From the BBC: Holocaust denier Irving is jailed
British historian David Irving has been found guilty in Vienna of denying the Holocaust of European Jewry and sentenced to three years in prison.
He had pleaded guilty to the charge, based on a speech and interview he gave in Austria in 1989.
First, people like David Irving and Fred Phelps, the professional haters, deserve anonymity. Any and all reference should be eliminated from memory. Their existence pollutes thought.
Having said that, the Austrian law is wrong. The existence of this law in Austria and a similar law in Germany are understandable, but they are an exemption to free speech, and they provide fuel for Muslim extremists and anti-Semitic elements. These exceptions are the reason for the call for Holocaust cartoons in Iran.
Free speech has to be just that. If you are not willing to defend your enemy's right to say hateful things, you don't really believe in free speech on a practical level. This is why the ACLU will defend Nazis and Rush Limbaugh, they believe in everyone's rights, not just those that agree with them.
On an intellectual level I believe in free speech. On a personal level I wouldn't be unhappy if certain people fell face first into a fire ant mound.