May 16, 2011

Thinking about hate crimes

The apparent random racial beating over the weekend of Matthew Yglesias, perhaps the most influential political blogger of his generation, raises questions about what ought to be considered a hate crime.

There's a vast amount of confusion in our society because the megaphone is routinely seized by hate-filled pundits who denounce everybody they hate as being driven by hate. So, the concept of a "hate crime" is murky, to say the least.

But, society does have an interest in deterring through harsher penalties crimes not of passion but of premeditated malice, cold-blooded crimes that occur only because of animus toward groups. Quite possibly, "hate crimes" is the wrong term completely for these types of actions, but that seems to be what we are stuck with.

My view is that motivation for a crime should matter some in punishing the crime.

For example, by way of analogy, I particularly loathe witness-murdering.

Consider two homicides:

- A man comes home and finds another man in bed with his wife. In a jealous rage, he strikes the man with a blunt object. He immediately calls 9-11 and asks for an ambulance for his victim.

- Two men are robbing a liquor store with a confederate. One robber realizes that the lone customer in the store went to school with him and could identify him. He tells his colleague (in a conversation recorded on a hidden security camera's microphone) that because he already has two strikes against him, if that customer testifies, he'll go to jail for life. So, he then shoots the customer and the clerk to silence them. There are no other motives for the murders.

I think that in an era of long sentences, the death penalty can play a useful role in stigmatizing and deterring cold-blooded witness-murdering, but it wouldn't be right in the first case, a classic crime of passion.

Similarly, consider two crimes that might be subject to additional hate crime penalties:

- A man comes home and finds another man in bed with his wife. In a jealous rage, he calls her a "bitch" and punches her. 

- Two men are sitting around bored and decide to go "polar bear hunting," planning to punch any random white man they see walking through their neighborhood in the back of the head, then kicking him. 

Now, it's not uncommon for prosecutors to attempt to pile on hate crime penalties in cases where a member of a less legally privileged group uses, during a fit of rage, an epithet for a member of a more legally privileged group. But, clearly, the cuckolded man didn't sock his cheating wife because she was a woman, but because she was cheating. Punishing him extra for saying the epithet "bitch" is severely confusing cause and effect for no good purpose in deterring future violence.

In contrast, the second case is one that the law might well use additional penalties to deter because, like witness-murdering, it's rational and malign. There's no other motive for attacking a random white man other than the satisfactions of attacking a random white man.

Or consider, these two cases:

- Two men are sitting around talking angrily about their neighbor who dissed them yesterday and might be making time with one of the guys' woman. Then they see a man who kind of looks like the neighbor walking by in the dark. Enraged, and under incorrect apprehension of his identity, they punch random passerby Matthew Yglesias in the back of the head.

- Two men are sitting around bored and decide to go "polar bear hunting" and thus punch in the back of the head the first white guy they happen to see walking by, who happens to be Matthew Yglesias.

The first case seems to me like a pretty average screwed-up crime among the screwed-up classes, which should be punished in a pretty average fashion -- fairly harshly, according to my views, but there's no obvious reason for incremental penalties. It wouldn't be the kind of crime that strikes other as worth imitating.

The second case, however, seems like a classic racist hate crime. There was no motivation whatsoever for this violence to occur other than boredom and racial animus. Society has an interest in punishing more heavily in the name of deterrence otherwise pointless crimes carried out not in the heat of passion but with malice aforethought.

At minimum, society has an interest in keeping stuff like this from becoming fashionable. Say, or example, a third person videoed the attack on Yglesias, and the whole point of the attack was to have something cool to post on YouTube. 

Granted, proving in court the lack of any other motive is often difficult, and so be it. Better ten guilty men go free and all that. But, it is reasonable to have the threat of additional penalties for violence carried out for rational but malign reasons, such as witness-murdering or polar bear hunting.

Of course, all this logic chopping isn't very relevant to how most people think about hate crimes, which is in Who-Whom terms. Matthew Yglesias is extremely well-plugged into the world of Washington punditry, but it doesn't occur to his peers that this attack on him could possibly be a hate crime ... because he's white.

77 comments:

Anonymous said...

Wouldn't this just encourage "polar bear" hunters to kill their targets instead of just beat them up?

After all, the dead keep their secrets.

TGGP said...

Steve is fleshing out comments he made earlier here.

Anonymous said...

You know, iSteve, your hypotheticals are realistic. Realistic, that is, in that in real life it makes no sense to punish "hate crime" murders or beatings any more than garden-variety murders or beatings, and in your hypotheticals it also don't make much sense!

Luke Lea said...

There have been studies showing the death penalty deters cold-blooded murder but not murders of passion. Read it in WSJ decades ago.

Anonymous said...

btw, were you being sarcastic when you called Matthew Yglesias "The most influential political blogger" ??

was that tonge in cheek?

David said...

"One robber realizes that the lone customer in the school went to school with him"

Should be "the lone robber in the store".

H.L. Mencken had the same idea, only what he contrasted crimes of passion with was assassination-by-hire (including witness murder).

He also proposed a return to whipping, to cutting off thieves' hands or digits, et al.

RandyB said...

Hate crime enhancements are intended as a diversity program for crime.

Garland said...

But so are you saying you are for laws mandating extra punishment anti-black (or anti-hispanic etc) hate crimes? The polar bear hunting incident in reverse?

Kylie said...

I guess I'm just too literal-minded but I have a hard time thinking about "hunting for polar bears" or playing the "Knock-out Game" as hate crimes. The blacks who hit strangers of other races don't pick their targets at random. They pick those they think won't offer much or any resistance, those who seem vulnerable in some way. These are opportunistic crimes, not crimes of hatred.

They're crimes committed by people of limitted intelligence and conscience to whom the abstract concepts of fair play, common courtesy, etc. are foreign and even incomprehensible. These crimes have more in common with graffiti and vandalism than they do with assault as we usually understand it because to these blacks, other people are objects, not individuals.

Anonymous said...

Steve, your a funny dude.

Anonymous said...

Can not disagree more with you in this instance, punish the crime, not the thought. Once you head down this road, the legal profession will begin a steady expansion of the definition of a crime. Before long it will eventually end up with draconian restrictions on free speech, particularly the kind of unpopular free speech that you yourself engage in.

I recall not long ago you were complaining that security software was labeling your website a "hate site" or some other variation on that term, don't you see this is the logical end point of hate crime legislation? You can always justify an expansion of police powers for the government by a cheap appeal to "public safety" or "protecting children", that's how all restrictions on free speech or free expression start.

Anonymous said...

But hang on. I thought the guys who attacked Yglesias were white guys who had it in for Jews. I mean, surely that must be right.

ironrailsironweights said...

I suspect that the assault was not a case of "polar bear hunting," if indeed such a thing actually exists, but a case of mistaken identity.

Peter

Christopher said...

In each of your three sets of examples, the motivation for the first is also a mitigating factor, while the motivation for the second is either so tenuous as to not only fail, but to be under our current anti-racist mindset, an aggravating factor, or to constitute a separate, elevating crime.

In all three, in the first we want or at least expect people to be naturally upset at and respond to the wrong they are suffering (adultery, merely alleged adultery, possibly misguided sense of disrespect).

The second of the first set (armed robber becomes witness murderer) is really an odd case out. It is really malice aforethought.

However the second of the other two sets fall in between, in that they represent racial prejudice, which could in other instances be understandable, or, as I think the tenor of your writing this past decade or so suggests, should at least be discussed and comprehensible, even if it is not necessarily 'understandable' in the sense of being condoned. They could be, even though too tenuous to think about, crimes of passion.

The problem with the racial hate crime as an aggravating factor, IMHO, is that it skews these possibilities --e.g. immature males with a natural albeit undeveloped 'hey we was just defending our neighborhood' attitude, etc. etc. etc., and invariably adds another complicating factor which favors those groups most able to deal with, or, really, game, the system.

Anonymous said...

Polar Bear Hunting is not something Sailer made up.

The usual suspects have been doing it for years here on Penn and Drexel's West Philly campuses.

http://urbangrounds.com/2010/09/the-new-urban-sport-polar-bear-hunting/

Anonymous said...

Hey Steve,

Can you comment on the latest uproar over one of Satoshi Kanazawa's articles:

http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2011/05/i_guess_even_psychology_today.php?utm_source=sbhomepage&utm_medium=link&utm_content=channellink

Hard to believe that a biologist wrote the commentary on Kanazawa's study; but maybe not so much, since biology's a big field and I wouldn't expect everyone to be up on the latest in evo or evo psych.

David said...

"Hate crimes" legislation isn't and never was about distinguishing crimes of passion from cold-blooded crimes.

Under "hate crimes" legislation as commonly understood, it doesn't matter whether it's during a crime of passion or during a premeditated crime that the perp expresses (by word or deed) an offensive opinion of his victim. In both situations, the "hate" is regarded as equally criminal, i.e., justifying additional punishment.

It matters only that the "hate" reflects an opinion or judgment with which the government disagrees.

For example (hypothetical), a assassin calls his victim a "fatty" before murdering him. A government of fatsos mandates a longer sentence for the assassin - precisely because he uttered a word reflecting a negative opinion about being fat. This negative opinion, because it's punishable by x extra years in the slammer, is thus regarded a "crime" in itself.

Advocating the legal punishment of opinions is stepping into very dangerous territory. We would be better off eschewing "hate" as a factor in motivation and sticking to such concepts as premeditation v. passion.

Anonymous said...

The law enshrined the crime of passion reduction in severity a long time ago...

Anonymous said...

The concept of 'hate crime' is unnecessary and redundant because intent and context of the crime has always been taken into account in the justice system. The WHY has always been taken into consideration along with the WHAT. When sentencing, judges don't only look at the what but weigh the why, which is why there's first degree murder, second degree murder, etc.

The reason for 'hate crime' laws are twofold.
Moral grand-standing by politicians, ideologues, and 'community organizers'. How they just love to holler and preach about it.

But the bigger danger is the concept of 'hate crime' morphs into 'thought crime' whereby 'hate' itself becomes criminal. We have that in Canada, Europe, and other places where certain thoughts, expressions, and books are banned because they are 'hateful', which means they can lead to 'hate crimes'.

Another problem with the concept of 'hate crime' is it vilifies hate. Hate is a natural emotion that can be good or bad, necessary or arbitrary, justified or unjustified, moral or immoral, rational or irrational. I mean didn't we have the right to hate the 'Japs' after Pearl Harbor? Didn't we have the right to hate Islamists after 9/11?
Hate is sometimes good, sometimes bad. Same is true of love. Love is sometimes good, sometimes bad. After all, wouldn't you say a wife who continues to love her husband who beats her everyday is a fool and an idiot? And wouldn't you say Jews-for-Hitler or Jews who love Nazis(if such existed) are morons?

Also, what about socio-economic crimes? If a poor person attacks a rich person, isn't a 'hate crime' by the have-less against the have-more? Communism, in this sense, was a hate ideology of the proles against the bourgeoisie--though ironically it was led by boojie intellectuals.

Btw, couldn't one say white leftists are auto-hate-criminals cuz they hate and commit violence against their own people?

Thripshaw said...

Steve, you are the best opinion journalist in America, but I have to disagree. How does a jury divine "hate" motives?

Or is this post demonstrating how absurd "hate crime" legislation is?

Dammit, Steve, I pretty much outsourced my political thinking to you since I've been reading your stuff 'cause it's just too tedious to think things through for myself when you come to the same or better position than I would have done anyway.

Been drinking a lot lately - it's hard for me to keep up.

Still love ya, gotta get another drink!

Anonymous said...

Kylie said...

These crimes have more in common with graffiti and vandalism than they do with assault as we usually understand it because to these blacks, other people are objects, not individuals.

Aren't you the Serbo-Croat? Two ethnic groups who in Western Europe are best known for a vast, cruel trafficking trade in female sex objects. I think your homeboys are more skilled in the art of dehumanization than DC street thugs.

Yeah, Milinka has been my friend since childhood, but some chubby British guys are willing to pay top dollar for her. Dammit, it's time to get paid!

Harry Baldwin said...

I thought the idea behind hate-crime legislation was to race-norm crime stats; that is, while blacks might commit more crime for economic reasons, whites committed crimes against blacks out of hatred, therefore those crimes were more serious. The problem is that blacks not only commit a lot more economic crime than whites, they commit a lot more hate crimes, too. There is some effort to define away the idea that blacks coukd be guilty of hate crimes, but the logic is embarrassingly convoluted. Since we're not going to focus even MORE attention on black criminality, the easiest solution would be to drop the whole hate-crime designation altogether.

slumber_j said...

Maybe Steve's right about this. On the other hand, sometimes young guys just run around and beat people up.

It happened to me in Cambridge, MA the day I graduated from college, and it had happened to a friend of mine while he was still an undergraduate, with a separate group of kids. They happen to have been white guys in both instances, but they could just as well not have been.

In my case, I was headed to a movie with a fellow graduate (a woman), and we were warned in advance by somebody that there were three or four guys running around the neighborhood beating people up. I laughed it off, and then got sucker-punched in the back of the head, etc.

It's not always racial is my point, I guess. Sometimes young men are just dickheads.

The Cambridge PD were very good to us and actually nabbed the guys, having clocked them getting on a bus, from which the perps were subsequently forcibly removed by officers who waylaid the bus in question. During the ride up Mass. Ave. in a plainclothes SUV to ID them, the cops even let us have a beer from the ample stock of confiscated cans chilling on ice in the back of their vehicle. I thought that was especially kind of them.

Anonymous said...

You would have to show that the second case of two men (presumably black) randomly attacking a white guy has something specifically to do with race. For instance, suppose that the guy they attacked was an African American who didn't belong in the attacking men's socio-economic background, a black person who was definitely above them in every way. Would it still be a hate crime?

Anonymous said...

For a comparative British perspective. There are a lot of horrific random street beatings on British streets. It's a well publicized phenomenon. In the link below the race of the attackers isn't mentioned but typically the assailants are members of the British underclass (who are still mostly white). If you scratch deeper behind the racist motivations of polar bear hunting, you'll probably find the craving of ultraviolence of an underclass.


http://news.sky.com/skynews/Home/UK-News/Family-Of-Man-With-Half-A-Head-Angry-With-Essex-Police-And-Crown-Prosecution-Service/Article/200909215380098?lpos=UK_News_News_Your_Way_Region_3&%20lid=NewsYourWay_ARTICLE_15380098_Family_Of_Man_With_Half_A_Head_Angry_With_Essex_Police_And_Crown_Pr%3Cbr%20/%3Eosecution_Service

Newsreader said...

I don't know if you saw this: Omar Thornton's victims have been exonerated!

story

Steve Sailer said...

"were you being sarcastic when you called Matthew Yglesias "The most influential political blogger""

"of his generation," I said.

Name a blogger under 35 or even under 40 who is more influential.

That Kos guy? Perhaps. I dunno how old he is and I think of him as more an organizer.

Anonymous said...

Your first example is not comparable to the other two, and so isn't quite as useful at teasing out the point you're trying to make as you might think. In the first comparison, the jealous husband did not intend to commit the same crime as the armed robber did. At least his defense would argue (and almost certainly prevail) that the 911 call proves that he meant only to beat his victim, not to kill him. In the armed robbery case, the robber intended to kill his victim, and the prosecution would argue (and almost certainly prevail) that the killer brought the weapon to the crime scene so that he could do whatever was necessary to get away with the robbery. So most likely the husband would be charged with second degree murder or less, while the armed robber would be charged with first degree murder. We have these different charges to recognize the different intent that people have when they initiate violence even though the outcome might tragically end up the same. The law also recognizes occassions where a criminal might act emotionally without thinking and thus get leniency, but a prosecutor will look for any evidence (passage of time, leaving to get a weapon, etc.) to establish intent.

In your other two comparisons, both sets of perpetrators set out to commit exactly the same crime. So the law treats the two criminals in #1 differently because they did not intend for the same outcome. In the other two, the intended crime is the same, the motivations are different.

I think taking motivation into account is a dangerous game, and am surprised that a blogger who is sensitive to crimethink would want to open that door. We should punish the crime committed and the intention of the perpetrator, not the motivation. I am even uncomfortable with setting higher punishments for killing cops or politicians because it sends the message that some lives are worth more than others (well, certainly that's true, but it shouldn't be recognized under the law). This also means that I think attempted murder should be punished the same as murder. Why should the criminal benefit from the fact that his victim was lucky enough to survive?

SN

nooffensebut said...

"But, society does have an interest in deterring through harsher penalties crimes not of passion but of premeditated malice, cold-blooded crimes that occur only because of animus toward groups."

I agree that premeditated violence is bad. I disagree that it is worse than crimes "of passion." The latter are likely to be more subject to genetic etiologies of violence such as decreased monoamine oxidase A activity. Therefore, crimes of passion may have worse recidivism than, say, a politically motivated assassination. The legal framework for "degrees" of murder seems to be based on comparing perpetrators to children. This led to the end of the death penalty for low-IQ murderers, and now is creating a genetics defense for crimes of passion.

Steve Sailer said...

Dear Newsreader:

Thanks!

Steve

Anonymous said...

I suggest reading this excellent disquisition on 'intent' versus 'hate' by Anthony Esolen: link

Esolen doesn't give in to the urge to punish thoughts, but he does build a foundation for punishing some crimes more than others in which the simple act of the crime is identical.

Crawfurdmuir said...

Motivation is indeed important in criminal law - it is what makes the difference between (for example) murder in the first degree, involuntary manslaughter, and justifiable homicide. The distinction is based on the presence or absence of mens rea (wrongful intent). The law does not and should not attempt to go farther and try to assign greater seriousness to one kind of wrongful intent and less to another.

Murder of witnesses is more serious than ordinary murder, not because of its motivation, but because of its effect - for
it is not only murder, but interference with the process of
law. It is two offenses in one.

Any so-called hate crime deserving of the name of crime is
a crime independent of the hate - premeditated murder or
attempted murder, bodily assault, or the like. If it is not, it is
an attempt to criminalize thought or sentiment. In other words, it is a secular equivalent of heresy or apostasy.
There is no place for this in the common law.

Chris in Baltimore said...

Wow, I'm surprised and disappointed to see this post. I don't know why you've chosen examples that conflate premeditation and motivation, but they unnecessarily confuse the issue. The first case in each of your pairs contains a mitigating factor (passion and/or mistaken identity) that has long been recognized in law and moral intuition. The second cases contain no such mitigating factor, so of course they must be punished more harshly. There's no moral reason to judge "polar bear hunting" as any more deserving of punishment than "random person hunting"; to give someone additional time in prison because he believes that white people are worthy of scorn, as opposed to believing that race does not exist and therefore that people in general are worthy of scorn, which is what "hate crimes" laws do, is to criminalize thought.

Silver said...

Granted, proving in court the lack of any other motive is often difficult, and so be it. Better ten guilty men go free and all that. But, it is reasonable to have the threat of additional penalties for violence carried out for rational but malign reasons, such as witness-murdering or polar bear hunting.

I think any instance of interracial crime -- "hate" crime or not -- deserves harsher punishment. Few things do more to undermine interracial goodwill than interracial crime so the very fact of it needs to be dealt with, regardless of its motivation.

This way more would-be criminals may think twice before following through on their impulses.

"Naw, fkk dat. Dat shtt be interrayshul, nomesane?"

Wandrin said...

anon,

So much camouflaged anti-white racism in so few words

"Aren't you the Serbo-Croat? Two ethnic groups who in Western Europe are best known for a vast, cruel trafficking trade in female sex objects."

Albanians, Kosovans and Israelis actually.

.
"Yeah, Milinka has been my friend since childhood, but some chubby British guys are willing to pay top dollar for her. Dammit, it's time to get paid!"

The huge increase in demand for prostitutes in western europe stems from the huge increase in immigration - mostly male. The clientele are more likely to be chubby Pakistani illegal immigrants.

.

Anonymous said...

@Wandrin

"sex trafficking of Serbian women and girls continued to increase as of 2007, comprising more than three-fourths of trafficking cases in 2007"

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_trafficking_in_Serbia

Wandrin said...

Hate crimes are just another form of anti-white discrimination.

You could simply list the number of white people stabbed by black or black by hispanic etc and let people see for themselves who is doing all the hating.

Filtering out which crimes are "hate" crimes according to the rules of our hostile elite is simply a way of giving said hostile elite a way of covering up the reality of crime.

Instead of comparing 100 black stabbings of white with 3 white stabbings of black they can define only the 3 as "hate" crimes and put that on the news instead.

.

Wandrin said...

@anon,

The GIRLS, yes. The traffickers are Albanians, Kosovans and Israelis

Wandrin said...

"In the link below the race of the attackers isn't mentioned but typically the assailants are members of the British underclass (who are still mostly white)."

If there's no physical description they're not white unless it's a first report and they haven't got the description yet.

This has been true for 40 years.

Also the assailants in these sort of cases aren't typically white it just seems that way from the distorted reporting.

.
Having said that, it is true that a lot of random violence stems from young working or under class guys of whatever race who simply enjoy it.

.

Wandrin said...

"Can you comment on the latest uproar over one of Satoshi Kanazawa's articles:"

I read on a HBD blog once that in each ethnic group males are slightly darker than the females. I have no idea if this is true but if so it would explain the effect simply enough.

Anonymous said...

@Wandrin

You might want to look into this. Serbia is the main transit point and the trade is controlled by local syndicates. The girls are not just Serbian but Chinese, Ukrainian, etc.

Anyway, this is going to turn into a boring back and forth so let's just drop it.

Anonymous said...

"If there's no physical description they're not white unless it's a first report and they haven't got the description yet."

No that's just some idiotic American nonsense applied across the world even where it doesn't make sense.

Looking at the location in the article, it's a very genteel place in England without non-whites.

DanJ said...

A rationale for hate crime legislation is that it offers an additional protection to the community and social order. A crime inspired by hatred of another group of people can be seen as a crime against society, in addition to being a crime against the individual.

Contrary to the examples provided by Steve above, I'd argue that the proper place for hate crime laws would be among smaller offences. Murder is already severely punished, regardless of motive.

A better example might be petty vandalism targeting a specific group of people, where the actual monetary damage is small, but social unrest and a less liveable community follows. The damage to society would be greater than the damage to the individual and the law would take this into account.

Still, it's a very slippery slope, and such law would have to be written in very clear and specific terms.

Anonymous said...

DanJ:

At one end of the spectrum, we're talking about stupid young thugs going out for a pleasant evening bashing in heads. That's bad behavior, but I'm not sure I care much whether the guy who busts my head does it because I'm white, or just because I'm available. Those guys need to be locked up, but probably more to keep them out of circulation till they're a little older and wiser than for deterrence. (Deterrence for that type probably requires Songapore style caning or a few months at hard labor on an old time chain gang.)

At the other end of the spectrum is coordinated terrorism and ethnic cleansing. That's the thing you want to really stomp on, because it can tear your country up or drive whole groups out of their homes and businesses.

I suspect Yglesias' attackers fit more into the first than second category.

Wandrin said...

"No that's just some idiotic American nonsense applied across the world even where it doesn't make sense."

No it isn't. It's been standard for 40 years. Although changed slightly in the online versions of some newspapers over the last few years.

.
"Looking at the location in the article, it's a very genteel place in England without non-whites."

Havering 6th form college.

http://www.havering-sfc.ac.uk/2009/index.html

There are very few genteel urban places left since Blair opened the immigration flood gates in 1997.

.
There are a lot of random assaults from white working and underclass as well as black or south asian but that doesn't change the fact that the general rule for the last 40 years is if the media doesn't give a description the attackers aren't white.

.

Christopher said...

"Name a blogger under 35 or even under 40 who is more influential."

Roosh V.

Possibly Roissy (he might be over 40 by now).

But good point; I hardly read anyone under 40. What do those guys read?

ULAND said...

It's pretty hilarious that he offers up such a technocratic response to getting punched in the head.Instead of getting angry, he writes about urban population density.

Camlost said...

This is what's great about living in Atlanta. Despite our huge number of criminal blacks you don't see many "polar bear" style attacks - mainly because Atlanta is not walkable...

Anonymous said...

Some jackhole wrote:

"Steve, your a funny dude."

Speaks for itself.

Thanks for writing this article, Mr. Sailer. I finally understand now what you mean by Who-Whom.

Your lengthy analysis is for naught, though. As any pre-kindergartener could tell you, blacks can't be racist, duh. They have no power.

Vladimir said...

Of course, attack on Yglesias was not a hate crime. He would be the first one to refute such claim.

Here is Matt condemning Steve King for suggesting there are places in US where King as a white man could not go.

"If I understand King correctly, he seems to be saying that he believes a white person such as himself couldn’t walk through a black neighborhood without being killed. On the off chance that this is simple confusion on his part, I’d like to assure him that this is false. Fortunately we have plenty of majority-black neighborhood right here in Washington, DC. Maybe Rep King and I could take a stroll through one of them one of these days if he’d like."

http://bit.ly/aiqXAu

Anonymous said...

Intent in criminal law terms is not motivation. Motivation is your ultimate reason for doing something, whereas intent is more immediate. Iago intended to kill Othello, but his motivations were murky. When I throw a brick at a wall, I intend that it hits the wall, but my motivation could be to protest the existence of the wall.

It used to be that Courts could assume that you intended the natural and probable consequences of your actions. Nowadays there needs to be some extrinsic proof of such intent in criminal cases.

Anonymous said...

I don't think it's right to start with a base punishment and add severity based on motive. I think you start with the harshest punishment and reduce based on a very limited number of mitigating factors.

There are plenty of people who commit crimes largely for the reason that they're unpleasant people, but their unpleasantness comes in far too many flavors for individual laws to account for. Do we need hate crime laws to protect the fat, the ugly, the short, people with limps, etc.? And, yes, I'm sure if there are people who go polar bear hunting, there are people who go midget hunting as well.

The crime is the crime. Everyone deserves to be protected from it equally, unless that person assaulted the other guy first or something like that. And I don't think there should be many extenuating factors.

Shooting some guy because he had sex with your wife is just as bad as shooting some guy. (If calling 911 saves his life, then you benefit from not getting a murder charge.) Punching your wife because she cheated on you deserves the same punishment as punching your wife because she burnt your toast. Cheating on you does not justify assault. Not even a little tiny bit.

Formerly.JP98 said...

"I don't know why you've chosen examples that conflate premeditation and motivation, but they unnecessarily confuse the issue. The first case in each of your pairs contains a mitigating factor (passion and/or mistaken identity) that has long been recognized in law and moral intuition. The second cases contain no such mitigating factor, so of course they must be punished more harshly. There's no moral reason to judge 'polar bear hunting' as any more deserving of punishment than 'random person hunting'; to give someone additional time in prison because he believes that white people are worthy of scorn, as opposed to believing that race does not exist and therefore that people in general are worthy of scorn, which is what 'hate crimes' laws do, is to criminalize thought."

Yes, I have very much the same reaction. People who favor hate-crime laws tend to erase the distinction between (1) looking at someone's state of mind to determine the person's level of fault and (2) looking at someone's state of mind to determine whether he had unacceptable ideas.

When it comes to fault, our law (both civil and criminal) already takes into account premeditation as opposed to "the heat of passion" as opposed to recklessness as opposed to gross negligence as opposed to negligence as opposed to involuntary acts. The goal is to determine how deserving of punishment the person is. (You know, "even a dog knows the difference between being tripped over and being kicked," etc.)

Hate-crime laws are a whole nother kettle of fish. With hate crimes, the person gets extra punishment not because he was more at fault (e.g., he intended to run down the cop; he didn't do it accidentally), but solely because his action was connected with ideas that the law-maker disapproves of. IMO (but not the Supreme Court's, unfortunately), that's thought-crime.

My only disagreement with the above is that I wouldn't go so far as to say there's no moral reason to give extra punishment to hate crimes. I think there is a moral reason, but any attempt to make the law reflect the moral reason will be worse than what it aims to cure.

Anonymous said...

Let me posit my own hypothetical.

There are two drunk drivers. One had a blameless record until his child was killed in an accident. He was caught drunk behind the wheel for the first and only time. Previously he had been a teetotaler. The second man was a serial drunk driver. He couldn't stop getting drunk and he couldn't stop driving in that condition.

The second driver IMHO should be punished or controlled more severely. His marginal propensity to drive drunk is greater, so too should be his sentence. Driver number one should be put on probation. Driver two should be locked up.

Similarly Blacks are about seven times more likely to murder or rape as are White people. Hence Blacks should receive much stiffer sentences than Whites. Maybe not seven times as long. Double seems about right.

Stiff sentences are supposed to deter crime. Obviously Blacks are harder to deter. They need stronger deterrence.

It's easy to figure out the right thing to do if you are just rational about race and crime.

Albertosaurus

Kylie said...

"Aren't you the Serbo-Croat"

No. I'm half Serbo-Croatian. Trust a lefty to glom onto the essentials and get the particulars wrong.

"Two ethnic groups who in Western Europe are best known for a vast, cruel trafficking trade in female sex objects. I think your homeboys are more skilled in the art of dehumanization than DC street thugs."

True but irrelevant. You're conflating profitable crime and profitless crime.

Or do you mean that given the opportunity, those DC street thugs would refrain from sex trafficking because it's dehumanizing? If that's the case and you're right, we need to send those street thugs to places like Haiti, South Africa, the Congo, etc. ASAP so they can spread the word about the dehumanizing aspects of rape to their fellow thugs.

Svigor said...

I think any instance of interracial crime -- "hate" crime or not -- deserves harsher punishment. Few things do more to undermine interracial goodwill than interracial crime so the very fact of it needs to be dealt with, regardless of its motivation.

I knew if I read long enough I'd find something worth the effort.

Not that I necessarily agree with the conclusion, but clearly, if the regime's going to portray "racism" as a scourge on society, its direct causes should logically get the regime all het up, right?

Funny thing is, as all the old iSteve dogs know, in the aggregate, society does punish interracial crime more harshly. Interracial murder, anyway.

Anonymous said...

One of the dirty thing about modern politics is to accuse the other side of all the 'hate' and 'resentment'.
Jews are especially adept at this. So, Nazism was an hate ideology but communism was not.
So, people who complain about rich Jews are filled with 'resentment' but Jewish feminists who are envious of better-looking goyesses and bitch and whine 24/7 are not.

All the negative emotions are ascribed to the other side(even when it's peaceful and civil)while all the positive emotions are ascribed to their own side(even when it's violent).
So, Tea Party, though peaceful, is fueled by 'hate' and 'resentment', but commmunism, which killed millions, was inspired by 'love' and 'justice'--even though liberals admit it was extreme and ultimately 'misguided' and bad for history.

When blacks go on a rampage, they are full of 'righteous rage'.
When white people call attention to black violence, they are motivated by 'hate'.
When white guys wanna fight for their rights and interests, they are 'angry' white men.
But when Jewish guys get all nasty and offensive, they are said to be 'passionate for justice'.
(To be sure, white guys cannot win either way. If they're impassioned about something, they're 'angry', 'rabid and virulent', and 'hateful'. If they're nice and gentle, they are 'bland', 'dull', and 'dorky'.)

I would argue that both positive and negative emotions exist on both sides about different things. And both sets of emotions are necessary in what makes us human. A person who can only love but not hate would not be human; in fact, he wouldn't even be moral.
The left's nasty habit of attaching 'hate' only to rightwing emotions while attaching 'love' to everything on the left(no matter how extreme) is what's bogus.

I hate the left and the left hates my kind. Fair is fair. We all have our loves and hates.

Also, 'hate crime' can also be a 'love crime' depending on the context. Communists hated capitalists and murdered millions but one could say they did it cuz they loved 'equality'.
American Indians did murder white folks in fits of rage, but one could argue that they did it out of love of their heritage and land which were threatened by the white man.
Today, the white man is the New Indian.

PS. But yes, there is a kind of nihilistic hate crime where people just attack other people for the pure joy of being nasty.

PSS. Was the LA Riots a massive hate crime since blacks attacked whites, Asians, and Latinos(who also did a whole lot of looting) regardless of whether they were guilty or not?

Anonymous said...

"I guess I'm just too literal-minded but I have a hard time thinking about "hunting for polar bears" or playing the "Knock-out Game" as hate crimes. The blacks who hit strangers of other races don't pick their targets at random. They pick those they think won't offer much or any resistance, those who seem vulnerable in some way. These are opportunistic crimes, not crimes of hatred.

They're crimes committed by people of limitted intelligence and conscience to whom the abstract concepts of fair play, common courtesy, etc. are foreign and even incomprehensible. These crimes have more in common with graffiti and vandalism than they do with assault as we usually understand it because to these blacks, other people are objects, not individuals."


What unadulterated pablum.

It's funny how all these excuses are trotted out to deny obvious anti-white hate crime, but when the roles are reversed, in the rare instance when a white does it to a non-white, these excuses vanish and the full weight of the law comes crashing down on the hapless white.

But when whites are the victims, which is the vast majority of cases in interracial crime, the usual idiots in the chattering classes, the police, the lawyers, the prosecutors, the DAs, and the judges are all united in their confidence that "race was not a factor".

BULLSH1T.

"Who, whom", b1tches!

Anonymous said...

"No it isn't. It's been standard for 40 years. Although changed slightly in the online versions of some newspapers over the last few years."

Wandrin,

Our European friends absolutely love feeling morally superior to us "stupid Americans", and yet they've adopted almost every stupid American political fad that has come down the pike since the end of WWII, including mass third world immigration.

Europeans will get a clue eventually; it took Americans a while to get clued in to the "no race mentioned = non-white criminal" code that the mass media uses, but we figured it out. They will too, as their non-white population increases. Right now most of them are still in the Denial stage.

josh said...

Isnt Yglesias pro-immigration? And anti-White? Well,maybe he DID deserve it. I am reminded of all the Jewish and Anglo South Africans who blubbered so endlessly about the evil of apartheid.*** When they got a taste of black rule they got their assess out of there,so the magnificent oh-so-dignified Africans wouldnt kill them. (*** Some Mexican in Arizona,protesting about their cock-a-mamie history course,said "Theese eez like apartheid!!" I wouldve loved to follow up on camera re his views on same! Another guy,during the passage of the Arizona ID bill,screamed,"Theese reminds me of Germany!!" Again,dearly love to hear details! :) )

Anonymous said...

When I was in college in early 90s, a common news item was black thugs targeting and attacking 'big white guys'. This went on for two yrs but the liberal college paper ran an editorial that it had nothing to do with race.

There is a prevailing element in progressive ideology--even in journalism--that 'truth' is primarily about progress and justice, and so it's okay to bend the rules to push the necessary agenda.
'Objectivity' is seen to be 'conservative' and 'reactionary' since the status quo is unfair and favors the white oppressor class. To be objective is to sit in the middle, take no sides, and give equal hearing of both sides--both KKK and black victims.
Now, if all sides were equally powerful and privileged, objectivity would be ideal, but since the status quo is lopsided and oppressive in favor of white power, journalists and intellectuals feel an obligation to side with the 'oppressed', even if it means bending the truth or telling lies.

Sartre made this line of argument in the 50s. And though liberals know that Rosa Parks and MLK plotted the whole bus thing, they still put forth the myth that Rosa Parks was just one black lady who one day happened to, etc, etc. Moral justification trumps objective fact.

So, affirmative action applies to 'truth' as it does in hiring. Because our society is 'oppressive'--with whites having too much wealth and power--, objective fairness would only favor the oppressors who hold most power/wealth. So, the truly moral thing to do is to favor 'less qualified' blacks who are 'oppressed'. And even if they're indeed less qualified in real terms, it's only because they've been denied equally good education by the 'racist' powers that be. OR SO THE LEFTIST ARGUMENT GOES.

So, objectivity is a dirty word in journalism. It has come to mean 'taking no sides' in the war between good and evil, or letting the powers-that-be continue to control society to maintain the status quo.

In the Sartre vs Camus debate over Algeria, many on the Left still favor Sartre. Camus was more ambivalent, fair-minded, 'objective', and seeing-both-sides whereas Sartre reduced the matter to good vs evil. Since Algerians had the right to independence from French rule, the Left feels that Sartre's view, though simplistic and propagandistic, was morally more justified. In the face of great evil, objective truth/justice must be sacrificed on the altar of 'higher truth and justice'. After all, during WWII, we maintained the myth of 'uncle joe' and pretended that Nazis committed Katyn massacre to maintain the alliance.

Anonymous said...

There is an element of this view on both Left and Right. Some on the Right overlook the odiousness of Duke or Irving cuz, well, they are on our side and our unity matters more than objective truth. Much of the Left feels the same way. When people feel that the great battle/debate is between Good vs Evil, they will readily sacrifice objective truth for 'higher truth'.

So, going back to my college days, I think people who ran the college paper knew the attacks were indeed racially motivated crime BUT given their view of the larger struggle--Evil Racist Whites oppressing poor underprivileged blacks--, 'higher truth' demanded that they cover up the truth, just like the West accepted the lie about the Katyn massacre since the main moral goal was to defeat Nazism; anything jeopardizing that noble goal was thus deemed as useless or dangerous, even if true.

It's like this:

http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2010/jul/15/believer/?page=2

"He is right. Standing up to Nazism or Stalinism was the only decent thing to do in the last century. There are turning points in history when there can be no ambiguity: 1939 was such a year, and for Communists perhaps 1956."

The danger is 'no ambuiguity' can easily morph into NO OBJECTIVITY, which I believe is the death of true journalism. Reporting should not be editorialized. Keep the opinions in the Op-ed section.

PC has radicalized many minds who see the world in stark terms of 'racism' vs 'oppressed'. Even in journalism, what matters is pushing the 'higher justice' agenda than reporting the facts that might undermine that noble agenda. Why give any ammo to the Evil Right? So, during the apartheid yrs, we heard of white-on-black oppression but little of black-on-white violence.

So, it's not so much that white liberals don't know but they think they are onto the higher truth. It's like... 'yes, blacks do commit lots of crimes and are a social menance, but WHY??? Because of history of oppression and social ineuqities which must be addressed.'

But then, we must remember that the Founding Fathers played loose with facts to to serve the HIGHER CAUSE Of liberation from evil rotten subhuman King George III--who actually wasn't such a bad guy.

helene edwards said...

People are going to think I'm kidding, but I'm not. The best way to deter these opportunistic beatings by blacks is for all whites to openly and continuously announce that blacks will not be prosecuted for violent crime, because they are savages who simply cannot help themselves. This would activate a meliorating impulse over which blacks have no control, that of always doing the opposite of what is expected. Anyone who's dealt with blacks knows that the way to get a black not to do something is to express a desire for them to do it.

Truth said...

"True but irrelevant. You're conflating profitable crime and profitless crime."

The participee does not discern much of a difference when it includes a blunt object to the back of the head.

Truth said...

"Similarly Blacks are about seven times more likely to murder or rape as are White people. Hence Blacks should receive much stiffer sentences than Whites. Maybe not seven times as long. Double seems about right..."

Of course men have about the same ratio of crime as compared to women, so we could assume that you believe that any man arrested for a crime deserves...

...Oh, never mind, Double-X, tell us about your affair with Roberta Flack again!

DanJ said...

Silver said above:

"I think any instance of interracial crime -- "hate" crime or not -- deserves harsher punishment. Few things do more to undermine interracial goodwill than interracial crime so the very fact of it needs to be dealt with, regardless of its motivation."

That's the perfect solution. Let's say 25% added sentence for any interracial crime? The court need not look deeply into the soul and motivations of the perpetrator. The deterrent effect is good because the rules are simple enough for any criminal to understand in advance. Social order is served as it sends a clear signal that interracial relations are a priority in society. I see no downside to this arrangement.

Kylie said...

"'The blacks who hit strangers of other races don't pick their targets at random. They pick those they think won't offer much or any resistance, those who seem vulnerable in some way. These are opportunistic crimes, not crimes of hatred.

They're crimes committed by people of limitted intelligence and conscience to whom the abstract concepts of fair play, common courtesy, etc. are foreign and even incomprehensible. These crimes have more in common with graffiti and vandalism than they do with assault as we usually understand it because to these blacks, other people are objects, not individuals.'

What unadulterated pablum.

It's funny how all these excuses are trotted out to deny obvious anti-white hate crime..."


I was making an observation, not offering an excuse. I've seen first-hand how badly blacks routinely treat one another, women, children, the elderly, the mentally retarded, the physically disabled, pets, possessions, etc.

You obviously failed to infer what I'm suggesting here. Let me give you a hint: no, it's not that blacks who commit seemingly profitless, random crimes should be treated less harshly by reason of their lesser intelligence.

Anonymous said...

As long as 'racism' is regarded as the UNAMBIGUOUS 'radical evil' that all good people must denounce and oppose, any fact or info--no matter how true--that might be used by 'racists' must be suppressed. It must be Katyned in the GOOD WAR against evil.

Silver said...

Do we need hate crime laws to protect the fat, the ugly, the short, people with limps, etc.? And, yes, I'm sure if there are people who go polar bear hunting, there are people who go midget hunting as well.

The crime is the crime. Everyone deserves to be protected from it equally, unless that person assaulted the other guy first or something like that. And I don't think there should be many extenuating factors.


You say the "crime is the crime." But it's not so straightforward. Just what is the crime?

I would argue that raping a nun is worse than raping a prostitute. If you rape a nun you not only rape her, but you also rob her of something that was very valuable to her (her virginity or at least chastity). A prostitute may suffer the same psychological (and physical, in cases where it occurs) harm, but there isn't the same assault on her chastity because, being a prostitute, it's fair to assume she never placed any great value on chastity. Both rapes are wrong and evil and all that. But one is, however slightly, worse than the other, because greater harm has been done.

In a similar vein, an interracial crime isn't just a crime against the individual, it's a crime against society. We know that interracial crime harms interracial goodwill and it harms it almost irreparably. Just look at the reaction to it in uncensored news comments.

Legal systems must keep up with the times if they're to serve the people they claim jurisdiction over. I can see why some conservative-minded folks may have a problem with this, but how can progressives fail to agree?

Silver said...

At one end of the spectrum, we're talking about stupid young thugs going out for a pleasant evening bashing in heads. That's bad behavior, but I'm not sure I care much whether the guy who busts my head does it because I'm white, or just because I'm available.

You should care, because if it's because you're white then you're at greater risk than merely being available. You can always make yourself less available. I don't know how you're going to make yourself less white.

And I really can't respond to a comment like yours without pointing out what I really think, which is that you're a doofus upon a doofus upon a doofus upon a doofus.

Anonymous said...

"At one end of the spectrum, we're talking about stupid young thugs going out for a pleasant evening bashing in heads. That's bad behavior, but I'm not sure I care much whether the guy who busts my head does it because I'm white, or just because I'm available."

If a thug is black and you're white, he sees you as an easier victim. And even if he didn't initially pick you cuz of your race, he's gonna tell his friends, 'man, I whupped a white boy's honkey mofo ass'.

Anonymous said...

I think in Brazil until fairly recently you were legally justified in killing your wife and her lover. I think that'a good rule myself.

Anonymous said...

@Kylie

Are you suggesting that Serbians and Croatians are able to distinguish between 'pointless' and 'profitable' crimes?

Did you happen to watch tv in the early to mid 90s?

Kylie said...

"@Kylie

Are you suggesting that Serbians and Croatians are able to distinguish between 'pointless' and 'profitable' crimes?"


Yes.

"Did you happen to watch tv in the early to mid 90s?"

No.

Anonymous said...

Anon: (re media types and "higher truth")

You see the same idea all the time involving nationalism, war, and related stuff. A lot of the war reporting over the last decade has been shaped by that--reporters, and then editors, shading their stories to support the troops and war effort, stand with the administration against various nasties of the week, etc.

Sometimes you hear the phrase "speaking truth to power" for journalists' role. But this is crap. I want them speaking truth to me, to everyone. Dishonest reporters are on the same moral plane with dishonest scientists and accountants.

Svigor said...

Dishonest reporters are on the same moral plane with dishonest scientists and accountants.

Scientists, maybe, but accountants? The propagation factor puts dishonest journalists (and perhaps scientists) on a separate plane from dishonest accountants, IMO.

But this is an odd discussion, since dishonesty seems to be part of journalists' job description nowadays.

Anonymous said...

I'll vote for making any crime by a member of one group against a person of a different group a hate crime.

No attempt to find motivation needed.

The two stranger murders here in Edmond, Oklahoma that were black on white would be hate crimes.

My interpretation of this rule with regard to sex crimes would make male on male assaults a hate crime. The class is heterosexual versus homosexual in this case.

goatweed