Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Why I Hate "Hate-Crimes" Legislation

"De bajo de mi manto, al rey mato." (An old Spanish proverb)

What is the rationale for hate crimes legislation? Sheila Jackson-Lee (D, Tx-18) must have some idea, since she has introduced The David Ray Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009"(HR256) in the U.S. House of Representatives. This bill "Amends the federal criminal code to impose penalties for willfully causing bodily injury to any person…because of the actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, or disability of any person, where the offense is in or affects interstate or foreign commerce." It "directs the U.S. Sentencing Commission to study the issue of adult recruitment of juveniles to commit hate crimes and, if appropriate, to amend the federal sentencing guideline to provide sentencing enhancements for such an offense."

In one respect, hate crimes legislation defies the age-old logic of punishment. Webster's defines hate as "intense hostility and aversion usually deriving from fear, anger, or sense of injury." In the past, people generally regarded intense passion as a mitigating factor in the commission of a crime, though usually not sufficient simply to exonerate the person responsible. The influence of intense passion was taken to indicate a diminished capacity for rational choice, like the influence of alcohol or drugs. Of course, such ideas assumed that laws aimed to constrain behavior, not punish heretical states of mind.

Liberals nowadays are disposed to blather condescendingly about the separation of church and state when it comes to defending the natural family or legally established standards of decency for sexual behavior. Ironically, their penchant for hate crimes legislation seems intent on revisiting the mentality of the medieval statutes that enabled the Inquisition- laws that insisted on states of mind that satisfied a standard of purity in the understanding and observance of sacred ideas, people and things. Much like the special penalties imposed by some religions for mistreatment of sacred groups of people or animals, the proponents of "hate crimes" legislation deal in special classes of people against whom criminal acts are somehow more grievous and offensive.

Pity benighted individuals like me, who actually thought it an advance in jurisprudence when people concluded that actions, rather than thoughts and attitudes, are the proper objects of legal regulation and punishment. How absurd were those philosophers of human liberty who saw efforts to impose purity of thought and attitude as thin excuses for sectarian persecution or vengefulness. Of course, today's benevolent liberals aren't looking for excuses to arrest and try those who disagree with their promotion of homosexuality. They aren't seeking a legal excuse to censor the language of preachers who reject their worship of hedonistic sexuality. They are liberals, whose sole aim is to free the world from every semblance of thought that might produce an evil consequence, provided only that everyone is made to think of good and evil exactly as they do.

Sarcasm aside, hate crimes legislation is the statutory framework for the forceful imposition of a political and social religion. The so-called liberals mean to institutionalize intolerance, even as they loudly proclaim Holy Tolerance as their all in all. Because we seek to protect a form of human life that they despise, they defame as bigots or religious fanatics people working to re-establish respect for the law against abortion. Meanwhile they move boldly to use the force of law to punish the thoughts and attitudes of any who move against the sacred untouchables of their new cult of sexual pleasure and self-indulgence. Behind their phony slogans of hope and progress comes the return of Dark Age zealotry, dressed up in the fleshy tones of New Age vanity and glamour.

I say unequivocally that I hate this camouflaged return to the dark ages. I detest the persecution of people for their beliefs, thoughts and attitudes. More than anything that has to do with the body, this effort to delve into and directly impose upon the mind rapes the deepest form of privacy and smacks of the detestable crimes that invade the truly most intimate places of human existence in order to impose the leering tastes and heartless fancies of spiritual tyrants disguised as lawmakers and judges.

If someone has bad judgment enough to hate me, I say let them do so, so long as it never produces an action otherwise against the law. When and if it does, they should be subject to the same punishment that I or anyone else would suffer for the same act, with nothing added or taken away because of their putative beliefs or feelings about me. Adding to the burden of punishment because of their hate exposes me and every other person in society to a danger worse than any crime of hatred. It comes in the form of crimes that simply disregard first conscience and then humanity in order to treat people with the hate-less, cold-blooded ruthlessness of those who feel nothing as they order or tolerate the deaths of millions. Odd isn't it, that what are ostensibly efforts to cure hate may mask the insidious encouragement of the state of mind that, with ruthless efficiency, lends itself to the tasks required in order to impose totalitarian rule. It also leads to a society of people grown accustomed to the presence of the state in the one precinct of our existence that ought to be reserved for us, for us and God alone.

Worth considering? Then don't forget to DIGG IT!!!!


tjmarz said...

the blue catskill
mountains is sacred
ground to the
algonquin & early
dutch settlers
look up from this
burial ground
see the sun is
a perfect cross
roman cut
in crystal
slices through
cloth & into
His shoulders

-tj marz

Terry Morris said...

Yes, modern liberalism is, with the possible exception of Islam, the most intolerant and most deceptive ideology on the face of God's earth. And we should always expose the fact that liberals, while claiming to strictly adhere to their fallacious rule that "we can't legislate morality," are themselves the biggest advocates of legislating morality in the world, with, again, the possible exception of Muslims.

It's not a question of whether liberals believe in the idea of legislating morality (they most certainly do), it's a question rather of whose version of morality they believe in legislating. And Ms. Jackson-Lee's "hate crimes" legislation is a good case in point. Invariably she will support her introduction of this legislation on a distinction she and her liberal supporters have made between right and wrong, good and evil. That, my friends, is a moral position, just as founding one's belief in abortion as "a woman's right to choose," - it being wrong, therefore immoral, according to the liberal worldview, to deny women this right - is to lay it, and all laws made in pursuance thereof, on a moral foundation.

What liberals are really saying is that they reject Biblical-Christian morality and seek to destroy it as the basis of Western society in general, and America in particular, and to replace it with another morality. They have no qualms with legislating morality, only with legislating morality that threatens liberalism's march towards absolute dominance in America. And obviously, if legislating Christian morality is a threat to liberalism's march towards totalitarian dominance in America, then adhering to genuine Biblical-Christian morality on an individual and a family level cannot be tolerated either, which is the reason that liberals are so vehemently opposed to homeschooling, among other things equally threatening to the advance of liberalism towards its ultimate goal.

When George Washington warned in his Farewell Address that such factions often "destroy the very engines which have lifted them to unjust dominion," he knew exactly what he was talking about.

The Silent Consensus said...

Ambassador Keyes,
So should we treat 9/11 as simply 3,000 murders?

Unknown said...


Kook says what?

nail-in-the-wall said...

"I say unequivocally that I hate this camouflaged return to the dark ages. I detest the persecution of people for their beliefs, thoughts and attitudes." - quote

An eerie feeling comes over me when,..." I think, therefore I,.. can be arrested." :-(

When my neighbor screams "Hate the Hate",.. I have to wonder what kind of Kool-aide they all have been drinking... spiked with Hemlock-

Alan, has it really come down to ,.. the "thought Police"????.

This is not Freedom,.. its tyranny

Anonymous said...

Opposition against Obama is going to be Hate Speech.
Opposition against the Washington elite is going to be Terrorism.
Constitutionalists, Ron Paul supporters, Independents and so on are already labeled terrorists.
Arrivederci Freedom!

Terry Morris said...

The Silent Consensus wrote:

So should we treat 9/11 as simply 3,000 murders?

What is that, some kind of a joke? Is The Silent Consensus suggesting that the proper way to punish, and/or to prevent Islamic acts of terrorism perpetrated against the citizens of the United States is the creation of so-called "hate crimes" laws? ...

Anonymous said...

Christ said, "Greater love hath no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friends."

There is a tremendously profound principle here, one that may go unmarked by those who deny His central claims of divinity and power. But this man claimed the authority to forgive, not just those who offended Him, but any who sinned, no matter whom they might have sinned against. He claimed that He would be the final judge of all men, knowing the thoughts and intents of their hearts. And yet, according to His own words, the love in a man's heart is best measured by his actions.

Are we so arrogant as to imagine ourselves better able to judge the hearts of men? Or is is just liberals?

Christinewjc said...

Great post and excellent points, Mr. Keyes!

In his booklet, "Ten Truths About Hate Crime Laws" author John Aman concluded:

"The State's jurisdiction is over citizen's actions, not their beliefs.

At their root, hate crime laws violate the biblical model for civic government. The threat they pose to free speech, religious liberty, equal justice, and the family is a consequence of that violation.

The authors of hate crime laws claim for men a role reserved to God alone. They consign to civic rulers the right and authority to criminalize thoughts and beliefs. More preposterously, they presume that government is competent to identify the presence of prejudice and to discern whether any bias hidden inside a suspect's heart could have motivated a crime.

God alone is the judge.

None of that should be the prerogative of mere mortals. Government cannot adjudicate these "misty matters." God alone is judge of the heart of man.

Jer 17:9 "The heart [is] deceitful above all [things], And desperately wicked; Who can know it?

Jer 17:10 I, the LORD, search the heart, [I] test the mind, Even to give every man according to his ways, According to the fruit of his doings.

The Silent Consensus said...

No. His argument is against hate crimes, and I am responding to the notion that people should be punished "with nothing added or taken away because of their putative beliefs or feelings about me." The same logic says 9/11 should be treated as 3,000 murders

Anonymous said...

There is also a matter of massive destruction of property, but the point is taken. However, the persons who planned and carried out these murders (and attendant mayhem) were not citizens of our country, but foreign nationals acting on behalf of "non-state entities" (that is to say, terrorist groups).

The issue is not what they did or why, but under what auspices they acted in doing so. If a Russian happens to go on a rampage and kill a few thousand New Yorkers and knock over a few skyscrapers (we'll say he ate some radioactive hot-dogs or something), he might just be some mass murderer. If he does it on behalf of the KGB (or whatever they call themselves now) it becomes a rather more serious issue.

In fact, even if it was just a couple of cops and a hot-dog stand, once you establish that the act was committed by some extra-national political entity, it becomes something quite different from an ordinary crime and an entirely different set of rules comes into play in deciding what is "legal" and "just".

The distinction between violations of the international conventions governing acts of war and ordinary civil crimes (even very serious crimes) exists for a very good reason. Wars can get very messy, even when everybody follows the rules. When one side utterly rejects all conventions of war they must not be allowed to enjoy any protection afforded by those laws. To respond to organized external aggression as though it were merely a civil crime is to invite the destruction in detail of your entire civilization.

When America rules the entire world, then we can (and legally must) cease to make a distinction between our civil criminals and our foreign enemies. But till then (and it isn't happening soon) we only disparage our own basic rights by pretending that being a legal citizen of this country doesn't matter. Flaunting a basic inability to grasp such a simple legal concept doesn't really make you look as clever as you apparently think it does, Silent Consensus.

Terry Morris said...

The Silent Consensus,

Okay, fair enough. So how do you propose, since you made the connection in the first place between 9/11 and "hate-crimes" legislation, to deal with Islamic aggession against the citizens of the United States?

N/A said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

I appreciate what you're saying, but you need to clarify.

"Terroristic threats" are a real type of crime that needs to be treated separately from ordinary vandalism or assault cases. These are crimes where, in addition to the usual components of property damage or personal injury inflicted, a definite and clear communication of intent to continue such actions or escalate them is included in the commission of the crime, either by the form of the crime (a burning cross on the victim's lawn, or carving a swastika on the victim) or by direct communication between the victim and the criminals.

But while terroristic threats are sometimes called "hate crimes" it is a mistake to therefore believe that all "hate crimes" are terroristic threats. These new laws do not provide for any component of making threats of further action, they apply to "the actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, or disability of any person" without regard to whether or not the criminal demonstrates the motive for the crime.

This is a crucial difference between existing laws against terroristic threats and the "hate crimes" laws which the left keeps trying to advance. The one punishes a definite act which greatly aggravates and magnifies the harm done in a crime, the other punishes the criminal (and eventually any presumed associates) for having certain opinions.

The Silent Consensus said...

Hate crimes, by definition, are meant to threaten everyone of the identity. They are not simply crimes against the individual. Furthermore, they are not crimes against someone who happens to be a different identity. They are crimes against a perceived identity and has to be demonstrated beyond any reasonable doubt that the attack was done with the intent of threatening an entire identity. The only times one can be convicted of it is if the evidence is overwhelming, in which case the threat would have to be known.

Anonymous said...

What tired logic from Mr. Keyes. The Supreme Court has unanimously upheld the constitutionality of hate crime laws in Wisconsin v. Mitchell (1993). The court opinion was written by conservative William Rehnquist.

Hate crime laws protect EVERYONE, Mr. Keys. They don't mention "black," they cover crimes motivated by RACE bias. That means there are hate crimes against whites, too! The laws recognize the greater harm to society of hate crimes. We punish manslaughter differently than murder and we punish the murder of a child differently than the murder of an adult, even though all crimes end up with a dead body.

As one poster mentioned, it would be shocking to suggest that the 9/11 attacks were merely 3000 murders. Hate crimes target entire communities. Most conservatives get that. Gordon Smith (R-OR) co-authored the Hate Crimes Prevention Act.

The good news is the opinions of Alan Keyes, Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, and the other right-wing kooks do not reflect the compassionate feelings of most Americans.

Terry Morris said...

Interesting that Randy places you in the same category as Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter, Dr. Keyes. He musn't understand the difference between genuine principled conservatism and ... showboating, which simply exposes the shallow depth of his understanding. The thought police have entered the building.

Noah Webster once wrote that he considered it a matter of infinite consequence the cautious admission of foreigners to the rights of citizenship. He observed further that many of these immigrants had come to America during his time, bringing with them "violent prejudices against arbitrary government", and that they "seemed to make no great distinction between arbitrary government and a government of laws founded on free elections."

Our friend Randy here exhibits some of these same characteristics. He makes no great distinction between "kooky" conservatives like Ann Coulter et al, and principled conservatives like yourself. This is because he comes here with violent prejudices against "kooky conservatism," and he makes no great distinction between Ann Coulter style, in-your-face conservatism, and a conservatism of principles founded on thought and reflection.

But if Randy is a fair minded person, why hasn't he said anything about all the liberal "kooks" out there, Pelosi, Reid, Jackson-Lee, et al?

Terry Morris said...

Randy wrote:

As one poster mentioned, it would be shocking to suggest that the 9/11 attacks were merely 3000 murders.

Listen Randy, what you seem incapable of comprehending is that no one is suggesting that the 9/11 attacks were merely three thousand run-of-the-mill murders, and that in exclusion of hate crimes laws. So what in God's name is your point in reverberating these ludicrous statements?

If you truly want to end the threat of Islamic terrorism on this continent, then there's but one appropriate answer and it ain't hate crimes legislation. But that's not what you're after anyway, is it. Let's be honest, Randy. What is your real purpose here, 9/11 and all that aside?

Anonymous said...

Well, I think that expecting honesty is a bit much, don't you?

We already have laws controlling terroristic threats. "Hate Crimes" are entirely different, which is the reason behind these new laws. If they weren't planning to prosecute cases that would not meet the definition of terroristic threats, they wouldn't need these new laws.

If all these laws are about is controlling terroristic threats, then they are simply a waste of time, and there could be no reason to support them. By supporting them, Silent Consensus and others demonstrate their awareness that these laws will dramatically affect the status quo. Any pretense to the contrary is blatantly dishonest.

The Silent Consensus said...

I have said no such thing about hate crime laws being used to control terrorist threats. I am simply pointing out that the argument against hate crime laws presented here is the same argument in principle as treating terrorist attacks and genocide the same as murder.

Anonymous said...

And you have been refuted, amply.

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