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My life as a Holocaust Revisionist

I will not attempt a Blog here in the full sense of that concept, but rather a personal journal where I will record some of the stories that thought turns to in those rare moments of clarity when I am not interfering with it.

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Location: Baja Norte, Mexico

Smith was raised in South Central Los Angeles in the 1930s and 40s. Smith is a combat veteran (Korea, 7th Cavalry, where he was twice wounded), has been a deputy sheriff (Los Angeles County), a bull fighter (Mexico), a merchant seaman, and was in Saigon during the Tet offensive of 1968 as a freelance writer. He has been described by the Los Angeles Times as an "anarchist libertarian," and by the Anti-Defamation League of B'nai B'rith as one of the most dangerous "extremists" in America. He has been married to a Mexican woman for 30 years, there are two children, and now two grandchildren. Smith argues that the German WMD (gas-chamber) question should be examined in the routine manner that all other historical questions are examined. He argues that the Holocaust is not a "Jewish" story, but a story of Jews and Germans together--forever. Those who want to challenge the concept of the "unique monstrosity" of the Germans should be free to do so. He believes it is morally wrong, and a betrayal of the Western ideal of intellectual freedom, to imprison writers and publishers who question publicly what privately they have come to doubt.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

A NOTE ON DANIEL PIPES

Following is a letter regarding the back and forth I engaged in on History News Network, a Web page “For Historians, by Historians.” The specific back and forth can be found here in the "comments" section at http://hnn.us/articles/18197.html . At the end of this letter the author suggests something that I do not want to believe.


Bradley,

The excerpts from your HNN sallies in SR 123 were of interest and tells us a lot about the status of play in the culture wars. You did a great job in keeping the heat on the academic frauds that support suppression of ideas they don’t like.

It’s also a little depressing to read that “some truths are absolute” [the Holocaust being the big one - I’m sure the guy who wrote that would be appalled to think that a religious truth like the divinity of Jesus might fit his test], thus justifying suppression of dissent; or a Ph.D. from Harvard no
less who doesn’t like the criminalization of falsehood but would make an exception here because of the dangers of revisionism.

Not one of these guys had a single word of criticism of exactly what was wrong in what revisionists say and as usual the assumption is those who “deny the Holocaust” are akin to folks who deny that the sun rises in the east or claim that nothing bad happened to any Jews during World War II - but they are careful not to actually say THAT because then they might be drawn into an actual debate with the hated revisionists and secretly they know that they would not fare well in that venue.

A simple smear is a much better tactic. I doubt a single one of these people has read Butz, Mattogno or any of the other revisionist scholars. And of course we have one whiz who KNOWS that revisionists are not only unscientific but are motivated by a desire to restart Nazi ideology. He just knows. Bradley, I’ll bet you didn’t even know that those were your own real motives. And oh yes, the dreary charge of “anti-Semitism” when all else fails. It is all quite depressing in such a high-blown site.

The simple question you raised long ago is still the best one to start with these quasi-religious fanatics: what do we mean when we use the term “the Holocaust”? And exactly what do revisionists claim? Let’s discuss it.

I expect that you will be cut off shortly by HNN. Daniel Pipes is one of the bosses.

Albert Doyle

8 Comments:

Blogger Bradley R. Smith said...

With regard to my being cut off at HNN for my views. I don't expect it to happen because I am going to follow their rules for discussion, which after all are my "rules."

With regard to Pipes: while he is an Israeli-Firster at all times, I have never seen where he discourages an open debate on any matter, or where he has ever suggested that intellectual freedom is meant for some, not all. As usual, I am prepared to be convinced that I am wrong about this, in the same way that I have been proven wrong about so many other matters.

December 03, 2005 1:11 PM  
Anonymous Jonathan Dresner said...

Since I think I'm the Harvard Ph.D. referenced above, let me point out two errors. First, I didn't say that I would "make an exception" but that the moral and historical context is such that it would be easy to justify such an exception. It's a matter of putting it in context as a way of understanding and clarifying, not justifying. That's a very common mistake made with regard to historical studies of objectionable issues.

Second, Daniel Pipes is not "one of the bosses" at HNN; his weblog is mirrored at HNN because of his expertise in MidEast history. The "bosses" would be the editor and advisory board, listed here (assistant editors like myself might qualify as "advisors" and "functionaries", middle-management). I have no idea what Mr. Pipes thinks about you or your revisionist project, nor do I particularly care.

December 03, 2005 8:07 PM  
Blogger Bradley R. Smith said...

First, I want to apologise to Albert Doyle. He wrote me a persoanal message via email, and I posted it here without his OK, and without any editing. Careless and unprofessional.

With re to your observation that putting a remark in context is a "way of understanding and clarifying, not justifying" -- I am well instructed here. Again, a failure of editorial responsibility. The same with re to the observation about Dr. Pipes.

With re to you not particularly caring about "my" revisionist project, you discomfort with it is self-evident -- perhaps not to you.

At the same time, I have to say that I admire the editorial staff at HNN for allowing such a back and forth about intellectual freedom and the imprisonment of revisionists for thought crimes. I do not know of any other place where such a discussion can be held. If you do, perhaps you would tell me where.

Good luck you all of you.

December 04, 2005 11:38 AM  
Anonymous Jonathan Dresner said...

Thanks, but one more minor correction.

I do care about your revisionist project (I think it's misguided and counter-productive, but I do care; it's not "discomfort" but deep disagreement); I don't care what Daniel Pipes thinks about it, however.

HNN has always tried to present a very wide range of views on historical and contemporary issues, and to permit the widest possible latitude in civil discussion. We're proud of that.

December 04, 2005 12:04 PM  
Blogger Bradley R. Smith said...

Well, in the present cultural context, I believe HNN and its crew have every right to be proud of the way the page is run. There is simply nothing like it, anywhere, that I am aware of.

December 04, 2005 5:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

December 05, 2005 1:33 PM  
Blogger Bradley said...

Doyle is having trouble logging on here and asked me to post his reply for him.

[start]

Re the two errors in my letter that Dresner pointed out. I plead guilty to mistaking Daniel Pipes as a boss at the HNN. Sorry, but I am glad he is not one.

As for the other "error," the professor sure had me fooled. I mistook his "sympathy" for the persons who support cnesorship of "ideas which are ciminally wrong" for support for such censorship. Come to thin of it, that's a pretty subtle distinction. Perhaps too I was thrwon off by his conclusion that "SOme falsehoods [I guessed he meant revisionists' falsehoods] really pose dangers to the present and future."

And then there is the condition that it is only "the method" of the censorship that he opposes, althought his distinction is explained in a way that is too subtle for me to understand. Is there a good method?

I'm afraid I'm not apologising for that "error. He Dresner going to speak out against the arrest of David Irving in Austria? To me that's walking the walk for someone who's not really "a fan of those laws."

[end]

December 06, 2005 9:14 PM  
Blogger Bradley said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

December 06, 2005 9:16 PM  

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