Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Brendon O'Connell and the Thought Police

An Australian man is now facing the possibility of up to fourteen years in prison for a series of anti Jewish videos he made and posted on You Tube. Australia has strict "hate crimes" laws that govern not only physical acts but speech as well. The Perth Now web site reports as follows on the case developing in Australia.

Maylands man Brendon O'Connell, 38, was yesterday charged under racial vilification laws for allegedly posting anti-Semitic video on the internet site. Mr O'Connell is seen on film in front of Perth's Bell Tower and at a South Perth supermarket while allegedly making anti-Semitic comments. He was yesterday charged by the police State Security Investigation Group with conduct with intent to incite racial animosity or racist harassment.
The maximum penalty for the offence is 14 years' jail, or fines of up to $24,000.

As repulsive as Mr. O'Connell and his opinions are, the news reports about his legal difficulties are downright sinister. The statute under which O'Connell is being charged according to Perth Now web site is intended to prohibit the "publication, distribution or display in oral, written or pictorial form of material that was threatening or abusive and intended to cause hatred or contempt or ridicule."

The whole concept of "hate crimes" brings the law past the border of action and into the world of thought. The only speech that has been traditionally proscribed has been speech that calls for and is likely to lead to acts of violence against persons and property. Saying that you hate Jews or white people was never a crime. Whipping an angry crowd into emotions that erupt into a lynching is actionable. It is called incitement.

Under American criminal law, there are aggravating and mitigating factors. If someone punches someone in the face because the person was running towards him and shouting, a judge has the discretion to lessen the sentence. If someone says that they hated African Americans and hit someone for that reason, the judge could be pushed by the stupidity of the reason to lean towards harshness in sentencing.

If someone burns down a church or synagogue, there are plenty of laws that allow for harsh sentencing. To make attitude itself a crime is a qualitative change in our system of law. It ultimately leads to a situation where terrible crimes within ethnic groups are considered to be less serious because they are not "hate crimes."

The real meaning of "tolerance" is that one suffers the existence of groups and opinions to which one might be viscerally averse. It does not mean learning to love someone who one had formerly hated. Although it is nice when enemies reconcile, it is not the business of the government to regulate thoughts and emotions.

A close reading of the Perth Now article reveals that the videos were called to the attention of the Jewish community by law enforcement. The article continues as follows.

"Opposition Multicultural Interests spokesman John Hyde - who alerted police, Jewish community leaders and the Ethnic Communities Council of WA about the videos - praised WA Police for using the anti-vilification laws to lay the charges. "Members of the multicultural community can take comfort in the knowledge that this alleged race hate crime will now go before the courts,'' Mr Hyde said."

I have news for Mr. Hyde. No crime has taken place, other than the implementation of thought control legislation and the employment of thought police. I am repulsed and indignant at Brendon O'Connell's hateful ramblings. But he is far less of a threat than is the legislation under which he is charged. Unless he is involved in acts of violence or theft or incitement thereto , Brendon O'Connell should be freed. And some people in Australia need to go back to law school. Sphere: Related Content

1 comment:

Gedalia said...

A little knowledge can be a dangerous thing.

I have had a personal encounter with Brendan - not pleasant. He has physically threatened people, and is quite capable of crazy actions.

I agree that a person should not be arrested for their attitude. However when that attitude is expressed in a way that is potentially harmful (in a very real sense) to other people, then the situation changes.

As the article notes, only 2 people have been charged under this legislation, showing that it is only applied in instances of absolute necessity. You only need to watch his latest video posting to see that in this case, the charge was quite justified