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Criminalizing Speech

Europe likes to fancy itself as "ahead" of the United States in the human rights realm these days, but of course it is not.  AP reports that a German court has upheld a criminal conviction for denying the Holocaust.  This "crime" did not even happen in Germany.  A British bishop made comments on a Swedish TV station that ended up being broadcast in Germany.

Holocaust deniers are worthy of scorn and contempt.  However, criminal prosecution simply for expressing an opinion, however vile, is equally contemptible.


I disagree with the view that Holocaust deniers deserve scorn and contempt. What they deserve is ridicule. Deniers are almost always vile, but even more than that, they're nuts. The idea that one can be taken seriously denying a massively established historical fact is a lesson to the world about the mental balance of deniers, to wit, not much.

Kent is spot-on, however, in saying that the Germans are out to lunch in criminalizing disgusting and crazy speech. That the (arguably) leading country of Europe does this says a good deal of what you need to know about how entranced we should be with European braying about the death penalty, and its related infatuation with interntional law. The actual purpose of the latter is to degrade American sovereignty and thus power.

It's ironic that the Western Europeans would want to do this, since it was American power -- and not their interminable windbagging -- that rescued them for 40 years from being swallowed by the Soviet Union. But gratitude is not really their thing.

First of all, I've never understood Holocaust deniers. Why don't they just come out and admit that they hate Jews instead of denying well-established historical fact?

Second of all, I live in Italy, and I can tell you public opinion is much more variegated than EU bureaucrats would have one think. Plenty of the comments on Italian newspaper websites regarding the Leal case were wistfully bemoaning the fact that murderers here not only can't get the death penalty but a life sentence never truly means a natural life sentence. The EU's strident interventionist stance against the death penalty is one that is often not shared by a majority of the member states' citizens.

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