Monday, February 06, 2006


Thoughtcrime - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The term "Thought Police", by extension, has come to refer to real or perceived enforcement of ideological correctness in any modern or historical contexts.

Hate crime laws that mandate harsher penalties for people who commit crimes out of racism or bigotry. Opponents of those laws claim that all crimes are committed out of an element of hate, so that defining a specific subset of laws as 'hate crimes' is meaningless, and that these very laws in fact imply the inequality of citizens before the law ("castes" of special sub-groups benefiting from privileges other groups do not, e.g. ethnic or sexual "minorities") and that the government should outlaw actions, not thoughts or states of mind.

Proponents argue that hate crime legislation protects all groups, be they majority or minority (crimes against majority groups have in fact been prosecuted as hate crimes)

An extremely controversial example of borderline thoughtcrime behaviour is pedophilia. For example, in 2000 the court in Lafayette, Indiana banned a convicted child sex offender from all city parks, which included a zoo, and a golf course after he admitted to his psychologist that he had sexual fantasies about children he saw playing in the park. The man sued, and a U.S. District Judge ruled in favor of the city. The 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld this ruling 8-3, saying that the sex offender's reasons for entering the parks constituted more than pure thought.

Philip K. Dick's story Minority Report and the 2002 movie by Steven Spielberg demonstrates the consequences of a world in which possible crime (called Pre-Crime) is punished in advance.

Other technologies range from lie detectors, the penile plethysmograph which was used to try to detect "homosexual or pedophile thoughts", and on to more modern attempts to use magnetic resonance imaging to try to detect brain chemical activity supposedly corresponding to memory or thoughts. All of these technologies have been proposed at one time or another as a way of detecting "bad thoughts".

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