The Official Blog Of Edward Cline

Hate Crimes vs. Hate Speech: A False Dichotomy

“Thoughtcrime is death. Thoughtcrime does not entail death.
Thoughtcrime IS death. I have committed even before setting pen to paper the
essential crime that contains all others unto itself.” Winston Smith, Nineteen Eighty-Four*

I was alerted to the renewed assault on freedom of
speech by a Jihad Watch article by Robert Spencer of May 26th, “Half
of Democrats support laws curtailing the freedom of speech
.” He opens with:
The
problems with this should be obvious, and it’s a sign of the fix we’re in that
they aren’t. Who decides what speech is “intended to stir up hatred against a
particular group”? Islamic supremacist groups such as Hamas-linked CAIR and
other “Islamophobia”-mongers relentlessly claim that foes of jihad terror and
Sharia supremacism are stirring up hatred against Muslims. This charge is
entirely baseless, as any Muslim who sincerely rejects jihad terror and the
imposition of Sharia in the West should be standing with us, and is welcome to
do so.
But
the key question here is, who decides?
The allies and friends of those who believe, or claim to believe, that it is
“inciting hatred” to oppose jihad terror and Sharia supremacism are in the
corridors of power. If the Democrats succeed in criminalizing “hate speech,”
there is no doubt that it will become illegal to speak honestly about the
nature and magnitude of the jihad threat, and the jihadis will be able to
advance unimpeded. [Italics mine]
Here is the article of May 20th from UGOV from
which Spencer quotes:
Since
1994 people convicted
of federal crimes motivated by the ‘actual or perceived’ identity of victims

have faced tougher sentences. Many other states had passed ‘hate crime’
statutes in earlier years, and in recent years many states have been adopting
laws which make crimes motivated by the victim’s sexual orientation of gender
identity hate crimes which face tougher sentences, something the federal
government did in 2009. Unlike much of the rest of the developed world,
however, the United States does not make it a criminal offense for people to
make statements which encourage hatred of particular groups. For example a
prominent British columnist, Katie Hopkins, is being investigated by the police
for referring to African
migrants crossing the Mediterranean as ‘cockroaches’
.
YouGov’s
latest research shows that many Americans support making it a criminal offense
to make public statements which would stir up hatred against particular groups
of people. Americans narrowly support (41%) rather than oppose (37%)
criminalizing hate speech, but this conceals a partisan divide. Most Democrats
(51%) support criminalizing hate speech, with only 26% opposed. Independents
(41% to 35%) and Republicans (47% to 37%) tend to oppose making it illegal to
stir up hatred against particular groups….
When
it comes to crimes motivated by hatred, most Americans do back the current
federal hate crime laws, including the expanded definition of hate crime passed
in 2009. 56% of Americans back the federal law mandating tougher penalties for
cimes motivated by race, religion or gender, and 51% support expanding that to
include sexual orientation, gender identity and disability. Democrats (68%)
tend to be much more supportive of the law than either independents and
Republicans. Republicans (38% to 39%) are split over the expanded definition of
hate crime, while independent tend to support (46%) rather than oppose (28%)
it. 
And one of the questions in the survey was whether respondents
supported or opposed “the federal law which expands existing federal hate crime
law to apply to crimes motivated by a victim’s actual or perceived gender,
sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability?”
Although the survey results are interesting, the
percentages are irrelevant. I subscribe to the “Fifty million Frenchmen can be
as wrong as one” school of deciding whether or not  something is right, or whether or not  something exists, or whether or not  something ought to be. That is, I do not make
value judgments or act on a consensus. I base my decisions and conclusions on
the evidence of my own senses, and not on the collective opinion of countless,
anonymous others.
According
to Wikipedia,
“The modern era of hate-crime legislation began in 1968 with the
passage of federal statute, 18 U.S. 245, part of the Civil Rights Act which made it illegal to
“by force or by threat of force, injure, intimidate, or interfere with
anyone who is engaged in six specified protected activities, by reason of their
race, color, religion, or national
origin
.” However, “The prosecution of such crimes must be
certified by the U.S. attorney general.”
The Leadership
Conference
site on hate crime legislation cites the
Hate
Crimes Sentencing Enhancement Act of 1994
Originally
introduced by Rep. Charles Schumer (D-NY) and Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) as
freestanding legislation, the Hate Crimes Sentencing Enhancement Act was
enacted into law as part of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act
of 1994. Pursuant to the Act, the United States Sentencing Commission
established a sentencing enhancement of “not less than 3 offense levels
for [federal] offenses that the finder of fact at trial determines beyond a
reasonable doubt are hate crimes.” The enhancement defines a hate crime as
“a crime in which the defendant intentionally selects a victim, or in the
case of a property crime, the property that is the object of the crime, because
of the actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, ethnicity,
gender, disability, or sexual orientation of any person.” In other words, sentences imposed on
defendants convicted of federal crimes may be substantially increased if the
crime is found to be motivated by bias.
This measure–which covers only
federal crimes–applies, for example, to bias-motivated attacks and vandalism
that occur in national parks and on other Federal property. This enhancement
took effect on November 1, 1995. [Italics
mine]
The notion of hate
crime
s has been troublesome for me ever since it was introduced. I couple
it with the phenomenon of hate speech.
The two notions are intimately – nay, intrinsically
linked. For if one thinks a politically incorrect or criminalized thought, the
assumption is that one will likely act on it. Ergo, the speech police must
discourage, frustrate, and even censor speech before it could possibly entice
the speaker to commit a violent crime. And if a hate crime is committed, then
the penalty for it must be made more severe than if one committed the crime for
banal reasons (e.g., committing a murder in the course of another felony, or
just holding up a bank or a convenience store for “mere” money).
Linked in the USGOV story was an International
Business Times
story about Katie Hopkins, a British writer who
characterized in her Sun newspaper column the hundreds of “migrants” from North
Africa crossing the Mediterranean in boats to Italy and Europe as
“cockroaches.” The Have
a LIttle Faith site
provided a more extensive quotation from the Sun
article: 
Katie
wrote in the Sun newspaper that instead of rescue boats helping migrants, there
should in fact be gun ships. She refers to migrants as “a plague of feral
humans” and likened them to cockroaches. She suggests we take the “Australian
approach” of “threaten[ing] them with violence until they bugger off, throwing
cans of Castlemaine in an Aussie version of Sharia stoning,” a statement which
manages to be offensive to Australians, Muslims and migrants all in one.
Of course, liberal/left blog sites like The
Huffington Post
climbed on board the let’s-get-Hopkins fried-and-fired
train. Regardless, however, of what one thinks of her remarks, should Hopkins
be punished for speaking her mind? Is it the Sun newspaper’s option or is it
“society’s” to determine her career status? Suppose I called all the illegal
immigrants pouring into the U.S. from Mexico “cockroaches”? Or, better yet, “termites”
meant to undermine the country and to solidify the Democratic voting bloc in
this country for decades to come, as Obama intended all along? Should we gag Ann
Coulte
r for alleging that one of the purposes of the border invasion is to
achieve the “browning” of America, and force her to perform “community” service
in an orange jump suit? Should the government shut down Rule of Reason for
printing my “provocative” speech, or threaten other sites to refrain from
reprinting my remarks on pain of financial or other penalties? For a detailed
exchange between Coulter and her inadequate Fusion host, go to Salon here,
or read her Point column about the Fusion interview here.
The Orwell quotation that opens this column is
pertinent. The key part of it is the
essential crime that contains all others unto itself
. Wikipedia lists other
terms that occur in Orwell’s dystopian novel.
Crimestop means to rid oneself of
unwanted thoughts, i.e., thoughts that interfere with the ideology of the
Party. This way, a person avoids committing thoughtcrime….
Crimestop
means the faculty of stopping short, as though by instinct, at
the threshold of any dangerous thought. It includes the power of not grasping
analogies, of failing to perceive logical errors, of misunderstanding the
simplest arguments if they are inimical to Ingsoc, and of being bored or
repelled by any train of thought which is capable of leading in a heretical
direction. Crimestop, in short, means protective stupidity.”
A voluntarily self-imposed protective stupidity, to
be more precise. To dwell on unorthodox thoughts is crimethink. At the moment, Muslims seem to be the only observable
group, aside from the MSM, to follow a regime of crimethink and presumably engage in crimestop. They do not question the basic, fundamental tenets of
Islam, do acknowledge that some of what its adherents do is really awful, but
stop short of blaming Islam itself. They don’t wish to commit hate speech. They
do not wish to risk the charge of blasphemy. They do not wish to question the
politically correct orthodoxy that Islam has been “hijacked” by monsters. They
not wish to suggest, let alone say it explicitly, that Islam by its nature
inculcates monsters and that monsters are all we can expect from Islam.
Imagine having a serious discussion with Joe Biden
about Aristotelian philosophy. No? With Shirley Jackson Lee of Texas? I can
hear the raspberries.
Or with Barack Obama on the golf course. “All I
know is,” he’d say, “is that when I hit the ball, it goes somewhere. Not always
where I want it to go. That’s metaphysics for you. Unreliable. Usually it’s in
complete conflict with my epistemological expectations and desires.”
Want to call that “hate speech”? Go right ahead.
It’s called satire. And I haven’t seen a flattering political cartoon of Obama
in, well, years. Why aren’t those cartoonists in jail for having provoked
enmity towards Obama? They’ve done violence to his reputation and credibility.
Of reputation, he has carloads; of credibility, it amounts to a rusted Chevy
sitting on cinder blocks in the Arkansas hinterland.
Back to the
essential crime that contains all others unto itself.
Imagine that I shot a
rabbi, or a priest, or even an imam. Why would I shoot a cleric? Is it relevant
why? Perhaps I found the cleric’s
garb “provocative.” Perhaps he flipped me off some time in the past. Perhaps he
shouted at me in front of witnesses that I was as thick as a brick. Anyway, the
sight of him was personally offensive. But the motive, if objective law was
adhered to, would be irrelevant. I committed a capital crime: first degree
murder, aggravated assault, premeditated murder, whatever. Before the
introduction of exception-making in criminal jurisprudence to protect specific
groups, the physical crime was all that I would be tried and convicted for. I initiated
force against another man. I murdered or wounded him. That’s the crime, and
that’s all that would be to it.
My motive would not
have been criminalized. My animus for clerics and my thinking about shooting
the cleric would not have been
criminalized. The contents of my mind would not
have been the subject of criminal legislation. My motive likely would have been
used by the prosecution and defense to explain
why I shot the cleric, but my motive would not
have been on trial. Just my provable, demonstrable actions. Atheistic or anti-cleric
or Islamophobic literature might have been found by the police in my home, on
my computer, or buried in the back yard – or there might have been no such
literature at all to find.
Let’s change the scenario a wrinkle. Suppose I was
a Muslim and I was offended by visual representations of Mohammad, or I was
told by my American mullah or imam that I ought to be offended. I go to the
magazine that’s published some really “provocatively” offensive images of
Mohammad and shoot the staff. Or I go to Garland, Texas, and try to shoot
everyone attending a conference held to celebrate the drawing of Mohammad. All
those people deserved to die, I think, they were out to get my goat. Or my ewe.
They were exploiting the phobia Americans
have about Islam. About me.
Knowing that depictions of Mohammad are forbidden
in Islam by the faithful and by the
unbelievers wherever they live, they deliberately set out to provoke me! Taunt me! Dare me! I’m
shot and wounded by a single policeman before I can do anything. The press and
TV reporters learn I’m a Muslim. Possibly deranged, possibly not. A little
strain of sympathy is felt for me. I couldn’t
help
but react the way I did. My religion was being mocked! My icon of a
perfect man was being denigrated and slandered! Overwhelming hostility is felt
for Pamela Geller and everyone having anything to do with scheduling and holding
and participating in the Draw Mohammad conference. Geller and her fellow provocateurs
ought to have known what the
consequences would be. I would show up, or someone else. That’s what everyone
would be saying. Wave a red cape at a bull and the bull’s going to charge. Don’t
wave the red cape, and the bull will lie down beneath the press box to bask in
the sun and dream of Pamplona.
Or of enlisting in ISIS.
Didn’t these freedom-of-speech fanatics know that? But they did know it! They boast of it! They were not practicing responsible free speech. They consciously
set out to provoke me! I didn’t have to look at the drawings, no one forced me
to. But I’m a product of my Islamic environment, and I can’t help but look and
be offended. I have no volitional consciousness. How do I know they
deliberately provoked me? I just know it. I can’t help it if they choose to incite hatred against me and my faith!
The press and TV anchors, politicians, Donald Trump
and Bill O’Reilly don’t much examine my
motives. But they put Geller’s motives through the wringer. They also insinuated
that the Charlie Hebdo staff had it coming to them. They further insinuate that
had I not forgotten to thumb off the safety on my gun, Geller and Bosch Fawstin
and Robert Spencer would have had it coming to them, too.
Spencer reported that a gaggle of Democrats are all
for passing laws that would restrict
freedom of speech
, to make it more “responsible.” Of course, as a
consequence, speech would no longer be “free,” but regulated. Which would mean that thought would be regulated. If you have a thought, and must express
it in a way deemed acceptable and proper according to some authority’s
criteria, and there are penalties for not meeting those criteria, how free can
thinking be, either? Before you set hand to keyboard or brush to an easel, you
must indulge in crimestop before you
commit crimethink, or “hate speech”
or a hate crime. You must vet
yourself before letting the speech police can vet your speech.
Which can easily lead to thoughtcrime.
It would be wrong to call this petit totalitarianism. It is totalitarianism pure and simple.
Sean Gabb in his May 2012 essay, “Another
Surveillance Law: One More Step towards the Big Brother State
,” published
in The Barrister, in discussing the rise of the “soft” but no less insidious police
state in Britain, the kind that is “investigating” Katie Hopkins and her “cockroaches”
remarks, noted:
….A
police state is less about enforcement than control. Its function is to make a
ruling class irresistible when robbing and oppressing, or when imposing its
utopian fantasies. If people can be made to obey without being clubbed to death
in a police cell, why bother with violence? There is no British Gestapo or KGB
or Stasi, because our own police state rests on a foundation of changes of
investigatory and criminal procedure and of omnipresent surveillance. When
people know that they are being watched in all that they do, and when they know
that stepping over some invisible line will put them to great inconvenience and
expense, they will change their behavior and their attitudes to authority.
But, back to my enraged and offended Muslim scenario
and my fumbled attempt to impose Sharia Law on Geller and her provocateurs. I’m
finally put on trial for an attempted act of terrorism. I’m convicted of
attempted murder and nothing else. My defense counsel protests and I protest:
But…but what about my religion? What about my motive? This isn’t fair! You’re just sentencing me for carrying a
gun with the intent to kill some people! Sure, I was about to commit a hate crime, but that should be in my
favor, because I’m a persecuted minority! And oppressed. And anti-Islamophobia!
This is more evidence of my oppression, judging me by my mere actions, and not
by my motives! Geller and her provocateurs are guilty of a hate crime, too!
They entrapped me!
Let’s turn that around. It is but a few tentative,
mincing steps from treating a physical, demonstrable crime and bundling it with
one’s motive or the contents of one’s mind and packaging it as a whole. Which is
what is being done today.
Blaming Pamela Geller  et al.
for the violence in Garland, Texas, and deeming the Draw Mohammad contest and
event a deliberate “provocation,” and illegal and a crime, is what the government
and the MSM are coyly, if not vociferously, sidling up to, a British- or
European-style power to fetter and regulate freedom of speech – a.k.a., censorship.
If ever legislated, that will be the end of America.
*Part I, Chapter 1, Nineteen Eighty-Four, the complete text. University
of Adelaide
.

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