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The Nature of Hate Crime Legislation

December 24th, 2023

The FBI defines a hate crime (AKA bias crime) to be “a criminal offense committed against a person, property or society which is motivated, in whole or in part, by the offender’s bias against a race, religion, disability, sexual orientatio, or ethnicity/national origin.” ["Hate Crime definition," FBI (http://www.fbi.gov/ucr/Cius_98/).

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Is the government justified in making an emotion illegal? Is it at all a creed of liberty that conscience should remain under the jurisdiction of the state, that what thoughts we are allowed to have should be chosen by politicians? There is no law more unjustified than this Hate Crime Law. Men have died in thousands of wars, defending themselves against tyranny and monarchy. After all these people have died, the government has now put a law enslaving the most precious, the absolutely most valuable right of every individual: to think for themselves. If a person is beaten and murdered, should the beliefs of the offender matter in their trial? If a person is beaten and murdered, do they suffer more because of the convictions of their offender? If a woman is robbed for the sake of profit from thief, and another woman is robbed for the sake of race from a Racist, do not both women suffer the same? You cannot battle emotions or opinions with crime legislation. One may argue that a Hate Crime is an action and not a thought; but it is already illegal to beat someone to death. Hate Crime Laws only make it illegal to beat someone to death because of their race. Hate Crime Laws enforce the mentality that the government has the right to weed out those they detest and those they hate. It is Totalitarianism and I for one cannot stand it.

The Hate Crime Laws target those with differing opinions, and enforces a stiffer penalty to those who commit crimes because of their beliefs. This is ludicrous. It is equally justifiable for a government to make Hispanic or African Crime Laws -- that simply because someone is of one descent, when they commit a crime, the punishment is stiffer. Would it be justifiable if the government made a Woman Crime Law?; that, if a woman commits a crime, the punishment against her is harsher? Or what of an Islamic Crime Law, that Muslims will be punished harder when they commit a crime? Or we can institute Jew Crime Laws, where Jews suffer harsher penalties, or we can institute Disabled Crime Laws, where disabled people suffer harsher penalties, or we can institute Illiterate Crime Laws, where illiterate people suffer harsher penalites. All of these crimes would be unjust. The reasoning is this: no matter the color of a man's skin, nor the gender of a person, nor their condition of education or physique, a crime is a crime, and cruelty is cruelty. If a black man beats a woman to death, it is just as much a crime and just as much an atrocity if a white man beats a woman to death. Similarly, if a punishment cannot be toughened because of one's gender, ethnicity, or condition, how then can the punishment be toughened because of one's opinion? The fact remains, whether a Racist or a non-Racist beats a woman to death, the same amount of damage is done, the same amount of suffering is caused. To say that the Racist should suffer a stiffer penalty because of his Racism is tantamount to saying that a black man should suffer a stiffer penalty because of his ethnicity, or that a woman should suffer a stiffer penalty because of her gender, or that a person confined to a wheelchair should suffer a stiffer penalty because of their condition. If a nation values freedom and liberty, then it is not illegal to be of any ethnicity, nor is it illegal to be of any gender, nor is it illegal to be disabled, and it certainly should not be illegal to hold an opinion. These laws, Hate Crime Laws or Jew Crime Laws or Woman Crime Laws, all break this code of liberty: they create a stiffer penalty to individuals who commit a crime, not because it had to do with the crime in even the slightest, but simply because of the offender's background -- this is a grave injustice.

Some may argue, though, that comparing Hate Crime Laws to Race Crime Laws (such as having a stiffer penalty for Africans or Hispanics) is a false analogy. One Crime Law argues against opinion, whereas the other Crime Law argues against race. If it is true, then, that we can make laws against opinion -- such an unspeakable law -- then it would be acceptable for Congress to disallow other opinions, for the sake that they are unpopular. If Democrats dominated congress, they could easily pass a Republican Crime Law: if a Republican commits a crime, the punishment is double, but if a Democrat commits a crime, the punishment is halved. Or, since both Democrats and Republicans seem to have near equal power in Congress at this time, there could be a Non-Partisan Crime Law: if a non-Republican or non-Democrat commits a crime, the punishment is doubled, but if a Republican or Democrat commits a crime, the punishment is halved. Or the government could make Crime Laws against those who like a particular food, or a particular sports team, or of a particular philosophical background. In fact, if Congress can make crime laws that impose a stiffer sentence on those who differ in opinion, solely because of their difference in opinion, then Congress would probably have no problem make laws that simply limit opinion. If the state is given jurisdiction to control opinions, then soon we will delve into intellectual Totalitarianism. Every thought that differs from the mainstream is a heresy, every opinion that sways from what our governors believe is blasphemy, and the great tree of liberty will be torn down by the vines of iniquity. Ignorance and censorship, oppression and tyranny, this is what a Hate Crime Law is. It limits opinions and seeks to destroy intellectual freedom. I oppose it not because I am a Racist nor because I am a Homophobe, but because I believe in liberty and freedom, and I believe that men and women should be allowed to create their own opinions without the government making these gross violations of our rights.

There are many Human Rights advocates who wish for Hate Crime Legislation. Winnie Stachelberg, from the Human Rights Campaign, said of Hate Crime Laws, "It would just level the playing field. It would close a very big loophole that sexual orientation, gender and disability are not part of current law." [Martha Kleder, "Constitutional implications of hate crimes," Focus on the Family (http://www.family.org/cforum/fnif/news/A0013173.html).] But what Human Rights does this group actually advocate? From this legislation, it is clear that they do not believe that humans have the right to freedom of thought, the absolutely most necessary of rights. Even if there were no governments, even if there was no army or police to protect us, we would still have this essential right: the right to compose our thoughts as we wish, governed by no law, restricted by no statute. I detest Hate Crime Legislation because it makes it a crime to have thoughts that are contrary to what is popularly believed. If a Racist kills a person because of their race and a non-Racist kills a person, both crimes are of equal suffering — the fact that a Racist holds thoughts of Racism does not mean he is more deserving of an even more cruel punishment, just as the non-Racist does not deserve a lesser sentence because he is not a Racist. With all things considered, Hate Crime Legislation is brutal and horrific. It attempts to take away from us the very right to think! This is absolutely appalling.