Magazine article The Spectator

Identity Parade

Magazine article The Spectator

Identity Parade

Article excerpt

A COUPLE of years back, Al Gore was in Milwaukee making a speech about diversity. The town's multi-ethnic population, he said, proves that, in the words of the Great Seal of the United States, America `can be e pluribus unum -out of one, many'. Dan Quayle, when he supposedly claimed he couldn't speak Latin, at least knew his limitations. But Vice-President Gore, in his mangled translation, may have articulated the greater truth, for if anything other than oral sex distinguishes the modern Democratic party it's the ferocious determination to balkanise American identity: out of one, many.

The latest wheeze is the Hate Crimes Prevention Act, sponsored by Senator Edward Kennedy with the support of the Clinton administration. What is a `hate crime'? It's a crime that results in `bodily injury' - i.e., physical assault, rape, murder and so forth. You don't have to be an expert criminologist to spot that these activities are already illegal in every state in the Union. But that's not enough for Senator Kennedy. His Bill would inflict extra penalties on those criminals whose infractions are motivated by a list of federally disapproved 'hatreds': race, colour, religion, gender, sexual orientation, disability. . . Doubtless more will soon spring to Senator Kennedy's expansive imagination. In the meantime, if you're a mugger lurking in a dark alley, skip the black, Muslim, lesbian lardbutt (obesity is a federally recognised disability) and wait for the white Episcopalian guy in perfect health. If you're a bank robber, try the Sally Field approach when you slip the note across the counter: `This is a stick-up. I have a gun. Give me all your money. I like you, I really like you.'

`Hate crimes' is one of the great bogus innovations of the age. Indeed, you could hardly ask for a better summation of the pathetic infantilism of Washington. It should not be the purpose of the law to protect gays from straights or blacks from whites or gays from blacks; it should be to protect all citizens from any criminal whether he's motivated by racial hatred or by the fake Rolex on your wrist. Yet, if Senator Kennedy has his way, Americans will no longer be equal under the law:

So why's he doing this? Two words, says Ted: Jasper, Texas. On 7 June, in this runof-the-mill hicksville, one man (black) was chained by three other men (white) to the back of a pick-up and dragged through town to his death. This barbaric murder `shocked the conscience of the country', the Senator told the Judiciary Committee. 'A strong response is clearly needed.' Er, yes. But isn't that what the state of Texas has already done? They've arrested three guys; they've charged 'em with capital murder, and, if they're convicted, they're gonna fry: this is a state that likes killing killers. It's hard to see what Ted Kennedy could add to that: insist that, after Texas has executed them and shovelled them into the ground, they're retried by the Federal courts in absentia? All he can do with his Bill is validate the boneheads' bigotry - by setting them apart from the common criminal, by telling them that he takes the same view as their moronic white-supremacist literature, that this isn't just a bestial act of violence but a skirmish in an ongoing race war. Effectively, the Senator is conceding to these bozos the 'political' status that IRA terrorists always sought from their British gaolers - the recognition that their bombings and murders were somehow different from other fellows' bombings and murders. The great defence attorney Clarence Darrow knew better: `There is no such thing as a crime of thought,' he said. `There are only crimes of action.'

But perhaps for Senator Kennedy motivation really is the crucial factor. After all, for decades, as the quintessential patrician liberals, the Kennedys have professed to love the masses. Yet throughout this time they've also managed to drown, burn, run over, paralyse and statutorily rape what by any standards is an impressive number of the masses' ranks. …

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