Hate crimes 3

A person’s emotions and unrevealed thoughts, though they might be suspected, can seldom be proved.

And however aggressive thoughts and emotions may be, they are not in themselves criminal. They may be “sinful” to a Christian, but a crime and a sin are not the same thing. A crime is a deed done; a sin of thought is at worst only a potential crime. Sin is defined by faith, not reason, and faith does not – cannot – subject its dogma to the rigorous examination practiced in secular courts of law.

When a crime is committed, its perpetrator should be punished regardless of what emotions or thoughts motivated him. (Self-defense is an exception as the desire to live and not be harmed is assumed to be universal.)

Some crimes, it’s true, having no obvious or discoverable motive (such as gain), can plausibly be attributed to hate, jealousy, fear, or revenge. And a perpetrator might say that he was driven by the force of an emotion. But still, traditionally it is what he actually did that brings him before the judgment of society and its law.

Yet codes of law do exist that allow strong emotion to be taken into account – as a mitigating not an aggravating circumstance. In France, for instance, the crime passionel – a crime committed out of strong feeling such as, and usually, jealous love – is allowed special consideration for lighter punishment or none. It may be charming to find a place for sentiment in law, for love, or compassion, or “empathy”; but to esteem passion more highly than personal responsibility is to undermine the dependability of the law. The law must be dependably impersonal, objective, impartial, neutral, even-handed or it is not just.

Must be? Increasingly, the political Left – the side of the emotions – favors the idea of treating a defendant leniently if he is “underprivileged”, harshly if he is “privileged”. Obama and his Supreme Court pick Sonia Sotomayor have expressed a preference for “empathetic” judgment – finding according to the personal feelings of the judge. If judges always or often did that, it would be the end of the rule of law. If people permit them to do it, they’re demolishing the house that shelters them.

Some seem to think a judge is right to find for someone with whose opinions he agrees, and against someone whose opinions he dislikes, regardless of the merits of their cases. A British judge, for example, let off vandals who had been proved guilty, because they said they were doing it against the state of Israel which they deemed oppressive, and in sympathy with Palestinians whom they deemed victims of Israeli oppression. Because the judge shared their opinions of Israel and the Palestinians, he acquitted them. If all judges made their judgments on such grounds of personal preference, it would clearly be the end of justice and the rule of law.

Most if not all “hate crime” is attributed to “racism”. As “racism” is an attitude of mind that taints the individual, it is a sin rather than a crime. If it prompts a crime, it is the crime that is wrong, not the attitude of mind or depth of feeling behind it.

But almost everywhere in the Western world, the attitude and feeling are now regarded as more important, more to be condemned, than the actual crime. Since the rise to power of the New Left  in politics, education, and the mass media, “racism” tops almost every other offense.

And yet … It appears that in practice the gravity of the “racist’ offense depends on which “race” is carrying out the attack on which other “race”. Some – like the vandals in Britain – are given a pass on the grounds that they are the more unfortunate. (An extension of the crime passionel idea.)

What is “racism”?

“Racism” has come to mean dislike of a race, a nation, or a religious group. It is not applied – though it applies logically – to a group defined by occupation; say lawyers, or bankers, or the executives of corporations, all of whom are subjected to hate as an entire class.

The FBI has defined a hate crime as a “criminal offense against a person or property motivated in whole or in part by an offender’s bias against a race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, ethnicity, gender, or gender identity.” But that motivation remains guesswork, dependant on opinion and prejudice, which makes its even application impossible.

If a rule against racism were to be applied evenly, the defendants in the British case would not have been acquitted – and the judge would have been seen as committing a hate crime himself.

But to apply such a rule evenly would be to return to dependably impersonal, objective, impartial, neutral, even-handed justice.

That such real justice looks outdated, signifies that the Left has won. 

*

We have said that judgment needs to be of the crime itself, regardless of its motive.

But are there some crimes for which the only discoverable or imaginable motive is “hate”?

Certainly there are.

And is the hatred motivating the perpetrators of such crimes sometimes a hatred of the race, or nation, or religion of their victims?

Certainly it is.

The worst hate crime in this century – worst in numbers, method, and effect – was what has come to be called simply “9/11” – the bombing of the World trade Center twin towers in New York on September 9, 2001. It was obviously motivated by religious hatred.

We argue that the motive does not excuse the crime. The motive does not make a crime less or more criminal.

But the Left holds that the motive of hate, however it is detected, does make a crime worse.

Any crime done out of hate is worse because of the hatred?

Well, no – comes the reply – not any crime. To conclude that would be logical, reasonable, Rightist.

In the case of 9/11, the argument goes, the hate was justified, because the crime and the hatred were in retaliation for prior crimes of hate committed by “the United States”, and/or “capitalists” involved with trade whose headquarters actual and/or symbolic were the World Trade Center, and/or President George W. Bush, and/or the Right in general.

In fact, many Leftists – or “social justice warriors”, SJWs – go so far as to argue that nothing done by the Left against any of those villains, even if done in a spirit of hate, can be classed as a hate crime, because it is always justified revenge. So the Left and its allies cannot commit a hate crime. For instance, a blow against a Muslim because he’s a Muslim is a hate crime, yes; but a blow by a Muslim against a non-Muslim because he’s a non-Muslim, is not a hate crime. Because Muslims are oppressed, strikes by Muslims are never morally wrong. The same argument applies if the striker is Black, or identified with any group they define as “oppressed”. The chief oppressors are always the United States, capitalists, white men, Israel, conservatives and Republicans.

All “oppressed” perpetrators of avenging attacks are justified by their victimhood. They cannot be accused of hate crimes. They are the eternal victims of hate crime.

And who are the “oppressed”? They are who the SJW’s say they are.

Posted under Commentary, Crime, education, Ethics, Islam, Israel, jihad, Law, Leftism, media, Muslims, Palestinians, United Kingdom, United States by Jillian Becker on Tuesday, September 13, 2016

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It’s better to be free to hate than to be free of hatred 7

We are all irrational in our likes and dislikes. We are put off by a face, a feature, a mannerism, something said, something done, a name, an accent. Some tell themselves not to act unjustly towards a person they instinctively dislike. Some do not curb themselves and do act unjustly. That is morally abhorrent, but there’s nothing that can be done to prevent it happening. People are unjust. People insult other people. So it always has been and always will be.

To express indignation over what someone says (as so many public figures are now doing over what  a repulsive old geezer named Donald Sterling said in private against blacks to his black girl friend) is fine, whether you really feel indignant or only want to show what a good person you are. Freedom allows you public display of emotion. Freedom allows you hypocrisy.

Freedom allows the girl-friend to accept a house, a fleet of  expensive cars, and her living from this man, and then to tape a private conversation he has with her and make it public. Freedom allows her to be spiteful, ungrateful, and viciously treacherous,  just as it allows him to hate and despise people for no better reason than that they are of another race.

It should not be the business of the law to monitor and censure personal opinion.

Voltaire declared*, “I hate what you say, but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it.” And he meant it: meant that he would die to uphold the principle of liberty.

It was an idea typical of the age of reason; of the Enlightenment. To contradict it is to fall back into the dark age of dogma.

It is precisely when someone says something you don’t agree with – something  you consider stupid, abominable, ugly, offensive, wrong – that you must uphold his right to say it. Argue with him, call him a cretin and a villain; despise him, hate him, defame him if you will (though the law might stop you spreading lies about him). But do not call for him to be gagged.

When Britain was a free country (ah, yes, I remember it well!), you could insult anyone as much as you pleased short of slander (such as accusing him of a crime). It was called “common abuse”, and there was no law against it. Nor should there have been. Now, in Britain, it’s  okay for you to insult white males as much as you like. And Jews. If you insult them loudly and often enough you may get a grant to do it professionally. But if you insult Muslims you will be arrested and charged with a “hate crime”. (See our post, Bye-bye freedom, immediately below.)

Allowing people to say what you don’t like and don’t agree with is the whole point of constitutionally guaranteeing free speech.

The idea of “hate crime” is at the root of this nonsense. Nobody can know what another person feels. If a person  commits a crime, punish him for the crime, not  for the supposed emotion behind it. Such an arrogantly puritanical concept as “hate crime” was  bound to distort the law and threaten liberty. As it does. 

Crime is bad because it hurts individuals. Racism is bad because it hurts individuals. Racism, though it may be the cause of a crime, is not criminal in itself, and should not be criminalized.

People must be free to be petty, to be prejudiced, to be malicious, to be insulting. They cannot be stopped by the law. To make a law against bad behavior won’t change it, and can only make a mockery of the rule of law itself.

It is foolish and politically authoritarian to try and criminalize natural behavior, however unpleasant it may be.

Another word for politically authoritarian is fascist. Yes – if  a human being or a bureaucrat tries to make people conform to his idea of good behavior, he is a fascist.

Tolerance must extend to the hard-to-tolerate. (But not to the intolerant.)

It’s better to be free to hate than to be free of hatred.

 

Jillian Becker    April 30, 2014

 

*Whether or not Voltaire himself did actually say this, is disputed. But it was worth saying, whoever said it, and it has justly become famous.

Posted under Articles, Britain, Commentary, Ethics, liberty, Race, tyranny, United Kingdom, United States by Jillian Becker on Wednesday, April 30, 2014

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