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[P]
Man Convicted of Publishing Mein Kampf

By HiFi78 in News
Thu Jan 29, 2004 at 01:45:47 AM EST
Tags: Freedom (all tags)
Freedom

According to the Associated Press, a Czech publisher was given a three-year suspended sentence today for publishing Hitler's Mein Kampf. The charge brought against him was for "promoting Nazism."


More specifically, the publisher, Michal Zitko, was prosecuted under Article 260 of the Czech Penal code, which bans providing support to any organization that promotes national, racial, class or religious hatred.

Several questions arise from this action:

1) Does the act of publishing Mein Kampf really promote Nazism?

At this point Mein Kampf is a historical document, and the publishing of such a document shouldn't necessarily imply the promotion of the ideas within. I contend that the meaning of a text is as much about the context in which it is read as the words that are on the page. If I published a collection of pro-slavery writings from the 1840's, would I be promoting slavery, or would I be promoting the study of environment in which slavery thrived? If I published the Torah, and a group of Nazi's read it and twisted the words to support their hatred of Jews, did my publishing of this sacred text promote Nazism? If so, should I be prosecuted for the ignorance of my readers?

2) Can ignoring a historically significant document really benefit society?

Winston Churchill's great quote, "A nation that forgets its past is doomed to repeat it." looms large over this issue. I read Mein Kampf when I was 13 years old. I was studying the Holocaust at the time, and I thought it was important to understand who and what caused such a horrible event. Reading the book gave me a much deeper understanding as to who Adolf Hitler was and to the nature of bigotry in general. In the intervening years, this knowledge has helped me remain vigilant against ideologues and bigots in my life and in the leadership of my society. Instead of preventing people from reading books by horrible people, we should be encouraging the studying of these texts in the proper context.

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Poll
Should a book ever be banned?
o Yes, if it poses danger to society. 4%
o Yes, if it poses danger to an individual. 4%
o Yes, if it is immoral. 1%
o Yes, for another reason. 4%
o No. 84%

Votes: 207
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Display: Sort:
Man Convicted of Publishing Mein Kampf | 149 comments (136 topical, 13 editorial, 1 hidden)
-1, need more (2.29 / 27) (#4)
by Miyamoto Musashi on Wed Jan 28, 2004 at 04:31:33 PM EST

This is a good topic has it highlights the unusual nature of the US Constitution's rather broad protection for speech. In the United States you can pretty much publish anything without government oversight. Notice the US is one of the few Western nations that does not have an official secrecy act because such an act would probably not survive a court challenge.

Now, some might ask how come the US can classify information and imprison people for divulging classified information. Well, (1) people authorized to handle classfied information sign an agreement to protect the information persuant to its classification level. If you violate this, you can be imprisoned because it is not a violation of the 1st Amendment. You have a priori agreed on the restrictions. (2) The court system has never consistently ruled on the question of people who received classfied information without having solicited the information. In other words, if Joe Spy takes classfied information and mails it to Bob Reporter who then publishes the information (but he never asked for it), can Bob Reporter be prosecuted? Does it matter if he knew a priori the information was classified? The Supreme Court ruled 6-3 in the Pentagon Paper's case that the government could not restrict the publication of the classified Pentagon papers -- this is probably strong case history to argue the answer is Bob Reporter can do anything he wants because of the 1st Amendment.

In the United States, technically speaking nuclear weapons information is always classified no matter the source. In theoretical terms, much of the information one learns as an advanced graduate student in nuclear physics/engineering is classified or very near it. If you were to develop a credible design for a nuclear weapon on your own, it is technically classified by the US government even if you have no relationship with the government. This leads to obvious conflicts with the 1st Amendment. In the 1970s the Federal government tried to block the publication of Howard Morland's publication on nuclear weapons by citing US law that deems all nuclear information as being born secret. The federal government eventually dropped the case for two reasons (1) Morland showed the information was available in any physics graduate textbook and more importantly (2) the government was extremely concerned the Supreme Court would deem the "born secret" laws unconstitutional. As long as they are on the books, they can be used as a club even if they cannot truly be enforced legally. As a final note on this topic, note the federal government probably turns a suspicious eye on internet sites such as the Nuclear Weapon's Archive.

Most nations that have freedom of speech laws make exemptions for national security or other social reasons.
------------
It is said the warrior's is the twofold Way of pen and sword, and he should have a taste for both Ways.

Look up "Wilhelm Reich". (NT) (none / 3) (#36)
by pla on Thu Jan 29, 2004 at 03:10:36 AM EST



[ Parent ]
Interesting... (none / 1) (#52)
by Miyamoto Musashi on Thu Jan 29, 2004 at 09:34:44 AM EST

...I have never heard of this fellow. Google has a few links that seem promising. Thanks for bringing this to my attention.
------------
It is said the warrior's is the twofold Way of pen and sword, and he should have a taste for both Ways.
[ Parent ]
Heh (2.66 / 27) (#5)
by zipper on Wed Jan 28, 2004 at 05:00:16 PM EST

Never in the history of literature has so bad a book been bought by so many and read by so few.

---
This account has been neutered by rusty and can no longer rate or post comments. Way to go fearless leader!
You Must Be Kidding (2.42 / 7) (#66)
by virg on Thu Jan 29, 2004 at 01:54:50 PM EST

> Never in the history of literature has so bad a book been bought by so many and read by so few.

Marx's "The Communist Manifesto" is miles ahead of "Mein Kampf" in this regard.

Virg
"Imagine (it won't be hard) that most people would prefer seeing Carrot Top beaten to death with a bag of walnuts." - Jmzero
[ Parent ]
"...and read by so few" (2.50 / 4) (#69)
by mlc on Thu Jan 29, 2004 at 02:31:58 PM EST

I know a lot of people who like to read Marx. He's also required reading for a number of university classes.

--
So the Berne Convention is the ultimate arbiter of truth and morality. Is this like Catholicism? -- Eight Star
[ Parent ]

Maybe he was referring to ... (none / 3) (#82)
by vyruss on Fri Jan 30, 2004 at 02:08:11 AM EST

...the "so bad" part :D

  • PRINT CHR$(147)

[ Parent ]
What about the bible then? (2.40 / 5) (#83)
by YesNoCancel on Fri Jan 30, 2004 at 03:48:39 AM EST



[ Parent ]
Indeed, the bible is definately top in this regard (none / 2) (#114)
by Gord ca on Fri Jan 30, 2004 at 04:37:59 PM EST

I mean, to read the bible through, and really care about all of it, you have to be hard core. You can force yourself through all of the really boring parts, but I don't know how you could make yourself really care about them.

If I'm attacking your idea, it's probably because I like it
[ Parent ]
interesting. (2.46 / 13) (#6)
by Run4YourLives on Wed Jan 28, 2004 at 05:10:10 PM EST

Here in Canada, we've got the whole assortment of hate laws etc. but I can still go buy Hitler's debacle in the local Chapter's, or sign it out from the library.

I'm not sure what the Czechs are trying to accomplish here, but what they do in their country is really their business. One shouldn't forget that this used to be a part of a  communist country.

It's slightly Japanese, but without all of that fanatical devotion to the workplace. - CheeseburgerBrown

Actually... (2.71 / 7) (#9)
by Verbophobe on Wed Jan 28, 2004 at 05:40:43 PM EST

The head of Chapters/Indigo banned "Mein Kampf" from being sold in her stores. I don't shop there anymore.

http://www.fpp.co.uk/Hitler/MeinKampf/Canada_ban.html

Fun: This weekend, go to any Chapters store, and ask the clerk for "Mein Kampf".  Watch them become perplexed.  It's even more funny if you're dressed as an orthodox Jew.

Proud member of the Canadian Broadcorping Castration
[ Parent ]

heh (none / 3) (#67)
by Battle Troll on Thu Jan 29, 2004 at 02:20:27 PM EST

It's even more funny if you're dressed as an orthodox Jew.

I'm sure this is the voice of first-hand experience.
--
Skarphedinn was carrying the axe with which he had killed Thrainn Sigfusson and which he called 'Battle Troll.'
Njal's Saga, ca 1280 AD
[ Parent ]

Maybe Communism caused the laws (2.50 / 6) (#11)
by HiFi78 on Wed Jan 28, 2004 at 06:23:05 PM EST

I think that the fact that they were a communist country probably has a lot to do with the fact that this law exists. Extreme situations tend to precipitate reactionary measures. Look a Germany's attempt to clamp down on hate by banning political parties, speech, etc. Unfortunately when you try to squeze hate, you tend to harden it, and now Germany has some of the most passionate hate groups around.

[ Parent ]
nope (none / 3) (#48)
by basj on Thu Jan 29, 2004 at 09:10:28 AM EST

Most countries in Europe have these laws, including the ones not under communist rule.
--
Complete the Three Year Plan in five years!
[ Parent ]
samesex parent books (2.00 / 4) (#34)
by the77x42 on Thu Jan 29, 2004 at 02:28:58 AM EST

ya, you can go get a book by hitler, but if you wanted to have same-sex parent books in the classroom, you'd better hire a pretty decent fucking lawyer.

i think people in vancouver would rather their kids grow up nazis than gay.


"We're not here to educate. We're here to point and laugh." - creature
"You have some pretty stupid ideas." - indubitable ‮

[ Parent ]

two different things... (none / 3) (#61)
by Run4YourLives on Thu Jan 29, 2004 at 12:17:51 PM EST

I think what most people have a problem with when it comes to same sex books in the classroom is the target age.

If little johnny doesn't even know about hetro-sex, why would a parent want him exposed to homo-sex?

Or, "I don't want to talk to my kids about the birds and the bees just yet."

Nobody has suggested banning said books from the public, only allowing the parent to make the call as to when and where, and how.

I'd be in favour of banning Kampf from an elementary school library. I don't think it has a place there. And at that age, I think children are too immature to discuss the ideas of racism, and/or sex.

I'll agree however, that some books on the "make our kids gay" list do little more than preach tolerance of differences, which I think is fine at any age.

Fine line though.

It's slightly Japanese, but without all of that fanatical devotion to the workplace. - CheeseburgerBrown
[ Parent ]

What Books Do You Read?!? (none / 3) (#65)
by virg on Thu Jan 29, 2004 at 01:52:29 PM EST

> I think what most people have a problem with when it comes to same sex books in the classroom is the target age. If little johnny doesn't even know about hetro-sex, why would a parent want him exposed to homo-sex?

Who mentioned anything about sex? Do stories that contain opposite-sex parent mention that they're having sex? The problem is that a book can't portray Johnny having two dads, even if they just take Johnny to the zoo, and even if there's no mention whatsoever about the relationship between the two men. This has nothing to do with age-appropriate discussion of sex.

Virg
"Imagine (it won't be hard) that most people would prefer seeing Carrot Top beaten to death with a bag of walnuts." - Jmzero
[ Parent ]
please read my comment again. (none / 2) (#71)
by Run4YourLives on Thu Jan 29, 2004 at 02:36:42 PM EST

Don't infer what you think my stance is without actually reading what I said.

Who mentioned anything about sex?

I did.

Do stories that contain opposite-sex parent mention that they're having sex?

Some show them sleeping in the same bed. That's close enough IMO. Others do not.

The problem is that a book can't portray Johnny having two dads, even if they just take Johnny to the zoo, and even if there's no mention whatsoever about the relationship between the two men.

For some people, I guess that is the problem. What I was saying was that for most people, myself included, it isn't. Perhaps in backwater USA this isn't the case, but I was talking about Vancouver.

This has nothing to do with age-appropriate discussion of sex.

That's as silly as saying that it always does. Some books infer enough that the question will arise, others simply focus on the tolerance of differences.

It's slightly Japanese, but without all of that fanatical devotion to the workplace. - CheeseburgerBrown
[ Parent ]

eh (none / 3) (#79)
by tps12 on Thu Jan 29, 2004 at 09:34:37 PM EST

Children generally know that their parents sleep in the same bed well before they know what they do there. The issue here is that the parentns cannot think of a gay relationship without thinking of gay sex and freaking out. The children will accept what we teach them.

[ Parent ]
gay, black, and/or divorced (none / 1) (#120)
by the77x42 on Fri Jan 30, 2004 at 07:31:36 PM EST

If little johnny doesn't even know about hetro-sex, why would a parent want him exposed to homo-sex?

Because tolerance starts at a young age.

"I don't want to talk to my kids about the birds and the bees just yet."

We aren't talking about porn here, we're talking about Bert and Ernie.

Nobody has suggested banning said books from the public, only allowing the parent to make the call as to when and where, and how.

Ya, but when you think of it, the kid of intolerant parents isn't going to be exposed to this stuff until he's older, and then it's almost too late.

And at that age, I think children are too immature to discuss the ideas of racism, and/or sex.

You never got the whole 'he's not allowed to touch you in your bathing suit area' when you went to school? It's not like we want kids to be scholars, just that when they pick up a book, it shouldn't matter if the characters are gay, black, and/or divorced. (sex, race, and marriage)


"We're not here to educate. We're here to point and laugh." - creature
"You have some pretty stupid ideas." - indubitable ‮

[ Parent ]

Classroom. (1.20 / 5) (#63)
by tkatchev on Thu Jan 29, 2004 at 01:19:19 PM EST

Moron.

   -- Signed, Lev Andropoff, cosmonaut.
[ Parent ]

Was that a joke or do you really suck that much? (none / 1) (#93)
by Kax on Fri Jan 30, 2004 at 10:07:07 AM EST

(n/t)

[ Parent ]
Wow, you're so spunky. (none / 0) (#106)
by tkatchev on Fri Jan 30, 2004 at 12:51:04 PM EST

Loser.

   -- Signed, Lev Andropoff, cosmonaut.
[ Parent ]

That's what I thought. (n/t) (none / 0) (#123)
by Kax on Fri Jan 30, 2004 at 09:57:38 PM EST

n/t

[ Parent ]
Probably less to do with Communism (2.83 / 6) (#40)
by nebbish on Thu Jan 29, 2004 at 05:51:55 AM EST

And more to do with being occupied by the Nazis. The Czech Republic is actually pretty liberal on most matters. It's easy to forget that Naziism in occupied Europe affected pretty much every family, and passions still run high.

---------
Kicking someone in the head is like punching them in the foot - Bruce Lee
[ Parent ]

Book burners go to hell (2.60 / 20) (#7)
by Tatarigami on Wed Jan 28, 2004 at 05:11:49 PM EST

I believe very strongly that it's impossible to suppress ideas and that this kind of censorship is harmful, not beneficial. The way to fight ideas you don't like is to discuss them. If your reasoning is more powerful, the opposing idea is shown to be deficient.

By banning the publication of a text, all you do is drive it underground and make the people who read it feel -- perhaps rightly -- that they're being persecuted.

Indeed (2.50 / 6) (#29)
by tftp on Wed Jan 28, 2004 at 11:50:47 PM EST

You are right, Nazis themselves burned books that they considered to be undesirable. So how does the society look like which burns the [Nazi's] book that literally shook the world? I read fragments of Mein Kampf cited in discussions, and I definitely would like to be able to read any of it whenever I please.

With regard to book's danger - Hitler wrote in 1930's, quite a while ago I'd say, and everyone knows what happens to anyone who follows in his footsteps. Besides, the people who apparently follow Hitler's advices are free to read the book as much as they want.

[ Parent ]

I agree, but with one caveat (none / 3) (#74)
by curunir on Thu Jan 29, 2004 at 04:14:09 PM EST

Since the book was written in 1930's, it's still protected by copyright in many countries. I have no problem with people selling, buying or reading the book. It's part of the historical record and denying any part of the holocaust isn't doing right by those who died as a result. I do, however, object to any copyright holder profiting from the sale of this book. I don't know whether this is happening or not, but I would like to see any royalties generated by the sale of this book donated to survivors groups, Amnesty International or other groups who are dedicated to ensuring that something like the holocaust never happens again.

[ Parent ]
Nice idea, but... (3.00 / 5) (#77)
by Tatarigami on Thu Jan 29, 2004 at 05:23:51 PM EST

From the article, it appears that in several countries, publishers releasing editions of Mein Kampf have tried to donate the profits to various holocaust survivor support and jewish advocacy groups, only to have them decline to accept the money. Too controversial for them, I guess.

[ Parent ]
It is a shame.. (2.64 / 14) (#8)
by cosmokramer on Wed Jan 28, 2004 at 05:22:32 PM EST

That promoted history is construed so negatively and often as illegal if your promoting history (or the study of it I should say) that is not popular nor deemed correct.  Nazism is not accepted by the masses nor myself but as you state if we ignore it then we are simply asking for it to happen again.  Education is NOT education if you abstain from providing all the facts.

Good article.. hopefully it will provide some lively debate.

what a screwed up law (2.00 / 8) (#16)
by minerboy on Wed Jan 28, 2004 at 06:39:25 PM EST

that bans providing support to any organization that promotes national, racial, class or religious hatred. But let's not waste time dabbling with what promote means, or the issue of historical significance.

In the end, I think it needs to be said that it should be perfectly legal, and even moral to hate somethings, including some nationalities, some classes, and some religions - and maybe even some races (though putting your finger on exactly what a race is can be difficult).

For example, I hate cannibals - I feel I am justified in this because the act of being a canibal is repugnant to my moral sensibilities. I hate mormons - not any in particular, just the religion in general. I would hate the french, but their contribution to the variety of sex acts compensates for everything else. During wwII everyone hated the Germans and the Japanese. Sometimes hate is justified, and governments shouldn't be the one who decides who we should hate.



Wow. (2.66 / 6) (#28)
by Estanislao Martínez on Wed Jan 28, 2004 at 11:11:45 PM EST

For example, I hate cannibals

Really? How many cannibals do you run into each weak? How many have you threatened, beaten up, or killed? Do you belong to a gang of people who get together to terrorize cannibals?

I suspect somebody is using a really bad analogy around here...

--em
[ Parent ]

You just made his point (none / 3) (#57)
by CENGEL3 on Thu Jan 29, 2004 at 10:31:08 AM EST

Though you probably failed to notice it.

Hate is an idea. Technically it's an emotion... but same difference. It is completely internal to the individual.

"Threatening", "Beating Up", "Killing" or "Terrorizing" other people are ACTIONS. They happen to be actions that infringe on other peoples rights. They are also actions that are illegal REGARDLESS of whether you hate the person or not.

Tell me, is it any LESS objectionable to threaten, beat up, kill or terrorize someone you do not hate?

The point is ideas, emotions and thoughts should never be illegal. Nor should expressing those ideas, emotions and thoughts ever be illegal... as long as that is all you are doing. ACTIONS that infringe upon the rights of others... now those are a different story alltogether.

[ Parent ]

the point (none / 1) (#68)
by Battle Troll on Thu Jan 29, 2004 at 02:23:42 PM EST

The parent poster has never met a cannibal. On the other hand, many people have met Jews or Gypsies, and their hatred is real (and thus can lead to action, often violent.)
--
Skarphedinn was carrying the axe with which he had killed Thrainn Sigfusson and which he called 'Battle Troll.'
Njal's Saga, ca 1280 AD
[ Parent ]
and another point (none / 1) (#73)
by Estanislao Martínez on Thu Jan 29, 2004 at 03:57:18 PM EST

"Cannibal" is not an ethnicity.

--em
[ Parent ]

its a religion, isn't it ? (none / 0) (#109)
by minerboy on Fri Jan 30, 2004 at 02:12:44 PM EST

And I hate the ravenous mutherfuckers, nobody should ever eat their grandma, ewww



[ Parent ]
Oh yeah, I agree totally... (none / 0) (#112)
by laotic on Fri Jan 30, 2004 at 04:04:00 PM EST

let's just stick to the little ones, they're much tastier with avocado purree on the side.

Sig? Sigh.
[ Parent ]
And when it does.. (none / 1) (#99)
by CENGEL3 on Fri Jan 30, 2004 at 10:48:31 AM EST

When it does lead to violence THEN you throw them in jail. You don't punish some-one just because they MIGHT do something.

[ Parent ]
ah (none / 1) (#101)
by Battle Troll on Fri Jan 30, 2004 at 11:37:31 AM EST

So, when someone's giving an anti-Semitic speech and whipping up the crowd, you don't get police intervention on any member of that crowd until they throw their first punches?
--
Skarphedinn was carrying the axe with which he had killed Thrainn Sigfusson and which he called 'Battle Troll.'
Njal's Saga, ca 1280 AD
[ Parent ]
Exactly (n/t) (none / 0) (#103)
by CENGEL3 on Fri Jan 30, 2004 at 11:59:40 AM EST



[ Parent ]
Exactly Why I'm Against Hate Crime Laws (none / 2) (#70)
by HiFi78 on Thu Jan 29, 2004 at 02:33:29 PM EST

Your right. If someone kills me randomly instead of killing me because of my ethnicity, I'm not any more or less dead.

In my humble opinion, part of the responsibility of liberty is protecting the liberty of people who disgust you.

While some may view this as an American view of the world, we should remember that there are American hate crimes laws as well. I'm against those laws too.

Anytime the government puts a value (positive or negative) on how you feel/think instead of your actions, it's a form of thought control. Though control is inherently dangerous and bad.

[ Parent ]

In other words, because you only think of yourself (none / 1) (#72)
by Estanislao Martínez on Thu Jan 29, 2004 at 03:52:34 PM EST

If someone kills me randomly instead of killing me because of my ethnicity, I'm not any more or less dead.

Hate crime laws are not predicated on the damage done to the dead person, but on the fact that an ethnically-motivated killing intimidates the victim's ethnic group. And even worse, such killings may draw sympathy from many in the hegemonic group.

Ethnic killings have an ethnic and political polarization that makes them have effects on everybody in the society in question, much bigger than those of a random killing.

--em
[ Parent ]

Bull (none / 0) (#140)
by CENGEL3 on Tue Feb 03, 2004 at 11:53:46 AM EST

People should prosecuted based upon thier actions not upon other peoples emotions (which the person being prosecuted has no control over).

The same mentality that supports hate crime laws is the same mentality that thinks If they are walking down the street and you look at them funny you should be arrested and thrown in jail because you "intimidated" them.... even though all you might have been thinking "Don't I know that person?".

Hate crime laws are a form of discrimination. They violate the principle of equal protection under the law for ALL individuals. Not only are they immoral and unethical but are completely ineffective.... worse they contribute to a spirit of divisiveness which only makes matters worse.

[ Parent ]

i take it (none / 0) (#104)
by vivelame on Fri Jan 30, 2004 at 12:37:25 PM EST

you're then supporting the immediate release of Saddam, whose crime was to hate America?
I mean, since the ISG couldn't find any WoMD et al...

--
Jonathan Simon: "When the autopsy of our democracy is performed, it is my belief that media silence will be given as the primary cause of death."
[ Parent ]
Hate crime laws lead to thought policing. [nt] (none / 0) (#137)
by esch on Mon Feb 02, 2004 at 12:33:22 PM EST



[ Parent ]
Probabilities (none / 0) (#145)
by Viliam Bur on Fri Feb 06, 2004 at 07:38:05 AM EST

If you have a wrong ethnicity in wrong country at a wrong time, you have higher probability to be killed because of ethinicity, than by accident.

When you are already dead, you are dead. But before it, the probabilities make a difference.

[ Parent ]

you missed MY point (none / 2) (#75)
by Estanislao Martínez on Thu Jan 29, 2004 at 04:27:28 PM EST

Let me quote myself:
Do you belong to a gang of people who get together to terrorize cannibals?
The key thing about so-called "hate crimes" is not the emotions of one individual; it's the relations between ethnic groups in a society, that make it so that a large number of people tolerate, condone or promote violence upon members of one or more groups. Given such a situation, it is harder for members of the target group to find sympathy even from the institutions that are supposed to protect them (law enforcement, the legal system).

If you're a Jew, and somebody who hates Jews killed your uncle, in many countries you'd find that:

  • a lot of people approved of the killing, and would be willing to aid the murderer to commit it and evade capture;
  • even people who did not approve of the killing would still believe that your uncle was somehow a "deserving" victime ("I don't think it's right to kill people, but that Jew just had it coming");
  • a lot of people would find lies to the effect that the killing was justified easier to believe than if your uncle had done the killing;
  • circumstances of this sort would make it easier for the killer to escape conviction, or receive a smaller sentence than he would otherwise get;
  • this whole atmosphere would create an incentive for people to attack other Jews.
Therefore, legal systems compensate for these problems by putting extra-strong sentences against "hate" crimes.

--em
[ Parent ]

Absurd! (none / 1) (#96)
by CENGEL3 on Fri Jan 30, 2004 at 10:35:41 AM EST

Because the laws aren't enforced properly in the first place you are going to create another law. If you can't get the first one enforced what makes you think you'll have any better luck with the second? Here is a novel idea, ENFORCE THE DAMN LAWS that already exist.

Hate crime laws are stupid and wrong and they violate the principle of equal protection under the law for all citizens. The same act should have the same punishment regardless of the ethicity of the victem or the perpatrator.

They also don't solve any of the problems you mentioned. In a representative democracy, laws only exist because they represent the will of the electorate. In an atmosphere like the one you describe above (i.e. Nazi Germany) hate crime laws would never get passed. The very act of passing them refutes the fact that they are needed.

Secondly what you are trying to combat are ideas and emotions. History has provided ample evidence that legislation can't do that... the only thing that can is better ideas and emotions. Creating laws that make certain ideas illegal only serves to create a backlash of sympathy for the very ideas you are trying to defeat.

Finally, the story is dealing with things that shouldn't be a crime in the first place.... publishing a book, expressing an idea. We are not talking about murder or assualt here.

I'm sorry but when the biggots and racists start having their books banned, thier speech restricted and thier very thoughts outlawed....I start switching sides to support the biggots and racists.... and believe me that's not where I want to be.


[ Parent ]

you idiot (none / 1) (#102)
by Battle Troll on Fri Jan 30, 2004 at 11:47:26 AM EST

In a representative democracy, laws only exist because they represent the will of the electorate. In an atmosphere like the one you describe above (i.e. Nazi Germany) hate crime laws would never get passed.

In the USA, most people are not sufficiently anti-Semitic to get violent about it, but some are, hence hate-crime laws. Or consider France.
--
Skarphedinn was carrying the axe with which he had killed Thrainn Sigfusson and which he called 'Battle Troll.'
Njal's Saga, ca 1280 AD
[ Parent ]

Read this slowly (none / 0) (#105)
by CENGEL3 on Fri Jan 30, 2004 at 12:41:45 PM EST

When they do get violent about it THEN your arrest them for violence.... which happens to be against the law whether it's done against some-one the criminal hates or not.

The arguement the poster was making for hate-crime laws is that biggotry was prevelant enough in society that people who commited violence against minorties were getting lenient treatment (in terms of not getting arrested, not getting convicted and getting light sentances). That arguement is INHERENTLY FLAWED....because the same police, prosecuters, judges and juries that would be going easy on biggots for violating regular laws are responsible for enforcing hate crime laws.... and there is no reason that they would be any LESS LENIENT in thier enforcement of hate crime laws then they were for the regular law in the first place.

Furthermore, the people who make up the police, prosecuters, judges and jurries (i.e. society at large)  are the very same people who vote for the elected representatives who pass laws. If those people are willing to elect representitives who pass (hate-crime) laws protecting minorities.... then they certainly ARE going to be willing to protect minorties when they are acting as police, prosecuters, judges and jurries.... which means the hate-crime laws aren't neccesary in the first place.

Either society at large is biggoted against minorties or it's not. If society at large is willing to pass laws that give minorties special protections then it can't be that biggoted. In which case special protections aren't needed.

[ Parent ]

ahh (none / 0) (#110)
by Battle Troll on Fri Jan 30, 2004 at 03:43:17 PM EST

Either society at large is biggoted against minorties or it's not. If society at large is willing to pass laws that give minorties special protections then it can't be that biggoted. {sic} In which case special protections aren't needed.

A corollary of your first claim is that no people in any country with hate-crime laws on the books are severely bigoted. This is simply not true. In France, there is a 15% North African minority, disproportionately many of whom are anti-Semitic and responsible for racial violence. This minority is small enough, and alienated enough, that they aren't very much represented in the government.

Let me put the question to you: apart from putting more police on the streets, what protection could possibly be proposed, within your framework, for French Jews?
--
Skarphedinn was carrying the axe with which he had killed Thrainn Sigfusson and which he called 'Battle Troll.'
Njal's Saga, ca 1280 AD
[ Parent ]

Answer (none / 0) (#115)
by CENGEL3 on Fri Jan 30, 2004 at 04:38:32 PM EST

Why discount putting more police on the streets? Presumably France has laws which make it illegal for people to commit violent acts against thier fellow human beings? Are those laws not being enforced? If thier not, then the question is why aren't they being enforced. Is it a lack of resources? Is it a lack of uniform enforcement and accountability of the officials? If it's either one of those then more resources and some sort of internal affairs office to insure proffesional accountability on the part officials is the answer.... not hate crime laws.

If the laws on the books are already being ignored then passing more laws isn't going to help. Why would people pay any more attention to the new laws then the ones they are already ignoring?

France certainly has had a long standing problem with anti-semitism both on an official and cultural level. Historicaly North Africa has actualy been far more tolerant then Europe. In recent times, unfortunately this has flip-flopped.

Ultimately there are 3 solutions to any nations problems with racism and anti-semitism:

1) There must be laws which specify that ALL citizens must be afforded equal protection by the government.

2) There must be a mechanism to hold government officials responsible for uniform and fair application of the nations laws.

3) The ultimate counter to racism and anti-semitism is education of the populace. That does not mean restricting conversation and ideas but rather encouraging the open exchange of information and ideas. Let racists and biggots express thier ideas openly, allow people to discover for themselves how flawed they are. Let people counter and critique these ideas with thier own which are more persuasive.

In open societies there will always be bumps in the road.... there will always be problems.... and these will always entail a certain degree of personal tragedy. But these tragedies are always far less in degree then the ones brought about by restrictive societies. In an open society ultimately the most worthwhile ideas will win out... and when they do it will be a pervasive and stable situation.

Most of the problems with North African anti-semitism today stem from the fact that so many Islamic nations are totalitarion states which practice censorship and repress the free flow of ideas and allow only doctrinized education. Continued censorship in the nations which they immigrate to will not help the situations.

I would hazard to guess that the attitudes of 3rd generation North African immigrants in the U.S. and Canada toward anti-semitism are not radicaly different from the general population..... especialy if they have had exposure to the larger community.... rather then living exclusively in small communities of other immigrants from the same region (which can sometimes be a problem in the U.S. and elsewhere).

[ Parent ]

well, here's the crux (none / 0) (#118)
by Battle Troll on Fri Jan 30, 2004 at 06:02:20 PM EST

Presumably France has laws which make it illegal for people to commit violent acts against thier fellow human beings? Are those laws not being enforced?

The police can't be everywhere, all the time. If racial hate is being incited, the police have no way of knowing where the next racial beating is going to be. The police are a deterrent to the career criminal, but the lone crazy is much harder to catch because his crimes aren't for gain.
--
Skarphedinn was carrying the axe with which he had killed Thrainn Sigfusson and which he called 'Battle Troll.'
Njal's Saga, ca 1280 AD
[ Parent ]

add one thing (none / 0) (#122)
by Estanislao Martínez on Fri Jan 30, 2004 at 09:35:54 PM EST

The police are ordinary folks, not moral übermenschen, and good numbers of them may, um... where did I put that stock phrase... ah, tolerate, condone or promote the violence in question.

--em
[ Parent ]

which is why we have laws (external standards for (none / 0) (#127)
by Battle Troll on Sat Jan 31, 2004 at 10:22:22 AM EST

Conduct.)

Good point.
--
Skarphedinn was carrying the axe with which he had killed Thrainn Sigfusson and which he called 'Battle Troll.'
Njal's Saga, ca 1280 AD
[ Parent ]

Right, So... (none / 0) (#139)
by CENGEL3 on Tue Feb 03, 2004 at 10:26:30 AM EST

How does passing yet another law for the "lone crazies" to ignore help any?

[ Parent ]
And I should also mention (none / 1) (#76)
by Estanislao Martínez on Thu Jan 29, 2004 at 04:47:34 PM EST

For example, I hate cannibals - I feel I am justified in this because the act of being a canibal is repugnant to my moral sensibilities.

I don't see what's there to hate about actual, flesh-and-blood cannibals. The two major kinds of cannibalism I can remember are as follows:

  • Eating deceased family members: This kind of cannibalism was practiced until relatively recently in Papua New Guinea (and perhaps it still happens once in a while?).
  • Eating enemies fallen in battle: This kind was what Europeans found among the Caribs when they arrived at the New World. They believed eating your fallen enemies would endow you with th
The picture you seem to have of cannibals as people who murder others with the purpose of eating them is quite inaccurate. I think your hatred of cannibals is misplaced.

--em
[ Parent ]

Germans tolerate cannibals ! (none / 0) (#121)
by minerboy on Fri Jan 30, 2004 at 07:37:16 PM EST

Apparently its not much of a crime in Germany. I wonder what the penalty is for promoting nazi-ism ?



[ Parent ]
Another stike for socialists/Europeans (1.32 / 25) (#19)
by NaCh0 on Wed Jan 28, 2004 at 07:21:12 PM EST

Please remember this article anytime a european tells us that they're freer than Americans.

--
K5: Your daily dose of socialism.
That's okay. (none / 3) (#35)
by For Whom The Bells Troll on Thu Jan 29, 2004 at 03:07:54 AM EST

Czech Republic falls under New Europe.

---
The Big F Word.
[ Parent ]
And in Old Europe (none / 0) (#133)
by zen troll on Sat Jan 31, 2004 at 04:33:07 PM EST

You have stuff like the head scarf ban in Frawnce.

[ Parent ]
What does socialism have to do with it? NT (none / 2) (#46)
by freestylefiend on Thu Jan 29, 2004 at 09:02:22 AM EST



[ Parent ]
Oh that's good (none / 3) (#49)
by werner on Thu Jan 29, 2004 at 09:16:32 AM EST

Have you any idea how many countries there are in Europe? How many governments there are? How many different languages are spoken? How many different cultures and races there are? Obviously not.

What a beautifully simple Weltanschauung you have. Perhaps you should switch off Fox News and visit a few websites that don't end in .com for a change. Never know, you might learn something about the world you live in. Then again, maybe you don't want to.

[ Parent ]

EU-UK (none / 2) (#130)
by kurioszyn on Sat Jan 31, 2004 at 01:28:14 PM EST

"Have you any idea how many countries there are in Europe?"

And 50% of them were until recently protected by US army from the other half and generally from repeating their territorial disputes that tend to result in millions of people losing their lives.

Americans know a lot about European society - the same way a cop knows about a dysfunctional family, he is often called to resolve violent disputes.

[ Parent ]

also... (none / 3) (#90)
by danbov on Fri Jan 30, 2004 at 08:18:15 AM EST

Please remember this comment anytime an American tells us that they know anything about anywhere outside their own country.
---- blah
[ Parent ]
It doesn't matter... (2.23 / 17) (#25)
by Azmeen on Wed Jan 28, 2004 at 09:25:20 PM EST

First of all, it's THEIR country and they must have a good reason for implementing such laws.

Perhaps you're not Czech, or even European... so you might not understand the sensitivity of the issue to these people.

I'm not a European myself... but articles such as these, which subscribe to the notion of so-and-so freedoms that seem oh so applicable to your country should be applicable to everyone else just pisses me off.

If I want to subscribe to your country's notions... I'd emigrate there... so till then, mind your own bloody business.


HTNet | Blings.info

What about human freedoms? (none / 3) (#26)
by Tatarigami on Wed Jan 28, 2004 at 09:43:54 PM EST

First of all, it's THEIR country and they must have a good reason for implementing such laws.

One man, and his customers, believe that the country doesn't have a good reason. They seem to believe it strongly enough to go against the law and publish or buy the offending document.

articles such as these, which subscribe to the notion of so-and-so freedoms that seem oh so applicable to your country should be applicable to everyone else just pisses me off.

What about human freedoms? I agree with you that it's wrong to assume that cultures are uniform across different countries, but I think if you ask any citizen of any random country, you'll hear them praise things like free expression and self-determination.

Where countries disagree with each other is on which individual freedoms need to be controlled or suppressed, and how much, for the benefit of the nation as a whole. You'll never see protestors lined up outside government offices demanding to be less free.

If I want to subscribe to your country's notions... I'd emigrate there... so till then, mind your own bloody business.

Seems to me that they are minding their business, and what you're asking for is not to be involved in it... in which case, why post a comment in the article?

[ Parent ]

Try reading the Declaration of Independance. (none / 3) (#30)
by Kasreyn on Thu Jan 29, 2004 at 12:02:10 AM EST

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

Note: ALL MEN, not just us. It's true that we're only able to secure those rights for ourselves. That doesn't stop us wanting to help the poor slobs who can't seem to remember to write express protection for those rights into their constitutions.

Get off your anti-American high horse. This book banning is fucking brain dead, as is any. Sensitivity of the issue? Hello, subjectivity. Who gets to decide what's sensitive, then? Oh, I know! Let's let the Thought Police decide.

Come on. You can see where that leads as easily as anyone can. Give it up.


-Kasreyn


"Extenuating circumstance to be mentioned on Judgement Day:
We never asked to be born in the first place."

R.I.P. Kurt. You will be missed.
[ Parent ]
I say... (none / 3) (#32)
by Empedocles on Thu Jan 29, 2004 at 01:10:45 AM EST

That we invade and teach those heathen ex-communists a lesson! We'll corner the market on Skodas as the first step in our plot to rule the world!

Anyone got $100 billion laying around?

---
And I think it's gonna be a long long time
'Till touch down brings me 'round again to find
I'm not the man they think I am at home

[ Parent ]

Thanks for putting words in my mouth (none / 2) (#33)
by Kasreyn on Thu Jan 29, 2004 at 01:13:11 AM EST

No, myself, I'm quite prepared to sit back and watch the Czechs be devoured from within by tyranny until they're destroyed from within or without, and then start the process over from scratch. Who knows? Maybe this time they'll learn from history. I've also heard the temperature dropped 5 degrees last night in Hell, and Satan was seen shopping at Burlington Coat Factory.


-Kasreyn


"Extenuating circumstance to be mentioned on Judgement Day:
We never asked to be born in the first place."

R.I.P. Kurt. You will be missed.
[ Parent ]
Nevertheless, (2.85 / 7) (#51)
by werner on Thu Jan 29, 2004 at 09:31:59 AM EST

you are imposing your own beliefs on others. You want to help these "poor slobs", but has it occured to you that maybe they don't see themselves as "poor slobs" and don't want your "help"? An example:

Here in Germany, there is a very large Turkish population. Many Western Europeans think that Turkish men treat women like shit, that they treat them like second-class citizens. Speak to a Turkish woman, however, and you will find that they often have different values to a typical European/Nth American woman. They don't necessarily believe they are the equal of any man. Why would they - they aren't men?.

For every emancipated, Western woman who thinks that Turkish men are over-protective and over-bearing, there is a Turkish woman who expects exactly that from her man. These women don't want emancipation. They want to be women and they want their men to be men.

It's most noble to fight for the freedom of others, but never forget that their idea of freedom is not necessarily the same as yours. One man's freedom is another man's oppression.

[ Parent ]

Freedom Making a Difference (none / 3) (#64)
by virg on Thu Jan 29, 2004 at 01:31:09 PM EST

>For every emancipated, Western woman who thinks that Turkish men are over-protective and over-bearing, there is a Turkish woman who expects exactly that from her man. These women don't want emancipation. They want to be women and they want their men to be men.

See, this is where freedom really shines. If Turkish women were not so lorded over, then each Turkish woman could choose to be free (like a Western woman pictures it) or to be like they are now. As it stands, though, any Turkish woman who wants to be equal to men can't be. That's why we try to avoid generalities like "these women don't want emancipation", because there might be some who do. Emancipate them all, and then the ones who don't want it can go back, because they'll be free to choose.

One of the central reasons why Americans value freedom of speech is to prevent this restriction. We don't like government telling citizens what's good for them to hear or not. With freedom to publish such things, people are themselves free to judge the issue, and if they feel strongly about it, to respond. There is value in any such work, even if the only value is a deeper understanding of how Hitler thought, so we might better recognize his ideals when we encounter them in others.

Virg
"Imagine (it won't be hard) that most people would prefer seeing Carrot Top beaten to death with a bag of walnuts." - Jmzero
[ Parent ]
Read again, more carefully (none / 2) (#78)
by werner on Thu Jan 29, 2004 at 05:56:18 PM EST

I was talking about Turkish women living in Germany (I know nothing of those still in Turkey). They are effectively emancipated, if they choose to be. They are protected by laws and bolstered by a society pretty much as liberal and non-sexist as any other Western society.

They could easily go out and find themselves a German boyfriend who won't insist on paying for everything and may not hold doors open for them. He would even like her to have a career. But they would often rather be "looked after" by their man. Turkish women appreciate Turkish men, and Turkish men appreciate Turkish women.

That is their choice.

[ Parent ]

Idiot! (none / 2) (#38)
by joto on Thu Jan 29, 2004 at 04:59:42 AM EST

First of all, it's THEIR country and they must have a good reason for implementing such laws.

What kind of laws? Why was he jailed? Not every law that would lead to this would be ok. And certainly, the act of publishing Mein Kampf by itself should not be illegal anywhere, at least if you want to call yourself a free/democratic country.

I'm not a European myself... but articles such as these, which subscribe to the notion of so-and-so freedoms that seem oh so applicable to your country should be applicable to everyone else just pisses me off.

I'm a european myself. And there's nothing that annoys me more than americans without a clue. Even the ones like you, who seem to oppose the mainstream, seem completely clueless about ideas such as human rights, which includes freedom of expression.

If I want to subscribe to your country's notions... I'd emigrate there... so till then, mind your own bloody business.

See above. And by the way, what makes you think every country will let you emigrate there? Or that your country will let you leave?

If you do not subscribe to the idea of human rights, at least make it clear which of them you oppose.

[ Parent ]

Better an idiot than someone who's always right (none / 1) (#80)
by Azmeen on Thu Jan 29, 2004 at 11:57:44 PM EST

Your (specifically, the UN's... but it seems you are in agreement with it, so what the heck) notion of human rights... is just that... a notion. And one of the attributes of a notion are that it is subjective.

And by conveniently labelling me an "idiot"... it just proves the fallacy of your notions, not to mention your ignorance.

If you look at the UN Covenant that you oh so conveniently link for world & dog, especially the freedom of expression bit. If you would have bothered to actually read Article 20 which is just below it, you would see that:
  1. Any propaganda for war shall be prohibited by law.
  2. Any advocacy of national, racial or religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence shall be prohibited by law.

Sounds a lot like Mein Kempf now, doesn't it?


HTNet | Blings.info
[ Parent ]
True... (none / 0) (#107)
by joto on Fri Jan 30, 2004 at 01:15:16 PM EST

I should not have called you that, I was in a bad mood.

As for your counter-arguments: About freedom of expression first. I would say that (somewhat limited) freedom of expression is a fairly well-established "right", that most people seem to agree upon. Without freedom of expression, things like democracy would not work.

As for what exceptions to allow for freedom of expression, those that you mention are also fairly common, and that was exactly why I said "the act of publishing Mein Kampf by itself should not be illegal anywhere". Because publishing "Mein Kampf" is not necessarily done to promote war, or national, racial, or religious hatred. In fact, most people who publish Mein Kampf do it for just the opposite reasons.

If, on the other hand, it was published to promote Hitler's ideas, then it might be that in this particular case, it was right to sentence the publisher. Even then, it would be kind of strange, as the book has already been published in Czeck before, and the publisher of the earlier editions was not given any punishment. The story linked to gave no clues about the reasons. But I could imagine that a foreword that mentions the continued importance of killing the jews, and that we should learn from Hitler how to act on the racial problem, might be reason enough for banning it.

[ Parent ]

Never worked for me (none / 2) (#55)
by CENGEL3 on Thu Jan 29, 2004 at 10:16:27 AM EST

That arguement never worked for me. Everytime a Non-American posted some criticism of our gun laws or some other issue which was completely internal to the U.S. I never got much traction from telling them it was none of thier business.
Ultimately they are the ones that have to live under thier own laws, so they are the ones that should get to determine what those laws are. However, there is nothing wrong with an outsider expressing an OPINION on the matter.

Secondly, don't had me that SENSITIVTY crap. I lost family on both sides to the Nazi's.... and it is banning ideas (i.e. the crap Czech and other European governments are pulling now) that was largely responsible for allowing that to happen.

[ Parent ]

Ironic (2.36 / 11) (#27)
by duncan bayne on Wed Jan 28, 2004 at 10:46:06 PM EST

Doesn't it strike anyone as ironic that the Czech Government has banned a book written by Adolf Hitler, the same Adolf Hitler responsible for public book burnings?

You'd think some people would, well, think.

Cretins.

Ridiculous (2.40 / 10) (#31)
by strlen on Thu Jan 29, 2004 at 01:06:58 AM EST

Even if you do subscribe to the idea that those who promote racist junk should be censored (thus allowing them to develop eleborate conspiracy theories and have the "forbidden fruit" appeal), there's very good reasons not to ban Mein Kampf -- if we fail to pay attention to history, we are doomed to repeat it. If we fail to pay attention to thought process of genocidal demagogues like Hitler (or Stalin, or Pol Pot, or Mao for that matter), we're doomed to once again fall in their trap.

--
[T]he strongest man in the world is he who stands most alone. - Henrik Ibsen.
Typically American (2.38 / 18) (#37)
by EphraimT on Thu Jan 29, 2004 at 04:14:28 AM EST

Not our culture, not our social issues, and, most importantly, not our history, but if it isn't done like we do it in America it just ain't right. What we have here is a report of a person being charged with publishing a book, with nothing said about his motivations or background. Is it possible the guy is a nazi attempting to create a new party? What do we know? Basically nothing, and yet the Czechs are wrong. Why ... they're demons, they're book burners, they're ... they're ... well, they're just plain UnAmerican!

As for failing to learn the lessons of history, the Czechs had a history before Plymouth Rock was a Puritan wet dream. You want to study Hitler in Czechoslovakia? Go ahead, they've got lots and lots of editions of "Mein Kampf" and similar trash for you to choose from in their libraries.

A brief digest of parts of two short searches through the National Library of Czechoslovakia at Prague: (http://www.nkp.cz/baze_dat/English/altnk.htm)

Hitler=Worte ; Aussprüche aus " Mein Kampf " und aus den Reden des Führers / Adolf Hitler ; Ausgewählt von Benedikt Welser. Bd. 10 (http://sigma.nkp.cz:4505/F/4JL7FTS1SJ8PIKTHLU255XU6KNYCT9F76GE8D3QFIP9X3Y7V31-2 1274?func=full-set-set&set_number=066541&set_entry=000090&format=999 )

260 ; Mein Kampf gegen die Endlösung Herrmann, Heinz J., 1921-1993 Konstanz 2002
261 ; Mein Kampf gegen die Firma "Apollo" Mineralölraffinerie in Bratislava A.G. um das Recht und die Wahrheit. II. [Teil Odstrčil, Ludvík Klobouky bei Brünn 1938
262 ; Mein Kampf Hitler, Adolf, 1889-1945 München 1939
263 ; Mein Kampf Hitler, Adolf, 1889-1945 München 1939
264 ; Mein Kampf Hitler, Adolf, 1889-1945 München 1939
265 ; Mein Kampf Hitler, Adolf, 1889-1945 München 1938
266 ; Mein Kampf Hitler, Adolf, 1889-1945 1940
267 ; Mein Kampf Hitler, Adolf, 1889-1945 München 1944
268 ; Mein Kampf. Zwei Bände in einem Band Hitler, Adolf, 1889-1945 München 1941
269 ; Mein Kampf Hitler, Adolf, 1889-1945 München 1939
http://sigma.nkp.cz:4505/F/4JL7FTS1SJ8PIKTHLU255XU6KNYCT9F76GE8D3QFIP9X3Y7V31-04 102?func=short-action&submit_action=&jump=&action_short_next.x=54&am p;action_short_next.y=11

It is no less an offense to scream "Arbeit mach frei!" in some countries than it is to scream "fire!" in a theatre here, and for a lot of reasons, good and bad, that's just the way it is.

Not the same (2.71 / 7) (#41)
by pla on Thu Jan 29, 2004 at 05:57:59 AM EST

It is no less an offense to scream "Arbeit mach frei!" in some countries than it is to scream "fire!" in a theatre here, and for a lot of reasons, good and bad, that's just the way it is.

Shouting "fire" can and has caused a stampede of people trying to flee the theatre. Proclaiming that "work will make you free" only offends people prone to feeling offended. BIIIIIIIG difference.


Not our culture, not our social issues, and, most importantly, not our history, but if it isn't done like we do it in America it just ain't right.

Though a US citizen, I consider myself quite a long way from your typical nationalistic American stereotype. However, I do say, in this case, "It just ain't right". Freedom of ideas goes beyond culture and political boundaries. Throughout history, our "leaders" have always tried to suppress certain forms of knowledge, and a century later, we almost invariable look back and consider them idiots for it. Well, the forms of knowledge we suppress today will seem no less absurd a century from now. "don't let them learn how to read", "tell them he has the same birthday as Mithras", and "communists have infiltrated our homes" sound no more sensible than "pretend Hitler never existed" will, someday.

Perhaps Czechs do have societal with Naziism - I honestly don't know. But if they do, they need to confront it, to deal with it, rather than trying to pretend it never existed.


[ Parent ]
while it is not the best comparison (2.25 / 8) (#47)
by werner on Thu Jan 29, 2004 at 09:09:36 AM EST

shouting "Arbeit macht frei" in Germany will do more than offend a few people. With a bit of luck, you'll get the shit kicked out of you.

As for pretending Hitler never existed, I believe it was the Americans who decided to purge the reality of the NSDAP's ethnic cleansing from school curricula. Certainly, in Europe there is much awareness of exactly what happened and many former Nazi concentration and destruction camps (Konzentrations- and Vernichtungslager) have been turned into monuments.

Germans are acutely aware of what happened (few will say that they are proud to be German, for fear of sounding like a Nazi). As are the Dutch, the Danish, the French etc. It is for exactly these reasons that Nazi memorabilia, symbols and so forth are variously banned in many European countries. They are denying neo-Nazis their tools, not denying their existence. Why do you think they don't make condoms in sizes for the under-10s?

[ Parent ]

Typical hater (2.50 / 8) (#58)
by wurp on Thu Jan 29, 2004 at 10:51:52 AM EST

Blah blah blah American blah bad blah blah.

You are doing what you accuse the article's author of doing.  I hate group hate, whether directed at Americans, the French, or anyone else.  There are a lot of policies I hate, most of them American since, as an American, I am most familiar with them, but I don't hate Americans.  I personally don't agree with censorship policies, but I'm glad some people have them, because I'm not sure enough that they're wrong to believe it isn't worth investigating, and I'm glad to have an example.

You prove yourself to be in the same group as the narrow-minded Americans who hate Europeans.
---
Buy my stuff
[ Parent ]

My country right or wrong? (2.14 / 7) (#62)
by EphraimT on Thu Jan 29, 2004 at 01:02:09 PM EST

Is that your point? I think I got it. Pity you didn't get mine. It isn't about hating America, or anything else. It is about the cultural arrogance that assumes that all of history, past and future, flows from the American point of view.

[ Parent ]
No, YOU'RE the one that doesn't get it (none / 0) (#119)
by Eater on Fri Jan 30, 2004 at 07:09:50 PM EST

Last time I checked, the United States didn't have a monopoly on free speech. Just because free speech is a big issue in the United States doesn't mean that the moment anyone tries to apply the same ideals to another country it becomes "cultural arrogance". I've lived in quite a few different culture (though, I confess, not the Czech Republic) and I can say that there are some moral ideas that are universal - it's wrong to kill a man, it's wrong to unjustly rob someone of their freedom, and it's wrong to burn books, no matter who you are or where we live. If we fall into the trap of absolute moral relativism we might as well allow Osama to blow up buildings because it's "his culture", allow Israel to kill Palestinians because it's "their culture", and allow cannibals in the middle of hell-knows-where to kidnap and eat people because it's "their culture". I don't care if it's anyone's culture or not, we don't live in the Dark Ages anymore, so you damn well better get used to it.

Eater.

[ Parent ]
The assumption ... (none / 0) (#135)
by EphraimT on Sun Feb 01, 2004 at 02:31:50 PM EST

... that my comments speak to moral relativism because they criticise the point of view that American political and cultural values apply to every situation, whether or not there is evidence to support the assertions made, is itself typically American.

You don't like someone else's point of view? Then just take inflate the arguement with emotion and calls to higher philosophic principles. Who needs facts, right? Just make a bunch of pronouncements based on your cultural standards and if someone tosses an odd, uncomfortable, set of facts in your way, shout them down. It worked for Dubya with Iraq. It'll work here, too.

[ Parent ]
Oh How Ironic (none / 0) (#136)
by Eater on Sun Feb 01, 2004 at 08:04:06 PM EST

Without even knowing what MY culture is, you jump to the conclusion that I'm American. In light of your comment, I think you're saying more about your very own private culture than anyone else.

Eater.

[ Parent ]
Wrong question. (2.37 / 8) (#39)
by megid on Thu Jan 29, 2004 at 05:04:18 AM EST

1) Does publishing "Mein Kampf" promote Nazism in Czechia?
2) Can restricting access to reading material that is proven to mindwarp a significant minority of a society make sense?

Honestly, with no knowledge how sensitive Nazism is to the Czech it might be like publishing child pornography in USia (when seen from the POV of a country that has no problems whatsoever with THAT).

It all depends on your sensitivity of any given issue.

--
"think first, write second, speak third."

but it _DOES_ promote nazism, by your definition (2.46 / 13) (#42)
by rusko on Thu Jan 29, 2004 at 06:41:27 AM EST

you posit that whether it promotes nazism depends on the context. i agree.

neo-nazism is a sore topic in the czech republic, with significant ethnic tensions stemming from the large gypsy population and a number of neo-nazi teenagers toying with racial violence. in this context, publishing mein kampf as a wide circulation book _was_ a way to promote neo-nazism. had it been published in smaller numbers for historical study purposes, the context may have been different.

this law has helped the czech republic disband violent demonstrations of neo-nazis and prevent political parties openly advocating racial violence from forming. where the law failed, me and my friends took over and kicked the nazis' ass (most of the time).

in the US, yelling 'fire' in a movie theatre is _not_ protected free speech. in most of europe, yelling 'kill the {gypsies,jews,germans,guest workers}' is not protected free speech. i do not see much of a difference, considering the results of both.

paul

Your lack of capitals promotes nazism.. (1.50 / 8) (#44)
by boxed on Thu Jan 29, 2004 at 08:17:43 AM EST

...or at least hate in me >_

[ Parent ]
[Slightly OT] On yelling fire (none / 3) (#81)
by strlen on Fri Jan 30, 2004 at 01:30:02 AM EST

Please stop using this quotation. First of all, you have to remember the time when it used by the supreme court: during that time theater fires were a very common occurance, and yelling "fire" would have generated extreme panic and a stampede. These days if you yell fire, someone will just turn on the sprinklers and pull the fire alarm, having everyone exit in the orderly fashion, and that person will likely be faced with a fine :-)

And finally, the case where it was decided in such a way, by all means is far from the "shouting fire in a theater situation". It was used against anti-war protestors in World War I, who were publishing pamphlets against the draft: something which was tolerated during the Vietnam war, and is mostly cleary constitutionally allowed now.

How you interpret this in light of the current situation is up to you, but I think I should straight things out with that specific quotation, as it's used without any reference to the context in which it was made.

--
[T]he strongest man in the world is he who stands most alone. - Henrik Ibsen.
[ Parent ]

Name. (2.16 / 6) (#43)
by kesuari on Thu Jan 29, 2004 at 07:25:12 AM EST

Call the place Czechia. 'The Czech Republic' is a silly name for a place, and quite different from (what I understand to be) the original Česko, and some Czechs are known to prefer it anyway.

The official name is (none / 0) (#144)
by Viliam Bur on Fri Feb 06, 2004 at 07:32:02 AM EST

"Česká republika", which means: (The) Czech Republic.

[ Parent ]
The reason behind... (2.44 / 9) (#45)
by Maljin Jolt on Thu Jan 29, 2004 at 09:02:18 AM EST

..is the book contains among others well thought criticism of the Social Democracy political movement in the beginning of the 20 century, some of which which is perfectly valid even now. And the SD party(ies) is(are) ruling not even here in Czech but almost all over the Europe.
On the other side, anti-jew fanaticism in it is rather silly. And it was terrible it was actually implemented.
I suggest to read the book itself, before to make a thought about it.
And yes, I have piece of this edition, for which the man was convicted, in my library. I bought it not in book store, but on the street, because I KNEW it WILL come to libri prohibiti soon. There is a persistent tradition of burning books for ideological purposes in my country for more than 400 years.


Hello (1.45 / 11) (#50)
by wji on Thu Jan 29, 2004 at 09:30:04 AM EST

Is it a new convention in English to attribute every superficially insightful quotation to Winston Churchill?

In conclusion, the Powerpuff Girls are a reactionary, pseudo-feminist enterprise.
Here's the link where I found it. (none / 1) (#53)
by HiFi78 on Thu Jan 29, 2004 at 09:43:51 AM EST

http://www.quotecha.com/quotes/quotation_16548.html

[ Parent ]
Oh (none / 1) (#60)
by wji on Thu Jan 29, 2004 at 11:11:30 AM EST

Well, an anonymous website that probably uses a web-crawler to scoop up anattributed quotes is good enough for me!

In conclusion, the Powerpuff Girls are a reactionary, pseudo-feminist enterprise.
[ Parent ]
No. (none / 1) (#54)
by bigchris on Thu Jan 29, 2004 at 10:06:12 AM EST



---
I Hate Jesus: -1: Bible thumper
kpaul: YAAT. YHL. HAND. btw, YAHWEH wins ;) [mt]
[ Parent ]
It's his, but... (none / 2) (#56)
by Weembles on Thu Jan 29, 2004 at 10:19:37 AM EST

It's very close to the George Santayana quote: "Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it."

Easy to get confused.

[ Parent ]

Better a ban on Nazi "propaganda"... (2.07 / 13) (#59)
by fritz the cat on Thu Jan 29, 2004 at 10:58:40 AM EST

...than the Patriot Act.

In the US people used to be arrested for having anarchist or communist writings, or Black Panther paraphenalia, etc. I bet one can get arrested (without being actually charged!) if they decide to publish Bin Laden's writings. What's so different?

The ban on Nazi writings is very simple - the Nazis lost the war and they were jalied or banished to the US/USSR (the scientists, at least), Argentina, Brazil, etc. Nazi writings are banned because it gives governments the powers to prosecute Nazi revivalists, as well as ensuring no idiot reads them and starts thinking the Nazis weren't that bad after all.

As for forgetting the past, that is not likely to happen - not with Jews organinzing 'Holocaust Remembrance Day" (I believe it was yesterday) as if they were the only victims of Nazism, not with British TV broadcasting shows about the Nazis at least twice a week (so they can believe the "won the war"), not with newspapers all over Europe comdemning football hooligans giving the Nazi salute, etc.

I find the US's nth amendment (the one about freedom of speech) very naive - it allows neo-Nazis, Klu-Klux-Klan and the like to exist but it doesn't stop the government from creating and enforcing the Patriot Act.

DOING NOTHING FUCKING SOMETHING

Governments don't trust their populace (none / 2) (#84)
by cpghost on Fri Jan 30, 2004 at 03:52:50 AM EST

Banning books has been fairly common in the history of mankind. Sometimes, books have been banned, because they conflicted with the ideas of the time. Texts have been banned, because they were in direct conflict to the ruling people. This is not new.

"Mein Kampf" is similar, but for slightly different reasons. Whatever we may think of it, some governments deem this text to be highly subversive, and in a genuine effort to protect their population, exercise censorship.

It is interesting to see in which countries Mein Kampf is banned. In many cases, the population from these countries was in its overwhelming majority highly supportive of Nazi ideology in the past, and it may be the feeling there, that exposing Joe Sixpack (or should I say Herr Meier or Frau Muller?) to Hilter's book is actuelly dangerous. There is a deep rooted fear from the "Deamons of the Past," over there, and it is general consensus to ban Nazi texts (or symbols) as far as possible.


cpghost at Cordula's Web
[ Parent ]
US is wrong too. (none / 3) (#92)
by HiFi78 on Fri Jan 30, 2004 at 08:43:00 AM EST

You are correct that here in the U.S. we do have a unfortunate history of attempting to censor our citizens' thoughts and writings. Thankfully, we have a relatively efficent court process that ferrets out these problems and restores the balance of liberty.

Freedom is not a passive right. Freedom is something we must be vigilant in protecting and inflexible in supporting. Many people in this country believe that the Patriot Act has gone several steps to far, and through the appropriate channels we are protesting this law. I am confident that as it moves through the legal process and through the court of public opinion (which is protected by our 1st ammendment) the law will be fixed.

[ Parent ]

since when (2.75 / 8) (#85)
by alizard on Fri Jan 30, 2004 at 04:00:05 AM EST

is censorship ever for the benefit of the people whom the government says "this you may not read", "this you may not hear"... which translates to "this is something you aren't allowed to think about"?

I'm leaving out children here and referring only to adults.

Many of the EU residents defending censorship in Czechoslovakia are also the ones who scream loudest when media censorship in America comes up here.

The difference is that it's different when government does it. I can find websites and publications from the US presenting what the media leaves out, Project Censored is a good example.

When the government puts people in jail for this or firewalls the Internet to ban access to "BAD sites" (e.g. the Great Firewall of China"), where are the alternatives?

An adult shouldn't need protection from bad ideas. An adult should be able to find out what's wrong for them for herself. Government should have no place in protecting people from bad thoughts. With unlimited powers of censorship, what's to prevent the government from rewriting history? Without the possibility of accurate knowledge of history, and Mein Kamph is a historic document, how can one make sure it never happens again if the censors have edited out what really happens?

We call it a "free marketplace of ideas". Too bad we didn't export that instead of McDonald's and bad intellectual property law.

Would any of the Europeans supporting CZ censorship like to admit that you support banning Mein Kamph because you fear that a reading of the book would turn you immediately into a Nazi? In other words, you support censorship because you trust the government to protect you and your neighbors from yourself? Or that you believe European citizne inherently weaker-minded than Americans?
"The horse is dead. Fuck it or walk away, but stop beating it." Juan Rico

Most certainly not. (2.80 / 5) (#98)
by fritz the cat on Fri Jan 30, 2004 at 10:43:16 AM EST

Would any of the Europeans supporting CZ censorship like to admit that you support banning Mein Kampf because you fear that a reading of the book would turn you immediately into a Nazi?
From my experience, most Europeans think Nazis are evil, and they should be prosecuted in any way possible - this includes banning their books. People are not afraid of turning into Nazis - they just want Nazis out of the picture. The kind of openly Nazi communities you see in the US are not acceptable in Europe, and thank dog there is no 1st amendment to defend their right to be Nazi  [when I mention "openly Nazi communities" I am thinking of the Louis Theroux documentary shown on British TV a few weeks ago]

As for the ""free marketplace of ideas" - one of the questions in the form for a US VISA I filled in in the late 80s was along the lines of "Are you, or have you ever been, a supporter or member of the Communist Party?" I take it from granted that had I  answered the "yes" I would not have got a VISA to visit your wonderful country.

I guess that's just another cultural difference between Europeans and Americans.

DOING NOTHING FUCKING SOMETHING
[ Parent ]

Try this (none / 3) (#116)
by CENGEL3 on Fri Jan 30, 2004 at 05:21:22 PM EST

Substitute the word "Jew" for the word "Nazi" in your statement. I think Europeans are in danger of becoming exactly what they think they are fighting against.

In America we believe that no group of people should be persecuted like that. Even ones as objectionable as Nazis. If you can do it to one group you can do it to any group. The hallmark of a civilized nation is how well it treats even the most objectionable of it's citizens.

By the way, the era of McCarthism is long dead (even though McCarthy did have some valid concerns). You should have answered "yes" on your Visa question.... you would have discovered you faced no more restrictions then anyone else.... except perhaps around U.S. nuclear facilities.
Heck we have plenty of communists here in the U.S. (http://www.politics1.com/issues-rad.htm).... they even run for President (http://www.politics1.com/swp04.htm) in most elections.

[ Parent ]

Yes, but... (none / 2) (#124)
by fritz the cat on Fri Jan 30, 2004 at 10:37:15 PM EST

In America we believe that no group of people should be persecuted like that. Even ones as objectionable as Nazis.
That's because the Nazis in the States haven't taken over the country and led the world on a trail of war and
 destruction (errm...)
If they had, perhaps you'd have a different opinion on the whole freedom of speech issue.

As I said, it seems a caseof cultural differences to me.

DOING NOTHING FUCKING SOMETHING
[ Parent ]

Replace with Jew again (none / 1) (#131)
by GhostfacedFiddlah on Sat Jan 31, 2004 at 03:03:33 PM EST

I'm beginning to think the grandparent poster had a good point.

[ Parent ]
Proves nothing. (none / 1) (#134)
by fritz the cat on Sat Jan 31, 2004 at 06:35:57 PM EST

The word "jew" is so loaded it can make many a sentence sound racist.

DOING NOTHING FUCKING SOMETHING
[ Parent ]

Loaded (none / 0) (#143)
by Viliam Bur on Fri Feb 06, 2004 at 07:13:30 AM EST

It can be used to show that you are anti-Semite if you hate Nazis. Because tomorrow you could as well start hating Jews. -- Is there any logical error here?

In my opinion this is just a difference between theory and everyday life. The less experience with Nazis one has, the easier it is to say that Nazis should have the same rights as Qwertys, Asdfghs, Zxcvbns, and other groups of people. If "Nazi" is just a four-letter string, one can freely insert it into other strings, and produce a lot of string-theories (containing strings like "freedom of speech", etc). But when meaning is added to strings, it gets more complicated.

[ Parent ]

We must consider the historical background (2.40 / 5) (#86)
by YesNoCancel on Fri Jan 30, 2004 at 04:04:50 AM EST

You (writer of the article) are probably an American from the US. The United States never experienced fascism or nazism (the worst form of fascism), which is the reason why many things associated with these ideologies are not viewed in the same way there as they are in Europe. The book Mein Kampf was the "bible" of nazism, it was the core propaganda weapon of this ideology. It way heavily endorsed by the Nazi state that everyone should own a copy, it was even obligatorily handed out to the couple at weddings.

After the bad experiences with fascism (and nazism in particular) made by many Europeans they just wanted to make sure something like this could never happen again - and this included banning the book Mein Kampf (just for the record - it was originally banned by the Allies after the war, most European countries just kept the legislation intact). This has nothing to do with free speech (which is more free in Europe than in the United States, if you ask me), it is an emotional, historical issue. Americans generally don't have the "cultural background" to understand why this book (and other things associated with nazism) are banned in Europe.

So basically it is a "cultural" issue. It is similar to the gun cult, the death penalty and the strange laws regarding sexual freedom in the United States and the European view of these specifically American things - they are rooted in American history and culture, and Europeans generally have a hard time understanding them.

wasn't (none / 1) (#88)
by the sixth replicant on Fri Jan 30, 2004 at 05:17:10 AM EST

mao's little red book banned in the States. Slaughter House five in some districts. Stones..Glass...throw

ciao

[ Parent ]

I don't know if ... (none / 2) (#95)
by sonovel on Fri Jan 30, 2004 at 10:35:12 AM EST

Mao's book was banned by the government. Can you provide a source for that?

Can you also provide background that S5 was censored by the government?

But since these aren't censored today, what do they have to do with this modern case?

[ Parent ]

It wasn't in 1976 (none / 0) (#108)
by JamesThiele on Fri Jan 30, 2004 at 01:38:59 PM EST

I bought a very small copy of Chairman Mao's little red book in the US in 1976, so it wasn't banned. Kind of boring. I thought Mao's "Five Essays on Philosophy" was more interesting.

[ Parent ]
Re: wasn't (none / 1) (#138)
by clarkcox3 on Mon Feb 02, 2004 at 03:24:14 PM EST

Would you care to provide some references to back up your assertions?

[ Parent ]
I am an American (none / 3) (#91)
by HiFi78 on Fri Jan 30, 2004 at 08:35:42 AM EST

You're right, I am an American; however, I don't see how being an American prevents me from understanding (and dreading) fanatacism and hate.

Hate is not a cultural issue. It's a human issue. As a citizen of humanity, I am proud to try to stand up to hate and bigotry in all forms, and I think that the best way to do so is to educate people. I understand the logic behind the banning of this book as a tool to prevent another tragedy, but I think this logic is inherently flawed. People need to know about the bad things in the world so they can see them in themselves and in other around them. Seeing the problem is the first step in combatting it, and the problem of hate cannot be seen without historical context.

Additionally, you reference some US laws and make the point that "Europeans generally have a hard time understanding them." I agree and would also add that many Americans also have difficulty with many of our laws. The beauty of freedom of speech is that it allows us to educate ourselves as to the historical context of these laws and then speak out against them. If we allow books to be banned, how will we ever be able to stand up against a government (U.S. or otherwise) that attempts to force us to accept unjust laws?

[ Parent ]

I don't get it. (2.50 / 4) (#97)
by sonovel on Fri Jan 30, 2004 at 10:40:21 AM EST

Here's a case illustrating that certain speech is illegal in Europe. And not just in one nation either. Similar hate speech laws are in place in more than one nation in Europe.

In fact, France banned certain advertisements from appearing in France even though these advertisements were on web sites outside of France!

The US does not have such laws. Yet you think that speech is freer in Europe. I guess I don't get it.

Europe and the US both have very high levels of "free speech".

But European nations tend to have more laws against particular types of speech, as well as libel laws that don't protect speech as much as in the US. For example, the truth is never libel (or slander) in the US. The same can't be said of some European nations. And some European nations criminalize certain forms of speech if it is anti-semetic or racist. And these laws are selectively used against certain unpopular groups.

So why do you think that the US is more restrictive than Europe?  

[ Parent ]

It's Likely (none / 2) (#100)
by limpdawg on Fri Jan 30, 2004 at 11:25:16 AM EST

That he thinks that the US is more restrictive because we don't allow porn on broadcast television. But that's about the only place where the US is more restrictive than Europe on freedom of speech.

[ Parent ]
You must be living in a different world (none / 1) (#113)
by tashw on Fri Jan 30, 2004 at 04:37:47 PM EST

Considering free speech USA resembles Soviet Union in the sixties. Too sad you don't understand it generally until about year 2030. :(

[ Parent ]
Explanation (none / 3) (#111)
by YesNoCancel on Fri Jan 30, 2004 at 04:03:14 PM EST

I did not say US laws on free speech are more restrictive; in fact, they are probably less restrictive. But that's what I consider to be the problem.

Freedom ends when you cause harm (intentionally or not) to other people. This is, in my opinion, the ideal of personal freedom; do anything as long as you don't harm someone else.

But, and this is the point, this applies to freedom of speech as well. You can harm someone not just through actions, but also through words. More often than not words *will* become action. If you announce that you are going to rob a bank tomorrow, you will be arrested (even in the US), and you can't claim that this is "free speech" (you can, but others will laugh at you).

This is the reason why we have libel laws. What counts as libel and what doesn't is regulated by law, and the law is, at least indirectly, the will of the people (in a democracy). So the average perception of what is libel and what isn't is what the law sees as libel.

The same goes for incitation against groups of people within a society (which seems to be called hate speech in English-speaking countries - the German term Volksverhetzung fits much better, but can't be translated properly). In the "Weimar Republic" in Germany in the years before Hitler free speech was guaranteed in the same way as it is in the US today; the Nazis actively took advantage of this to spread their ideology while saying that they were just exercising their constitutional rights (which were granted to them by the state they eventually destroyed).

After World War II, the concept of the the "Defensive Democracy" (wehrhafte Demokratie) has developed in Europe. These democracies guarantee free speech, but only as long as nobody is threatened - especially not the democracy itself. If someone incites against a group of people (ethnic minority or whatever), against individuals or against the state itself in a threatening manner, then he will be arrested, put on trial and probably be convicted and jailed. Words *will* become deeds, given the right circumstances.

By the way, thinking that fascism (or radicalisation of large parts of the people) could never happen in the United States is very naive. A heavy economical crisis during the McCarthy era, for example, would have done the job.

Freedom has its limits. Too much freedom will lead to very little freedom very quickly.

[ Parent ]

Damn, (none / 2) (#117)
by TheOnlyCoolTim on Fri Jan 30, 2004 at 06:01:55 PM EST

but that's fucked up.

That's just about all I have to say. Seriously...

Tim
"We are trapped in the belly of this horrible machine, and the machine is bleeding to death."
[ Parent ]

Which proves my point... (none / 0) (#125)
by YesNoCancel on Sat Jan 31, 2004 at 04:35:02 AM EST

...that Americans generally just don't have the proper background to understand the European concept of free speech and defensive democracy.

[ Parent ]
Basically (none / 1) (#128)
by TheOnlyCoolTim on Sat Jan 31, 2004 at 11:27:14 AM EST

Yes. It seems abhorrent to me. Another example is the UN Declaration of Human Rights, where it gives everyone extremely broad "rights" (too broad in my opinion), and then basically says "but you don't have any of these rights if you want to use them in a way contrary to the goals of the UN."

Tim
"We are trapped in the belly of this horrible machine, and the machine is bleeding to death."
[ Parent ]

Nothing lost in translation (none / 1) (#141)
by Xenophon Fenderson, the Carbon(d)ated on Tue Feb 03, 2004 at 11:57:58 AM EST

Volksverhetzung means "incitement of the masses". Inciting people to commit crime is illegal in most nations. I personally think such a law is reasonable, as long as it isn't so broadly interpreted in such a way (over time) as to become a law against having "bad" thoughts.



--
Rev. Dr. Xenophon Fenderson, the Carbon(d)ated, KSC, mhm21x16, and the Patron Saint of All Things Plastic fnord
I'm proud of my Northern Tibetian heritage!
[ Parent ]
We don't have the cultural background? (none / 1) (#129)
by pyramid termite on Sat Jan 31, 2004 at 11:51:31 AM EST

Let's see, several million of our people are Jews. Many millions of our people are from Europe. Quite a percentage of one generation of Americans shipped overseas, fought, bled, and died to defeat Adolf Hitler and when all is said and done, WE were the ones who eliminated Nazism as a power in Europe.

We not only have the cultural background to understand it and allow the few misguided people who believe in it to speak, we have the cultural fortitude to DEFEAT it, if we must. That's more than most countries in Europe can say. If you don't believe me, look how far our native fascist movements of the 30s got in our country - practically nowhere.

Like it or not, your statement about cultural background is an confession of Europe's cultural weakness.

On the Internet, anyone can accuse you of being a dog.
[ Parent ]
this just goes to show (none / 1) (#148)
by techwolf on Wed Feb 11, 2004 at 05:42:38 PM EST

that you don't know any WW2 history. We (The U.S.) could not have won the war on our own any more than the Brits could have. At every point in the war, up to and including the Battle of the bulge we (the allies) were out numbered by the germans. in the end it was our bombing thier industries that forced the german military to fall apart and surrender. We needed tyhe brits and other allies as much as they needed us. It was TOGETHER that we defeated the Nazis.


"The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government." - Thomas Jefferson
[ Parent ]

Too close to Germany? (1.75 / 4) (#87)
by cpghost on Fri Jan 30, 2004 at 04:19:31 AM EST

The Czeck republic is direct neighbor of Germany, where Mein Kampf is also banned. Perhaps the Czecks don't want to export Nazi ideology back to their former(?) enemies? Who knows how average germans may react when reading this? They banned Mein Kampf for some reasons, ya know...


cpghost at Cordula's Web
Why should it be a problem to Germans? (none / 3) (#89)
by danielgruen on Fri Jan 30, 2004 at 08:11:01 AM EST

I mean, please, I'm "average German" and I won't be seduced to any ideology by reading a book... rather it have been parts of the contents of "Mein Kampf", retold by my History teacher, that have made me see more clearly what must have been going on in the mind of this lunatic, for example the demand of "space to live in the east" - many years before Poland was actually invaded.

These facts enable me to stand up against people (wherever they may come from) who claim that Hitler was forced to make war et cetera.

Starting maybe with the Roman historican Sallustus, showing the thoughts and plans of a dictator (in this case it was Catilina) has been a means to make the lies these people might have told seen more clearly. If the dictator does this himself - what better proof of his wrongness can there be?

So please stop seeing Germans as some unreasonable people that can easily be made into fanatics and start comprehending history as something we are supposed to learn from, especially those of us that have been unlucky enough to be born in a country that has undoubtedly gone through very bad times in every sense (politically, morally, humanly ...).

Daniel Gruen

[ Parent ]

Re: Why should it be a problem to Germans? (none / 0) (#126)
by cpghost on Sat Jan 31, 2004 at 07:06:05 AM EST

The truth is, that in Germany, Hilter's writings, speeches etc. cannot be published, without accompanying historical/scientific text, that puts things in the right perspective. I'm not seeing Germans as unreasonable people that can be easily made into fanatics. Their legislators see this differently though, according to german nazi-related laws. To outsiders, it looks like an attempt to tame the "beast within." Or, to put it bluntly, they don't trust themselves to cope with such material in a rational way. At least, not yet.

Actually, I'm oversimplifying here. Ideological censorship is not a german- (or czeck)-specific issue. Every nation has its own taboos. What's interesting is not so much what is taboo (this is a moving target), but how a society reacts when individuals (or minorities?) dare to break those taboos. Will they be harsh, or will they be tolerant? The harsher the punishment, the more insecure a society is w.r.t. this taboo.

BTW, to go back on topic, Czeck != German, so if the guy wants to publish things in Czeck, it would still have had no effect on Germany. I should've known better before posting my initial comment.


cpghost at Cordula's Web
[ Parent ]
Copyright (none / 0) (#146)
by jotango on Sun Feb 08, 2004 at 03:47:45 PM EST

I heard the reason why there is no complete unabridged version of Mein Kampf in Germany is that the Bavarian State owns the copyright to the book. They do not allow it to be published. Can anyone confirm this?

Extracts of Mein Kampf are at place 711 on the Amazon bestseller list, BTW.

[ Parent ]

Confirmed (none / 0) (#147)
by Jo Deisenhofer on Tue Feb 10, 2004 at 10:18:31 AM EST

http://www.damaschke.de/marginalia/1998/anfrage.shtml has more details about it. (in German). The book is not officially banned, but the bavarian state owns the copyright, and does not allow it to be published. If you try it, there are also other laws you could get in trouble with, besides copyright.

[ Parent ]
Public Domain? (none / 0) (#149)
by DoomHaven on Thu Mar 04, 2004 at 06:39:37 PM EST

What happens then when "Mein Kampf" enters public domain?

My bleeding edge comes from cutting myself on Occam's Razor.
[ Parent ]
Foolish censors! (2.83 / 6) (#94)
by Opium on Fri Jan 30, 2004 at 10:27:27 AM EST

I'm a Jew, and I would like to express my dissapointment with the Czech republic's court.
It is no different than the book burnings that occured in Nazi germany.
Increase positive education, do not try to hide views that counter-it. It lessens your ability to defend against them.

"Ars Gratia Artis"... When will Metallica T-Shirts have this quote?
Book burning has many advantages (none / 2) (#132)
by walwyn on Sat Jan 31, 2004 at 03:55:01 PM EST


  • Provides employment to printers.
  • Provides a focus for a community get together.
  • Keeps you warm of a winters evening.
  • Provides entertainment to the rest of the world.

Publishing bans do none of the above.

----
Professor Moriarty - Bugs, Sculpture, Tombs, and Stained Glass
[ Parent ]
US woman (none / 2) (#142)
by vivelame on Thu Feb 05, 2004 at 03:29:31 PM EST

convicted of showing breast.
Europe un-impressed.
News at 11.

--
Jonathan Simon: "When the autopsy of our democracy is performed, it is my belief that media silence will be given as the primary cause of death."
Man Convicted of Publishing Mein Kampf | 149 comments (136 topical, 13 editorial, 1 hidden)
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