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Ranty McRantrant

This article is bugging me. I obviously despise the very basis of nazism and the awful effects it had on people across Europe and the rest of the world. However, I think banning the swastika, or the nazi salute, or holocaust denial is fundamentally wrong.

Personally, I don't think it matters that the Hindus use the symbol for peace and the nazis used it for bigotry. The point is that you should be free to express your views even if to the majority, your views are abhorrent. The holocaust shouldn't be treated as some sort of sacred event which can never be questioned. Everything, and I mean absolutely everything, should be questionable.

Maybe it's because I'm a scientist that I hold these views. The whole basis of experimental science is questioning how, why and even whether things happen. All the great breakthroughs of science have involved questioning the status quo - often to intense criticism and disgust. The greatest biological breakthrough, Darwin's theory of evolution by natural selection, still draws fierce opposition in countries like the USA.

Of course I'm not saying that by questioning the holocaust somebody's going to make an incredible scientific discovery. I believe the holocaust happened and there are over 6m dead people to vouch for it. All I'm saying is that we can't pick and choose what people can question. It is the equivalent of having laws banning questioning of biblical events or outlawing questioning of the actions of the British in Imperial India. If someone says something stupid and wrong, you can slate them, you can criticise them, you can call them a cunt, but being stupid and wrong shouldn't be outlawed.

Talking about silly laws banning freedom of expression. That bastarding bastard that is Stephen Green of Christian Voice, one of the few small fundamentalist christian groups in the UK, says that he has begun the process of bringing a private prosecution for blasphemy against Mark Thompson, Director General of the BBC and Jonathan Thoday, the show’s producer, for their part in broadcasting Jerry Springer -- the Opera on BBC2 two years ago.

First of all, I don't know how you can bring blasphemy prosecution against a performance which, as far as I'm aware, didn't include Jesus, God, Mohammed, Ganesha or whatever (mind you, if it had included any non-christian deities, it couldn't be prosecuted for blasphemy anyway since the law only covers christians). EDIT: OK scratch that bit. Jesus is in it. Nevertheless, my views remain the same. I find it incredibly unlikely that someone could win a lawsuit like this, especially considering that there have been various shows actually portraying god and jesus in mockable forms.

But more to the point, I find it utterly disgusting that a law such as this is still in the books! As a human, I have a basic write to criticise, condemn, insult and verbally attack whomever I wish so long as in doing so I don't try to incite anyone to physically harm anyone else or to commit a crime against anyone else. Just because the person I'm criticising happens to be Jesus or god, why should it matter? And so for the second time, I've written a very complaining letter to my MP (a different MP this time mind) expressing my disgust. Sigh!

Comments

autovatic
Jan. 18th, 2007 07:03 pm (UTC)
I agree, besides which, I think there is no better way to fuel a ridiculous cause than by suppressing it through legislation. This gives the Neo-Nazis solid examples of "prosecution" of their ideals.

And, without looking too paranoid, legislating a thought process creeps me out a little bit. I can't help but think about the kids who go through a neo- Nazis phase in their idiotic youth, but grow out of it with experience. They might deserve a swift kick in the ass - or several - but jail time?
autovatic
Jan. 18th, 2007 07:04 pm (UTC)
wow, you can tell I didn't sleep last night!
er... haha "persecution," anyone?

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