Monday, February 20, 2006

Thought Crimes

There is a man in Austria who has been held in prison for four months, and faces the prospect of ten years in jail. What awful crime did this man commit? After all, this is a country in which a sentence of life in prison sometimes means only fifteen years.

David Irving is in jail, and facing trial, for making statements that question the truth of aspects of the NAZI holocaust during WW II. Yes, you read right, this man is in jail for his thoughts and opinons. I personally think he is a kook, and completely wrong. I have been to Dachau and seen the ovens. But that doesn't mean he has no right to his opinions. You deal with speech like his in two ways. You either ignore it as the ramblings of a madman, or you counter it with more speech. Throwing him in jail for it is an atrocity. This is the same country that had the audacity to attack the State of California and our governor for executing a brutal morderer who had 20 years to appeal his sentence. (of course in Austria, he probably wouldn't have even been in jail after twenty years)

Word has just arrived that he has been sentenced to three years in jail. Shame Austria, shame.

(h/t: The Snow Job)

1 comment:

Strider said...

In theory I agree with you, but one ting you should not overlook is that these laws were for the most part made in the wake of the destruction of the Nazi regime, when the world was dealing with whole countries full of Nazis and Nazi sympathizers who were strongly disposed to deny the horribly crimes that had just been perpetrated.

Short of making being a Nazi illegal, there was practically no way to reduce the number of open Nazis in the populace.

Hitler, as you surely know, was Austrian after all.

Thus in some European countries it is illegal, to this day, to deny that the Holocaust happened, because there are too many people who would take one of the most horrible crimes against humanity ever perpetrated, and pretend that it never existed. In Germany you can be arrested for raising your arm in a "Hitler salute".

Perhaps it is time to rethink these laws, 60 years down the road as we are, but that does not refute the argument that there were legitimate and important reasons to make those laws in the first place.