Sunday, January 29, 2006

Free Irving: A Dissenting View

Though this writer to the Observer takes a view which differs from mine, he makes an argument, one which should be of interest to those folks who feel I am wrong about wanting him freed. The problem is that how do you choose which words inflame and which words do not. Sometimes it's clear. Other times it's not.

Irving is no martyr

Does David Irving deserve to be prosecuted and imprisoned?


Free speech is a misnomer since speech carries burdens of responsibility and, while no word that may convey ideas unpalatable to us should be censored, words that twist and corrupt and deny the truth, words that inflame the ignorant and are manna for racial hatred and, therefore, inspire evil deeds, ought to be punished.

For Irving to deny the existence of gas chambers as a myth in the face of overwhelming evidence, and from a historian as learned as he prides himself to be, implies an agenda which is as unpalatable as it is loathsome.

Irving would be no 'martyr to free speech' by imprisoning him any more than Oswald Mosley was when he was incarcerated. Martyrs are made of different stuff and are kept alive by the outrage of those whose lives were inspired by a liberating truth.


Steven Berkoff


Dave said...

It's interesting to compare Irving to Mosley, and I think Irving would enjoy that...he probably sees himself in some ways as Mosley's successor.

I believe that free speech is not must come with accountability and responsibility. If your words lead to tragedy and chaos, you must be held responsible for them.

For those same reasons, I dislike anonymous letters, postings, screeds, and so on. If you take stands, you should not be ashamed to put your name and sacred honor upon them. I can understand those who fear imminent danger -- secret police agencies, physical harm, dismissal from their jobs -- but I also weigh that in comparison to what they say.

A man blowing the whistle on illegalities at his job has every right to be protected from retribtution by his employers. But if another man is simply encouraging others to kill Jews, then I would not apply the same standard.

So I see the guy's point. As I've said repeatedly, I'm stuck on this one...I don't want Irving to become a martyr by spending decades in prison, but I also think he should be finally held accountable for the lies and hate he has spread.

He broke Austria's law. He didn't go there as a naif...he signed off 60 checks before he went there, and carried eight shirts. I think he even called the Austrian cops, and is doing this whole thing to get himself back in the news, and is succeeding. He has to learn that courts and the law are not his personal playpens.

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