A reply to Miss
On August 30, 2002, we received the following letter to the editor from Miss Elizabeth McKinstry in response to our most recent fund-raising appeal.
I was all set to make a donation to your site when I noticed you had added IHR to your list of links.
As a member of the Free State Project, I ended up learning a lot about the IHR when someone suggested we get Joe Sobran to endorse our project. Joe Sobran, after much research and reading, is not anti-semitic, in my opinion (although he is getting further and further on the fringe, I suspect in reaction to people painting him as an anti-semite). He has associated himself, out of frustration with the Zionists I would guess, with the IHR. The IHR, however, is a holocaust revisionist site, and in fact, lost a lawsuit to someone about their assertion regarding the existence of gassing in concentration camps.
I am only an occasional visitor to your site, but when I heard about its plight on Strike The Root, I rushed over to help. I just wanted you to know why now I'm unable to support your situation. I thought every other link you had listed was great, so perhaps this is a mistake. Regardless, I would not ask you to take it down, just as I'm sure you would not ask me for money to support, even indirectly, a group like the IHR.
Miss McKinstry declares that she cannot support The Last Ditch because it includes a link to the Institute for Historical Review, which includes Holocaust revisionism among its other revisionist topics. Let me be clear, at the risk of repetitiveness: IHR deals with many revisionist topics, especially dealing with the World Wars the Holocaust is only one of those topics. Now, war revisionism has been very dear to the hearts of libertarians and other anti-statists, who traditionally have been skeptical of America's ever-increasing number of "Good Wars." And although Miss McKinstry may be unaware of this fact, it is war that has had the greatest impact on enlarging the American state.
TLD has posted links to many other sites, as well as links to individual articles off site. It is unlikely that Miss McKinstry could identify with every position expressed at those other sites and in those other articles; certainly the editor-in-chief of TLD does not. He wrote as much with specific respect to another revisionist site in his article, "The Libertarian Party: New frontiers in free expression." (I am afraid the title is sarcastic.) Why is the link to a site that includes Holocaust revisionism enough to turn Miss McKinstry against TLD?
From her letter, it appears that she wants to make sure that her organization, "The Free State Project," excludes "anti-Semites." After "much research and reading," the judicious Miss McKinstry was able to absolve Mr. Joe Sobran of the charge of anti-Semitism. One wonders how she defines "anti-Semitism." Certainly that charge, wielded by influential Jewish groups, was sufficient to remove Mr. Sobran from his position as senior editor of National Review and cause him to be blacklisted by much of the conservative media. If Joe Sobran's definition of "anti-Semitism" is correct anti-Semites being not those people who hate Jews but those people whom Jews hate then he is clearly an "anti-Semite."
In any event, one wonders whether Miss McKinstry and her "Free State Project" display as much explicit and specific concern about anti-Palestinianism, anti-Islamism, anti-Catholicism, anti-Serbism, anti-Russianism, or any other form of anti-groupism as they do about anti-Semitism. I doubt that they do, and I propose that the usual reason for a special regard for anti-Semitism is just this: "Respectable" folks must make obeisance to the powerful. In modern America, one cannot be both "respectable" and a true champion of freedom. Well, I'll say it straight out: TLD is not "respectable."
Miss McKinstry may have been unaware of this, too, but TLD provides information that is outside of and contrary to the OFFICIAL BELIEFS promulgated and enforced by the government and powerful interests in American society. In fact, TLD prides itself in providing opinions that the government and powerful interests don't want people to hear. In fact, that's TLD's raison d'etre -- its food section not really being on a par with that of the Washington Post. And if there is one view that many governments and at least one ultra-powerful interest group don't want people to hear, it is a revision of the official story of the Holocaust.
What is "Holocaust revisionism"? Contrary to the propagandists of the official story, Holocaust revisionists do not deny that huge numbers of Jews were killed by the Nazis and their allies during World War II. But the official Holocaust story contains certain crucial points that revisionists do question. According to the official story, the Holocaust was an unparalleled evil. As the noted Holocaust historian Yehuda Bauer writes: "We should properly use the term 'Holocaust' to describe the policy of total physical annihilation of a nation or a people. To date, this has happened once, to the Jews under Nazism." (Yehuda Bauer, The Holocaust in Historical Perspective [Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1978], p. 38.) Presumably, the million or so Holocaust survivors still alive in the late 1990s were able to attest to that as a fact.
According to the official
account, Nazi Germany pursued a policy of exterminating every
single European Jew; and of the total of 6 million Jews exterminated,
roughly half were killed in "death camps," most in lethal
gas chambers. To deviate from that official account is deemed
HATE. It leads to imprisonment in the "enlightened democracies"
of Europe and to the loss of employment and blacklisting in the
less-enlightened United States. The American Historical Association
has ruled that it is off limits for historians to question the
official story. The American Library Association opposes any library's
acquisition of books that contest the official Holocaust story.
American state schools and libraries put censorware on their computers
to prevent users from accessing such "hate" sites.
Note that all the above groups seeking to limit information directly or indirectly involve taxpayer-funded government institutions whose claimed purpose is to disseminate information -- schools, colleges, and libraries. Oh, and there's this: Congress itself, in its wisdom and majesty, has condemned Holocaust revisionism. In short, the American people are forced to finance the censoring of information and the intimidation of dissenters -- all of which is presumably contrary to libertarianism.
One wonders how questioning the official Holocaust view can be considered hateful or anti-Semitic. It is curious that one may freely investigate (and revise) other grisly historical questions, such as the number of people murdered by Stalin and Mao, without running afoul of the authorities and the Establishment of Respectability that stands behind the authorities. One may even differ with the views characteristically held by members of other ethnic groups. For example, one may differ with the Armenian view of the genocide suffered at the hands of the Turks without being punished. In fact, one may differ with the Palestinian view of the Nakba ("catastrophe") of 1948 and generally be rewarded for so doing. Why is questioning the official Holocaust story considered to be so terrible a deed that it deserves criminal punishment?
The Establishment treats the Holocaust story as an absolute, incontestable truth, in contrast to the falsifiability and tentative nature of historical and scientific truths. Unlike the revisable accounts of conventional science or history, the Holocaust story thus reaches the status of an infallible dogma of religion. (Religions generally label their dogmas as such, and certainly American youth are not taught the truth of the Trinity in their state-school history classes.) This may be something else of which Miss McKinstry isn't aware, but freedom of inquiry is necessary for determining scientific and historical truths. Truth is reached by proposing and testing hypotheses, not by dogmatic assertions by the state and other powerful allied institutions. In the old days, even Establishment Liberals, in fact most especially Establishment Liberals, championed the concept of a "free marketplace of ideas" as the means to arrive at social and political truths, even as they reviled the free marketplace of goods and services. One would expect that libertarians, such as Miss McKinstry purports to be, would be at least as supportive of a "free marketplace of ideas" as the socialistic followers of John Dewey.
What logically prevents the dogmatic approach applied to the Holocaust from being applied to other subjects? Very little, it seems, in light of the fact that Western (or, if you like, post-Western) societies are rapidly moving in that very direction with their enforcement of Political Correctness, especially in the areas of race and gender. Why not go whole hog and replace science with ideology, as was done with Lysenkoism under Stalin? (On the other hand, even Stalin knew enough to keep the ideologues from interfering with the Soviet atomic bomb project, where "bourgeois" science prevailed.)
IHR is of value because it presents dissident views about important historical questions, including the Holocaust, war, and peace, that cannot exist in the mainstream media, popular or academic. Does that mean that everything IHR says is correct? Obviously not. But it is only when the question of the Holocaust can be freely investigated that one can hope to learn the truth about it. Even if one disagrees with the specific historical analyses provided by IHR, it seems hard for a lover of freedom and truth to reject its position that the issue of the Holocaust should be investigated in a spirit of free inquiry and with no governmental impediments or intimidation. In fact, if those who support the official version of the Holocaust really believe that their account can stand up to free and serious investigation, they should be happy to see that investigation taking place. Truth flourishes in sunlight.
The fact that such investigation is currently impossible or at least subject to gross intimidation must make any thinking person question the required belief. How can a reasoning person really believe that as many as 1.5 million people (recently reduced from 4 million) were exterminated at Auschwitz while at the same time rejecting any scientific investigation that could, by looking for physical evidence, conclude otherwise? One might think that advocates of a free society who believed in the quest for truth would support free inquiry on any subject.
Naturally I am not questioning Miss McKinstry's right to keep her money in her wallet. Moreover, I don't believe that she would, if she could, make investigations of the Holocaust formally illegal -- but wouldn't an innocent bystander be entitled to wonder about that? After all, it is possible that a free society and Miss McKinstry's "free state" are not the same thing. Anarchists have always questioned whether freedom could exist within the context of the state. An innocent bystander might just conclude that Miss McKinstry has answered that question.
The exchange of Sept. 4-5.
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Nous nous plaçons sous
la protection de l'article 19 de la Déclaration des Droits
de l'homme, qui stipule:
ARTICLE 19 <Tout individu a droit à la liberté d'opinion et d'expression, ce qui implique le droit de ne pas être inquiété pour ses opinions et celui de chercher, de recevoir et de répandre, sans considération de frontière, les informations et les idées par quelque moyen d'expression que ce soit>
Déclaration internationale des droits de l'homme, adoptée par l'Assemblée générale de l'ONU à Paris, le 10 décembre 1948.