Friday, February 23, 2007

Letting it all Hang Out

This morning's Toronto Sun has a pretty aggressive column about Ernst Zundel's being jailed in Germany for Holocaust denial.

I, as one clearly very disturbed by anti-Semitism, which all too readily pops up in all sorts of places, and one who does believe the Holocaust took place, find this outcome totally ridiculous. The court in which Zundel should be tried is the court of the analysis of history. Ditto for David Irving, who sat in an Austrian jail for years. What they really deserve is mockery, refutation, and being ignored. The court system is no place for this.

These guys are both very distasteful but what crime do we want to make of people saying things we do not like? It starts us on a very slippery slope, where we cannot even publish cartoons mocking religious leaders. This is NOT a good outcome

Virginia Postrel has a fascinating link to a couple of articles on changing attitudes towards privacy among youth. I deeply hope that she is on to something; like her, I am a fogey (though I spell it differently), and on this blog avoid topics that relate to areas where my employer may have claims on me.

Of course my employer could decide at any moment that anything is fair game and I should be fired for something here. Has yet to happen. I do not think it will. But it is almost exactly this issue that Postrel is pointing to. Of course my employer is not a University.

And that seems the environment in which, oddly, repression of free speech is currently strongest. How did we get here?

I have been involved in a small degree at the side as the Internet has evolved, and started out with NO wish to share anything identifiable, for fear of it s exploitation by others. I find fascinating and delightful the freedom of today's young people from these concerns.


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