German holocaust denier Ernst Zundel is unequivocally an idiot and a rather unpleasant man. However, being an idiot or an unpleasant man shouldn’t land one in jail.
The correct way to deal with Holocaust deniers is the same as with evolution-deniers – you show everyone the evidence that it’s true, then point out that the relevant denier is being stupid. Come to that, people who pigheadedly refuse to accept evolution because it clashes with their ridiculous personal beliefs are far more likely to pose any serious danger than those who feel the same way about the Holocaust. And locking up ID-ists, although tempting, clearly isn’t on.
The most worrying element in this saga is that Mr Zundel wasn’t just persecuted by Germany (after all, not a country famed for its love of freedom). He was also deported from the US and Canada – and in the latter case, the deportation was explicity inspired by his beliefs. As a man facing persecution for thoughtcrime, Mr Zundel should be granted asylum by any country that calls itself civilised – not kicked out to meet his fate.
The case mirrors those of the persecuted Islamist activists to whom the UK granted asylum during the 1990s. Anti-free-speech politicians in mainland Europe got pissed off with us about that, too (remember ‘Londonistan’?), but we stuck to our guns. Right up until Tony Blair decided to intern them, thereby pissing off Britain’s radical Muslims even more than Iraq alone would have done, making sure that new, unknown leaders took control of extremist groups, and ultimately getting London blown up.
Free speech. It’s not always nice, but it’s good for you.