Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Irving, Voltaire and the incitement of hatred

Opinion seems divided over the jail sentence handed down to David Irving. On the one hand, people are saying, denying the holocaust is so disgusting that laws should be passed to outlaw it; on the other, what is freedom of speech but the right to say disgusting things?

I've already quoted the American supreme court justice who said that 'sunlight is the best disinfectant' and I'll throw in George Orwell for good measure, when he said, in what context I forget, 'To state it clearly is to refute it."

Irving's credibility as a historian, which once stood high enough for Christopher Hitchens to describe him as "not only a great fascist historian, but a great historian of fascism", has been destroyed by his vainglorious and blockheaded libel action against Deborah Linstedt. This, it seems to me, is the proper punishment for men such as Irving: to have his professional reputation destroyed and his living removed because of the wrongness of his writing. To imprison a man because of his writings seems closer to the mores of the regime he espouses and defends than it does to those of the allies that defeated it.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Also, seems odd to condone the mohammadan cartoons and condemn the Irving drivel.

It is this sort of mixed message that allows the Islamist fundamentalists to cry foul at the West.

Finally, this is a bit rich of Austria whho have, frankly, had a bit of a nudge nudge wink wink approach to the question of Nazi sympathy and activities

ps - have some observations on your worst gov piece which I will write up when I have a mo

9:55 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well thank fuck you allowed non blogger comments at last. Interesting rather discussion over on Aqoul about this, descends into sophistry every now and then but worth a read.

And I could recognise her because of her 'spectacles', not 'glasses'.

9:23 pm  

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