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Posted Wednesday, July 28, 2004

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Auckland, New Zealand, Monday, July 26, 2004
  [Write to the NZ Herald's Editor: [] ]

Irving and free speech

mail YOUR editorial on David Irving espouses the viewpoint that freedom of speech, as the cornerstone of a liberal democracy, should be curtailed only when there is a direct threat of violence or racism. This would seem to be because opinions shown to be devoid of worth, wisdom or accuracy will quickly be discarded.

Underlying this statement are the assumptions that there will always be the correct facts and sufficient debate for an audience to be able to evaluate opinions, and that humans are always rational. What a nice theory. History attests that in the unregulated marketplace of ideas, truth and sense do not always prevail. While this certainly does not justify the state as arbiter, suppressing all falsehoods and unpalatable speech, it must do so where the cost of market failure is too high.

Speech that falls short of inciting violence or racism can still create an atmosphere conductive to them, in which the dignity, respect and equality of the individual or the group is sacrificed. Surely these are the fundamental values of a liberal society at which all other freedoms and rights are aimed, and they warrant our highest regard.

Juliet Tetro,

mail SO David Irving wishes to come and speak to us Kiwi's. Great, but am I prematurely getting my hopes up? The enemies of freedom and speech, and in this case possibly the truth, are prevailing on the Government to stop him coming.

I am an educated Kiwi, I know right from wrong, and given the opportunity I can discern truth from error. I am not afraid of the truth. Please continue to prevail on the Government to let him come so I can decide for myself what is true and what is not.

Grant Wild,

mail YOUR editorial was disappointing. Freedom of speech bears with it responsibility, and this is just what David Irving lacks, as was proved in the British law courts. The editorial carried the wrong message.

Suzanne Aufricht,

  [Write to the NZ Herald's Editor: [] ]   [Presumably the NZ Herald does not claim copyright in the above letters]



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