Sorry to get all heavy on y’all on the day before Thanksgiving, but some of you got to talking about “hate crimes” back on this post, and I just can’t let it pass without reciting my usual homily on the subject…
And Kathryn, did you notice that in this country that after race, the highest number of hate crimes concern religion? Why do I not think that Christians are the ones being picked on?
To which Kathryn replied:
I thought sexual orientation was the biggest source of hate crimes (which makes your point, I suspect).
To which I just had to say:
It depends on how you define “hate crime” … which is sort of what the whole phenomenon of “hate crimes” is about, isn’t it?
A “hate crime” is a political act, one to which Orwell assigned the term “thoughtcrime,” a.k.a. “crimethink.” And writing and defining the hate crime law is also a political act.
The very decision to have such a thing as a “hate crime” is a political act as well — or, at least, a political choice.
And it’s one to which I object. Such things should not exist in America. That’s one of the few points on which I agree with libertarians. Punish the act, not the thought or attitude behind it. The idea that an attitude would be deemed a crime in this country is in its way as ugly as the attitudes such crimes seek to punish. It appalls me that the concept of “hate crime” ever developed in this country…
I mean, I love Big Brother and all, but this is supposed to be a free country, which means people are free to think and feel all sorts of mean, nasty, ugly things. It’s when they do something to other people that we should be concerned, and what we should be concerned about is what they DO.