Thanks, Austria. For nothing.
At a time when the West has been trying to make the case that freedom of expression is so precious that it supercedes the right not to be offended, Austria convicts a controversial historian for the “crime” of denying the Holocaust. British author David Irving was recently sentenced to three years in prison for his bizarre, revisionist writings.
However revolting Irving’s writing – absent violent incitement – it’s a hypocritical stance to have over-reacted as the Austrians did. Being the birth country of Adolph Hitler is not reason sufficient for a law that applies to “whoever denies, grossly plays down, approves or tries to excuse the National Socialist genocide or other National Socialist crimes against humanity in a print publication, in broadcast or other media.”
The Austrians should be called on it by all those (justifiably) critical of outrageous Muslim overreaction to those notorious Danish cartoons – as well as Muslim efforts to censor a French production of a Voltaire play satirizing the Prophet Mohammad (and all forms of religious frenzy).
You either unequivocally believe in free speech – or you don’t. The Holocaust doesn’t get you a pass. But it does get you a hypocrite’s censure.