Saturday, December 10, 2005

Free Speech and Laws vs. Holocaust Denial

My good friend Harry Mazal recently wrote the following about laws against Holocaust denial. It is right on target.

Each country has a right to enforce their laws even when they are repugnant to us. I'll use a small example. If a person dons a white robe with a peaked hat and two holes in the sheet for the eyes, he can get arrested in this country. (If I recall correctly, KKK members must not cover their faces when demonstrating). On the other hand, if one visits Spain during Holy Week, one
can see hundreds of men wearing almost identical costumes as the KKK, with their faces well covered except for two peepholes. It is legal in Spain, but not in the US.

Perhaps the U.S. has had particular reasons for passing that law; reasons that don't apply in Spain. Spaniards are probably aghast at this interference in a mans' right to wear his clothes or a mask or what-have-you. Before I get jumped on for such a simplistic comparison, please bear in mind that Austria and Germany lived a different reality than did this country. We were not the organizers or perpetrators of a massive campaign of murder and terror, so perhaps we don't recogize their need for atonement and their attempts to prevent a future occurrence.

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