Saturday, September 24, 2016

Sleepwalking Into Tyranny

From The Spectator:
Should it be a crime to hate women? This unfortunate question is thrown up by the news that misogyny might soon become a hate crime across England and Wales. Two months ago, Nottingham Police launched a trial ‘crackdown on sexism’, investigating cases of, among other things, ‘verbal harassment’ and ‘unwanted advances’ towards women. Now top coppers from across the country are looking into criminalising misogyny elsewhere.

I find this terrifying. Misogyny is vile and ridiculous and I feel privileged to live in an era when, in the West at least, it is in steep decline; an era in which women work, run things, outdo lads at school, and no one bats an eyelid (except men’s rights activists who physically live in their mum’s basements and mentally live in the 1950s). But I am as opposed to the criminalisation of misogyny as I am delighted by its decline. For the simple reason that the state has no business policing people’s thoughts, even their dark thoughts. Have we forgotten this basic principle of the free society?

Imagine the potential for miscarriages of justice in this Orwellian experiment which would investigate people for what they feel (in this case, alleged contempt for women) alongside what they do. Short of inventing a machine that can measure wicked thinking, how does one prove that an individual’s mind is a murky swirl of anti-woman hatefulness? How do we know that the man who engages in an ‘unwanted advance’ towards a woman is driven by ‘ingrained prejudice against women’? He might simply be motivated by attraction to one woman, not hatred for all. (Read more.)

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