Monday, March 06, 2006

The Creeping Criminalization of Dissent

Normally a practice restricted to Third World countries, the incremental criminalization of dissent is taking root in seemingly advanced European nations as well as Canada and America. People are losing their jobs or even being incarcerated for their personal politics. Laws are being constructed, particularly in Europe and Canada to legally enshrine this persecution.

Just last month, the internationally-renowned historian David Irving was convicted in Austrian Federal Court and sentenced to three years in prison for expressing differing opinions from what has become known as the Official Authorized Version of the Holocaust. Laws have been passed granting statutory protection to this version, which prescribes that Jews were gassed in assembly-line fashion and that exactly 6 million Jews were killed in the Holocaust. Any publicly-expressed deviation, no matter how slight, is considered a crime, not only in Austria, but also in Germany and France. Mr. Irving has been falsely labelled a Holocaust "Denier". This is poppycock, because he's never denied that it occurred, but based upon his meticulous research into German and former Soviet archives, now disputes the precise numbers and circumstances. The persecution of David Irving is in the same spirit as the Salem witch-burnings and Galileo's forced recantation. So repugnant is Austria's treatment of Irving that even many liberals who otherwise pledge undying allegiance to the Official Authorized Version of the Holocaust have condemned the Austrian government's action.

But before we pat ourselves on the back and smugly proclaim how tolerant we are, guess what? Something similar just happened in America, although it's economic disenfranchisement rather than incarceration. On March 2, Allegany County (NY) District Attorney Terrence Parker announced that he had fired one of his subordinates, Assistant District Attorney Michael Regan, because he attended the recent annual American Renaissance conference in the Washington D.C. area. Mr. Regan had not been forbidden to attend this conference in advance. American Renaissance is a white preservationist group headed by Jared Taylor, who publishes the scholarly and prestigious American Renaissance monthly magazine. AR is NOT a white supremacist or white separatist organization (not that it should matter if it is). There have been no complaints about Mr. Regan's objectivity as an ADA. The full account can be found on the American Renaissance website. Mr. Parker has a female ADA on his staff; would he have fired her for attending a National Organization for Women (NOW) meeting? I doubt it. This is exactly what they used to do to dissidents in the old Soviet Union. They'd start out by firing them from their jobs. Furthermore, it is primarily white people held to such a harsh standard; women and minorities are given more wiggle room.

Mr. Parker's actions were those of instinctive cowardice, brought about in large part by such extensive brainwashing and conditioning that he chose to do what he thought the establishment would want him to do rather than do the right thing. At worst, he should have done no more than suspend Michael Regan with pay pending further inquiry. You don't fire someone from their job because of their legal off-the-job political activity. That's un-American.

What does that have to do with us in Anchorage? Nothing at the moment, but we must be alert for the possibility of it happening here.

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