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Are anti-discrimination laws a form of thought-crime?

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  • Are anti-discrimination laws a form of thought-crime?

    It is legal to refuse to do business with anyone for a huge number of reasons. It's illegal only if your reasons fall into certain, narrowly defined ("protected") categories. That is, it's illegal only if you are thinking certain unapproved thoughts.

    Likewise a recent thread discusses it being illegal for a businessman to promote prayer via discounts, because it discriminates based on religion. Discounts can legally be given for most any reason. It's illegal only if you are thinking certain unapproved thoughts.


    And if they are thought-crimes, should they be abolished, on the grounds that thought-crimes should be abolished?


    In discussing, try not to get too caught up discussing details of specific real-world cases (i.e., I don't want this to be just another thread on gay wedding cakes or on the lady who gave discounts for praying), but focus on the general principles.

  • #2
    I don't wish to derail the thread, but rather to ask an initial question that is actually related. Is it possible to consider "attempted murder" charges to be a thought crime of sorts? This has bearing on how one would evaluate them in general.
    "I am not angered that the Moral Majority boys campaign against abortion. I am angry when the same men who say, "Save OUR children" bellow "Build more and bigger bombers." That's right! Blast the children in other nations into eternity, or limbless misery as they lay crippled from "OUR" bombers! This does not jell." - Leonard Ravenhill

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    • #3
      Originally posted by KingsGambit View Post
      I don't wish to derail the thread, but rather to ask an initial question that is actually related. Is it possible to consider "attempted murder" charges to be a thought crime of sorts? This has bearing on how one would evaluate them in general.
      In addition, voluntary vs involuntary manslaughter, and by extension taking state of mind or beliefs into account for any criminal case.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by KingsGambit View Post
        I don't wish to derail the thread, but rather to ask an initial question that is actually related. Is it possible to consider "attempted murder" charges to be a thought crime of sorts?
        Attempted murder would be a failed attempt rather than just a thought, so no.
        Last edited by Darth Executor; 08-07-2014, 09:16 PM.
        "As for my people, children are their oppressors, and women rule over them. O my people, they which lead thee cause thee to err, and destroy the way of thy paths." Isaiah 3:12

        There is no such thing as innocence, only degrees of guilt.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by KingsGambit View Post
          I don't wish to derail the thread, but rather to ask an initial question that is actually related. Is it possible to consider "attempted murder" charges to be a thought crime of sorts? This has bearing on how one would evaluate them in general.
          You mean as opposed to someone who does the same acts accidentally? Would the latter still be illegal--reckless endangerment? Lack of intent doesn't necessarily make the act not illegal; it may just lessen the charge or severity of punishment (e.g., to criminal negligence).

          It might be relevant to the discussion: whether legal consideration of intent (mens rea) amounts to thought-crime.

          My first thought is that the issue of intent is not about a person's reasons why they did it (or any other opinions or beliefs), but only whether they intended/willed to do it. The latter is usually considered inherent to the question of culpability, while the latter is irrelevant. Intent is a question of whether you did it (was the act a result of your faculty of will), rather than some external force of nature outside your knowledge or control. Intent/will is specifically that part of your mind that constitutes human action.


          So perhaps thought-crime in the unacceptable sense refers only to punishing opinions, reasons, cogitation, or beliefs? and not intent (the will) since every law punishes acts of the will?

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Darth Executor View Post
            Attempted murder would be a failed attempt rather than just a thought, so no.
            It's generally differentiated between, say, assault with a deadly weapon.
            "I am not angered that the Moral Majority boys campaign against abortion. I am angry when the same men who say, "Save OUR children" bellow "Build more and bigger bombers." That's right! Blast the children in other nations into eternity, or limbless misery as they lay crippled from "OUR" bombers! This does not jell." - Leonard Ravenhill

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Joel View Post
              So perhaps thought-crime in the unacceptable sense refers only to punishing opinions, reasons, cogitation, or beliefs? and not intent (the will) since every law punishes acts of the will?
              This distinction seems acceptable to me; at first it may seem rather ad hoc but in most cases, intent is fairly evident to determine without the need to pry into the notion of personal facts.

              Incidentally, at first, I was inclined to disagree with the part about every law punishing acts of the will because of the fact that ignorance of laws is not a legal defense, but it occurred to me that in these cases, the actions themselves were still willful; simply not the intent to violate the law.
              "I am not angered that the Moral Majority boys campaign against abortion. I am angry when the same men who say, "Save OUR children" bellow "Build more and bigger bombers." That's right! Blast the children in other nations into eternity, or limbless misery as they lay crippled from "OUR" bombers! This does not jell." - Leonard Ravenhill

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by KingsGambit View Post
                I don't wish to derail the thread, but rather to ask an initial question that is actually related. Is it possible to consider "attempted murder" charges to be a thought crime of sorts? This has bearing on how one would evaluate them in general.
                No, it isn't. The action has to show the intent, or the intent stated, rather than the intent merely being surmised. Shooting at Bob with a BB gun: assault; shooting at Bob with a .22: attempted murder.

                Unless Bubba was drunk and Bob had an apple on his head...

                "He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose." - Jim Elliot


                "Forgiveness is the way of love." Gary Chapman

                My Personal Blog

                My Novella blog (Current Novella Begins on 7/25/14)

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Joel View Post
                  ...

                  So perhaps thought-crime in the unacceptable sense refers only to punishing opinions, reasons, cogitation, or beliefs? and not intent (the will) since every law punishes acts of the will?
                  Intent is a substantive part of any crime. Thought crimes punish the reason, not the intent.

                  "He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose." - Jim Elliot


                  "Forgiveness is the way of love." Gary Chapman

                  My Personal Blog

                  My Novella blog (Current Novella Begins on 7/25/14)

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