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Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by zimv20, May 3, 2007.
So, since there's "no persuasive demonstration," will they then ask for a repeal of exisiting hate crime legislation?
I'm not a big fan of hate-crime legislation. Too close to criminalizing thought in my book, although I do understand why people push for it. The end result of a "hate crime" is essentially to terrorize the group to which the victim belonged.
I've got a good idea George. Let's just veto EVERYTHING for the next two years.
Yeah, that'll teach those damn voters!!!
I agree. Although, there's something peculiar in the article:
The vote came after fierce lobbying from civil rights groups, who have been pushing for years for added protections against hate crimes, and social conservatives, who say the bill threatens the right to express moral opposition to homosexuality and singles out groups of citizens for special protection.
Are these social conservatives suggesting that they should have the right to beat up and murder homosexuals? You know, as an expression of their moral oppostion. Or am I ignorant of the bill, which goes as far as to say these folks aren't even allowed to speak out against homosexuality in a peaceful manner?
Does the bill specifically mention homosexuality as having protected status? I am under the impression the language states "sexual orientation", which would naturally extend to the protection of heterosexuals from militant homos that want to rape and murder their children.
Really now...I think this deserves two:
How so? The law has always allowed for consideration of a person's state of mind (it's why there are degrees of murder) when committing a crime, so how is this fundamentally different?
What's the difference between me (whitey whiteski) premeditatatively murdering a white person versus a black person? It's still premeditation. The additional crime would be hating black people, which -- repugnant as it may be -- is still legal. The only add-on I could see was if the intent of the crime was to strike fear into ALL black people by my act -- but we've already got plenty of anti-terrorism laws on the books.
i believe the intent of the law isn't to tack on more on in such a case, unless part of the motive for the murder was because he was black.
It doesn't criminalise thought, it criminalises acting on the thought. You can hate blacks/hipanics/arabs/irish/gays/redheads all you like. You just can't put your prejudices into deed. There's a significant distinctiion. You can want to kill someone all you like, but it is the doing (or attempting to do) that makes it criminal. As long as you keep your hate to yourself, nobody gets hurt.
But then the additional crime would be murdering someone because they were black. If you murdered someone because he was white it'd be the same thing.
But what is that action? It's called murder, right? IOW, we already have laws against the deed. Do we really need laws against the thought?
Exactly. So why should I be punished more severly because I murdered someone of a different race?
Or, what if I really hate my wife's ex, for example, and murder him? Regardless of his race, I did it because I hate him, but under this legislation I'd only get punished extra for it if he was a different race than me.
Law is often used to show societys disapproval of behaviour. I don't really agree with using it this way myself, and as you point out, if the act is criminal anyway, what does it achieve? I was just taking issue with your point about criminalising thought.
(And as a side issue, I believe that you should have the freedom to express your thoughts too - no matter how much they shock or offend - that includes racist/sexist/bigoted thought)
Certainly, up to the point where that right infringes on my rights.
We have laws against killing people, yes. What's the difference between a drunk driver running you down, a guy who punches you in the face and kills you or a man who waits in the bushes to shoot and rob you? You're just as dead, right?
And it's the difference between manslaughter, second- and first-degree murder. The law has always taken this into account. As it does aggravating and mitigating circumstances when handing down sentences.
You're not. You're punished because you murdered someone because of their race.
As pb said, you wouldn't, because they'd have to prove you did it for racial reasons. It's not so much about belief as it is intent. If it was premeditated, your punishment would be different than if you just got into a fight and/or if it was an accident. Doing it for a reason such as race, orientation, or even creed adds motive and would more something more towards premeditation. It's a slippery slope, which is why it's rarely used, even in cases where it's obvious. Like if you specifically went after someone for such reasons, that you wouldn't have otherwise, or go searching for that type for the sole reason of causing trouble, even if murder wasn't the goal. You're still premeditated to do the act, even if you don't yet know your victim. In the case of, say, a serial killer, it would be premeditation for the same reasons.
In both cases, looking for a type to attack or being more inclined to act against someone of a specific type solely for that reason, if someone were to argue manslaughter or temporary insanity, they would get a reduced sentence, when they clearly deserved a harsher one (though still not quite as bad as premeditation).
Gotta agree with your argument on this one.
I agree with you that the law proposed makes no logical sense. I am a little conflicted about it though, because the point of the law is to give some much needed protection to a group of people who are terribly persecuted. It's not an ideal solution by any means though and in the end, I think the disadvantages outweigh the advantages.
On a side note, there are a lot of laws against "hate speech" in the West: Canada, Britain, many European countries. These are highly praised, but IMHO a disaster for free speech and free thought. There have been too many documented instances of debate thwarted and intimidation f.ex. in Britain, where any mention of Muslims in a negative context brings out the legal guns - religion has become a sacred cow, pun intended. Debate is dead on the subjects of race, religion, even culture. Not a good direction to go in. Personally, I'm pretty much a free speech absolutist - the fewer restrictions the better.
The law proposed here, though well-intentioned, brushes against "thought punishment" too close for comfort IMHO.
If the punishment is extra for a hate crime, do I get time off for a love crime? Hey, a little consistency, if you please. IOW, I'm with mac, although maybe for some other reasons as well.
What group is "terribly persecuted"? That is, the entire group very regularly is harmed? Cheated, robbed, stolen from? Denied jobs? Again, now, as a group. "Some" doesn't count, IMO. "Sometimes" doesn't count, IMO. "Some", is the case, yes. "Sometimes", happens, yes. But to single out groups and by law say that their primary value is that of victimhood? 'Scuse me? How contemptuous of a group can you get?
Is the law no longer to look upon everybody as equals? This whole hate-crime stuff is just too Animal Farmish for me.
As far as other countries' restrictions on speech, to drift a bit, I like our system: Idiots can reveal themselves for what they are. And there is no Constitutional right to not be offended.
Gay people. That group. And all that was mentioned above: job and housing denial, beatings, denial of civil rights (f.ex. marriage recognized by the state, not church) with severe consequences etc.
The distinction between "some" and "all" is plain stupid. If one were to claim: "you cannot say a group is persecuted, unless ALL members of that group are persecuted", then you wouldn't have a single group in history being persectuted by that definition. Hey, not ALL Jews were persecuted in Hitler's Germany, there were a few who passed unnoticed, and not ALL Germans persecuted Jews (some actually helped Jews). Quick - rewrite those history books! Jews were NOT a persecuted group in Nazi Germany!
Today, there is legal and official discrimination against gay people (f.ex. gay marriage, military service etc.). Why can't gays serve in the military on exactly the same legal level as heterosexual people? Discrimination against gays is enshrined into our law. Nuremberg Laws enshrined official discrimination against Jews in Nazi Germany.
Passing laws that have consequences primarily for one group of citizens - whether to protect them, give them rights or remove rights, is something that is accepted as a reality. Reproductive rights concern women - yet only an idiot would say we shouldn't have any such laws because they only affect one group, or specifically mention one group. What about voting rights for women? Those were targetted specifically to women - a distinct group of citizens whose rights we had to specifically protect just as one day we may have to specifically protect the rights of gays. Gays - they too are a distinct group that happens to be terribly persecuted.
That said, I think this proposed law is bad - the disadvantages outweigh the advantages. The obvious disadvantage is the possible chilling effect on free expression of thought.
It's already against the law to discriminate against a group because of sexual orientation. Why more laws?
And I'm not even open to argument over the use of the word "marriage" to describe a union among gays. I'm happy for them to have all the financial benefits of "civil union", but that's the end of my redefinition of a long-established word.
I think you're missing the reason for hate crime laws. As it says in the AP story, the law allows "Federal investigators could step in if local authorities are unwilling or unable to act."
If existing laws were enforced equally, then there wouldn't be a need for hate crime laws
You're not the only one to believe that
im so glad the US gov't affords presidents a limited amount of time in office. can someone fast forward to 2008?
not really.....sexual orientation has generally been left out of federal anti-discrimination laws leaving it to the states to provide such protection. And at the state level, only about half have included sexual orientation in their anti-discrimination laws.
What about miitary service? When will there be exactly the same treatment of gays in the miiitary as there is for heterosexual? Why was a law passed which specifically discriminates against gays? And why doesn't the "no discrimination against a group because of sexual orientation" operate here? It's because it's rubbish. You asked if there is a group persecuted - yes, there is, they are called "gay people".
If gay people can have 100% of the rights that married heterosexual people get from marriage, then you can call it whatever you want. Perhaps we should change government calling it "marriage" - because as long as gay people are paying taxes and are 100% citizens just like heterosexual people, then government must treat them 100% equally, and that means calling their union by the same name. If you want reserve the word "marriage" for voluntary use by churches, fine (churches are allowed to discriminate), but then you must drop it from government use. I'd be fine with that - and btw. I'm a straight white male, I just don't believe in discrimination and hypocrisy. There must be 100% equal rights for gay people.