March 21, 2000
progressive community news media,
politicians, and various moralists at large is in a lather about
hate crimes, demanding federal legislation to combat them.
The trouble is that nobody seems to know exactly what they are.
There are of course notorious and
stereotypical examples racial lynchings, gang murders of
homosexuals about which there is no room for doubt. But when we
move to other cases, we find ambiguity. If one man kills another in a rage
over a homosexual advance, is that a hate crime? What if a
father kills a pedophile who has tried to seduce his child? Would that be a
The very word hate has
become tendentious. White murders of blacks may receive nationwide
attention as hate crimes, but black murders of whites which are
far more numerous are rarely treated as hate crimes; seldom do
the media describe them as racially motivated. When a
six-year-old fatally shot a classmate in Flint, Michigan, recently, the
media tried to conceal the fact that the killer was black and the victim
white. And maybe race had nothing to do with it. But on the same day, a
black man in Pittsburgh went on a violent spree, killing several whites at
random after announcing his intention to shoot white people, and there
was no media uproar about racial hatred, such as we have come to expect
when whites commit racially motivated violence.
In fact, progressive-minded folks
consider it hateful to call attention to such obvious facts about
interracial crime. They like to remind us that America is a particularly
violent country, but they refuse to recognize the amazing disparity
between blacks and other races. The least violent states the
Dakotas, for example are those that are virtually all white; their
crime rates are as low as those of Norway and Japan. Im probably
committing a hate crime by noticing this fact.
Gay rights groups consider
themselves victims of hate merely because most people consider
homosexual acts immoral and disgusting. They call Dr. Laura Schlessinger
the queen of hate radio because she has called them
sexual deviants. But its clear that they hate her far
more bitterly than she hates them, and they are waging a campaign to
prevent her from getting a television show.
it would be hard to find a more hate-crazed group than the gay rights
movement as a whole. It hates any religion that condemns sodomy,
dismissing a moral code as old as Moses as bigotry; it
desecrates churches and delights in obscene insults against Catholic
prelates like New Yorks Cardinal OConnor, without rebuke
from the progressive-minded. While demanding tolerance, it displays none
of its own. There is no better evidence of its own sense of defilement than
its love of defiling others; self-respecting people dont behave with
such an utter lack of dignity. The civil rights movement wouldnt
have succeeded if its leaders had mooned those Southern sheriffs.
Many of the people who like to bemoan
hate actually thrive on it. They ascribe it to their enemies with a priggish
confidence that they are immune to it, no matter how vile their own
President Clinton constantly insists
that the things that unite us must take precedence over
the things that divide us. But the things that divide us may
be important principles, which its unfair and unrealistic to equate
with hate. Even Christ said, I bring not peace, but a sword.
His words could be shockingly divisive, as we now say.
After 2,000 years, they still are.
Despite his platitudinous sanctimony,
Clinton himself is quite a hate-monger, but he incites hate against
political targets rather than racial groups: the special prosecutor,
conservative talk radio hosts (who he said inspired the Oklahoma City
bombing), the tobacco industry, the National Rifle Association. Since he
does this in the name of protecting our children, he gets
away with it. The trick, of course, is to make hate sound like love.
The concept of hate crimes is
too nebulous, too subject to arbitrary application, to be a useful legal
category. Its sufficient that murder is already a crime; especially
heinous murders can be punished appropriately under existing laws. There
is no need to give the state more discretionary power than it already has.
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