Is criminalisation an effective way of eradicating fascism?

The co-chair of the German Green Party tells Free Speech Debate that fascist ideologies cannot be banned and must be confronted in a democratic way.

Claudia Roth, co-chair of the German Green Party, says that government encroachments into the internet often go too far and display a lack of understanding about how the technology works. On privacy, which is deeply embedded in German law, she expects “informational self-determination” even on the internet. “Freedom is important but the freedom to have one’s data protected is equally important,” she says. The second half of the interview focuses on Holocaust denial, which is criminalised in Germany. Roth concedes that criminalisation is not an effective way of eradicating fascist ideologies: “You can’t ban thoughts. Rather, one has to confront them in a democratic way.”

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Comments (3)

Automated machine translations are provided by Google Translate. They should give you a rough idea of what the contributor has said, but cannot be relied on to give an accurate, nuanced translation. Please read them with this in mind.

  1. To make this more like a real case study, I’d like to introduce you to the case of Marcel Woell in 2008. As a councillor in a small German town, Woell recommended in council that the town should no longer pay for pupil’s tours to “places of so called national socialist terror” (namely, Auschwitz or Treblinka) . For this use of “so called” he was comdemned to four months in prison.
    Rightly or wrongly?

  2. After I read the Interview, I think that Ms. Roth said in no way that she wants more freedom, only that suppression isn’t sufficient to eradicate Holocaust denial etc.
    You might conclude that, in order to “eradicate” such ideas effectively, you need debates, and debate requires free speech – but Ms. Roth doesn’t think so far.

  3. I’m completely perplexed as I’ve never read in German media that Ms. Roth thinks something like that.
    By the way, § 130 StGB doesn’t only punish Holocaust denial, but has been extended about every five years and comprehends today also Holocaust doubt, Holocaust downplaying (meaning Pro-Lifers or Animal Protectors who compare abortion or slaughtering to the Holocaust) and a lot of other things.

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