Late last year "revisionist" historian David Irving was released from an Austrian prison after serving 13 months of a 3-year sentence. Irving, a notorious Holocaust denier and anti-Semite, had violated Austria's 'Prohibition Statute' which forbids the trivialization of the Nazi Holocaust.
I am certainly no fan of Irving and his warped view of history, but I find it disquieting one can still be jailed in a liberal democracy like Austria for being a prisoner of conscience. It appears that some countries find it necessary to ban the freedom to deny.
Irving may be using his credentials as an historian (whatever those 'credentials' may be) to propagate disinformation, but he is within his rights to do so. Our society does not enforce the integrity of the memesphere through coercion. Moreover, Irving clearly subscribes to a certain belief structure. In a free society, we have no choice but to tolerate this sort of bullshit.
That doesn't mean, of course, that we can't rail against it. Even Deborah Lipstadt, an outspoken critic of Irving, was opposed to his imprisonment, noting, "I am not happy when censorship wins, and I don't believe in winning battles via censorship… The way of fighting Holocaust deniers is with history and with truth."
Denying Climate Change
It's all too easy to throw a fit and hurl people in jail when their views oppose your own, but this is exactly what is happening with Holocaust deniers. And disturbingly, it appears that the right to deny global warming is also in jeopardy. Like the war against Holocaust revisionists, there are those who would like to permanently silence the global warming skeptics. The fear and dread surrounding the climate change crisis had led to a religious-like fervor and the emergence of a new political correctness. Even more bizarre is that global warming skeptics are actually being compared to Holocaust deniers.
Take for example the recent outburst from journalist Ellen Goodman. "I would like to say we're at a point where global warming is impossible to deny," she proclaims, "Let's just say that global warming deniers are now on a par with Holocaust deniers, though one denies the past and the other denies the present and future." Goodman and others would like to see this sort of memetic linkage stick, which would cause brains to automatically switch off while emotion swells to a boiling point.