Wednesday, February 22, 2006


More Thoughts on the Austrian Thought Police

New York Post op-edder Eric Fettmann has a thoughtful column today on the imprisonment of David Irving, focusing primarily on the danger of making Irving a martyr among the neo-Nazi set.

Among other things, Fettmann noted that "Deborah Lipstadt, the Emory University professor who bested Irving in a historic British libel trial in 2000 — a case that helped shred his academic reputation and left him financially bankrupt — also has qualms with laws that criminalize Holocaust denial; Lipstadt wrote on her Web site that she is 'disturbed by the sentence.'"

Fettmann goes on to quote Lipstadt as saying, "The way to defeat these kinds of lies is with what I do in the classroom and what we did in the courtroom during my trial: with the historical facts, the evidence, the testimony. In short, with the truth."


Andrew Sullivan also filed a short but punchy objection to Irving's jailing:

I cannot express enough my contempt for the sniveling neo-Nazi, David Irving. That he has such an obviously first-rate mind makes his bigotry all the more repulsive. But ... imprisoning someone for their beliefs, however vile, is a violation of basic Western freedoms. We cannot lecture the Muslim world on freedom of speech, while criminalizing it in the West. I know there's a historical reason for the Austrian law. That doesn't make it any less objectionable in principle. And what has just happened will only deepen the sense that the West has double-standards among many Muslims.

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