February 10, 2015 | National Review

An Ancillary Reason Why Hate-Speech and Hate-Crime Laws Are a Terrible Idea

They don’t work — shockingly. American conservatives generally oppose laws restricting hateful speech, or raising penalties for crimes that are motivated by hate for a particular ethnic, religious, or racial group, for principled reasons. But another good reason to oppose them is that they’re ineffective and prone to misuse or abuse.

A particularly absurd example of their ineffectiveness was picked up by Jamie Kirchick, of the Foreign Policy Initiative and the Daily Beast: A German judge sentencing two men for firebombing a synagogue decided that their action was motivated by political opposition to the state of Israel, not anti-Semitism, allowing them to get a lighter sentence than Germany’s laws, which have strong penalties for anti-Semitism, would likely have imposed (the details are a little complicated). As NRO contributor Benjamin Weinthal reported for the Jerusalem Post, a troublingly small number of German politicians are objecting to the judge’s ruling, which allowed the two felons to get off without any jail time at all by apparently deeming their attack a harmless form of protest.

Read full article here.