Along the Tracks

Wednesday, January 15, 2003


This neo-Nazi is on trial in Germany for “condoning an illegal act,” the act being the 9/11 attacks. Horst Mahler, a leader in the far-right National Democratic Party, said in a televised interview after the attacks that they were “cruel” but “justified.”

This brings up a few sharp spikes on the incongruity meter. First, is what he said any different than what scores of left-leaning politicians/writers/professors have said in Germany and other highly-advanced EU member states? Oh wait, I get it: Left-wingers who say these things have well thought out reasons for the statements, while the Nazi just blurted it out, instigated by hate. Right. (Interestingly, the BBC says Mahler was once a far-left militant, rather than far-right. Doesn’t seem like its much of a shift, judging by the rhetoric.)

Second, as America is scolded daily by Europe for tramping on civil liberties, doesn’t it seem a bit odd that Germany is prosecuting people for “condoning” illegal acts? If I were to visit Germany and say jay-walking is just dandy, would I be subject to prosecution? Is speaking out in support of breaking what one sees as unjust laws, say, praising protestors in front of abortion clinics or defending an assisted-suicide doctor, a crime?

And yet, liberals in America keep saying we should listen to Europe’s criticisms. Tell you what, when they actually establish civil liberties over there, I’ll listen to what they have to say about civil liberties over here.

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