The Ayn Rand Institute says that the federal hate crimes law that the House recently voted to expand should be done away with rather than being broadened. I concur.
From the article:
“The government’s job is to punish criminals for initiating force against other citizens; objective laws that ban the use of force and fraud are its means of doing so. But ‘hate crime’ laws undermine objective law at the root by punishing criminals, not for their actions, but for their ideas.
“According to ‘hate crime’ laws, a murderer deserves a greater punishment if his crime is motivated by an idea such as racism or sexism. If the government assumes the power to punish on the basis of ‘unacceptable’ ideas, it has assumed the power to exonerate and offer leniency to favored ideas.
“Once the government starts punishing criminals for acting on ‘unacceptable ideas,’ it has assumed the role of arbiter for which ideas are acceptable or not. If whoever wields power can shape the law to advance an ideological agenda, then it cannot be long before merely holding unorthodox or unconventional ideas becomes a crime that the government punishes.
As ARI implies, there is no legitimate reason for the government to create non-objective laws. Such laws are open to interpretation in every court and jury room in the country As such, they will create confusion and inconsistency in the legal system and undermine the sole basis for the government’s authority to punish: the promise of the state to provide equitable treatment to all criminal defendants.
The only purpose for a hate crimes law is for the sponsoring party to benefit politically by promising to punish crimes committed against their constituents more harshly than the ones these same people commit against others.
Such a law is, of course, completely contemptuous of the principle of fairness that is the foundation of the American legal system. This is why the hate crimes law should be repealed – to protect the long-term interests of the American people against legal distortions causes by vague laws that favor protected constituencies.