Reverse Hate Speech

November 11, 2004

Rush discussed this story out of Raleigh, N.C. today concerning the vandals who tried to set fire to GOP offices, euphemistically dubbed by online anarchists as the “Raleigh 3.” These online supporters say that these alleged criminals are “misunderstood.” Instead of having engaged in criminal activity, they say, they were involved in civil disobedience.

I don’t refer to this as “reverse hate speech” because the victims are Republicans (which is rarely the case in the Left’s formulation of hate crimes generally). I do because the concept of hate speech involves enhancing the criminal penalties when the actor’s crime is motivated by hatred for certain protected classes, gays, minorities, etc. In this case, it seems that the bad actors’ sympathizers are arguing that their hatred for the GOP actually should be a mitigating factor. So under this novel formulation the recommended punishment for the bad actors in not only not greater because of their “hate,” but reduced.

Which points to what we’ve always known about the concept of hate crimes: it is a selective phenomenon. Only if you are of a certain group and direct your “hate” toward one of a certain number of other protected groups, does the concept apply. So with hate crimes we’ve never really been talking about the hate. Hate, in the abstract, it seems, is perfectly fine, according to these people. It’s hatred toward a certain group they seek to criminally proscribe. Notwithstanding the abominable criminal behavior some engage in toward other people because of the group those victims are in, I’ve always believed hate crime legislation to be ill-advised. It criminalizes thought and distracts our attention from the criminal act itself. There should be no difference in the law between assaulting 90-year old white ladies and forty year old homosexuals. Any criminal system that says otherwise, is misguided.

We are living in bizarre times, though. When you have people seriously arguing that political dissent is a justification for violent criminal behavior, you have some sick-thinking people. And while the typical stereotype of kooks is the right wing nut case, the main loony birds I see out there these days hail from the Left. And just think. We haven’t even begun President Bush’s second term. Can you imagine how insane it’s going to get with some of these wackos?