April 6, 2014

Not Bias, Just Plain Old Hatred

I read a book review in the Wall Street Journal on Profiles in Denial by William Storr about David Irving the notorious Holocaust denier. 

He is a "'revisionist' of all things World War II," but apparently is particularly keen on Holocaust denial, as someone who according to Wikipedia is an "anti-semite, and racist who...promotes neo-Nazism."


The Holocaust denial goes deep for Irving and even upon visiting Majdanek concentration camp, he tells his group "This is a mock-up of a gas chamber. Those cylinders are carbon dioxide not carbon monoxide...There are handles on the inside of these doors," so the prisoners could let themselves out. 


Actually, the door was locked with huge bolts right on the outside and was sealed airtight, but to Irving it's as if these didn't exist. 


The book discusses how cognitive biases such as confirmation biases help people "find confirming evidence for our beliefs, ignoring or rationalizing away all discriminating evidence."


But I think this is really beyond the point with someone like Irving, who according to The Guardian is a discredited British historian and Nazi apologist" and was actually jailed for a "three-year prison sentence in Vienna for denying the Holocaust and the gas chambers of Auschwitz."


The State Prosecutor said of Irving "He's not a historian, he's a falsifier of history...this is about abuse of freedom of speech."


Judge Peter Liebtreau called Irving "a racist, an anti-semite, and a liar."


So this is no simple bias or mind game for Irving, but apparently a convenient way for him to pursue his hatreds under the guise that everything was and is really okay. 


So rather than "Never forget," is is far more beneficial for those that would wish it to happen again that they lull people to believe that it never even was to begin with. 


Interesting that another famous Holocaust denier is no less than Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who claimed the Holocaust, in which six million Jews were murdered, was a "myth" (Washington Post). 


By the way, Ahmadinejad also said "9/11 was an inside job."


People like Irving and Ahmadinejad are not about confirmation bias, but rather about distortion of truth to further their own evil destructive aims.


In the case of Ahmadinejad, it's that he wishes to see Israel be "wiped off the map" (New York Times).


And in the case of Irving, he has said, "there will...probably be another holocaust in the next thirty years...oh, and if the Jews are lucky, there will be a David Irving or Adolf Hitler [may their names be obliterated] to protect them" (The Independent).


Oh, G-d forbid! 


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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2 comments:

Kuba said...

The term 'Poland's Majdanek concentration camp' is incorrect and offensive. The German Nazis established the 'concentration camps' on occupied Polish soil. The camps were not Polish as implied by the statement. Please correct the error.

Yvonne Kowalczewski said...

Neither Majdanek nor any other World War 2 camp was "Poland's", only the victims were. Polish Christians comprised the second largest group of victims in the German camps in Occupied Poland. Interesting that there is no mention of the perpetrators -- Germany -- in the article.