Don't Extend the "Hate Crime" Law--Abolish It
May 10, 2007
IRVINE, Ca.--Last week the House passed a measure that extends the federal "hate crime" law to include attacks motivated by the victims' gender or sexual orientation.
"Congress should not extend the federal 'hate crime' law," said Yaron Brook, executive director of the Ayn Rand Institute. "It should abolish the law.
"The government's job is to punish criminals for initiating force against other citizens; objective laws that ban the use of force and fraud are its means of doing so. But 'hate crime' laws undermine objective law at the root by punishing criminals, not for their actions, but for their ideas.
"According to 'hate crime' laws, a murderer deserves a greater punishment if his crime is motivated by an idea such as racism or sexism. If the government assumes the power to punish on the basis of 'unacceptable' ideas, it has assumed the power to exonerate and offer leniency to favored ideas. If anti-abortion religionists hold sway in government, on the premise of 'hate crime' laws, a zealous Christian who guns down an abortion doctor could receive a lighter sentence or be exonerated--on the grounds that such an act is evidence of noble 'idealism.'
"Once the government starts punishing criminals for acting on 'unacceptable ideas,' it has assumed the role of arbiter for which ideas are acceptable or not. If whoever wields power can shape the law to advance an ideological agenda, then it cannot be long before merely holding unorthodox or unconventional ideas becomes a crime that the government punishes.
"The government has no business punishing people for their ideas, no matter how repugnant. By demanding the government do precisely that, 'hate crime' laws threaten our freedom of thought--and undermine the system of objective law that protects it. Such laws should be abolished."
### ### ###
Dr. Yaron Brook is available for interviews. To interview Dr. Brook or book him for your show, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
For more articles by Yaron Brook, and his bio, click here.