Monday, February 20, 2006

Austria sentences Irving to 3 years

This is an incredibly stupid story all the way around. First of all, I've never understood these holocaust denial people. What kind of evidence do they need, exactly? When there are still people around that remember what happened, it shouldn't be much of a debate. In a hundred years or so, I could understand how people might be more skeptical of any given historical subject. But now? I don't get it. Also, though, I don't get the people who get all upset about people who deny the holocaust. While I recognize that if everyone shared their views, they would effectively be changing history for future generations, I don't see any evidence to suggest that there is much chance of that happening. Anytime I see anything about one of these people, it's mostly just to dismiss them as crackpots. So, I'm not sure why any one person's opinion of anything would be something to get so worked up over, especially to the point of passing laws against it, even if it is something of such importance. It also seems a bit odd to me that anyone so profoundly affected by a facist dictatorship that they would even want to make this law, wouldn't be able to see the irony before they actually passed the law. You can't force people to think a certain way, nor should you. silencing them just makes it look like there's something to what they're saying that you don't want people to hear. the best way to make sure people come to the proper conclusions is to let them hear all the evidence, even if it doesn't support the right conclusion.

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Robert Bayn said...

I understand why people get upset about this stuff, because it goes back to utter hate for Israel and jews, however it's insane to get put in prison for 3 years, for thinking or saying something that most would agree is just stupid, if anything he is just a stupid radical, prison time for it, is a infringement on Freedom Of Speech.

Chris Howard said...

I've seen some peiple try to sugar-coat this by saying it's an issue of teling the truth, but that's just crap. People are free to lie unless it directly or maliciously harms another person. Freedom of speech is a basic human right, and that includes the freedom to say stupid or hurtful things.

Lex said...

I saw it speculated upon -- and if I could remember where, I'd link it -- that such laws might be necessary in European countries because of their parliamentary systems (as opposed to our winner-take-all kind of system). There, even a small radical fringe can gain real power in a coalition government and be able to put the power of government behind their fringe beliefs in a way that would be simply impossible under our system.

I don't buy that argument as a basis for undermining freedom of speech. But that, combined with the history of the Holocaust, at least makes such laws a bit more understandable.

beakerkin said...

Chris Howard and I on the same side of an issue. Rob Bayn is essentially correct about the motivation.

Freedom of speech means that freedom is granted to idiots and the uncooth as well as the coherent. A certain former poster is quite fond of Irving and linked a few stories to his site. Then again the Deranged Chemist insists that anti Zionism is not the same as anti semitism.

I advocate free speech for all. There is something hypocritical of
Communists deciding Zionists or anyone else should not have this right. Everyone including Ann Coulter has the right to free speech.