Saturday, May 17, 2008

Thought Crime in the Netherlands

I hate to start this by listing all the things I don't like about Dutch cartoonist Gregorius Nekschot, as it feels like I'm making undeserved concessions to his ridiculous government. But his cartoons are racist, unfunny R. Crumb knockoffs. Truly terrible. Still, that's no reason to arrest the guy under oppressive Dutch hate speech laws simply because his work insults Muslims. The fact is, no one should be arrested under these laws or any other hate crime legislation. Hate crimes equal thought crimes, and there's really no way around that. Supporters of them are saying someone can be prosecuted for what they were thinking when they committed a criminal act. In the case of Nekschot (a pseudonym, by the way), there wasn't even a criminal act beyond the thought. In a free society, you have to allow people to have obnoxious, racist, and reprehensible ideas. Hate crime laws are simply used as a political hacky sack, with supporters idiotically maintaining that to be against them is to be for hate. Of course, that kid in sixth grade who made fun of my third nipple at every pool party should rot in prison for the rest of his life. More details here.

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