Going down

21 February 2006

So, David Irving’s going to jail. I would write about it, but Nosemonkey gets there ahead of me:

David Irving is an idiot, not a criminal [...] His kind of questioning of the Holocaust may be hurtful, it may be distasteful, it may be based on dubious evidence and on the utterly unhistorical discounting of thousands of eyewitness accounts, but someone needs to question the accepted version of history, even if only to be roundly debunked and ridiculed. Just as the late, great Conrad Russell was not sent to prison for challenging the received wisdom on the origins of the English Civil War, David Irving should not be sent to prison for challenging the received wisdom on the Third Reich.

Or to sum it up even more succinctly (and with apologies to TISM) – he might be a cunt, but he’s not a fucking cunt. Jailing David Irving makes nobody safer, doesn’t make society any less racist. All it does is risk making him a martyr, and his own terrible cause seem that little bit more alluring and underground.


2 Responses

Agree with that. Despise the fool – and what did he really think the camps and the ovens were there for? Toasting cheese? – but the discussions tonight on the instinctive news coverage just came across as very odd: is three years just? Should it have been ten years? Well, what would it have been over here? (For now, anyway…) He’s been expressing views, fairly crackpot ones at that and which most people will have happily scorned then gone about the rest of their daily lives without giving them much more than a second thought… Ridiculing, and its shy-er but no less effective baby brother Ignoring (apologies for the verb forms rather than nouns) are schurely more sensible that self-conscious Clamping-Downing…?

Iain

Sorry, but he is a criminal as well as an idiot.

I agree it’s a bad law, but it’s a law nonetheless, and he knew that when he went to Austria in order to break it.

I don’t even particularly have a problem with him performing an act of civil disobedience if that’s what he wants to do (though obviously is wrong with a capital R), but the thing with civil disobedience is that you have to be prepared to get charged and convicted, or you shouldn’t do it.