Friday, May 04, 2007
Proponents of "hate crimes" legislation justify the special status of these crimes by saying "It affects more than just the victim of the crime; the entire class is terrorized by the crime." For this reason, they claim, it must be differentiated from the mere violent crime itself.
In saying so, they prove themselves completely ignorant of American jurisprudence.
It is the case, in American law, that EVERY crime is considered a crime SPECIFICALLY because it affects more than just the affected party. Legal actions to address damage to a specific individual are called "Torts" in American law, and are judged in civil courts. Crimes are crimes because the commission of them attacks the very fabric of society. This is why crimes are prosecuted by the state, not by the victim.
Thus, for example, auto theft is not handled by a tort action, even though it's an individual who lost the car. The act of stealing a car terrorizes all who own property of any sort; and the safety of private property is the basis of individual liberty in a free society. Therefore, auto theft is handled as a crime, not as a tort.
Thus, there is no basis in legal theory for special penalties for "hate crimes." What they claim is special about the hate crime, is actually true for the entire society; the violent act terrorizes, not just the victim or the victim's class, but the entire culture.