The most important tenet of a democratic society is to enshrine the freedom of speech and expression without constraints. People who consider themselves to live in a democratic society should have the utter freedom to express their political, social, religious, moral (or immoral) opinions and thoughts by words, images, actions and other means. Of course with freedom comes responsibility and people need to take into account the type of society in which they live and ensure that their freedom of expression does not injure anybody else. This is not to say that somebody's opinion should not be expressed, even if others take offence to it.
It is interesting to see in Australia's alleged "free" society, that all sorts of tribunals have been established to prevent the free expression of opinions and even hard facts about certain matters, such as religion and race. The era of Political Correctness is upon us, where even if something happens to be the blatant truth, people can be prosecuted for stating it, because the truth may offend somebody. This is usually the case with some minorities, who seem to wield extraordinary influence in complete disproportion to their numbers in Australian society. In fact, the notion that Australia subscribes to free expression is a complete myth.
In recent times, there have been newspaper articles reporting on the activities of Frederick Toben of Adelaide, who claims that the Holocaust, the extermination of the Jews by the Nazis in World War Two, either did not happen, or if it did, it was nowhere near the extent that the Jews claim. Holocaust denial is a crime in Germany and Toben was arrested and imprisoned for denying the Holocaust.
In May 2009, Toben was sentenced to three months jail for contempt of court for failing to obey a directive from the Federal Court of Australia to remove material from his website that vilified Jews. In 2002, Toben had been ordered to delete material from his website which offended, insulted or humiliated Jewish people and not to publish any further material which questioned the Holocaust or the existence of gas chambers at Auschwitz. But he continued to publish such material, and told the Federal Court in 2006 that he would not remove it from his website. So Toben was sentenced to a jail term for this.
The crazy thing about this case was that Justice Lander found Toben guilty of contempt of court by refusing to remove "material which conveyed a number of imputations which offended, insulted or humiliated Jewish people for reason of their race." This judgement should have been appealed and thrown out on its ear, simply on the basis that Lander made the completely preposterous and erroneous ruling that Jewish people are a race.
There is no such thing as a Jewish race, just as there is no such thing as a Christian, Muslim, Hindu or Sikh race either. No religion can be a race, because race relies entirely on genetic inheritance and nobody can change their race. An Asiatic person can never become a negro, no matter how much he would like to be one. However, religious belief is merely a state of mind and can be adopted and discarded at will. Belief in a mythical Skydaddy does not rely on DNA.
So Lander's judgement was completely wrong. What Toben did was to possibly offend Jewish people for reason of their RELIGION - nothing to do with race whatsoever. The Toben case shows how stupid laws can be passed and enforced by judges who cannot tell the difference between race and religion.
Now I have to state for the record that I have nothing but contempt for Holocaust deniers and people such as Frederick Toben and others like him, such as so-called historian and Holocaust denier David Irving. However, I will uphold the rights of these people to deny whatever they wish, even if what they deny is the blatant truth.
This website is full of material that expresses my opinions on many matters and I reserve the right to express those opinions, whether they are true or not. Many people may be offended by my opinions, but they have the right to treat me with contempt, not the right to shut me up. Nobody has the right to not be offended.
Frederick Toben would know damn well that the Holocaust occurred and at least 6 million Jews and other "untermenschen" (as Hitler called them) were slaughtered by the Nazis in a deliberate campaign of extermination. However, Toben has the right to deny that the Holocaust occurred, even though it is offensive to Jews, just the same as I have the right to deny that God exists and that Jesus Christ was a mere mortal or that he didn't even exist, even though it offends devout Christians. I have a right to deny that Allah exists, even though a billion Muslims would be offended by this. I have the right to deny that there was a Stolen Generation, even though it may offend the Aboriginal Industry and the politically correct loony lefties.
As an aside, it is interesting to note that just like the term "gay" has been hijacked by homosexuals, the word "holocaust" has been hijacked in a similar fashion by Jews and many historians to describe the genocide by the Nazis against Jews and other allegedly lesser races. Politicians and other public figures are routinely pilloried for using the word "holocaust" in its proper form by referring to something other than the Nazi events of 1939-1945.
For instance, US politician Mike Huckabee described the deaths of 3.5 million babies by abortion as a holocaust. He was roundly criticised by the Jewish Anti-Defamation League (ADL), which quickly issued a statement saying the comparison could only trivialise and diminish the horror of the actual Holocaust.
In other words, the ADL was really demanding that nobody use the word "holocaust" in any way except in the context of the Nazi slaughter of Jews in World War Two, which is a completely ridiculous position, as this word has been around since the 13th century. Nobody, Jewish or otherwise, owns that word, just as homosexuals do not own the word "gay" and if somebody chooses to use those words in their proper context and Jews and homosexuals object, well too damn bad.
Whether something is true or not, people in a free society have the right to express their opinions. Holocaust deniers have the right to make fools of themselves by denying something that is historically true, with copious evidence to show this. Frederick Toben and David Irving are despicable - but they have the right to deny the Holocaust if they choose and we have the right to laugh at them and treat them with utter contempt.
This website expresses many opinions that some people would find most offensive against their religions and other beliefs, but that's just too bad. That goes for any of those politically correct tribunals that wish to curtail my freedom of expression and it also goes for any judges, such as Justice Lander, who jailed a person for failing to buckle down to unwarranted censorship on the basis of a completely erroneous premise that Jews are a race.