Some hates are more equal than others
The Volokh Conspiracy and the Foundation For Individual Rights in Education take on (here and here) what Eugene Volokh calls Tufts University's decision to punish a student newspaper for blasphemy against Islam. The National Review weighs in.
This is particularly interesting because a few days ago, the Democratic Daily argued that the federal hate crimes bill, in which certain motives were aggravating circumstances in criminal acts, was First Amendment neutral.
... his legislation clearly provides for protection of all First Amendment activity that is protected in the Constitution. This is about violent crimes not thought. This is not about religious freedom being impinged upon; this is about individuals suffering from society’s neglect while organized hate groups act against them.
While that might be technically true, the entire debate over "hate crimes" has a larger political context. One might expect CAIR to reject hate crimes legislation because of the effect it might have on Islamic teachings on gays, lesbians and Jews, for example, but they welcomed it. "The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) today congratulated the US House of Representatives on its passage of the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act." I think this is because there is an expectation that some attitudes are likely to be regarded hate crimes than others. In the case of the Tufts student newspaper article for example, one wonders whether the result would have been different had the target of the satire been the Church of the Latter Day Saints.
Part of the problem I think, is that the meaning of the "hate crime" rule will be parsed by dominant cultural compiler. The words "hate" provide the data, but the semantics of it were provided, in this case by Tufts University. And the danger in assuming that social attitudes will stay the same is that they don't; and "hate" may some day come to mean things which this generation never intended. It is ironic that when some of the 60s generation grew to maturity they became everything they hated.