Eugene Vololkh (Jewish; born in Kiev in 1968; in the USA from circa 1975; he was a Wunderkind who earned a computer science degree by age 15) has been a well-known and influential blogger since the early 2000s:
The Volokh Conspiracy is a blog, founded in 2002, covering legal and political issues from an ideological orientation it describes as "generally libertarian, conservative, centrist, or some mixture of these."
I can only respect Mr. Volokh for his commendable, cool-headed defense of freedom of inquiry on the Holocaust.
Here is the exchange:
4/24/2017 10:58 AM EDT
If it is forbidden to express dis-belief in something, then one must doubt all who express belief in the same.
4/24/2017 11:10 AM EDT
And yet, I've managed not to see secret Holocaust deniers in every European I meet.
Eugene Volokh [Washington Post contributor; confirmed]
4/24/2017 12:58 PM EDT
I think gasman22's point isn't about doubting sincerity, but about doubting accuracy. How can we be reasonably confident that some historical or scientific assertion is true? Usually, we need to trust the consensus of experts who have studied the matter. If historians tell me (say) that in 1917 the U.S. government did this-and-such as part of our entry into World War I, I usually need to rely on their consensus. And if I think that historians are free to make and consider all sorts of arguments about the question, and yet the consensus remains, I can be fairly confident that their consensus is right (not completely confident, but fairly confident).
On the other hand, say that I learn that the U.S. government has made it a crime for people to deny the conventional wisdom. Now I can't have real confidence that the conventional wisdom stems from serious consideration of all the arguments by historians -- maybe there are some great arguments that would have dislodged the conventional wisdom, if only they could have been made. That's how forbidding the expression of disbelief leads to doubt about the validity of the belief.
Now this is less a problem for the Holocaust than for most things, just because the Holocaust has been so heavily studied, including in times and places where criticism of the conventional wisdom has not been outlawed, and because the Nazis left so much evidence for people to go through. But even for the Holocaust, there is some element of this problem. A consensus that endures despite the possibility of challenges is much more reliable than one that endures when challenges are banned -- given the risk that the consensus is enduring only because challenges are banned.