Der Untergang

David Irving’s having been jailed for three years by an Austrian court for making a speech in 1989 denying the Holocaust as commonly understood, is beyond belief. Not only does it make Vladimir Putin appear a great proponent of free speech, but it also hints at the totalitarian potential of the New European Order. Our good man in the Kremlin has an invaluable precedent on his hands now: if the EU can jail people for what it declares bad scholarship, so much can Putin, for anything his satraps don’t like.

The fact that Irving is 68 and has a 12-year-old daughter makes this conviction triply outrageous. (To say nothing of the standard of limitations — none appies to thought crimes, which is equated with murder.)

Moreover, the odium of this case may push a section of the European public to go revisionist big time, perhaps along those lines, logical faults notwithstanding:

— Why does the establishment insist on persecuting Irving and the like? Because the elites are afraid of them.
— What do the elites fear the most? The truth, of course.
— Hence there must be some truth in what Irving is (was) saying.
— So we weren’t that bad to the Jews after all, huh? Let’s get rid of the guilt complex at last!
— Now that the stupid guilt is gone, let’s go beat up the Muslims.
— Now that Hitler seems like a precursor to the EU, it’s OK to hate both the Russians and the Americans.


  1. It was a foolish decision. Irving had already been totally discredited by the (self-inflicted) Lipstadt trial, which made him look nothing more than a buffoon and a loser. This latest trial risks turning him into a martyr.

  2. This seems designed more to reassure the Austrians that they are not anti-Semitic – or the world that Austria is not anti-Semitic – than to have any viable social/legal effect. After all, your reasoning, at the end of your post, is impeccable from the vantage of a conspiracy theorist.

  3. Michael, I suspect that lots of people are subconscious conspiracy theorists (which must be a sort of a conspiracy theory, too), which is why the line of thinking I offered may be attractive to them.

    Thanks, Tim.

  4. Alexei, the subject in general and your latest response, including the parenthetical note, invokes an entire array of issues, all of which need their own highly tailored or nuanced commentary. However, in lieu of writing a fifty-thousand word comment, I’ll more simply take the added liberty of noting a volume by Michael Mack I’ve recently read, entitled German Idealism and the Jew: The Inner Anti-Semitism of Philosophy and German Jewish Responses. The title is provocative in the best sense of the term. Of course it’s always a little presumptuous suggesting a particular volume to others, but Mack takes a particular look at the ideality of Kant and Hegel, along with the cultural manifestations of Wagner, and distills a rather interesting – and in my mind entirely viable – philosophical/cultural analysis. At any rate, file under “for what it’s worth”.

    Also, have been visiting “The Russian Dilettante” for more than two years now and you maintain a consistently high quality and intriguing blog; it’s much appreciated.

  5. Thank you, Michael. I am not sure I will be able to buy the book here but I will look for it. I hope Mack does not treat Kant, Hegel and Wagner with the sort of distorting animosity one can find in Paul Lawrence Rose’s opinions on Wagner.

  6. I’m not familiar with Rose, but no, there is no animosity, it’s a very deliberate, incisive, probative and perhaps even precise commentary. It’s something of a critique of certain strains of high Enlightenment ideality, probing specific anti-Semitic content at germinal stages within Kant and Hegel and, for Wagner, more within what might be termed elements of his praxis. But it’s a specific and tailored critique, avoiding animus while also avoiding a too clinical or too academic feel.

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