Walt‘s pulled up something interesting:
Here you go. If you live in Yorkshire and someone hurts your feelings by waving the air or fake coughing when they see you smoke, you can now sic the cops on them. (I wonder if this applies to anti-smoking ads, newspaper articles, or snarky anti-smoker online comments that come from Yorkshire-ites. Worth a try?)
Police urge public to report insults that hurt feelings, but aren’t crimes
A police force has urged people to report insults which make them feel bad even if they are not crimes.
Under the slogan ‘Hate Hurts’, South Yorkshire Police have called upon members of the public to report incidents they know not to be criminal in order to build up a wider picture of actions which cause distress to people within the community.
Non-crime hate incidents can include offensive or insulting comments made online, in person or in writing, but the campaign has drawn criticism from people who say the police have enough work to do.
Hurt feelings? Is that all it needs to call the police now? Next time anyone says my boiled potatoes are a bit underdone (or overdone) again, I’ll be straight on the blower to plod about it. Or I would be, if I lived in South Yorkshire, which I don’t. But I think Rose might.
Councillor Robert Bernard said: “How do they propose to investigate incidents that are not crimes? If it’s not a crime then there is no way to investigate it, it should be so obvious.
‘‘I think somebody working in PR or social media has not thought this through. I don’t know where they are going to find the resources from.
‘‘If they don’t have the resources to investigate other things, how are they going to find the resources to investigate these? Fortunately tweeting doesn’t cost anything.’’
There is indeed a distinct sense here that someone hasn’t thought this through. But does anything ever get thought through? After all, nobody seems to have managed to think Brexit through yet. So isn’t it just par for the course?
There’s actually a good idea submerged underneath all this: the idea of “building up a wider picture of actions which cause distress to people within the community.” i.e. getting people to say what they don’t like, rather than telling them what they shouldn’t like. But people shouldn’t need to call the police to have their voices heard. The police have more serious things to deal with. There ought instead to be other ways to consult people ti find out what they think.
And, as Walt indicates, the whole war on smoking could count as a hate crime. For what else drives it except a pathological hatred of smoking and tobacco and smokers?
Dr Alan Billings, police and crime commissioner for South Yorkshire, said: ‘‘Acts of hatred cause great damage to our life together. They divide and weaken communities.
The 2007 UK smoking ban is the single most divisive thing that’s happened in my entire lifetime. And it didn’t just “divide and weaken communities”: it completely shattered them. It set friends and families against each other, and doctors against patients, and government against people.
And with the 2007 smoking ban, hatred of smoke and smoking and smokers became institutionalised. We now have hatred built into society, as part of its fabric. And it’s a hatred that is at work every single day, slowly and steadily dividing and weakening communities. And there are people who are paid to do this. It is the job of people like ASH’s Deborah Arnott to divide and weaken communities. And she does a very good job of it too.
It’s not that I mind whether people hate smoking. People are always going to hate some things, and love other things. And if they’re forbidden from hating, they’ll also be forbidden from loving. For there can’t be one without the other, just like there can’t be up without down, or left without right. No, it doesn’t bother me that some people hate smoking: what bothers me is when they take practical steps to enact laws to make life as hard as possible for smokers, in every way they possibly can, by excluding them from society, exiling them to the outdoors, and robbing them blind with hyper-taxation. For these are things that are being done, not just things that are being thought. And there’s a big difference between thoughts and actions. Your thoughts have no effect whatsoever upon me. And your words have no direct effect upon me either. But your laws and your taxes and your bans have a very great effect indeed.
So in that sense, hate doesn’t hurt. It doesn’t hurt at all. And that’s why the idea of “hate crimes” is nonsensical. Hatred is an emotion: hatred is an idea. It only hurts when the hatred is turned into action in the form of smoking bans and tobacco taxes which have real impacts on people rather than imaginary ones.