Something I just don’t get

Definition of Hatred: severe dislike.

Now, that’s the definition I would go with most often, but some would say hatred is evokes stronger feelings: animosity or hostility, perhaps.

Some of the things that hatred can drive people to do are criminal, there’s no denying it. But hatred, in and of itself, is not criminal; it is a feeling, and as such is far beyond the scope of the law.

It is not illegal to be racist; it is illegal to let your racism affect your business decisions. It is not illegal to dislike a religious group; it is illegal to allow this dislike to become discrimination in the workplace. It is not illegal, in fact, to be or to feel, it is only illegal when those states of being or feelings drive you to actually do something illegal.

So, if hatred is not illegal, how can incitement to hatred be illegal? Incitement to cause a breech of the peace, I understand, for a breech of the peach is an illegal act. Incitement to murder, ditto. But ‘inciting racial hatred’? It may not be nice, but how can it be against the law if the thing being incited isn’t?

14 thoughts on “Something I just don’t get

  1. Y’see, I have been musing on such things recently. *Why* is it illegal to discriminate? (This is ignoring the statist’s public sector paradise, that should be agnostic.)

    If I had my own business/club/society, why shouldn’t I be allowed to say who gets in or not? It may be beyond dumb to turn away *insert some oppressed minority here* because they are part of *insert some oppressed minority here again*, but why is it illegal? If I run a business, and I don’t hire the best just because they fall into my own predujices, why should that be of a concern to anyone? If my business fails because I exclude people, then I won’t have a business. But why is that illegal?

    You can say who can, or cannot, be invited into your home. Why is the workplace different?

    As for incitement laws, don’t get me started. Oh, right, I already have started, so I shall continue. Repeal them all. If I want to stand up and say Tony Blair is an unmitigated, disreputable cunt, I should be allowed to. If I say ‘get out there and kill him’, I should be allowed to. Do we have to legislate because the populus are dumb, and follow what their leaders sy? Surely even the dumbest of dumb have some sense of right and wrong? And realise that they can’t just go out and murder at the behest of some person who thinks he has some position in society?

    Although, as my Cassandra points out, this is all very well for me who can see the stupidity in what some say. But there are people who are influenced by such things.


  2. A couple of disagreements:

    • The hirin’ and firin’ aspects; sometimes things do need a little oversight.
    • If you say ‘go out there and kill him’ from the podium of a heavily armed protest outside Downing Street, then you may bear some responsibility for the outcome… Context, audience and leadership potential all matter.
    • The ‘some responsibility’ mentioned in the previous point may extend to a medal, but is unlikely to go so far as a cabinet level post.
  3. No, I don’t get *why* they need to have a little oversight.

    Surely it comes down to private property again? If I run a business, then why shouldn’t I chose to hire just hot chicks? If it turns out that they can’t do the job, and the business folds due to my predisposition to having only hot chicks work for me, then that is my problem.

    Discrimination on such grounds (although it is never bad to hire hawt chickery) is pure dumb. You should always hire the best person. But why should that be legistlated against? That is what I can’t see. Why is this different from not allowing non-members into you members-only club?

    I am aware of what this leads to. Jobs for the boys and all that. *But* in private entrerprise that should be ok. I whole-heartedly agree that the State shouldn’t discriminate. But then, if I had my way, the State wouldn’t be as big as it is, so it wouldn’t overly be an issue.

    On the firing grounds, yes, there should be protection there. But we have that already, don’t we?

    I still don’t see why I should bear responsiblity for others’ actions. If I were in government, then yes, my word would have implications for others. Like sending in the army to machine gun prisons, or something.

    I never thought I would see the day when the esteemed libertarian ejh expounds statist controls on us. Which is what the discrimination legislation is. Maybe I am putting it wrong. Maybe if someone wants to shoot their own business in the foot, they should be allowed to.

  4. a) I’m not saying we need more regulation. Much less, in fact, but not ‘none at all’.

    b) Private companies rarely have the problems I’m thinking of; big fuck off listed companies have them more often. At what point does it stop being a ‘private business’ and start being a ‘public company’?

    c) b leads onto a whole different rant; granting individual rights to collectives such as companies, but that’s for a different day.

    d) The ‘limits’ I’m suggesting on free speech and that sort of thing are only what was in place in the US pre-civil war. Not the nonsense that we have now, or that they have now, but a little common sense. If you have a position of power over someone (as a boss, or a gang leader, or whatever), and you expressly order a person or group of people to commit an illegal act, then of course you bear some of the responsibility. If you do it in a a general way, or without any hold over the people you’re talking to, then there’s nothing wrong with it.

  5. I must have a blind spot on this point.

    What is the difference between giving someone with private property the right to not give entry to anyone they don’t want to, and that of not employing someone you don’t want to? Why should the State tell me whom I should and should not be allowed to employ?

    Public companies surely are those under control of the State? Why can’t a private business be bigger than an equivalent State-run one?

    I agree there should be some regulation, to stop explotation, but I don’t agree that there should be employment (in the private sector) discrimination laws.

    And how do you draft laws that are just common sense? As the thing about common sense is that it is neither yadayadayada

  6. I don’t mean public sector, I mean PLCs and the like that are not owned by individuals, but are overwhelmingly owned by other PLCs, banks and similar organisations. Who controls large companies? Other large companies, that’s who. Unfortunately, individuals can’t exert much control over them. How do you propose they’re dealt with?

    Sorry, my tinfoil hat fell down over my eyes there, all better now.

    How do you draft laws that are just common sense? You don’t, but that doesn’t mean that you abandon the concept. Small, simple statements do better than massive missives of legal jargon. And writing new laws to deal with a stupidly small number of incidents would be illegal, of course…

  7. Who controls large corporations? What do you mean by control? If you are talking anti-cartel stuff, in my world, that is what the government is for. Government as facilitators for free trade.That, and collecting our bins. And possibly running the army.

    If the large companies have shareholders that are only after the bottom line, this leads to them only wanting to hire the best employees, so the only discrimination there is for smart people. If there is predujice on some middle managers part, and his department suffers, well, then, he is out on his ear. I still don’t see why there needs to be legislation for employment hiring. Firing, oh yes, I can see that. But not hiring.

    /me wanders off to ponder if there should be firing legislation at all, and if that is a sop to some unreconstructed leftist *shudder* tendancy

  8. Why should they collect the bins? Surely private enterprise is better placed to do that? [/ devils advocate]

    I’d add “maintain rural roads” to the list as well.

  9. Actually, that was a quip from a quote from early merkan right-wingers

    Local government should be to collect the bins, national government to maintain an army, and that should be the limit of their influence.

  10. Stray: try reading Milton Friedman’s “Capitalism and Freedom” – he agrees with you that companies should be free to hire and fire according to their prejudices, for pretty much the reasons you give.

    I think I’m halfway between you and Ed. I see regulation being a tool for breaking down the irrational prejudice that used to exist. These days? I’m not sure there’s any point to it.

    Oh, and bin collecting is a public health issue, hence why the the gummint does it.

  11. Chez: cheers for the recommendation, I shall buy that this weekend.

    Ed: The add-a-comment box would be better at the bottom, so I could see the comment I was referring to. I could put this in the changed-site post, but meh, I am here now.

  12. ST: Better?

    Chez: There still is irrational prejudice, and there always will be. I don’t think that the law is the best way to get rid of it; it’s whats been used for many years with little or nothing in the way of results. I just think that there should be bare-bones legislation in place for only the very worst offenders.

    And I see why the gummint should do some bin collecting, but I think that private enterprise can do it better and cheaper. Lots of businesses round here find that paying rates and for a private waste collection is better for them in the long run than relying on the council.

  13. Ed: I think I only clearly expressed half my position. I was trying to imply that these days there’s no point to the regulation we had. You can’t really prove whether someone hates your skin colour, you can only infer it from what’s said and done. Now that we are in a position where the market will marginalise those who still hold the irrational prejudices, there’s no need for the regulations anymore.

  14. I see what you mean, but I’m not so sure that all the rule outlines should be removed in their entirety. We are not in such a position; we live in a world where almost any specific group could become a target of mass irrational prejudice quite quickly. The public is fickle, etc etc etc.

    Basically, basic (ie, much less powerful than current) anti-discrimination laws pass my version of the jew in the attic test.

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