December 6, 2006
Hate Crime to Hate Speech: The Road to PerditionBy Selwyn Duke
The precedents you set really do matter. In my recent piece, How We Will Lose Our Freedom of Speech, I mentioned that the concept of "hate speech" is a corollary of that of "hate crime." The brief reference was probably glossed over by most, but it is in fact such a significant element in our Orwellian gutting of the First Amendment that it warrants exposition.
In an older work of mine, Hate-crime Laws and Evolutionary Tyranny, I endeavored to prove that hate crime laws are an attempt at thought control. The same could be said of hate speech legislation, but the relationship between these two categories of law is much more direct than a mere sharing of a common goal. Let's examine this. (Note: Henceforth when I use the words hate/hateful, I mean them to be understood as "ideas defined as hateful by the powers-that-be.")
The effect of hate crime law is that it empowers the authorities to administer harsher punishment when hateful motives are discerned. For example, let's say that two identical violent acts are committed. The first act is deemed a regular (I suppose, politically correct) crime, and the perpetrator is sent to prison for ten years. The second crime, however, is labeled a hate crime, so the perpetrator receives twenty years. Now, this begs the question: What are the extra ten years imposed in the second crime for? Well, we know that ten years were all the act itself warranted because that's what was handed down when only the act was considered. Thus, I would assert the following: The additional punishment is for the ideas or thoughts expressed through the act.
But it's more than that. Through it, yes, but more to the point here is that the extra punishment is without question levied because of what was expressed during the event. After all, the hate patrol discerns the nature of the crime based on what the perpetrators say before, during or after the commission of it. If you beat someone over the head with a club while spewing garden-variety curses or nary a word, your punishment is less severe than if you hurl racial epithets at your victim as you do so.
Ominously, it is only then a short leap from the practice of punishing hate speech uttered during a violent incident to the practice of punishing hate speech uttered apart from one. For, if the expression of hateful ideas is so injurious to society, why would we limit their prohibition to one narrow context? But the salient point here is that the expression of certain ideas is already prohibited in a de facto sense in that context. Another precedent....
Thus, I find it an inescapable conclusion that hate speech laws are an inevitable consequence of the embrace of hate crime laws. If we accept the proposition that it truly is legitimate to punish hateful ideas, why should we think that what serves as evidence of their existence would mitigate or exacerbate the consequences? It is logical to assume that someone who merely speaks out of hate wouldn't be punished as severely as someone who speaks and assaults out of it, but this is only because the latter case involves a decidedly violent act. But the punishment levied for an act is a separate thing entirely from the extra punishment levied for the thoughts that motivated the act. If it truly is legitimate for the government to proscribe the adult expression of certain ideas, then it is inevitable that government will eventually have a role whenever and wherever those ideas are detected. And if those certain ideas in and of themselves warrant a certain degree of punishment, it then is not hard to make the case that they warrant that degree of punishment regardless of the context in which their existence is revealed. This is why the validation of hate speech laws is a corollary of the validation of hate crime laws. To accept the latter is to pave the way for the former.
Caesar should undertake only that which is his rightful province and leave unto God the things that are God's. Thus, while spiritual betterment consists in striving to hurt no one in thought, word or deed, only the last of these is the concern of rulers. But it now seems that government would don a divine mantle as it proscribes not just harmful deeds, but words as well. One should shudder to think what might befall us if little "g" ever developed the technology to read thought.
After my article about the loss of free speech was published, I was deluged with email, and some of these respondents wanted to know what could be done about our impending loss of freedom. So now I'll present a few suggestions.
In keeping with the principle that "The best defense is a good offense," we traditionalists need to take the offense. It's not enough to just combat the movement toward hate speech laws - we need to eradicate the hate crime laws that are just one step up on the devolutionary ladder. Thus, instead of just seeking to maintain the status quo, we must attack the source and try to get Big Clairvoyant out of the hate business.
As to this matter, while pressuring legislators to rescind hate crime legislation is imperative, the bureaucratic machinery of the hate police must be dismantled as well. Here's what I'm talking about.
In previous pieces I included many examples of individuals who were persecuted for unfashionable use of the tongue. And while many others document these cases as well, what's usually not emphasized are the bureaucracies that do the dirty work.
So, here's what you must know: These bodies are often known as "Human Rights Commissions," which, once empowered to play God, often develop adjuncts known as "Human Rights Tribunals." Of course, whatever "human rights" they purport to protect, the right to free speech is not among them. But one example involves the case of Hugh Owens, a man I mentioned who was punished for criticizing homosexuality. He ran afould of the Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission and its tribunal.
And here is what is truly chilling: Most of our states and many of our localities already have human rights commissions.
And more are being spawned every year.
Oh, they're not punishing people for violating the hate police's precepts yet, but just wait until those precepts become law. These Orwellian institutions will be positioned to hit the ground running.
But "Human Rights Commission," ah, it has such a ring to it. Only an ogre sporting a white sheet would oppose an entity with a name that suggests such a noble mandate. And hate crime sounds as bad as human rights commission sounds good. And now that we're accepting a new boogeyman of a category called hate speech . . . .
It's sad really. One of the best things about man's nature is that most people can't be seduced into embracing evil knowingly. One of the worst things about man's nature is that most people can be seduced into embracing evil unknowingly. You certainly can fool enough of the people enough of the time.
Selwyn Duke is a frequent contributor to American Thinker. Contact Selwyn Duke