Don’t encourage it
Oh, lordy, lordy, lordy, children – I’ve spent too much of today arguing with a ‘Holocaust denier,’ or perhaps just a brainless troll pretending to be a Holocaust denier. I knew I shouldn’t, I knew it was as futile an enterprise as cooking rice one grain at a time or shoveling snow with a teaspoon, but I couldn’t stop myself. The troll kept answering and answering and answering, and I just couldn’t leave it alone. I’m such a fool!
But, I don’t know, perhaps it was inevitable. It kept saying ‘there’s no evidence’ so how could I not go fetch some evidence to show it that there is? It would be expecting too much. Or maybe it wouldn’t, but anyway, that’s what I did. But of course the stupid troll couldn’t be bothered to look at the evidence, it was having much too much fun doing nothing at all apart from repeating over and over that there was no evidence. It only does it to annoy, because it knows it teases – I know that, I know that perfectly well, it’s like those people in the playground, you don’t argue with them, you just walk away. But – well, I’m not that sane, that’s all; I never have been.
The thing is that Julian wanted readers’ thoughts on whether he should or shouldn’t debate David Irving.
The issue for me is not about whether Irving should be allowed to air his views: I think he should. The serious issue for me is whether it is right to give people with such views a prominent public platform, thereby legitimising them in some way. In theory, it sounds nobler to always fight the truth out in public, but we surely can’t ignore the fact that the attention someone gets has as much, if not more, of an impact than what we actually say when we debate them.
Just so, and in particular in the case of David Irving, because he is a falsifier as well as a denier, so not only is that an excellent reason not to give him the oxygen of publicity, it’s also an excellent reason not to debate him since it’s impossible to trust him to tell the truth. Most people yesterday said Don’t do it – and then today the deniers turned up. There’s a guy called Fredrick Toben, who has a Wikipedia entry. And there’s a troll, who has nothing in particular except the ability to say ‘There is not a shred of evidence’ over and over despite having evidence handed to him on an engraved silver charger with tortoiseshell inlay. He got up my nose, that troll did. So I spent too much time typing words for him to read and then ignore. I’m a fool, a fool!
But maybe not. After all I’m interested in this kind of thing, these cherished and protected delusions (and of course that’s what they think or pretend to think of us – the ‘Holocaust industry’ as they call it), so it’s not such a waste to explore it in depth now and then. Only the stupidity is so exasperating, you know.
Never mind, I spent time exploring Holocaust Denial on Trial, which is certainly well worth doing. An education in history all by itself, for one thing.
Actually I guess the reason it annoys me is not the time but the sense of, how shall I say, contamination. They’re not a crowd I much want to sit around chatting with, frankly.