How is it possible, in these United States, that a group of people, who wish to get together to discuss a historical topic, must relentlessly hide their intention, obfuscate their meeting place, and keep their identities secret, if they don't wish to be hounded like wanted criminals? How is it that citizens who wish to meet peacefully do not have the protection of the law, in order to practice what the law supposedly guarantees, that is, freedom of speech and freedom of assembly?
It's not unusual for one party of citizens to be roused to anger by the beliefs and practices of others. This is to be expected. But in this supposed land of the free, we do not expect that opponents of particular views will be allowed license to destroy websites, steal email information, and confiscate personal correspondence, while threatening hotel managers with violence, if they rent space to certain groups or events. It is not anyone's responsibility to provide a platform for the public expression of opinions, but it is the responsibility of the government to protect citizens from those who would prevent such expression.
Whatever became of that bold white American man, descendant of the Founders, who proudly declared, "I may not agree with what you say, but I'll defend with my life your right to say it?" Is he too busy these days playing with his ever-increasing array of techie toys, gadgets and gizmos, to give a damn about the ongoing loss of one freedom after another, freedoms originally conceived by those 18th century men, who foolishly believed that their singular creation could be entrusted to these very descendants?
These are rhetorical questions to which I expect no answers. I've also ceased expecting indignation from that once watchful and attentive white American man, as he passively accepts the ongoing demise of constitutional principles meant to enforce laws to be obeyed by the high and the lowly.
On November 13, 2009, Professor David Irving was scheduled to give a talk on World War II history, this one to focus on Hitler, Himmler and codebreaking. Irving is a meticulous historian and the author of several acclaimed and respected works of history, including Nuremberg and Churchill's War.
He is despised by a coterie of adversaries for his dissenting views on aspects of World War II's Holocaust, a subject he does not lecture on, but for which he was sentenced in Austria to three years in prison. That is, a historian was imprisoned for expressing opinions that conflict with a standardized version of events that took place during the middle of the 20th century.
Throughout Europe, powerful interest groups have managed to get laws enacted that forbid historians from engaging in further research or exploration of the forbidden Holocaust topic, for which there is now an established "official" text. You see, Europe is full of the types of countries whose oppressive traditions the Founders of this nation strove to avoid. In their time, it was Kings who could throw you into prison for refusing to conform to the Royal Imperatives.
On November 13, the date of Irving's first intended lecture in New York, hackers broke into his website and AOL email account, confiscating lists of the names of those scheduled to attend his forthcoming lectures. The miscreants then published his email correspondence, along with the user name and password for his website and AOL accounts, and the names and email addresses (in some cases, street addresses) of donors and purchasers of Irving's books. His books, by the way, are not furtively published samizdat, and can be bought in most bookstores, as well as from Amazon.
Well aware of the danger he and his lecture participants are in whenever he speaks, Irving has been forced to establish an elaborate system of subterfuge where he keeps the meeting place secret until almost the last minute, and then emails the location to the interested parties. Due to the damage done to the website, this first meeting was necessarily curtailed.
On November 14, Irving's second scheduled lecture, at the Double Tree Hotel in New York, was invaded and disrupted by a band of self-appointed "anti-fascists," who maced one of the attendants. The offending thugs very proudly published an account of their exploits on websites, bragging about how Irving "just got his ass handed to him."
What we have here are self-elected Enforcers, who have usurped powers never granted to one citizen over another, yet who go unchallenged by any legal authority. These are Enforcers who claim the right to judge which points of view should be permitted to prevail, and which ones shall be banned from the public square.
In their attempts to be credible, Enforcers purposely, with malice aforethought, mischaracterize their perceived enemies in the most extreme fashion, and venomously misinterpret their theses or positions. The dissenting sinner must not be allowed to bring his views directly to the public, or be given the opportunity to offer any type of clarification.
Knowing that volatile terminology is bound to rouse the hackles of average people, most of whom are not paying attention anyway, the Enforcers load their charges against their opponents with such extreme epithets as "Nazi," "racist," "white supremacist." Once so labeled, the targeted subject matter, or group, or individual, is supposed to be doomed.
For example, in the case of the labeling of "Holocaust deniers," this is a lie in itself, since none of these researchers deny that a movement against Jews took place during World War II. However, in our country, a nation ruled by the Constitution, the truth or invalidity of a researcher's position on some historical subject is of no consequence. In the land of Jefferson, Madison and Jay, we have the right to be misguided or simply wrong.
If some intrepid soul wishes to give lectures on how Africans enjoyed being slaves and that enslavement was a great favor done for them, his right to lecture is not dependent on whether or not his thesis is correct. That part of it is not the government's business. Its only business is to see to it that this individual, no matter how benighted he might be deemed by foes of his viewpoint, is protected from those who would do him harm, by stealing his property or endangering his person. We do not search for ways to eradicate his freedoms, nor should we set up phony legal mechanisms to imprison him.
In his own version of that aforementioned declaration, i.e., to defend another's right to speak, even when in disagreement, Thomas Paine wrote, "He that would make his own liberty secure must guard even his enemy from oppression." Today, these 18th century warnings are nothing but corny words, not to be taken seriously by a people who would disgrace themselves by permitting the passage of unconstitutional "hate crime" laws. When a people indicate that they're ready to punish citizens as "Thought Criminals," then nothing that follows can be surprising.
Although I have never attended an Irving lecture, I have read one of his impressive books, and I am on his mailing list. Over the years, I have written on the topic of European repression of scholars, academics and researchers for the Issues & Views website. I list links to some of these articles below:
Free speech still struggles to survive, in Europe and in the USA
Europe's Hypocrites and Liars - Part I
Europe's Hypocrites and Liars - Part II
When Truth Is No Defense
David Irving - Biography
Irving Describes His Austria Arrest and Imprisonment
Who Is Ernst Zundel, And Why Is He In Jail?
Historians Behind Bars