What Smith Is Doing and Why?
Published: 1995-07-19

First it was one thing then another and so on until one day I decided I wanted to make an effort to encourage open debate on the Holocaust controversy. That was more than ten years ago. It's been an uphill pull ever since. Why I should have committed myself to such an enterprise remains one of the mysteries of my modest life.

At first I didn't know how to go about it, I had no experience promoting ideas to the public, so I tried one thing then another. Newsletters, radio and TV interviews, interviews and opinion pieces for the print press, you name it and I tried it. I was a one-man band. I even published a couple small books. Running advertisements in student newspapers at important universities calling for open debate, particularly on the gas chamber stories, has been my most notorious gambit.

So here I am now, taking my show to the Internet. There are those who claim that holocaust revisionism is the great intellectual adventure of the final years of the 20th century. I wouldn't put it that way. In public discourse, intellectual freedom is always the great adventure, no matter the subject to hand. I have nothing new or even interesting to say about intellectual freedom. All I have to say about it is that I think it should be encouraged, not discouraged, even with respect to the holocaust story.

Professors and media intellectuals are disdainful of my quest for an authentic exchange of ideas about an issue that, in their view, was incontrovertibly settled at the moment of its conception. They demonstrate a need to believe that is stupifyingly common among intellectual elites everywhere. One only has to recall the will to believe, in our own century, of those numberless intellectuals who served Stalin, Hitler and Mao and who today serve a host of other tyrants to know that intellectuals as a class can not be trusted.

The percentage of holocaust historians in particular who argue against intellectual freedom with respect to their own specialization is richly comic. They appear to fear that intellectual freedom promises something to "revisionists" it does not promise to themselves. I want to reassure these historians, and those intellectuals who are afraid of going down with them, that intellectual freedom does not make different promises to different people. It's not a different strokes for different folks kind of thing. Intellectual freedom makes exactly the promise to establishment historians it makes to everyone else — more and more, and more, of itself.

This Website then does not address the concerns of intellectuals as a class but individuals in every walk of life, young and old, highly schooled and unschooled, who feel that something is wrong with how the story of the Jewish "genocide" is promoted in media and on campus. Something wrong with how the story is used as a tool to argue against intellectual freedom and manipulate public discourse on other issues. And most particularly, something wrong with how we are told it is hateful to express skepticism about those things we doubt, as if the role of the skeptic were not necessary to high culture in the final years of this century.

Finally, there are those who protest that an authentic open debate on the holocaust controversy might prove to be bad for Jews. For my part, I can not imagine a shallower or more bigoted assumption. Free inquiry and open debate will be good for Jews for exactly the reasons they are good for the rest of us. In any event, why should they not be?

© 19 September 1995

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Author(s): Bradley R. Smith
Title: What Smith Is Doing and Why?
Published: 1995-07-19
First posted on CODOH: Sept. 15, 2000, 7 p.m.
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