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Tuesday, February 21, 2006

More On Irving, America And Consequences

There have been a few remarks to our post below, David Irving, The Holocaust And The Cartoons, taking issue with us for our position in defending the conviction of David Irving, Holocaust denier, du jour. There has been much written today claiming Holocaust denial is in the same category as protected speech. To this, we disagree. As we said,

Offending Muslims- or Jews, or Christians, is about the right to express one's beliefs, no matter how stupid or offensive those beliefs might be...

No country that has laws relating to Holocaust denial, has any laws on the books outlawing any form of religious hatred, no matter how vile or repulsive. No one is precluded from believing whatever it is they wish. There is no fear of punishment for one's beliefs, however outside the mainstream.

Neo-neocon in We Didn't Start The Fire: Should Holocaust Denial Be Criminalized? adresses the issue as well. As is expected, her points are presented with precision and grace. She quotes Hajo Funke, a German historian:

"In Germany and in Austria there is a moral obligation to fight the kind of propaganda peddled by Irving. We can't afford the luxury of the Anglo-Saxon freedom of speech argument in this regard," he says.
"It's not that I don't understand it, it's just not for us. Not yet. Not for a long time."

Neo goes on to make a critical distinction, in referring to Holocaust denial:

The Anglosphere has no direct experience of that, fortunately for us. And it has a stronger tradition of freedom of speech.

In other words, we may be right in how we treat Holocaust denial, but that in no way means that how much of Europe treats Holocaust denial is not appropriate. In fact, Neo goes on to say, that

To Germans and Austrians the danger of public promulgation of Holocaust denial may indeed (especially when the laws were first passed) have seemed like the danger of yelling "Fire!" in a crowded theater. Likewise--although to a lesser extant--to countries such as Poland, who have reason to know the Holocaust in a way that countries such as Britain and the US never can, Holocaust denial may seem a particular affront and a special danger. "He jests at scars that never felt a wound;" and so it is much easier for countries who have not experienced such a cataclysmic upheaval to be absolutist about protecting freedom of speech.

In a post, Europe Died In Auschwitz?, The Anchoress relates the following, written by Sebastien Villar Rodriguez:

I was walking along Raval (Barcelona) when all of a sudden I understood that Europe died with Auschwitz.
We assassinated 6 million Jews in order to end up bringing in 20 million Muslims!
We burnt in Auschwitz the culture, intelligence and power to create. We burnt the people of the world, the one who is proclaimed the chosen people of God. Because it is the people who gave to humanity the symbolic figures who were capable of changing history (Christ, Marx, Einstein,
Freud…) and who is the origin of progress and wellbeing.
We must admit that Europe, by relaxing its borders and giving in under the pretext of tolerance to the values of a fallacious cultural relativism, opened it’s doors to 20 million Muslims, often
illiterates and fanatics that we could meet, at best, in places such as Raval, the poorest of the nations and of the ghettos, and who are preparing the worst, such as the 9/11 and the Madrid
bombing and who are lodged in apartment blocs provided by the social welfare.
We also have exchanged culture with fanaticism, the capacity to create with the will to destroy, the wisdom with the superstition. We have exchanged the transcendental instinct of the Jews, who even under the worst possible conditions have always looked for a better peaceful world, for the suicide bomber. We have exchanged the pride of life for the fanatic obsession of death. Our death and that of our children.
What a grave mistake that we made!!!

Alexandra, of All Things Beautiful, has a good roundup of opinion. She is more reserved in her own opinions:

To use the criminal laws to ban opinions you don't approve of apart from being reminiscent of a totalitarian regime, is intensely immoral, but also highly ineffective, since you don't eliminate opinions by criminalizing their expression.
She deliberately does not address those who would act on their expressions, reserving her remarks for what works for us. Still, as a European herself, we would surmise that the distinction between ideas expressed and ideas acted upon is more than an academic argument to Alexandra. It is obvious to her that which distinguishes the 'anglosphere' and the rest of Europe is as wide as an ocean.

In fact, Europe is under seige once more, being told to accomodate those who would willingly and with delight, light the fires of death and destruction, once again. In fact, their promise to do just that is followed up in deed. Violent anti Semitism in Europe is at an all time high and shows little sign of abating. In fact, just the opposite is true. See this and this- the reality of post riot Paris.

Europe is being bullied, told that their contrition and acceptance of responsibility of the most heinous crimes, must never be acknowledged- so that credit for the hate and promised slaughter of Jews can be reserved for Muslims. That kind of vile attitude was made clear during the Paris riots- deliberately misportrayed as a matter of economic discontent.

Neo-neocon may be right- the criminalization of Holocaust denial may not be an appropriate response here, in this country.

That may not necessarily be true for the Europeans. As we said,

David Irving, the professor emeritus of Holocaust denial, wasn't sentenced to three years because he is a professed anti Semite. He wasn't sentenced to three years in prison because he is the patron saint of neo Nazis the world over and he is not being punished for writing about conspiracies and idiotic ideas.
David Irving was sentenced to three years in prison for yelling 'FIRE!' in a crowded theater. He was sentenced for denying a truth that cost millions of innocent lives, now forgotten and unacknowledged. He was sentenced to prison because his denial of the truth and horror of that time is a kind of equivalent of blaming the rape victim for the assault.

And all the while, he is championed as the hero by those who promise to 'finish the job that Hitler started,' a common theme embraced by the Muslim world- a promise that is underway, in both the literal and figurative senses. A look and listen to what is going in Europe and the Arab world- and to what is being said, bears that truth out.

We will present another post, in which we discuss the Dr Sanity piece on the subject.