David Irving, the British historian, was sentenced in Austria today to three years in jail for denying the holocaust in two speeches he gave in 1989. I have little sympathy for Irving but support the right to free speech. How can we in the West take a principled stand against radical Muslims who riot and kill to protest depictions of Muhammad when we jail those who attack our sacred beliefs?1. I support the right to free speech.
2. I have nothing interesting to say about people who riot, kill and get killed to protest some cartoons.
3. I take a principled stand against politicians, European or otherwise, who want to suppress the right to free speech.
4. I can't understand how being part of the West can undermine my position. I haven't put Irving in jail and I don't vote for politicians who want to put people like Irving in jail. I am responsible for my own acts only, not my neighbors'. I refuse to apologise for what my neighbors do and think.
5. If, for reasons yet unknown to me, being part of the West undermined my stand for free speech, what should I do? Turn against free speech? Move out of the West into a place with even less freedom of speech?