The Simon Wiesenthal Center has a long and somewhat noble history
of tracking down escaped Nazi war criminals, with the exception
of those who got good jobs with NASA. ("Oh, come let me tell
you of Wernher Von Braun
"). But, now, fifty years after
the end of the war, the War Criminal supply has started to dwindle;
those few not moldering in unmarked graves in some god-forsaken
South American cesspool are moldering in nursing homes in equally
god-forsaken places like Florida, and frankly, charging into Shady
Vale Rest Home (conveniently located next door to Shady Vale Cemetery)
and hauling out some octogenarian drooling on his shoes doesn't
make for good copy.
Now, in a fair world, the Center would just disband. After all,
it was started to find Nazi war criminals; it's found most of
them and the rest won't live long enough to make a good show at
their trials - might as well just say, "We done good",
and go home, right?
After all, the Center is a massive non-profit organization that
employs lots of people and provides countless thousands with a
good tax write off! It can't go out of business, just because
there are no more remnants of the Third Reich hiding in Bolivia!
Like nearly all do-gooder organization, the organization has become
an end in itself.
But you can't say that. You can't send letters to people,
asking them for money, and not have some good excuse. So what
to do, what to do, what to do
Easy. Do what everyone does. Invent a new enemy.
And there's a perfect one out there, too. The Internet. A massive
anarchy composed entirely of pedophiles, geeky Star Trek fans
--- and neo-fascists. Sen. Exon is hunting down the pedophiles,
the Star Trek fans are (mostly) harmless, so that leaves the neo-fascists
for the Wiesenthal Center to go on about. And go on they do.
Before I go too much further, let me clear one issue up. I'm Jewish,
and reasonably proud of my ancestry. My ancestors were chased
out of every decent country in Europe, came here with nothing
more than half a name (don't you love Ellis Island?), and still
managed to do quite all right for themselves. My people are survivors,
and that's a good thing. And in an ideal, sane, world, my ancestry
wouldn't matter. Truth should be truth, no matter who speaks it.
But we do not live in a sane world. It takes a Thomas Sowell,
or even a Louis Farrakhan, to point out that the welfare system
is murdering blacks. Only a woman is allowed to defend the right
of people to produce and view pornography. Only a homosexual can
criticize the AIDS establishment. And, of course, only a Jew is
permitted to critique such things as the Wiesenthal Center.
Back to the Center, then. While they might have begun by hunting
down war criminals, they are now engaged in the vigorous
pursuit of thought criminals
and thus, have become
little better than the fascists they claim to be fighting.
Recently, the Center sent a letter to nearly all the major online
services and Internet access providers, urging them to stop allowing
people who promoted "hatred" to use their systems. It's
not censorship, they say, no no - every private provider has a
right to decide who to allow access to. This is true. Calls for
boycotts and denial of service are, indeed, protected speech.
And so is calling those who do such things book-burning censors,
which is precisely what I am calling those in charge of Wiesenthal
Center, and, by inference, those who continue to support them.
The answer to wrong ideas - ALWAYS - is better ideas. There is
nothing stopping the Wiesenthal Institute from putting up their
own web page (which they have) and having people post to Usenet
debunking Neo-Nazi lies (which they do). Were they to stop there,
I'd have no comment.
But they do not stop there. It seems that while you can rebuke
people directly on Usenet (and, indeed, the bulk of the posts
in revisionist or 'white power' newsgroups are such rebukes),
you can't do so as easily on the web. There are people saying
things on the web the Center doesn't like, and I've yet to meet
a censor who can sleep nights knowing there is something outside
of his control.
What is especially chilling is their reason, stated quite openly:
With the advent of the Internet, and especially of the Web, free
speech has suddenly become real. It was of no concern to allow
your random loon to run off a few flyers and hand them out on
street corners, so long as he was kept away from television, radio,
major publishing houses, newspapers, etc. Free speech is fine
-so long as you can prevent speaker from reaching audience. But
now, thanks to the web, EVERYONE has equal access to the same
audience. My web page can reach as many people as the Center's.
So can Aryan Nation's. And that really scares those who like to
think they run things, such as Sen. Exon, or think they should
be running things, such as the Center.
So the Center is going out and "requesting" that services
such as AOL and Netcom stop providing space to any organization
the Center doesn't approve of. It's obvious that they aren't going
to stop with "requests". If the Exon bill passes, and
it most likely will, the next step is going to be banning so-called
"hate speech" on the Internet, along with stiff penalties
for anyone who dares to hold an opinion not government approved
and FCC licensed. The anarchy of the net will end. There will
be order. A New Order.
Sound familiar? I thought it might.
Addendum: I was going to post the above as is, but I am a fair-minded
fellow, and willing to grant the benefit of the doubt. If a representative
from the Wiesenthal Center contacts me, and send me a certified,
notarized document stating that the Center, and any group it is
affiliated with, supports, funds, or receives funding from, will
fight fully and without reservation any laws, in America or anywhere
else the Center operates, that would impose any form of criminal
or civil penalty for any form of expression, regardless of its
nature or the medium used, then I will retract my above statements
and issue a full and public apology. Also in this document must
be included a binding contract, fully certified by an attorney,
that should the Center violate this promise, they will donate
the sum of $100,000.00 (One hundred thousand) (in 1996 dollars)
to any organization or organizations of my choice.
Addendum Deux:Even if the Center does not wish to agree to my
generous offer, I will, in the interest of free speech, place
a link to any commentary or rebuttal to the above on my web page,
so that anyone who reads this document can get "the other
side" with just a mouse click, on the sole condition that
my page is reciprocally linked. Unlike Rabbi Cooper, I
believe that free debate is superior to suppression of dissenting
The closest thing to a reply to those who point out the censorship tactics of the SWC is located here.
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