Responding to Holocaust Denial

Respectful Insolence is handling vacation by reprinting selected older posts, which included a post on Holocaust deniers. The author at Respectful Insolence describes in detail his exposure to Holocaust denial and reached this conclusion:

Over that time, I learned some of the techniques deniers used to downplay the Holocaust, deflect blame from its perpetrators, or portray “exaggeration” of the Holocaust as a Jewish plot. I also learned that, without exception (at least, without any exception I’ve yet seen), Holocaust denial derived from anti-Semitism and/or an admiration for the fascist regime of Adolf Hitler.

After continuing the lengthy discussion, he concludes:

So, today, as memorials to the murdered are held and speeches made, I urge everyone to take a moment and reflect upon the evil that humans are capable of. But, more importantly, reflect upon what each of us might do to prevent it from happening again, particularly since the march of time will soon lead to the disappearance of those who were there, still remember, and can remind us of what happened. One way that I choose to honor the memory of the dead is by doing what little I can to refute those who would, for their own racist or ideological reasons, deny the crimes of those who killed them. To that end, from time to time, I will post articles here refuting specific distortions and lies of Holocaust deniers and doing my small part to help out the Holocaust History Project. In the grand scheme of things, it is not that much. But it is what I can do.

As I’m spending the holiday weekend using resort WiFi to primarily catch the major stories with limited viewing of the blogoshpere, I missed this post until I saw it mentioned at The Lippard Blog during a brief look at the blogoshere when it started getting rather chilly around the pool this far north. I found that Jim Lippard has a view similar to mine in responding to crack pot ideas which are gaining prominence on the internet (including the blog I left to form Liberal Values). He defends responding to Holocaust denial, with the same logic applying to several other topics:

This posting led to a short debate with science writer Andrew Skolnick, who strongly disagreed with me–his opinion was that Holocaust deniers should get nothing but ridicule, and no one should bother trying to respond to them. I think this is the wrong approach to Holocaust denial, the wrong approach to creationism, the wrong approach to 9/11 conspiracy theories, and the wrong approach to Scientology, for reasons I give below. I do agree that it can be a bad idea to give advocates of crackpottery wider exposure or a respectable forum, but there are plenty of fora on the Internet and elsewhere where these bad ideas should be responded to with good and accurate information.

George Bush’s Legacy on Nuclear Weapons

George Bush has gone to war over non-existent WMD in Iraq, and in the meantime is partially responsible for the United States facing increased nuclear threats from Iran and North Korea. The New York Times looks at Bush’s nuclear legacy:

Unless something changes soon, by the end of President Bush’s second term North Korea will have produced enough plutonium for 10 or more nuclear weapons while Iran’s scientists will be close to mastering the skills needed to build their own.

That’s quite a legacy for a president sworn to keep the world’s most dangerous weapons out of the hands of the world’s most dangerous regimes.

The world has become a much more dangerous place due to the incompetence of the Bush Administration.

Rumors About Hillary Clinton

I have always avoided stories based upon rumor or limited information, regardless of the degree they have reverberated through the echo chamber of the blogosphere. I stayed away from echoing the claims that Rove would be indicted, and numerous stories about Ohio post 2004. There’s a story which appears unsubstantiated, based upon unspecified friends, which I cannot resist noting despite questioning its validity. After all, there is always the possibility that a newspaper has good reason to believe in the accuracy of a story even if they cannot provide the evidence. The Times of London reports that friends of Hillary Clinton “hint she may pull out of presidential race.” You can’t get much vague than unnamed friends hinting something, but if true this would have a major impact on Democratic politics for the next two years.

According to the Times, “Friends of Hillary Clinton have been whispering the unthinkable. Despite her status as the runaway frontrunner for the 2008 Democratic nomination for president, some of her closest advisers say she might opt out of the White House race and seek to lead her party in the Senate.” The story then goes from attributing its information to friends to party insiders:

Some Democratic party elders –the American equivalent of the Tories’ “men in grey suits” –say Clinton may back out of the race of her own volition.

“I would not be surprised if she were to decide that the best contribution she can make to her country is to forget about being president and become a consensus-maker in the Senate,” said a leading Democratic party insider. “She believes there is no trust between the two political sides and that we can’t function as a democracy without it.”