Silence spreads

In Germany it is against the law to deny the Holocaust. Claim that Hitler did in fact not kill millions of Jews and you will spend some time behind bars. A good way to fight neo-Nazism?

Hardly. When you choose to silence people rather than proving them wrong — something which it is extremely easy to do in this particular case — all you achieve is to suggest that they are on to some dangerous truth. And once you forbid one thing, what is to stop you from forbidding something else?

And sure enough, as Germany tries to spread their bad legislation to the rest of Europe and make it EU law, other countries are demanding that denying the crimes of Communism should be illegal as well. And while we’re at it, why not include the French law against denying the Armenian genocide? As perhaps the one in Rwanda? Darfur?

The EU should put this law where it belongs: in the paper bin. It is important to bring the crimes of Nazis and Communists, and all the other ones mentioned, into the light, and make sure people know about them. We can do that while allowing idiots to claim that we are wrong. Outlawing expression never works to eradicate beliefs. Indeed, it risks making them stronger. It also makes us less free.

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