Free speech vs stubborn idiocy


For my own reasons, I've casually been following the career of David Irving for many years. In case you don't know him, he's an 'historian' who's written thirty books about the Second World War, all of which suggest Hitler didn't know anything about the 'Final Solution' stuff that was going on.

A couple of years ago, they (the Austrians) finally put him in jail for peddling this nonsense.

As a demonstration of freedom of speech, the kind folks at UCC intended to host Irving at a debate this month. Thankfully, they have now cancelled his appearance due to 'security concerns.'

You may think everyone has a right to say whatever they like, that's fine. But you also have a responsibility to back up what you're saying with facts. I have a right to libel people here on my blog, but I'd probably end up in court for it. Just like Irving.

He has a right to his opinions and a right to express them, but he does not have the 'right' to a public platform. This is a privilege which must be granted him by an organisation that has earned its platform, and who will stand by his views.

If you take part in a discussion on RTÉ's Liveline (again with the Joe Duffy thing!) and claim that Pat Kenny got drunk at your house and stole some forks (he didn't, as far as I know), then who gets in trouble? The radio station.

If UCC genuinely agree with the views (based on utterly discredited facts) of David Irving, they should by all means give him a microphone. Otherwise, they should do the decent thing. There are plenty of honest campaigners and dissenters who need the platform more urgently.