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← A Holocaust Denier Hits Manhattan (And Hearts Hitchens)

A Holocaust Denier Hits Manhattan (And Hearts Hitchens) - Comments

qomak's Avatar Comment 1 by qomak

Holocaust denial laws are utterly ridiculous. We don't need a government to tell us which thoughts are worthy of mention. Hopefully one day we will reach that level of intellectual maturity that we will not feel threatened by any thought no matter how vile it is.

Sat, 26 Jul 2008 10:30:00 UTC | #207763

capacitor76's Avatar Comment 2 by capacitor76

I agree with the above comment - here in Germany it's being taken to extremes, with the Federal Constitutional Court having re-defined Holocaust denial as a 'non-opinion', so that it's not covered by the right to freedom of speech. I consider this an insult to my and my countrymen's intellect, assuming we would automatically fall for Nazi propaganda if the nanny state didn't keep the bad stuff away from us. It's not that the positions of Irving and his ilk weren't well-known anyway.

Having said that, I'm a bit disturbed by Hitchens' apparent stance on Irving. Defending Irving's right to utter his opinion, no matter how despicable it may be, is one thing, but calling him 'a great historian' is quite another. I hope Hitchens' stance is misrepresented in the article.

In any case, it's sadly more ammunition for the 'Atheism -> Hitler' brigade.

Sat, 26 Jul 2008 10:54:00 UTC | #207771

kkelly's Avatar Comment 3 by kkelly

I think it's possible he's a holocaust denier and not a racist; it could be some other mental flaw, like a pathological need to challenge the status quo and feel persecuted.

Another example:

Peter Duesberg pretty much spearheaded inquiry into aneuploidy being the main cause of cancer and not oncogenes, and contrary to the established theory, aneuploidy probably does play at least some causative role. But he also, to this day, claims that HIV is not the cause of AIDS. For the record, in his social circle he's considered a giant asshole.

Sat, 26 Jul 2008 10:56:00 UTC | #207773

Border Collie's Avatar Comment 4 by Border Collie

Is David Irving related to Ann Coulter?

Sat, 26 Jul 2008 10:57:00 UTC | #207774

Dr Doctor's Avatar Comment 5 by Dr Doctor

There is a Leonard Cohen song that sprung to mind reading that article.

Sat, 26 Jul 2008 10:59:00 UTC | #207776

Wosret's Avatar Comment 6 by Wosret

He sure is a disgusting little person. I eagerly await Christopher Hitchen's response.

Sat, 26 Jul 2008 11:03:00 UTC | #207780

pulsar1z's Avatar Comment 7 by pulsar1z

I as an American believe in freedom of speech for everyone. Untold numbers have died for this. You have the right to disagree but you do not have the right to stop freedom of speech. This is a prime example and a test of this right.

Sat, 26 Jul 2008 11:04:00 UTC | #207781

ScarSick's Avatar Comment 8 by ScarSick

Well, Mr. Blumethal seems to have put a political hit job on Mr. Hitchens (probably for his political hack father, Sidney Blumenthal).

Hitchens had Irving over for dinner ONCE (and has since cut all ties with Mr. Irving, as Mr. Irving acted inappropriate to his family).

Hitchens does not endorse what Irving has to say on the Holocaust or the Jews (partly because it is wrong and partly because Mr. Hitchens' own mother was Jewish), but does respect his right to say it.

As pointed out by a commenter on the YouTube video: "Hitchens does see merit in Irving's uncovering of the true nature of the Churchill-Hitler relationship." That is the basis for Hitchens saying that Irving has potential to be a worthy historian.

If you want to know all of the details between Hitchens and Irving, read "The Strange Case of David Irving" it's an essay published Hitchens and also reappears in "Love, Poverty, and War" by the same author.

Sat, 26 Jul 2008 11:19:00 UTC | #207787

Stafford Gordon's Avatar Comment 9 by Stafford Gordon

I wish to excercise my freedom of speech by extolling the virtues of child abuse.

Historically, the Greeks and Romans did it.

Sat, 26 Jul 2008 11:30:00 UTC | #207789

thewhitepearl's Avatar Comment 10 by thewhitepearl

Defending an individual and defending an individuals rights are two very different positions. I doubt it was the former of the two, but that's just my presumption.

Sat, 26 Jul 2008 11:34:00 UTC | #207791

ThoughtsonCommonToad's Avatar Comment 11 by ThoughtsonCommonToad

A fantastic article by the Hitch

...the Holocaust has become a secular religion, with state support in the form of a national museum. Accusations of ill will or bad faith are often made against anyone with reservations about the elevation of this project into something combining a cult, an entertainment resource and an industry, each claiming to represent the unvoiced dead.
The first was to believe, with the late Karl Popper, that a case has not been refuted until it has been stated at its strongest. The second was to take it for granted that historians have prejudices. To manifest the first point, then, let us summarize the best case that the revisionists can make. Would it surprise you to know that:

1) there were no gas chambers or extermination camps on German soil, in other words, at Belsen or Dachau or Buchenwald;

2) there were no Jews made into soap;

3) the "confession" of Rudolf Hoess, commandant of Auschwitz, was extracted by force and contains his claim to have killed more Jews than was "humanly" possible?

These are, however, the now-undisputed findings of all historians and experts on the subject. And if they are sound, then it means that much "eyewitness" testimony is wrong. It necessarily changes our attitude toward the everyday complicity of average Germans. It also means that much of the evidence presented and accepted at Nuremburg was spurious. Of course, we knew some of this already�"the Nazis were charged by Soviet and Allied judges with the massacres at Katyn in Poland, which had obviously been ordered by Stalin and are now admitted to have been. And every now and then, a bogus Holocaust merchant makes an appearance.
However, it transpired that, while in the elevator, Irving had looked with approval at my fair-haired, blue-eyed daughter, then 5 years old, and declaimed the following doggerel about his own little girl, Jessica, who was the same age:

I am a Baby Aryan

Not Jewish or Sectarian;

I have no plans to marry an

Ape or Rastafarian.

The thought of Carol and Antonia in a small space with this large beetle-browed man as he spouted that was, well, distinctly creepy. (He has since posted the lines on his Web site, and they came back to haunt him at the trial.)

The next time Irving got in touch with me was after his utter humiliation in court ...

And, yes, all the "mistakes" have the same tendency. In a crucial moment, Irving "forgot" what he had said about Nazi Gen. Walter Bruns, who had confessed to witnessing mass killing of Jews and had been taped by British intelligence while doing so. When it suited Irving to claim that Bruns didn't know he was being recorded, he claimed as much. When it didn't, he suggested that Bruns was trying to please his hearers. Having listened myself to Irving discuss this fascinating episode, I mentally closed the book when I reached this stage in it. It was a QED.

Hitch points out something that is very important. For most people the Holocaust is an article of faith, when asked to defend it hardly anyone could. Dissent forces you to question, its the most important, the most valuable speech that we have. The treatment of people under the Nazis was appalling, all the more reason people should find out what ACTUALLY happened. By the way you won't find anything in Churchill's history, not one word about the Holocaust in six volumes. I recommend Raul Hilberg's The Destruction of the European Jews.

Sat, 26 Jul 2008 11:55:00 UTC | #207796

Stafford Gordon's Avatar Comment 12 by Stafford Gordon


Point taken. Thank you. And your presumption is correct.

But, it's a nice distiction and one which I would submit is employed repeatedly by individuals like David Irvin.

With him it's almost like a religion. No amount of reason will have any influence on him.

Sat, 26 Jul 2008 11:58:00 UTC | #207799

eno's Avatar Comment 13 by eno

I agree with Qomak, the concept of a law that forbids you to have an opinion is utterly ridiculous and repulsive.

irving is a strange fish, though. But I can't believe that he gets locked up yet fundamental muslim's don't? Their opinions AND ACTIONS are much worse.

Hitch is a wonderful polemicist and I can understand why he stands up for people like Irving. I remember a talk he gave about free speech saying that we need people like Irving for sparking debate. To be honest, I think we can do without Irving but Hitch has a good point, as usual.

Sat, 26 Jul 2008 12:08:00 UTC | #207801

Stafford Gordon's Avatar Comment 14 by Stafford Gordon

Among that which puzzles me, and it has to be said much does, are the opinions of the brothers Hitchens.

Sat, 26 Jul 2008 12:20:00 UTC | #207805

Enlightenme..'s Avatar Comment 15 by Enlightenme..

I caught a whole load of flak on a previous forum for stating it was wrong when Irving got imprisoned in Austria.
He's a nasty piece of work, no doubt, but it does not surprise me in the least that Hitch was the sort to 'hear him out'.

Sat, 26 Jul 2008 12:29:00 UTC | #207811

ThoughtsonCommonToad's Avatar Comment 16 by ThoughtsonCommonToad

I caught a whole load of flak on a previous forum for stating it was wrong when Irving got imprisoned in Austria.
He's a nasty piece of work, no doubt, but it does not surprise me in the least that Hitch was the sort to 'hear him out'.
When I get this reaction I like to point out can you actually state any of his claims and also can you defend what you purport to defend. The results are interesting usually ignorance all round.

Sat, 26 Jul 2008 12:46:00 UTC | #207820

8teist's Avatar Comment 17 by 8teist

Oh dear, "Hitler only wanted a little war,but it got out of hand".
Seriously, how can can anybody believe anything this cretin says?

So Stalingrad, just a misunderstanding?

Sat, 26 Jul 2008 12:51:00 UTC | #207827

Wosret's Avatar Comment 18 by Wosret

I have to say though, that the journalism in this article is far below par. It is just trying to show what a horrible person he is. They didn't engage him in any meaningful way, or show anykind of impartialism.

It doesn't matter how sure you are that you're right and your opposition is wrong, it doesn't make it ok to act like that.

Damn though, those guys that showed up for his talk sure seemed insaned.

I had someone show up on one of my youtube videos the other day, talking about all the feets in human history that are attributable to aliens. They were quite serious. Now, I'm more than confident that he is wrong, but I at least attempted to engage him in a fair way. Evaluate what he had to say, and say specifically what I thought was wrong with it.

This type of exchange is a complete waste of time, and does nothing more than reenforce, and solidify views on both sides.

Sat, 26 Jul 2008 13:10:00 UTC | #207832

decius's Avatar Comment 19 by decius

Comment #219233 by 8teist

I am now tempted to read the Goebbels biography to assess Hitch's fairness of judgement.

The statement about the "little war" casts an enormous shadow of doubt on Irving's ability to deal with the subject Nazi Germany as a whole.
How can such an enormity be reconciled with a clear grasp of the way Goebbels operated the propaganda machine during Unternehmen Barbarossa?

Sat, 26 Jul 2008 13:11:00 UTC | #207834

8teist's Avatar Comment 20 by 8teist

Brian,if Hitler wanted to go skiing perhaps he should have headed towards the Urals instead.;)

Sat, 26 Jul 2008 13:16:00 UTC | #207837

bugaboo's Avatar Comment 21 by bugaboo

"I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it"

Can't remember who said it
Voltare? anyone?

5. Comment #219170 by Dr Doctor

"Please dont pass me by"?

PS Whatever happened to AS Marques?

Sat, 26 Jul 2008 13:22:00 UTC | #207844

bugaboo's Avatar Comment 22 by bugaboo

21. Comment #219247 by 8teist

I may be mistaken but I think its possible to ski in Austria

Sat, 26 Jul 2008 13:23:00 UTC | #207845

ThoughtsonCommonToad's Avatar Comment 23 by ThoughtsonCommonToad

PS Whatever happened to AS Marques?
I think he thought his existence was a Jewish conspiracy to make Holocaust denial seem stupid.

Sat, 26 Jul 2008 13:24:00 UTC | #207846

8teist's Avatar Comment 24 by 8teist

bugaboo, maybe he was bored with the alps?

Sat, 26 Jul 2008 13:29:00 UTC | #207848

bugaboo's Avatar Comment 25 by bugaboo


Ah ha!!
Now it all makes sense. Afterall it was springtime...

Sat, 26 Jul 2008 13:32:00 UTC | #207852

moderndaythomas's Avatar Comment 26 by moderndaythomas

conned the church's priest into hosting the lecture by claiming he was the leader of an anodyne "book club." "Someone made a reservation to have a discussion of a book. The name was not David Irving.

Con-men, con-men, con-men. What to do about these conn-men? Hmmmmm.

When I get this reaction I like to point out can you actually state any of his claims and also can you defend what you purport to defend. The results are interesting usually ignorance all round.

There's nothing said in this article worth defending, sure, and an intelligent retort is all it takes. Some light reading shows the facts. Hitler hoped England would sue for peace while he fingered maps of Russia after he already had possession of six countries. This by the summer of 1940, if my history is correct.
Bad guy that Hitler. My mothers father fought this guy in the trenches when he was foot soldier.
How is it that people can follow someone like this.
Could it happen now?
If so, who is it?
Who has invaded someone's country lately?


Sat, 26 Jul 2008 13:33:00 UTC | #207854

bugaboo's Avatar Comment 27 by bugaboo

27. Comment #219264 by moderndaythomas

How is it that people can follow someone like this.

There's an essay by Nicholas Humphrey which is germane. Haven't read it for some time but here is the link to the pdf file.

Sat, 26 Jul 2008 13:43:00 UTC | #207861

Sage's Avatar Comment 28 by Sage

"Springtime for Irvin" Very nice! :DD

Sat, 26 Jul 2008 14:14:00 UTC | #207870

WilliamP's Avatar Comment 29 by WilliamP

Well Irving likes Hitch, but I still don't know what Hitch thinks of Irving except for some positive comments about his work 12 years ago. Not much of a bombshell about Hitchens.

I also agree that Holocaust denial bans are absurd. Generally I think almost all speech has some use, even when it is bad. Holocaust deniers, like creationists, tend to argue that their theory is better because a few facts in the conventional theory don't hold. Their conclusions are typically abusrd, but they may be able to point out inconsistancies that other historians miss. But sane people part ways with the deniers by the time they reach their conclusion.

Sat, 26 Jul 2008 14:17:00 UTC | #207873

Henri Bergson's Avatar Comment 30 by Henri Bergson

"Yes! to political correctness!!! Isn't Irving EVIL?! And therefore as he knows Hitchens, he too!!"

...PC is a dying ideology.

Sat, 26 Jul 2008 14:28:00 UTC | #207878