Thursday, 26 February 2009

Freedom Of Speech?

I don't understand all the fuss about so-called "Holocaust Deniers" and the daft way that they are treated.

It is not against the law in this country (so far as I know, yet!) to say what ever you like about Hitler, The National Socialists, and their Final Solution to The Jewish Problem. I'd prefer that these idiots were given plenty of platforms to debate their views so that other people who have a more balanced and better informed view could destroy them publically and humiliate them and any who wish to follow their daft ideas. Making martyrs of them seems to me to be incompatible with Free Speech.

Gert Wilders, anyone?

The Penguin



The problem is that whilst one advocates free speech at all costs, it is rather difficult to stand by silently when someone who hates the mere fact of one's existence in history is preaching that the event in which six members of your family were turned to ashes didn't happen.

The Penguin said...

Agreed, but if you have equal right of reply and the knowledge and perhaps even the proof to completely refute their stupidity and show them up as the odious turds that they are, is that not better than official silence while they peddle their lies and can claim it's a conspiracy to keep them quiet?


I agree that 'official' silence is more deafening and liberty - and thus life - denying than any refutation; but I believe also that Shoah denial is often used as a vehicle by the denier to promote their own extreme right-wing philosophy (cf David Irving's suing of Deborah Lipstadt).
Moreover any sense of denying what is arguably one of if not the greatest example of mechanised savagery in history may diminish whatever lessons we might learn from it, most particularly that it must never happen again.

The Penguin said...

Oh some of them are definitely trying to milk it for publicity and to sell and promote their books. But I think society gives them too much publicity because of the hysteria. If every time they were allowed a public platform they were shot down in flames, it would quickly destroy them, and at the same time open up the debate. At the moment it is too easy for the extremists on the fringes to claim that they are not allowed to speak freely, engendering this conspiracy theory.


Again, true. But I think we both are making a fundamental error here; that all who hear the deniers' message have the intellectual, logical capabilities to examine said message from a critical and sceptical standpoint. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Advertising and marketing firms have spent years developing propaganda techniques designed to make the 'general' public sit up and bark; deniers use the self-same rhetoric to achieve their ends. (And indeed anti-Semitism was built upon and engineered greatly in the 1930s by Goebbels' skillful juxtaposition of images of Jews, images calculated to disgust and short, sharp, pithy messages.) The masses are easily led, their responses easily created, and their hatreds cleverly nourished and massaged for political gain.

The Penguin said...

Very true, but what we currently have is the situation where these charmers manage to get their message out to those who want to hear it and also benefit from the "message about the message that we can't mention" being thrown about in the media. They then use that media frenzy to feed the gullible and to re-inforce the "paranoia" that they are being done down by the establishment.

I'd prefer to have an open debate, so the sheer ludicrousness of these claims can be seen for what it is.

it's either banned or compulsory said...

Open debate wins every time with me, be that this foolish bishop, Geert Wilders or Muslim extremists, let them say their stuff and let more sane people rebutt them.
Think about how much free airtime was given to communists, anarchists, socialists and their myriad sub-species over the years; mostly they just made themselves look very silly. Look where it got them.
Germanys position on Holocaust denial is, in my view, infantile and in the long run, possibly counter productive.

" nothing to fear ? nothing to hide ".