My Old Kentucky Homesite

Is Hating “Hate Crimes” a Hate Crime?

Posted by Larry Wallberg on 06/23/2010

In a truly free country where the intellectual climate wasn’t overwhelmed by a combination of right-wing Christian superstition and left-wing love-child emotionalism, it would be a truism that we don’t all have to like one another. We’d be free to express our feelings that our neighbor is an unbearable asshole, our boss a despicable jerk, and our family members worse than troglodytes. In short, we’d be free to dislike, even hate, one another. And we’d also be free to hate whole groups of people based on their ethnicities, races, nationalities, genders, age-ranges, geographical backgrounds, even their professions and hair-styles.

What we wouldn’t be free to do is to act on our hatreds in any way that broke the law. Because breaking the law is just that: breaking the law. So, obviously, we couldn’t use our antipathies for a specific group to justify killing one another, stealing from one another, or defrauding one another. We couldn’t plead that our prejudices made it OK for us to assault anyone, rape somebody, or burgle a person’s house.

In other words, we couldn’t explain away crimes as a result of our hatred. In a reasonable country, crimes would be crimes, regardless of their motives. All illegal activities would be prosecuted equally. The government would not try to enter the mind-reading business, which is an enterprise doomed to failure — or abuse.

However, here in the U.S. of A., the Jesus-is-love crowd joined forces with the flower-power generation to come up with the concept of so-called “hate crimes.” These crimes can be prosecuted whenever the authorities make a distinction between kinds of motivations, and then go on to draw a conclusion about the “reasoning” behind a particular criminal activity. You beat up a person and stole his money because he was wearing clothes that made you think he was rich? That’s all right; we’ll put you on trial for robbery. You beat up a person and stole his money because he was wearing clothes that made you think he was gay? Sorry. You’re gonna be charged with a hate crime.

Because we as a society are so love-addled, we’re averse to the darker side of human emotions. So it’s easier for a prosecutor to get a guilty verdict when a defendant is charged with a hate crime. Juries love to hate someone who hates.

But I’m not comfortable creating a system of measurement for illegal activities. Honestly? If some thug were to kick me in the nuts and run away with my wallet, I wouldn’t be too concerned about what his motivation was.

My feeling is: if you did something that’s against the law, you should be arrested and tried. If found guilty, you should be jailed and/or fined. Unless you’re Jean Valjean, I don’t give a shit why you did what you did.

That’s why I’m against the entire concept of “hate crimes,” mostly because it’s stupid and makes an unnecessary distinction that neither acts as a deterrent nor furthers the cause of justice. But also because it’s a sneaky attempt to enforce “love” as the norm.

Imagine my shock and anger, therefore, when I read this article in today’s New York Times.

It seems that in Queens, prosecutors now don’t even have to try to prove “hate” to charge a criminal with a hate crime.

The legal thinking behind the novel method is that New York’s hate crimes statute does not require prosecutors to prove defendants “hate” the group the victim belongs to, merely that they commit the crime because of some belief, correct or not, they hold about the group.

So if you’ve bilked a few old, confused codgers because you believed that they were easier to fool than some young, alert guys, bingo! You committed a “hate crime.” Never mind that “hate” didn’t enter into it. Haven’t you ever heard of Newspeak?

Well, you’d better watch out, you young, alert guys. Sooner or later, you’re gonna be the only safe targets left. That is, until some enterprising Queens D.A. decides that stealing from you is a hate crime, too, because criminals happen to believe, correctly or not, that your group comprises the only safe targets left.

Can you say “reductio ad absurdum,” boys and girls?

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20 Responses to “Is Hating “Hate Crimes” a Hate Crime?”

  1. John Evo said

    Yeah, you’re right. I HATE you for thinking up this angle before I did.

    Sue me.

  2. Evo:
    Sue me.
    I wonder if the government is ever going to encourage “hate lawsuits.”

  3. John Evo said

    Larry… exactly.

    By the way, despite being a liberal lefty socialist, I’m more than willing to have my own side called out for their excesses and just generally bad ideas. For this reason, I’ve have heaped the vast majority of blame for things like hate speech, political correctness, raising children to think their shit is golden, etc. on “my” side. You kind of implied that this particular idea comes from the Christian Right as well. Could you flesh that one out for me a bit?

  4. If you take money from someone, CLEARLY you hate them for having more than you, so hate crime.
    All rape has to be a hate crime since CLEARLY a rapist hates that their victim wasn’t giving it up otherwise.

    There, that makes virtually everything a hate crime, doesn’t it? What’s left? What about things not a crime but done due to hate, like perhaps divorce or even writing an angry blog post? Will it soon be illegal to hate on any terms, because I’m pretty much an equal opportunity hater, although some people are more equal than others, of course.

  5. BrentH said

    Stealing candy from a baby. Hate crime!

  6. the chaplain said

    Brent:
    No True AtheistTM would steal candy from a baby – the candy flavor soaks through while they barbecue and enhances their taste immeasurably. There’s nothing more delicious than Candy-Flavored BBQ Baby.

  7. BrentH said

    If “oppurtunity = hate”, this ruins so many aphorisms now.

    How about this one: Oppurtunity only knocks once.

    Now its: Oppurtunity only knocks you once on your head, old man, and rolls you for your wallet!

  8. Evo:
    I think the adoration of “love” — as bogus as that concept is — is deeply embedded in Christianity, which permeates America’s intellectual climate. Even the flower-children adopted Jesus,the Love Bug, as one of their own.

    As the bible says —

    And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
    Corinthians 13:13 (NIV)

    Since America is a Christian nation, it’s unpatriotic not to love one another. Unless, of course, we’re talking about godless Yankee commie homo-supporting baby-killing bastards. How could you not hate those people, f’Chrissake?

    Philly:
    We misanthropes are in big trouble these days. Shit, I really hate that.

    Brent & Chappy:
    On the other hand, stealing candy from a baby prevents the kid from falling prey to the dread OBESITY — another taboo promulgated by the Christian-hippie cabal.

    Brent:
    Nice new aphorism. I’m having it embroidered as a sampler to put in the corner with my rocking chair and my walker.

    Now you’ve made me wonder what some other famous aphorisms would be like if we continue to enshrine Love.

    Birds of a feather love one another.
    The love apple doesn’t fall far from the tomato vine.
    You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him love a hippopotamus.
    People who live in glass houses shouldn’t make love in the daytime.
    Too many lovers spoil the brothel.
    Experience may be the best teacher, but if you have enough love, knowledge is irrelevant.

  9. the chaplain said

    stealing candy from a baby prevents the kid from falling prey to the dread OBESITY

    Obese babies make the best BBQ.

  10. Chappy:
    Well, you’d better read the label that lists the ingredients. I’m guessing that high-fructose corn syrup is near the top of the list. If you’re concerned at all about your health, you’d better moderate your constant baby-munching. Have you thought about substituting fruit? I hear that smoking cigarettes works very well to suppress one’s appetite.

  11. the chaplain said

    Larry:
    I’ll give up BBQ Baby when you give up Good N’ Plenty and Snowballs.

  12. Chappy:
    Well, I still love Good ‘N’ Plenty plenty and I’ll always have a soft (marshallowy) spot for Sno Balls (Hostess’s ridiculous official spelling). But If you’ve been reading this blog regularly, you’ll know that I’ve moved on to a much more sophisticated treat: Chocolate Cheerios.

  13. the chaplain said

    Larry:
    I’m praying that the Chocolate Cheerios are just a fad that you’ll outgrow soon.

  14. Chappy:
    I may move on, but “outgrow” is an inappropriate term to use in any sentence about me.

  15. Ralph said

    The politically correct term for Newspeak is “politically correct”. Newspeak is too Orwellian to be proper.

  16. Ralph:
    Newspeak is too Orwellian to be proper.

    I have to take exception to that sentence.

    “Orwellian” is no longer “politically correct,” because he wasn’t a “wildly important” American writer who had many books on U.S. best-seller lists. The correct term to use now is “Glennbeckian.”

    And the word “proper” is no longer approved of because it smacks of elitism and a covert caste system. Instead, please say “OK-ish,” which lovingly avoids rigidity.

  17. Kirk M said

    Arm everyone with a six shot, 45 caliber revolver. All revolvers are the same make. Training is given to each and every person and then they have to pass a firing range certification. Kind of like drivers education only it’s a gun instead of a vehicle. Make it a requirement to carry these revolvers (loaded) at all times–in plain view. Go ahead, use a hip holster if you like. Give ’em lot’s of ammo as well.

    Now remove all local and state law enforcement. Only rule is you can’t shoot a kid under 16 (the age when they’re first required to carry the revolver). Can’t shoot pregnant women either.

    Now everyone can hate equally.

    Just a thought.

  18. Kirk:
    Ah, the principle of Mutual Deterrence. It worked well enough to keep the Earth from being blown to smithereens during the Cold War.

    Unfortunately, in order for MD to function properly, all parties have to be inherently reasonable — at least when it comes to trying to keep themselves alive. The minute you throw the concept of Afterlife Rewards into the mix, everybody’s fucked.

    Religion is such a boon to humans, ain’t it?

  19. Kirk M said

    Larry – Well, what you said is true enough but I figure once all the idiots have finally blown each other away, all the folks left after the smoke clears should be reasonable enough?

  20. Kirk:
    If we don’t get caught in the crossfire.

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