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News Should it be illegal to deny holocaust?

  1. Nov 16, 2008 #1
    Holocaust denial is the claim that the genocide of Jews during World War II—usually referred to as the Holocaust—did not occur in the manner or to the extent described by current scholarship.

    Holocaust denial is explicitly or implicitly illegal in 13 countries: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Israel, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Poland, Portugal, Romania, and Switzerland.

    Is it OK to restrict freedom of speech in this way?
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 16, 2008 #2
    It should not be illegal to deny the holocaust. It's the same as denying the financial crisis at the moment. You can claim that, but the evidence points to the contrary. I think it tells that those countries have not been able to accept of what happened in the past and move on.
  4. Nov 16, 2008 #3
    I think it should be encouraged. Makes it easier to spot the dolts.
  5. Nov 16, 2008 #4
    If Holocaust denial should be illegal, evangelizing should be illegal.
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2008
  6. Nov 16, 2008 #5
    I don't know. There are very few left to blame. History of man is full of atrocities. Most are conveniently forgotten.
  7. Nov 16, 2008 #6


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    No it shouldn't be illegal. The holocaust is an historical fact which no amount of denial can hide but adjudging anything to be beyond discussion only encourages the conspiracy theorists and their vulnerable followers in their false beliefs.
  8. Nov 16, 2008 #7
    I remember a thread exactly on this subject a while back. I was also in the camp that said it shouldn't be illegal on the basis of freedom of speech. However I was missing part of the puzzle: hate speech. "How can it be hate speech?" you ask, if it simply makes a neutral assertion. Well, the fact is (as I was informed) that this assertion is far from neutral in some European countries there these atrocities happened. This is considered racial slur against an ethnic group because it has been used to promote hatred against that group. The words themselves do not reflect this fact but the social connotations are unmistakable to a large portion of the population in these areas. In the USA, this might be akin to claiming that African Americans have a lower IQ than the rest. Even if you produce test results to support your claim, the connotation of bias in the tests and of overt racism exists nonetheless. It's different for sure, but I'm just trying to illustrate and explain so don't go saying that it's night and day, it's meant to be illustrative. It explains why it's a crime in some countries but not in others that were far removed from the events.
  9. Nov 16, 2008 #8
    I think our lives should be micromanaged down to the smallest detail. I can think of a lot of thoughts that should be punishable by sever prison sentences. Death penalty for three-time thought offenders.

    Who is wiser in managing our lives? 450 enlightened congress persons, or a single individual going about her business in any reckless way she chooses?

    If there is a chance that any one of us could make it through the day without resorting to, or stumbling into criminal activity, then we need more laws.
  10. Nov 16, 2008 #9


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    But if hate speech is illegal, shouldn't that be sufficient?
  11. Nov 16, 2008 #10
    That's a question for the court, lawyers and law makers of each country. I don't know how the laws are written or how they are implemented but I assume that there are legal ramifications or complications specific to each country. I'm just volunteering an explanation for the motivation behind it.
  12. Nov 16, 2008 #11
    ...or no law at all. Without any law there would be no criminal. :biggrin:
  13. Nov 16, 2008 #12


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    Ah Ha now you show us the real point of this thread.
  14. Nov 16, 2008 #13
    This should also be legal to claim. And this one I think is true.
  15. Nov 16, 2008 #14
    It's legal as far as I know, but it's neither here nor there with regards to the point I was making.
  16. Nov 16, 2008 #15
    Good point.
  17. Nov 16, 2008 #16


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    Last time I checked, George W. Bush wasn't black but is an idiot....While Barack Obama, who is an African American seems like a very intelligent man.

    Making blatantly racist statements like this shows the level of intelligence of the one making the statement more than it shows the level of intelligence of the intended subject IMO.
  18. Nov 16, 2008 #17
    Bush is white and retarded, and Obama black and smart. Then it cannot be true. Sorry.

    You're not a racist if you believe the average IQ of white Americans is higher than for blacks. This is common sense. You misuse the word racism.
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2008
  19. Nov 16, 2008 #18
    Noam Chomsky makes the excellent point that this kind of racism, promoting the idea that blacks are inferior to whites in intelligence, is the same kind of negativity as Holocaust denial.

    If anything, it's even worse, but not because of the outlandishness of the claim, but because of its consequences.

    If you deny the holocaust, you're automatically a kook, as someone said. But here in America, these racial theories still hold some weight with many of people. Thus, they are also used by racist groups to promote hatred and injustice towards African Americans, whereas Holocaust denial in Europe goes nowhere, maybe barely influencing some Neo-Nazi groups, but we must keep in mind American far-right groups are even worse.

    So, if we're against denying the holocaust as hate speech, why not deny racist speech as well, such as conservative professors like Gregor who taught that whites and blacks shouldn't marry?

    A leftist could claim that misdirected propaganda against the third world leads to invasions, so why not ban conservative talking points?

    That's the kind of slippery slope one goes on when you start banning free-speech.

    "…The Holocaust was the most extreme atrocity in human history, and we lose our humanity if we are even willing to enter the arena of debate with those who seek to deny or underplay Nazi crimes." --Noam Chomsky

    "If we don't believe in freedom of expression for people we despise, we don't believe in it at all. " -- Noam Chomsky

    Both statements are true.
  20. Nov 16, 2008 #19


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    Common sense?

    It is amusing that whilst denigrating the intelligence of African Americans you exhibit to all your own shortcomings in your knowledge of the subject :rofl:

    I suggest you read up on the effects of cultural bias in relation to IQ tests which were designed for white middle class children.
  21. Nov 16, 2008 #20


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    There are practical problems with holocaust denial laws:
    If denying 'the truth' is a crime then there has to be a legal list of official truth, exact names and numbers of people involved.
    Who prepares this? The German goverment, the Isreali govt. the Simon Wiesenthal centre, the ADL?

    Will historians be allowed to study it? As long as they don't publish any reseach that doesn't fit the official values.

    What about non-licened historians? If a german published a family history showing that their grandfather Sgt Shulz wasn't a camp guard - it was some other sgt Shulz - would that be a crime?

    Does the same thing apply to other events. Is it a crime to deny the Armenian genocide or is it a crime to acknowledge it - since it devalues the holocaust?

    If a student gets a fact wrong in an exam, claims WWII was 1914-18 for instance, should they be prosecuted.

    Is it a crime to claim that none Jews were victims? Were gays, communits, union-leaders, gypsies victims of the holocaust or were they simply war casualties?

    If the Irish goverment decided that the potato famine was genocide and made it illegal to deny that - but the British goverment decided it wasn't and made it illegal to claim it was. Would people be constantly extradited from one country to another?
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