Hate Crime Hoaxes & the Presumption of Suspicion

As I was going through the news this October, I came across yet another story where an alleged hate-crime against a left-leaning progressive activist turned out to be a hoax, with the alleged hate crime having been carried out by the activist herself.

And this, of course, is just one of many such stories that have occurred over the past number of years. Indeed, just off the top of my head, I can recall a good number of hate crimes stories where, upon investigation, it turned out that the crimes were perpetrated by the alleged victims themselves. And there are websites and articles that catalogue dozens upon dozens of these hate crimes hoaxes.

Most often, these hoaxes occur in a political context, and the alleged victim—which means the actual committer of the crime—is a progressive on the left-side of the political spectrum. Invariably, such a progressive alleges that he was attacked for his progressivism, thus implying that he was attacked by someone from the opposite-side of the political spectrum. And, as often as not, the individual committing the hoax is a member of some identifiable sub-group within the range of progressive activists, with the crime against him just happening to target his specific sub-group identity.

Now, the reason that this topic is important—and is important for orthodox, conservative Christians—is because these hate crimes are used as political and cultural weapons by progressives against their political opponents, which includes conservative Christians. Indeed, these incidents are reported in the media and are initially treated as serious issues that warrant genuine concern, thereby painting conservatives and other anti-progressives in a negative light.

However, at this point, there have been so many of these hoaxes, that it is no longer rational for anyone to view any claims of a politically-motivated hate crime against a progressive with a presumption of credibility. Rather, we are now in a situation like the boy who falsely cried wolf one too many times. And just as it would not be rational to give initial credibility to the boy crying wolf, it is also no longer rational to give any initial credibility to any claims of hate-crimes against progressives, at least not when these hate-crimes are of a political nature and can be reasonably assessed as garnering political and media support and sympathy for the progressives themselves and/or for the progressive cause. Instead, as rational individuals, it is my assessment that we need to view any future allegations of such specific hate crimes with a presumption of suspicion. This does not mean that we should outright deny that the crime occurred, but it does mean that we give as much credibility to the idea that the crime is a hoax as we do to the idea that the crime is legitimate. It is a position of suspicious neutrality, rather than a position of initial credibility.

Of course, in a legal sense, we should treat the crime as we always do: with the presumption of innocence for any individual accused of the crime until and unless proven otherwise. But rationally, and in a social environment, we should view any such specific allegations of hate crimes against progressives by their political and cultural opponents with sufficient suspicion so as not to give such claims any initial credibility or political significance. Naturally, if we are proven wrong, and if the crime is genuine, then so be it, but there is nothing irrational in holding to a presumption of suspicion about hate crimes at this point in 2018.

It is also interesting to note how these hoaxes illustrate that for many progressives, pushing their cause is seen as so valuable and important that it overrides the need to be truthful. This is ‘ends justifying the means’ reasoning at its finest, and it shows just how insidious such reasoning can be. It also shows how a lack of something like Christian morality, where there is a respect for truth and the pursuit of truth, even at the expense of personal and/or ideological gain, can lead to such dirty results where false accusations are perpetrated on behalf of one’s ideology.

So, as a Christian, this topic is critical both because it is necessary to deprive these hoaxes of any cultural or political strength, and also because it is good to reinforce the fact that when something like Christian morality and its practice is jettisoned from an ideology, then this is the sort of garbage that results.

Alright everyone, that’s it. Until next time, be well.

Non Nobis Christus, Non Nobis, Sed Nomini Tuo Da Gloriam


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