Hate crimes

Against Hate Crimes Laws, for Attacks on Cops or Anyone Else

Matt Welch argues on MSNBC that hate crimes laws run up against problems with free speech, double jeopardy, and squabbles over who gets to be a protected class


This morning I appeared on MSNBC's AM Joy to talk about this week's police/protest controversies. Part of the conversation centered on the role of hate crimes laws, and whether it makes sense to extend their protection to law enforcement, as Louisiana did six weeks ago with its "Blue Lives Matter" law.

I argued that not only do police officers enjoy any number of enhanced protections in the law (especially in such regressive states as Louisiana), but that the controversy illustrates the whole problem with hate crimes laws in the first place. I start at around the six-minute mark:  

Reason on hate crimes laws here.

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  1. …but that the controversy illustrates the whole problem with hate crimes laws in the first place.

    At which point the host and other panelists tuned you out. And let’s stow that outfit until after Labor Day, shall we? I mean, really.

    1. Believe it or not, though I had personally retired the red-shirt/black-tie combo, multiple people on MSNBC have been all, “Oh man, we LOVE it when you wear the red shirt!” So when the laundry’s running low, I throw them a bone.

      1. multiple people on MSNBC have been all, “Oh man, we LOVE it when you wear the red shirt!”

        “could you wear these little horns too?”

        1. Those can be added in post production.

      2. If MSNBC likes it when you wear Nazi colors, you should wear red, gold, and green instead.

        1. Karma karma karma karma karma chameeeeeeeleoooon?

          No, no I’m not doing it.

    2. At which point the host and other panelists tuned you out

      Matt doesn’t speak fluent feelgood-racial-justice-gibberish

    3. Having just listened to it, they do actually seem to pay attention to what he said re: Cops already have plenty of Super-Special-Protected-Status, so adding the “hate-crime” cherry is pretty stupid.

      they do sort of miss the point that hate-crimes themselves are a terrible legal concept.

      1. well, yes: an Orwellian crowd would miss the idea that thought crime leads to bad outcomes.

      2. More than just missing it, their take was to be offended that any other group would horn in on their special protected status. They seemed not just unfazed by the notion of hate crimes, but enthusiastically protective of their status as uniquely victims of hate crimes.

  2. If only Reason writers were such purists when it came to bathroom laws,

    *cough* NIck’s a cunt *cough*

  3. IF hate crimes laws exist THEN they should apply to anyone who attacks a person or persons expressly because of their skin color or apparent ethic groups or religion. So, the mook in Dallas should be open to presecution for a hate crime IF, as reprtd in some places, he expressly said he was targeting WHITE police officers.

    Maybe if Hate Crimes laws were applied evenly, on Black on White crimes as well as White on Black ones, we could get more people seeing the fundamental idiocy of the idea.

    1. Exactly. Perhaps the best weapon against hate crime laws is to keep expanding them.

      1. Indeed. Because opposing hate crimes it itself a hate crime.

        1. *is*

          I *hate* typos.

    2. if Hate Crimes laws were applied evenly

      From what I have observed, they ARE applied evenly. You just don’t hear about it because the reverse cases are relatively rare.

      1. It’s pretty well-established that the DoJ does not consider black-on-white hate crimes to be of much, if any, concern. You don’t hear about them because those cases don’t fit the Narrative. If a group of whites had horrifically raped, tortured, and murdered a young black couple, you’d still be hearing about it. But the races were reversed, so few remember the story.

        1. Papaya – I might be in NorCal for a wedding in a couple months. Any way I can get in touch with you?

          1. Sure. My handle @ gmail.com. Our last local meetup was fun. Maybe next time we can get C. Anacreon and Sevo to show up. They had conflicts last time.

    3. It’s the completely arbitrary application of the law that pisses me off the most. Twice as many white people are killed by black people than the other way around, according to Obama’s DoJ report in 2011. When it comes to being murdered by a stranger, it’s 3X. You can argue about hate crime statistics all you want, but the raw overall numbers are pretty damning to the narrative.

      1. Twice as many white people are killed by black people than the other way around

        There’s ~8 times as many white people as black people. Now look at those stats…

    4. IF hate crimes laws exist THEN they should apply to anyone who attacks a person or persons expressly because of their skin color or apparent ethic groups or religion.

      But that makes those categories special classes. If hate crime is a law it should apply to everyone. If people get attacked because the attacker hates gun owners, or the left-handed, or vegans that’s as much a “hate-crime” as the ones in the categories you named.

    5. IF hate crimes law exist THEN it is, literally, impossible to justify limiting them to only one arbitrarily designated protected class – it inevitably becomes a *set* of protected classes and then becomes something covering everyone, at which point its original purpose is moot but it has set into stone a precedent that some men are more equal than others.

  4. ? Save the whales
    Oh, funky momma, save the whales
    Yeah, save the whales
    You just got to save the whales but believe me when I tell you,
    Kill the seals
    Yeah, kill the seals
    Cause the seals eat all the fish
    And if you don’t like it when I say kill the seals then,
    Save your breath
    oh, save your breath ?

  5. Ok Matt, you were sitting there. You actually met them. I just listen to them on a short clip. Maybe I have it wrong.

    To me they came across as flaming racists. Like unabashed, unreformed Klansmen. Only highly professional journalists, not back-woods trailer trash who can’t hold down a job. A Sr. Editor for Ebony came across as passionately racist. We have a guy who shot and killed several police officers and they are claiming incredulity that he would ever have said he wanted to kill white people.

    And then they pivoted to themes of “our race-based memes are special and cannot be copied by people who do not share our race”. “You know, to appropriate the language ‘lives matter'” ….. “people who look like us, who share these experiences”….

    Having lived at the intersection of black and white for a decade and a half, this sort of language is more than just a curiosity to me. I could not have silently endured that. And I’m the polite one. My ex-wife would have thrown all social convention to the wind and gone off on these two.

    The easy and comfortable racism on display in this segment should be disturbing to everyone. I know it is a trite and tired argument, but one could trivially replace the faces on the screen and flip races in their language and you would have a klan rally. And not a rally from today… You’d have to go back 30 years to have some klansman talking like that. It was really bracingly offensive.

    1. If you liked the ghost of Christmas present, just wait until you meet the ghost of Christmas future…

    2. You’d have to go back 30 years to have some klansman talking like that. It was really bracingly offensive.

      These people have been speaking that way at least that long but it’s done so often in their echo chamber that no one calls bullshit.

    3. Welcome to the fashionable, politically correct world of 2016 prog-think. It’s the official ideology of academia now, and holds far more sway in D.C. than your musty old Constitution. If Hillary wins, get ready for more of it. If Trump wins, less of it (maybe).

      1. Welcome to the fashionable, politically correct world of 2016 prog-think.

        It is shocking how nakedly racist they feel comfortable being, including at work. Even (especially?) the interns!

  6. Wait, what? You were actually allowed to speak?

    Melissa Harris Perry haz a sad.

    1. She invited me on her program (which is the successor of) dozens of times.

      1. Wear little windshield wipers on your glasses next time and see if she accuses you of a lisp crime.

  7. the red-shirt/black-tie combo

    When I saw Flogging Molly live, the lead singer was wearing a red shirt and black suit.

    I thought, “Wait- Welch can sing?”

    1. Not only I can sing, but I can sing better than THAT dude!

      (Not that I’ve ever heard him sing.)

  8. Of course, the left favors this sort of thing. Just a few days back, it was House Dems wanting to put people on Soviet-style secret lists and strip them of various rights for having impolite thoughts.

    If you’re stupid enough to post something like “jihad to America” on your Derpbook page, you may well get some govt attention. But that act alone does not erase due process and the rest.

    1. I think it more likely they’re searching for phrases like, “Smith & Wesson makes good revolvers” and “I like Glocks in .40 cal.”

  9. I liked the shout out to reason commenter favorite Dylan Matthews.

    1. Oh, is that who Matt confused Dylan Roof with?


      deep down i want to believe that was intentional.

      1. It’s not like Dylan Matthews is going to kick his ass or anything.

  10. Should attack on police be a hate crime?

    Let me answer that question by posing another:

    Should attack on criminals be a hate crime?

      1. “(Censorship) was certainly not our intent,” he said. “It conflicted with some people so we took the picture down and replaced it with another one.”

        Wow. The cognitive dissonance burns.

  11. “Working in a profession is not an immutable characteristic,” etc.

    What else isn’t an immutable characteristic?

    1. Hitl–um, I mean, I’m not sure.

    2. The Spanish Inquisition?

  12. She calls the police when her car breaks down?

  13. The ADL says that the list of hate crimes should only include those things which can’t be changed–and so police shouldn’t be protected in hate crime legislation because a profession can be changed. So does that mean the ADL doesn’t believe hate crime laws should protect people for things like being transgender or because of their religion?

    People can change their gender, so attacking people because they’ve changed their gender isn’t a legitimate hate crime according to the ADL?

    People can change their religion, so attacking people because of their religion isn’t a legitimate hate crime according to the ADL?

    Sounds to me like the ADL’s rules for legitimate hate crimes are fluid as all get out. And I bet they support hate crime legislation that protects people both because they’re transgender and because of their religion, too.

    1. Where are you getting this?

      1. Did I misread the ADL statement in the video?

        The ADL statement the host quoted said that hate crime legislation should only include those characteristics that can’t be changed, and because professions (like police) can be changed, they shouldn’t be protected with hate crime legislation.

        1. Here’s the quote from the video:

          “ADL strongly believes that the list of personal characteristics included in hate crime laws should remain limited to immutable characteristics, those qualities that can [sic] or should not be changed. Working in a profession is not a personal characteristic, and is not immutable”.


          It’s in the video above at 5:29

            1. Yeah, that’s basically what I’m saying.

              Basing their opposition to hate crime legislation that protects the police–because being a policeman is a profession that can be changed–contradicts their support for hate crime legislation that protects other things that can be changed like religion and gender.

              In other words, their line between things that should be protected by hate crime legislation and things that shouldn’t is arbitrary as hell.

              1. They’re consistent that hate crimes should protect people they like, not icky people.

                1. ^ This.

                  IOW: “I was attacked because I am white/straight/male.” = Not a hate crime.

              2. The line is not arbitrary at all. On one side are the good people who believe the right things. On the other side are the bad people who believe the wrong things.

            2. These inci?dents can dam?age the fab?ric of our soci?ety

              “We don’t cotton to your kind.”

              1. Look at Rich here, pissin’ in the melting pot.

  14. As Matt Welch pointed out, cops already have hate-crime laws, they just don’t use the word “hate crime,” but there’s sentencing enhancements for crimes when the victim is a cop.

    1. It’s a signaling thing.

      It’s just culture war shit.

      The legislators want to score points with BLM as the bad guys, and people buy into that shit.

    2. “School Zone. Fines Double.”

    3. cops already have hate-crime laws

      Shooting cops isn’t enhanced because the shooter hates cops. It’s enhanced because shooting cops is an attack on government authority. Cops don’t have hate-crime laws, governments have hate-crime laws.

  15. She invited me on her program…dozens of times.

    I know; I was rooting for you, Matt. I observed your presence at the table, but can barely recall you being allowed an opportunity to speak at any length, or provide nuanced explanations of the libertarian position on much of anything anything.

    1. Matts a good token white boy.
      He takes a verbal beating gracefully.

  16. I O U [reason] one free pass on an egregious proofreading error.

    -P Brooks

  17. We all know that hate crime definitions are a slippery slope and will eventually expand to include “climate change deniers”, gun owners (“bitter clingers”), and just about any group outside the gov’t network of mutual backscratching. So let the “hate speech” continue.

    Sticks and stones might break my bones but words will never hurt me. Lack of ability to speak freely, however, could end my life or at least my livelihood.

    1. You may “enjoy” this.

      “[T]he question for law enforcement is where do you draw the line between free speech and something else? If a message is espousing someone to take action, even if they inspire one guy to strike out, isn’t that enough?”

  18. GILMORE is more interested in hat crimes.

    1. That joke is a ha! Crime.

      1. The hydrogen wasted by your breathing while writing this joke is an H crime.

  19. 911? Hello, we need an ambulance. A man has been shot 4 times and insulted at least a dozen.

  20. Ah, hate crime. That phrase is up there with free gift and ATM machine.

    Hey retards: all crimes are hate crimes.

    1. Even crimes of passion?

      1. In those, the perpetrators hate the laws….

        1. I noticed you post was date-stamped 11:28PM in the evening.

          1. The server must be on Eastern time.

          2. Was he “showing you his comic book” at 8:28 PM?

    2. Meh, my heart was free of hate during just about every crime I’ve ever committed.

    3. all crimes are hate crimes

      People don’t burglarize houses because they hate the owners, but because they want the stuff to hock for drug money. Most bank robbers agree, as do almost all contract killers.

      Here’s someone who committed a felony for love:

    4. I dunno, some criminals might be indifferent to their victims, seeing them as simply “source of shit I want”. Certainly that’s how governments act.

  21. What comes next in law enforcement ?


  22. I think that hate crime laws miss the point. And I think the point is a very important one. If we assume a criminal justice system like the one we have we ought to ask how it ought to work. I have some ideas on the subject:

    1) It should be shameful to be a criminal. Your family might “welcome” you back after incarceration, and you might eventually be able to redeem yourself, but you fucked up, and brought shame on them. Everyone knows it, and agrees about it.

    2) 1 implies that the law is just: yes, the rule of law is important, and yes, we sometimes have to follow laws we think unjust, but if the law is manifestly stupid I’m not going to think people who break the law ought to be ashamed, and I’m not going to follow it. Once I have decided that… it’s just a game of ‘can you catch me?’ I played that game for a while, a long time ago. I won, and I don’t feel the slightest bit of shame. I was right, and the law was wrong.

    3) Punishment should be sure, or as sure as is possible. On the other hand, it should be proportional. We have this weird justice system in which people are brought up on charges, let go, let go again, and then suddenly sentenced to twenty years in prison, for essentially the same crime.

    And this is the root of the problem. Violent criminals, the kind who kill people, are not known for their ability to plan. Many would commit a crime if there were a 10% chance of a life sentence, when they would not if there were a 100% chance of a month or two in jail.

    1. Proportional punishment is a big thing. We have lost our minds, tossing people in jail for years and years. They have no shot at having a productive life after that.

      You want to deter recidivism, not guarantee it. There are lots of crimes that essentially go unpunished because there is no real alternative to long stints in jail. And then, as you suggest, after a couple of wrist slaps, they drop the hammer and leave them in prison for 5 years. If only there were a decent alternative.

      We have “community service”, but that doesn’t really cut it.

      What we really need is a shitty job that everyone would hate. I have two. First, kudzu removal. Kudzu runs wild on right-of-ways throughout the south. It grows so fast it is almost impossible to eradicate. So if you get a DUI, you get two weeks of cutting and digging up kudzu. After your regular job. That’ll get your attention.

      Second is sorting garbage. We have recycling and alternative energy solutions that could reduce use of landfills. So send in the criminals to sort the garbage in the dump. Pulling out things like paper or wood for burning, food for composting, plastic and metals for recycling. The idea would be to nearly eliminate the use of landfills by having punishment work. Simple assault? Go sort the garbage on the weekends for three months. We get energy from burning the stuff or recycling and save space in landfills. And it would be hideous work. A real deterrent without wasting people’s lives.

      1. Yeah you don’t understand criminals at all.

  23. I agree that hate crime laws are stupid. Try people for their actions and not for their thoughts. But I checked out on this video as the person from Ebony repeatedly demonstrated their racism over and over again. Either race pride is racist or it isn’t. I’m tired of being told that there are two sets of rules.

  24. Am I the only one who read the headline as “Matt Welch is against hate crimes laws, but is in favor of attacks on people”?

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