James von Brunn's murder of the guard at the Holocaust Museum], I am more affected by a mugging in my neighborhood that might keep me from taking a walk at night than I am by a shooting at the Holocaust museum. If there's a murder in a park, I'll stay out of it for months. If there's a rape, women will stay out of the park. If there's another and another, women will know that a real hater is loose. Rape, though, is not a hate crime. Why not?

...For the most part, hate-crime legislation is just a sop for politically influential interest groups -- yet another area in which liberals, traditionally sensitive to civil liberties issues, have chosen to mollify an entire population at the expense of the individual and endorse discredited reasoning about deterrence.

The punishment of wrong thinking is a totalitarian ideal. Do we really want government prosecuting anyone based on what they think?


starviego said...

I am in total agreement. "Hate Crimes" are just a wedge to slowly introduce the idea that government is now allowed to punish "wrong thinking."

1984, here we are.

EdMcGon said...

Thanks Starviego!

It's funny you mention 1984. I thought about mentioning it when I wrote the post, but decided at the last minute not to. I'm glad you picked up on the relevance.

William R. Barker said...

Don't forget to reread Animal Farm.


P.S. - As you know, Ed, I'm with you 100% on the whole "thought crime" thing.

EdMcGon said...

"Animal Farm" was more of an allegory. "1984" brings totalitarianism down to the personal level much better.

However, for what we're going through now, I'd still suggest "Atlas Shrugged". It's scary accurate. ;)

William R. Barker said...

And I really do love Colorado!