Sam Smith - As Congress moves closer to expanding hate crime legislation, we find liberals leading an attack on the free speech provisions of the Constitution. Simply put, there can be no constitutional bar to hate - only to criminal offenses that stem from it. And you can not constitutionally increase the penalty for a crime simply because of someone's ideological or religious motivations, because that effectively criminalizes thought. It is the crime alone that must be judged.
Not only are the proposed new provisions unconstitutional, they are pointless. No one has showed how a hate crime might be prevented because of added punishment; that just isn't the way that criminally inclined haters operate.
Further, the liberals lined up behind this pointless and unconstitutional law include a large number who have been inactive as the government increasingly invades the privacy and freedoms of its citizens. Issues like the drug war, illegal wiretapping, and urban apartheid-style neighborhood blockades don't attract much attention. There is to be sure, a hardy band of progressives - led by groups like the ACLU, the Electronic Privacy Information Center and anti-drug war groups - who are still on the case, but many liberals seem almost bored by these matters.
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