European speechcrime, cont’d

by Walter Olson on February 8, 2007

Perhaps not unrelated to the French Mohammed-cartoons trial mentioned yesterday, this is from Brussels Journal (Feb. 2):

If Turkey joins the EU then we will have the comedy situation that denial of the Armenian Holocaust is a criminal offence in France, whilst mentioning it is a criminal offence in Turkey. The happy result of this could be that the entire population of France could be lifted and placed, Midnight Express like in Turkish prisons. Of course the entire population of Turkey could then find itself extradited to France and imprisoned there.

Before anyone objects, yes, it’s of course true that the laws in question do not actually compel citizens to speak affirmatively on behalf of the official view, so it’s still possible (through silence) to avoid breaking anyone’s law. The concept remains funny, though.

{ 2 comments }

1 David Wilson 02.08.07 at 11:12 am

It’s high time the EU got serious here and began development of brain-wave readers to detect the improper thoughts of its citizens. Speech is too late. Human rights will languish in the meantime.

2 Mike Perry 02.08.07 at 6:15 pm

Perhaps the countries in Eastern Europe who under suffered under Soviet repression should have fun with this highly selective and heavily politicized “speech crime” nonsense.

They could create laws that echo, word for word, the German, French and Austrian laws about Nazism, but apply their laws to communism and Soviet crimes. The result: a leftist professor from the Sorborne would have to contemplate the possibility of a long prison sentence should he dare to vacation in the Czech Republic.

In most cases, the proper response to dangerous lies about history isn’t prosecution. That only creates martyrs and, for the conspiracy crazed, “proves” their claims.

I know, I watched some Holocaust deniers on Seattle’s dreadful open cable channel. For such people, the fact that mentioning certain points of view can get you prosecuted, “proves” that that view is true. Otherwise, why would so much effort be devoted to silencing them?

It’s like those CIA conspiracy tales about JFK’s assassination with a unique twist. People who were at Dealey Plaza that day in 1963 really are getting killed for what they claimed to have seen.

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