Much like the fate of Canada's own Jim Keegstra, whose library included Irvings works. Keegstra's case has been the bugaboo of the right for years, they love to use it to attack Canada's Anti-Hate Literature laws.
In fact Keegstra failed to use the existing law to defend himself, because what he was saying was done as an authority, he was a teacher, in a classroom. Similar to Irving's use of his academic background to promote his authority in promoting fascism.
Under the Criminal Code, Keegstra could have legally made such statements if any of the following conditions had applied:
- he promoted hatred in a private conversation by stating facts he believed to be true
- he made the statements honestly and was just trying to express an opinion upon a religious subject
- he reasonably believed the statements were true, and the statements were relevant to a subject of public interest, the discussion of which was for the public benefit
- he was trying to point out things that tended to promote hatred towards a group, but only to help remove those hateful feelings
Though I must say that I agree with those Blogging Tories who also denounced Irving here and here , it leaves us hope that there is some sanity on the right,
Unlike those Voltarieans on the right who think that fascism is a matter of free speech.
Irving was using Holocaust denial as a way of promoting fascism, it is not a matter of free speech, its a matter of being a fascist agitator and provocateur.
Should he have been jailed, well no. There I agree with Oliver Kamm who says;
The issue for public policymaking is not that Holocaust denial is offensive (though it certainly is that) but that it is false: malevolently, systematically so. The proper policy with regard to malevolent falsehood is to expose it rather than suppress it. That is the task of historians rather than legislators or the judiciary.
What Irving and his fascist allies should be jailed for is when they engage in armed violent attacks on gays, immigrants, jews, etc. Which usually occur after a good rabble rousing speech.
Historian's trial widens Europe's divide over acceptable limits to free expression
LONDON -- When the world's best-known Holocaust denier goes on trial in Vienna today, he will have some surprising defenders: his most outspoken opponents.
Six years ago, British historian David Irving launched a libel suit in London against a historian whose books accused him of being one of the world's leading defenders of Hitler's regime. Deborah Lipstadt's works showed that Mr. Irving, a biographer of Hitler and a renowned scholar of the Nazi era, was a defender of the Nazi dictator and a denier of the mechanized killing of six million Jews under Hitler's orders.
The result was devastating for him: The judge ruled that Ms. Lipstadt, a U.S. historian, was right, and that Mr. Irving is "a racist, an anti-Semite and an active Holocaust denier." Mr. Irving was also forced to pay the cost of the trial, estimated at $6-million.
It reduced the historian, who had been the author of bestselling works about the Third Reich in the 1960s and 1970s, to a fringe figure in the world of scholarship. From that point on, he issued only self-published books, and spoke only to groups on the extreme neo-Nazi right in Europe.
This is the position I took as a member of the Anti-Fascist League in public hearings after the Keegstra affair when Senator Ron Ghitter looked into the Aryan Nations and other fascist ilk here in Alberta. The fact is that they were and are armed and dangerous thugs, and for that they should be jailed, not for their literature. And if their speeches are infalmmatory then that violates the criminal code in regards to threats and uttering threats. Again not an issue of hate speech per se, but rather promoting violence.
Ironically those on the right who claim its just a matter of denouncing fascists never seem to publicize those efforts done by the Bethune Institute in Canada. Oh yeah they are too left wing for them, and David Lethbridge inevitably shows the uncomfortable links between the fascists and the Reform/Alliance/Conservatives
Such as when Calgary MP Jason Kenney supports the Fascist regime during the Spanish Civil War to deny Canadian Volunteers in the International Brigades their due rights.
As with Keegstra it comes from their link to the old Social Credit Party in Alberta. And it still is an undercurrent in the rump right wing parties in provincial politics in Alberta.
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