Challenging Peter Singer's views on Holocaust deniers
04 July 2006
At the Sydney Writers’ Festival last month, philosopher and ethicist Professor Peter Singer spoke about “What makes a civil society” and said that Holocaust-denier David Irving should not be censored, despite his absurd views. MELINDA JONES, research director of the B'nai B'rith Anti-Defamation Commission [how much more do we need to know?], takes issue with Professor Singer.
Professor Peter Singer may be one of the world’s greatest philosophers, but on the issue of Holocaust denial he has simply got it wrong. Law constraining freedom of speech are consistent with a civil society, without detracting from the fundamental importance of the principle of free speech for a democratic society. [ ... ]
Holocaust deniers such as David Irving are powerful players who effectively silence the voices of the less powerful, by encouraging hatred and by legitimising antisemitism. The market place on its own cannot change this imbalance of power, so we need law. Silencing holocaust deniers increases the net amount of free speech by emboldening those who would be and are targets of racial hatred. More