Where they burn books…

Tsesis writes, “The process paving the way to outrageous acts of injustice is, of course, gradual. It begins by indoctrinating children with the culture of racial and ethnic stratification.” This is undoubtedly true, but what are we to make of it in the context of a book advocating the criminalization of biased speech? Does Tsesis consider The Merchant of Venice “hate speech” or not? I doubt it, particularly given his proposed statute’s intent requirement. After all, if Chaucer, Shakespeare, and Dickens constitute proscribable “hate speech,” Tsesis’s argument amounts to the creation of a substantial police state, excising large chunks of ourcultural heritage, not to mention popular culture. Modern-day book burnings would be trivial in comparison.

If, however, his statute does not criminalize such works, he again appears to be undermining his own thesis by effectively demonstrating that the type of speech most likely to “pave the way for” atrocities such as the Holocaust and slavery are those that a ban on “hate speech” will not reach because they involve the “culture of racial and ethnic stratification.”


From Anuj C. Desai in his criticism of Alexander Tsesis* theories in – Attacking Brandenburg with History:Does the Long-Term Harm of Biased Speech Justify a Criminal Statute Suppressing It?

*Alexander Tsesis is the “Expert” cited in the Justice Department’s legal brief which attempts to dismiss the Lemire Section 13 (1) Court Challenge. More here.

The Urge to Burn Books by Stan Persky, in The Tyee

May 12, 2008

Some things I take personally. This is one of them. That’s because I write books. So, whenever people burn books — whether it’s the ancient library of Alexandria, Egypt going up in flames nearly two millennia in the past, or the 2003 torching of the National Library in Baghdad just five years ago, at the beginning of the U.S. invasion of Iraq — I take offence. And it’s personal. When the temperature reaches Fahrenheit 451, the degree at which paper burns, books like mine were and are reduced to ashes.

That flame-scorched history is why I was in Berlin’s August Bebel Platz on Sat., May 10. It’s the site where, 75 years ago on that date in 1933, the most notorious book burning of the 20th century was ignited by the then recently-installed Nazi regime of Adolf Hitler. Less than four months after Hitler became chancellor of Germany, Nazi students throughout the country were egged on by Propaganda Minister Josef Goebbels to purge the nation’s libraries of all thought of which the government didn’t approve.

The Rest.

H/T Terry Glavin.

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