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The Spectator
London, April 22, 2000


High Life

Intellectual Exercises

by Taki

Boston -- [...] But back to uncomfortable truth. This week George Szamuely, Tibor's son, has written a magnificent piece for Taki's 'Top Drawer', exposing certain contradictions in Justice Gray's findings in the David Irving case.

Szamuely comes up with a very convincing argument (to be found on the Internet under Taki in the Drudge Report, and also under New York Press). What I find outrageous is the hypocrisy involved in the case. Academics like J. Arch Getty and Robert Manning made their name by claiming that Robert Conquest's estimates of the number of dead under Stalin were ludicrously inflated. Moreover, Stalin's rule was not a one-man dictatorship.

The policies of the communist party were the products of collective delib-eration. Robert W. Thurston argued that 'Stalin was not guilty of mass first-degree murder from 1934 to 1941; J. Arch Getty said that Stalin's victims number in the 'thousands rather than millions'; Mark von Hagen of Columbia University has said that the gulag contained 'the kinds of criminals who are incarcerated in every state.' Cambridge historian Chris Ward and Sheila Fitzpatrick of the University of Chicago have also dismissed the gulag.

While everyone is busy slagging off David Irving because it's safe to do, we should remember that all of the above hold prestigious academic appointments. No one has ever taken them to task for their absurd claims, and no country has excluded them or fined them for their views.

However uncomfortable the question, why is David Irving a pariah and they are not? Why is [Eric] Hobsbawm honoured by Blair? Is a Jewish life worth more than a Russian one? Or a Polish one? Or a gypsy one, for that matter?

April 22, 2000
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