Resisting The Thought Police

One the sanest commentators in Britain, Matthew Parris, argues against criminalizing anti-gay speech. Good for him. Money quote:

When seeking to identify proposed legislation of doubtful practical use, it is a useful rule of thumb to watch out for ministers and lobbyists claiming its virtue to be that it will ‘send out a message’ that this or that is socially unacceptable. It is as though the criminal law was really just a branch of public service advertising another way, alongside radio, television and the newspapers, or perhaps direct leafleting, of signalling a recommended set of values to the citizenry... When the Theft Act was introduced in 1967, I don’t recall that anyone claimed its value to be that it ‘sent out a message’ that stealing was unacceptable.

If someone bashes me over the head because I'm gay, I want them prosecuted for assault, not bigotry. They have an absolute right to their bigotry, as I have an absolute right to call them on it. But the law should criminalize nothing but specific acts that anyone, regardless of their race, religion, orientation or whatever. Here's hoping Britain will escape the worst of the hate-crime nonsense peddled by the p.c. left in America. But I'm hardly optimistic.