Home Civil Liberty Why Even Have The Concept Of Hate Crimes In The First Place?

Why Even Have The Concept Of Hate Crimes In The First Place?

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Apparently we are not to be prosecuted for what we say over the dinner table:

Offensive dinner table comments made in private will not be classed as hate crimes, with law reform chiefs abandoning plans to extend the offence into homes.

The Law Commission had proposed that the crime of stirring up division over race, religion or sexual orientation should extend to private dwellings. That would have meant controversial dinner table conversations could have led to the hosts or guests facing a police probe and a potential prison sentence.

However, the commissioners have now decided against change and are looking at “alternative ways” in which the law might be reformed which would not criminalise private comments in a person’s home.

The correct reform is to abolish the very idea of a hate crime in the first place.

There was, for example, the case of a young gay man who was tied to the bumper of a pick up truck by some redneck yahoos and dragged to his death over some miles of rough roadway. There was considerable debate over whether this should be prosecuted as a hate crime or not.

Why?

It was clearly murder and at the time the death penalty – in that state at least – still existed. Saying that they did it because of hate doesn’t change the fact that they’d, righteously, spend some decades in solitary before quivering under the approaching needle.

It’s like wondering whether Tim McVeigh should have been prosecuted as a terrorist or just as a murderer. Why bother? The end result is going to be the same.

This applies to everything else that gets classified, currently, as a hate crime. We already have perfectly good laws to deal with anything that actually causes a problem. Everything from behaviour likely to cause a breach of the peace up to incitement to riot and beyond. We don’t in fact need anything other than that.

Hate crime as an idea leading to the following sort of nonsense:

Football is to stage its most united stand against social media trolls after emergency crisis talks between powerbrokers over a tidal wave of online abuse.

The Premier League, English Football League and the Football Association are understood to be throwing their weight behind a call to action over online hate against players and match officials.

An open letter from the governing bodies, as well as Kick It Out and the Professional Footballers’ Association, is being issued after a week in which men and women players, as well as referees, were targeted.

The message will intensify pressure on Government to deliver on its recent pledge to introduce new powers to tackle the upsurge in online abuse and racism.

We already have perfectly good ways of dealing with all of that. The private companies can ban whoever they like for whatever. If they decide they don;t want to do so then we also have the ability not to use their services. That back and forth between what attracts and repels us leads to the amount of such things that we, societally – and in revealed preferences, not expressed – desire.

Where matters become illegal under extant law – from behaviour likely to cause a breach of the peace up to incitement to riot and beyond – we don’t in fact need anything other than that.

Or, as we might put it, when in buggery did we decide to use the law to protect the fragile egos of football players? Let alone anyone having the temerity to try to regulate what we can say over the dinner table?

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10 COMMENTS

  1. It seems to me that the public consultation on their site has resulted in them having to pull their horns in , for a while. I filled in their interminable repetitive online form, mostly with scornful remarks about the true meaning of equality under the law and similar concepts with which they didn’t seem familiar. ‘The Law Commission’ sounds like a real thing but it is by its actions a bunch of activists and acquisitivists.

    • I congratulate you Rhoda for putting yourself to the trouble of commenting. It’s because people like me are too lazy to bother to do anything that these idiots feel they can get away with this nonsense.

  2. There’s a reasonable rationale for the concept of hate crime, though murder is a bad example. A better example would be where the criminal attacks a victim in the street and steals $100. The law needs to have a punishment to deter this crime, yet it cannot be excessive, so as a society we assess what would be needed to offset the gain of $100 and try to set the sentencing guidelines accordingly. However in some cases the gain of $100 is not the only motivation for the attack, which is also motivated by some form of hatred, so this means the punishment might need to be greater to offset the additional gain that the perpetrator is getting.

    And you can see why murder is a bad example – it already carries a very severe sentence, so there is probably no need to add to it.

    I’m sure sentencing to some extent would take the hatred into account, but it could be a good idea for this to be formalised this so that there is consistency across different areas.

    Whether certain behaviour should be considered a crime or mere rudeness is a different issue.

    • Some crimes – burning down a synagogue, for example – are clearly motivated by hatred. But are you seriously suggesting that muggers preferentially target victims based on their prejudices, rather than which is the easiest mark? Or are you simply saying that any crime against me (a cis, white male) should be treated more leniently than the identical crime against a victim who can claim membership of some sort of ‘minority’?

      In any case, ‘hate’ crime involves establishing what is taking place inside the head of the perpetrator, which is not a task that I would trust to the judiciary.

      • I was using mugging as an example as the benefit was so easy to put a value on. It’s much more common for street attacks based on hatred to be focused on the violence rather than theft – many people have been beaten for being gay, black, etc and I expect quite a few of them have also been robbed.

        • If someone is beaten up in the street, my first assumption is that it was done by someone who didn’t like them very much. As BiS points out below, such hatred is by no means confined to white people. I merely insist on punishing the crime, not trying to guess what thoughts might be running through the perpetrator’s head and multiplying the sentence if such thoughts are currently deemed non-politically correct.

  3. On football, the best approach is to let the small number of racist supporters back into the grounds. I’ve been at a match where there was racist abuse by one chap, and the people who stood near him pointed him out to the stewards.
    The absence of crowds at sports has by a small amount made Great Britain more racist because like everyone else the pricks cannot leave their houses for non-essential reasons under threat of court.

  4. When I was a child middle-class kids were targeted by working-class thugs who had been conditioned by communists and fellow travellers to believe in class war. That was a hate crime according to the OED, but not to the “woke”. Is anyone going to prosecute the perpetrators? YMBJ.
    This is a lefty scam

  5. “But are you seriously suggesting that muggers preferentially target victims based on their prejudices, rather than which is the easiest mark? ”
    Think you need to grow up a bit Mr Vole. Or get with reality. I had three attempted mugging within a hundred yards of my London flat. All of the perps were black. It was in what might be described as a desirable area. Prices certainly reflected it. It just happened to be down the road from Broadwater Farm. Over there white folk are regarded as a resource.

    • What you describe is mugging based on “not from round here”, which may, indeed, be a hate crime, I’m not well up on such things. But if you were black and from the wrong postcode it might have been worse.

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