Sunday, November 27, 2005

Austria vs. Irving

In my Navy days, I remember going to a few ports-of-call in which we were warned about what not to say. Coming from a country that allows us to speak our mind freely, it may be hard to understand how someone like David Irving can possily face up to 10 years in prison for simply stating that he did not believe that the Holocaust occured.

Sure, it's absurd to believe something like that, but were someone to say that here, we'd simply dismiss him as a whack-job and go on with our lives. Not in Austria. Deny the Holocaust and you are prison bound. Austria is not alone in controlling this type of speech. France, as well as other European countries, also have laws prohibiting the denial of the Holocaust.

I'm not saying that our system is perfect by any means, I still believe that flag burning should be outlawed as it is an act of sedition, but overall we are the most liberal country when it comes to speech. I hope that it always is this way because as soon as we start censoring those we disagree with, freedom will die.
"Goebbels was in favor of free speech for views he liked. So was Stalin. If you're in favor of free speech, then you're in favor of freedom of speech precisely for views you despise. Otherwise, you're not in favor of free speech." Noam Chomsky, Manufacturing Consent: Noam Chomsky and the Media