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Free Speech Forever 15 February 2007

Posted by David in Comment.

The Germans wish to bring in a EU-wide law banning denial of the Holocaust. Now, anyone who denies the Holocaustis a total lunatic, and denying the evil mass genocide of millions by the German National Socialists is a disgusting thing to do. In fact, anything to do with the Nazis is disgusting. I would hate people to go round saying pro-Nazi things, it would be awful. But there’s something worse than letting people say Nazi things, and that’s having a Nazi style law banning people from saying things.

Freedom of speech cannot be limited. If it can be made illegal to say one thing, then it can be made illegal to say others. Where does it end? Illegal to criticise religion (tried just a short while ago), or the governing party? It ends in a Nazi style police state, where speech is controlled. I’d rather let a few nasty people say Nazi things, than live under a Nazi law. Unless you’re inciting a crime (i.e. encouraging murder), or misleading people in a manner to cause danger (i.e. screaming “gun” in a packed theatre to cause a stampede), we should be free to say what we like.

I don’t defend what people say, but I defend their right to say it.



1. Steven Bainbridge - 15 February 2007

By banning Holocaust denial, it almost gives the argument recognised credibility.

2. Joe - 15 February 2007

Self evidently true, that. One wonders the motivation in those who propose such a law. All that happens is that such views go underground where conspiracy theorists peddle it as ‘the truth they don’t want you to hear’.
Debate it in the open and the whole lot of them should look plain silly.
And if they don’t then we’d all have to have a good think.
You can’t legislate truth. The Church tried to do it once, for thoroughly good reasons that became bad ones.
Give people the facts and let them make their own minds up. If you tell them that in this one case we don’t trust people to make their mind up the right way, it sends out completely the wrong message.
David Irving is selling his theories to a greater audience as a martyr in prison than would happen if people could hear his arguments objectively and reject them without being told to do so.

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