ABSTRACT

David Irving is an intelligent, knowledgeable man whose histori­ cal writings on Churchill have earned him considerable respect. He is also one of the more notorious people who deny that the Third Reich made any serious attempt to exterminate the Jews, attributing the common belief that it was so to the effectiveness of Jewish propaganda. A number of countries including Germany (which has special laws prohibiting the defilement of the memory of the Holocaust), Canada and Australia have refused him entry or the right to speak. Controversy is fierce whenever this happens. He is often called a crank. But tempers do not flare because people think he is a crank. They flare because many find what he says deeply offensive. It is bad enough, some say, that he should publicly deny the evil suffered by the Jews during the Holocaust. The obscenity of it is compounded when his denials are treated as though they deserve a reply. Irving is, therefore, a good example of

someone whose views are rejected by many people as beyond consideration, both morally and intellectually. That puts an inter­ esting complexion on arguments offered in support of his right to articulate on public platforms his brand of Holocaust denial. What is interesting is not so much the arguments in support of his right to speak, for they are classically liberal arguments, but the fact that those who offer them are generally not struck by something strange.