The below is from the Guardian
An Australian teacher accused of denying the Holocaust was arrested in transit through Heathrow yesterday and held facing extradition to Germany.
Gerald Frederick Töben, 64, who was en route from the US to Dubai when he was seized, was sentenced to nine months in prison in 1999 by a German court under a law that prohibits “defaming the dead”.
He was held under a German arrest warrant, issued in 2004, which alleges that he had carried out “worldwide internet publication” of material that was antisemitic, and denied, approved or played down the mass murder of Jews perpetrated by the Nazis during the second world war. The warrant stated that he had committed the offences in “Australia, Germany and other countries”.
I’m really not sure how I feel about this. My default position is that free speech is a good thing and that we have nothing to fear from fringe ideas. In an open marketplace of ideas surely bad ideas will be criticised and disproven, but that doesn’t seem to be how the world really works. For example take a look at the below video –
– it seems that for many people they’re happy to believe things that fit their worldview without analysing it more deeply.
So my question is are there ideas that are too dangerous to be freely debated? Put differently can we trust people to take the time to investigate for themselves?