Writing on the Double Yellow Line

Militant moderate, unwilling to concede any longer the terms of debate to the strident ideologues on the fringe. If you are a Democrat or a Republican, you're an ideologue. If you're a "moderate" who votes a nearly straight party-ticket, you're still an ideologue, but you at least have the decency to be ashamed of your ideology. ...and you're lying in the meantime.

Location: Illinois, United States

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Hating Hate-Crime

Hating Hate-Crime
© 2006 Ross Williams

Someone started a small fire in a small library a few blocks from where my wife lived in Chicago.[1] The small library which hosted the small fire is in the city's gay neighborhood – locally known as Boys Town. The small library, being situated in Boys Town, held a large collection of gay and lesbian books, around 1,000. Of these thousand gay-themed books, 77 were lost to the fire, and 23 African-American-themed books on the opposite side of bookshelf were also burned beyond use. The fire occurred under a placard saying "foreign language and fiction".

It was a small fire, so small that librarians put the fire out with extinguishers.

Books may be inflammatory – particularly if written by Ann Coulter – but they aren't known for being spontaneously combustible ... even in X-Files reruns. Everything points to arson.

Because of the nature of this fire – no accelerants or notes – the arson looks to be an unplanned prank or spur of the moment disgust rather than a premeditated attack by the advance guard of an anti-gay political movement.

But even so, the mouthpieces of Chicago's gays are demanding to know why it's being investigated as merely arson and not a hate-crime. ...as if the punishment for arson is a cash reward and a Caribbean cruise.

"Rule of Law" is the legal concept of having written rules which protects society from the emotionally sweet revenge of vigilantism. Vigilantism is commonly arbitrary and, even if not, it’s circumstantial; the punishment fits the whims of the enforcers. The Law is supposed to be impartial – it doesn't matter if you're wealthy or poor: you can’t steal clothes. It's not "less of a crime" to steal clothes because you need them, and it's not "more of a crime" if you can afford to buy clothes but don't.

We've created an odd little addendum to Rule of Law in this country in recent years, stemming from the superficialities of issue "sensitivity". As a society, we've had a history of being somewhat lax in our enforcement of laws when they were broken upon certain disadvantaged groups – blacks, jews, gays, etc. So because we didn't fully prosecute [in some cases even investigate] crimes against blacks 20, 40, 100 years ago, we're think we’re going to make up for it now. We think we can make up for it now. So not only will we investigate and prosecute crimes against blacks today, but we'll create a secondary crime called "hate", and declare that committing a crime against a black is not only [e.g.] assault, but it's "hate" assault.

...the thinking [sic] being that blacks were disadvantaged originally because they were hated, rather than merely being convenient to subjugate. This disadvantage resulted in entitlement to non-blacks, and this entitlement was the manifestation of the original "hate". This, of course, presupposes that any crime now committed against such defined disadvantage is a presumptive entitlement which, ipso facto, is the result of the original "hate".

No one's going to argue [here] that blacks were not disadvantaged, or that they are not, in some ways, currently disadvantaged. Nor is anyone going to argue that homosexuals were not and are not themselves disadvantaged. Or jews. Or anyone else, for that matter.

Just that the disadvantage necessarily stems from "hate", and that a secondary crime of "hate" is appropriate to pile onto the criminal who commits a crime against certain people. It is not "more of a crime" when Winona Ryder pilfers a Gucci scarf from a Rodeo Drive haberdashery than it is when a bag lady swipes a warm winter coat from J.C.Penney.

The idea of "more of a crime" goes back to the original purpose of creating Rule of Law – indeed, constitutional equality itself – in the first place. Three hundred years ago it was "more of a crime" for a peasant to hunt in a nobleman's woods than it was to hunt in other places, and the penalty was sometimes death. As a result, when we started our country, we decided early on that no one was better than another, and that "more of a crime" was prohibited. Unfortunately – and as many will now attempt to remind me – our legal system still accepted the philosophy that some were inferior and crimes against them were lesser.

That’s correct; but again, you don’t get points for being correct. You get points for being pertinent. It is, as I’ve described countless times, the very height of impertinent to issue self-important screed that presumes one has a time machine capable of spanning the eons to drag conditions from one era to another to make your labored point. “Well, two-hundred years ago the laws said … so therefore today …”. Sorry; it don’t work that way.

We've since discovered that it's just as inappropriate to have inferior peasants as it is to have superior nobles. It means we’re trying, as a nation, to grow up. As is always the case, the details need to be worked out, but it's still a good thing.

It's just that "sensitivity" has sprung up like a noxious weed and has had the effect of ennobling the once-marginal. It is now chic to be a peasant. It's swank to be an outcast. It's vogue to be outré.

In many ways, these disadvantaged people are the new royalty, and when the neo-peasants hunt in their woods they are made subject to a new "more of a crime". It's "more of a crime" to scrawl swastikas on the door of a synagogue than it is to scribble pro-abortion graffiti on the sidewalks in front of the local Pentecostal church. It's "more of a crime" to deny an academically-challenged black admission to a college than it is a similarly dense peckerwood.

And, to some – arguably most – gays in Chicago, it is more of a crime to burn books about gays than it is to burn books about, say, refinishing furniture.

I can certainly understand their emotional response. But Rule of Law is supposed to take us away from emotion, create Equality Under the Law – and above it, as well. Just as no criminal is supposed to be adjudicated differently than another because of who he is, no victim of the criminal's crime is supposed to be granted "superior" victimization because of who he is, either. We spent decades, centuries even, coming to grips with the first concept only to abandon it and replace it with the latter.

The result is the same.

A black male who assaulted a white man committed "more of a crime" in the 1930s than a white male who assaulted a white man – because the black male was deemed "inferior". But now the white male who assaults a black man is committing "more of a crime" than the black male who assaults a black man – not because whites are inferior, or blacks are superior, but because whites "hate" blacks.

The only reason whites commit crimes against blacks is because of a specific form of “hate” called racism, and not because of any garden variety anti-social or sociopathic behavior. The only reason goyim commit crimes against jews is because of a specific form of “hate” called anti-semitism. The only reason anyone commits crimes against queers is because of a specific form of “hate” called homophobia[2]. These labels identify and rationalize “more of a crime”.

We're still stuck on "more of a crime" though we haven't got the honesty to admit it, and we haven't really learned anything in our experiment with equality.

Gays say they want to be treated equally; I don’t believe it. We can’t stand equality, any of us. We all want to be treated better than others – bigots and advocates, both – and have our betterness manifest in officially superior considerations.

But, gays, if you want to be treated equally, here's a perfect time to demonstrate it. A sinister, stupid and frankly pointless vandalism was committed in a library in your community in Chicago. All those gays who want the special treatment of inequality get on one side of the street and chant "hate crime"; all those gays who, instead, want to be equal, get on the other side of the street and call it arson.

[1] http://blogs.chicagotribune.com/news_columnists_ezorn/2006/06/hatred_or_no_li.html
[2] …which is a phenomenally senseless word in the first place, since its literal meaning is “fear of sameness”.


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