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News ::
False Prophets, fake skeptics: Holocaust denial (english)
14 Jul 2003
Modified: 10:51:58 PM
Those who deny Nazi genocide have created a pseudoscience called Holocaust Denial. Whether they are cognizant con artists, or illogical true believers, they distort facts to a desired end in the guise of skepticism.
False Prophets, fake skeptics: Holocaust denial in our time
by Hajime Tokuno, MD
The Connecticut Skeptic Vol.1 Issue 3
Spring 1996

Part I: The political basis for Holocaust Denial

How does a responsible citizen in a free society respond to the man who comes forth to state: "The earth is a flat entity, not spherical, as has been so often proclaimed throughout history." And furthermore he says to you, "Without the benefit of technical data (because I myself do not believe in the utility of such things), prove to me decisively that the world is not flat." You might at first think that he was being ignorant or delusional or irrational. On the other hand, you might also suppose that he knows the truth of the matter but prefers to state otherwise. He perhaps despises the prestige or elitism of modern science and wishes therefore to insult and defy its defenders with outrageous remarks.

Those who deny that there ever was a Nazi genocide of Jews during World War II have used a similar style of arguing. Deniers have subjugated science, in this case historical science, to a political agenda, creating a pseudoscience called Holocaust Denial. Whether they are cognizant con artists, or true believers duped by their own illogic, they distort facts to a desired end in the guise of skepticism. This two part article will examine first the political goals of Holocaust deniers, and then in a subsequent issue will delve into the various strategies of deception.

The Holocaust deniers come from the most extreme fringes of the political spectrum; they are (for now) mainly far right or far left wing demagogues: radical anarchists, so-called "libertarians", extreme "conservatives" and most of all dedicated fascists and neo-Nazis. Not all of them, however, have kept their distance from the mainstream in American politics. David Duke, the former Imperial Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, the founder of the NAAWP [National Association for the Advancement of White People], a self-proclaimed disciple of Adolf Hitler, garnered nearly 40% of the popular vote in Louisiana during his bid to become a United States Senator in the late 1980's. Patrick Buchanan, though not overtly a Holocaust denier, has in his earlier days as a right-wing columnist, cast doubts on certain specifics about the history of the Holocaust and questioned the validity of survivor stories in general. Talk show hosts have regularly invited and interviewed Holocaust deniers and have given them somewhat excessive exposure on daytime TV. Invariably, they have subjected tens of thousands of American viewers to vulgar and abusive campaigns of hate and bigotry...

Hajime Tokuno, M.D., is a Yale Research Fellow and the Attending Neurologist and Director, Neuromuscular Diseases & EEG / EMG Clinics, of the Veterans Administration Medical Center in West Haven, Connecticut.
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Dr. Tokuno Responds (english)
14 Jul 2003
Dear Editor,

Dr. Tokuno's article on Holocaust denial (the Connecticut Skeptic, vol. 1 issues 3-4), scholarly though it is, contains a bothersome statement: that, among others, it is "so-called libertarians" who deny the Holocaust. So-called by whom? If, by "libertarian," he is referring to the Oklahoma City bombing types, then he is correct in fact but misleading with regard to the label. If he means actual libertarians, such as Milton Friedman, Stephen Crane, Doug Bandow, Virginia Postrel, etc., then he is terribly wrong...

Kimball Atwood, M.D.

Dear Dr. Atwood.

Thank you for your response. I was glad to hear your criticism. But first, I am very sorry if I ever implied that libertarians are holocaust deniers. (I do have a newer version of this same article which removes the stated clause).

I certainly did not mean to say such a thing. Nor did I mean to say that Communists are holocaust deniers. In fact, I added the vague phrase "so- called" because I do not know if: 1.) these folks really are libertarian in their overall beliefs and incidentally also practice holocaust denial or 2.) they are only labeling themselves libertarian in order to legitimize their views and associate themselves with the ideas of "free-speech" and "open- mindedness."

...I think that since we allow neo-Nazis to advertise their "substance" on videos, websites and shortwave radio, we should as concerned citizens take initiative to teach whatever we can in all the available forms of modern media to counteract their impact.
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