[Wikipedia-l] German anti-free speech law and Helga

Ray Saintonge saintonge at telus.net
Mon Aug 26 18:46:13 UTC 2002

Daniel Mayer wrote:

>>Apart from this being utter nonsense (see e.g.
>>http://www.nizkor.org/features/qar/qar11.html for a discussion of these
>>arguments), this most probably violates
>>German Law (Paragraph 130(3) of our penal code, denial of genocide
>>performed by the nazis).
>As a red blooded American I think that law is well intentioned but just ranks 
>with anti-free speech totalitarian newspeak and probably does more to 
>encourage Neo-Nazis and their ilk than to discourage them (punishing people 
>just because they have certain views tends to make other people with similar 
>views get the "us vs. them" mentality; which just strengthens their resolve 
>and encourages ideas about "conspiracies" to "get them" that "must be 
>stopped" = the law inadvertently creates a class of people actively opposed 
>to the government when there were only various unrelated people with similar 
>ideas before). We should therefore /not/ even begin to consider banning 
>anyone just because they are breaking such a law. 
>BTW, people should be able to say whatever they want in everyday life or 
>their personal websites but if any of that is to be in a neutral and 
>fact-based encyclopedia then it must be backed-up with evidence or highly 
>qualified ("such and such says this, but others say that and yet others say 
>the first two are wrong because...").
>>Oh, I didn't want to suggest to denounce her, I just don't want
>>Jimbo to be arrested when occasionally entering Germany ...
That German law is just plain silly.  The Holocaust as an event is a 
question of fact not of law, and no amount of legislation is going to 
change the truth (or untruth) of its events.  People should be entitled 
to their illusions and delusions.  When the massive power of the state 
is applied against these folk, they are granted a credibility greater 
than they could ever have imagined.  Germany's law in this regard is 
probably mild compared to those countries that would ban any kind of 
outside influences available through the Internet.  Obviously, if Helga 
lives in Germany, she proceeds at her own risk.  No ISP should need to 
worry about a bewildering array of foreign laws; it's quite enough for 
him to be mindful of the laws of his own country.

The United States is perhaps the worst offender when it comes to the 
extraterritorial application of its laws, and refusing to conform with 
international conventions.  Witness the situation of the Russian who had 
developed a device to crack copy protection.  He did none of his work in 
the US  but was still arrested when he visited.


More information about the Wikipedia-l mailing list