10 July 2010

Hate as a crime

A brisk exchange between Gerald Warner in the Telegraph (here and here) and Rupert Myers in the Guardian (here) performs a typically petit bourgeois dance around the simple reason why Section 146 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003 imposes a duty on courts to increase the sentence for any offence aggravated by hostility based on the victim's sexual orientation or disability, in line with similar legislation relating to crimes aggravated by racial hostility.

Skip the "disability" bit - that's just window dressing. The reason why offences against homosexuals have been declared more serious than offences against the genuinely helplesss (children, old people) is because the "pink pound" is so important to political retailers, and because the taxpayer-funded BBC, the principal source of patronage for British kultchah, is down by the head (sic) with male homosexuals.

Nothing new about the latter, of course. Nor would one have any principled objection to the creation of a legally privileged minority if there were any reliable evidence that, without it, they would be at greater risk of being the victims of crime. In the absence of any such evidence, however, the law is simply one of hundreds of pay-offs to influential special interest groups. Therefore neither any worse, nor any better, than any other such law.

The problem lies in being selective as to what constitutes "hate" crime. Is there such a thing as "dispassionate" crime? If so, would that not be a firm indicator that the perpetrator was a psychopath, therefore best locked up for as long as possible? What about the torturing of animals, well-known to be an indicator of incipient psychopathology? Even within so-called "hate" crimes it would seem to me important to differentiate between  drunken thuggery that happens to fasten on a homosexual target of opportunity, and the preaching - and in their countries of origin the practice - of murderous hatred of homosexuals by Islamic zealots.
But above all, what of socialism, an ideology born of hatred and nurtured by envy? Bearing in mind that socialism is regarded by its cultists as simply a stage through which humanity must pass on its way to the promised land of communism, it is appropriate to quote from the philosopher Bertrand Russell's 1956 essay "Why I am not a communist":
The theoretical doctrines of communism are for the most part derived from Marx. My objections to Marx are of two sorts: one, that he was muddle-headed; and the other, that his thinking was almost entirely inspired by hatred. The doctrine of surplus value, which is supposed to demonstrate the exploitation of wage-earners under capitalism, is arrived at: (a) by surreptitiously accepting Malthus's doctrine of population, which Marx and all his disciples explicitly repudiate; (b) by applying Ricardo's theory of value to wages, but not to the prices of manufactured articles. He is entirely satisfied with the result, not because it is in accordance with the facts or because it is logically coherent, but because it is calculated to rouse fury in wage-earners. Marx's doctrine that all historical events have been motivated by class conflicts is a rash and untrue extension to world history of certain features prominent in England and France a hundred years ago. His belief that there is a cosmic force called Dialectical Materialism which governs human history independently of human volitions, is mere mythology. His theoretical errors, however, would not have mattered so much but for the fact that his chief desire was to see his enemies punished, and he cared little what happened to his friends in the process.
Anyone care to argue with Britain's greatest 20th century philosopher, whom nobody sane could possibly accuse of being "right wing"? No? I thought not.

It follows, does it not, that anyone proclaiming her/himself a socialist is guilty of "hate" speech, any apologists for the murderous regimes of Lenin, Stalin, Mao, the North Korean Kims, Castro, Mengistu, Pol Pot and all the other heroes of the left are as guilty of holocaust denial as the neo-nazis, and that any breach of the peace committed in the name of socialism deserves exemplary punishment.

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