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Gay student: Hate-crime laws are ‘dangerous, ineffective, and harmful’ to minorities

It’s funny how often progressives seek to give the government more powers that can be easily weaponized against them when their opponents come into power.

Harvard University student Lorenzo Manuali calls out his peers and the Ivy League institution itself for demanding the prosecution of wrong thoughts instead of wrong actions, saying it sets a dangerous precedent and doesn’t help victims of so-called hate crimes.

Writing in The Harvard Crimson, Manuali says the pain of being called “faggot” on the New York City subway system can’t compare to the damage wrought on not only free speech but also marginalized populations when hate-crime laws are enforced:

In the case of federal hate crime laws … simply having vocalized an opinion about a particular ethnic group, sexual orientation, or other group would increase the maximum punishment to 10 years for most violent crimes. …

Giving the government the power to sentence people based on their beliefs is a horrifying prospect. We, however, simply choose not to think about hate crime laws in this manner since we have a sense of apathy towards people who are heading to prison anyways. These statutes thus give dangerously potent powers to the government.

He points to research into the efficacy of hate-crime laws that shows they don’t deter hate crimes, and says the underlying logic of such laws – that increasing prison sentences serves justice – promotes “mass incarceration, which already has an estimated social cost of $1 trillion per year”:

Furthermore, they only open the door to harsher crime laws by promoting the “tough-on-crime” mentality that has done so much damage to the United States.

Harvard itself promoted incarceration-as-social-policy by investigating the likely hoax defacement of faculty portraits in the law school as a hate crime, Manuali notes.

Read the op-ed.

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