Friday, May 04, 2007

Hate From Across The Atlantic

Andrew Sullivan regularly blogs on his opposition to hate crimes laws, and he regularly demonstrates his dishonesty in such discussions. Here's Sully Joe:

There are, I think, two coherent positions on hate crime laws. The first is opposition to the entire concept, its chilling effect on free speech, its undermining of the notion of equality under the law, and so on. That's my position. I oppose all hate crimes laws, regardless of the categories of individuals they purport to protect. The other coherent position is the view that hate crimes somehow impact the community more than just regular crimes and that the victims of such crimes therefore deserve some sort of extra protection under the law. The criteria for inclusion in such laws is any common prejudice against a recognizable and despised minority. The minority need not be defined by an involuntary characteristic - religious minorities are so protected - and they choose their faith. Nor need the minority be accurately idetified [sic]. If a gentile is bashed because the attacker thinks he's Jewish, the hate crime logic still applies. I disagree with this, but I can accept its coherence.
I've pointed this out before: Hate crimes laws do not protect "minorities," let alone "recognizable and despised minorities." Such laws enhance criminal penalties against persons based on race, ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual orientation, etc. regardless of the minority or majority status (or perceived status) of the victim. If Sully was pummelled because he was white or a limey, the penalties against his attackers would be enhanced. If Sully was pummelled because his attacker thought he was straight, the penalties would be enhanced.

Let's not pretend Sully doesn't know exactly what these laws entail. He has never identified any hate crimes law which favors "minorities" or enhances penalties of only those in the majority. He is knowingly misrepresenting the content of these laws, and peddling the myth of the legally privileged minority, because it suits his right-wing agenda.

And there's another loathsome bit from Sully. Sully posts the photo of Chris Crain, who he claims was "gay-bashed by Islamists in Amsterdam." Mr. Crain's own description of the incident was that he and his boyfriend were assaulted by seven men, one of whom "had Moroccan features and spoke with a heavy accent." Mr. Crain's account contains no suggestion that the men were Muslims or "Islamists," or that they identified themselves as such. Yes, Islam is the overwhelmingly dominant religion in Morocco, but Sully has no information concerning the religious faith, if any, of any of the assailants, let alone reason to conclude that the one man who looked Moroccan was a practising Muslim or was motivated by religious devotion. This is the same as assuming that an assault by someone with "Mexican features" was committed by a Catholic, or that one by someone with an American accent was perpetrated by a Christian.

Perhaps Sully hates hate crime laws so much because they hit much too close to home.

Update: In a subsequent blog post, Crain confuses matters even more. He now says that all seven men were "Moroccan 20-somethings." He also calls them Islamists, but states they were not "radical Islamists." Apparently, Crain has concluded that the men grew up in an Islamic culture which legitimizes anti-gay prejudice but were not devout Muslims. I'm still not sure how Crain ascertained their country of origin (or, for that matter, their lack of religious devotion) when the only communication was an anti-gay obscenity from one of the men. Nothing Crain says demonstrates he has actual knowledge of the men's national origin or religious affiliation.

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