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Let me add a final remark about Faurisson's alleged "anti-Semitism." Note first that even if Faurisson were to be a rabid anti-Semite and fanatic pro-Nazi - such charges have been presented to me in private correspondence that it would be improper to cite in detail here - this would have no bearing whatsoever on the legitimacy of the defense of his civil rights. On the contrary, it would make it all the more imperative to defend them since, once again, it has been a truism for years, indeed centuries, that it is precisely in the case of horrendous ideas that the right of free expression must be most vigorously defended; it is easy enough to defend free expression for those who require no such defense.

Some Elementary Comments on The Rights of Freedom of Expression Noam Chomsky Preface to Robert Faurisson, Mémoire en défense, October 11, 1980

Rather, I restricted myself to the civil-liberties issues and the implications of the fact that it was even necessary to recall Voltaire’s famous words in a letter to M. le Riche: "I detest what you write, but I would give my life to make it possible for you to continue to write."

Many writers find it scandalous that I should support the right of free expression for Faurisson without carefully analyzing his work, a strange doctrine which, if adopted, would effectively block defense of civil rights for unpopular views. Faurisson does not control the French press or scholarship. There is surely no lack of means or opportunity to refute or condemn his writings. My own views in sharp opposition to his are clearly on record, as I have said. No rational person will condemn a book, however outlandish its conclusions may seem, without at least reading it carefully; in this case, checking the documentation offered, and so on. One of the most bizarre criticisms has been that by refusing to undertake this task, I reveal that I have no interest in six million murdered Jews, a criticism which, if valid, applies to everyone who shares my lack of interest in examining Faurisson’s work. One who defends the right of free expression incurs no special responsibility to study or even be acquainted with the views expressed. I have, for example, frequently gone well beyond signing petitions in support of East European dissidents subjected to repression or threats, often knowing little and caring less about their views (which in some cases I find obnoxious, a matter of complete irrelevance that I never mention in this connection). I recall no criticism of this stand.

It seems to me something of a scandal that it is even necessary to debate these issues two centuries after Voltaire defended the right of free expression for views he detested. It is a poor service to the memory of the victims of the holocaust to adopt a central doctrine of their murderers.

His Right to Say It Noam Chomsky The Nation February 28, 1981

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