Reading articles such as this Reuters one out of Venezuela raises the question of whether journalists and other progressives so compartmentalize their political thinking that they don’t make the obvious connection to domestic culture wars:
Days later, several dozen masked officers raided Urbaneja’s home and took him at gunpoint for “a chat,” according to the police report of his arrest and Urbaneja’s wife. Urbaneja remains jailed, awaiting formal charges and a trial.
The mayor, in a text message to Reuters, confirmed writing the letter seeking hate-law charges against Urbaneja. He defended the move, saying his foe’s critique was unfair because the local coronavirus response is managed by the national health system, not the mayor’s office.
It was an increasingly common maneuver: In a review of more than 40 recent hate-law arrests, Reuters found that in each case, authorities intervened against Venezuelans who had criticized Maduro, other ruling party officials or their allies.
For those who need skin color as an aid to the application of moral principles, note that the arrested man is much darker than the mayor, but that should be beside the point. Introducing subjective judgments that have to do with state of mind into restrictive laws is dangerous.
Yet, it’s easy to imagine people who see the obvious travesty in Venezuela and yet draw no connection to “hate crime” and “hate speech” laws in the United States.
They’ll say the two are different because American hate-speech laws protect the powerless against the powerful, but such things easily turn into ideological semantic games. A rich member of some minority group can ruin an underprivileged or middle-class member of the supposed oppressor group with merely an accusation. Ultimately, such policies simply give more leverage to the people who have the power to define who is advantaged and who is disadvantaged.
This is only one mechanism by which progressives are setting us up for tyranny. Where they hold less power, they push for restrictions on others’ rights as a means of gaining advantage in the name of tolerance. Then, when they hold more power, they vault over their opposition and use the same restrictions to oppress them.
Featured image: Giovanni Urbaneja with daughter one year ago, from Facebook, via Reuters article.