A London newspaper reports that Germany wants to introduce a new EU-wide law banning holocaust denial.
Germany intends to introduce a Europe-wide law banning the display of Nazi symbols and making denial of the Holocaust a crime to fulfil its “historical obligation” 62 years after the liberation of Auschwitz.
Brigitte Zypries, the Justice Minister, will today outline plans to punish with up to three years in prison anyone in the European Union who publicly rejects the Nazi slaughter of six million Jews.
The paper also notes that this isn’t the first time this has been proposed:
A previous attempt to ban Nazi symbols was blocked by several governments, including Britain, while Holocaust denial was halted on the grounds of freedom of speech by Italy, which then had the post-fascist National Alliance in its ruling coalition. The Italian Government has now changed, giving the Germans hope of EU agreement. But there will be extra pressure from former Soviet-bloc countries for a ban on the provocative use of the communist hammer and sickle.
And the anti-free speech agenda appears to be much broader than a law targeting holocaust denial:
Ms Zypries will appeal to them at a meeting in Dresden today and tomorrow to build a European criminal code on racism and xenophobia.
“We have always said it cannot be the case that it should still be acceptable in Europe to say that six million Jews were never killed,” she said. “There is some controversy about that under ‘freedom of expression’ but we believe that there are limits to freedom of expression, and the limits are there when it is offensive to other religions and ethnic groups.”
Such rhetoric should scare the hell out of any European who values liberty. Anyone who believes that the limit on free speech should be drawn against anything that is “offensive to other religions and ethnic groups” simply doesn’t believe in free speech at all, nor do they believe in individual rights. What they believe in is a bastardized notion of “group rights”, where an ethnic or religious group has a “right” not to be offended. This is not liberty, it is the opposite of liberty, a dangerous pretext for destroying free expression.