We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Samizdata quote of the day

There should be no such thing as a ‘hate crime’… If someone gets assaulted & hit with a brick, their identity group should not make the crime more or less of a crime. And stating an opinion should never be a crime (such as what gender someone else is).

– Perry de Havilland, discussing this amongst other things.

35 comments to Samizdata quote of the day

  • I could not agree more. The idea that murder is very bad if done because you dislike the victim’s skin colour but not so bad if done because you dislike their money being in their wallet instead of in yours is despicable in itself, and is propaganda. It is all about the PC focussing attention on crimes they can exploit for their agenda and focussing attention away from the tendency of the groups they patronise to have a high crime rate.

    It also strongly recalls the very essence of Nazi jurisprudence. Nazi lawyers worked hard, if unavailingly, to overcome Adolf’s detestation of lawyers by making intent central to deciding whether murders and assaults were bad or not so bad or even very understandable and excusable. The Nazi claim that they had…

    “removed the famous blindfold from the eyes of justice so she could see clearly into life”

    …was precisely this making crime all about the (political) effect the perpetrator intended to achieve.

    Long ago, in Oxford, I had a colleague who was PC – until the day he found his bike, which was his pride and joy and so protected by a high tech lock, had been ruined by someone who in the end had been beaten by the lock, but not before the thief had more or less folded the whole bike around it. For ten minutes he described the things, mostly of a crudely-surgical nature, he would do to the guy that tried to steal his bike if he could only ever catch him.

  • Julie near Chicago

    Agreed.

    (And besides, if I kill you because I just can’t stand you personally anymore and there’s not room on the planet for both of us, that’s not considered a “hate” crime. It’s only a “hate” crime if you happen to be a member of some “Victim Class.” More lingustic manipulation.)

  • Spence

    Like many other people I despair of police intervention for ‘deadnaming’ or for typing something on twitter; the whole edifice of SJW cultural-suicide or the upcoming Brexit vote betrayal.

    We can all see where this ends and I wish it wasn’t so but the entirety of Government/media/academe/NGOs/Corporations/unions/political-parties are on the other side. The screw tightens and there’s nothing that can be done, the tightening will continue until everything breaks.

  • Lloyd Martin Hendaye

    Quite so… with the caveat that in public discourse not “name-calling” but seditious libel of public figures, conducive to subversion of legitimate State rule, is not a private but a supremely partisan-political affair.

    In terms of the U.S. First Amendment, banned “speech” includes issuing false alarms; inciting riotous mobs; making fraudulent or perjurious claims for commercial gain or other purposes such as estate inheritance.

    On the whole, though: State action should redress not words but only deeds. For whatever reason, those who bleat-and-squeak most loudly on behalf of censorship are among the baddest actors in ye Public Square.

  • bob sykes

    Well here is an actual hate crime committed by the British police, as reported by the Daily Mail:

    … a Christian preacher was handcuffed and arrested outside a London underground station and accused of being racist.

    Police snatched the elderly man’s Bible from him outside Southgate station on Saturday and when he complained one officer said: ‘You should have thought about that before being racist.’…

    To make the incident perfect, the preacher is an elderly black man. He was later “dearrested” and dropped off at some distance away. How far is disputed, but the police are clearly lying.

    The plot by May and other Tories to kill Brexit should not be so hard to understand. Britain today is a Fascist police state, although not of the Mussolini kind, and Britain’s Ruling Class despises the British people, even the black ones.

    Mussolini had the great moral advantage in that his actions were intended to further the interests of the Italian people, Every people should have the benefit of their own Mussolini.

  • the other rob

    As always, it’s about power. Those wielding it could not give a flying fuck for the people that they purport to be defending. All that matters to them is that engaging in the pretense enables them to acquire power.

    They’ll take that power, one day, and turn it against the people that gave it to them. Yet the poor saps never catch wise.

  • Roué le Jour

    I’m pretty sure the Greeks had a hard think about this one an concluded the only reasonable course was to punish the act, not the motivation. But of course we know so much better.

  • BTW, am I right in thinking that the very idea of ‘misgendering’ as a PC offence, let alone as a crime in law (admittedly, the PC tend not to distinguish the two) is less than 4 years old, having entered the public domain, and been rapidly decreed to be the new top dog (bitch?) of the intersectional heap, after a certain Jenner became poster-child for it in April 2015?

    IIRC, asking a question about any of it became everything short of a legal crime well before the end of that year, but I do not know when the first actual caution, arrest or charge for misgendering occurred.

    The speed with which the PC move the goalposts is an issue in itself.

  • Mussolini had the great moral advantage in that his actions were intended to further the interests of the Italian people (bob sykes, March 20, 2019 at 12:22 pm)

    Mussolini was an extreme socialist who, quite naturally as a result of being a socialist, evolved into being a fascist. I recommend this excellent article on Mussolini, explaining why socialists often evolve into fascists.

    If May and her enablers were ever Tories, or if Corbyn and his Labour enablers were ever concerned for the British working class, then they seem to be undergoing their own evolution, but we need not understate the ugliness and silliness of such as Mussolini in order to fight them.

  • Ferox

    “Your speech is violence. My violence is speech.”

    -Pretty much every SJW on the planet

  • Bell Curve

    Mussolini had the great moral advantage in that his actions were intended to further the interests of the Italian people

    And that really worked out well for the interests of the Italian people 😆

  • Dr Evil

    The problem is that there is a lack of common sense. So when someone threatens to blow up Robin Hood airport in a Tweet the word hyperbole should spring to mind not arrest, get to court and have the guy sent down. Utterly wrong. Threats against the person, if credible, are wrong otherwise it’s just free speech. Of course it would help if MPs and Lords read the Bills presented properly and highlighted that taking a persons feelings on a matter as some form of hard evidence is bloody stupid.

  • Phil B

    @Ferox – it doesn’t have to be speech nowadays.

    There is THIS

  • CaptDMO

    “…their identity group should not make the crime more or less of a crime.”
    It should if they’re acting AS A MOB, in concert!
    We call that…WAR!
    U.S.
    Hate crime? Sure,
    Let me know when race riots/vandalism/looting/ gang mugging participants are …
    1. Prosecuted.
    2. Under the R.I.C.O. provisions bonus.
    THEN add the “Hate Crime” double bonus!
    Oh wait….while wearing MASKS?????? or otherwise concealing their identity?

  • Fraser Orr

    FWIW, and just to be contrary, I’m not actually sure I agree. Why you commit a crime does matter. Three examples: if I hit you with a brick accidentally, if I hit you with a brick due to carelessness, and if I hit you with a brick deliberately. These are all different cases with different legal consequences. Moreover, aggravation and mitigation are at the core of the legal system, and, much as you might disagree with some of the specifics, it is a perfectly reasonable system.

    You have to ask why we punish people for crimes. There are actually several interrelated reasons, but one reason is to impose a cost on the criminal to deter both their own future actions and as an example to others to deter them too. Crimes are not just punished to offset the victim’s losses, rather we punish more than the loss so that the net benefit of committing the crime is lower than the cost of punishment discounted for the probability of getting caught. That excess cost is meant to act as a deterrent against committing the crime. If hitting someone with a brick gives you the jollies and that is the benefit you have to weigh, and hitting someone with a brick because they are from a group you don’t like gives you higher jollies, you have to increase the punishment to offset that extra net benefit to committing the crime.

    So we are trying to deter two things — hitting with bricks and hating someone for being in a group you don’t like, so we need separate costs imposed.

    Another purpose of criminal sanction is to compensate the victim, either by money or by the satisfying their vengeance, or perhaps other ways, and there are two separate costs to the victim here. The cost of the injury itself, plus the psychological trauma caused by being victimized for some unchangeable characteristic. (BTW, this is not the same AT ALL as psychological trauma from, for example, name calling. When the sticks and stones actually do break your bones then the words really do hurt you. If it is just words though, you can always change the channel.)

    So although my gut agrees with the OP, I think there are some good calculations that would lead me to conclude extra punishment for the motivation of the crime is not prima facie unreasonable.

    (Having said that, arresting people for saying things that offend or upset others is the very antithesis of free speech, and the on ramp to totalitarianism.)

  • Julie near Chicago

    Fraser, yes: As your analogy with the brick-man, in the U.S., at least, we distinguish among instances of homicide in deciding whether the killing is purely accidental (a tire blew out and the car veered, striking and killing a pedestrian), or manslaughter of various types, and murder in various degrees. Intent is at issue in deciding what will be charged against the alleged perpetrator.

    But for murder, to quote from the first paragraph of the Great Foot on Murder:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Murder

    Murder is the unlawful killing of another human without justification or valid excuse, especially the unlawful killing of another human being with malice aforethought.[1][2][3] This state of mind may, depending upon the jurisdiction, distinguish murder from other forms of unlawful homicide, such as manslaughter. Manslaughter is a killing committed in the absence of malice, brought about by reasonable provocation, or diminished capacity.

    Personally, I don’t see why murder out of malice toward a member of an Approved Victim Group is any worse than murder out of malice against the members of that group which consisted of a gang that raped your sister, murdered your brother, and stole your Bible; or than murder out of malice toward some guy in the street who looked at you funny.

    .

    At

    https://reason.com/reasontv/2019/02/19/the-3-rules-of-hate-speech#comment

    there is a 3-minute discussion by Eugene Volokh (prof of First Amendment Law at UCLA) of hate speech law as it presently stands. But what is pertinent here is the comments to the speech, which discuss “hate crimes.” There are only 39 comments, which are brief and, I think, cover the issue well. Among others, one notable observation observes that intent and motivation are not the same thing.

  • Nullius in Verba

    “Another purpose of criminal sanction is to compensate the victim, either by money or by the satisfying their vengeance, or perhaps other ways, and there are two separate costs to the victim here. The cost of the injury itself, plus the psychological trauma caused by being victimized for some unchangeable characteristic.”

    I’m inclined to agree with that. (Although I’m not sure why it makes a difference if the characteristic is unchangeable!)

    The issue is that the collective and constant threat against a group is a restriction of their liberty. They’re either being pushed into giving up their beliefs, or forced to take precautions and avoid certain activities, because of the continual threat of violence. A Jew or Christian in Pakistan or Saudi Arabia must be constantly on guard, constantly cautious about revealing what they are or doing what they want to do – not because there is any legal threat against them, but because they know there is a constant threat of illegal violence. That loss of liberty is a separate and additional harm to them (and everyone else like them), besides the violence itself.

    It’s why ‘assault’ is not the same crime as ‘battery’.

  • The Pedant-General

    ” and hating someone for being in a group you don’t like, so we need separate costs imposed.”

    Except that in this particular case, that has not been demonstrated. The use of a different pronoun – FOR FUCK’S SAKE THIS IS WHAT WE ARE TALKING ABOUT – was not done because our defendant hates the complainant. There was no malice aforethought.

  • Nullius in Verba

    “Except that in this particular case, that has not been demonstrated.”

    Agreed. All that’s happened is that an accusation has been made and the police are investigating whether it’s true. If it’s not true (and by the sound of it, it isn’t) then it will go no further. But the police aren’t telepathic or omniscient. They can’t tell if a crime has been committed without investigating it.

    The use of the wrong pronoun is not and should not ever be a crime.

    But this doesn’t necessarily extend to hitting someone with a brick (as Perry put it) if part of the intent of doing so is to tell everyone else with that characteristic that they’re likely to get hit with a brick too if they carry on doing what they’re doing.

    It’s not the hate that’s the issue, it’s the threat.

  • FWIW, and just to be contrary, I’m not actually sure I agree. Why you commit a crime does matter. Three examples: if I hit you with a brick accidentally, if I hit you with a brick due to carelessness, and if I hit you with a brick deliberately. These are all different cases with different legal consequences. Moreover, aggravation and mitigation are at the core of the legal system, and, much as you might disagree with some of the specifics, it is a perfectly reasonable system.

    But that is not what I am objecting to.

    A ‘hate crime’ requires a special category of victim designated to be specially privileged. A hate crime is not ‘Joe hated Dave and bashed him over the head’. It is ‘Joe hated that Dave was a (insert designated victim group name here) and bashed him over the head’.

    It is the state saying if Joe kills Dave with hatred because he is rich & Joe hates all rich people, that is less egregious than if Joe kills Dave because he hates all homosexuals/blacks/vegan-lesbians. That is what is what I find monstrous.

    A friend of mine in the USA many years ago (who was himself a policeman) objected to the fact killing a policeman carried extra penalties, on the grounds that he disliked the idea that murdering him was deemed someone worse than murdering his mother. The logic is very similar to my objection to ‘hate crimes’ as a legal category.

  • Fraser Orr

    @The Pedant-General
    The use of a different pronoun – FOR FUCK’S SAKE THIS IS WHAT WE ARE TALKING ABOUT

    That might be what you are talking about or what the OP was specifically addressing, but it is not what I was talking about at all. On the contrary, the last thing I said was specifically that words alone should never be criminally sanctioned. In fact I added that specific sentence to head off comments like yours. Mission not accomplished, apparently.

  • Fraser Orr

    @Perry de Havilland
    A ‘hate crime’ requires a special category of victim designated to be specially privileged. A hate crime is not ‘Joe hated Dave and bashed him over the head’. It is ‘Joe hated that Dave was a (insert designated victim group name here) and bashed him over the head’.

    But Joe hating Dave doesn’t impose any more cost on anyone more than the actual violence itself. Joe hating ragheads means that “ragheads” have an additional cause to fear future violence. To give a concrete example, that fear might make that “raghead” feel intimidated enough to remove the rag from his dead, and thus loose whatever benefit that he feels it gives him. This is a specific, direct cost that is not produced with the “Joe hating Dave” incident. It seems unlikely that such an incident would cause the other Daves in town to change their name.

    Plus, in terms of specific victim compensation, an additional specific cost is imposed on the victim — not just the trauma of the assault, but also the trauma of being picked on because of their specific describable characteristics. The extra punishment is to deter these additional costs.

    Nobody would reasonably thing that they were targeted because they were Dave or because they were a mother, so although the cost of the violence is much larger relative to the cost of the discrimination, they do not have the additional cost associated with being part of a group.

    It is the state saying if Joe kills Dave with hatred because he is rich & Joe hates all rich people, that is less egregious than if Joe kills Dave because he hates all homosexuals/blacks/vegan-lesbians. That is what is what I find monstrous.

    Were Joe to kill Dave and then rob him of his wallet, would it be reasonable to punish him more than if he had just killed him? Of course the theft is small potatoes and may well get lost of the noise, but they are two separate things to be deterred against.

    A friend of mine in the USA many years ago (who was himself a policeman) objected to the fact killing a policeman carried extra penalties

    I think this is an interesting example. There are good arguments that the murder of a policeman should be treated less harshly, equally harshly and more harshly than the murder of others. I don’t actually know what my view on the matter is:

    1. Less harshly — policemen by their own choice get involved, and so are never as innocent as a random bystander.

    2. Equally harshly — a dead policeman is no less dead to his family than a dead bystander.

    3. More harshly — supposedly, policemen keep the peace and so an attack on a policeman is also destructive to the peace of society as a whole, and so an injury against all of us.

  • But Joe hating Dave doesn’t impose any more cost on anyone more than the actual violence itself.

    Nope. If any violence is unpunished, it makes violence more likely against everyone, so by your logic, narrower hate related violence is actually less invidious for society at large as it is not going to lead to more violence in general, just more violence against a given group. I don’t think is a wise avenue of legal thinking to go down 😆

  • I agree with Perry de Havilland (London), March 21, 2019 at 5:07 pm.

    – If Joe murders Dave without any (visible) motive to limit Joe’s target group then that targets us all, so (at first glance – and if the ‘hate crime’ silliness of insisting such things matter is being taken seriously) it must be an even worse hate crime: hating the whole human race.

    – If Joe murders Dave to get his money then everyone with any money is targeted: a sizeable group in the capitalist west, less so in Venezuela perhaps.

    (Etc. Readers can construct further examples as well as I.)

  • Fraser Orr

    @Perry
    But if Joe’s only motive to kill Dave is because of his group membership that means without that group membership he would not murder anyone. So the average murder rate goes up, and the average within the group goes up even more so should Joe pursue his nasty purposes. If Joe doesn’t then there is no impact on the murder rate.

    If the hate prompted the murder then the murder rate goes up, if murderous intentions irrespective of hate prompted the murder then there is no difference either way.

    So I don’t find your math compelling.

  • Ferox

    My problem with the hate crime scenario is that, at least in the US, if Joe hates Dave’s group and murders him, that is a hate crime. However, if Dave hates Joe’s group and murders him, that is NOT regarded as a hate crime.

    Several years ago I was reading through the FBI’s hate crime booklet. It gave 20 (hypothetical) examples, 19 of which were hate crimes, and one which was not.

    Of those 20 examples, 19 were whites attacking minorities. One was a minority attacking a white.

    Three guesses as to which of those 20 examples was not considered a hate crime.

  • Nullius in Verba

    “Three guesses as to which of those 20 examples was not considered a hate crime.”

    Did the booklet explain why?

  • Ferox

    Did the booklet explain why?

    Yes. To be fair the null example would not have been a hate crime regardless of the ethnic roles (it was some clearly non-racially based crime, maybe a purse snatching? I don’t precisely remember, TBH) … it just happened to have been the one example in the list with a white victim and a nonwhite offender. Pure Co-inky-dink™.

  • It’s a hate crime if the politically correct hate the crime; if not, it’s not.

    … . To be fair … (Ferox, March 22, 2019 at 3:52 pm)

    Ferox, I think you had it right first time. It seems clear what the booklet was in fact teaching. Insolent (not very) plausible deniability was of course included in the message.

  • Nullius in Verba

    “It’s a hate crime if the politically correct hate the crime; if not, it’s not.”

    You’d think so, wouldn’t you?

    I was intrigued enough by Ferox’s observation to go look up what the FBI said about it. Do they define it in a way that only includes non-politically correct forms of hate? Would they record cases of black-hating-white crimes as ‘hate crimes’? According to their latest published set of statistics (from 2017), about 17% of racially-motivated hate crimes recorded are cases of anti-white racial bias in crimes against white people.

    The law does pick out certain common reasons for hatred for special attention, but it doesn’t pick sides in those disputes. Crimes motivated by hatred of heterosexuals are counted as bad as crimes motivated by hatred of homosexuals. Crimes motivated by hatred of Christianity are counted as bad as crimes motivated by hatred of Islam, or atheism.

  • Boobah

    So, are y’all playing devil’s advocate, or are you seriously saying that badthink should be punished by the state?

    Heck, the rationale that Bob is intimidating Dave’s group is collective guilt in action. One dude is going to have a hard time intimidating an entire ethnic or religious group. It only makes sense if you’re punishing Bob for other people sharing his unsavory belief.

    If anything, that rationale rates worse than the badthink one; at least Bob personally is ‘guilty’ of badthink. The latter one punishes Bob because… other people agree with him?

  • Nullius in Verba

    “So, are y’all playing devil’s advocate, or are you seriously saying that badthink should be punished by the state?”

    Neither. It’s only actual crimes that are being punished. But if the crime is part of a concerted campaign to put the target group in fear – either to drive them out or make them change their ways – then the harm done is not just the violent/criminal act itself, but the loss of freedom to the entire community.

    A classic case would be when Antifa go round punching anyone wearing a MAGA hat. The harm done is not simply the punch itself. The idea of doing it is to get people to stop wearing MAGA hats, to hide their pro-Trump opinions in public, to exercise caution about going out and about. There is a cost to many more people than just the one person getting punched. In the UK, ‘beliefs’ (including but not exclusively religious beliefs) are a protected category and Antifa punching people in MAGA hats would indeed count as a hate crime. I’ve heard that the US has a more limited list of categories, so I’m not sure if it applies over there, too.

    However. the point is that it isn’t simply the fact that Antifa hates Trump-supporters that makes it a hate crime. They’re welcome to hate all they like. It’s only when it drives a campaign of violent persecution intended to make an entire community live in fear for their own safety.

    “One dude is going to have a hard time intimidating an entire ethnic or religious group. It only makes sense if you’re punishing Bob for other people sharing his unsavory belief.”

    It’s not that you’re punishing Bob for the beliefs (or even the crimes) of his entire hate group, it’s that you are punishing *all* the members of the hate group individually for their collective actions. If 12 people get together to carry out a bank robbery, and you catch some of them, you prosecute them individually for their own part in the collective crime. You’re not exactly punishing them for the other gang members beliefs that they want to get hold other people’s money, even if the ones you caught could never have done it on their own.

    I can’t say I agree with the way the law is defined – I particularly don’t like the low standard of evidence required, (i.e. that it’s based entirely on the victim’s perception.) However, I think I can understand the rationale behind it. It’s not just a crime of holding unsavoury opinions or beliefs.

  • The law does pick out certain common reasons for hatred for special attention, but it doesn’t pick sides in those disputes. (Nullius in Verba, March 22, 2019 at 7:54 pm)

    That’s precisely what I meant by “plausible deniability”. In its literal text, the law does indeed not say “unless it is the PC doing the hating, and a member of an ‘allowed-to-be-hated group’ being targeted”. However, when an ‘examples’ document gives 19 examples of punishing ‘hate crimes’ against ‘not allowed to be hated’ groups and one example of not punishing as ‘hate crime’ a ‘not really a hate crime’ against an ‘allowed to be hated’ group, then the intent to enforce a de facto distinction comes across loud and clear.

    In the ante-bellum days of slavery in the old south, the law defined murder regardless of whether the victim was white or black, free man or a slave. However the statistical probability of a charge being brought in a particular set of circumstances did vary.

  • Nullius in Verba

    “However, when an ‘examples’ document gives 19 examples of punishing ‘hate crimes’ against ‘not allowed to be hated’ groups and one example of not punishing as ‘hate crime’ a ‘not really a hate crime’ against an ‘allowed to be hated’ group, then the intent to enforce a de facto distinction comes across loud and clear.”

    If that’s what you already believed they were trying to do, then I can see how you would read that as a confirmation. It’s not what they say, it’s about what you know they really mean. Alternative interpretations are possible, though.

    I think they call this “dog-whistle politics”. 🙂

  • it’s about what you know they really mean (Nullius in Verba, March 24, 2019 at 5:36 pm)

    Those who favour the hate crime idea are notorious for deducing prejudice from mere statistics, without requiring any evidence of intent, in cases where “alternative interpretations” are more than just “possible”. So it seems a passable deduction from what they themselves have said. (If those who support the idea of ‘hate crimes’ instead regarded each case as sui generis and denied the evidential value of mere statistics, then their reasoning would indeed be a defence against the idea that any ‘example’ statistics they themselves contrive reflect their intent.)

    Meanwhile, you do not in fact offer an ‘alternative explanation’ for why the 19-to-1 ratio diverges from a plausible random selection of 20 actual possibly-racially-motivated crimes in the modern US. Do you think the obvious explanation is actually implausible or merely not proved at some 95% level? Do you think “the FBI are so biased towards whites that we must strongly push the other way” is an alternative explanation, not a restatement of my explanation?

    BTW, if you apply your reasoning to my ante-bellum example, I suggest care in your phrasing, lest you be charged with a hate crime yourself. It is safe to exaggerate the degree to which the old south departed from the formal statement of the law, but if you understate it, or claim that “alternative explanations are possible” for the actual degree of difference, then (sadly) I would recommend caution in how you say it and/or to whom you say it.

Leave a Reply

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>