Originally Posted by Piobaire
Now, hate crimes have evolved to something beyond their original formulation. Beating up a person because they are black, gay, etc. is now a hate crime in a stand alone fashion. So if a person is beaten because they're a skinny nerd, no hate crime. This is illogical in my estimation (and as usual I stipulate to the limited powers of my faculties of judgement.) This borders on thought crime, is clearly governmental suppression of free speech (even if that speech is objectionable),
and stirs up resentment in many parts of the population. IMO, this form of hate crime legislation is bad for society (again, stipulation.)
So in summary, roll up crimes designed to impact communities (whatever that community might be) into terrorism and remove the type of hate crimes from my second paragraph.
I anxiously await being told why I'm an idiot.
That's your objection? That the category of hate crime impinges upon the free thought / free speech of a person committing a crime? That might make sense if in other cases, the law & the state had no claim upon motives, thoughts, or intentions. But that's entirely untrue since mens rea
is a pretty central principle in lots of criminal matters. (I didn't strangle her because she was my wife, your honor! I just felt like strangling someone and she happened to be nearby! Stop telling me what I was thinking!
) Or, your argument might make more sense if you had talked about the impingement of the free thought (or personal identification) of the victim--i.e., a victim doesn't want to be identified as a representative of a targeted group. As it stands, your claim doesn't strike me as idiotic--it strikes me as downright perverse, a flailing against the protection of any particular group in the name of individual freedom (here, the individual freedom of someone beating different people up).
In any case, here's my attempt to make your perverse thinking useful in a hot take #2:
We won't roll one category (hate crime, terrorism) into the other even though they're conceptually similar.
Hate crimes are prosecuted within the existing judicial system. If the category of hate crimes is a concession to certain persecuted groups, it's also an admission that the persecution of those groups isn't deemed necessary to the supposed wellbeing of the nation. (Terrorizing black people--pre- and post-slavery--was seen as good for American wellbeing for a long time.) The state can now disavow those forms of violence, so it can supposedly be taken care of through proper channels.
Terrorist acts are surely hate crimes but they're also supposedly deemed "existential threats" against the state and thus warrant suspensions of law. In these matters, the state still wants to respond to illegal violence with its own illegal violence.
Why not just go the other way and prosecute all terrorist acts as hate crimes? The question is absurd for two reasons that seem entirely different:
1) the state doesn't want to prosecute terrorists as citizen-criminals (even if/when they are citizens); they want to be able to drone them, torture them, and detain them for years or decades
2) even though the rhetoric of "why do they hate Americans" or "why do they hate our freedumz" is pervasive (even as a partially disavowed joke), the idea of terrorists as committing hate crimes against us seems incongruous. Because "America" is a group or a collective, but not in that minoritizing, downtrodden way that "hate crime victim groups" connotes.
I think your own response (going to weird extremes to privilege the individual subject and his right to free thought or free speech--even in the midst of a criminal act!) suggests the affective patterns that make 1) and 2) work together. "Terrorism" is an attack on a group that we can belong to (America, the West, capitalists, whatever) without sacrificing a sense of individuality--in fact, those groups are predicated on the idea of individuality being the basis of a supposedly ecumenical group. And terrorists acts can be attacks on that very notion of individualism-as-collectivity. "Hate crime" is an attack on particularity--of the sort your imagined persecuted whitey with deep feelz doesn't want to deal with. 1) + 2) = the state gets to keep its extraordinary (illegal) powers in the name of the entire collective while throwing a bone to the particularities that were shit on to forge that collective.
Obviously, all of this is lukewarm toward the prosecution of hate crimes. I think that acknowledgment of targeted persecution is a concession--maybe an important concession, maybe an ineffective one (I don't know for sure). But I started off mocking the impulse to cavil at the notion of hate crimes. Instead of doubling down on the individual-rights-because-we're-all-Americans (or Westerners, or whatever), we should continue to grapple with how that (very important!) narrative has also been disingenuous or outright bullshit. Yeah, there are lots of things we could say about the effects of the category of the hate crime, but I think the weirdness of your response (and your sense of who is really persecuted) kind of suggests the problem at hand rather than the solution.