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Monday, February 20, 2006

What's good for the goose . . . (and then somehow the gander winds up in jail)

My supreme irony alarm has been ringing in my head all day:

EU citizens are clamoring to support Danish newpapers' right to publish idolatrous pictures of the Muslims' prophet on the one hand . . .

. . . and jailing historians for extremist views about the Holocaust on the other. (See also my post below.)

Ahhh . . . the delicious inconsistency of the Left, for whom "tolerance" means that we must all be tolerant of the things that please them. And that is all.

Update to this post:
David Irving has just been sentenced to 3 years in an Austrian prison, according to the International Herald Tribune.

Holy. Crap.



Blogger Jacob Roth said...

First off, let me make it clear that I categorically reject the idea of sending anyone to jail for spouting erroneous views of history and I hope he gets off on appeal.

That being said, thousands upon thousands of individuals are imprisoned, tortured, and executed for drug possession, speech crimes, adultry, etc every single year all over the world.

I'm not sure why some libertarians are uniquely shocked by this particualar instance when events like this occur on a daily basis.

Why is a cause of a arab women who is scheduled to be stoned to death for adultry not worth getting behind, but the cause of a Hitler admirer who knowingly allowed himself to get arrested in order to become a martyr is?

11:49 PM  
Blogger Jacob Roth said...

One more thing: Where the heck were libertarians when Irving sued an actual historian Deborah Lipshatz (who supports him BTW) for calling him a "Holocaust denier". Lipshutz won the case but I don't remember libertarians ever cheering it as a victory for free speech - as they should have.

Furthermore, claiming that Irving has only denied the "extent" of the Holocaust is a little naive. Gas chambers were used to kill 4 million of the 5.2 to 6.3 jews killed (the population demographiczs studies average 5.89). By denying the usage of gas chambers, he is basically denying the Holocaust.

12:35 AM  
Blogger Tanner said...


You seem angry. I must say that I completely understand - I would be too if I thought I were addressing a Nazi sympathizer.

And here’s the part where I say: neither I nor any libertarian I know are Nazi sympathizers. On the contrary, every libertarian worth the name is as virulently anti-fascist as he is against socialism. An (enormously) disproportionate number of today’s prominent libertarian thinkers are Jews, and almost every shred of our political philosophy is diametrically opposed to fascism in any of its incarnations.

And since you bring it up, let me assure you that I am on the order of 1,000 times more appalled at the notion of Arab women stoned to death for adultery. To say nothing of all the other similarly bad events that, as you properly point out "occur on a daily basis."

If I haven’t given those issues adequate attention, all I can say is: give me some time. I usually keep pretty busy with things not blog-related, so it’s hard to address all the injustice in the world. (But let me refer you to the entirety of the rest of my blog, which I devote almost solely to dealing with a lot of that other stuff, most of it much more important than Irving’s case.)

As for the civil suit of Lipschutz, what can I say? I have no idea what the details of the trial were. I don’t think it was even a blip on most anybody’s radar. Suits for libel happen all the time, and when they are lodged by nutcases (I’m referring to Irving now) against rational people who have the audacity to call the nutcases what they actually are, none of us should be surprised that the nutcases lose. But if a court throwing out a baseless suit is a “victory” for free speech, then so be it. I applaud the court’s decision as well.

Anyway, thanks for stopping by the blog. Seriously. I’m glad you took the time to comment, and I hope I’ve cleared up my stance for you.

10:02 AM  
Blogger Jacob Roth said...


It was most certainly NOT my intention to imply that you were a Nazi sympathizer (in fact, we're good friends and i would condemn anyone who would make such an accusation).

My comments were primarily directed at a certain segment of the libertarian movement that values being "politically incorrect" above all else.

On another note - and at the risk of sounding self serving - let me state that on balance Jews are more likely than any other religious or ethnic group to support unabridled free speech. In fact, a legitmate argument could be made that America (home to half the world's Jewish population) is a bastion of free speech primarily due to the efforts of the ACLU, an organization founded by Jews to preserve free speech, no matter how offensive. They have defended the right of Nazi's to march through Skokie, Illinois, as well as many other less famous cases. In fact, I have had the pleasure of meeting former ACLU president Nadine Strossen, the grandchild of Holocaust survivors, who has dedicated her life to defending the rights of racists, bigots, and yes, Holocaust "revisionists".

The reason I point this out is becuase the Irving affair is frequently presented on the blogosphere - though certainly not be you - as if "the Jews" are leading the charge against him. I find this strange for a number of reasons:

1.) There are barely any Jews in Austria.

2.) Half the world's Jewish population lives in America and we have no laws against "holocaust revisionism" and the mainly Jewish ACLU has aggressively made sure of it.

3.) I have never met a Jew that wasn't an absolutist when it came to free speech. Jewish law professors and activists singlehandly invented "civil libertarianism".

As for why "Holocaust revisionism" might be especially offensive to Jews who suffered under National Socialism, here's my take:

The facts have been documented ad infitum. Not one accredited Historian has any doubts about the usage of gas chambers, the existence of a liquidation "plot", and the Jewish death toll of 5.2 to 6.3 million Jews (based upon a MOUNTAIN of evidence). Yet for some strange reason, some folks tend to put the words of 20-30 Hitler admirers - who post most of their material on the Internet - above that of professional Historians and "the Jews".

Sadly, this behavior is not uncommon as the Armenians and Chinese have dealt with similar denials of their historical suffering.

But "Holocaust revisionism" is most of all offensive becuase it doesn't make the claim that the historians just happened to "get it all wrong", it's proponents actively make the claim that it was a "Zionist Hoax" (despite the fact that Raul Hillberg, the "dean" of Holocaust Historians is an anti-Zionist) which had - and still currently has - the support of millions of Jews who actively conspired to ruin the reputation of the German nation and simulatenously make it appear "wrong" to persecute them. The implication being, if it hadn't happened, it would still be socially acceptable to kill them.

Moreover, virtually all instances of Jewish persecution over the last thousand years have been predicated upon the existence of a supposed "conspiracy" that would account for why Jews have been overrepresented in fields of financial and intellectual prestige. "Holocaust revisionism", by invoking the existence of a "conspiracy" among Jews, is meant to arouse anti-semitic attacks against Jews.

I should also note that Armenians and the Overseas Chinese have been persecuated in almost every host nation they've ever lived in and each and every instance has been in response to their overrepresention in certain sectors of the economy due an alleged "conspiracy". For more information, check out "World on Fire" by Amy Chua.

None of this means that hate speech laws are justifiable, but soft pedaling the barbarians isn't going to win libertarians friends among those whose family members suffered not just under National Socialism, but during the thousands of years that came before it.

In closing, I'll leave your readers with this quote from SS member Kurt Gerstein's memoirs:

"Inside the people were still standing erect, like pillars of basalt, since there had not been an inch of space for them to fall in or even lean. Families could still be seen holding hands, even in death. It was a tough job to separate them as the chambers were emptied to make way for the next batch. The bodies were tossed out, blue, wet with sweat and urine, the legs soiled with faeces and menstrual blood. A couple of dozen workers checked the mouths of the dead, which they tore open with iron hooks. "Gold to the left, other objects to the right!" Other workers inspected anus and genital organs in search of money, diamonds, gold, etc. Dentists moved around hammering out gold teeth, bridges and crowns."


I apogize for seeming "angry" in my previous post - it certainly was not my intention. I love your writing and your friendship has always meant a great deal to me.

I'm assuming you know who this is.....

Take care my friend.

1:12 PM  
Blogger Jacob Roth said...

In addition: Here's a post from Liberty Belles by "Neal" that explains the origins of the laws currently being dicussed much better than I can:

"The law under which Irving was prosecuted has been in effect since 1947, I understand. So it’s a little late to be taking alarm at this point in time.

Given that WWII had just ended, leaving Europe in ruins, and the German culture in disgrace, it seems likely to me that they felt that they had been led down a path by speech that was ridiculous and yet allowed to pass. Just as freedom of speech is not considered to cover the right to shout “Fire!” in a crowded theater, they probably wanted to prevent another Nazi-like party from arising. So this law against Holocaust denial finds its origin in a fear of going in that direction.

There is quite a bit of background to this issue. The short version that I saw presented in the concentration camp memorial in Dachau described how the responsibility of the defeat of Germany in WWI was gradually shifted to the treachery of the Jews; the stoking of more anti-Semitic sentiment with respect to music, art, and literature; Hitler’s first attempt to take over the government (he failed and went to jail for a year or so); his eventual rise to power through the election of his party, which advocated anti-Jewish policies; and the tyranny that arose in small steps, all of which were obnoxious, but no one of which was such a big step as to cause a challenge to authority — at least not early on, and not generally.

So I believe this law was inspired by a horror of what they had allowed to happen, and a desire to nip in the bud any possible recurrence."


1:22 PM  
Blogger Tanner said...

Ahhh . . . that Jacob Roth.

It's all clear to me now.

To be honest, I think that had I known everything you know about this Irving character, I'd have spent more of my post saying what a bum he is . . . and then adding maybe a line or two at the end about why he shouldn't be in jail.

Anyway thanks for the insight there, J.R.

2:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello! ;)
heh... what unbalanced comments!
what do you suppose about it?

12:53 AM  

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