If you troll about the back pages for world news rather than reading about one more local news event of no great moment then you may have seen the recent article discussing the prosecution of Le Pen’s daughter for disparaging a racial or religious group in France. She is the daughter of the Le Pen of the right movement and anti-immigrant faction of the political spectrum in France. She is mounting a candidacy for President at the present time and apparently has north of 20% support. That amount is significant in France with their proliferation of parties. Such a story focuses the mind on the constant clash of protecting our basic freedoms and rights under the Bill of Rights and the protection of individual groups or factions that may impinge on those freedoms. The French strongly believe that they have the right to free speech but they also believe it has to be restricted to a confined bandwidth. In Le Pen’s case she had spoken forcefully about Muslims and denounced them as terrorists in waiting and called for very restrictive immigration policies and citizenship rights for them. Now she potentially faces jail time under French law for her utterances. These special laws restricting speech and actions to protect minorities and special interest groups pervade the legal system throughout the Western World. Stalin would have loved all that additional power granted to a central authority. They would give an additional patina of legitimacy to authoritarian rules. He loved pulling people in for “crimes against the people” or “counter-revolutionary activity”.
Sadly we in the West and the US in particular have gone down a similar path for several decades eroding our basic freedoms to free speech and actions. These vague laws alleging protecting minorities or special interest groups simply permit draconian arrests and chills on our rights to express ourselves and advocate any position. No one is more anti-crime than me or more devoted to a strong national defense than this writer but of equal importance is that right to speak our mind even when those words are abhorrent to most listeners. The same is true for the so-called hate crimes that have blossomed like mushrooms in recent decades. Our problem in the West and the US is not that we have too few laws to protect the people but that we have too many open to extensive abuse by central authorities. Years ago I didn’t like the American Nazi party marching in Skokie, Ill but I also detested the Occupy Wall Street movement of just a couple of years ago and certainly was appalled by the Black Power advocates of the Sixties. You should look at some of their language on YouTube. They openly called for killing of policemen.
First on speech a free people should be allowed to say and promote any political or policy position they like without restriction. No group should be granted special immunity from this discourse. If you don’t like Muslims you should be able to say so as forcefully as you like; the same is true for any other group you dislike. If you have a thing about folks from the Canary Islands you should be allowed to vilify them and say they are not worthy of ever being allowed to immigrant to the US. You don’t even have to have a good reason. We now have laws against terroristic threats but I bet none of you could state an all-inclusive definition of what that means. We let the Black Power folks openly threaten death and mayhem at ever turn why are things different now? What it does is allow the Federal authorities to define that activity into whatever they like against whatever individual or group they don’t like at a given moment when they are using over the top rhetoric.
We really need to cut back on all these subsidiary crimes that allegedly protect some special group. We are ceding too much power to another force that is not necessarily benevolent toward our freedoms. We all can relate to real crimes–murder, arson, burglary, rape, assault, armed robbery, etc. We know what those are and what those doing that punished period. What difference does it make about the criminal’s motive? Historically, under our criminal laws and today in that vast majority of incidences motive is deemed irrelevant the prosecution doesn’t even have to prove a motive. The prosecution only has to prove you robbed the bank; they don’t have to prove why you robbed the bank. The hate crime statutes hand unwarranted powers to the Feds without the restraint of the protection of our rights. It allows an interpretation from on high that might not even make sense but that would be sorted out years later after the accused is in jail. Prosecute the crime, not the motive. Power once ceded to the central authority is never revoked without revolution or a sea change in political thought that comes only after severe tumult. It is wrong and evil to beat and rob someone whether they are white, gay or a polygamist. They are should be protected by our laws not the interpretation of events by politically motivated US attorneys and there are not any more political animals than our US attorneys.
The Zimmerman trial is a prime example of this potential abuse by the government. Some have actively called for a civil rights crusade that he should be charged with a hate crime because the dead youth was black. I haven’t followed the case much at all and have no opinion about who was wrong if anyone. But I sure don’t believe anyone should be charged with a hate crime. It was either murder or manslaughter or whatever or it wasn’t; race should not matter. As said earlier Stalin would have loved all these laws because of the enormous power it ceded to central authority based on the whim of that authority to make the allegation under such vague laws. Let’s get back to basics, after all it was the basics and adhering to them that gave us this great nation. Not the populist dogma of the politician and cause of the generation. The basics are omni-generational.
“A single death is a tragedy, a million death is a statistic.” J. Stalin. http://www.olcranky.wordpress.com