Friday, March 02, 2007

It's a Jew Thing

Pam Spaulding has a rather run-of-the-mill rant by a right-wing crazy about the horrors of hate crime bills, with the added twist that it's all a Jewish conspiracy to further our plans of world domination.

As a Jew, it always is a bit odd when a position you support is labeled as part of a massive Jewish conspiracy. Even if I do support it, even if most Jews support it, that doesn't make it link to some massive plot to take over the world. All things considered, it's not too difficult of a nuance, but it still is harder than my normal response to claims of Jewish conspiracy, which tend to run along the lines of "No. Moron."

Hate crime laws are an interesting case for me--I support them, but I don't think they are slam-dunks. I think that there need to be safeguards so that free expression of views--even unpopular views--is preserved. I am less sympathetic to the view that it punishes the same crime differently based on motivation. We do that already--a murder is judged differently if it is for hire, if it is pre-meditated or done in the passion of the moment, or if the killing was done because the killer thought he was acting in self-defense. More specifically, I'm persuaded by the Paul Begala argument that we all intuitively know there is a qualitative moral distinction between spray-painting the school with "Go Longhorns!" versus "Kill the Kikes!"

Presumably other people (including--gasp--other Jews!) will have different views on the subject. I'm very skeptical that this issue commands the sort of quasi-universal Jewish support as say, opposition to genocide or even support for Israel does.


PG said...

I don't think there's much reason to fear that hate crime laws will bleed over into chilling expression. Hate Jews all you want, talk about it all you want -- just don't commit a crime against them. However, I think Begala's example is one where the two actually should be punished the same, because otherwise the government IS treating people differently based on their speech, rather than their motivation. If defacing school property is a crime, it should be the same crime regardless of what the defacing words actually say. On the other hand, if you choose to deface a synagogue, "Kill the Kikes" certainly indicates that you have a hateful motivation for the crime, whereas spraypainting "Go Longhorns" on a synagogue is just weird.

Larry Silverstein said...

Jews should take over the world.

You ever see a bad Jewish business decision?

The world is just one big business, and I'll happily sit at the top as a Jew licking the cream.