The public’s hatred of racial, sexual, and religious minorities is so out of control that it imperils our democracy. At least, that’s what influential leaders from Brandon and Barack Obama to former New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Arden and California Governor Gavin Newsom want us to believe.
(Article by Michael Shellenberger republished from Public.Substack.com)
Last week Newsom announced a state initiative for citizens to report disfavored speech (non-criminal “hate incidents”) they see online:
California’s “Civil Rights Department” (CRD) invites citizens to speculate about the motive of the “perpetrator.”
In a statement, Newsom’s office said the legislation was “in direct response to the rise in reported hate crimes in California, which in recent years, reached their highest levels since 2001 – jumping almost 33% from 2020 to 2021.”
Indeed, criminal complaints of hate crimes rose significantly, not just 33% between 2020 and 2021 but also 80% from 2012 to 2021, according to California state data.
But convictions of hate crimes have been flat. In 2012 there were 107 hate crime convictions in California. In 2021, there were 109, according to the same data.
It’s possible that hate crimes really did rise by 80%, and juries decided not to give prosecutors convictions. In San Fransicko, I assemble a large body of evidence to show California residents have become more tolerant of crime.
But it’s also possible that convictions stayed the same because there was no increase in prosecutable hate crimes. And it may be that Californian prosecutors simply labeled more crimes as “hate” crimes because they were primed to do so by the media’s 700% – 1,000% increased focus on racism between 2011 and 2020.
Whatever the case, California’s total number of hate crime complaints is trivial. There were just 285 hate crime complaints in California, a state with 39 million people, in 2021. There was an order of magnitude more homicides in California, 2,361, in 2021.
Prejudice still exists in the United States. The California church shooting from May 2022 was motivated by political hatred. And the recent mall shooter in Texas may have been motivated by racist ideology.
But the ideologies don’t line up neatly politically. The California church shooter was Taiwanese and motivated by an obscure political grievance. The Texas shooter may have been racist, but he was also Latino. And the recent shooter in Nashville was trans and targeted Christians.
And in many instances, the political ideology is plainly secondary to mental illness. That was certainly the case with the psychotic and drug-addicted homeless man from Berkeley who attacked the husband of former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in San Francisco last year. And it may have been the case with the shooters in Texas and Nashville.
In truth, acceptance of racial, religious, and sexual differences has never been higher in recorded human history. Never before have same-sex and mixed-race couples have been more accepted across all Western nations, which are far more tolerant than most other nations worldwide.
Trans people are celebrated, with an entire reality show dedicated to documenting in celebratory fashion the sexual reassignment surgery and hormone use of a trans girl named Jazz Jennings. And few places are more celebratory of transgenderism than California.
All of which raises a question. If there’s no evidence that “hate incidents” are rising, abundant evidence that tolerance is rising, and overwhelming evidence that the media created a moral panic about racism, why are nations and nation-sized states like California urging mass spying and creating blacklists?
Read more at: Public.Substack.com