October 25, 2005
Hate crime laws and the path to tyrannyBy Selwyn Duke
The insidious thing about evolutionary tyranny is that it's gradual progression. It doesn't beat you over the head with the iron fist of a despot or sweep you aside with a wave of revolution, but, rather, is a death by a thousand doses of bad medicine that makes benign neglect seem utopian.
One example of this brand of tyranny is the proliferation of hate—crime laws in the Western World. The very concept of hate—crime law itself is an offense against freedom and, as such, is quintessentially un—American. Yes, I hate hate—crime laws. And so should you.
The main problem with hate—crime law is that it is an effort at thought—control masquerading as legitimate criminal—justice legislation. Let's examine why this is so.
Consider this example: two identical illegal acts are committed; the perpetrator of one is motivated by hate, whereas the perpetrator of the other is motivated by good old greed. I'll call the latter Mr. Greed and the former Mr. Hate. The punishment deemed appropriate for Mr. Greed is ten years in prison, but the punishment visited upon Mr. Hate is twenty years up the river because his crime was motivated by a worse impulse.
Now, let's analyze the reason for this disparity between their sentences. Obviously, the law determined that the act itself warranted ten years in prison because that's what was received by Mr. Greed when only the nature of the act was taken into consideration. So, this begs the question, since the two men committed the same act, what were the extra ten years imposed in Mr. Hate's case for? They could only have been for one thing: the thoughts that motivated the act or were expressed through it.
So, now the government has been appointed both clairvoyant and arbiter of the acceptability of thoughts, bringing us one giant step closer to an Orwellian nightmare in which the state plays God, reading and judging minds and hearts and damning people based on its determinations. What's next, 'Bless me Big Brother for I have sinned; I have had proscribed thoughts'? The truth is that the government should punish actions, not motivations.
Ironically, while part of the supposed purpose of hate—crime legislation is to combat prejudice and discrimination, it is the very embodiment of it. After all, there are seven deadly sins: sloth, gluttony, lust, envy, pride, greed and wrath (hate), and this legislation discriminates by placing an undue onus on those who exhibit the one that is most out of fashion.
Why is hate being turned into our national boogeyman? The social—engineers have deemed that hate — and dreaded permutations of it, such as 'racism' — are the end all and be all, the source of all our ills, as they formulate their very own hierarchy of sin. Of course, lust would never find a prominent place on the totem pole, since the libertine formulators in question have tried to turn the exercise of it into a national pastime. Nor would envy strike them as something bedeviling us, since it infuses their souls and animates their schemes to redistribute wealth. But their version of hate is the bee in their bonnet; so much so, that they don't see the forest for the trees. After all, if crime is at issue, the focus should be on that which probably constitutes ninety—five percent of all crime: greed—crime. In fact, this brings to mind a pearl of wisdom from a rather highly regarded and widely sold book: 'The lust for money is the root of all evil.'
Hate—crime laws also facilitate discrimination, as they provide ideological prosecutors with a vehicle through which members of groups that are out of favor socially can be hammered with disproportionate punishment. For a crime isn't a hate—crime until it is judged so, and this judgment often reflects the prejudices of the arbiters more than it does reality. For instance, if a crime is white—on—black or straight—on—homosexual, it's far more likely that it will be labeled a hate—crime than a scenario involving the reverse.
One example of this is the very different treatment of the Matthew Sheppard and Jesse Derkhising cases. The quite notorious Sheppard case involved two men who murdered a homosexual, while the Derkhising case involved two homosexuals who tortured and murdered a 13—year—old boy. However, while the Sheppard case became a cause c�lebre in the media and was labeled a hate—crime, young Derkhising was barely a blip on the radar screen.
And this brings to light another odious aspect of this topic. Because the media determine what events and causes will see the light of day and how they will be cast, they're instrumental in shaping the perception of criminal acts. Yes, the media's biases determine the content and nature of coverage, and this serves to put pressure on authorities and shape their thinking, and this, in turn, means that those biases will be reflected in the treatment of crime.
These biases in the media will shape punishment. If one of your loved ones were killed for his money and his murderer received a lesser sentence than someone who killed motivated by 'hate,' would you find the relative slap—on—the—wrist palatable because your loved one died for a politically—correct reason? And, if someone else were in those mournful shoes, would you want to be the one charged with the task of explaining to him that the lesser punishment was justifiable because the motivation for his loved one's murder was more 'acceptable'? If you would answer no, you cannot in good conscience support these misbegotten laws.
Far more distressing than anything I've mentioned, though, are the social changes that are both a cause and an effect of the hate—crime philosophy. Remember, laws don't emerge in a vacuum, rather, they are an expression of the collective values of a society. And pondering this reminds me of an experience I had earlier this year.
After speaking about so—called racial—profiling at the World Affairs Conference in Toronto, Canada, I learned that certain elements of my presentation didn't sit too well with a student in attendance. Some representatives of the host institution were kind enough to apprise me of the fact that he found certain comments of mine 'offensive.' Although I forged on undeterred with the same speech and approach during the second session, the fact that sensitivity—police are no longer uncommon should give us all pause for thought.
You see, what does the fact that students would lodge such complaints mean in terms of social change? I'm not that old, but in 'my day' it wasn't uncommon to hear the adage, 'Sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me.' Of course, we all know that sharp words can cut hearts, but this principle was, nevertheless, a good one to bear in mind. After all, we don't want to raise children who are so thin—skinned that they can't cope and whose self—image hinges on others' estimation of them. More importantly, however, the saying also implicitly transmits the message that it's a given that people are free to say what they wish, even if it's not what we wish. And freedom of speech must be a given if we are to remain a free land.
Ominously, though, that erstwhile ubiquitous old saying has fallen by the wayside, supplanted by psycho—babble that casts 'hate—speech' as the ultimate sin. It's not as if the school officials in question seek merely to root out meanness across the board and encourage civility and charity; this would be just fine. No, what they are doing is cherry—picking speech from the realms of both illegitimate and legitimate discourse and earmarking some for demonization. And, of course, the only thing these examples of speech — the good, the bad and the ugly — have in common is that they're politically—incorrect.
And it has taken hold. I remember some years ago a student of mine telling me that one shouldn't be allowed to use 'hateful words.' And sadly, his is not an unusual belief among those weaned on a steady diet of leftist tripe. These youth have been transformed into good, unthinking foot soldiers for the left and have been conditioned to mistake facile analyses for intellectualism and the embrace of the spirit of the age for sophistication. They blindly accept the dogma that hate should be criminalized and the dogma that hate is whatever the social engineers say it is. When you have enough such obedient dogmatists and they reach voting age, you no longer have a free nation.
This is why we see our neighbor in the great white north descending into what can rightly be called fascism. You see, Canada is proceeding down the hate—speech road, and its rather heavy—handed, euphemistically—named 'Human Rights Tribunals' have assiduously been imposing an orthodoxy upon the people. Case in point: in 2003 Hugh Owens of Regina, Saskatchewan, was found guilty of 'inciting hatred' and was forced to pay 1,500 Canadian Dollars to each of three homosexual men who filed a complaint against him. His 'crime'? He took out a newspaper advertisement that included four Bible citations pertaining to homosexuality.
Then there was the 2002 case of Mark Harding, a man who committed the unpardonable sin of distributing pamphlets in which he was critical of Islam. A Canadian court sentenced Harding to two years probation and community service under the direction of one Mohammad Ashraf, general secretary of the Islamic Society of North America. His service involved being indoctrinated with Islamic ideas by Ashraf, who emphasized that if Harding said anything negative about Islam or its Prophet Muhammad or failed to follow Ashraf's instructions, he would be sent back to prison.
Of course, we are all so sure this could never happen here. We have our First Amendment guaranteeing us freedom of speech, after all. But with Supreme Court Justices embracing the notion that our Constitution can be interpreted in light of international law, it may just be a matter of time. For, there are deeds, words and thoughts, and the ultimate goal of any fervent social—engineer is to gain control over the last of those. Punishing thoughts as expressed through action — otherwise known as hate—crime laws — is the first step. The next logical move is to punish the most direct expression of thoughts: speech. This is why this pattern of moving toward an Orwellian oblivion should be broken.
Hate—crime laws should be abolished. Hate them, hate them with a burning fire of a thousand suns. For, to hate them is to love freedom.
Selwyn Duke is a frequent contributor. Contact him at SelwynDuke@aol.com