We in the Western world tell the Islamic world that you must allow free expression of all ideas, no matter how abhorrent. And what do we do? We lock up a guy for expressing an abhorrent idea . . . and one that too many of them are ready to accept, anyway.
the western world didn't lock him up....that's Austria...hey it's their law, not ours!
Well, actually, Austria is considered part of the Western world, along with Switzerland, Britain, Finland, New Zealand, Croatia, and a few dozen other countries, large and small. It's a big tent. And, admittedly, Irving hasn't been locked up yet, but the point is still valid.
Yes, Austria is part of the EU, but is a very conservative (small c) part of it. Not all EU countries have the same laws (though there are lots of influential people and organisations pushing it all in that direction).So Austria, in this case, has laws about "holocaust denial" that other EU countries don't have.Much of Europe now has integrated social legislation, eg data protection, employment. Different countries take different attitutes to these, showing that you can't totally repress national characteristics!Britain tends to be pretty law abiding so puts into practice all these EU regulations about, say, children's play parks having to be of certain safety standards. Often this means the park is closed down as the standards are very expensive to maintain and councils don't have the budgets. If you are Theodore Dalrymple, this gives you one excuse to fulminate about roots of teenage vandalism, etc.If you go to France or Spain, you will see they totally ignore this law and have play parks containing rusting swings, hard concrete, etc, with plenty of kids playing happily.You get it-- plenty of elasticity in the interpretation. So clearly there are Austrian zealots out there. Austria could just have quietly ignored Irving, but someone or some faction was out to force his "transgressions" down the authorities' throats, is my guess.As has been said here and elsewhere, the Irving story does seem a trifle irrelevant in view of other world events.(The whole EU legislation topic is a fascinating one. As Frank has discussed Turkey earlier, one might ask what will happen when a country like Turkey joins the EU and supposedly has to abide by the social legislation of the rest of Europe? Amnesty International would have a view on that question.
Apologies to the punctuation people, I forgot to close my final parenthesis.