Friday, November 18, 2005

Hate Crimes

"Hate crime" legislation is a fairly new phenomenon. In the days before a "hate crime" was a legally definable term, crime was crime. All crimes are somehow motivated by hate -- we don't generally steal from or murder those whom we love. For whatever reason, government agencies seem to enjoy tracking "hate crime statistics" based on their definition of a "hate crime."

Government is not to be the arbiter of all moral questions. It is not to police thought, even thought deemed immoral by many people. Its job is not to denounce hatred motivated by race, nationality, gender or hair color. Its job is not to make value judgments such as hatred based on race is worse than hatred based on jealousy. Yet that is exactly what hate crime legislation does. It punishes one type of thought over another, when the actions taken may be identical.

Quite simply, I am free to like or dislike anyone for any reason. "Hate," as much as we may find it repulsive, does not violate anyone's rights. Forcibly taking someone's life, liberty or property is an action that one must take to violate the rights of another. Government's job, its sole reason for existence, is only to protect people's rights.

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