Or should we?
Here in the United States, we pretend to have ‘Freedom of Speech’. The First Amendment and all that.
Of course, even that has it’s limitations. Child pornography for example. Yelling fire in a crowded theater. Criticizing a President, who happens to be Black.
Other countries, even those vanquished by us in war whom we rebuilt – not so much.
Germany, who placed restrictions on religion (Scientology). And, until recently, politics (National Socialism).
I don’t know if this is backlash to the influx of Muslim refugees, who obviously include some terrorists, or the resurgence of anti-Semitic thoughts and actions rising throughout Europe (and the World) during the past 20 years.
Or perhaps the ubiquitous yin-yang battle between Jews and Arabs…
But something new has been added. or perhaps re-added.
It’s one of the most talked about publications of the year. It’s not a new book. And it’s not even a well-written book. But Mein Kampf, by Adolf Hitler, which hits German bookshops for the first time in 70 years on Friday, is certainly attracting attention.
Hitler’s anti-Semitic tirade is seen as the forerunner to the Holocaust. But that is also why historians want it republished.
Hitler wrote it mostly while in prison in the mid-1920s, and academics say it helps explain the Nazis’ crazed ideology when they came to power less than a decade later.
As such, they say, it’s a crucial academic text. Not pleasant reading, but essential to understanding the Holocaust and Hitler’s brutal rule.
Surprisingly, some Jewish groups have also supported this edition.
This is an annotated, critical version, with thousands of academic notes.
And without this republication, the only hard copies available in Germany would be the pre-1945 Nazi editions, still found in second-hand bookshops or online. Those are certainly not critical.
The idea is that republishing Mein Kampf will help undermine it.
Until now, the copyright has been in the hands of the Bavarian government. But because 70 years have now passed since the the death of the author – in this case, Adolf Hitler – that copyright has expired.
Germany could ban it. After all, the swastika and other Nazi symbols are outlawed here, under incitement-to-violence laws.
Germans see that not as an infringement of free speech, but as a way of guaranteeing it, by not allowing fascist groups to intimidate minorities.
But the problem with banning Mein Kampf is that this could simply increase its power. (taken in part from BBC-World-Europe)
Is censorship bad, prima facie?
Or does Europe need to look it’s demons in the face, full-on?
And by extension, we as well?