Engaging Culture

Thought Crime Prosecutions are Finally Here

A few months ago we experienced the trial of the Swedish pastor threatened with jail for preaching that homosexuality was a sin.  But that ended up as only being a threat.  Now, Austria has crossed the threshold, putting David Irving in jail for three years for denying the Holocaust.  The New York Times reports that Mr. Irving, 67, has been in custody since Nov. 11.  He was actually arrested based on speeches he gave in Austria in 1989 in which he apparently said the Nazis’ did not murder six million Jews.  It’s his contention that they weren’t executed, but succumbed to diseases like typhus.

Regardless of your opinion of revisionsts like Irving, when prosecutions for “thought crimes” begin, we have a right to be alarmed.  According to the Times, “He was denied bail by a Vienna court, which said there was a risk he would flee the country. He was convicted under a 1992 law, which 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 trial has been particularly interesting in the context of the debate in Europe over freedom of expression, after European newspapers printed cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad which sparked deadly protests worldwide.

Now it doesn’t take an actual crime anymore.  The thought is all you need to be jailed.  What does this mean to people of faith who’s doctrine conflicts with political correctness?  What does it mean for artists, writers, and others with views that conflict with the culture?

It’s the obvious conclusion of the thinking that allows for hate crimes and political correctness.

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One Comment

  1. There is something to be said for putting a person in stocks so the local ruffians can jeer at him and women on their way home from market can bounce the fruits of their labors off his noggin… that’s really what Irving deserves – a weekend in stocks – not three years in the slammer. Acting foolishly and fuzzy thinking weren’t crimes back when a college degree meant something, but in an era when nobody can discern right from wrong, much less the ridiculous from the blasphemous, it’s a predictable result.

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