Monday, February 20, 2006


As I have mentioned before, I lost a close friend years ago over an argument about David Irving, the provocative and repugnant Holocaust denier. At a dinner party, I defended Irving's right to publish his idiotic beliefs. I felt--and still feel--that the marketplace of ideas should be self-censoring, and if he could find publishers and readers, so be it. Any form of government censorship of Holocaust denial, I said, would only lend credence to the idiocy, and make us guilty of hypocrisy to boot. My friend found my defense of Irving's rights offensive enough to warrant never speaking to me again. A very sad clash of principles.

An Austrian court just sentenced Irving to three years in prison for voicing his moronic beliefs. The hypocrisy is complete. We have diminished the power of truth by implying that truth requires goverment protection. And we have thrown to the wolves twelve Danish cartoonists and countless editors who believed that we had evolved beyond the primitive concept of blasphemy.



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