The dire consequences of a decade-long dominant establishment narrative that “hate” and “extremism” are on the march in America are coming to the fore in a relentless assault on civil liberties that ends in a prison cell. Michigan, a state that has twice elected a radical cultural progressive governor within this time frame, is poised to blaze the nightmarish path even further with a sweeping expansion of a law against hate crimes within its bailiwick.
The state House in June passed a bill that substantially inflates an already existing 1988 hate crimes law. It now has moved to a Michigan Senate that Democrats in 2022 gained control of for the first time since 1984.
Tyranny of Feelings
The vagueness of the proposed legislation in defining hate-motivated crime coupled with specific emotional outlines produce an elasticity that threatens residents in the Great Lake State not only with suppression but the haunting specter of physical incarceration if they attempt to freely express themselves. The bill defines criminal “intimidation” as a “willful course of conduct, involving repeated or continuing harassment of another individual that would cause a reasonable individual to feel terrorized, frightened, intimidated, threatened, harassed, or molested, and that actually causes the victim to feel terrorized, frightened, or threatened.”
Its author, Democrat state Rep. Noah Arbit, cited his personal feelings as motivation. “I’m sick of checking for hiding spots at the gay bar should a gunman open fire,” Arbit declared. Critics point out that laws should not be passed out of emotion.
“Threats and violence and things of that nature and protecting against crime is certainly something that we absolutely should be doing in Michigan. But we shouldn’t be building that around an individual’s feelings of being frightened,” Republican State Rep. Steve Carra told CBS News Detroit. “This legislation allows police or prosecutors to decide what is a crime after the fact, or after the speech is spoken,” Republican Rep. Gina Johnsen contended, the news site Bridge Michigan reported. “Content-based speech regulation violates the U.S. Constitution, which everyone in this chamber swore to uphold.”
Hate Crimes Are Thought Crimes
Michigan appears hellbent on implementing a law-enforcement system in which public officials will plumb the inner thoughts of citizens and determine whether they are hateful or not. Even worse, harsher sentences than normal will be imposed on those deemed to be motivated by such bad thoughts because their minds indicate they are likely to commit more egregious crimes in the future.
This is happening in Michigan right now. Democrat Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, one of the most notorious implementers of the harshest social curbs of the coronavirus pandemic era, was first elected in 2018 by running on a campaign of female victimization from toxic masculinity. Her attorney general, Dana Nessel, who remains in office along with Whitmer after a 2022 re-election, is likely the most radical in the nation.
As Liberty Nation noted in May, Nessel sees hate-crime laws as “preventive” prosecution.
“Prosecutors often use the statute to seek longer sentences for individuals who also committed other lower-level crimes, Nessel said, telling lawmakers that keeping hate crime offenders under court supervision for a longer period can help prevent more serious violations,” The Detroit News reported in 2019. “What we call it in the business is basically murder prevention,” Nessel was quoted as saying.
This is the perilous new reality about to be unleashed on Americans living in a blue state. You will be prosecuted if you hurt the feelings of identity politics-obsessed progressives, who by nature thrive on grievance. You can expect a long sentence because the state has peered into your mind and concluded that the thoughts that motivated you mean you are probably going to commit far more serious crimes at a later date.
One look at New York City subway rider Daniel Penny – recently charged with second-degree manslaughter – shows how it is going to work. The Penny case demonstrates that if you live in a Democrat-dominated state and see a crime being committed, you are putting yourself in extreme personal jeopardy with the powers that be if you attempt to intervene.
This is precisely how the extremist wing of the Democratic Party wants you to feel about opposing all elements of cultural progressivism in the public square. Raising your voice in opposition to that agenda will put you at grave legal risk. And they will put you in prison for it. Jailing your political enemies. It’s the unavoidable byproduct of a national discourse in which loaded emotional terms like “hate” and “extremism” throttle logic and sober reasoning. One can’t help but believe the byproduct was the goal all along.
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