There is a bill going before South Africa’s parliament which criminalises “Hate Crimes” and “Hate Speech”.
The DDF’s opinion of the bill is that it is window dressing intended to promote the notion that the ANC government is doing something significant about hate crimes and hate speech when South Africa already has an abundance of laws which deal with crimes of assault with or without the intent to murder, which are simply not being adequately enforced.
If I were to batter a person of a particular race or gender to death because I hate members of that race or gender, the fact of my hatred does not make the crime any more heinous than if I did not harbour a hatred of the victim’s race or gender but assaulted the victim simply because I wanted the victim’s cellphone. Whatever the motive, the crime is murder and the punishment should be death. So a hate crime bill is simply superfluous and nonsensical and a waste of parliamentary and state resources.
Rather parliament should be forcing government to enforce the already perfectly adequate laws regarding crimes against the person, which, if they cannot currently enforce them, presumes an unwillingness or inability to uphold any law, whether new or old, necessary or unnecessary, good or bad. So what is the use of another piece of irrelevant legislation?
More serious is the tagging on of “Hate Speech” to the bill in order to criminalise the words you, I or anyone else wishes to, or, even unthinkingly, utters, to or about another person or group or indeed a community, which can, however nebulously or even blatantly, be construed to be “Hate Speech”.
The next logical step will be a bill criminalising “Hate Thought” and the State will be able to charge people who have exhibited in the eyes of a plaintiff, evidence of thinking hatefully about blonds or brunets or even bald people. Collective narcissists will have a ball, hounding people out of their homes for making public comments about inconsiderate people who display their naked bald pates in public spaces, which comment irritates a plaintiff who is probably bald.
At which point it will become illegal to have a personal opinion, let alone express it, about anybody or anything.
And everyone should be concerned about this for everyone can be accused of hating someone, or something about some other, and whether you are Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Hindi or atheist, black, white, pink or cerise, you can be accused by someone full of hate, of being guilty of hateful thoughts or hateful speech.
Does any of this make a difference and am I being unreasonable? There are countries where there is so much government overreach that this sort of crime actually exists, and those convicted can be and are executed, judicially or extra-judicially, for their “crimes”, and this in the 21st century! Do we want to go there?
Instead, can’t Parliament find something useful to do, like helping to solve Cape Town’s water crises?