(Hotair) Note: Hate speech, not hate crimes. YouGov asked people about hate crimes for its poll too and found bipartisan support for the federal law that provides steeper penalties for crimes motivated by hatred of the victim’s race, religion, gender, or national origin. Sixty-four percent of Dems gave thumbs-up to that versus 54 percent of Republicans. A plurality of Republicans also support expanding that law to target hate crimes committed against gays: 44 percent say yes versus 30 percent who say no.
Hate-crimes laws matter in the sentencing phase. If you’re guilty of the underlying offense, then you can be punished more severely depending upon what your motive was. A hate-speech law is different in that it treats hate as the offense itself. All you have to do is verbalize your thoughtcrime against a protected group and you’re facing prison. Our intellectual superiors in Europe cherish their hate-speech laws but the First Amendment makes them anathema in the U.S.