Friday, January 19, 2007

Do not keep a-hold of nurse

Timothy Garton-Ash outlines the key arguments as to why a blanket ban on holocaust denial would be a serious mistake. There are dangers from allowing hate speech, but Garton-Ash catches identifies dangers, including this:

"The approach advocated by the German justice minister [Brigitte Zypries] ... reeks of the nanny state. It speaks in the name of freedom but does not trust people to exercise freedom responsibly. Citizens are to be treated as children, guided and guarded at every turn. Indeed, the more I look at what Zypries does and says, the more she seems to me the personification of the contemporary European nanny state. It's no accident that she has also been closely involved in extending German law to allow more bugging of private homes. Vertrauen ist gut, Kontrolle ist besser (trust is good, control is better). Isn't that another mistake Germany made in the past?"

This issue is vital to any debate on a vision for Europe's future. In a section of "Humanity: A Moral History of the 20th Century" titled "Towards a Robust and Connected Moral Identity", Jonathan Glover writes:

"The evidence suggests that those who rescued victims of the Nazis had not been given a rigidly disciplined upbringing. When they were children, parents had shown them respect, giving them reasons rather than orders. Respect may create a climate where moral identity can grow. Evidence from Nazi-occupied countries suggests that cultures may have climates which vary in their support for the growth of moral identity".

No comments: