The rights of a ‘paper Eichmann’
‘Holocaust denier’ David Irving, still capable of making headlines, deserves obscurity — but also free speech.
By D.D. Guttenplan
November 19, 2005
D.D. GUTTENPLAN, London correspondent for the Nation, is the author of “The Holocaust on Trial” (W.W. Norton, 2001). He is currently writing a biography of I.F. Stone.
Late last week, it was reported that Irving had been arrested in Austria for giving speeches denying the existence of gas chambers in Nazi death camps. Like Germany, France, Poland, Lithuania, Belgium and Israel, Austria has laws against denying or applauding the Holocaust.
Countries that outlaw Holocaust denial do so not because they love liberty less than we do but because their history is different from ours. […]
Webmaster note: Don’t you love these “we’re all for free speech, but …” articles? Guttenplan takes great pains to make Orwellian thought prohibition seem normal and benign. Here’s what he’s really saying: In some countries, you have the right to speak freely about the Holocaust if you say the correct things. When you say the correct things, you are creating the history for that country. Once the historiography has been established, it is easy to identify those to be arrested and jailed for thought crimes, because they dissent from the received historiography. That way, the politically-correct historiography becomes dogma in a secular religion: Those who accept it are true believers (no actual thought required), and those who don’t are heretics, to be punished accordingly.