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Tuesday, 10 March 2009

Architects of our own oppression

There’s an interesting letter in the Scotsman today that touches on a matter we’ve dealt with often on this blog: censorship.

I’ve argued, for instance, that, no matter how odious a person’s views, he or she should be allowed to state them (usual caveats concerning libel/slander, of course). I argued this for Geert Wilders and for that bunch of loonies from Topeka, Kansas, the Phelps family.

One of my favourite bloggers, Baal’s Bum (he’s in our sidebar), has disagreed with me in a comment on this blog, and I’m happy that he has done so. It’s what debate is about, and I think no less of him for it.

This one’s about the Holocaust. There can be little doubt that it happened. The historical evidence is too great and varied to be dismissed. It would be the most elaborate conspiracy in history if it turned out that that infamous episode was all made up.

But should someone be allowed to say it didn’t happen – or that it wasn’t as bad as is made out?

Again, I believe public opinion will damn anyone who denies it, and he or she will stand or fall in reasoned debate. Ridicule is the prize if that denier or revisionist is caught out and proved to be wrong. So let battle commence.

And there is always the fear that there but for fortune (or, rather, the politicians’ pet target for censorship this month) go I. If we ban people from saying things, no matter how ridiculous they are (and, yes, even hurtful, which may be a small price to pay for seeing that person shot down in flames), it is only a matter of time before something a little less preposterous is banned. Then something a bit less preposterous than that.

Before long, anything that’s a bit uncomfortable to NuLabour, or to any similar heap of shabby politicians who are in charge, will be banned, and some of us won’t even notice that it’s happened.

That letter, then. It was, as I say, in the Scotsman and is from one James Martin, of Cowdenbeath, Fife, who begins by asserting that the current consensual, international view is that the Holocaust happened.

But he then goes on to say, “Such is the humbug climate of the times that the minority who deny such an atrocity ever occurred are pilloried as criminals.”

He goes on:

In such states as Austria and Germany, custodial sentences are customarily handed out. We don’t punish eccentrics who believe in Atlantis, the hollow Earth, Hans Hörbiger’s ice theory or, indeed, invading aliens, so why punish Holocaust deniers?

Doesn’t this form of insistent insecurity only lead to suspicions that it never took place, and aren’t such countries in danger of imposing an inflexible, totalitarian mindset control similar to the regimes they avow to despise?

Well said, Mr Martin. We can so soon become the architects of our own oppression – and that is the way it’s going.


Anonymous said...

I moderate all comments on my blog. That said, even contrary opinions are allowed but I reserve the right to excerpt said comments and use them in posts to demonstrate the cognitive disabilities of the bigots.

Anonymous said...

hello... hapi blogging... have a nice day! just visiting here....

Baal's Bum said...

First I would like to say I think that there is a great deal of difference between our right, to speak our opinion and the rights of foreign nationals to come here and speak out against our way of life.
I agreed that Geert Wilders should have been allowed to come to Britain and like you was appalled at the decision not to allow him into the country. Wilders was not coming here to attack the British people or our way of life, but to defend it by pointing out the slow Muslim infiltration that is happening over much of Europe.
The Phelps however were coming with the precise intent to incite hatred towards first towards the gay community,then secondly to the British way of life and our people. This is not acceptable, in attempting to do this they slot themselves in the same pigeon hole as Abu Hamza and any other hate monger you care to name.

Moving on to the Holocaust denial
Many years ago I was in the same motorcycle club as another guy who was a "ranking officer" in the BNP. He used to lecture me on this,(among other things) and would get really annoyed with me as I would laugh in his face and ridicule his point(s).(Incidentally it would make him shudder to know he is mentioned on a gay blog. So hi Stephen) So, no, I don't think belief in this should be illegal, any more than the denial of evolution should be illegal. After all I get an awful lot of entertainment from fools and their idiotic Ideas.
But I will say although some censorship is necessary, we have to be wary of becoming too intrusive and restrictive. Political Correctness has gone too far and I think can be blamed for many of societies ills.


I think children should be slapped if the occasion demands it, but should never be beaten. I think it's OK for a boss to call you names when you fuck up but I also think it should be be ok for you to yell at him/her when they make your life a misery.
I hate the bullshit of modern living, lets get back to the non pc times. When I get arrested I want Gene Hunt not some simpering chinless wonder. When I go down the pub I want cigarette smoke and bad language. I want salt in my food, and on the table, I want some fucking fat left on my Sunday joint. Please stop trying to make me eat healthier, I want my food to taste like it should.
So are our liberties being eroded, Yes they fucking are,and its time they fucking stopped.

Andy Armitage said...

Hi, BB. I think we agree on more than we disagree on. Always good to see you here, mate.