The Anti-Women 22

220px-Leahy2009

Respectfully submitted by Lawrence E. Rafferty(rafflaw)-Guest Blogger

This past week a vote was taken in the United States Senate and it was not a vote to end a filibuster!  The vote that I am referring to was a vote to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act.(VAWA)  It was noteworthy that the vote actually took place at all, but the results of the vote were especially interesting.  The vote to reauthorize VAWA, which was co-sponsored by Sen. Patrick Leahy,  passed by a 78 to 22 margin.  All 22 votes against the measure were by male Republican members of the Senate.

Before we disclose some of the members who voted against this bill, let’s discuss just what this bill has done for women.  “As the country celebrates the 18th anniversary of the legislation, here are some of the victories achieved through VAWA:

  • Victims can call for help. The National Domestic Violence Hotline was established as part of VAWA. It currently serves over 22,000 victims a month and has taken a total of 3 million calls.
  • Law enforcement officers are trained to help victims. 500,000 law enforcement officials, judges, and prosecutors a year are trained with VAWA funding to help domestic abuse victims.
  • Partner violence and homicides fell. From the year before VAWA’s passage until 2008, the number of women being killed by partners dropped 43 percent, and partner violence against women fell 53 percent.
  • Stalking became illegal. Before VAWA, stalking was not a federal crime. The law established stalking as a felony offense.
  • Rape is rape, no exceptions. Since the passage of VAWA, each state in the United States has updated its laws so that rape by a partner is treated equally to rape by a stranger.”  Think Progress

I guess I could understand a Senator voting against the reauthorization if they thought the bill was too expensive and had not been successful in protecting women in the past, but that does not seem to be the case.  Some of the reasons the dissenting Senators gave for voting against the VAWA are startling.  One reason given was that the VAWA reauthorization included Native American women and LGBT women and undocumented women.

“Two Senators — Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) — also offered significant amendments to the VAWA bill. Grassley’s amendment stripped all Native American, LGBT, and undocumented victim protections. It was voted down on Thursday of last week. Cornyn’s, aimed exclusively on the bill’s language relating to tribal lands, failed on Monday. Grassley and Cornyn amendments

Does it surprise you that all 22 of the dissenting Senators were male?  If this act was so bad, you would think that at least one female Senator would have voted against it.  Even in this current political climate, I just cannot understand how approving a bill that has helped prevent violence against women could be voted against by anyone.  Eight of the Senators even voted against moving the bill ahead to a vote.

The original VAWA passed in 1994 with even more Republican Senators voting against it, so maybe we are making progress.  VAWA    As I think about it, there were probably fewer female members of the Senate in 1994, so maybe we are not making progress after all.  Why do you think that some of the dissenting Senators wanted to omit Native American women from the VAWA protections?  Aren’t Native American women citizens? I realize that some of the Republican’s Native American concerns involve the Native American courts being able to deal with non-Native American participants. LA Times

From a political standpoint, I was surprised to see so many Republican Senators vote against reauthorizing VAWA.  Especially in light of the Republican Party’s public attempts to court Hispanic voters, it seems strange that some of the leading Republicans in the Senate would vote against a bill designed to continue programs that have helped protect women at risk.

I think we should ask Senate Minority leader McConnell and GOP Presidential hopeful Marco Rubio and Sen. John Cornyn and Sen. Lindsey Graham and Sen. Chuck Grassley, and the other dissenting Senators,  if they think women do not deserve the legal protections afforded them in this important piece of legislation.  Would women in these dissenting Senator’s states agree with their votes on this legislation?  Do these gentlemen remember how many voters are women?    What do you think of this legislation?

Additional sources:  Talking Points Memo; Think Progress;

100 thoughts on “The Anti-Women 22”

  1. Alan Ginsberg? They Alan Ginsberg? Are you sure?

    That is reason enough to quit taking her seriously.

  2. Steven:

    Many of our norms came from when people used manners in public. The rich were arbiters of good taste and manners back in the day. I think people probably wanted to do business with the rich and hob nob a bit. People back in the day didnt think the rich were all that bad.

    In order to do this they needed to learn some manners, so it was all very rational. You want to do business with Henry Ford, better not pick your nose in front of him. Do you want to sell Andrew Carnegie a new shotgun or rifle? Better not slurp your soup or hold your fork incorrectly while having lunch with him.

    Well anyway you get the picture.

    “We, as a collective group, are somehow supposed to meet in the middle on something as subjective as personal value structures?”

    In a free society I am not sure why this is a problem? If you want to join a commune and engage in free love and one for all and all for one, be my guest just dont ask me to contribute or to join.

    If you dont value the same outcome, then why in gods name would you want to interact with the person? If a builder wanted to build an unsafe structure why would I want to design it to his specifications? In a free society I would not be required to do so.

    You certainly havent pointed out any contradictions.

    And by the way did you actually read what I posted? He inst talking about slurping soup and picking your nose. He is talking about ethics and morals.

    I believe we call slurping soup and picking your nose habits Farting and belching are natural functions like urination or the production of saliva. The reason for slurping soup is a spoon which is a utensil. I would certainly love for you to explain how using a utensil is immoral. Are you against knives and forks as well? Why do people eat with utensils? So we dont use the same hand that wiped our a*s to eat with. You see, its a sanitary thing. Much etiquette is based on function and has nothing to do with the type of socialization the author in post above is talking about.

    1. Bron:

      What are you talking about? I think everything I wrote literally went over your head, or maybe you didn’t understand what I was trying to say.

      1. You stated that norms come from the manners used by people in public….that people reflected the manners of the rich.

      100% Correct….and that is a beautiful example SUPPORTING socialization, not contradicting it. Why did the rich determine that those specific actions were appropriate and others not appropriate? How did one determine that one action was more offensive than another? Why did they become the social norm? You can’t simply say something is offensive because now it is considered to be that way. Manners are created through mass acceptance via socialization…they directly reflect the norms that are accepted by a given society and are promulgated through the use of proper etiquette.

      Is it okay for a woman to be a judge? Of course…but in cultures different from our Western culture, no, it wouldn’t. Would you kiss Donald Trump on the cheek three times before doing business with him? No. Why? It’s not the norm in our culture. But in Egypt that is the standard greeting. That is the norm. Do they lack manners? How can there manners be so different than ours? Don’t they understand that no one will buy their products if they don’t act like how you think they should?

      The answer is simple: different cultures, different norms. Socialization.

      And you also seem to put everything into an economic scenario, which is patently absurd, I don’t walk out of my door and interact with world by buying stuff ad nauseam.

      2. You stated, in a free society, what’s the problem with meeting in the middle?

      There is no problem….if it was possible. The problem is that the very nature of subjectivity is that people will not agree. My mother loved the movie the Age of Innocence. I hated it. We will never come to the middle on that. Values are no different. Think about abortion; some are for it, others against it. Where is the middle ground? Both involve individually guided value judgments.

      3. You stated that, why would would you then interact with someone without the same value judgments if you could avoid it?

      Because you can’t always avoid it. I don’t believe we have the luxury of deciding with whom we get to interact with on a daily basis. So are you going to avoid everyone who doesn’t agree with you? Unless you live in a bubble, your going to encounter people who don’t share the same values as you. It is inevitable.

      Yes, I can avoid the guy that builds a crappy house but that is not culture, that is poor craftsmanship. They are not the same.

      You basically are suffering from the tragedy of the commons. Basically, if I am a bigger, stronger person who was taught that the strong should take what they want from the weak, and you were weaker than me, my personal values have no problem with me beating you down and taking what I desire from you. You, on the other hand, might think differently, and value your personal liberty.

      Without “duties” or “government rights”, like Ayn Rand advocates, your left to hope that we both agree in the middle. Good luck getting your property back…without laws, with are government rights, you have no recourse but to out strong the stronger person.

      4. Habits, functions and utensils.

      The slurping of soup is practice in Asian countries to show appreciation. Yes, the utensil aids you in doing this but that wasn’t the point. The lack of slurping, in those same Asian countries, is indicative of you NOT enjoying the soup. But in Western culture, slurping is considered rude, even if it is the best soup you’ve ever had.

      It is a cultural difference.

      And using utensils has nothing to do with sanitation. Are you serious? It is cultural. You do know that there are several cultures where they eat WITH THEIR HANDS only. Right? Why do Asians cultures use chop sticks? Why do western cultures use a fork?

      I had a professor in undergrad who tell you the cultural significance of each utensil we use…and it was amazing. It is also Socialization.

      And habits and functions are considered rude when society deems them rude. Sanitation can be a reason for why society finds some functions rude, but lets look at those having no sanitation issues. Getting dressed is a habit…why don’t we just walk around naked? Be much easier, and cheaper, to not have clothes in hot climates. Breathing is a function…yet no one finds that rude. Unless you are breathing really loud over someone’s shoulder while sitting next to them. Burping is also a function, with no sanitation issues, but people find it rude when done in public. In private, it is up to personal discretion. How about talking? That is a function and a habit. And its normally fine. But in certain situations we know its rude to talk loudly and we whisper. How do we know its rude?

      You would say because we learned from others that it is…which is right, it is also socialization.

      But to further illustrate the point, folks from Europe can typically spot an American because we talk louder than most Europeans, especially when eating dinner or hanging out with friends. Why? Because speak loudly, when communicating, is considered a social norm in America. In Europe, it isn’t.

      It is culture.
      It is socialization.

  3. Mike Spindell:

    I recognize the existence of social norms as well.

    All I was trying to do is show why I am against calling crimes against women or minorities hate crimes. Socialization was used as an example of an anti-concept.

    She was a big propnent of leading a moral life and contrary to what you and others may believe, she was not an anarchist. People who think so, either have not read her works or do not understand the written word.

    I cooperate with people all the time in my work, you see, I have to if I wish to eat. And I volutarily cooperate and so do my clients, it is a mutually beneficial cooperation. I get paid and they get a safe structure which will be well built. If they are a builder of homes, for example, their customers will feel safe in their house when an earthquake or hurricane or tornado strikes.

    The customers will tell other people about how well built Diamond Homes are and Diamond Homes will get more customers and I will get more work. It is all very moral and we all voluntarily cooperate with each other to provide value. Plans in my case, a home in the builders case and money is the contribution from the home owner.

    By saying people are greedy you are denouncing the cooperation you are so much in favor of. Why would I cooperate with the home builder if he wasnt going to pay me? Why would the home builder build a house for no money?

    The only person to agree to that would be the home owner but then again I would not want a house where the builder and engineer were not paid for their time and work. It would not be very well done.

    So it is greedy to want to be able to feed your family, to buy a car, a house, to take a vacation, to exist?

    That is what you are saying, it is better to cooperate even if it means you wont be able to exist. I know that is not what you mean. And I dont think anarchy, thievery and murder are good.

    1. Mike:

      Spot on…however, I will be a bit less succinct.

      Bron:

      Isn’t the very term “anti-concept” an “anti-concept?” As you correctly quote, an anti-concept is “an unnecessary and rationally unusable term designed to replace and obliterate some legitimate concept.” In this case, you think socialization fits this definition. But, judging from the constant contradictions [explained below], an anti-concept is really a label applied to any concept that has ruffled the feathers of Miss Rand?

      Why? Continue reading…

      In fact, for most of this post, I will use her own words. In “Philosophy: Who Needs it” she criticizes anyone who believes in anti-concepts, suggesting that “if one asks him [someone who believes in anti-concepts] what he means by a given idea [an anti-concept], he will not be able to answer. If one asks him the reasons of his convictions, one will discover that his convictions are a thin, fragile film floating over a vacuum, like an oil slick in empty space.”

      So lets examine the “non-answer” and “oil slick in empty space” that is socialization.

      Do you pick your nose in public? Not tip at a restaurant? Walk around in the nude? Form a line at a cash register instead of just forming a mob? Fart and burp in a business meeting?

      Nobody’s rights are being violated by any of those actions, and performing some of them might be quite beneficial (picking nose, burping, farting) to the user, making them an objectively justifiable action. But, as a society, we have found that some of those actions, while not violating anyone’s rights, are objectionable. You also have to factor in how some behaviors (slurping soup, belching, tipping) are appropriate in some places but inappropriate in others based on cultural differences.

      So how do you refer to this learning of societal norms that differs from culture to culture? How can you reject a process, of which your a product, that informs and individual on how to behave….especially when Ayn Rand’s own ethical philosophy of objectivist ethics is based on the determination of “what is value”, or, as she simply suggests, “that which one acts to gain and/or keep.”

      For example, people in our culture want money, therefore, you can say that people in our culture value money. But why do people value money? It has no intrinsic value. In fact, if a Native American were dropped into this country right now would they value money? Nope. Why not? Socialization. This is why Ayn Rand’s anti-concept theory is stupid…socialization is defined as an anti-concept yet at the same time its the very mechanism needed to define what is valuable in order to make objectivist ethics function.

      But good try.

      As for reading Ayn Rand, I’ve read a lot of essays…and I have to ask you, how was Mike wrong? How is she moral? Ayn Rand despised the morality of self-sacrifice (which is why I find it funny when religious people quote her). Instead, as mentioned before, she advocated objectivist ethics; or, as it is simply put by her in an essay, “take what you want and pay for it.”

      The phrase, according to Rand, “take what you want” refers to the notion that human values are chosen [this circles back to socialization, since how do you choose what is valuable]. She goes on to suggest that a proper morality is not about religious commandments or duties, rather, it is about what you want out of life and what you must do to achieve that happiness. So the phrase “take what you want” really means that a person should use rational judgment to figure which courses of action will result in their happiness, or put more simply, “take what you rationally want.”

      This ties back into socialization. Let me provide a brief example. A 40 year old guy likes 15 year old girls. They make him happy. You have a 15 year old daughter. She likes this 40 year old man. He makes her happy. She makes him happy. They want to marry….are you ok with that?

      The answer is likely no, because that does not fall in line with our social norms and frankly, is repugnant. However, in other cultures, especially in more impoverished third world areas, the marriage of old men and young women is acceptable.

      Do you see the problem? You can’t on one hand say that socialization does not exist, because it is an anti-concept, and then at the same time act on the societal norms you have agreed are objectionable through socialization, to prevent your daughter from being happy with a 40year old man. You can’t have it both ways.

      And that is the fundamental problem with Rand…while not letting your daughter marry a 40 year old man is rational and makes you happy; from your daughter’s point of view, your response is irrational because it does not allow her to make her own value judgment on what makes her happy. In Rand’s world, where you are to determine your own values, finding morality is a personal quest. Doesn’t that seem like a risky proposition? We, as a collective group, are somehow supposed to meet in the middle on something as subjective as personal value structures?

      Now do you get why she wrote fictional stories?

      So, I ask again, how is Mike wrong and Ayn Rand truly moral? She speaks in constant contradictions when you apply her philosophy to reality, as opposed to fictional worlds. The “take what you rationally want” mantra is all well and good if everyone is on the same, rational page. Your example, of customers cooperating, works because you both are on the same page; you need each other to achieve a desired outcome that you both value. But when you both don’t value the same outcome, or your rational and/or moral views don’t align, how does Rand solve that problem?

      Simple, by suggesting that you do what “you” think is rationale. That isn’t moral, its just dumb.

    2. “She was a big propnent of leading a moral life”

      Bron,

      Yet she was what many of us would call an amoral woman. she cheated on her husband with Nathaniel Brandon (her intellectual heir) and he was married. She also cheated on her husband with Alan Ginzberg. When it came to her pesonal needs she had no morals.

  4. nick spinelli:

    I think a hate-crime is what Ayn Rand would call an anti-concept. I found this on the web:

    “Anonymous said…
    An example of an anti-concept

    An “anti-concept,” as Ayn Rand identified and defined this perversion, is “an unnecessary and rationally unusable term designed to replace and obliterate some legitimate concept.”

    She identified the following as anti-concepts: “consumerism,” “duty,” “ethnicity,” “extremism,” “isolationism,” “McCarthyism,” “meritocracy,” “polarization,” and “simplistic.”

    To that roll of dishonor, I would add “socialization.” This term is used, ostensibly, to refer vaguely to the process by which a child comes to adopt the elements of civilized existence in society. A definition I found on the web states:

    “Socialization is the process by which culture is learned; also called enculturation. During socialization individuals internalize a culture’s social controls, along with values and norms about right and wrong.”

    oregonstate.edu/instruct/anth370/gloss.html

    A definition given at a medical dictionary site is more explicit, and therefore uglier:

    “the process by which society integrates the individual, and the individual learns to behave in socially acceptable ways.”

    http://www.mercksource.com/pp/us/cns/cns_hl_dorlands.jspzQzpgzEzzSzppdocszSzuszSzcommonzSzdorlandszSzdorlandzSzdmd_s_14zPzhtm

    Right there, you can see the incredible package-deal the term is trying to put over on us. The first part of the definition speaks of society acting upon the individual, as if society were an entity and the individual a lump of clay, waiting to be molded by it. The second part of the definition refers to learning. (And even with regard to that the definition’s author felt the need to add “socially acceptable” into the mix.)

    “Socialization” packages together rational learning and mindless conformity.

    The purpose of the package is to eliminate from the user’s mind the idea that there is such a thing as rational learning. Note, in regard to this purpose, that the two parts of the second definition are joined by “and”—as if there is always an element of second-handedness in a child’s acceptance of morality, etiquette, etc.

    But there is no more fundamental difference in a child’s development than that between first-handed and second-handed functioning.

    Both Howard Roark and Ellsworth Toohey came to hold moral (or, in Toohey’s case pseudo-moral) principles. But the difference in how this happened is the difference between . . . well, it’s the difference between Roark and Toohey. Packaging both their developments into one concept, “socialization,” is designed to obliterate this difference, to make the idea of Roark unthinkable—by implying there is no essential difference between Roark’s mental processes and those of Toohey and Keating.

    Indeed, the anti-concept “socialization” is aimed at wiping out the very idea of a mental process, suggesting that everyone is molded unconsciously by “society,” passively absorbing his conclusions, his convictions, his standards, from his interactions with others.

    Note that the first definition says “individuals internalize social controls.” You “internalize” the food you eat. If you are simply eating up the “values and norms” tossed to you by others, there’s something very wrong.

    The term “socialization” has currency because it resonates with the experience of second-handers. To the extent one has not engaged in rational learning, and has passively absorbed his ideas from others, he has difficulty even conceiving of an alternative. People who blithely write about society “integrating” the individual—without shuddering at the implications for how they themselves developed— are either unaccustomed to applying ideas to their own lives or confessing so thorough a second-handedness that they have lost the idea of rational learning altogether. Or both.

    What does a rational person do in regard to anti-concepts? First, he doesn’t allow them into his own thinking. He refuses to use words such as “socialization,” consigning them to oblivion. Second, he doesn’t give them further currency in communication with others; where appropriate, he unmasks them for the mind-busters that they are. Which is what this post has been designed to do for “socialization.””

    It was posted on some anti-Ayn Rand site by a supporter I will assume.

    1. “the process by which society integrates the individual, and the individual learns to behave in socially acceptable ways.”

      Bron,

      That Rand disdains this is further evidence of her sociopathic nature and aversion to human society. Here’s the deal. I’ve been a rebel all of my life from elementary school, through education and through my career. People have often been shocked by my rebellion, which some saw as courageous and others saw as self-destructive. Even today my friends and family are often shocked by my opinions about society, humanity and the world. Yet as an intelligent and mentally stable human being I recogize the existence of social norms and of the importance of any human society to inculcate their young into those norms. This is why we don’t live in a society in America, where all daily activities are life threatening and bandits don’t hold sway over local territories. Much is wrong with this country and indeed much is wrong with human society everywhere. However, this wrongness is the result of the type of thinking Rand exemplifies, where she emphacizes individual greed over human cooperation. She never grew out of the childhood need for instant gratification, but instead justified it with romantic novels peopled by flat characters, with protagonists that were totally unreal. Roark, Galt and Dagneskold were inhuman cartoons made heroic by their sociopathy. Pirates exemplified as saviors.

  5. Steven, My point is that that hate laws are inherently unfair because “some hate is more equal than others,” combined w/ the fact there are adequate laws to prosecute offendors. I’m a libertarian and hate laws are an anathema.

    1. Mike: Your last post was well written and to the point, a great entry.

      Bron: Stalking? The Violence Against Women’s Act (yes, VAWA) defines stalking as the act of “engaging in a course of conduct directed at a SPECIFIC PERSON that would cause a reasonable person to:

      (A) fear for HIS or HER safety or the safety of others; or
      (B) suffer substantial emotional distress.

      Did you notice the terms “person” and “his” and “her” were used? There is no difference between your son or you daughter under the definition of stalking in VAWA (the very act you said creates special classes of protections).

      So what again was your point?

      Nick: You seem to believe that laws, without the addition of hate crime laws, can effectively punish any crime. If that were the case, we wouldn’t be having this discussion because hate crime laws wouldn’t exist. And, as I’ve said before, in lots of cases hate crime laws are not pursued when the criminal penalties are already severe…they are typically only used when the criminal penalty alone is not sufficient to punish the crime.

      Lets make this very clear:

      Scenario #1 – You are a black family living in an all white neighborhood. One day you come home and a smiley face is spray-painted on your front door. You can’t remove the paint and the door will need to be replaced at a cost of $400.

      Scenario #2 – You are a black family living in an all white neighborhood. One day you come home and the N-Word is spray-painted on your front door. You can’t remove the paint and the door will need to be replaced at a cost of $400.

      In both cases, without hate crime laws, the fullest extent of the law would be, in the jurisdiction I practice, to treat each crime the same since the law does not distinguish between the content of the graffiti. Graffiti, in my jurisdiction, is defined as “the drawing, painting or making of any mark or inscription on public or private real or personal property without the permission of the owner.” There is no discussion of “content.” The likely penalty, in both cases, would be to have the door replaced and the perpetrator charged with a misdemeanor.

      So to you that is fair? Both perpetrators should just have to buy a new door and call it a day. You see no difference in those two acts…they both result in the same psychological impact to the victim?

      You can’t possibly be serious and think that both those acts deserve the same penalty under the law, which is what would happen without the existence of hate crime statutes. If you think the content is important, you need a legal mechanism that takes the content into consideration…cue the hate crime laws.

  6. Irony definition: Being accused of having “a narrow political perspective” by an idealogue.

  7. Mike Spindell:

    I understand all of that. But that is a result of the laws not being properly enforced. And in the case of women and blacks not being allowed to vote, that was a flaw in our Constitution. As was slavery. But I do think that if the states are violating individual rights then the federal government may step in and enforce the laws.

    What if my son was being stalked? Do I love him any less? Is my daughter more special to me?

    This has nothing to do with politics per se but to philosophy and how it informs our politics.

  8. Mespo:

    I am a little unclear on how I am being a mysogynist. I have asked Mike Spindell to please explain and now I am asking you to please explain. Again no snark is implied, I just would like to know why you think my thinking is wrong about this.

    1. “Aren’t most crimes based on hate? Especially violent ones.”

      Bron,

      I don’t believe at all that most crimes are based on hate. As far as the violent ones of course some are based on hate, but many aren’t really personal in the sense that their basis isn’t specific hatred of the victim, but a psychological dysfunction in the perpetrator that doesn’t inhibit this person from acting violently toward another. Then too their is the example of the murderer who is doing it for “nothing personal”, but who for some reason sees the victim as threatening in some way. I won’t go into depth why these laws make sense, because Steven has done such a good job, I would only be parroting him.

      “I understand completely. I am just against making laws which give a certain group of people some sort of protected/elevated status by virtue of race, sex, etc..

      “All animals are equal but some animals are more equal than others”, I dont believe in that kind of thinking.”

      Bron,

      I don’t think you “understand Steven completely”, because if you did you would understand that these laws are not about elevating a class of individuals to a “status”, but about trying to protect certain people who the law has not historically protected.

      In the case of Black people the simple fact is that most laws historically had treated them to a lesser status and while those laws have been negated for the most part, the “Legal System” in many venues still treats them unequally. For homosexuals this has always been true also. Latinos, Native Americans and people of other ethnicities also are even now treated unfairly under the “Legal System”. See anything about Sheriff Joe Arpaio. When it comes to women,
      giving them the right to vote was only a first step in helping them attain the equal status before the law they deserve and that was over 90 years ago.

      Just thinking of the crime of “stalking” alone, what would you do if your daughter was being “stalked”? In the past not only were the police powerless to intervene, but if you and I as fathers had intervened violently (and trust me I would have) we would have been the ones on trial. With rape historically the sexuality of the woman was successfully called into question as a mitigating factor as in “the slut deserved what she got”. This is also true for husbands who abused their spouses. I could go on but the examples are too obvious to need further elaboration, save for the fact that those who would respond with something like “men are abused also” are rather lame argumentatively.

      As for you being a misogynist, I certainly didn’t accuse you of that, nor do I think that of you. Your problem is that you view this issue from a narrow political perspective and there is nothing political about this issue. It is an issue that touches upon institutional fair treatment and maintaining a legal system that affords all the legal protections that keep this society from falling into a chaos of outlaws, where might makes right. Equal protection under the law is not about left-wing, or right-wing, it is about have a society where all are equal under the law. I’m sorry your pre-judgment prevents you from seeing that.

  9. I went to NYC and made a train trek to the Bronx to see the Yankees play the Orioles. There was a group of midgets there in Giants jerseys. Well the approbation from Yankee fans on the little Giants was terrible. I thought at the time that simple verbal abuse of a Giant fan is one thing but picking on the midget Giants made it more of a human rights issue. So, the analogy to this statute gets some perspective. The Orioles won the game and the midgets were cheering at the end to the consternation of the big Yankee fans. We went to a nearby bar and drank with the midgets. One of the midgets gave us two passes to a Frisco Giants game against the Mets at Shea Stadium the next evening.. We showed up and there were all the midgets again in their Giants jerseys. The Mets fans started the same little guy abuse. That was back in my prior incarnation as a human. My dogpac sticks up for little guys.

  10. Steven, It appears everything is clear in your mind. I am always wary of people who profess clarity on complex issues. I am not a lawyer, I’m an investigator. You’re raping the fat girl reasoning is decided by one word..”because”. What if they had poor language skills. What if one was raping the victim “because” she was fat but simply didn’t say “because”? Why are you so SURE about the other examples? Please explain.

    1. Nick: It’s not that everything is clear in my mind…it’s just that the arguments you posed failed to fall within any of the legal grey areas associated with hate crimes.

      But to answer your question, it comes down to what it listed in the statute. Now, I can’t speak for every state in the country, since some might expand what constitutes a hate crime, but in general hate crimes, like I said before, involve:

      Race, religion, ethnicity, nationality, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability.

      If a crime doesn’t involve one of those elements, it will not be considered a hate crime. Now, if it does involve one of these elements, it is not automatically a hate crime. It has to be proven that the intent to commit the crime was based on one of those elements, and the burden of proof is not easy to meet. But, conversely, if it doesn’t involve one of those elements, there is noting to prove and isn’t considered a hate crime. So now lets look at your examples:

      Colors worn: No (colored clothing does not count)

      Team affiliation: No (team affiliation does not count)

      Wearing Glasses: No (poor eyesight does not count). If the person was blind, or had extremely poor eyesight, then there is a possibility, but you did not say that in your hypo, you simple said: “wore glasses” and said “take that 4 eyes.”

      Raping of a fat women: No (being fat does not count). And, to clarify, my determination is based on the fact that being fat does not count. Now, if you wanted to say why doesn’t a hate crime apply because she is a woman, I’d agree with you there, but you seemed to focus on the fact she was fat.

      However, the unfortunate fact is that the law generally doesn’t consider rape a hate crime either, even though I personally believe, and now I’m interjecting my own values, that it should be since it falls within the spirit of hate crime laws.

      But lets go back to the word “because.” I was providing a secondary example to show how hate crime laws work. You would need to prove that the intent for the crime was based on one of those elements. To use your example, when guys raping a girl say “we are raping a fat girl” the statement isn’t clear to the intent of the rapists without further evidence to support their claim. Now, if those same boys say “we are raping this girl because she is fat” the intent of their actions is clear from their statement.

      That is a simplistic example of how it works, but it is instructive nonetheless. As for your contention that they might not speak clearly, that is a valid concern, but I highly doubt that simply suggesting they meant something different because they have poor speaking skills would meet the burden of proof necessary to show a hate crime. If they didn’t say anything, again, you would have to find other evidence to prove a hate crime, simply thinking it, does not satisfy the burden of proof needed.

      Contrary to what some believe, proving a hate crime is not easy, and, in actual practice, labeling a crime a hate crime typically occurs when the punishment for the offense itself, is not enough. So if the punishment is life in prison for a crime, a prosecutor will not try to show it was a hate crime as well, since it would add nothing to the punishment. This is why I used the examples of simple assault/battery and property crimes. In those instances, the available legal remedies don’t do enough to punish the perpetrators, thus encapsulating the essence of why hate crime laws exist.

  11. Raff:

    Thanks for the light on this misogyny masquerading as principled disagreement. I bet they could find a dissent against Mom and apple pie if given enough time. Looks like they already did to Mom!

  12. Steven:

    I understand completely. I am just against making laws which give a certain group of people some sort of protected/elevated status by virtue of race, sex, etc..

    “All animals are equal but some animals are more equal than others”, I dont believe in that kind of thinking.

  13. Excellent article raff…. I’m sure there Mommas are shaking their heads in shame…

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