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Historian and former teacher Frederick Toben has been found guilty of contempt of court because he continued to publish material claiming the Holocaust never happened, and that some people (notably some Jews) were making money out of keeping the story going.

Holocaust denial is stupid, and probably motivated by racism.

But fining people or putting them in jail for disagreeing doesn’t make sense. It makes the deniers look like victims of bullying. Even worse, it makes people wonder why free speech on this subject is not permitted, and then begin to wonder whether someone is hiding something that someone doesn’t want anyone to know.

You may remember this story: Fiji’s military strongman, Frank Bainimarama, has clamped down on radio and internet access in the troubled Pacific country, declaring free speech causes too much trouble.

He’s right. Free speech does cause trouble, because it means people can say things that are untrue, inconvenient, even harmful.

Look at Minister for Hot Air Penny Wong, for example.

She is free to say, despite the evidence of scientists like Professor Bob Carter, and the cautionary remarks of Labor’s hand picked guru Ross Garnaut, that the government is going to do as it jolly well pleases, and spend billions of dollars fixing a problem that doesn’t exist, seriously damaging our resource and energy industries, and further wrecking our economy in the process.

That is going to cause vastly more damage than some silly old goat saying the Holocaust didn’t happen.

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