The British Historian David Irving has been jailed for 3 years in Austria for denying that the Holocaust ever took place. Denying the Holocaust is obviously a stupid thing for any historian to do, even Irving has since admitted that he was wrong. However jailing him is a little embarassing for Europe after the recent furror in the media over the Muhammad cartoon protests.
It seemed every commentator and journalist was quick to jump to the defense of freedom of speech and to condemn the muslim world for protesting. Now they have to consider a situation where someone has been jailed for saying something many of them probably found offensive and 6 months ago most of them would probably have agreed with the jailing. We should now ask why does a cartoonist in Denmark have more rights to express his opinions than David Irving? Freedom of speech is rarely the black and white issue we would like it to be. Irving was an idiot, the Danish cartoonist was also an idiot, but both of them have the right to be idiots, just as we have the right to ignore them.
In a similar manner to the way the protests against the cartoons raised their profile internationally, would many people have even heard of Irving had he not faced a trial and now jail for what he said? Sometimes we should just ignore the radicals and let them wither away when denied the light of publicity.