Outrageous Court Decision in Austria

Tuesday, February 21, 2006
Europe is truly in deep trouble. The forces of political correctness dominate the landscape making it virtually impossible to discuss the controversial issues of the day. I am no fan of David Irving, the disgusting holocaust denier who made historian Deborah Lipstadt’s life a living hell. His so-called scholarship is laughable and vile. Still, it is a disgrace that an Austrian court has sentenced Irving to three years in jail for holocaust denial:

“In Britain there was alarm at the sentence. “Anyone who denies the Holocaust is off their rocker,” Gerald Howarth, Tory MP for Aldershot, said. “But to send a man to prison for three years for something that he said sixteen years ago and has since changed his view — what are we coming to?”

Anthony Beevor, the military historian, said: “However nauseating, these people should be confronted in debate rather than chucked into jail and turned into martyrs.”

Americans have learned to successfully marginalize their holocaust deniers and Nazi sympathizers. These individuals are essentially ignored without threatening the First Amendment rights of the rest of us. The European Union countries simply do not get it. This is another nail in their coffin.

11 comments:

Knucklehead said...

There's so much in this story that it is hard to know where to start.

The inconsistency, to the point on near nuttiness, of the European (and other nations) regarding the holocaust is baffling. On the one hand "organizations" like the PLO/PLA, Fatah, Hamas, and people like Arafat are feted and shipped money by the cargo containerful.

They will shelter and protect, by the scores and hundreds, people every bit as vile and David Irving. Irving is a hero (or now a martyr if one buys into the martyrdom angle) to all the wrong people.

Pointing out, however, that there doesn't seem to be any claim that Irving runs around trying to get the loons who listen to him to kill people runs one right into "defender of holocaust deniers" territory. And pointing out many people, who happen to be Arabs and/or Muslims preach far more vile stuff on the same soil but to a far more violence prone audience, and often clearly for the purpose of inciting violence, is condemned as provacative Islamophobia.

Here is the case, presented by the The Nizkor Project against Irving. He really is a loathesome individual; the stuff of cariciture and ridicule but, unfortunately, ver real with a very real audience. Here is Irving's Poor, Poor, Persecuted Me site.

Where does this split personality among the Euros come from? Are there an useful clues in the TimesOnline article DT links to?

I think one is in the opening sentence:

DAVID IRVING, the far-right British historian, sat stunned and open-mouthed yesterday when an Austrian court found him guilty of denying the Holocaust and sentenced him to three years in jail.

To Euros anything carrying the label of "right" and especially "far right" is anathema. It must be ridiculed and vilified. But it can't stop there. It must be stomped upon, prosecuted, punished. This stretches, at least to an extent, to worship in the Judeo-Christian traditions. They don't persecute, prosecute, or punish it but they widely ridicule it.

How does the same behavior (sorry, far worse behavior), when coming from Arabs or Muslims, escape the label of "far right" and "religious extremism"? How does it escape the overwhelming need to persecute and prosecute that is so vigorously targetted at "right wing" behavior?

The answer, IMO, is that there's no danger in persecuting and prosecuting nutbars like Irving. There might be a demonstration or two from the skinheads and neo-nazis, but there will be ample counter demonstrators, very little property damage and few injuries will occur as a result.

Prosecute the "Kill the Jews! Death to Infidels! Burn the embassies!" crowd, however, will yield big troubles. The Euros are not the least bit afraid of the "martyrdom" status of the David Irvings of the world among their acolytes. They are, conversely, terrified of the martyrdom status of any moslems they might prosecute.

They seem to have some notion that if they keep kicking the can down the road "Islamic Rage" will eventually spend itself. They are not convinced (are not even really considering) that it must be defeated and that tolerating and subsidizing it, will not slake it but, rather, encourage it.

Peter UK said...

David Iriving,mad,bad,confused and bogoted though he may be, was used as a scapegoat in the true Old Testament sense,the Austrians used Irving to expiate their sins.
Ironically Austria has imprisoned a man who was actually denying the vile crimes Austria bears responsiblity for.
Irving,Holocaust denier though he is,was not responsible for that crime,Austria was.

David Thomson said...

David Irving’s followers are also not likely to be suicide bombers or target the judge for revenge. These befuddled idiots are usually harmless. The Islamic nihilists are not!

Once again, let’s do the math. The hard core Nazis probably represent less than one percent of the EU’s population. The Muslims comprise from five percent to ten in some countries.

RogerA said...

I checked to see what the folks on DU were saying--quite remarkably it seemed equally divided--hmmmm.

Knucklehead said...

RogerA,

The division among the DU/Kosling crowd is not suprising. This is, after all, the "hate crime" crowd that would be all too happy to see those who hate them - like you and I - tossed in the slammer. What they are too young, dumb, and inexperienced to understand is that they don't really want "hate" to be a crime because they are so filled with it that there's no way they can escape prosecution once mere "hate" becomes a crime.

DT,

The neo-nazis aren't typically prone to suicide bombings but they are often quite dangerous loons. Fortunately they they are low in number, tend to congregate among themselves, and have a seperatist streak. Oddly enough they are rabid dogs but seem to prefer their self-made cages rather than going feral.

All that said, I have some real concerns that the robust and rather full bodied "American" notion of freedom of speech and freedom of religion, our rightly cherished First Amendment, may not be able to fully survive the onslaught of Islamic jihadism. I feared that we might be ultimately forced to withhold those rights from some group of people. We would just not be able to tolerate them and would have to willingly bend our concept to rid ourselves of the disease.

My concern has now shifted to worrying that we may, from fear, deny those rights to ourselves for the sake of placating and appeasing those who refuse to tolerate our exercise of those rights. Such a thought hadn't crossed my minds until the Toonijad hit the streets and international MSM, with few exceptions, headed for the conference rooms to write their own free speech right out of their charters. Amazing.

David Thomson said...

“All that said, I have some real concerns that the robust and rather full bodied "American" notion of freedom of speech and freedom of religion, our rightly cherished First Amendment, may not be able to fully survive the onslaught of Islamic jihadism.”

We merely need to enforce the laws prohibiting the incitement of violence. Nothing more needs to be done. One can already be arrested for advocating the physical harm of human beings and damage to property.

Fresh Air said...

RogerA--

Hate crimes are just another example of the Left's indissoluble adherence to motives as the key to all existence.

That "hate" cannot be defined, much less clearly identified, is of no concern, since their hearts are pure and those who disagree with them are ipso facto, "haters."

Actions matter, and intent may matter to a jury, but in the broadest sense, it is irrelevant.

chuck said...

Strictly speaking, we shouldn't blame the Austrian court, we should blame Austrian law. I believe the anti-Nazi laws date from shortly after WWII. Holocaust denial is a crime in Germany, Austria, and France. Germany also bans "Mein Kampf." Naturally, folks work around these laws. For instance, the (bogus?) "Conversations with Hitler" is legal in Germany and works as a stand in. Check out the Amazon reviews of the latter and you will find that Hitler still has his admirers.

But back to European law, some European courts are likely to try to prosecute Americans under their local laws. Indeed, it already happened when Irving sued Lipstadt for libel in England. Now *that* really bothers me. All we need is for some Euroweenies to pass some dipshit law, and suddenly we are all liable. Can we tar and feather Justice Kennedy now? I volunteer to hold one end of the rail as we run him out of town.

brylun said...

Great minds think alike. In this case, David Thomson and PowerLine's John Hinderaker.

Knucklehead said...

Well, this one has gotten some play on the blogosphere today.

Good discussion at Roger's Place as usual.

Neo-neocon does her typical deep, thoughtful dive on the matter. Uncharacteristically I find it difficult to agree with her in this case. I just don't see the point in making speech illegal. Incitement is another matter.

terrye said...

I tend to think that whole right wing thing has a lot to do with it, but as has been noted when it comes to hate speech..whatever will they do with the guys calling for mass murder? Sounds pretty hateful to me.

I wonder if the Iranian government will offer Irving their support?