A few days ago, the BBC reported that a 12-year-old boy had been “charged in connection with racist chants” at a football match in Scotland. Thank God we now live in a society so hysterical about racism that children can be arrested by the police for causing offence. I can feel society progressing as I write.
The short BBC piece goes on to explain “the boy cannot be identified for legal reasons.” Think about that. The law is traumatising this kid by implicitly threatening him with violence or tearing him away from his parents whilst simultaneously claiming to be deeply concerned about his welfare. That’s psychotic. That’s why the state makes a terrible substitute for even the lousiest of parents. However bad his parents are, they’re very unlikely to be as deranged and brutal as the UK’s nanny state.
This deeply authoritarian parenting-by-police is a consequence of the racism hysteria that has been gripping the political Left in the UK since the EU referendum. The supposed surge in racism and so-called hate-crime over the last couple of years just isn’t real. There’s not a shred of evidence for it. It only exists in the minds of leftists who seem to be suffering from a kind of group paranoid delusion brought on by the emotional trauma that Brexit caused them.
The problem is some of these people are influential, they have the means and the connections to lobby the right people in government to make laws and to ramp up police powers. Which is why we’re now seeing the police arresting children for causing offence. And, as it turns out, having a Conservative government is no defence against the emergence of illiberal laws and police powers. Well blow me down.
Verbal abuse, whatever motivation is behind it, is not equivalent to physical violence, so it’s not a crime. The only type of speech that can be regarded as criminal is a direct threat of violence or theft against a specific person. For example, “I’m going to kill you” is a threat of violence and thus an action that can justifiably be responded to with force. However, “I hope you die” or “go back to the jungle” isn’t. It’s just nasty words spouted by morons.
Thus, hate-speech laws are unjust laws and should not exist. However, that doesn’t mean football clubs (or any other private property owners) don’t have the right to eject people from their property because of their behaviour. They do. It’s any football club’s prerogative to eject any person or persons from their property who behaves in ways they deem unacceptable. That’s the power of property rights, that’s how we can and do use them to improve society by ostracising the (small number of) scumbags and morons from public gatherings and spaces so they don’t ruin it for everyone else.
In this case, then, the child and his parents (or whoever was with him at the match) should have been asked to leave the stadium – and that should have been that. Only if they had refused to leave would it have been justified to get the police involved.
It’s not just the injustice of anti-hate-speech laws that’s the problem, it’s also the opportunity cost to the police of enforcing them. The more time the police spend arresting adults and children for causing offence (either at football matches or on social media) the less time they have to spend on preventing and investigating real crimes.
Here’s the difference in mindset. I see a 12-year-old boy being arrested for spouting racial abuse as a sign that unjust laws are giving the police too much power. A modern liberal would see it as a sign of how racist our society has become – “look, even children are racist now!” – applaud the police for arresting this child and conclude that the police should have more powers to further usurp parents as the ultimate authority over their children.
The amount of faith today’s liberals have in legal compulsion as a tool for social progress is frightening, not to mention entirely mistaken. They believe you can magically turn a bigoted idiot into an enlightened and decent person simply by threatening him. But that’s not how human beings work, or how social progress works.
Even the Romans, who were partial to a bit of slavery and barbarity, understood this, as evidenced by a quotation from Roman statesman and philosopher, Seneca: “Laws do not persuade just because they threaten”. But today’s liberals would dismiss this political wisdom out of hand. They believe history can teach them nothing. They’re utterly convinced they know best and have it all figured out. You just point government guns and issue edicts. To them, it’s a no-brainer. (They’re right about that, but not in the way they think).
Furthermore, we’re supposed to believe that today’s progressives and liberals are humanitarians who care more than anyone about the welfare of their fellow man. And yet, they’re quite alright with the thought of children being dragged to police stations by the most dangerous people in society: those with the legal right to use force and even kill people. An abuse of morality that results in harm done to innocent children by authority figures. Catholic Church eat your heart out.
Arresting children for racism implies there is such a thing as a racist child. But that’s nonsense. There can be no such thing as a racist child, just as there’s no such thing as a Jewish or transgender child. Those are labels adults give them. Children don’t have the intellectual abilities or life experience to arrive at such convictions themselves.
A society in which the police arrest kids for causing offence, who are still young enough to be playing with marbles, is one that has lost its moral marbles.