>Just like it did in the Wiemar Republic? Hitler was jailed for the terrible things he said and did. That didn't stop him from gaining power
Every single word in that is a flagrant lie.
The horror of the Holocaust serves as the founding narrative legitimizing European integration, and it's the key motivation for hate-speech laws on the continent. The European Union has called on all its member states to pass laws criminalizing Holocaust denial. This European narrative is based on a widely accepted interpretation of what led to the Holocaust. It basically says that anti-Semitic hate speech was the decisive trigger, that evil words beget evil deeds, that if only the Weimar government had clamped down on the National Socialists' verbal persecution of the Jews in the years prior to Hitler's rise to power, then the Holocaust would never have happened. I was confronted with this argument during the Danish cartoon crisis, in 2006. People condemned the cartoons as Islamophobic, and warned that the demonization of Muslims might trigger mass violence. "We know what happened in the twenties and thirties," critical voices argued, referring to the seemingly inevitable link between speech and violence.
Researching my book, I looked into what actually happened in the Weimar Republic. I found that, contrary to what most people think, Weimar Germany did have hate-speech laws, and they were applied quite frequently. The assertion that Nazi propaganda played a significant role in mobilizing anti-Jewish sentiment is, of course, irrefutable. But to claim that the Holocaust could have been prevented if only anti-Semitic speech and Nazi propaganda had been banned has little basis in reality. Leading Nazis such as Joseph Goebbels, Theodor Fritsch, and Julius Streicher were all prosecuted for anti-Semitic speech. Streicher served two prison sentences. Rather than deterring the Nazis and countering anti-Semitism, the many court cases served as effective public-relations machinery, affording Streicher the kind of attention he would never have found in a climate of a free and open debate. In the years from 1923 to 1933, Der StÃ¼rmer [Streicher's newspaper] was either confiscated or editors taken to court on no fewer than thirty-six occasions. The more charges Streicher faced, the greater became the admiration of his supporters. The courts became an important platform for Streicherâ(TM)s campaign against the Jews. In the words of a present-day civil-rights campaigner, pre-Hitler Germany had laws very much like the anti-hate laws of today, and they were enforced with some vigor. As history so painfully testifies, this type of legislation proved ineffectual on the one occasion when there was a real argument for it.
Reading the history, Hitler's trial for treason was a flagrant failure which devolved right away into a propaganda exercise for Hitler that made him known throughout Germany. The authorities apparently never bothered him about hate speech as far as I can tell and given the consequences of the treason trial, it may have been well that they did not. So in that point, I was incorrect. I had thought that hate speech laws had been applied as part of his trial for treason.
2) No laws had anything to do with Hitler gaining power. Because his gaining of power was entirely extralegal. Contrary to popular belief the NAZIs NEVER won an election. The best they ever did was 11% in 1929. That did, however, gain them some seats in parliament. The conservative government panicked and hoped to appease and quiet the extreme fringe by giving Hitler the presidency. In theory a good move since the presidency was almost entirely a ceremonial role. The president did get to appoint the chancelor but only if the current one resigned, retired or died. Other than that - almost no real power. Except in 1930 the chancelor DID die and the closest thing to a bad law in the entire story was that the constitution did not prohibited the president from appointing himself chancelor - which is what Hitler did. The next day he brutally killed every left-wing politician in parliament. All the conservatives instantly joined the NAZIs for fear of being executed as well. The first pogrom the NAZIs ever did was to rid Germany of socialist politicians.
Hitler was never president of the Wiemar Republic though he tried. That position was won by Hindenburg in 1932 against Hitler. The Nazi party won 37% of the vote for the Reichstag in mid 1932 and lost some ground later that year. But through clever maneuvering, Hitler was appointed Chancellor by Hindenburg at the beginning of 1933. So far everything was nominally legal from Hitler's point of view (sure he had a history of lawbreaking, but he didn't break the law in achieving the position of Chancellor or in his party obtaining and holding for half a year a plurality of seats on the Reichstag). Key lawbreaking had been done by unrelated parties such as deposing the Free State of Prussia, the single largest obstacle to the end of the Wiemar Republic or ongoing violations of the Treaty of Versailles dating back to the early 1920s.
In the next year, up to Hindenburg's death, Hitler consolidated his power with the purge of rivals and an increase in the covert violations of the Treaty of Versailles. Past that point, he became dictator of Germany and so on.
No truth to your claim whatsoever. None of your claims are true. And the Canadian law you are so panicked about isn't even passed yet - and there is nothing abusive about it, just right-wing press idiots like thefederalist making wild claims about how terrible it is with no evidence that it can or will be abused or that there is anything wrong with it.
I cited a example of abuse of existing Canadian hate speech law in my previous post. I don't know how quoting facts of the case could morph into "no truth to your claim whatsoever", but it's not relevant to me.
By the way - the law in South Africa is stricter -and if anything it suffers because the courts are not willing to enforce it strictly enough. Too many people still get away with illegal racism for example.
What's "illegal racism" here? Just because I oppose hate speech laws doesn't mean I oppose all laws against racist behavior. I would support laws against racist hiring practices, harassment in the workplace, or variation in treatment by police and the justice system. These go beyond speech to actually harming people in concrete ways.