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Opinion » The Hypocrisy of “Free Speech” Activists

The Hypocrisy of “Free Speech” Activists

Free Speech

In much of the Western World today, Freedom of Speech (or lack, thereof) is the topic on everybody’s lips. We’re having artificial debates at governmental level on the exact position of the border between Free Speech and this faux crime, “Hate Speech”, whilst activists on the Right are busily engaged in ensuring their milquetoast criticisms of Islam and “political correctness” can be permitted to endure. In fairness, they do have a legitimate concern. If the liberals of the world had their way, any speech that had the potential, real or imagined, to cause even the slightest degree of offence would be verboten. But, in the interests of this fairness, it must also be said that they’ve mounted a cowardly defence of Freedom of Speech only when their interests have come under threat. They do not defend Free Speech, they defend their speech.

Of course, we all know exactly what is being referred to here. It’s the great elephant in the room of the Free Speech brigade; they’re all aware of this, at least privately, as well as the hypocrisy implied, yet they remain dutifully silent. By now, one presumes the reader can already envisage the direction this polemic is destined to take.

So let us be somewhat more explicit: self-styled Free Speech activists have consistently remained silent when historians and politicians who don’t accept the official version of history regarding WWII and/or the Holocaust have been persecuted by the state. Even now, if any of these hypocrites are viewing these words, they will flinch and recoil at the very suggestion implied they stand by their principles and come to the defence of these aforementioned martyrs – and they are the true martyrs for Freedom of Speech, let us make no bones about it. For them, it is easy to rush to the defence of Salmon Rushdie, for instance, partly because he’s not white, but also because he’s best known for his criticisms of Islam – and only Islam. This is also the case with the “Somali-born Dutch-American” writer Ayaan Hirsi Ali, whom the Free Speech activists use to bolster their anti-racist credentials. Yet for every “pioneer” they’ve defended, there’s many more activists of equal or exceeding stature whose persecution they’ve watched in silence.

Ernst Zündel was a German-born émigré to Canada who spent the latter half of his life under a constant barrage of state persecution simply for holding politically incorrect opinions. Zündel’s troubles with the authorities started in the 1980’s when he was forced to undergo two criminal trials under Section 81 of Canada’s Criminal Code which pertains to “spreading false information” after publishing material questioning the official version of Holocaust history – he was acquitted in 1985 after it was established he hadn’t actually spread false information; read from that what you will. He was later deported from the United States in a manner so efficient, one wonders what’s going on at the Southern border, before being rendered effectively stateless as Canada had refused his citizenship application owing to his political opinions. Subsequently a warrant was issued in Germany for Zündel’s arrest, despite him not having lived in Germany for over 30 years, for “sedition”. After a long legal battle, he was deported to Germany in 2005 and sentenced to 5 years imprisonment under their Volksverhetzung (incitement) laws, basically for sending literature to customers who happened to reside in Germany – the truth bears a heavy price, it appears. Incidentally, Zündel died last year without so much as a silent nod of acknowledgement by the Free Speech activists.

David Irving is an historian who, until he began writing politically incorrect versions of history, was a reputable scholar widely respected in his field for being the only person who bothered to write his work entirely from first hand sources. Immediately after testifying at Zündel’s trial in 1988, Irving was banned from entering Austria and Germany in 1989 and 1992 respectively under their “laws for the protection of the constitution”. In 1992 he was deported from Canada whilst on a speaking tour. He was also banned from Australia in 1992 for having an unconventional opinion about the Holocaust. In 1994 he spent time in Pentonville Prison for literally no reason. In 2000, he unsuccessfully fought a libel case against Deborah Lipstadt who had called him a “falsifier of history” – Lipstadt’s community of financiers pumped £13,000,000 into the trial, paying witnesses up to £250,000 each to testify, whereas Irving represented himself in a case which nearly bankrupted him. In 2005, Irving was lured to Austria by Stapo agents and imprisoned for 400 days for allegedly denying the Holocaust, although he didn’t actually commit this crime. His innocence was confirmed when, on appeal, the judge ruled the imprisonment was wrongful and ordered his immediate release. During his stint in an Austrian prison, the British state seized all of his possessions, including the transcripts and original archive material he’d collected over the preceding half-century – conveniently, he is now banned from the archives where this material is now kept.

The Free Speech brigade, who defend the likes of Tommy Robinson and Geert Wilders, have not once come to Irving’s aid.

Ursula Haverbeck is a 90-year-old German grandmother currently serving a 2-year prison sentence for “sedition” and using banned speech under the legislation that prohibits the promotion of National Socialism or the denial or minimisation of the Holocaust. This is not her first prison sentence but is, in fact, her 7th criminal conviction in the last 15 years. All of her convictions have been for words she spoke or wrote; she’s never attacked anybody, as one might have guessed by her age and frailty. Her first conviction came in June 2004, when she was ordered to pay a massive €5,400.00 fine for ‘revising the number of Jews who died in the Holocaust’ in the Stimme des Gewissens journal. She was subsequently fined and/or imprisoned in 2007, 2009 and 2014-16, for similar expressions uttered in the Mindiner Tageblatt and Die Stimmes des Reiches. During this whole ordeal, the self-styled Free Speech activists of Europe, Britain and America have remained unanimously silent on the state sponsored persecution of Frau Haverbeck.

There are cases such as these occurring all across Europe every single year, and not one of them is publicly criticised by the Freedom of Speech activists. In England alone a long list of subjects harassed and persecuted by the law could be drawn, all of whose entries have been ignored by these activists. One thinks of figures such as Nick Griffin and, more recently, Alison Chabloz, to name but a few. The only conclusion that can be drawn is that these self-appointed spokespeople for the defence of Freedom of Speech are, in reality, charlatans whose only concern is the speech they want to use. They are moral cowards who are afraid to take any action which might have actual consequences; they refuse to defend those who, by association, may get them dis-invited from cosmopolitan dinner parties and the like. They have no real principles, only self-interest fuelled by an egotistical desire to be seen to be standing for something, whilst in reality standing for nothing.

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