I detest Holocaust denial.

Relative newbies who haven’t been reading this blog that long may be wondering why I, a physician, booster of science-based medicine, and scourge of the anti-vaccine movement (well, at least in my mind, anyway) would blog about Holocaust denial, but in actuality my interest in combatting Holocaust denial predates my interest in combatting quackery by at least two years. Indeed, one of my earliest long-form posts for this blog, written more than a year before I joined ScienceBlogs and reposted after I joined relates how I discovered Holocaust denial, my confusion and revulsion upon that discovery, and how I became involved in refuting it. Although these days I don’t write about it as often as I used to, I’ve never lost my interest in it and have still on occasion done rather lengthy posts on it. And it can’t be said often enough: Holocaust denial derives from either anti-Semitism, Hitler admiration or apologia, or both. Always. After all, as I’ve echoed a Usenet regular named Allan Matthews, whoonce asked so brilliantly:

See, you’d think that after many months of posting this at least one revisionist who isn’t a neo-Nazi or anti-Semite would have come forward and said “Here I am!”
But, no. It appears that there just aren’t any such revisionists around.

Based on their past posting history, the few bozos who have bothered to claim that they aren’t neo-Nazis or anti-Semites were, upon examination of their claims, found to be clearly lying. Of course, given the general behavior of revisionists, this lack of honesty isn’t surprising in the least.

However, just in case some revisionist ‘scholars’ have missed my question to date, here it is again:

Where are the revisionists who aren’t neo-Nazis or anti-Semites?

It’s a fair question. After all, how can revisionists hope to be taken seriously if they all have such apparent biases, agendas and axes to grind?

So, then, if Holocaust revisionism is an intellectually honest endeavor, where are the revisionists who aren’t neo-Nazis or anti-Semites?

I have never found such a Holocaust “revisionist.”

So, make no mistake, I get it. I get that Holocaust denial is a vile, racist, and bigoted conspiracy theory that denigrates the murder of approximately six million people. I agree that it should be opposed wherever possible. Why else would I have spent so much effort combatting Holocaust denial online over the last decade? It also fits right into my skeptical activism as an example of pseudohistory, paranoid conspiracy theories, and outright abuses of science and methods of historical investigation, making it a classic example to use to teach critical thinking skills. However, as much as I despise Holocaust denial, I value free speech, because it is the wellspring from which all of our other political freedoms flow. Democracy is meaningless without a high degree of freedom of speech, and enshrining freedom of speech in the Bill or Rights, where transient legislators can’t easily mess with it and it requires a Constitutional Amendment to change, was arguably one of the most brilliant strokes of genius by our Founding Fathers. Yes, no freedom is absolute, but the ideal is to place as few limits on freedom of speech as possible.

Even vile speech like that of Holocaust deniers.

That’s why I really, really hate to read about stories like this:

British Holocaust-denying bishop Richard Williamson faces trial in Germany for an outspoken TV interview in which he denied that the wartime extermination of the Jews took place.

The ultra-conservative Catholic cleric was hit with a fine of nearly £12,000 today by a court for his comments made to a Swedish television interviewer – but he refused to pay it.

Because Holocaust denial is a crime in Germany – and because he gave the interview while on German soil – he was prosecuted in Regensburg, near to the birthplace of Pope Benedict XVI, where he gave the interview.

Under the German legal system, he was served with an ‘order of punishment’ informing him of the penalty.

Such orders are intended to cut down on bureaucracy and costs if both sides agree with the fine, which also would mean a criminal conviction.

But Williamson did not agree. He is to appeal, paving the way for a full hearing which could prove highly embarrassing for the church once more – even though Williamson can absent himself from proceedings to be represented just by his lawyer.

We’ve met Bishop Williamson before. Early this year, he gave an interview with Swiss television filled with the most blatant Holocaust denial I’ve heard in a long time, spewing a number of denier canards so mind-bogglingly easy to refute that I wondered if Williamson had even learned Holocaust denial 101. The reason Williamson came into such prominence because of his interview was that, in an EPIC FAIL of unbelievably bad timing, Pope Benedict XVI had opened the way to the reinstatement of Williamson and other bishops who had been excommunicated by Pope John Paul II for rejecting Vatican II, among other things. Shortly after the announcement, Williamson’s Holocaust-denying interview aired. Ultimately, in an equally EPIC FAIL of closing the barn door after the horses have left, the Vatican demanded that Williamson recant his Holocaust denial. Ultimately, Williamson gave a classic “non-apology” apology, which was rejected by the Vatican. Meanwhile, Argentina, embarrassed by the whole affair, kicked Williamson out the country, and he was forced to return to England. There, he was met by met by Michele Renouf, a former model known for her Holocaust denial and anti-Semitism, with whom he had been put in touch by fellow holocaust denier David Irving. Worse, Williamson had apparently been in contact with David Irving for advice on how to “present” his views, which is akin to asking the an anti-vaccinationist to how to “present” vaccine science. As an excuse, Bishop Williamson’s was one of the weakest I’ve heard:

Williamson said through his lawyer that he was assured his offending remarks would not be broadcast in Germany but only in Sweden, where there is no law against Holocaust denial.

Prosecutors had received a letter from the Swedish television producers in which they denied offering any assurance to Williamson that the interview, conducted in English, would be broadcast in Sweden only.

Even I know that you have to get promises like that in writing. I mean, come on!

My reaction to the prosecution of Bishop Williamson is pretty much the same as my reaction was when David Irving was put on trial for Holocaust denial nearly four years ago, when I described Austria’s prosecution as “stomping free speech flat.” From my perspective, it looks as as though Germany wants to stomp it even flatter still, perhaps seeing if it can reduce its thinness to subatomic dimensions.

What prosecutors in Germany appear not to realize is that not only are laws against Holocaust denial an offense against free speech, but they just don’t work. They suppress nothing. As I pointed out nearly four years ago, David Irving got far more publicity in Austria over the few months after his arrest and during his trial than he had gotten in the prior six years. Before, having been utterly discredited as a “historian” after having lost his libel action against Holocaust scholar Professor Deobrah Lipstadt, Irving had been fading into well-deserved obscurity–exactly where he belonged. During the trial he became a martyr for the far right, all wrapped in the mantle of “free speech.”

The argument of apologists for such laws notwithstanding, criminalizing Holocaust denial serves no purpose other than to “stomp free speech flat” and to confirm the claims of the Holocaust deniers that the government is “afraid” of their message. It is true that Germany’s and Austria’s shared histories of the last 76 years lead them to understand far more than we in the United States do just what can happen when fascist ideology takes hold of the reins of power. I’ll even concede that laws banning Nazi-ism, the symbols of Nazi-ism, and Holocaust denial were not at all unreasonable in the immediate aftermath of Germany’s defeat in World War II. West Germany and Austria were fledgling democracies, and there were a lot of former Nazi Party members left living there. There was also a real fear that fascism might rise again, given that the nation was still shattered. Unfortunately, what should have been a temporary measure to help stabilize a defeated nation with most of its major cities reduced to rubble and twelve million homeless and hunger running rampant has become permanent. More than 64 years after Germany’s defeat, these laws still stand, and hapless and vile idiots are still prosecuted under them. Why do these nations still need these laws, which have produced on occasion produced miscarriages of justice that would be hilarious if they weren’t so tragic? After nearly three generations, isn’t it time for these affronts to free speech to be eliminated?

After all, free speech does not mean freedom of speech just for people whose views are within the “mainstream,” whatever that is. That is not freedom of speech. Rather, freedom of speech means protection for those who espouse views that are very unpopular. That includes even disgusting views that are quite rightly unpopular because they are so vile.

Views like those of Holocaust deniers. The way to fight Holocaust denial is not to criminalize Holocaust denial but to fight it with facts and to marginalize Holocaust deniers in society by not giving them any respect.

Bishop Williamson was treated appropriately when the Church demanded his recantation, and Argentina forced him to retreat back to England and, even more importantly, into well-deserved obscurity. He has been paid little mind by the world over the last nine months, and that is entirely appropriate. Even the Catholic Church appears to have more or less ignored him since last February or March. By prosecuting Williamson for Holocaust denial, Germany will not deter Holocaust deniers or limit Holocaust denial. In fact, if I were a Holocaust denier, I wouldn’t be able to envision a more effective way of promoting it than by outlawing it. Not only does it bestow on an odious belief set the appeal of being “so dangerous the government is afraid of it,” but it allows the even more odious little men and women who hold such views to don the mantle of free speech martyr.

Comments

  1. #1 UK Visitor
    November 13, 2009

    BTW, one reason – and possibly a basic principle – that differentiates racism and hatred of religion is that while both parties may be offended, in the case of religion they have chosen their opinion, yet no-one chooses their race.

    And those who choose an opinion, such a kooky religious one, only have themselves to blame if they find something offensive.

  2. #2 Todd W.
    November 13, 2009

    @UK Visitor

    BTW, one reason – and possibly a basic principle – that differentiates racism and hatred of religion is that while both parties may be offended, in the case of religion they have chosen their opinion, yet no-one chooses their race.

    And those who choose an opinion, such a kooky religious one, only have themselves to blame if they find something offensive.

    So, if someone chooses a particular religion, kooky or otherwise, it’s their own damn fault if someone riles a group of people up against them. They should have just shut up and gone with the majority religion instead of believing what they wish to believe, eh?

  3. #3 Scott
    November 13, 2009

    BTW, one reason – and possibly a basic principle – that differentiates racism and hatred of religion is that while both parties may be offended, in the case of religion they have chosen their opinion, yet no-one chooses their race.

    EXCUSE ME!?!?!? Did you SERIOUSLY just argue that hate speech against religion is OK is because the targets picked the wrong religion?

    So I guess you reject freedom of religion along with freedom of speech too.

  4. #4 UK Visitor
    November 13, 2009

    Todd W.,

    I’m failing to come up with a definition that would settle your question

    how is a court or jury to determine it fairly and objectively?

    Because it’s not as simple as that – there are different levels of law and different principles all involved, from the aim of avoiding racial discrimination to the aim of protecting freedom of expression.

    Of course it seems like a muddle when these things clash. And I see how much simpler it is to cry, ‘Free Speech’.

    Just because something’s simple doesn’t make it right, and just because something’s a muddle doesn’t invalidate it, especially where the aim is good.

  5. #5 UK Visitor
    November 13, 2009

    Todd W. & Scott,

    I don’t understand your last comments. I’m not standing up for the protection of religion for any reason.

    People choose to worship a god – so in effect it’s their choice to find irreligious things offensive if they want to. That’s just the froth of opinion. No law should protect them from criticism.

    On the other hand if people are singled out because of their race, that is nothing to do with their choosing an opinion, and the law should protect them.

  6. #6 Todd W.
    November 13, 2009

    @Scott

    Yes, UK Visitor did just blame the victim. Here, I’m going to go back and slightly edit one of UK Visitor’s quotes:

    ‘People are entitled to hold anti-Catholic and extreme opinions which others may find unpleasant and obnoxious,’ said reviewing lawyer Mari Reid, of the CPS’ Counter Terrorism Division, which deals with religious hate crimes.

    ‘What they are not entitled to do is to publish or distribute these opinions to the public in a threatening, abusive or insulting manner, either intending to stir up religious hatred or in circumstances where it is likely religious hatred will be stirred up.

    Under UK Visitor’s rationale, I am completely and totally justified and protected by law to rile people up in a treatening, abusive or insulting manner with the intent to stir up religious hatred toward Catholics, or Muslims, or atheists, even. Got it.

  7. #7 Scott
    November 13, 2009

    I don’t understand your last comments. I’m not standing up for the protection of religion for any reason.

    People choose to worship a god – so in effect it’s their choice to find irreligious things offensive if they want to. That’s just the froth of opinion. No law should protect them from criticism.

    On the other hand if people are singled out because of their race, that is nothing to do with their choosing an opinion, and the law should protect them.

    No, I think we got that. You’re perfectly fine with religious hatred because the targets picked the wrong religion, and therefore whatever happens to them is OK.

    Now, we do tend to agree that criticizing religion is a fine thing to do. But your RATIONALE for it comes very, very, very close to a complete rejection of the concept of freedom of religion.

  8. #8 Raging Bee
    November 13, 2009

    I think the key point, and it is a fine one, that you are missing is who decides what is intended to incite hatred? How is that defined in a purely objective fashion?

    The same question arises in defining what is slander/libel, and asking who does the drfining. And even we supposedly-free-speech-absolutist Americans seem able to do this; so maybe we should stop pretending such questions are impossible to answer. Difficult and complex, yes; but not impossible.

  9. #9 Scott
    November 13, 2009

    Under UK Visitor’s rationale, I am completely and totally justified and protected by law to rile people up in a treatening, abusive or insulting manner with the intent to stir up religious hatred toward Catholics, or Muslims, or atheists, even. Got it.

    Well, that I have no problem with. It’s the way (he?) gets there that literally made my jaw drop.

    I also notice that it makes a mockery of the original position. Apparently anti-Semitism shouldn’t be permitted if it’s targeted at the Jewish religion, but as soon as it’s about the Jewish race it’s banned. Not terribly hard for Neo-Nazis to make that distinction, so the entire reason it was a good idea to limit freedom of speech just went out the window.

    Unless, that is, the justification is switched from “inciting religious hatred is OK but racial isn’t” to being “inciting racial or religious hatred is OK, as long as the targets aren’t Jewish”. Which is even MORE problematic.

  10. #10 Orac
    November 13, 2009

    The same question arises in defining what is slander/libel, and asking who does the drfining. And even we supposedly-free-speech-absolutist Americans seem able to do this; so maybe we should stop pretending such questions are impossible to answer. Difficult and complex, yes; but not impossible.

    Yes, but those advocating hate speech restrictions seem utterly unable to define what sorts of speeches fall under that category with anywhere near the precision that the law can define slander and libel. Until they can do that, why should we take them seriously?

  11. #11 Todd W.
    November 13, 2009

    @Scott

    Yeah, I realized after I posted that I was not particularly clear in why the manner in which that conclusions was reached was wrong. Thanks for clarifying.

  12. #12 Joseph
    November 13, 2009

    Some of it might fall under the category of speech which is dangerous to others and false, such as yelling fire in a crowded theater.

  13. #13 Jud
    November 13, 2009

    UK Visitor –

    Your specific example at #192 is a very good one to demonstrate that we ought to be very hesitant to restrict free discourse with “hate speech” laws. Griffin and Collett’s remarks are actually relatively mild next to those of any number of politicians and media personalities regarding the immigration issue in the U.S., and I really would not wish to live in a nation where people would come under threat of imprisonment for that.

  14. #14 Orac
    November 13, 2009

    Unless, that is, the justification is switched from “inciting religious
    hatred is OK but racial isn’t” to being “inciting racial or religious
    hatred is OK, as long as the targets aren’t Jewish”. Which is even
    MORE problematic.

    Indeed, which is an example of why the slippery slope is not so fallacious in this case.

    For instance, if the reason given as to why racial hate speech (whatever that is) can’t be permitted is because people can’t choose their race, then women should be protected under such laws too. Ditto homosexuals. Unless you’re going to argue that they can choose their sexuality, it’s hard to come up with an argument against it if ineffable traits one is born with are the criteria for defining what sorts targets of hate speech should be protected, then there is no logical reason not to extend that protection to women and homosexuals.

    After that, it’s not such a far leap to say that most people don’t really choose their religion in practice. They’re born and raised into it. Moreover, in many cases it’s an integral part of their ethnicity and culture; changing is not so easy. There, that’s at least three more classes of people that it would be hard to argue against covering against hate speech against. I bet we could easily think of more.

  15. #15 Todd W.
    November 13, 2009

    @Joseph

    Even yelling fire in a crowded theatre is protected, if, indeed, there is a fire or reasonable belief that there is a fire.

    Let me try a different approach. UK Visitor argues that laws banning racial hate speech are okay because people cannot choose their race. In that vein, hate speech against people based upon where they were born (e.g., the next town over, the country they’re from), their hair color, whether or not they have freckles, who their parents are, any diseases they may have, etc., can also be banned, because it is beyond the control of the individual targeted by the hate speech.

    Do I have that right, UK Visitor?

  16. #16 Scott
    November 13, 2009

    You know, this thread has been very polite and productive relative to many other recent threads of its length. I’m very glad this extremely interesting discussion hasn’t degenerated into a flamewar filled with trolls.

  17. #17 Joseph
    November 13, 2009

    I would limit it to speech that is dangerous to others, and demonstrating reckless disregard for the truth; a very high bar, like that of libel laws in the US.

    Not surprisingly, it appears hate speech laws are also known as group libel laws.

  18. #18 John Smith
    November 13, 2009
  19. #19 TSK
    November 13, 2009

    Perhaps I may explain why Germany has such laws. In the USA,
    the First Amendment is:
    “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press[…]”

    It is the *First* one, but it isn’t the first in German law, it is the *fifth* one which is even exclusively restricted in the following paragraph that freedom of speech is limited in certain cases.

    What is the first one in Germany ? It is:
    “Human dignity is inviolable.”

    So if human dignity clashes with freedom of speech, the answer of the USA is pretty clear: Freedom of speech has priority. But in Germany it is exactly the opposite: Human dignity has priority. And *both* countries act accordingly to their priorities.

    Is there a “natural” order which is violated by one of the countries ? No. Both statements are agreeable for both countries (and are specified by law), the conflict arises if you try to find out which your culture finds more important.

    In accordance with this priority:

    – As someone above said, games which are violent, degrading
    etc. may be only bought by people aged 18, “cleaned up”
    for the market (special German editions),getting on the
    index or banned (which is a constant source of anger for
    fans who even buy the original in the UK or other
    countries).

    – You may not insult people here without consequences. An
    “asshole” to a policeman will cost you something like
    1000€ (it theoretically goes up to one year prison, but
    I have never heard of sth outside a fine ). Private
    insults may be punished by civil lawsuit (if you are not
    afraid to be judged as coward and don’t insult back) and
    may cost several hundred €.

    – There are several attempts of states to filter Internet
    content and prohibit access to neonazi sites and
    (naturally) child pornography. Explanation: Our
    politicians are overaged and cannot comprehend how the
    Internet functions (Dumbness is also a possible
    explanation)

    The reason we are not (yet) living in a police state is that if it bothers Germans, they simply circumvent it and
    the highest court have very narrowly defined how the freedom
    of expression may be limited.

    You may absolutely not like it, but it is in accordance with the first basic law. Yes, I am aware of all sort of
    problems and miscarriage which may result from that position (which in fact happened), but you very well know that problems also arise from preferring freedom of expression before human dignity.

    Has the German position any merit ? If you don’t place much value in human dignity, violence rates may be higher. In fact the USA is one of most violent western countries; it has compared with Germany (2006) six times more murders, three times more rapes and seven times more prisoners (more in absolute and relative terms as in all other countries, even China und Russia).
    Compare the amount of hostility and expletives in a US blog
    with other native blogs and how people react to different opinions.

    Another reason why the law is untouched: Fighting against it is equivalent to political suicide. Many jewish
    instituitions (e.g. a Thorah school, a Jewish Museum) have permanent supervision by several policemen from a mobile home or police car. Why ? Because the politicians are scared shitless that an instituition or Jewish people may be attacked.

  20. #20 UK Visitor
    November 13, 2009

    Orac,

    After that, it’s not such a far leap to say that most people don’t really choose their religion in practice.

    With this kind of reasoning, everything is a ‘slippery slope’, something every 2nd politician invokes when faced with something they dislike.

    Race hate law is really about race hate. That’s why we (somehow) manage to get it to work.

    I still don’t understand why, say, a small attempt to make life less unpleasant for minorities sticks in so many people’s throats here – for instance,

    A FATHER-OF-FIVE has been banned from watching football for three years after hurling racist abuse at a black player during the Swans match against Reading 10 days ago.

    An off-duty police officer seated near him at Swansea’s Liberty Stadium warned Andrew Passmore about his behaviour.

    Passmore was arrested and came before city magistrates to admit having engaged in racist chanting.

    He has been banned from attending football matches for three years and told not to go within 1,500 metres of the Liberty Stadium on match days.

    Perhaps some of the posters here would stand up for this man’s right of free speech?

  21. #21 Scott
    November 13, 2009

    Race hate law is really about race hate. That’s why we (somehow) manage to get it to work.

    Except that you still haven’t provided any kind of defensible justification for that limitation…

    I still don’t understand why, say, a small attempt to make life less unpleasant for minorities sticks in so many people’s throats here – for instance,

    Maybe it will help if you consider a scenario where the practice of Islam is banned in order to avoid offense to Christians. It’s pretty much the same thing – strictly restricting a fundamental human right simply so somebody won’t have to hear something that might bother them.

    Perhaps some of the posters here would stand up for this man’s right of free speech?

    Absolutely.

  22. #22 Orac
    November 13, 2009

    With this kind of reasoning, everything is a ‘slippery slope’, something every 2nd politician invokes when faced with something they dislike.

    Race hate law is really about race hate. That’s why we (somehow) manage to get it to work.

    One notes that you completely ignored my other two examples, which followed your logic in justifying laws banning race hate speech exactly, and instead chose to zero in on the one that intentionally did not. In fact, I intentionally tacked that last example on the end as bait to see if you would go after it, and you did not disappoint.

    Tell you what. Let’s eliminate that example and go back to my other two examples. If your criteria for deciding that race hatred laws are justified is based on the fact that people can’t choose their race, then shouldn’t women be included as protected by such laws? They can’t choose their sex, after all. Or how about homosexuals? They can’t choose their sexual orientation. If you don’t think such “hate speech” laws should be extended to women and homosexuals, then explain why not, given that both classes of citizens fall under your stated justification for race hate laws.

    You really are digging yourself in deeper, you know.

  23. #23 UK Visitor
    November 13, 2009

    Scott,

    Or to put it another way,

    restricting a fundamental human right simply so somebody won’t be picked on for the colour of their skin

  24. #24 Orac
    November 13, 2009
    Perhaps some of the posters here would stand up for this man’s right of free speech?

    Absolutely.

    Except that I’d also stand up for the property rights of the stadium owner and team to keep their stadium a pleasant place to watch a match, which means they could ban this wanker if they so desired. Again, it’s the same principle as the pub owner. The government shouldn’t be able to ban such speech, but that doesn’t mean a private property owner has to put up with it on his own property. Indeed, such a clown, if obnoxious enough, would be ejected from a stadium right here in the U.S., and there would be nothing in the First Amendment to prevent it.

  25. #25 Todd W.
    November 13, 2009

    @UK Visitor

    What is the difference, in your opinion, between hate speech and harassment?

  26. #26 Michael Santomauro
    November 13, 2009

    Debating the Holocaust: A New Look at Both Sides By Thomas Dalton

    Softcover book, 280 pages
    ISBN: 1591480051 / 978-1591480051

    In this remarkable, balanced book, the author skillfully reviews and compares “traditional” and “revisionist” views on the “The Holocaust.”

    On one side is the traditional, orthodox view — six million Jewish casualties, gas chambers, cremation ovens, mass graves, and thousands of witnesses. On the other is the view of a small band of skeptical writers and researchers, often unfairly labeled “deniers,” who contend that the public has been gravely misled about this emotion-laden chapter of history.

    The author establishes that the arguments and findings of revisionist scholars are substantive, and deserve serious consideration. He points out, for example, that even the eminent Jewish Holocaust scholar Raul Hilberg acknowledged that there was no budget, plan or order by Hitler for a World War II program to exterminate Europe’s Jews.

    This book is especially relevant right now, as “Holocaust deniers” are routinely and harshly punished for their “blasphemy,” and as growing numbers of people regard the standard, Hollywoodized “Holocaust” narrative with mounting suspicion and distrust.

    The author of this book, who writes under the pen name of “Thomas Dalton,” is an American scholar who holds a doctoral degree from a major US university.

    This is no peripheral debate between arcane views of some obscure aspect of twentieth century history. Instead, this is a clash with profound social-political implications regarding freedom of speech and press, the manipulation of public opinion, how our cultural life is shaped, and how power is wielded in our society.

    http://www.amazon.com/Debating-Holocaust-Look-Both-Sides/dp/1591480051/

    Peace.

    Michael Santomauro
    Editorial Director
    Call anytime: 917-974-6367
    ReporterNotebook@Gmail.com

  27. #27 Scott
    November 13, 2009

    Then why not

    restricting a fundamental human right simply so somebody won’t be picked on for their speech impediment

    or

    restricting a fundamental human right simply so somebody won’t be picked on for treating everyone he meets like an idiot

    or

    restricting a fundamental human right simply so somebody won’t be picked on for claiming that Hitler was the greatest leader in history

  28. #28 Luna_the_cat
    November 13, 2009

    Scott: people have the right to say what they want, but they do not have the right to be free of consequences. What those consequences are has much to do with simple pragmatism, in practice.

    Racial epithets are an absolute no-no in UK sports arenas, because that became necessary as a control on the players’ and spectators’ behaviour, and in order to respect the rights of non-white players to be in the game without facing systematic harassment over, not who they were as individuals, but their unchangeable group membership. Sure, the guy had the right to free speech. And the football clubs had the right to ban him from attending. I don’t think you have any idea how effective such actions have been at decreasing the level of mindless violence which accompanied games over here for a few decades. Real people were getting really hurt because of incitement by name-calling.

    And I think the issue of systematic harassment of groups is one you don’t quite get, here. Red-heads and people from Stoke-on-Trent don’t face, and historically haven’t faced, the kind of systematic persecution that various racial (and yes, even religious) groups have.

    It isn’t fair to cut Europe’s history out of this picture, because Europe can’t do that. There are centuries of records of not just persecution and one big genocide, but lots of little, local attempts at genocide — especially aimed at Jews. This is the context in which certain speech is prohibited or made subject to sanction. The wars over here are much closer to home, so to speak.

    Abstract principles are inevitably subject to certain limitations when instantiated in real life, and there are just as inevitably local differences in need. Dealing with the history and context of racial violence over here has resulted in decisions different than what you would take over there.

  29. #29 dean
    November 13, 2009

    Orac, is there any commonality between vaccination deniers, “alternative medicine” supporters, and holocaust deniers (like ASMarques and M Santomauro above)? Not necessarily overlap in the groups, but traits in general?

  30. #30 Scott
    November 13, 2009

    Sure, the guy had the right to free speech. And the football clubs had the right to ban him from attending.

    And that, I would have no problem with – but the quotation appeared to indicate that the GOVERNMENT banned him, not the clubs. (At least, that’s how I interpreted the reference to the magistrate.)

    If the government wasn’t involved, then I’ll agree that the situation was handled appropriately.

  31. #31 Eric Hunt
    November 13, 2009

    There is nothing more un-scientific than belief in the Exodus and Holocaust stories.

    I am suing a woman who claims to have escaped from inside a gas chamber, was thrown over an electrified barb wire fence to another train, claims to have avoided becoming a lampshade, claims Mengele removed her tattoo, and claims General Patton gave her his four star buttons? at a hospital I’ve proven she was far away from at the time.

    “Scientists” such as yourself also like to claim that “everyone is equal” or prop up the myth with your silence, or say, focus on global warming instead.

    People who want to imprison priests and historians for presenting a different point of view prove that the Holocaust story does not add up, and was promoted by the same created Jews who created the Bible.

    If “Holocaust Denial” is as silly as denying the moon landing, or belief in aliens, it would not need to be punishable by years in prison.

    You can’t allow an open debate on the Holocaust story, because you would lose.

    I am suing Steven Spielberg and Irene Zisblatt for libel.

    I’ve begged them to sue me for libel, but rather than let a jury decide, they will try and get it thrown out on a technicality.

    I have faith that a jury, who sees video of the incredible “lampshade lies” and ridiculous fantasies of a Jewish teenager fed and kept alive for a year and a half by the Germans will find in my favor.

    erichunt.net

  32. #32 Luna_the_cat
    November 13, 2009

    Orac: I personally would be in favour of banning hate speech against women and homosexuals as well as “races”, where it could be demonstrated that this contributed to incitement to violence.

    The problem is, there IS no definition of “hate speech” or “incitement” which cannot be twisted until it breaks — because, let’s face it, there is not and never has been even a single system or set of rules created by humans at any time in history that humans couldn’t bend until it breaks. That’s just what humans do.

    Having said that, it’s not a good excuse not to have sytems or rules. It just means, many things have to be decided on a case-by-case basis.

  33. #33 Eric Hunt
    November 13, 2009

    Also, why do you remain anonymous, Mr. Scientist?

    If you want to debate me on “The Fifth Diamond” or Spielberg’s propaganda film “The Last Days”, I will do it anytime, anywhere, as long as you can pay my travel costs.

    Eric Hunt
    erichunt.net

  34. #34 Scott
    November 13, 2009

    And I think the issue of systematic harassment of groups is one you don’t quite get, here. Red-heads and people from Stoke-on-Trent don’t face, and historically haven’t faced, the kind of systematic persecution that various racial (and yes, even religious) groups have.

    It isn’t fair to cut Europe’s history out of this picture, because Europe can’t do that. There are centuries of records of not just persecution and one big genocide, but lots of little, local attempts at genocide — especially aimed at Jews. This is the context in which certain speech is prohibited or made subject to sanction. The wars over here are much closer to home, so to speak.

    Exceedingly weak arguments. Proximity really isn’t a meaningful distinction here; indeed, the argument could be made that such history makes the need for such restrictions LESS, as the general public is more keenly aware of that history.

  35. #35 Luna_the_cat
    November 13, 2009

    Oh dear, it’s Eric Hunt. Seriously, don’t waste time; hit the banhammer NOW. Of all the trolls which are tolerated here, he ain’t worth it. He makes ASMarques and brian look sane.

  36. #36 Eric Hunt
    November 13, 2009

    Oh, I almost forgot.

    Irene Zisblatt claims she repeatedly swallowed and defecated four diamonds in the camps.

    All of her stories come after a fifty year silence.

  37. #37 Todd W.
    November 13, 2009

    Quick question: what actually constitutes hate speech? If someone makes an off-hand remark in the course of casual conversation that is racially derogatory, is that punishable under the law? Or does it require the intent or potential to stir people up to violence? If the latter, does it matter who is stirred up to violence (i.e., only if it stirs up people to violence against the target of the derogatory comment? only if it stirs up the targets of the comment? both?)?

  38. #38 Luna_the_cat
    November 13, 2009

    Scott:
    the argument could be made that such history makes the need for such restrictions LESS, as the general public is more keenly aware of that history.

    More keenly aware, and some sectors of the population quite eager to repeat. You have never lived over here, have you? This is one of those arenas where until you’ve had personal experience of the situation it will be hard for you to understand.

    A certain flavour of viciousness towards national or racial groups is an established tradition stretching back hundreds of generations, in areas. The fact that people are keenly aware of it does NOT mean that it is universally frowned on. Tolerating and not quashing the verbiage that goes with the attitudes keeps it alive and fresh for each new generation; it’s only when there is a certain official (i.e. policy-driven) level of feedback being trickled down to and through the average citizen that this is unacceptable, do attitudes start to mellow.

    Think: it was a government-driven decision to force integration at Little Rock. There was no impetus for any level of racial tolerance, however feeble, until it started to be enforced from the top down. Do you think that was the wrong thing for the US government to have done?

  39. #39 TSK
    November 13, 2009

    At least I must agree the current paragraph 130.3 *is* extremely stupid because is forbids not only

    a) approval (ok for my standards)

    but
    b) trivialization (dangerous loophole)
    c) denial (really extremely stupid)

    There is in fact an argumentation inside the German standard works about the penal code that the law is really going too far. But the political climate is, as I said, not able to introduce a change.

  40. #40 Poogles
    November 13, 2009

    “Think: it was a government-driven decision to force integration at Little Rock. There was no impetus for any level of racial tolerance, however feeble, until it started to be enforced from the top down. Do you think that was the wrong thing for the US government to have done?”

    My argument would be that this govt driven decision was about people’s actions, not their speech. This is an important distinction, I think.

  41. #41 Luna_the_cat
    November 13, 2009

    Todd W.:

    If someone makes an off-hand remark in the course of casual conversation that is racially derogatory, is that punishable under the law?

    As I’ve seen things practiced here in the UK, I would personally say no — bearing in mind that I’m a casual observer here, not a lawyer. But if it is said in the context of a co-worker or boss saying it about an employee, a case could be made (and almost certainly would be) that it is harassment. And if such a casual statement is said by a person in a position of authority, such as a professor, council member, or MP, then it generally stirs up a certain level of outrage and requires a public apology. Only Prince Philip gets away with it, and I think at least 60% of the country wishes the Queen would just stop letting him talk to people. (Except the comedians. Comedians love Philip; free matieral!)

    Or does it require the intent or potential to stir people up to violence? If the latter, does it matter who is stirred up to violence (i.e., only if it stirs up people to violence against the target of the derogatory comment? only if it stirs up the targets of the comment? both?)?

    I believe that some test cases of that might occur in the foreseeable future — given the fact that BNP tw*ts have been elected to office. So far they have been very careful to maintain “plausible deniability” to inciting racial violence, but racial violence has gone way, way up in the areas where they were elected and regularly speechify.

    In answer to the second part of that question, I think if there were violence by the targets of said hate speech, they would be punished for the violence but the speaker would not be punished for the speech; if there were violence against the targets, as per the hate speech, both the perpetrators and the speaker would be punished if a connection could be shown to be reasonable.

    Standard disclaimers apply: IANAL. This is simply my observation of practice here.

  42. #42 Luna_the_cat
    November 13, 2009

    Poogles: And this is a relevant point. The problem in Europe, I think, is that speech and action in this arena ar traditionally way too closely linked.

    Sadly, though, I’m going to have cut my participation in this conversation (very) short at this point. I’ve gotta go do stuff.

  43. #43 666isMONEY
    November 13, 2009

    I’m an H-denier who doesn’t consider herself anti-Semetic. Religion or race has nothing to do with a forensic examination of the alleged murder weapon, logistics of body disposal or demographics. I am pretty much anti-religion as they are all irrational but I like what Jesus (if he existed) says. Jesus was the Logos or logic of God (John 1:1) and the devil is a slanderer (see etymology of “devil”), like Hitler or anyone who opposes the Money $ystem (even Jesus) is crucified & slandered by devils.

  44. #44 TSK
    November 13, 2009

    > Quick question: what actually constitutes hate speech?

    I can answer that for the German case (nazi crimes excluded).

    > If someone makes an off-hand remark in the course of
    > casual conversation that is racially derogatory, is that
    > punishable under the law?

    No. The first condition is that it must be able to disturb
    public peace. So it must reach a sufficient number of people or protected groups which can be easily influenced
    (people under 18).

    That means public speeches, internet or presentation in mass media (TV, leaflet).

    Secondly it must have the actual ability to disturb peace.
    People must have the impression that the request is serious and achieveable.

    > Or does it require the intent or potential to stir
    > people up to violence?

    You must either
    a) Promote hate
    b) Request people to act with violence or discrimination
    c) Denigrate, defame or degrade

    (against) a *part* of the population.

    > If the latter, does it matter who is stirred up to
    > violence (i.e., only if it stirs up people to violence
    > against the target of the derogatory comment? only if
    > it stirs up the targets of the comment? both?)?

    No, it does not matter. The attempt alone and the possibility that it may succeed is sufficient.

  45. #45 Igor
    November 13, 2009

    Six Cube Monetary: so you like Jesus, quote the New Testament, and claim devils crucified and slandered him but you are not in any way a believer in a religion or anti-Semitic. I’m surprised that a paradox of your caliber has not imploded and ceased to exist. Don’t deny H. Hydrogen has been shown to exist even if we can’t see it.

  46. #46 Karl Withakay
    November 13, 2009

    It’s a little late in the thread, but:

    Karl Withakay’s Laws of Concern Trolls:

    More often than not, when someone says they don’t have an opinion on something, it usually means they really do, but deny it so they can maintain the appearance of impartial objectivity.

    When someone prefaces a comment by stating what they are not, or what they don’t believe, or what they’re not sure of, it tends to be followed by a statement that shows they do have an underlying true belief and their preface was dishonest BS.

  47. #47 Igor
    November 13, 2009

    TSK: The problem that hasn’t been addressed here is not just that hate speech laws will subject certain people to criminal prosecution, but that they also have what we call a “chilling effect” on protected speech. Ultimately, speech which may not necessarily fall in the category of racist hate speech will be curtailed for fear that it may be criminalized. The reason that happens is because, as it was pointed out numerous times, legal language is often subject to imprecision and an objective interpretation may be difficult. Hence the SCOTUS decisions which found vague and overboard bans on speech unconstitutional.

  48. #48 titmouse
    November 13, 2009

    I personally would be in favour of banning hate speech against women and homosexuals as well as “races”, where it could be demonstrated that this contributed to incitement to violence.

    We have laws against inciting violence. We have laws against harassment. Why do we need additional laws against “hate speech”?

    What is wrong with hate? My hate is precious to me. It is my survival in the face of the unspeakable. Are you trying to take it from me?

    Are you trying to frighten people against me and my hate?

    Who are you to judge these emotions within me?

    Why must you become more than a mere mortal like me? Why must you become an army, a police force I cannot hope to resist?

  49. #49 titmouse
    November 13, 2009

    I wonder what the word “race” means.

  50. #50 Mu
    November 13, 2009

    Kismet, the Germans think they are defending democracy even at the cost of free speech because under the “Volksgut” doctrine, the individual rights have to stand back in the interest of the people as a whole. So for the people to never lose the basic democratic right to vote freely for their government, the individual right at absolute free speech gets curtailed.
    As for the Holocaust deniers here, they make the creationists at Pharyngula look bright. It takes years of study to understand fossil remains, everyone with a 4th grade education should be able to decipher the Nazi’s own documents. Most of those estimates are based on the German records, after all, the railroads got paid to transport prisoners, ditto the people providing food to concentration camps etc.

  51. #51 titmouse
    November 13, 2009

    Hate speech laws do not offend me because they constrain free speech. They offend me because the basis for that constraint is improper.

    My position is not, “free speech no matter what.” My position is, “fuck you and your thoughtcrime laws.”

  52. #52 titmouse
    November 13, 2009

    Orac’s hate speech filters ate my last post. So to recap:

    Hate speech laws do not offend me because they constrain free speech. They offend me because the basis for that constraint is improper.

    My position is not, “free speech not matter what.” My position is, “F*ck thoughtcrime laws”

  53. #53 Igor
    November 13, 2009

    All I’m saying’ is don’t be hatin’ the hataz, they is people too.

  54. #54 Murph
    November 13, 2009

    “everyone with a 4th grade education should be able to decipher the Nazi’s own documents.”

    Except there aren’t any documents proving the holocaust happened.

  55. #55 Hater
    November 13, 2009

    Some of my best friends are haters.

  56. #56 Liebe meine abschmenkee
    November 13, 2009

    Except there aren’t any documents proving the holocaust happened.

    Your narrative has become tiresome.

    Now is the time on Sprockets vhen ve dance!

  57. #57 Murph
    November 13, 2009

    Irene Zisblatt blatantly lies about the holocaust and the “skeptics” don’t object to it at all.

  58. #58 the makers of Reynolds Wrap
    November 13, 2009

    I am pretty much anti-religion as they are all irrational but I like what Jesus (if he existed) says. Jesus was the Logos or logic of God (John 1:1) and the devil is a slanderer (see etymology of “devil”), like Hitler or anyone who opposes the Money $ystem (even Jesus) is crucified & slandered by devils.

    The above (batshit) is hardly convincing (persuasive) to anyone (the Jews) reading (hallucinating) this thread (burp).

  59. #59 Jannsen Pharmaceuticals Inc
    November 13, 2009

    Irene Zisblatt blatantly lies about the holocaust and the “skeptics” don’t object to it at all.

    The hell you say.

  60. #60 TSK
    November 13, 2009

    > but that they also have what we call a “chilling effect”
    > on protected speech.

    Yep. The problem is that you may misapply the law because of political pressure. Or invent similarities to apply the case when in reality the law is not applicable etc. etc….
    all that to silence critics even if they tell the truth.
    And sure there *are* cases here where the law was IMHO misapplied.

    Still I think there are many factors that prevent the chilling effect to reach its full power.

    It can be countered by the exact same tactic: You can rephrase the text so vague that the message still comes through but cannot be prohibited. Nazi leaflets didn’t disappear; now they are talking about crime rate, vicious crimes committed by brutal aliens, citizens living in fear etc. etc. Everyone knew that Arthur Millers “The Crucible”
    described the HUAC, but even this mighty juggernaut was powerless to respond.

    Second, as in the US, the courts refine the exact meaning of the law with test cases which gives a more and more accurate picture how to apply the law.

    And last, unfortunately, powerful people *still* trample on exactly defined rights. During the G8-Meeting 2007 our chancellor had the brazenness to prohibit demonstrations in an area of more than a mile (!), enacted unlawful searches and arrests and violated the constituition by using the army for police work. Didn’t the fourth amendment prohibit
    wiretrapping and the government *still* did it ?

    > Why do we need additional laws against “hate speech”?

    Perhaps you don’t need them ? If the citizens find that at least in the USA freedom of speech is more valuable than anything else, why not ?
    The only thing is that other countries may come to another decisions which may be based on other, not less precious, base laws and own experiences.

  61. #61 Luna_the_cat
    November 13, 2009

    One very quick (and temporary) reappearance to respnd to something which started niggling at me —

    @Scott:

    Sure, the guy had the right to free speech. And the football clubs had the right to ban him from attending.

    And that, I would have no problem with – but the quotation appeared to indicate that the GOVERNMENT banned him, not the clubs. (At least, that’s how I interpreted the reference to the magistrate.)

    That’s actually a both/and. Because of the extent and nature of football violence, and the fact that in the 80s it started moving out of the stadiums onto city streets in a really major way, there was a lot of pressure being put on football clubs to take responsibility for the crime and destruction their fans were causing (it was getting to the point that cities and police forces wanted to bill the football clubs for the property damage caused, so all of a sudden the clubs were interested in finding a better solution.) Eventually police and the football clubs cut a deal whereby the local judiciary can impose bans on people who are identified as starting or trying to start fights, essentially restraining orders to keep them away from games and club premises. It does seem to work.

    What you are seeing in that particular incident, though, is a combination of crimes: the football hooliganism, racial hatred (not a perfectly overlapping set, but often overlapping) because of what he was shouting and the fact he was encouraging kids to join in, plus the guy cussed out an off-duty policeman who was sitting near him at the game and who told him to settle down. So what he received from the judge was a fine for public disturbance + inciting racial hatred (getting a group of kids to chant with him is really a no-no), plus the standard ban for hooliganism that was agreed with clubs.

    And now, forgive me, but good night.

  62. #62 Murph
    November 13, 2009

    Zissplat swallowed and pooped diamonds every day for 15 months. Sure. She doesn’t have an Auschwitz tattoo because the SS removed it. Ok. She never told her amazing story to anyone until after watching Shindlers List.

  63. #63 Mark
    November 13, 2009

    Is it OK if I don’t care anymore about the Holocaust?

    Is it OK if I don’t want to hear about it or have it force-fed down my throat all day?

    I wasn’t even born then. I don’t care about the Holocaust.

    I care about the Holomodor. I care about what happened to 50 million Europeans murdered by Stalin and his henchmen. Some of my ancestors were victims. I’m not going to be concerned about somebody elses holocaust when I have my own to remember. I no longer care about what happened or not to jewish people.

  64. #64 Gingerbaker
    November 13, 2009

    “Yes, but those advocating hate speech restrictions seem utterly unable to define what sorts of speeches fall under that category with anywhere near the precision that the law can define slander and libel. Until they can do that, why should we take them seriously?”

    Why are you trying to invent the wheel here? The European laws restricting certain types of speech have been on the books for many decades. Have you looked at them?

    And why shouldn’t we take them seriously – because they may not fulfill your definition of perfection? They probably are not perfect in all cases – so what? Do you think the US libel/slander laws have never been refined through case law?

    So far all I see from your side is a stubborn obsession with any possible deviation from absolutism, despite the fact the absolute free speech doesn’t exist anywhere. Our speech is restricted a thousand ways from Sunday in the US – most of it for truly stupid reasons. The Republic has not fallen.

    And neither has Germany decayed into Orwellian totalitarianism, although by now it would have had plenty of time to do so if we were to take your paranoias seriously.

    The restriction against Holocaust denial in Germany has done very little to harm the totality of anyone’s free speech rights, and has done plenty of good for their country.

    This American nationalist pride about the supposed sacredness of the First Amendment is a parochial mirage at best, and makes a very poor export.

  65. #65 Amy Aremia
    November 13, 2009

    The 20th Anniversary this month of the tearing down of the Berlin wall brings to mind a small article written at the time, in the Shelby Daily Star, Shelby, NC, that stated simply: After the wall came down West Germany found records in East Germany that listed 365,000 Jewish deaths,up until the end of World War II. This is the figure used by British Bishop Williamson. Why should he be”convicted” as a criminal and be fined?
    To discredit the intellect of those who are willing to question the “historical facts” as presented by Israel, and all other opinions, by using stock answers such as calling them neo-nazis, anti-semites, or racists,and then consider it as a criminal act, punishable by imprisonment or a large fine as given to the Bishop,serves as an injustice to freedoms.
    If a government like Israel can have power to determine what free speech is and is not allowed, by enforcing their Hate crime law upon other governments, is basicaly an act of world power; getting rid of it will not be easy, for it has already ignored national borders by making its unjust law to supercede other country’s laws protecting freedom of speech.
    Freedom of speech is just that—freedom to speak one’s thoughts and to question, which Israel uses freely against its hate for Jesus and Christianity and other religions…
    If the Hate Crime laws are not abolished what will be the next crime? To question what Israel wants the world to believe about the genocide war in Palestine?

  66. #66 Antaeus Feldspar
    November 13, 2009

    So the Holocaust deniers seem to be advancing an argument something like the following:

    1) Irene Zisblatt’s story is one of several million accounts of the Holocaust.
    2) Irene Zisblatt’s story is false.
    3) Therefore, all accounts of the Holocaust are false.

    That fails just on the level of basic logic. Finding one member of Set A that has trait B proves nothing about any other member of Set A, let alone all members.

    By the same logic, we could automatically make every Holocaust denier’s claims instantly false, simply by having someone make denier claims which were knowingly false (I know, I know: coals to Newcastle, eh?). Once “Mavid Mirving” was shown to be a fraud who didn’t even believe his own BS, it would (by the Holocaust deniers’ own logic) show that every Holocaust denier was a deliberate liar who didn’t even believe their own claims.

  67. #67 Burn Down the Brainwashing Factory
    November 13, 2009

    I didn’t believe Ann Frank’s diary and I don’t believe Zisblatt. I’m sick and tired of hearing about the Holocaust. I admire Bishop Williamson and Eric Hunt and I wish them great success in their struggle with tyranny. The Jews are a TRIBE and so any discussion of Jews that doesn’t praise them is called bigotry. But this is just a way to shut down criticism of the tribe by outsiders. Luckily, we haven’t come to total censorship, yet.

  68. #68 Murph
    November 13, 2009

    “1) Irene Zisblatt’s story is one of several million accounts of the Holocaust.
    2) Irene Zisblatt’s story is false.
    3) Therefore, all accounts of the Holocaust are false.”

    Whenever a particular account of the holocaust turns out to be a hoax, which happens a lot, it’s claimed not to matter because all the other accounts are true. Believers in other unfalsifiable conspiracies, like UFO abductions, use the same tactic. Question one far fetched account of alien abduction, and you will be told there are thousands of other valid claims of alien abductions.

    How about naming three accounts of the holocaust that are true, so we can examine the validity of what is claimed in them?

  69. #69 Hater
    November 13, 2009

    Perhaps you don’t need them ? If the citizens find that at least in the USA freedom of speech is more valuable than anything else, why not ?

    It’s the basis, not the limit, that offends me. A basis as incoherent and elastic as “hate” can be twisted to mean anything the powerful find threatening.

    To repeat:

    I DO NOT OBJECT TO LIMITS UPON FREE SPEECH.

    I OBJECT TO THE BASIS FOR THE LIMIT BEING “HATE.”

  70. #70 Hater
    November 13, 2009

    Murph, you’re trying to sell you case to a pub crowd.

    Take it to the peer reviewed journals. That’s where these controversies are settled.

    Now do us a favor and piss off.

  71. #71 Murph
    November 13, 2009

    Speaking of Anne Frank, can anyone here explain the story of Otto Frank?

    “in August 1944. Frank, his family…were arrested by SS Officer Karl Silberbauer…the Jewish prisoners were sent to the Dutch transit camp of Westerbork and finally to Auschwitz. Here Frank was separated from his wife and daughters. He was sent to the men’s barracks and found himself in the sick barracks when he was liberated by Soviet troops on 27 January 1945.” Source Wikipedia.

    Read that carefully. Otto Frank wasn’t able to work like the others, so he was put in the SICK BARRACKS. Not thrown into a gas chamber, but cared for in a SICK BARRACKS. Does that make a shred of sense?

  72. #72 Orac
    November 13, 2009

    Geez, Murph is one of the stupider Holocaust deniers I’ve ever seen, and that’s saying something.

  73. #73 Murph
    November 13, 2009

    Instead of insults, could you name three accounts of the holocaust that are reliably true?

    Could you list ten of the many, many, Nazi documents that prove the holocaust happened?

    Why was Otto Frank placed in a sick barracks, and not gassed?

    If telling the truth about the holocaust is important, why do you tolerate the lies of Zissblatt?

  74. #74 Joseph C.
    November 13, 2009

    Orac, your freak magnet is workin’ overtime these days. I think you should replace it with a less powerful model.

  75. #75 Murph
    November 13, 2009

    I would be interested in seeing you debate Chip Smith. See the writings at the Hoover Hog site linked above.

  76. #76 Dedj
    November 13, 2009

    “why do you tolerate the lies of Zissblatt? ”

    Who says we do? You’ve already been called out on this illogic by Antaeus upthread.

    Acceptance of the general historical consensus that there was a movement to eradicate ‘undesirables’ does not imply or require acceptance of any and all holocaust stories.

    People lie about having been in whateverevent all the time, but no-one would be crazy enough to argue that this therefore means the event didn’t occur.

    I gave up trying to learn from historical revisionists years ago. It seems they expect all the usual factors that historians deal with all the time to suddenly be silver bullets to the Holocaust hypothesis.

    It’s sad that such rigidity of thought is still obviously prevelant.

  77. #77 Bowl of Hate
    November 13, 2009

    Instead of insults, could you name three accounts of the holocaust that are reliably true?

    Pardon me, but you seem to have mistaken me for someone who gives a sh*t about you and your feewings.

  78. #78 Murph
    November 13, 2009

    I’m interested in the truth. What first hand account of the holocaust should I read? It should be easy enough to name, if not three, one. One truthful account. It should also be easy enough to explain why an ailing Otto Frank was placed in a sick barracks instead of a gas chamber. Instead, insults. It’s plain why questioning the holocaust is illegal in many countries.

  79. #79 Hate a la mode
    November 13, 2009

    Right, Murph. No one wants to talk cuz they is in on the conspiracy. Hundreds of millions of people are suppressing the troof.

  80. #80 Orac
    November 13, 2009

    I am suing Steven Spielberg and Irene Zisblatt for libel.

    I’ve begged them to sue me for libel, but rather than let a jury decide, they will try and get it thrown out on a technicality.

    BTW, I just remembered who Eric Hunt is:

    http://web.archive.org/web/20070227222832/http://www.cnn.com/2007/US/02/17/wiesel.arrest.ap/index.html

    SAN FRANCISCO, California (AP) — A man accused of roughing up Nobel laureate and Holocaust scholar Elie Wiesel at a San Francisco hotel earlier this month was arrested Saturday, authorities said.

    Montgomery Township police arrested Eric Hunt, 22, of Sussex County, New Jersey, at 1:30 p.m. ET Saturday. He faces charges that include attempted kidnapping, false imprisonment, elder abuse, stalking, battery and the commission of a hate crime, according to San Francisco police.

    He was being held without bail in the Somerset County Jail in New Jersey, awaiting extradition to San Francisco.

    Wiesel, 78, was a featured speaker at a February 1 peace forum at the Argent Hotel in San Francisco. He was approached in the lobby by a white man in his 20s who asked for an interview, police said.

    Authorities said Wiesel agreed to talk in the lobby, but the man insisted the interview be conducted in a hotel room, and got into the elevator with Wiesel. Once on the sixth floor, the suspect dragged Wiesel from the elevator, police said.

    Wiesel began yelling, and the suspect ran away down the elevator, police said.

    Police have said they were aware that a man claimed responsibility for the attack in a posting on an anti-Semitic Web site registered in Australia. Police have not commented further on that claim.

    San Francisco police Lt. Dan Mahoney said he doesn’t believe Hunt belonged to a larger organization.

    “He is a lone wolf and not part of an organization or group,” he said.

    Wiesel couldn’t immediately be reached for comment Saturday at Boston University, where he teaches, or through his institute in New York. Police in New Jersey and San Francisco said they did not know if Hunt had retained an attorney.

    Wiesel, who survived the Nazi death camps at Auschwitz and Buchenwald during World War II, has worked for human rights in many parts of the world and was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1986.

    Gee, how do I rate this “honor”?

  81. #81 Dedj
    November 14, 2009

    “It should also be easy enough to explain why an ailing Otto Frank was placed in a sick barracks instead of a gas chamber.”

    Not really. We don’t know if he had a transferable skill, how long and what he was in the sick barracks for or the date he entered them.

    Without this knowledge, there are several possible scenarios that could explain the ‘discrepancy’ (which only exists as a discrepancy if you hold to a strawman version of the Holocaust consensus that it was either work or be gassed), in order to work out which one is most likely, one would need more in depth knowledge of both Otto Frank and camp operations at that time.

    Far from ‘easy’.

    Again, the binary thinking and inflexibility in considering alternative scenarios is typical of historical revisionists.

    I’m pretty much going to leave this. I had enough of this years ago, and it’s pretty obvious that neither the logic nor argumentation of the revisionists here is going to be anything less than the shaky entitlementism I came across before.

    There are peer-reviewed journals for this sort of thing.

  82. #82 Murph
    November 14, 2009

    Interesting article Orac. “Wiesel, who survived the Nazi death camps at Auschwitz and Buchenwald”

    Exterminationist historians agree Buchenwald wasn’t a death camp. Can we get our facts straight? Is Night a reliable memoir, Orac? Wiesel never mentions gas chambers. How odd. As I note above, he also states the evacuation was voluntary, and describes getting surgery in the Auschwitz hospital for an injured leg. How charitable of mass murderers.

    I don’t believe in conspiracies, Hate a la Mode which is why I don’t believe the Nazi’s could have murdered 6 million people without leaving a paper trail or any physical evidence.

    Dedj says “there are several possible scenarios that could explain the ‘discrepancy'”

    Of course there are. Assume a certain view, that a vast conspiracy called the holocaust took place, and scenarios can be imagined to explain any discrepancy. It’s classic conspiracist thinking.

  83. #83 tim gueguen
    November 14, 2009

    Wow, ASMarques. A blast from the Usenet past I’m sure Orac didn’t want to see. But when you think about it its surprising he and his fellow idiots don’t turn up on this blog regularly just to make mischief. Then again some of them have probably either run afoul of the law or have succumbed to whatever mental malady made them believe such irrational nonsense in the first place.

  84. #84 skeptifem
    November 14, 2009

    Is there anything preventing white people from claiming protection under the anti-hate laws? I am 99% certain that if those laws were put into place in the US a bunch of white guys would be using them against their ex wives/employees/whoever and claiming some damaging misandry/racism that just isn’t there and can’t hurt them the same way. They are the ones with the legal resources to make use of such laws (generally) anyway, and the “oh i am such an oppressed white chirstian dude’ thing has been popular for long enough to catch on. Banning hatred of people based on being a majority doesn’t really work either, women are generally a little more than half the population and that doesn’t stop any hate towards them. Having historically discriminated against people get their own laws is problematic as well; defining who belongs in a race/gender isn’t always easy.

    I am a woman (and a feminist) and I do not want misogynist hate speech banned. Making it against the law to talk like that is making a violent bully force people into submission; they are still racist/sexist, and the damage is still done by the speech. Having someone put into jail or fined for their misunderstanding isn’t sticking up for me, it is sticking up for the power of the state to put people into jail or steal their money for having an opinion. I do not want people to get in trouble in that way for being misogynist. I would much prefer them actually changing their mind, which I can attempt to do with debate/activism, but bullying them with the state wouldn’t improve my condition in society or make anything better really. it makes me think of when parents make their kids appologize even though they clearly do not mean it. if every dollar spent on these stupid hate speech laws was put towards, I dont know, improving the economic and educational condition of women & minorities I would be pleased. THAT is a start towards a real change in society.

    To me, at heart, the american attitude of letting people say (almost) whatever they want has a lot to do with being wrong in the past on so many things. Banning whatever the status quo decides to be correct is obviously bad in retrospect, and hindsight is 20/20 after all. what we think now about society seems just as right to us as all the other garbage from the past did to people who lived then.

  85. #85 Major Hate
    November 14, 2009

    Look deniers:

    You’re on the Titanic and its going down. Yet you’re moving the deck chairs to see if they look better closer to port rather than starboard.

    Four million or six million –WTF?

    Your disregard for the possibility that you might be suffering a mental condition characterized by fixed, false beliefs impervious to reason is tragic. It also represents an ethical and a scientific failure on your part.

    Your egocentrism stinks. We are having none of it.

  86. #86 Kismet
    November 14, 2009

    @Gingerbaker, yes, we have looked at them. Yes, they are ridiculous. Yes, those laws are *hurting* real people (and not just me). And, yes, Germany is not one, but several steps, closer to totalitarian Orwellianism thanks to their censorship (*not* just the laws against Holocaust denial, but they’re an important part of the slippery slope enabling even worse media censorship).

  87. #87 UK Visitor
    November 14, 2009

    Kismet,

    Not the ‘slippery slope’ argument again. It ranks as equal to ‘Hitler was an atheist, so there’ when it comes to cop-outs.

    What the slippery slope accomplishes is turn a discussion about a law to ban Holocaust Denial into a case of ‘well, then, anything could happen next, so it must be wrong’.

    It’s lazy and avoids the issue, but maybe that’s why it’s used.

  88. #88 Haters R Us
    November 14, 2009

    Not the ‘slippery slope’ argument again. It ranks as equal to ‘Hitler was an atheist, so there’ when it comes to cop-outs.

    No, my objection and I believe Kismet’s objection is not a slippery slope argument.

    A law or a rule is a kind of test for sorting X-things from not-X-things. All tests come with an error rate: false positives (non-X misclassified as X) and false negatives (X classified as not-X).

    I argue that “hate” verses “not-hate” is problematic because the concept of “hate” is elastic and incoherent. There’s no slippery-slope here. This incoherence is in the present, not the future. The word “hate” has too many subjective connotations to be useful as a legal test.

    I have been accused of “hate speech” when I’ve offered criticism of Islam and Scientology –not yet by my government, but by people who believe my criticism = “hate” and “hate” = “immoral.”

    I oppose any attempt to tag a human feeling state as illegal or immoral.

  89. #89 Hate's Defender
    November 14, 2009

    UK Visitor,

    Because I’ve repeated my argument 9000 times in this thread without apparent comprehension on your part, I am truly beginning to hate you.

    Hatefully yours,
    Hater

  90. #90 TSK
    November 14, 2009

    I think I should clarify some misconceptions about “hate speech” laws in detail because Orac explicitly criticized German Law and I may be able to explain its usage outside Holocaust Denial (in which the 1994 law is IMHO in fact very bad).

    skeptifem:
    > Is there anything preventing white people from claiming
    > protection under the anti-hate laws?

    No, absolutely not. Why should there *any* excemption ?

    > I am 99% certain that if those laws were put into place
    > in the US a bunch of white guys would be using them
    > against their ex wives/employees/whoever and claiming
    > some damaging misandry/racism that just isn’t there and
    > can’t hurt them the same way.

    First of all: We are talking about *governmental* control and therefore penal law, NOT civil law. Ex wives/employees/whoever have a personal relationship with the violator and have therefore no link to governmental repurcussions. Neither the publicity clause nor the clause to target a specific part of the population (= less than approx. 1000 people) is fulfilled.
    Example: Ex-husband writes on the internet (publicity clause fulfilled).
    “XXX is a (insert insult here)”. Legal, but still open to civil court
    “I hate XXX. Hate her, hate her, hate her !!!” Still legal
    because it is a personal opinion.
    “All women are (insert insult). Rape them !” NOT legal.

    > They are the ones with the legal resources to make use of
    > such laws (generally) anyway

    Please understand the important difference between civil and penal law. Do you think the attorney of a murdered man
    comes to court and says: “Ops, my client didn’t have enough
    money, so we cannot sue him for his murderous act” ?
    Sedition is a penal issue, so legal resources matter only for a defendant.

    > Making it against the law to talk like that is making a
    > violent bully force people into submission; they are
    > still racist/sexist, and the damage is still done by
    > the speech.

    So what is exactly the deal with discrimination laws ? It also forces racist/sexist views in submission; they are still racist/sexist, and the damage is still done by their actions.
    The reason: The racists/sexists get the very clear message that discriminating is *not* ok and it has repercussions.
    And we can compare the effectivity of debate/activism with governmental laws (Hint: Paying damage was much more successful to suppress discrimination than debate).

    Kismet:
    > And, yes, Germany is not one, but several steps, closer
    > to totalitarian Orwellianism thanks to their censorship
    > (*not* just the laws against Holocaust denial, but
    > they’re an important part of the slippery slope enabling
    > even worse media censorship).

    Oh, I suspected that the attempts of our former Interior Minister to transform Germany into a police state were noticed. 🙂 Yes, there were many very shaky and stupid laws
    and notions passed in the wake of 9/11.
    But the USA (if we exempt satellite TV and internet) doesn’t need censorship because they don’t use the freedom of opinion in their mass media at all. Try to find articles in the newspapers or TV which explain the world from the viewpoint of *all* political viewpoints (not only two or one) and *many* nationalities. Any foreigner visiting the USA can tell you it’s depressing; reading a specific event in several newspapers of different political viewpoints and
    nationalities is nigh impossible. I don’t wonder that Americans prefer more and more the internet because it is *much* better than the mass media.

    Hater:
    I didn’t exactly understand why you have rambled against the notion that the USA has the right to put freedom of expression on the first place, but I did understand that you find “hate” as notion too subjective, ill-defined, elastic and incoherent. While in your specific case German law does NOT deny you the right to be hateful you are surely more interested in the generic case.
    So you can tell me why exactly the first amendment should protect “hate speech”, but NOT “obscenity” which is exactly as ill-defined, elastic and incoherent ?

  91. #91 ekcol
    November 15, 2009

    Orac said:

    “If your criteria for deciding that race hatred laws are justified is based on the fact that people can’t choose their race, then shouldn’t women be included as protected by such laws? They can’t choose their sex, after all. Or how about homosexuals? They can’t choose their sexual orientation.”

    Perhaps you’re not aware that UK hate speech laws already do apply to women and homosexuals, precisely because hate speech laws are created using that justification. So only groups of people fitting this criterion are protected. Where’s the slippery slope?

  92. #92 UK Visitor
    November 15, 2009

    ekcol,

    Exactly. When the law is operated, there’s no slippery slope. If anything, the reverse: the lower courts will be overruled (ultimately at the European level) if they let the definition of hate slide too much and interfere with non-racial-hate speech. This is why the BNP leader got off his race hate speech charge: even though everyone knew he was a race hater, the court judged a specific speech not his general views.

    I’ve heard the slippery slope argument used everywhere, on almost any issue, and it comes down to the same thing: the person using it can’t be bothered to think in specifics, they just want a term to shut down the argument.

  93. #93 white angel
    November 15, 2009

    -Whenever a particular account of the holocaust turns out to be a hoax, which happens a lot, it’s claimed not to matter because all the other accounts are true. Believers in other unfalsifiable conspiracies, like UFO abductions, use the same tactic. Question one far fetched account of alien abduction, and you will be told there are thousands of other valid claims of alien abductions.-

    Straw Man. No one does that.

    PS, it’s only 3. Not “a lot”

    It’s asinine to compare Holocaust Denial to belief in UFO abductions.

    Besides, neither UFO abductors nor UFO abduction victims were tried in courts and found guilty or right, They were never thoroughly assessed by courts of law, so like the shitheaded denier you are, you’re comparing apples and oranges.

    -Instead, insults.-
    Orac and the others are tired of repeating the same stuff to you insects over and over and over again, Instead of addressing dedj’s logic about how a false account does not tarnish the countless accounts that were verified to be true by the Trials against Nazi Criminals, you respond with some nonsense about UFO abductions. Red Herring, Weak analogy, Guilt by Association

    -It’s plain why questioning the holocaust is illegal in many countries-
    Because it slanders and demeans the people who suffered in it. Nothing more and Nothing less. You’re welcome to believe whatever you want. That’s all you have, after all, Belief.

    -Hate a la Mode which is why I don’t believe the Nazi’s could have murdered 6 million people without leaving a paper trail or any physical evidence.-

    So the mass graves that were found in Europe, the 22 sq.kilometers of human ashes found at Belzec, the bones and other human remains at about 7.5 meters deep in Treblinka don’t count as physical evidence?

    -SS-Unterscharfuehrer Mueller, who did not belong to the accused’s unit, but had his permission to take part in the execution, snatched children from their mothers. Then, holding them in his left hand, he shot them and threw them into the grave. The accused took him to task about this but nevertheless did not stop him.-

    -The accused shall not be punished because of the actions against the Jews as such. The Jews have to be exterminated and none of the Jews that were killed is any great loss. Although the accused should have recognized that the extermination of the Jews was the duty of Kommandos which were set up especially for this purpose, he should be excused for considering himself to have the authority to take part in the extermination of Jewry himself. Real hatred of the Jews was the driving motivation for the accused.-
    – 1943 judgement of the SS and Police Supreme court against SS Unterstrumfuehrer Max Teaubner

    stroop report

    jaeger report

    So these, and all those Einsatzgruppen reports and the transit lists, don’t count as a paper trail?

    that’s why it’s denial. Not Revisionism

    You’re not a skeptic. You’re an idiot. You don’t have the right to whine about insults, you deserve every single iota of ridicule and contempt hurled at you. Take your trash elsewhere.

  94. #94 white angel
    November 15, 2009

    Orac

    -Oh, goody. We have Holocaust deniers to play with! You know, I should make another corollary to Scopie’s law and point out that if anyone involved in a discussion of the Holocaust cites Robert Faurisson (an arch Holocaust denier), the Institute for Historical Review (an infamous Holocaust denier organization), CODOH, David Irving, or VHO, as “evidence” in support of his arguments, he loses the argument immediately and should be laughed off the discussion forum.-

    I’d like to suggest that, because of this:

    I looked at the web site, and the image you sent. It is only one small part of his ‘grid’. The picture shows him using a 200 MHz antenna and collecting about 1 meter spaced transects in a huge grid. That image is not processed, and only shows about a 5 meter long section in one line. And even in that profile it looks like a bunch of “things” in the ground on the right hand side that could easily be mass graves. It is apparent that this guy either does not know anything of GPR, or at the very least does not know how to process it. To really do a good job, the data need to be put into a 3-D cube of reflections and processed in a batch, including ALL the profiles collected. If you really wanted to get to the bottom of this you either need to get his data and let someone else process it, or re-collect it all and re-process your own data. This is NOT a scientific or representive study of the ground by any stretch.

    That you add Krege’s “study” at Treblinka to your list

  95. #95 moar HATE
    November 15, 2009

    UK Visitor,

    Anonymous has criticized Scientology for practices like:
    – fair game
    – disconnection
    – worker exploitation
    – fraud

    Anonymous has stated that it seeks the destruction of this criminal cult.

    Is the above a hate crime?

  96. #96 Murph
    November 15, 2009

    It’s not a straw man. It’s being done in this thread. It’s said the convergance of evidence proves the holocaust, because no specific accounts can withstand scruitny. I asked earlier for anyone to name three reliable first hand accounts of extermination camps. Still waiting for a response.

    The transit lists don’t prove anything unless you read them the way holocaust conspiracists do as being full of “coded” messages.

    The SS allegedly tried Taubner for large scale murders of Jews. An odd thing to do if mass murdering jews is one of your goals. It would be nice to see the original verdict document. The authors of one book seem to be the only people to have seen it.

    It’s not revisionists who have resisted proper forensic examinations of former. When analyzing these things remember a large number of dead bodies is not proof of extermination, see Buchenwald.

  97. #97 white angel
    November 16, 2009

    -The transit lists don’t prove anything unless you read them the way holocaust conspiracists do as being full of “coded” messages.-

    -Who are these “conspiracists”, and how do they read these transit lists? Can you share some examples with us?

    Transit lists prove that X people were sent to a certain place…..where eyewitnesses and Nazi Criminals-who were thoroughly examined by courts ascertaining the guilt of the latter- said they were murdered. A large amount of human remains were found at these places. What else can you conclude?

    – The SS allegedly tried Taubner for large scale murders of Jews. An odd thing to do if mass murdering jews is one of your goals. It would be nice to see the original verdict document. The authors of one book seem to be the only people to have seen it.-

    Let me reiterate:

    -SS-Unterscharfuehrer Mueller, who did not belong to the accused’s unit, but had his permission to take part in the execution, snatched children from their mothers. Then, holding them in his left hand, he shot them and threw them into the grave. The accused took him to task about this but nevertheless did not stop him.-

    -The accused shall not be punished because of the actions against the Jews as such. The Jews have to be exterminated and none of the Jews that were killed is any great loss. Although the accused should have recognized that the extermination of the Jews was the duty of Kommandos which were set up especially for this purpose, he should be excused for considering himself to have the authority to take part in the extermination of Jewry himself. Real hatred of the Jews was the driving motivation for the accused.-

    Taubner wasn’t tried for large scale murder of Jews, he was tried for participating in large scale murder of Jews, despite not being part of the unit that was in charge of the large scale murder in question. In short, he was tried for insubordination . Get it?

    Are you blind, or are you lying?

    -It’s not revisionists who have resisted proper forensic examinations of former.-
    Because it’s not permitted to disturb the bodies of the dead in Judaism, and the Poles see things in a similar matter, claiming the extermination sites to be holy ground, resting places of polish martyrs, seeing that they already examined all of the extermination sites when they were prosecuting Nazi Criminals.
    By the way, some investigations were done at Belzec by Andrej Kola, who was actually authorized by the Polish Government. Guess what, he was able to identify some of the mass graves, with bodies in “wax-fat transformation”. He also got into trouble because, as said earlier, it’s not allowed to disturb the bodies of the dead.
    How come his methodology, and those of the Polish courts investigating the killing sites aren’t good enough for you?

    – When analyzing these things remember a large number of dead bodies is not proof of extermination, see Buchenwald.-

    Who said they did? all they prove is that a large group of people died, in the same sense that semen in a vagina doesn’t prove rape, only that sexual intercourse took place.
    It’s other types of evidence, like testimony from eyewitnesses and Nazi Criminals, including some complaint from a Wermacht officer in a post 20 kilometers away from Treblinka about the stench of corpses that weren’t being incinerated properly, that helps form a bigger picture, that these people were sent here, and afterwards murdered.

  98. #98 Murph
    November 16, 2009

    Transit documents using the terms “evacuation” and “resettlement” are interpreted as meaning “killed”, at least for certain camps. For camps that are conceded not to be extermination camps then the terms do not mean killed.

    “where eyewitnesses and Nazi Criminals-who were thoroughly examined by courts ascertaining the guilt of the latter”

    The Nueremburg trials were a farce. Besides the coercion of confessions, the admittance of false confessions, the USSR was a participant. The same USSR that, coincedentally, liberated all the death camps. Given the nature of the USSR, there is every reason to be skeptical.

    No sane person denies that some Jews were murdered. The question is has it been proven a systematic campagin of genocide existed, a campaign wich involved mass gassing at extermination camps.

    Do you have the original language of thAT document? It is quoted in that form in only one book.

    “Because it’s not permitted to disturb the bodies of the dead in Judaism”

    In Judiac law graves can be moved if the proper Rabbinic authorities say so, and if the proper rites are performed. In Isreal, for example, remains have been moved in order to put buildings on the land where the graves were. See thisThe conflict over moving ancient human remains discovered at the construction site of an Ashkelon hospital emergency room slated to be reinforced against rockets has been resurrected.

    The renewed debate follows the apparent back-tracking of the Chief Rabbinate on its decision to allow the bones, discovered at Barzilai Medical Center, to be moved to another site.
    The Chief Rabbinate yesterday asked the Prime Minister’s Office for a two-week extension before officially announcing its decision, originally made last week, to allow the re-interment of the ancient bones.
    A source in the Chief Rabbinate said the delay was needed to “obtain further clarifications,” however; the change seems due to internal ultra-Orthodox politics.
    A halakhic (Jewish law) decision published yesterday by Rabbi Yosef Shalom Elyashiv and two other ultra-Orthodox rabbis holding by Lithuanian standards stated that the bones should not be moved.
    The decision contradicts an edict by Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger, who two weeks ago published a decision permitting the moving of the graves.
    Obviously it is a choice not to do proper forensic excavations.

  99. #99 ekcol
    November 16, 2009

    Anonymous has criticized Scientology for practices like:
    – fair game
    – disconnection
    – worker exploitation
    – fraud

    Anonymous has stated that it seeks the destruction of this criminal cult.

    Is the above a hate crime?

    No. And there is no part of the above discussion that suggests anyone would think it was.

    In case you really need it spelled out, people’s actions and their political ideas and beliefs can be rationally and legitimately criticized, and such criticism should be protected free speech. The colour of their skin or what kind of genitalia they have can’t be, and there’s no reason to protect bigots’ right to encourage persecution of those who have different skin or genitals.

  100. #100 John
    November 16, 2009

    “It means precisely what I mean it to mean, nothing more nothing less”.

    When the definition is so elastic that the most innocuous or innocent comment can, at the will of the accuser, be deemed to be anti-semitic, then almost anyone not only holocaust skeptics can be so labeled. More and more people are coming to see this accusation as a ploy to undercut an opposing position without having to address it’s merits. In the case of the gas chamber controversy it’s used to side step inconvenient questions or having to present compelling evidence supporting the belief that they in fact existed.

    Therefore, I suggest get off the childish name calling and present some documentary or forensic evidence or get off your high horse.

  101. #101 John
    November 16, 2009

    “It means precisely what I mean it to mean, nothing more nothing less”.

    When the definition is so elastic that the most innocuous or innocent comment can at the will of the accuser be deemed to be anti-semitic, then almost anyone not only holocaust skeptics can be so labeled. More and more people are coming to see this accusation as a ploy to undercut an opposing position without having to address itÆs merits. In the case of the gas chamber controversy itÆs used to side step inconvenient questions or having to present compelling evidence supporting the belief that they in fact existed.

    Therefore, I suggest get off the childish name calling and present some documentary or forensic evidence or get off your high horse.

  102. #102 Ender
    November 16, 2009

    “In the case of the gas chamber controversy it’s used to side step inconvenient questions or having to present compelling evidence supporting the belief that they in fact existed”

    Should be

    “In the case of the gas chamber controversy it’s used as an explanation for why the denier is continuing to hold their position after you have answered their questions and have presented compelling evidence supporting the belief that they in fact existed; if they claim they want evidence, but refuse to examine any evidence – then they’re probably not in this because they love Jews.”

  103. #103 Sergey Romanov
    November 16, 2009

    For all denier posturing they still cannot offer a simple answer (with evidence) to a simple question: where are the Jews transported into those camps?

    None of the “revisionist” gurus have ever answered this question. Not Mattogno, not Faurisson, not Irving, not even Sanning.

  104. #104 Sergey Romanov
    November 16, 2009

    “Question one far fetched account of alien abduction, and you will be told there are thousands of other valid claims of alien abductions.”

    I had to laugh at this. So for any given historical event we only have to find a false testimony about this event to debunk its historicity. Yeah, right. Where to begin…

  105. #105 göğüs estetiği
    November 16, 2009

    People don’t ignore racists so much as they either agree with them or openly ridicule them.

  106. #106 nitramnaed
    November 16, 2009

    Is this Eric Hunt guy writing this from the hoosegow!

  107. #107 nitramnaed
    November 16, 2009
  108. #108 Hater
    November 16, 2009

    In case you really need it spelled out, people’s actions and their political ideas and beliefs can be rationally and legitimately criticized, and such criticism should be protected free speech.

    Wait. I thought “Holocaust denial” = “hate speech.” No?

  109. #109 TSK
    November 16, 2009

    Perhaps it has gone down in the discussion, but I would like to ask it again.
    While the criticism on Holocaust denial laws has its own merits, it quickly was argued that “hate speech” is according to the US view unacceptable and the main reason for that is that they are (in contrast to other nations) strong defenders of the freedom of expression:

    “However, as much as I despise Holocaust denial, I value free speech[…]”
    “Europeans (and regrettably the British are ranked among them on this quality) have never had a strong tradition of free speaking”
    “Among all developed countries Germany may have the most vile and repugnant pro-censorship laws.”

    But should free speech have limits for…hm..icky,vile things or things a specific culture finds disgusting ?

    “Free speech must be unregulated to the greatest degree possible”
    “Rather, freedom of speech means protection for those who espouse views that are very unpopular. That includes even disgusting views that are quite rightly unpopular because they are so vile.”

    That sounds for me like “No”.

    In the light of this, I ask again:
    Why should “hate speech” be protected under the first amendment while “obscenity” is NOT protected under the first amendment ?!

    This is especially important because Germany and Scandinavia
    have no “obscenity” laws at all. What two or more consenting adults do nonviolently is freely distributable and openly accessible for adults.

    Would some of the purporting “freedom of expression” defenders explain what the core difference between “hate speech” and “obscenity” is ? What is your position on
    “obscenity” at all ? Didn’t you know that obscenity laws
    exist or do you find them ok ? Why ?
    So “isn’t it time for these affronts to free speech to be eliminated “?

    Criticism of the laws has its own merit and I accept that. But if you present yourself as free speech defender (and *especially* if you come off as self-righteous and patriotic) I don’t see the obligation to respect your cultural taboos.

  110. #110 Michael
    November 17, 2009

    Deniers of The Holocaust will have to excuse me if I deny their IMAGINARY ‘Dog’ Geebus!!!!! 🙂 There’s a great deal more proof of the Holocaust than there is that Geebus is ‘Ghourd’ God-damn-it!

  111. #111 hater
    November 17, 2009

    I can live without pr0n. I can’t live without hate.

    “The Holocaust did not happen.”
    “Anonymous will destroy Scientology.”

    Are either or both of the sentences above “hate speech”?

  112. #112 hater
    November 17, 2009

    Oh BTW, let me repeat myself for the 9001 time:

    I DO NOT OBJECT TO LIMITS UPON FREE SPEECH.

    I OBJECT TO THE BASIS FOR THE LIMIT BEING “HATE.”

  113. #113 UK Visitor
    November 17, 2009

    hater,

    You seem to have have missed the continual clarifications, from myself and others, viz:

    It’s not about ‘hate’, it’s about race hate, a term that can be defined so well that various European countries successfully operate anti-race-hate speech laws without getting in the way of any other ‘hate’ speech (eg the UK BNP leader’s anti-Islamic speech).

    Of course hate as a general category is entirely subjective; what’s not subjective is where hate is being directed against that-which-is-not-opinion, e.g. race.

    Orac’s earlier point that

    it’s not such a far leap to say that most people don’t really choose their religion in practice. They’re born and raised into it.

    Then goes on to redefine the idea so widely that it’s a red herring, one not encountered in the real world where RACE hate laws have operated.

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: anti-race-hate laws aren’t some kind of empty abstract principle but an attempt to protect those who suffer most from racism. The only ones who suffer from these laws are out-and-out racists.

  114. #114 ekcol
    November 17, 2009

    Wait. I thought “Holocaust denial” = “hate speech.” No?

    No, they are separate concepts and separate laws. Many European countries have laws against one but not the other. The UK for example, has hate speech laws, but there is no law against Holocaust denial, and the British government will not extradict people who are accused of Holocaust denial.

    Sorry if this wasn’t clear, but I don’t support Holocaust denial laws. Although the OP is about Holocaust denial, most of the discussion has been about whether hate speech laws are ever justified, with British people arguing the British system is fair enough.

    The reason everyone is ignoring you when you blather on about “objecting to the basis for the limit being hate” is because ‘hate’ the emotion isn’t the basis, it’s just a word used to describe the laws.

    ‘Hate’ has a separate meaning in the case of hate crimes: “Hatred is the targeting of individuals, groups and communities because of who they are.” – from the British home office website.

    Regarding religion:

    it’s not such a far leap to say that most people don’t really choose their religion in practice. They’re born and raised into it.

    When someone criticises the tenets of a religion, or the beliefs or actions of religious believers, even in the most insulting and offensive terms, it’s protected free speech. When it’s simply a bigoted attack on a group of people, it’s hate speech. I’m sure that’ll prompt another round of “but who decides which is which”, but the fact is, it works in practice. We’ve had these laws for years and it causes no problems.

    As UK visitor has pointed out, even Nick Griffin has never been found guilty of hate speech, and it’s the official position of his party that all non-whites should be deported (including mixed race children of white British citizens).

  115. #115 TSK
    November 17, 2009

    > I can live without pr0n. I can’t live without hate.

    Unfortunately for you laws aren’t based on personal preferences. There are people who think that they cannot live without drugs and who will argue that having no education and therefore having no job opportunity gives them the right to sell drugs. For unexplainable reasons courts very often don’t share this viewpoint.
    So please argue on something other people from other cultures can understand.
    And again, sedition laws don’t prohibit your hate.

    To your questions:

    “The Holocaust did not happen.”

    Before 1994 generally no, after 1994 yes.
    The critical introduced parts are 3 and 4 which explicitly prohibit even denying the Holocaust publicly. As already said, many and prominent Germans were criticizing it with the same arguments here as going too far.

    “Anonymous will destroy Scientology.”

    If I may assume that Anonymous will destroy Scientology by legal means, no, it is legal. And statement of facts cannot be punished anyway.

  116. #116 ekcol
    November 17, 2009

    @Anonymous & Scientology

    FYI, just came across the relevant clause in the Racial and Religious Hatred Act 2006:

    Nothing in this Part shall be read or given effect in a way which prohibits or restricts discussion, criticism or expressions of antipathy, dislike, ridicule, insult or abuse of particular religions or the beliefs or practices of their adherents, or of any other belief system or the beliefs or practices of its adherents, or proselytising or urging adherents of a different religion or belief system to cease practising their religion or belief system.

  117. #117 Jon H
    November 17, 2009

    “Zissplat swallowed and pooped diamonds every day for 15 months. Sure. She doesn’t have an Auschwitz tattoo because the SS removed it. Ok. She never told her amazing story to anyone until after watching Shindlers List.”

    So? Other people lie about what they did in the military in WW2, Korea, or Vietnam. Yet WW2, Korea, and Vietnam all happened.

    What exactly is your point?

  118. #118 little grey rabbit
    November 18, 2009

    what I find amusing is that it looks like that Orac is a regular reader of Codoh forum, the capital of holocaust denial on the web.
    It has about 10-20 persons posting there but a thread with zero replies will always get over 130 views. Suggesting there is largish pool of silent onlookers of which Orac is one.

    I say this has the dailymail link he uses for his blog post and appeared less than 24 hours before on Codoh forum. And I doubt Orac wakes up in the morning and decides to check out all the english tabloid websites

  119. #119 Luna_the_cat
    November 18, 2009

    Well, yes, and? If you want to know what the idjits are doing and saying, it does help to keep an eye on them.

  120. #120 Quack Quack
    November 20, 2009

    For a ‘science blog’ this place attracts a surprisingly high number of comments assuming the form “I’m right the other guys are evil idiots how can we humiliate them I’m feeling almost indestructible right now I’m so right” 😉 I myself have nothing against so called “holocaust deniers”. I’m interested in the science. Show me.

  121. #121 ASMarques
    November 20, 2009

    Quack Quack said: “I’m interested in the science. Show me.”

    See here:
    http://richarddawkins.net/userComments,page1,38300

    Search the page for “Here is a brief history leading to a conclusion that you’ll have to assess by yourself” (comment #184118).

  122. #122 little grey rabbit
    November 21, 2009

    Quack Quack

    I wont pretend to give you a scientific refutation in the comments section of someone elses blog, even assuming I had such a scientific refutation to hand.

    However you might find these two aerial photos of the gas chambers at Auschwitz Birkenau released by the CIA in the late 70s. One in May 1944 and one in August 1944

    http://i3.photobucket.com/albums/y94/Rodoh_Hans/gaschamber.jpg

    If you knew the layout of these particular buildings you might say it appears like the gas chamber is in a different position in the two photos.

    But doubtless there is a scientific explanation for this. Tectonic plates?

  123. #123 Antaeus Feldspar
    November 21, 2009

    If you knew the layout of these particular buildings you might say it appears like the gas chamber is in a different position in the two photos.

    It appears to me like someone obtained two photos of the same building, gave the features of the building two different labels between the two different photos, and then tried to argue that the inconsistency in the labels meant an inconsistency in the features of the building.

  124. #124 Dedj
    November 21, 2009

    Apart from the differences in gamma, drop shadows, and a slight difference in angle – the part of the photo where this would be made obvious “conveniently” covered by one of the labels – both photos line up as neatly as one could expect given that they were taken months apart.

    It still amazes me that there are people out there who lack the imagination to think of any reasonable explaination involving a basic phenomenon of aerial photography, yet have the imagination to be sarcastic about it.

    It’s almost as if people are coming to a pre-determined conclusion on the basis of political beliefs. Possible? Nah, no-one ever does that……..

    Tectonic plates it is then!

  125. #125 little grey rabbit
    November 22, 2009

    well, with respect, the source of the photos is well established.
    The lower august photo was taken from the US archives website and is also found on Yad Vashem. The May photo (upper) is an enlargement found in Mazal et al. from the Journal of Genocide Studies (I can provide the exact reference if you wish). The alignment was made by the skilled, intelligent and reasonably well known in anti-denier circles, Antifa campaigner “Hans of Rodoh”

    Should you really be interested in the issue, some of it is discussed here, but you do need to have a good knowledge of Birkenau geography and history to follow some of it
    http://rodohforum.yuku.com/topic/10231

    I’m afraid the claim that the black lines that appears to delineate the gas chamber are an artefact of aerial photography doesnt work. Mainly because the four black smears in the August photo are supposed to represent the Zyklon B insertion holes in the middle of the gas chamber, whereas in the May photo they appear to delineate one edge of the gas chamber.

    If I were to suggest explanations they would be the following
    1. A disgruntled anti-semitic CIA employee tampered with the photos really badly in the hope of discrediting the holocaust and increasing anti-semitism
    2. A large temporary earth wall or brushwood fence had been installed and cast a shadow. Said wall or fence being subsequently removed.
    3. or a ditch for drainage had been dug and was later filled.

    Bless
    little grey rabbit

  126. #126 Antaeus Feldspar
    November 22, 2009

    well, with respect, the source of the photos is well established.

    With respect, no one questioned the source of the photos. Alleging that someone has is a straw man argument.

    I’m afraid the claim that the black lines that appears to delineate the gas chamber are an artefact of aerial photography doesnt work. Mainly because the four black smears in the August photo are supposed to represent the Zyklon B insertion holes in the middle of the gas chamber, whereas in the May photo they appear to delineate one edge of the gas chamber.

    Appear to whom to delineate one edge of the gas chamber? Supposed by whom to represent Zyklon B insertion holes? You have replied to an argument that no one made about the source of the photos, but you have not responded to my argument, that the only “unexplainable” inconsistencies are not in the photos but only in the labels. What is the source of the labels?

  127. #127 little grey rabbit
    November 22, 2009

    The yellow labels are from the authors of:
    Daniel Keren, Jamie McCarthy and Harry W. Mazal, The Ruins of the Gas Chambers: A Forensic Investigation of Crematoriums at Auschwitz I and Auschwitz-Birkenau in Holocaust and Genocide Studies, Oxford University Press, Volume 18, Number 1, Spring 2004, pages 68-103

    the blue labels are corrections from an anonymous anti-denier campaigner based in Baden-Wurttemburg, Germany, known to me only as Hans of Rodoh, in response to some fairly obvious errors in interpretation in the above article.

  128. #128 Dedj
    November 22, 2009

    “that the only “unexplainable” inconsistencies are not in the photos but only in the labels.”

    Indeed, every feature of the lower photo matches up reasonably well to the same features in the top photo. Even the egg-shaped turning point on the track to the left is in the same place relative to the building on both photos.

    The 4 alleged holes present and visable in the lower photo are also present in the upper photo in the same relative location. Even though the contrast and brightness of the upper photo is much darker all 4 ‘holes’ are still visible.

    If people are going to claim discrepancies between two photos, it helps if such discrepancies actually exist. It’s entirely possible that the ‘earthbank’ seen in the upper photo was moved or used to round off the top of the chamber. This could explain the existance of the two banks, and why the outerwalls are more prominent in the lower photo despite it having a higher brightness.

    “I’m afraid the claim that the black lines that appears to delineate the gas chamber are an artefact of aerial photography doesnt work”

    Well no. Lucky for me, I didn’t make that arguement. I was looking at the features of the photo, not the labels, which is what you asked us to do.

    You appear to have found a mistake in the labelling, if that is indeed what you found, and not just two photos with different labels. Well done. So, er, why are you making an arse of yourself here when the best people to write to would be the authours?

  129. #129 little grey rabbit
    November 22, 2009

    Oh, the authors have been made aware of the error and admit in private correspondence they made an error, but do not see the need to making a correction.

    I am just pointing out that this response:
    ²Apart from the differences in gamma, drop shadows, and a slight difference in angle – the part of the photo where this would be made obvious “conveniently” covered by one of the labels – both photos line up as neatly as one could expect given that they were taken months apart.²
    is incorrect.

    That there is, in fact, some physical object that gives the appearance of delineating a wall of the gas chamber but which is a completely different structure (see my three explanations given above)

    As David Matas put it so well:
    “the antisemite is immune to refutation from either facts or logic. An antisemite has chosen to live in hatred, without regard to either facts or logic”

    An antisemite or something….

    bless

    Little Grey Rabbit

  130. #130 Dedj
    November 22, 2009

    “I am just pointing out that this response…..

    is incorrect”

    But you didn’t even address the response, instead you went off at a tangent talking about something that wasn’t even mentioned in my response.

    So no, you were not addressing the response (except the one that exists only in your head), nor did you demonstrate how the response I actually made was incorrect. You appear to be having an arguement that isn’t apparent to anyone else. You certainly haven’t correctly adressed any response put to you in a way that would indicate that you have properly understood them.

    I have no idea where you go the idea that the line on the left is supposed to delineate a wall of a gas chamber. I never mentioned that, no one here has mentioned that, and it’s not labelled as such in the photos. What exactly is your reference that anyone makes this claim? Publication, page and line please.

    If you already know the authours have admitted an error, why the fandangle are you continuing to argue the point? What error – exactly – did they admit to?

    I fail to see any place where anyone is making the arguement you percieve yourself to be arguing against. You have certainly misattributed it to me despite me niether claiming or implying any such thing. I’m going to have to politely request that you stick to arguing against points that are raised by people other than the ones that so far only seem to exist in your imagination.

  131. #131 little grey rabbit
    November 22, 2009

    My apologies Dedj, I assumed English was your first language. I promise in future I shall be very conservative in attempting to extract meaning from your posts.

    “What exactly is your reference that anyone makes this claim?”

    Daniel Keren, Jamie McCarthy and Harry W. Mazal, The Ruins of the Gas Chambers: A Forensic Investigation of Crematoriums at Auschwitz I and Auschwitz-Birkenau in Holocaust and Genocide Studies, Oxford University Press, Volume 18, Number 1, Spring 2004, pages 68-103

    I am not sure what page the annotated May 1944 aerial photo that incorrectly marks the earth banks on each wall of the gas chamber appears. I am sure you will find it fairly quickly if you flick through.

    Bless

    Little Grey Rabbit

  132. #132 w hingerty
    November 30, 2009

    You say that you are a doctor? Really? Where do you practice? I think you are a liar. Any educated person would find holes in the holoco$t. The soap?..The lampshades? The kangaroo trials at Nuremberg? The gas chambers constructed after the war? The fact that there are a million better gases to use than Zyklon B which is barely poisonous to humans. Have you read what any of the deniers have to say? Checked their refs? I used to be a rabid denier hater like you. I lived in Germany, visted Dachau, saw the alleged gas showers(later poopooed by their own people) Isnt this rash of holohoax movies just German HATE? Sure pick on white people,(they killed the Inyuns’)The Germans(what a disgusting race)Theyre easy. Now they ban free speech. Sounds like someone is afraid of open discussion. Anne Frankies..ballpoint pen.(not invented yet) There are so many canards. Its obvious you havent done any research. Just Hollywood.

  133. #133 Loopy
    January 7, 2010

    I agree with you, but using the repeated mantra of “six million” is a form of Holocaust denial itself: you’re denying the approximately seven million other Slavs, Romanis (Gypsies), homosexuals, mentally and physically disabled, Jehovah’s Witnesses, etc. who were also murdered along with the Jews by the Nazi regime, you’re saying that the world should care more about the deaths of a Jewish person than the deaths of a Gypsy. They’re both humans. I’m not saying you’re doing this intentionally, but look at Elie Wiesel and his “uniqueness doctrine” combined with his campaigning against Gypsies, and it is clear that repeating the six million mantra is a way to block out the suffering of millions of other human beings.

  134. #134 white angel
    February 7, 2010

    I was right to say that Orac got tired of losers like you. It’s been months and the Trash are still the same.

    – The fact that there are a million better gases to use than Zyklon B which is barely poisonous to humans.-

    dead horse

    -The kangaroo trials at Nuremberg?-

    over

    and over

    and over again

    can’t you losers think of anything new?

    -The soap?..The lampshades? –

    You’re really a desperate loser aren’t you?

    – Anne Frankies..ballpoint pen.(not invented yet)-

    I’m not sure whether to laugh at you or feel sorry for you (comment 37)

    Thanks for the projections 🙂

  135. #135 Byrdeye
    February 27, 2010

    If you really have evidence to disprove them, then why can’t you simply fight Holocaust Truthers with that?

    Why do you need Stalinesque censorship, when you could shut them up once and for all with actual proof?

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