Forty percent of American millennials (ages 20-36) believe the government should intervene when citizens say something that might be considered offensive to minorities, a new Pew Research study reveals. It is not entirely clear what is meant by “intervene” and “minorities,” and the term “offensive” is broadly defined. Intuitively, the question likely pertains to the sort of nonsense we are seeing involving censorship and public persecution of those who espouse views that are deemed “politically incorrect.”
Despite the threat of political correctness (PC) from millennials, Americans overall still put a high value on free speech, with only 28% in favor of government regulation of speech. Among respondents, 27 percent of Gen Xers (37-52), 24 percent of Baby Boomers (ages 53-71) and 12 percent of the Silent Generation (age 72 and older) believe government should control and limit offensive speech. The dwindling Greatest Generation universally defends free speech, but they are now over age 90.
In Germany, a troubling 70% are in favor of limiting free speech. That country will jail those who engage even in revisionist history involving WWII, and even debate on the Holocaust is considered taboo. In fact, it is illegal in Germany to deny or even downplay the Holocaust. The term deny is curious given that no leading revisionist on the topic actually denies atrocities or actions against Jews and others.
Understanding of the Case of Ursula Haverbeck
I emphasized the word “downplay” because recently the German government imprisoned 88-year-old Ursula Haverbeck for “downplaying the Holocaust”. The court sentenced her to a two-year term for violating section 220a [see below]. For a woman of her advanced age, this is the equivalent of a death sentence.
The following video is the interview that got her into hot water. Watch it before it’s removed from the Internet.
Apparently, “downplay” is double-speak for revisionism. Watch the interview closely, as if you were on the jury. Nowhere does Haverbeck deny that crimes or atrocities were committed against Jews (and others), nor does she refuse to accept that they were rounded up or persecuted. Rather, she speaks mostly about the nature, methods and the numbers, which is deemed “revisionism.”
The following is an excerpt from the German law, and what a broad and sweeping law it is. In essence, it demands no one disturb the public peace, ruffle feathers or challenge a history that has been deemed set in stone or static.
(3) Whoever publicly or in a meeting approves of, denies or renders harmless an act committed under the rule of National Socialism of the type indicated in Section 220a subsection (1), in a manner capable of disturbing the public peace shall be punished with imprisonment for not more than five years or a fine.
Please, watch Haverbeck for yourself. See if you can identify her so-called offensive words that “might disturb the public peace.” In fact, Haverbeck was remarkably well composed and was relatively careful in her word choice. Despite the news coverage on her imprisonment, I certainly didn’t hear her “approve of” atrocities or claim they didn’t happen. Do you hear her “rendering harmless” acts committed under the rule of National Socialism?
She did go into the rarely discussed — but I think much-needed — topic of the mass murder (Hellstorm) of German civilians and POWs as the war wound down and after the defeat of Germany. Basically, she is “guilty” of processing things outside of the box or standard narrative. Her “revisionism” only involves researching and questioning the size and degree of atrocities against Jews and the aspects of the Hellstorm.
She did suggest that truth or history on these topic has been “distorted.” She uses the term “Das Groste Problem” to define this distortion. This is problematic in her eyes because this historical distortion has been used as an agenda to kowtow Germany and promote Zionist power.
I’m sorry, but I don’t see “The Great Problem” train of thought as a jailable crime. I don’t see being an aggressive revisionist as being a jailable crime either. Nor is hurting someone’s feelings a jailable offense. Any sensible observer would say that ALL history has been distorted to one degree or another and should be subjected to frequent revision, review and question. Nothing should be set in stone.
Courageous Jewish historian Norman Finkelstein has addressed the issue of shaping history and ranking human suffering (uniqueness doctrine) to achieve questionable agendas as it relates to Palestine. This is also what Haverbeck challenged.
To help set the facts straight on this case, I believe Haverbeck essentially adopted the work of the French historian Paul Rassinier and probably also French historian Robert Faurisson. The latter focused on the so-called confessions of Auschwitz commandant Rudolf Hoess under severe torture. Since his death, some of his views (such as no gassing in camps within Germany) have quietly been accepted with little notice by the mainstream Holocaust historians. Haverbeck is not an original researcher but has picked up the mantel. Incidentally, Amazon just purged the works of these historians from their online marketplace.
TNN has no intention of going into the thought police tarpit of discussion on Rassinier and Faurisson’s outlawed historical revisionism. We have no strong conviction one way or the other and, like most events, especially when the victors write the history, there are shades of grey. We do find the notion of a court approved version of events that one could lose their liberty over beyond Orwellian. The “judge” would not permit testimony from a revisionist historian in court. It is fundamental that there should be open discussion, even of controversial views, without threat of prosecution. But if the authorities are willing to make an example out of an 88-year-old woman, well, what more is there to say.
We do find it deeply disturbing that Haverbeck was imprisoned at all. And what of those who simply defend free speech and the right of Haverbeck to conduct this interview without prosecution and jail time? Are they, too, going to be subjected via some contorted circular logic leading to derision, ridicule or even prosecution?
Support for Ursula Haverbeck can be provided here.