HOMELESS JACK ON IRAN, FREEDOM, INTELLECTUALS, AND THE HOLOCAUST
"Hey," said Homeless Jack as I walked into the greasy spoon where he was nursing a cheap cup of coffee. "I read that Iranian president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is going to put together an international conference on the Holocaust. I also read that a bunch of my fellow intellectuals in France are upset about having their intellectual freedom curtailed when they want to talk about the Holocaust.
"Maybe people are finally starting to wake up to the anti-intellectual craziness that exists in the modern world and are demanding real freedom again.
"You know, man," Jack continued, "I figure that the human brain is to humans what wings are to birds. I mean, our brain is what really makes us different from other critters. And, if we aren't allowed to use our brain to its maximum, we are like birds that have their wings clipped. Something essential about us is gone. We become less human. We become objects.
"And, that's what's been happening in the world for about the last several decades. We humans have been told that we can't question the Holocaust in any way. And, if just one subject, such as the Holocaust, is off limits to intellectuals, then there is no real intellectual freedom at all. Look at the tyranny that is going on in Europe right now. Our fellow humans and intellectuals are routinely persecuted and thrown in jail for saying the most innocuous things about the Holocaust. If a guy says that fewer than six million Jews were killed, he's thrown in jail. If he says that he doesn't think the ovens were large enough, he's thrown in jail. If he even hints that the Holocaust should be honestly studied, he's thrown in jail.
"Look at what's being done to Ernst Zundel and David Irving, to name just two current examples. Can you believe that in 2006 these guys have been thrown in jail for simply questioning something that is supposed to be an historic event? This is Dark Age stuff, man. It's like throwing people in jail for saying the earth isn't flat. It's absolutely outrageous.
"All intellectuals who live in supposed free societies should be questioning everything. Nothing should be closed to our intellectual questioning. Anyone who considers himself or herself an intellectual who isn't outraged about what has happened to Zundel and Irving, isn't an intellectual at all."
"Do you consider yourself an intellectual?" I asked.
"You bet," said Jack without blinking. "I expected you to ask something like that, so I'm ready for you. According to wikipedia, an intellectual is a person who uses his or her intellect to study, reflect, or speculate on a variety of different ideas. That's what I do, man. Thus, I am, by definition, an intellectual. And, I'm happy to stand shoulder to shoulder with my fellow true intellectuals who are fighting against intellectual oppression.
"I know you're probably thinking that maybe the Holocaust is some sort of special case and that it's okay to throw intellectuals in jail for questioning it. If you are thinking that, you're very wrong. If you even think that for a second, then you need to be deprogrammed.
"If you can't grasp the concept of an innate and natural human right to use our brains as we see fit and to communicate our thoughts as we wish, with no outside sovereign or authority to give us this right, then maybe hearing what the United Nations has to say about this will help a little with the deprogramming. According to Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted by the United Nations, General Assembly on December 10, 1948 'Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.'
"Do you see any exception in Article 19, concerning the Holocaust? Does it say 'Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression, except about the Holocaust?' Of course it doesn't say that. That would be absurd. So, why do so many people let themselves be intimidated by bigots and oppressors about this subject?
"It's a basic human right to use our brains and to communicate what we think even if others don't like it, man. We're not anyone's slaves. We don't need anyone's permission to use our brains or communicate. We are free people with free minds. We have every bit as much right to think what we want and to speak out about what we think as anyone else on the planet. Anyone who tries to curtail our freedom is dead wrong and should be thrown in jail, themselves. There can be no justification for clipping our intellectual wings. None. Zero. Zip. Nada.
"And, here's the thing about this, man. Freedom is not something that we must go and beg for. It is ours by dint of our birth. Because we are alive, we are free. You know what they should do over in Germany and France and other places where they are throwing intellectuals in jail for intellectualizing? They should release those intellectuals and throw the bigoted and evil politicians in jail for trampling on the natural rights of man.
"I've been thinking about this stuff, man. Recently, I've been reading about the tyrants who are bombarding people with their goofy propaganda about Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Iranian president, and saying that he's crazy. Now, the guy may be crazy, man. I don't know him. However, the evidence I've seen of his alleged craziness sounds like more blather that we've heard many times before. The real reason Ahmadinejad is being called crazy seems to be that he has the tyrants all upset because he called the Holocaust a myth, and they can't throw him in jail.
"And, if saying the Holocaust is a myth isn't proof enough that the guy is crazy, the tyrants pile on by telling us that Ahmadinejad drives an old car, lives in a modest home, and has little money (read, he can't be bribed, because he doesn't care about wealth).
"I mean, how crazy can one man be? Doesn't he know that he's supposed to want to acquire all sorts of material things? What ever happened to that nice Shah of Iran fellow who took our money and did our bidding and who lived in palaces? Now, there was a really sane guy. There was a guy who had American values.
"The treatment being given Ahmadinejad sounds a little like that which was given to Ayatollah Khomeini when he helped overthrow the money grubbing Shah. As you may remember, Khomeini couldn't be bribed either. He also didn't care about material things. Crazy, crazy, crazy!
"The real problem for the tyrants is that it's difficult to bribe people who don't value material wealth. And, bribes are the way the tyrants and corrupt politicians in the U.S.often work. You want a government contract? Hey, pass the bag full of green under the table. You want a nation attacked? Pass the money.
"Once the bribe is given, we will often see some pompous and phony politician going before the American people with tales about babies being thrown out of cribs by this or that evil madman or about lampshades being made out of human skin by this other madman and about people being turned into bars of soap by yet another madman. And, the gullible American people lap it all up.
"Now the tyrants are peeing in their expensive designer suits, like I told you before, man, because Ahmadinejad is apparently going to host a conference to discuss the Holocaust. How dare he do this? What a lunatic.
"The fact is that any intellectual in the world who doesn't speak out against the bigots and the haters who are stopping free speech and who are persecuting and arresting historians and intellectuals simply because these people have doubts about the Holocaust and want to study it, are not real intellectuals at all. They're ignorant fools. So, please, don't pretend to be an intellectual if you don't demand that people such as David Irving and Ernst Zundel be immediately released and compensated by those haters who have been persecuting them.
"What crime did these guys commit? They used their human brains to do what human brains are made to do. Brains are made to think and wings are made to fly. They questioned things. And, they should keep questioning and they should never let up. Since when is questioning an alleged historic event a crime? Only bigots, tyrants, and oppressors would try to jail the human mind that way, man."
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THREE BOOKS BY HARD TO PIGEONHOLE H. MILLARD
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