Holocaust denier gets 3 years

“quite unique historical circumstances”

Yeah, because nobody ever had a war before. And certainly nobody ever killed people because they were the wrong ethnic group before or since. Either way, it’s irrelevant, because this isn’t about offensive speech. Austria has legislated what the truth is and deviation from that is a crime. I guess 1984 isn’t required reading in Sweden, either. Terrifying.

Also, what do you mean by linking this with the Danish cartoons? That ridiculously overreacting to speech isn’t sole province of the Muslims?

Yeah, I know there are issues with all of Irving’s books. But even his harshest critics admit that Hitler’s War remains an important book on Hitler. There are some great comments in the Wiki entry on Irving. Justice Charles Gray, the judge who hammered him in the final ruling in the Lipstadt case, complimented Irving for his great research and the numerous facts that he’d dug up. John Keegan also lauded Irving as a person who knew more than anyone alive about the German conduct of the war and said Hitler’s War was indispensible, even while saying that Irving had perverted the truth and was knowingly lying about the Holocaust. And so on. There are more examples on Wiki and elsewhere on the web.

Hitler’s War is certainly one of those “dangerous” books that has truth and solid observations mixed in with biased crap, but it’s dumb to just toss out the entire thing. It should be read by anyone researching the Second World War, but with caution.

Do you actually believe this? Because, IMHO, nobody on earth besides a few thousand right-wing zanies were attending Irving’s speeches and buying into his lies over the past 18 years or so. He lost whatever credibility he still possessed when he got demolished in the Lipstadt case, too. All tossing Irving in jail does is give the guy the spotlight, again, and make him a martyr, both for the nutjobs and for the sane people who want to preserve the right to free speech. He had sunken into richly deserved obscurity; now he’s back on the front pages, and what’s more he’s back as a victim of a really stupid law, not as a fascism-loving nutbar.

This case might also get Irving another book contract with a major publisher. He’s writing a memoir while in jail, apparently, called Irving’s War, and it will have a much greater chance of seeing print now than it would have before this kerfuffle got underway in November. Irving’s always played up to his audience (Keegan noted that he didn’t think Irving even believed all his bullshit himself). So now he could play the free-speech-activist card and actually rebuild something of a career courtesy of all this Austrian nonsense. That’s still probably not likely, but it’s a lot more likely today than it was before that three-year sentence was handed down.

No, I was being sarcastic. :)

I think Irving’s future career depends on his frankness about his own past. A tell-all, “My life as a nazi apologizer” biography could be interesting if it’s appropriately self-aware and all that, but still, look at the writer. It would all depend on how interesting Mr. Irving is, and really, is he all that interesting?

“So, I found myself looking at this copy of an original toilet roll requisition order from Oberlieutnant Herr Gundesrandent, approved by the Fuhrer’s own secretary! In the original German it is of little consequence, but with my subtle mistranslation, I was able to misconstrue the number of toilet rolls by an order of magnitute, and even make it appear that the source was the zentralerverwahrungsort, instead of the Hauptverwahrungsort! A misdirection both hilarious in its wit and ingenious in its exoneration of the Fuhrer! Such a lie, a terrible lie, yes, and I am happy to admit it, but, see, how extraordinarily clever I am?”

When I think of an Irving autobiography, I can only imagine 400 pages of that.

I’m not really aware of the details of Mr Irving’s apologeticness (sp?)… However, is it possible he’s just one of those conspiracy guys who sniffed out a conspiracy (holocaust never happenned) and then ran with it? It sounds like his first book was more balanced.

Because really, the other option is that he’s just an anti-semite.

I think he was, but grew out of it when it started to fuck up his career. There’s a long history of everyone supiciously squinting sideways at Irving, wondering if it’s all an act. He’s a shifty, lying bastard, and there is every chance that the last 40 years of his life have been like David Bowie’s Nazi Salute on an unimaginably vast scale, an ocean of meaningless, self-aggrandizing bullshit less than an inch deep.

Wait a minute…David Bowie’s Nazi Salute?

Nobody in Austria or Germany has started a war since. And that’s what this is about. This is Austria overcompensating for a truly awful past. And part of that is never ever allowing people to deny that past existed, which occasionally leads to shitheads like Irving sitting in court. Because it is offensive speech in Austria. That’s what I mean by unique historical circumstances.

Also, what do you mean by linking this with the Danish cartoons? That ridiculously overreacting to speech isn’t sole province of the Muslims?

Simply that people have called for someone to put their foot down in defense of western cultural values against muslims extremists, and defending the holocaust certainly seems like a good place to start.

No, we read Kallocain instead. JOKEY SMILEY

They are putting their foot down directly ON a core western cultural value, in defence of truth by government fiat. It should be enough to teach the events. Throwing people in jail is counter-productive. That’s what governments do when they want to suppress the truth, not uphold it.

Because Austria and Germany, like every other nation, only ever started wars about eliminatory racism! And the fact that Austria and Germany haven’t started a war since 1945 is totally unrelated to their destruction and occupation, the division of Germany into two hostile vassal states, the development of nuclear weapons, the lack of a Versailles Treaty situation, and the massive shift in global power since WW2! All of those silly facts mean just plain nothing compared to the glorious success of anti-fascist inquisition!

Simply that people have called for someone to put their foot down in defense of western cultural values against muslims extremists, and defending the holocaust certainly seems like a good place to start.

So in your opinion, freedom of speech and science aren’t “Western cultural values” but “defending the Holocaust” (WTF!?) is. Well, thanks for clearing that up! Are you at least honest enough to acknowledge that Iran’s president has correctly represented your attitude in his recent speeches?

I was going to write about how appalling and outrageous this fallback to the 16th century’s Holy Inquisition is, but I can’t think of any hyperbolic ridicule that would surpass what people like Kalle apparently honestly believe.

Every culture has some speech that is taboo (Yes, even the land of the free!) There’s even a choke Paul Graham essay about this. It shouldn’t really come as a great shock that in Germany and Austria these taboos include Holocaust denial.

It doesn’t come as a shock on the grand scale of things, but it’s still unacceptable in terms of freedom of speech and this whole “Western values” thing. I’d much rather have a taboo on censorship, based on centuries of oppressive governments and churches in Europe, than a taboo on Holocaust denial, based on a grand total of 12 years of Hitlerism. This is missing the forest for one particular tree.

Also note that “Holocaust denial” is really a much more precise term than the abominable rubber paragraphs that actually encode this law. What the hell does “diminish the Holocaust” mean, for example? Whether you actually get jailed for your publically stated opinion on the Holocaust depends entirely on the preconceived opinion the judges and the press have of you.

He once Nazi saluted a crowd, apparently as a ploy to get himself in the papers, get a bit of notoriety, and so on. He’d just spent time in Berlin, and maybe got a little too into the nazi iconography and mythos. Press roasted him for it, everyone else bought records.

In my opinion I really don’t care one way or the other about this law, I can see the potential problems but I don’t see this issue as a big deal. It’s Austria’s way of dealing with a specific national trauma. It’s not going to lead to an Orwellian society, nor is the Spanish inquisition going to pay us a visit.

Sure, you say that now…but remember, no one expects the Spanish Inquisition. SMILEY FACE HERE.

The people Stalin, Idi Amin, and Pol Pot killed had little power. Poor russians, poor blacks, and poor asians. Who’s memorializing those groups?

The Holocaust victims have more power in death because the survivors had enough resources, dedication, and support to make sure they weren’t forgotten.

Kalle- Japan had a similar run of doing some bad stuff around that time period, but they’ve chosen to simply not talk about it as their national defense mechanism. Would it be understandable if they criminalized discussion of the Rape of Nanking? Would that be just Japan’s way of dealing with it?

Hell, the Allies did some bad stuff too. There’s a great deal of uncertainity over how many people died at Dresden, would it be OK with you if one of the countries involved legislated what the truth of the matter was and then prosecuted historians who believed otherwise?

Ben, you are so cute. You live in a country where privacy and basic civil rights are dismissed on a daily basis in order to protect the state from a sinister outside threat, and you look to Europe and prophesy the coming of the Big Brother state there. The childlike naivety of your political views keeps amazing me.

Your pompous dismissal of the Holocaust as just another ethnic cleansing accompanying some war doesn’t redeem you either. There are historical facts that must never be forgotten in order to keep history from repeating itself. Also, the Holocaust has laden Germany and Austria with immense amount of guilt, and it’s a matter of decency to stand by it and not let people distort or deny it. So, while the Shoa’s monstrousness makes falsifying the facts a reprehensible fact per se, the state has decided to make doing so a statutory offense in order to further discourage denial of the Holocaust.

So if individuals like Irving decide to spread their lies publicly anyway, in full knowledge that they make themselves punishable by law, let them be martyrs, if it makes them happy. If, on the other hand, Irving didn’t know what he got himself into, well, stupidity on that scale HAS to hurt.

And, Ben, if you’d like to argue against a legislation of what truth is, would you please elaborate what the REAL truth is? What do they want to hide from us? Or, perhaps, did you just create a flimsy argument for the argument’s sake?
Oh, I forgot, there’s a great deal of uncertainty about what really happened, right?