Hate Crime Laws and the Day of the Pink Guillotine

JBS, Wednesday, 29 April 2009 | Selwyn Dukehttp://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/2243883/posts Posted on Monday, May 04, 2009 12:51:11 PM by Conservative Coulter Fan

Hate Crime law HR-1913 may offer federal protection to 30 different “sexual orientations.” Yet, as alarming as this is, the problem with hate-crime laws doesn’t lie in the details. It lies in the laws themselves.

In another example of creating specially-protected classes of people, the government is poised to offer homosexuals and other groups defined by sexual behavior protected status under federal hate-crime law. And the scope of the bill is great, encompassing a whole host of sexual perversions. Standard Newswire provides the following information:

. . . the House Judiciary Committee refused to exclude pedophiles from the bill's protection. The Committee also refused to include veterans. Moreover, the bill does not include the elderly.

H.R. 1913 (Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009) is not about stopping crime but is designed to give "actual or perceived" sexual preference or "gender identity" (which is still classified as a mental disorder) the same legal status as race. The DSM IVR (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual used by psychologists and psychiatrists to diagnose mental disorders) lists more than 30 "sexual orientations" and "Gender Identity Disorders," including pedophilia. The hate crimes bill does not limit "sexual orientation" or "gender identity" and, thus, includes all these disorders and fetishes. The use of "actual or perceived" includes those with disorders or deviant sexual preferences and those who do not have such disorders or fetishes, so long as it is alleged that the person charged allegedly "thought" the other person had such [a] disorder or fetish.

As if this isn’t bad enough, many fear that the bill could also be used to stifle free speech. CBNnews.com addresses this, writing that Texas congressman and former judge Louie Gohmert suggested that a hate-crime law “would add nothing but punishment for pastors who preach biblically held beliefs against homosexuality."

‘It would not take too many arrests to have an extraordinary chilling affect [sic] on some religious teachings with regard to sexual immorality,’ Gohmert claimed.”

This isn’t paranoia, as the pink guillotine has already used similar laws overseas to persecute people uttering unfashionable beliefs. For instance, Ake Green, a Swedish pastor imprisoned for preaching against homosexuality in a sermon. And then there was Bill Whatcott, a Christian who was fined $20,000 by the Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission for criticizing homosexuality, just to mention a couple of cases.

Yet, whatever the details, it’s a mistake to become so immersed in them that we miss the big picture. Because the problem with hate-crime laws lies not in who is protected, who is punished and what the consequences are. It lies with the laws themselves.

Hate-crime laws punish thoughts and words. Consider this example: two crimes are committed, and they are identical in terms of the action undertaken. But they are prosecuted very differently. The perpetrator of the first crime is deemed to have been motivated by a politically-correct sin, greed, and receives five years in prison. The criminal hands in the second crime, however, are said to have been animated by “hate” – as defined by oh-so loving social engineers – thus, the perpetrator is sent away for 15 years.

Now, we can conclude that the act itself warranted five years prison, as that is what was handed down when only the act was considered. So, we have to ask, what were the extra 10 years given to Mr. Hate for? Could they perhaps be for the thoughts expressed through the act?

This brings us back to free-speech concerns. Whether or not HR-1913 itself would be used to stifle politically-incorrect criticism, there is no doubt that hate-crime laws in general are a transitional phase on the road to hate-speech laws. To illustrate why, consider how it is that a criminal act is deemed a hate crime. It is thus labeled when the perpetrator expresses displeasure with a group his victim is identified with during the commission of the act. But think about it: if the government can criminalize the expression of certain beliefs within one context, it is that much closer to criminalizing them within any context.

And, by and large, this is the goal of hate-crime law proponents. If they would deny this, I would issue the following challenge: if eliminating the violence in question really is your goal, let’s just increase the penalties for a given act to hate-crime levels regardless of the motivation. In other words, if you want “hate-crime” murderers to receive an extra 15 years, it can easily be accomplished by thus punishing all murderers. And if that level of punishment is needed to deter the behavior, doesn’t it make sense to apply it across-the-board? (I should mention an interesting contradiction here. Liberals have been scoffing at punishment for decades, lobbying against spanking and harsh sentences; they’ve called such things cruel and have often implied that they don’t even work. Yet, isn’t it funny that when it’s their emotional ox being gored, they suddenly believe harsh punishment is warranted and that its effectiveness is a given?)

But leftists won’t do this for a simple reason: they want to make a statement about the expression of certain ideas. Thus, they want individuals acting upon those ideas singled out for draconian punishment. And they can’t even defend their aims by likening them to broadcast indecency prohibitions. After all, it isn’t just group-specific epithets uttered during a crime that would bring hate-crime charges but anything relating a negative opinion about the group in question. In other words, they will punish not just mindless profanity, not just style, but also substance.

At the end of the day, hate-crime laws are yet another example of invidious leftist double standards. That is to say, if someone’s loved one is murdered because of good old-fashioned greed, will you be willing to look him in the eye and explain why it's just that the perpetrator gets a slap on the wrist relative to a politically-incorrect, "hateful" killer? If not, you have no business supporting hate-crime laws.