For censorship, against freedom
October 14, 2007
There are a lot of assumptions being made about the content of the film “Judea declares war on Germany” and the intent of those promoting its public viewing. These assumptions, insinuations and accusations reflect the fear and suspicion of the accusers, but have little to do with the reality of the film or Steve Campbell’s motives for wanting to show it. While I’ve not heard one hateful statement from Steve Campbell, I’ve heard a lot of hateful statements directed at him from the very people who say they are trying to protect the public from hateful views.
Some have suggested that if GrassRoots airs this film, they might as well show child porn or snuff films. That is absurd ” those activities are illegal. Historical revisionism may be illegal in some European countries, but it’s not illegal in the U.S. yet. Historical revisionism is not hate speech. The film doesn’t deny that Jews were imprisoned and died in the camps, it doesn’t advocate violence against Jews, it is not a Nazi recruitment film. It just presents a different perspective than the popularly accepted version on how and why the Holocaust happened. I fail to see how being exposed to these ideas will cause people to hate Jews.
The fact that certain people don’t want this film shown and that GrassRoots is actually considering banning it from its programming is basically a matter of distrust. The fear is that people will watch it and then behave irresponsibly, or violently. Apparently, after watching this film, formerly benign citizens will suddenly take up pitchforks, fire up the ovens and start another Holocaust. This doesn’t say much for the opinion GrassRoots has for its viewers. Do they really think that we in the Roaring Fork Valley can not be trusted to use our intelligence to discern whether the ideas presented in this film are true or false?
I am not advocating for the contents of the film, I am advocating for showing it on GrassRoots. In the future, any of us might find ourselves in a position of promoting an unpopular view that could offend people, so if we allow a fearful angry group to dictate what we can or cannot see in this instance, it will pave the way to censoring our views, too.
While this particular case doesn’t fall under the protection of the First Amendment, it does go to the heart of what free speech is about in America. The whole point of having the right to free speech is to protect people who promote unpopular ideas from the people who are offended by them. This is what separates true freedom from the idea of freedom. It’s really very simple: Those who are for censorship are against freedom.
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And that’s un-American.