Civil Liberties

Adrift in a Sea of Middle-Aged White Guys

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San Francisco transgender activist Autumn Sandeen complains about the "Rhetorical Attack of the Anti-LLEHCPA White Guys." LLEHCPA is the federal hate crime bill, officially known as the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act, a name that not only generates a terrible acronym but also implies that the target is gay-bashing cops. Sandeen links to my column about the bill, grouping me with Heritage Foundation President Ed Feulner, Richard Land of the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, and Texas congressman (and GOP presidential candidate) Ron Paul:

It seems kind of strange to me that today's spokesmodels arguing against hate crime legislation are all white, middle-aged men—not a minority individual in the bunch. This isn't to say there aren't people who belong to minority groups that oppose LLEHCPA, but it appears that the loudest group arguing against this legislation are middle-aged white men. 

Looking at this small sea of white, middle-aged male faces speaks loudly to me about the lack of empathy that these folk who aren't likely to be victims of hate crimes have towards hate crime victims.

To me, it seems kind of strange that someone arguing in favor of hate crime legislation would single out people for criticism based on their race and age. I don't mind being called white, but I'd like to think I have a few more years before I qualify as middle-aged—although if I'm destined to die in my early 80s, I guess Sandeen is technically right. She also correctly discerns my sexual orientation, which is pretty impressive since all she had to go on was my photograph. I'm guessing Jews don't count as a minority in her book, in which case the hate crime laws she supports, which have been pushed by no organization more enthusiastically than the Anti-Defamation League, need a little editing. But if Ron Paul, the only libertarian in Congress, is not "a minority individual," I don't know who is.

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  1. Not just a minority individual, but an individual minority! Is that bonus points?

  2. Empathy is irrelevant. The law should be about what is just.

  3. I would like to propose legislation for a new kind of affirmative defense to muder–the Hate Victim defense. If you are in a certain protected class, let’s say black hermaphrodite, and some white guy calls you a freak, you can kill him and raise the Hate Victim defense. If you can establish it by speaking the words, “He offended my victimtude” under oath, then all charges will be dropped.

  4. To me, it seems kind of strange that someone arguing in favor of hate crime legislation would single out people for criticism based on their race and age.

    Nail on the head sir.

    I know you know this, but the only people who “count” for folks like Autumn Sandeen are her peers and her friends. If you are outside of that circle then you are the “enemy”.

  5. Muder. Murder, on the other hand, is indefensible.

  6. Is a spokesmodel like a regular model except the spokesmodel can speak?

  7. But if Ron Paul, the only libertarian in Congress, is not “a minority individual,” I don’t know who is.

    Not only that, but he is an actual member of a minority group: white males.

  8. Sullum is a graduate of Cornell University, where he majored in economics and psychology. He lives in Dallas with his wife and two daughters.

    Unless you have some sort of false consciousness, I think that line from your Reason bio might give away your sexual orientation.

  9. Looking at this small sea of white, middle-aged male faces speaks loudly to me about the lack of empathy that these folk who aren’t likely to be victims of hate crimes have towards hate crime victims.

    Wait a minute. Grammatically speaking, the phrase “these folk” should refer to the subject of “looking”, so does that mean she’s saying that those who look at the small sea of faces (ie, herself and her allies) are the ones who don’t have empathy for hate crime victims?

  10. The problem with advocates of hate-crime laws is that they are the same people, more or less, that advocate lenient sentences for the perpetrators of violent crimes. Thus, they need hate-crime laws to punish those crimes that they do believe are unconscionable–crimes against “the different”. Many of the people that are against hate-crime laws advocate strict sentences for violent crimes in the first place. There is no need for hate-crime enhancement for murder if you believe that all murderers should be executed or sentenced to life in prison.

  11. Sullum is a graduate of Cornell University, where he majored in economics and psychology. He lives in Dallas with his wife and two daughters.

    Unless you have some sort of false consciousness, I think that line from your Reason bio might give away your sexual orientation.

    Oh, surely there have to be some gay Cornell grads.

  12. I recall reading somewhere that FBI statistics suggest that the most common victim of a hate crime is in fact a white man. I lived in the south for several years when I was younger, and it wasn’t at all uncommon for white guys to get beaten by groups of black guys. Of course it goes the other way too, but I’d like to see some stats. Anyone know?

  13. “To me, it seems kind of strange that someone arguing in favor of hate crime legislation would single out people for criticism based on their race and age.”

    There’s nothing whatsoever “strange” about reminding members of the majority that maybe, just maybe, they do not fully appreciate the perspective of minorities on issues such as this.

  14. Maybe minorities should be trying to explain their perspective then, instead of accusing those who disagree with them of being racist/sexist/homophobic.

    But, as forming and presenting a rational argument is far more difficult than hurling accusations, I can see why they’d choose the latter. I can see that much of their perspective.

  15. It seems that Autumn Sandeen is himself a middle-aged white male. He outed himself at this address:

    http://tinyurl.com/ky8hg

    He reports himself as the victim of male-on-male sexual harassment while in the Navy. That would seem to make him a man. His photo shows him to be white. And since he graduated from high school in the 1970s, guess what, he’s middle-aged.

    Three strikes and you’re out!

  16. Grammatically speaking, the phrase “these folk” should refer to the subject of “looking”,

    Huh? The word “looking” is a gerund here. That means it functions as a noun. It doesn’t have a “subject”; it is the subject. To the writer, (the act of) looking speaks loudly.

  17. I wonder what people who support the notion of “hate crimes” today thought of the description of “thought crimes,” if ever they read or talked about Orwell’s “1984,” back in the days when the title alone was a trendy shorthand for the imminent totalitarian state that so many leftists said the likes of Nixon would bring us. I’d bet good money that many of them vehemently condemned the very idea, possibly with spittle-flecked lips.

    Yet today, lo and behold, it is OK to add what cannot be denied is a “thought crime” component to standard criminal statutes.

    What the hell were we fighting WWII and the Cold War for, again? Instead of the world being safe for democracy, is it now only safe for Big Brother?

  18. ‘There’s nothing whatsoever “strange” about reminding members of the majority that maybe, just maybe, they do not fully appreciate the perspective of minorities on issues such as this.’

    Except that you falsely assume that the folks against this sort of legislation are necessarily in the majority. Many are Jews, some are blacks, some are women (come to think of they might be in the majority…so, actually, it’s males who are minorities), etc.

    On another point: people like Sandeen mistakenly conflate societal empathy with legal action. There are many things I care about and take social action to combat. But it doesn’t follow that I will then demand those actions and issues be codified into law.

  19. She also correctly discerns my sexual orientation, which is pretty impressive since all she had to go on was my photograph.

    I’m usually bored by Sullum’s rants, but I gotta say this one cracked me up.

  20. Not that I’m in support of hate crime legislation, but using motivation for a crime as a factor in the severity of the punishment is not a punishment of “thought crimes”. Unless you are one of those that bleives that all murders are equal and there is no difference between manslaughter, 2nd degree and 1st degree murder. By the standards of JA Merritt, convicting a premeditated murder differently from a crime of passion is Orwellian.

  21. Maybe minorities should be trying to explain their perspective then, instead of accusing those who disagree with them of being racist/sexist/homophobic.

    We can’t even get the reason staff to stop acting that way on the illegal immigration issue. Don’t expect much progress elsewhere.

  22. motivation for a crime as a factor in the severity of the punishment is not a punishment of “thought crimes”.

    There is a big difference between discerning intent and motive. They may both occur in the mind, but that doesn’t make them identical. Intent is to “what” as motive is to “why”. It is “what” that separates the degrees of a crime. There may be some overlap, for example an accident cannot have a motive, but premeditation is independant of motive. 1st degree murder is 1st degree regardless of motive. “hate crimes” seek to change that and add punishment solely based on a person’s thoughts. It is “thought crime”.

  23. There is also a difference between motive and specific action. There is a difference between catching your spouse “in flagrente,” and killing the erring pair in the heat of the moment, and discovering, say, incriminating letters (or e-mails), plotting your revenge, and killing the offenders “with malice aforethought.” The motive is identical in each case, but the actions, and therefore the crimes, are different.

  24. Great minds talk about ideas, average minds talk about events, and small minds talk about people. And pathetic assholes who can’t even be bothered to address the arguments of those who disagree with them talk about people’s skin color.

    This guy’s post is part thoughtless, emotionally-driven whining, part attempt to smear opponents for having the audacity to be white. Pretty poor stuff. If I was Jacob I probably wouldn’t even bother to link to this crap, it just gives people like this a broader stage than their feeble non-arguments deserve.

  25. There’s nothing whatsoever “strange” about reminding members of the majority that maybe, just maybe, they do not fully appreciate the perspective of minorities on issues such as this.

    Given that there are more women than men in the U.S. and “white” and “middle aged” further limit the population in the m-awm group, how are “middle-aged white men” a “majority?” Is it the same way San Antonio’s 60-65% Hispanic population is a “minority?”

    One of my problems with hate crime legislation is that it defines “minority” based on political correctness, not population.

    To me, it seems kind of strange that someone arguing in favor of hate crime legislation would single out people for criticism based on their race and age.

    Agreed. And it’s age, race, and gender, all three of which will be protected categories, but if and only if you are in the protected segment of those categories. See “middle-aged white men = majority” above.

    It seems that Autumn Sandeen is himself a middle-aged white male.

    Well, not really. In current terms you don’t really belong to a minority unless you hold views appropriate to that minority. Therefore only people against hate crime legislation are really “middle-aged white men.” Similar to the way that black people who don’t hold black values aren’t really “black.” See: “Oreo.”

  26. I’d like to think I have a few more years before I qualify as middle-aged-although if I’m destined to die in my early 80s

    Sorry Jacob but if you are over 40 you are unquestionably middle aged (which begins at thirty-something).

    With people living longer we’re going to need a new Senior category. Something like Junior Senior for 60-80 and Senior Senior for 80+

  27. Ron Paul on the other hand, is past Middle Age.

  28. There’s nothing whatsoever “strange” about reminding members of the majority that maybe, just maybe, they do not fully appreciate the perspective of minorities on issues such as this.

    Translation:

    There’s a double standard. You’re on the short end of it. So suck it.

  29. Well maybe the middle-aged white guy lobby can help stir outrage about the phrase “these folk” and it will reach the status of that satanic N-word equivalent “you people.”

  30. white, middle-aged men
    Autumn Sandeen is a middle-aged white guy.

  31. (Talkin’ about hate crimes) = (baitin)^2

    That’s all I got so far?.

    I am still working on it, making sure I didn’t leave out any coefficients and whatnot.

    Plus I am pretty sure that in “small discussions” we can cancel out higher order terms and assume linearity.

  32. Sullum’s annoying nitpicking aside, the point is a valid one that the people who don’t see the need for a hate crimes law are usually the ones who are unlikely to be the victim of such a crime. Just like the way most anti-abortion activists are either men or women beyond child-bearing age.

  33. Muder.

    Hello, Fadder.
    Here I am…

  34. I don’t mind being called white,

    That’s cuz, you know race is already included in the current Hate Crimes legislation

    I’m guessing Jews don’t count as a minority in her book, in which case the hate crime laws she supports, which have been pushed by no organization more enthusiastically than the Anti-Defamation League, need a little editing.

    This is another thing you missed. Jews are also already protected under the religion part of current Hate Crimes law. Do you see yourself or the ADL campaigning to repeal current Hate Crime legislation?

    This is just like the marriage issue. The Libertarian position calls for the state to get out of marriage. Since that’s never gonna happen, we by default are pro-marriage for gays.

    So whatever happened to being realistic that current Hate Crime law that covers religion, race, national origin will never be repealed and say sure, lets include gender, orientation and disability in the list?

  35. Hath not a middle aged white guy eyes? Hath not a a middle aged white guy hands, organs, dimensions, senses, affections, passions; fed with the same food, hurt with the same weapons, subject to the same diseases, healed by the same means, warmed and cooled by the same winter and summer as a member of a minority group or a woman is? If you prick us do we not bleed? If you tickle us do we not laugh? If you poison us do we not die?

  36. “There’s a double standard. You’re on the short end of it. So suck it.”

    yeah, basically.

    actually more to the point is this:

    people have to get used to the fact that other people will call you names in order to “win” debates. be it traitor, coward or chickenhawk, or in these cases, racist, sexist, homophobic, etc.

    sometimes these names belong there. but more often than not they’re a distraction from an actual issue that could, you know, be discussed.

    when folks run around flapping their hands and yelling “oh god they just called me a racist, how racist!” it gets kinda silly.

  37. “Just like the way most anti-abortion activists are either men or women beyond child-bearing age.”

    i think you might be wrong on this point.

    but you are also dan t.

    THE INTERNET BLINKS

  38. Shannon wins!!!

    ….Is it 5:00 yet?

    Its time to hit the tennis court already.

  39. I have no real problem with considering whether or not “hate” was a motivating factor for a particular crime, but only in the sentencing phase. That is, I think it’s realistic to assume that a Klansman who burned an AME church or an al Qaeda member who bombed an airport both did so as part of a general political program and that they’d be likely to do the same thing again, so maybe they should do some really hard time.

    The big difference between my position and this bill, however, is that my solution only comes into play once a person has already been convicted of a perfectly conventional crime, and it’s only applicable in state courts where the typical criminal trial occurs. Also, I have REAL problems with picking out crimes against only certain groups and making it federal.

  40. But if Ron Paul, the only libertarian in Congress

    Jeff Flake’s close enough to “libertarian” to make me comfortable.

  41. There’s nothing strange about the “hate” movement.

    Let me explain it to you:

    1) You can’t express hate against me, however I define it, or I’ll have you thrown in jail.

    2) I can express hate against you, with complete impunity and lack of irony.

    What do you not understand here?

    Look folks … this isn’t about white people. This isn’t about heterosexual people. This is about naked power.

    We have it.

    You don’t.

    So, we’re going to put you in jail in numbers sufficient to have enough of you in jail that we can pass laws legalizing your euthenasia.

    Just like Hiter did.

    It’s our Holocaust.

    Don’t spoil it by trying to understand it.

  42. Why not just define a hate crime as any crime that crosses any racial/gender boundries.

    So, anytime a white kills a black, it is an automatic hate crime, and vice versa.

    Seems fair to me.

  43. But what if a GLBT-hating man kills a pre-op transexual? This could be tied up in the courts for years.

  44. You all seem to have forgotten an important lesson about those abundantly found on the left is that they are quite skilled in manipulating and changing definitions of words to suit their own ideological ends. In the same way that Clarence Thomas, Thomas Sowell, Colin Powell, etc. are not black not in the strict definition of the word, that is to have dark skin pigmentation, but rather the term “black” has evolved to that it no longer describes the superficiality of color, but rather the supposed “experience” of being black. The definition of experience in this case is more often designated by those leaders in the African American community such as Jesse Jackson, et. all. Therefore “black” just as “minority” are no longer concrete and easily defined. Minority as they are using it, has transformed from percentages of 1, to that which designates a group (statistically a minority or not) a minority based on its real or imagined lack of power. Thus minorities are those groups which supposedly are without power and are at the mercy of those with power or WASPS

  45. Just like Hiter did.

    Oim going to roll up on all you plyer hiters!

  46. “Sullum’s annoying nitpicking aside, the point is a valid one that the people who don’t see the need for a hate crimes law are usually the ones who are unlikely to be the victim of such a crime. Just like the way most anti-abortion activists are either men or women beyond child-bearing age.”

    This would be news to CBS pollsters who found in 2006 that 55% of Americans opposed abortions and that the younger generation of women hold more conservative views on abortion than their mothers. In fact, to the extent that imaging technologies are way more advanced today than in our mothers’ time, and have largely shaped today’s views on abortion, one could argue that younger women are rather more informed and advanced than previous generations of women. But then again Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton were both staunch pro-life advocates long before the sonogram was invented, so I don’t know. Perhaps, contrary to prevailing orthodoxies, you don’t have to be a man or a non-childbearing woman to be against abortion. After all, the early feminists did draw parallels between women and the unborn.

    Too bad this is too much cognitive dissonance for someone who must maintain cohesion for such a fragile worldview that he/she must rationalize all contradictions and inconvenient facts as the work of man, or the insufficiently woman.

  47. I have no real problem with considering whether or not “hate” was a motivating factor for a particular crime, but only in the sentencing phase. That is, I think it’s realistic to assume that a Klansman who burned an AME church or an al Qaeda member who bombed an airport both did so as part of a general political program and that they’d be likely to do the same thing again, so maybe they should do some really hard time.

    You mean they are not being persicuted for their beliefs? Or am I misreading that 🙂

  48. The smallest minority on earth is the individual. Those who deny individual rights, cannot claim to be defenders of minorities.
    -Ayn Rand

  49. “But if Ron Paul, the only libertarian in Congress, is not “a minority individual,” I don’t know who is.”

    Let’s a take a moment of silence for all the libertarians who perished in the middle passage.

    Amen.

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