Monday, February 20, 2006

Austrian justice, Austrian hypocrisy 

Just to show that we are even-handed around here, let me say it right now: sentencing David Irving to three years in jail for denying the Holocaust is just about the only thing I can imagine more asinine than rioting over cartoons that depict Mohammed (or rioting over the frieze that dresses up the facade of the United States Supreme Court). Austria, which has seen fit to elect Nazis to its presidency, apparently thinks the best way to expiate its guilt is to toss a deeply misguided historian into the klink for writing a book. This is appalling, and the Western world needs to say so.

The remedy for speech, especially offensive speech, is sunlight. Expose it to scrutiny and reveal its core idiocy. Mock it relentlessly, and stop inviting the speaker to the best cocktail parties. But please, please, let's not throw people in jail for writing what they will, or burn the embassies of countries that suffer offensive opinions to exist, or slaughter innocent people, or lodge diplomatic protests. It is high time to decriminalize speech everywhere in the world, no matter how asshattish it may be.


By Blogger Sissy Willis, at Mon Feb 20, 03:02:00 PM:

Mockery is the best medicine. Wonderful post. :)  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Mon Feb 20, 03:45:00 PM:

So what would your opinion be on Townhall's call to prosecute Al Gore for sedition?  

By Blogger Cassandra, at Mon Feb 20, 04:08:00 PM:

Equally asshattish (though personally I think the case can be make that AlGore is an Alien)  

By Blogger Charlottesvillain, at Mon Feb 20, 05:24:00 PM:

It is clear by his own actions that Al Gore has already been sentenced to his own private hell. He is cleary a tormented soul. I pity him and hope he finds peace (prefereably far away from a microphone).  

By Blogger Mike, at Mon Feb 20, 05:26:00 PM:

For more, see my analysis of European speech rights here:

The Agenda Gap  

By Blogger TigerHawk, at Mon Feb 20, 05:52:00 PM:

Sam -

Of course Al Gore shouldn't be prosecuted for sedition. He should be denounced and mocked for his disloyalty, but Americans have hated actual prosecutions for sedition since the Adams administration. There is no reason we should abandon that tradition now.  

By Blogger Cassandra, at Mon Feb 20, 07:14:00 PM:

...I hope he finds peace (preferably far away from a microphone)...

... and then perhaps at least we can find peace :)  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Mon Feb 20, 07:52:00 PM:


Indeed. The only way for people to commit sedition in the United States of America is to advocate sedition laws. :P  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Mon Feb 20, 08:52:00 PM:

Tigerhawk, I can sort of agree with you except Irving is not a minor player in the anti-semitics of the world. He was a very prolific author who specialized in historical revisions in favor of the Nazis and against the Jews. He is prominant enough to be listed in detail in Wikipedia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Irving In many ways, he is a living example of the adage 'you play with fire, you're going to get burnt'.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Mon Feb 20, 09:27:00 PM:

Speech should never, ever, be considered "playing with fire." That defeats the purpose of free speech, essentially  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Mon Feb 20, 09:52:00 PM:

I only meant that in the sense that he has been living dangerously with the legal system having lost a couple of libel suits and been fined once by Germany for remarks against the holocaust.  

By Blogger Dawnfire82, at Tue Feb 21, 01:43:00 AM:

Well folks, there already is a law on the books against "sedition" and most people have not broken it nor heard anyone seriously speak of or consider breaking it. It's pretty specific.


Speaking poorly about one's government is not sedition in the USA. Neither is lying while doing so, else that fatass Michael Moore (may he starve in hell for polluting my family name) would be in prison since long ago. Advocating or pursuing the violent overthrow of the US or state governments through non-Constitutional means is sedition.  

By Blogger neo-neocon, at Tue Feb 21, 08:23:00 PM:

I agree with your position and your conclusions: free speech requires that Irving not be jailed, abominable though he undoubtedly is.

But when I researched my post on the subject, I discovered the situation is more complex than I originally thought, and I came to at least understand the strength of some of the arguments in favor of criminalizing Holocaust denial.

That said, I believe that free speech is the only way to go.  

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