The use of Reason and reasonable argumentation, the reclaiming of the idea of Progress and the struggle against dogma. In this post-modern world, reinventing Enlightenment is of the utmost importance.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Freedom of Speech & terrorism


David Irving, the "historian", is serving a three year sentence in an Austrian jail for denying the Holocaust. And I completely agree. I think that Mr Irving, like Mr Hamza, is an intellectual terrorist and that terrorists should be locked up. Nevertheless, I've noticed lately that, probably due to my poor rule of the English language, everything I say is used against me in a variety of more or less fallacious ways. Therefore, to corroborate what I think, I'll let an intelligent woman do the talking:

"On the other hand, martyred poultry is infinitely more palatable than a martyred David Irving, chicken though the man most certainly is. Faced with the alarming, and to him staggeringly incomprehensible, prospect of a jail sentence, he immediately recanted. He was no Holocaust denier, he told the court. He might have been once and he was pleading guilty to that but he wasn't any more because he'd come across papers of Alfred Eichmann in 1991 and they'd changed his mind. His position was no longer the one he'd taken in 1989 when he'd made the speeches for which he was on trial. If anything proved him to be a bare-faced liar in the face of incontrovertible evidence, his defence did.

The judge and jury put him away for three years and immediately there was an outcry. First, his right to free speech had been transgressed; second, the incarceration would turn him into a martyr. The prevailing view was that the man was a pathetic buffoon and to jail him would give him a status that made him more dangerous than he had any right to be. Consigning him to obscurity would be a fitter punishment.

But how can this be right? He might be mad and he might be a buffoon, but Irving is an academic terrorist: a gifted historian who has chosen to record a perverted view of world events presumably to ferment racial and religious hatred. When did we start saying the best way to deal with fermenters of hatred was to ridicule them? Irving may look ridiculous now, but as a historian he knows only too well the power of the shadow of doubt he's chosen to cast."

So says Barbara Toner.

8 Comments:

Blogger sonia r. said...

Bom dia Daviduskas e um bom domingo.

Bjo.

8:57 AM

 
Blogger spartakus said...

ahh bem, e?...boa tarde.

1:48 PM

 
Anonymous David Duff said...

I have responded to your remarks over at my place but I thought it polite to coninue the conversation over here where it began.

Your English is perfectly clear, it's just that I don't agree with you. I think people should be free to express any opinion on any subject provided they do not directly incite violence.

You and Ms. Toner wish to stop people expressing opinions that upset *you* which is fine and dandy up until the time that *I* wish to stop *you* from expressing opinions that upset *me*!

Friendly tip. If you are really searching for an intelligent woman, I wouldn't start at 'The Guardian'.

(I am having trouble posting this so I hope it doesn't suddenly appear a dozen times!)

3:52 PM

 
Blogger sonia r. said...

Bom dia Daviduskas. Uma boa semana.

Bjo.

5:39 AM

 
Blogger Goncaluskas said...

Mr. Duff, freedom of speech is one thing to defraud people as an historian in order to back your (ilegal) ideology is another one. The guy is not being jailed for saying his opinion he is being jailed for lying for political benefit.

As for your friendly tip, perhaps you would advise us the Times then?

7:15 AM

 
Anonymous David Duff said...

I'm not sure where you are writing from but it is not illegal to be a Nazi in the UK or the USA.

And if you are suggesting that *all* historians who tell lies should be jailed; or that anyone who lies in order to further a political opinion should be jailed, then you had better start building now because there are simply not enough jails!

Tell me what is wrong with this proposition: I wish to jail all people who deny freedom of speech to others. Seems fair enough to me, how do you like it?

And by the way, who is the delightful and delicious 'Safo'?

8:13 AM

 
Blogger daviduskas said...

She's delightful and delicious but I saw her first! Hands off!

11:08 AM

 
Blogger A. Cabral said...

It seems I missed all the fun...

3:00 PM

 

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