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Thursday, February 15, 2007
Not Just a River in Egypt
Every so often, an article shows up in the paper about some reprehensible douchebag who denies the Holocaust ever happened. Most notable is British writer, David Irving, who calls himself a historian, even though no one reputable would use that word. Irving spent the better part of 2006 in an Austrian prison for the crime of Holocaust denial.
Today in Germany, a man named Ernst Zundel was sentenced to five years in prison for anti-Semitic activities, including contributing to a Web site dedicated to Holocaust denial.
Ernest Zundel. Now, that's the name of a Holocaust denier!
Zundel and Irving are the worst sort of bigot, because their hatred is presented with a veneer of respectability. The ignorant racist craves the gilded words of men like these, since it helps them believe that what they feel may actually be true. Prison is really better than people like that deserve.
That being said, I really don't think either one of them has committed a crime.
I know in a lot of countries in Europe, denying the Holocaust, along with other forms of racism, are considered crimes, and punishable with prison time. Considering anti-Semitism has been a popular pastime there for a couple of millennia, one has to wonder why in the past few decades, Europeans have been so hyper-vigilant to protect members of the tribe.
Guilt, I suppose. And rightfully so.
If Europeans have decided en masse to stop being racists, I'm all for it. Having said that, I don't think you can make someone's ignorance or hatred illegal. In the US, penalties for certain attacks can be punished more severely if they are deemed to be "hate crimes."
The problem is that you're getting into the area of policing thought, and that's one place I'm not comfortable being. Freedom of speech is a non-negotiable freedom, and I believe that extends into the realm of thought. While there are obvious reasons for criminalizing the act of yelling "FIRE!" in a crowded theater, things of that nature fall under the auspices of inciting panic resulting in injury. You can always yell "FIRE!" in your home, or out in the park if you so desire. The words and the action are not illegal.
It seems to me that if the authorities want to keep an eye on people like Irving and Zundel, that may not be a terrible thing. Tracking down the people who subscribe to the newsletters and attend the meetings probably isn't a bad idea either. If any of these cowards ever actually commits a crime, then you can be all over them like stink on shit, which is maybe the most apt simile ever used.
The European laws are the overreaction of a guilty conscience. Criminalizing hateful thought and speech is inherently Fascist, which of course, is another European creation. I would rather deal with racism than Fascism, although I would prefer to deal with neither.
If Germany wants to marginalize Zundel, all they need to do is refute what he says with the millions of documents and photographs that make it all too clear that the Holocaust happened. Stifling this sort of trash only gives it legitimacy in the eyes of the ignorant, and makes it look like the government has something to hide. Most likely because it is being run by the Jews...
Anyway, if Zundel, Irving and the like must be detained, I would suggest some sort of Clockwork Orange-style conditioning regimen to help them truly appreciate the history that they so fervently deny. Maybe things would just sort themselves out from there.
I woke up. The pain and sickness all over me like an animal. Then I realized what it was. The music coming up from the floor was our old friend, Ludwig Van, and the dreaded Ninth Symphony...
posted at 4:25 PM
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