Under the same link as in the previous post, Marcel Berlins puts forward a rather strange argument. Pooh-poohing the fuss, as he construes it, that so many people have been making about freedom of expression lately, he sets himself to analyzing the David Irving affair without reference to that. This is how his analysis goes:
The Austrians go as far as making Holocaust denial a crime. Given their history, they do so partly for symbolic reasons, but also because they fear that allowing people to disseminate big lies could have repercussions for public order and the well-being of the nation. I do not presume to tell them otherwise. They decided to bring Irving to trial because it was in the interests of their nation to do so. That is the correct criterion to apply. Of course there will be instances where a country takes action wholly disproportionate to the ill it is purporting to combat; Irving's case is surely not an example of such overreaction. Austria was entitled, and right, to bring Irving to justice, and they should not be judged by others poring over the small print of the nebulous and uncertain right called freedom of expression.The strange argument: 'I do not presume to tell them otherwise'; and 'they should not be judged by others poring over... etc.' It's a non-starter. (Did you ever hear 'I do not presume to tell the Americans otherwise'?) It's a non-starter unless you hold to the indefensible thesis that one should never comment from outside on the internal affairs of another country. Berlins himself plainly doesn't hold to this thesis, since he immediately goes on to say that the Austrians have correctly judged their interests as a nation.
Furthermore, implicit in what he goes on to say there is a reference to freedom of expression and its limits, despite Berlins' disclaimer. By invoking possible 'repercussions for public order' he is suggesting a quite standard reason why the argument from free expression should not prevail in the present case. The same sort of consideration can be found in the first letter here (from Stephen Games - and while you're at it, you might enjoy reading the last letter), the leader here and - most explicitly of all - in the piece by David Cesarani here. The argument is that the free speech case against imprisoning Irving fails because Holocaust denial goes beyond mere opinion; it is, in effect, incitement. Cesarani:
At a time when anti-semitism is on the rise, tolerating Holocaust denial is like allowing a man to shout fire in a crowded theatre.That case can, of course, be argued. But it needs to be. When merely asserted, it looks rather thin - and in danger of so expanding the notion of incitement as to rob free speech norms of their force.