Friday, February 6, 2009

We will not protect bad ideas from public scrutiny

The Jambar at Youngstown State University has published a sound editorial on intellectual freedom and the responsibility of a free press in response to criticisms it has received for publishing my ad, "A QUESTION FOR THE U.S. HOLOCAUST MEMORIAL MUSEUM."

The otherwise fine editorial asserts that I call into question "whether the Holocaust actually occurred," which can mislead the reader. While I do question “gas chambers,” gas chambers are one thing, the “Holocaust” another. We should not conflate them. Never mind that it is commonplace among mainline journalists and even academics to do exactly that.



Issue date: 2/5/09

We will not protect bad ideas from public scrutiny.

We ran an ad last week which appears again today from a man named Bradley R. Smith of the Committee for Open Debate on the Holocaust. In it, he calls into question whether the Holocaust actually occurred.

The response from readers has been, uniformly, to ask us why we would run such an ad. They point out how offensive the ad is, especially to those who have had relatives die in the Holocaust, or survive it. They wonder why we would give voice to what many would classify as hate speech.

As a newspaper, we are in a position to control speech, or to defend it. We could easily say that since this particular ad is extreme in nature, it should be suppressed. But then, who defines extreme? If we start to suppress the voices we don't believe in, it would start with this ad, but could spill over into far less volatile areas.

If we set that precedent, perhaps future editors could take it a step further and suppress views they disagree with on issues such as abortion, global warming or taxes.

If we only allow the acceptable voices to be heard, what would happen when we disagreed with the acceptable voices?

We are an open forum. Just as Smith was able to run his ad in our pages, anyone is free to shout him down, and is welcome to do so.

We enjoy a tremendous freedom in this country. It is not a freedom not to be offended. Rather, it is a freedom to hear all voices, and have ours be heard. It is through the marketplace of ideas that bad ideas are defeated.

President Woodrow Wilson said, "I have always been among those who believed that the greatest freedom of speech was the greatest safety, because if a man is a fool the best thing to do is to encourage him to advertise the fact by speaking."


1 comment:

apollonian said...

Brad Smith's Forthright Uprightness Shines Through, Endures
(Apollonian, 8 Feb 09)

Yo Bradley--this is a little off topic, but I just saw, fm Dave Duke's site (, videos of u on the Phil Donahue show back in 1994.

Gosh, but that audience was prejudiced against u--and the Jew, David Cole, who was with u at beginning, but for whatever reason left during the show.

But I think u still did good, surely best u could do under most difficult circumstances. Even Donahue wasn't that bad, given his understandable, obligatory prejudice against u. Little did those dumb people imagine Israel and Zionists were to conspire to do 9-11 against them in only 7 more years.

I thought David Cole did quite well too, but unfortunately he seemed to lose heart, leaving; u, to ur great credit, at least didn't give up.

Lesson I took was it's really a rhetorical challenge--not so much strict forensic exercise for the moment at hand. Incidentally, that video, aforementioned, was overlaid and dubbed with commentary by the guy who did the "One Third Of The Holocaust" series--very effective.

In retrospect, fm watching ur video, what I would have done was to emphasize Jews follow Talmud, and people need to check-up and find out what Talmud really teaches. See,, and for best Talmudic expo.

CONCLUSION: So be assured comrade Bradley, ur great dedication to TRUTH shines forth and through, regardless of all the adversity, otherwise so formidable and discouraging. Honest elections and death to the Fed. Apollonian