- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 17, 2009

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

An article in The Washington Times deals with the question of whether denial of the Holocaust should be made a crime (“Debate arises on legality of Holocaust denial,” Nation, Friday). Absolutely not. In fact, all hate-crime laws should be repealed immediately. It is a mark of tyranny to criminalize thought and opinion. I myself do not deny the Holocaust and consider Holocaust deniers to be (at the least) obnoxious crackpots. Nevertheless, until they have committed actual crimes, their noxious opinions must be rebutted — not criminalized.

People point to the case of Matthew Shepherd as justification for hate-crime laws. His attackers committed murder and are imprisoned for life for the felony of murder. Their attitudes, toward gays or anybody else, are irrelevant. Similarly, the views of the accused assailant in the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum are irrelevant. He stands accused of murder, and that is enough. Opinion must never be made criminal, and the United States, for all its faults, stands as a beacon of liberty in matters such as this. Never criminalize thought and opinion!

PAUL BARTLETT

Vienna

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