Hate Crime Laws: Dangerous and Divisive
20 Pages Posted: 1 Apr 2015
Date Written: January 15, 2003
The great promise of American law is Equal Protection: everyone is equal before the law. Colorado’s Ethnic Intimidation statute runs contrary to this promise, by creating preferred classes of victims. Proposed “hate crimes” laws would make the problem even worse. Different groups should not be contending for special status in our criminal law. Identity politics strikes at the heart of the American motto of e pluribus unum, and encourages people to think of themselves as members of particular groups -- rather than as, most of all, Americans first. Laws based on identity politics lead to skewed prioritization of law enforcement resources, and impinge on values of free speech, which includes the freedom to hold and express the most odious ideas. Until Colorado’s statute is repealed, it should be improved by stronger penalties for the creation of hoaxes.
Keywords: hates crimes, ethnic intimidation, First Amendment, Equal Protection, hoaxes
JEL Classification: K14, K42
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation