Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Hate Crime = Thought Crime

"Now, I'm no fan of hate. Hate, in all forms, is ugly, even when performed by beautiful people (that's a shout out to Stephanie Von Pratt, who turned me down for my senior prom). But here's what I don't get: if I kill someone, I'm a killer. But hate crime law says that I also broke a new law - one that has to do with my thoughts when I committed the crime. So it's a thought crime more than a hate crime."

My Perspective:
I think Greg hits the nail on the head here by saying that hate crimes are additional crimes, ones centered on thoughts, not actions. I think this is a horrible thing for government to do since that is obviously an infringement of the 1st amendment, which gives us freedom of speech, and to speak one must first think. Without the freedom of thought there is no free speech. I would argue that since hate crimes are separate crimes, dealing both with what the person was thinking at the time and doing, instead of just what the person was doing. For that reason, I do not believe that hate crimes are constitutional at all, and all sentences that have been extended due to hate crimes should not be legal.

The way a free society functions requires the most basic freedom of thought. There are many cases already that have stricken down laws that infringe on speech and thought. Yet these hate crimes still remain. It is if the law is circumventing itself by punishing people for their thoughts after the fact. It must do this because to outright ban hate thought would be an obvious infringement of the 1st amendment.

The 1st amendment was created to protect our ability to think and speak freely. Once the government can start to curtail that freedom it is only a matter of time until they can control it. If they could outrightly ban hate speech then that would de facto give them the ability to decide what is and is not hate speech. Of course they wouldn't use congress to decide this, that is too easily stopped by the American people. Instead they will create a regulatory agency or use one that already exists (FCC and the Fairness Doctrine anyone?) This will make it nearly impossible to stop once it is regulatory policy. For a government to outlaw hate speech, they must first be implicitly given the power to define speech, and once that occurs, government can control speech by making anything it doesn't like defined as "hate speech."

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