What if laws against Holocaust negationists were pointless?

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sans concession
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What if laws against Holocaust negationists were pointless?

Postby sans concession » 8 years 11 months ago (Mon Oct 25, 2010 6:14 am)

What if laws against Holocaust negationists were pointless?


http://e-blogs.wikio.co.uk/what-if-laws ... -pointless


This week, there is talk in Italy about proposing a law to criminalize Holocaust negationism. Italy is one of the countries in Europe where such a law does not exist. In light of the experiences of countries where Holocaust negationism is a crime, and with his personal mistrust of any state interference into personal decisions, Fabio explains on his blog Il Nichilista, why such a law would be pointless, and why people have to rely on awareness to fight against negationism.

Are we really sure that introducing a law against negationism in Italy is a good idea?

The question was raised by the President of the Rome Jewish Community Riccardo Pacifici, who, writes Repubblica today, asked MPs and Senators to draft a law by the next Holocaust Remembrance Day, on January 27. Of course, it remains to be seen what type of crime would be proposed, and talking about a law that does not exist yet is unfair.

Nonetheless, there are some things that can still already be said.

First and foremost, I don’t like the idea of a law that limits freedom of expression, even when that freedom may insult reason and the suffering of millions of people. On my scale of values, a society where even the dirtiest piece of rubbish cannot be spoken freely is preferable to one where this isn’t possible. The reason is simple: the state cannot decide what is rubbish and what isn’t. We have to be the ones to decide, each one of us. Without that difficult task to complete we are slaves, not free human beings.

Secondly, as Repubblica points out, similar laws exist in “Austria, France, Germany, and Belgium“. Are we sure that they are necessary? Is it possible that they have limited the spread of extreme right-wing ideology? Have they provided incentives for tolerance and acceptance of diversity? Have they promoted the spread of a correct historical memory?

My first impression (but without any data) is that this does not seem to be the case. Also because another idea that I detest is thinking that something can be promoted with a ban. It’s the old idea of prohibitionism: promoting correct lifestyle choices by banning drugs, alcohol, and prostitution. The results are obvious to everyone.

But here is a practical question. In Italy a similar law exists and prevent people from defending fascism. A rule that made sense in its day, but which today is viewed by legal experts with more irony than respect.

How many times has it been applied? Are we sure than a law against Holocaust negationism would ever be applied? Do we want to add another chapter to the Borgesian book of laws that exist in name only but which are never enforced? I’d happily do without it. And are we sure that the current historical context requires such a law?

Lastly, introducing such a law gives negationists a valuable weapon: persecution, martyrdom. Negationists already believe to be victims of censorship, they already lament about “the Inquisition of the Third Millennium”, and talk about the same principles of ethics that they are the first to violate. Imagine the moaning if a law were approved. It could even influence regular uninformed people (most of the population) and force them to say: “maybe they are right”. In the end, most people who have been censured in history have been right. We don’t want to put a negationist in the company of Galileo, do we?

Because they are not right. But in order for this to be perfectly clear, they have to be able to enunciate their mistakes, loudly. Not in public schools of course: in this case we should be discussing things that are supported by the scientific community, not any old passing fancy, however insane it may be. But as free citizens, they must be allowed to make their mistakes. Instead of crying scandal, why don’t we invite a negationist to speak on television, and let them debate it out with a Holocaust historian? A real expert on what happened.

Why not put the inconsistency in their arguments, their hypocrisy, and the hate that many of them mask, under public scrutiny? Science and history should also be subject to public debate. Their limits and the way they distinguish themselves from lies and witchcraft should also be in the public spotlight.

Without individually assuming responsibility for the spread of historical memory, nothing will change. A law will never do the work for us, it will never teach us what we cannot already learn with our own efforts. Even worse, this law would risk taking away our awful responsibility of honoring the pain of our past, and at the same time would spread a terrible message that even the most highly corroborated scientific truth is the truth and no more discussion about it is needed. It would risk turning truth, as negationists say, into “dogma”, something that cannot be disputed, not because it has been debated so much that everyone is in agreement, but because it has not been discussed at all and it cannot be discussed.

No more symbolic commemorations, events with which we clean our conscience. No more moves to attract media attention. If we really want to respond to those who deny the Holocaust, let’s spread some evidence.

Let’s simultaneously broadcast the 9 hours of Claude Lanzmann’s Shoah on all of the networks.

Let’s dedicate a half an hour a day to Elie Wiesel, Primo Levi, Daniel J. Goldhagen, Hannah Arendt, and the plethora of documents that talk about the “final solution”.

Let’s organize mass readings in Italy’s squares.

Anything so that it comes from us, from each one of us without thinking that a law can spread awareness without our participation.

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Re: What if laws against Holocaust negationists were pointle

Postby joachim neander » 8 years 11 months ago (Mon Oct 25, 2010 6:11 pm)

Italy will have to have a law (or laws) that penalize(s) Holocaust denial. EU law demands this from all member states. It will depend, however, how the law(s) will be enforced. French, German and Austrian authorities tend to prosecute even fringe cases, which in countries such as the UK or Denmark would not even lead to instigate criminal investigations.
My personal view is that of Voltaire: I don't agree with your opinion, but I'll fight that you can express it freely.
I would be glad if all Revisionists shared this attitude.

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Re: What if laws against Holocaust negationists were pointle

Postby Älghuvud » 8 years 11 months ago (Tue Oct 26, 2010 4:51 am)

joachim neander wrote:I would be glad if all Revisionists shared this attitude.


They do. Otherwise they would have no right to call themselves revisionists.
"They can't prove I wrote it." said the Knave, "There's no name at the end."
"That only makes the matter worse." said the King, "You must have meant some mischief, or else you'd have signed like an honest man."

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Re: What if laws against Holocaust negationists were pointle

Postby Cloud » 8 years 11 months ago (Tue Oct 26, 2010 8:01 am)

joachim neander wrote:My personal view is that of Voltaire: I don't agree with your opinion, but I'll fight that you can express it freely.


So what have you done to get Holocaust denial laws removed from your country (Poland)?

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Re: What if laws against Holocaust negationists were pointle

Postby joachim neander » 8 years 11 months ago (Tue Oct 26, 2010 10:29 am)

Signed a petition. And voted for a good candidate in elections. BTW, Polish law enforcement is far from that of Germany or France. Irving was able to tour there freely. In GE or FR, he would have got into trouble.

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Re: What if laws against Holocaust negationists were pointle

Postby Cloud » 8 years 11 months ago (Tue Oct 26, 2010 12:55 pm)

joachim neander wrote: My personal view is that of Voltaire: I don't agree with your opinion, but I'll fight that you can express it freely.

Actually, that quote is commonly misattributed to him (see here):

Quote: “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” (“Je désapprouve ce que vous dites, mais je défendrai à la mort votre droit à le dire”)

What Voltaire actually said was “Think for yourselves and let others enjoy the privilege to do so too” from Voltaire’s Essay on Tolerance – that certainly doesn’t have quite the same ring to it. The misquote actually comes from a 1907 book called Friends of Voltaire, by Evelyn Beatrice Hall.

And you've left off the "death" part, I see (which I suspect was no accident). An exterminationist that defends a revisionist's right to speak his mind to the death would be a first. Signing a petition though, would hardly qualify.

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Re: What if laws against Holocaust negationists were pointle

Postby joachim neander » 8 years 11 months ago (Wed Oct 27, 2010 2:43 am)

Thank you, Cloud!

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Re: What if laws against Holocaust negationists were pointle

Postby ps » 8 years 11 months ago (Wed Oct 27, 2010 7:42 am)

@joachim neander

Yes, Voltaire is certainly right. Indeed, very much I a little bit differently. That what the Antirevisionisten propagate and as "an opinion" are economical is in truth not only spiritual genocide separate also prepared the way to physical genocide. And he has taken place a million times.

And everybody which has supported this national crime actively with his "opinion" belongs like every other murderer punishes.

At the moment where already with a cup of coffee the wrong "opinion" can be disproved provable and will still represent the present "opinion" the murder is further carried out.

The political systems will change and the truth will become public. The people will let with these murderers no mercy prevail.


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