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Mein Kampf, the Holocaust, and Revisionism

Reply-To: H-NET List for History of the Holocaust <H-HOLOCAUST@H-NET.MSU.EDU>
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Author: Anton Baer

Date: Sun, 21 Nov 1999 17:26:51 -0800

Anniken Davenport wrote:

On the other hand, I fear whether the average citizen (here or elsewhere in the world) has the analytic ability and historical perspective to critically evaluate propaganda for what it is. This was brought home to me recently when the student newspaper at the small liberal arts college where I teach began debating whether they should run an "advertorial" by Bradley Smith and his so-called Committee on Open Debate of the Holocaust. Should the paper publish it and open the debate, trusting the readership has the ability to recognize a ridiculous claim for what it is? Or should the "ad" be rejected for publication? The paper's apparent solution is to take a poll of the readership before deciding on a course of action.

It strikes me as itself ridiculous (and cowardly) to be afraid of the ridiculous. I have heard far-off echoes of this banging at the doors and I do wonder if it won't get louder the longer it doesn't go away all by itself. People who are uninformed are naturally curious to know what the noise is about. I think the editors should take the "advertorial" (whatever that is) and accept some responsibilty for beginning to smarten up the public level of discourse after decades of dumbing it down.

This may have been debated exhaustively on list, and if so, pardon my late-comer remarks.... By calling the Revisionists "Deniers" one draws attention to oneself as a "Believer" - since one cannot deny a fact, only a claim, or a faith.

You can dispute a fact, but you cannot deny it. By using the verb deny, one calls in question the linguistic suitability of "fact". I suspect that this ensconcement, this refusal to fight in public, may be seen to betray uncertainty and doubt.

A while ago Prof. [Deborah] Lipstadt explained her refusal to debate with Deniers by saying: "Would YOU debate with a Flat-Earther?" She may not have realised that her very indignation and the intemperate nature of her emotions could lay her listeners open to wondering if she were not the Flat-Earther. That's just an observation on how people read between the lines.

Anton Baer

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