Sunday, July 22, 2007

Denmark: A victory for Holocaust deniers

Denmark, according to the Danish paper Information,it turns out has given a substantial grant to a Holocaust denier who called the Diary of Anne Frank a forgery, contended that the gas chambers never existed and argued that the number of Jews who died in the Holocaust has been greatly exaggerated.

While that grant may well be attributed to a bureaucratic snafu, it's the response of the government official from the agency making the grant that's shocking. When the story broke the Arts Council said that it does not deal in censorship and "it is not our job to judge [people's] opinions."

HOlocaust denial = an opinion. This as I predicted years ago in Denying the Holocaust is precisely deniers' goal: to enter the conversation as an "other side" or another "opinion."

They are not an "opinion." Their work is, as has been repeatedly shown, a "tissue of lies."

7 comments:

Hanson said...

Appalling. Freedom of speech is one thing. Propagating lies as historical facts is quite another.

Cecilieaux said...

I wonder if Denmark would fund a grant to study the opinion that the Earth was flat, the sun rotates around the Earth and 2+2=5. Surprising for a country that, as I understand it, had one of the better behaviors during 1933-45.

Yankee Doodle said...

"They are not an 'opinion.' Their work is, as has been repeatedly shown, a 'tissue of lies.'"

Agreed. However:


"Freedom of speech is one thing. Propagating lies as historical facts is quite another."

What's going to happen is that, in an effort to prevent the propagation of lies, freedom of speech will be infringed, until one day, when these guys are in charge, you will not be allowed to say the Holocaust occured, because it is no longer an officially accepted truth.

"the Earth was flat, the sun rotates around the Earth"

That's exactly the point. There was a time when everybody knew that was true, and they persecuted those who told lies. But, the liars turned out to be right.

The day is coming, indeed it is already here, that those who keep the memory of the holocaust alive to prevent it from happening again are called liars by those who say it never happened but want to repeat it.

You must defend the rights even of those who seek to take away yours. If you censor them by making them prove the truth of the idiocy they speak, the precedent you set will silence you. Better to deal with the inconveniences accompanying an excess of liberty than with the inconveniences accompanying a lack of it.

Deborah Lipstadt said...

To Yankee Doodle:
I take second seat to no one in defending freedom of speech. Take a look at my posts on EU laws vs. genocide denial or my comments about David Irving's arrest.

However there is a difference between outlawing something and supporting it. I believe deniers have a right to spew their lies and garabage. I don't believe newspapers should give them a platform or space. That has nothing to do with law it has to do with, at the best, common sense. http://lipstadt.blogspot.com/search/label/Genocide%20Denial%3A%20European%20Union

Hume's Ghost said...

HOlocaust denial = an opinion. This as I predicted years ago in Denying the Holocaust is precisely deniers' goal: to enter the conversation as an "other side" or another "opinion."

And in The Origins of Totalitarianism Hannah Arendt called this process "nihilistic relativism," and said that before a regime could drop an iron curtain to shut out reality it would first destroy the sanctity of truth with lies disguised as "opinion."

Plato, in his famous fight against the ancient Sophists discovered that their 'universal art of enchanting the mind by arguments' had nothing to do with truth aimed at opinions which by their very nature are changing and which are valid only 'at the time of the agreement and as long as the agreement lasts'. He also discovered the very insecure position of truth in the world, for from 'opinions comes persuasion and not truth.'

The most striking difference between the ancient and modern sophists is that the ancients were satisfied with a passing victory of the argument at the expense of truth, where as the moderns want a more lasting victory at the expense of reality. In other words, one detroyed the dignity of human thought whereas the modern manipulators of facts stand in the way of the historian. For history itself is destroyed, and its comprehensibility ... is in danger, whenever facts are no longer held to be part and parcel of the past and present world, and are misused to prove this or that opinion

Yankee Doodle said...

My apologies, DL. I did not mean to imply with my comment that you were not a defender of free speech, although re-reading it, that is kind of how my comment came out.

The intention was more as a word of caution, to myself as much as to anyone else. As I stated, I agreed with the part I quoted. I also agreed with the other commentator's thoughts.

My concern is the danger we face of being tricked into assisting our own demise.

Again, please accept my apologies.

Deborah Lipstadt said...

No apologies necessary. Sorry I misunderstood your intention.