The Criminalization of Hate Crimes

I oppose the criminalization of so-called hate crimes. Whatever happened to be in the mind of a criminal should not be seen as altering the nature or augmenting the severity of his crime.

However, if hate crimes are going to be an enforceable legal category, wouldn’t it make sense to recognize people who are impelled by statism to commit wrongs — that is, to support or carry out the government’s business as usual — as having committed hate crimes?

After all, the state has been far and away the most vicious and destructive institution human beings have ever devised, so support for it and its characteristic actions would seem to be prima facie hateful. Enforcing this kind of hate crime would certainly alter the face of law and politics as they presently exist.

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Robert Higgs is Senior Fellow in Political Economy at the Independent Institute and Editor at Large of the Institute’s quarterly journal The Independent Review. He received his Ph.D. in economics from Johns Hopkins University, and he has taught at the University of Washington, Lafayette College, Seattle University, the University of Economics, Prague, and George Mason University. He has been a visiting scholar at Oxford University and Stanford University, and a fellow at the Hoover Institution and the National Science Foundation.