The Myth of Natural Rights and Other Essays

A Review
Published: 2008-01-01

The Myth of Natural Rights and Other Essays by L.A. Rollins Nine-Banded Books, Charleston, WV, 2008. 303pp. The Myth of Natural Rights and Other Essays may be purchased from: http://www.ninebandedbooks.com

This is the updated version of Mr. Rollins earlier work. While I briefly debunked Rollins’ debunking of natural rights on Amazon.com, my focus here is on his attack on Holocaust revisionism. I don’t think that Rollins much milder criticism of the conventional Holocaust view adds anything to what revisionists from Rassinier to Faurisson to Rudolf have already made so I will ignore it in this review.

Rollins asserts that the compilation of revisionist pioneer Paul Rassinier’s work in Debunking The Genocide Myth, published by the Institute for Historical Review (IHR) in 1978, “contains enough falsehoods to choke a correspondent for The National Enquirer.” As John Edwards and others can vouch, The National Enquirer is often right on the money. But for all of Rollins hyperbole, he is only able to list three “serious errors,” two of which are utterly trivial. Rassinier wrote that Hannah Arendt wrote that three million Polish Jews were massacred on the first day of the war when Arendt actually wrote that those three million were massacred in the first days of the war. Note the wording here, “days,” not weeks. So she was claiming that in the first days after the war begun this crime took place. One to seven days. Arendt’s claim is absurd but this hardly constitutes a “serious error” on Rassinier’s part.

Rassinier claimed that Raul Hilberg wrote that 1.4 million Jews were exterminated by the Einsatzgruppen when you added up the totals per Hilberg’s reasoning. On this “serious error” Rollins ends up agreeing with Rassinier. Hilberg based the dubious 900,000 figure on alleged Einsatzgruppen reports and then added 250,000 more persons for “gaps in sources,” which Rollins acknowledges Rassinier correctly states.

The remaining 250,000 persons Rassinier claimed Hilberg added for “omissions,” while Hilberg wrote were based on “other fragmentary reports.” As Hilberg’s work was debunked at length by Rassinier and later by Jürgen Graf, this is a meaningless distinction. These are not serious errors.

The only valid criticism of Rassinier that Rollins makes is Rassinier’s misquote of Sal Baron’s statement of April 24, 1961 that “700,000” Polish Jews remained in 1945 when the actual figure was 73, 955. Apparently Rassinier gave Baron’s first name as Shalom and the date as April 4, two relatively trivial points that Rollins jumps on.

Rollins implies that IHR was trying to put something over on all of us by publishing Rassinier’s works. In the 1978 IHR edition I own, titled The Holocaust Story and the Lies of Ulysses, Mark Weber has included an afterword acknowledging the error on Baron as well as a few other much more minor errors. Weber notes that Rassinier would be the first to correct them if he were alive. It could be that Rassinier made a typo of rounding off the 73,000 figure to 700,000 instead of 70,000.

Maybe he deliberately falsified it or maybe due to failing health in old age he was not as careful as he should have been. The reader can judge for himself. But based on the great preponderance of valuable information that Rassinier provides we can agree with Robert Faurisson that he indeed made a great original contribution to our understanding of the Shoah business. Something that Rollins will never be accused of.

Austin App’s monograph was not a helpful addition to Holocaust revisionism because of its emotional tone alone but even here Rollins focuses on petty nonessentials. App quoted Hanson Baldwin of The New York Times writing in 1948 that there were 18 and 19 million Jews in the world. Rollins asserts that Baldwin wrote of the world, not in the world. Wow ! What a scoop ! Baldwin wrote that the Jewish world population was estimated to be 15-18 million. An error on App’s part but not a substantive one. Verrall is similarly criticized for misquoting Baldwin’s figures as 15,600.000 to 18, 700,00. Any error is wrong but again this is trivial. Finally App is criticized for attributing to the extreme Zionist writer Ben Hecht a statement actually made by one of Hecht’s fictional characters. An error to be sure but being familiar with Hecht’s views I can well believe that the sentiment alleged by App accurately reflects Hecht’s own views. Rollins quotes the old Communist Morris Kominsky’s disapproval of App here. Kominsky’s The Hoaxers is an unrelenting apologia for the many tens of millions murdered by the Soviets and Mao as well as an attack on any questioning of the Shoah tale. Rollins never mentions Kominsky’s Communism and total apologia for same, a rather serious omission.

I’m not familiar with the Udo Walendy booklet that Rollins quotes though I have read one book by him on World War Two and was favorably impressed. But he indicts Walendy en toto on one word on page 7 of his booklet. Walendy quoting a wartime UK propagandist changed the word “subversive” into “atrocity.” I agree he shouldn’t have done this but this casts in doubt everything Walendy writes ? So writes Rollins. Rollins total credibility by HIS standards is in doubt because of the Kominsky omission alone.

On page 169 of his book, Rollins dismisses the great historian, David L. Hoggan, with an obscenity. Hoggan authored probably the greatest diplomatic revisionist account of the origins of World War Two, reprinted by IHR as The Forced War. In this massive tribute to scholarship based on his 1948 PhD thesis under William Langer there are some errors but a great many more truths as I can testify from reading both the thesis and the book.

The Myth Of The Six Million was a private manuscript that Hoggan did not intend for publication and it was done without his permission. There are errors which Arthur Butz noted but there is also much valuable material therein. It was the first introduction to Holocaust revisionism for many of us. As usual Rollins dismisses Hoggan’s work en toto without even a semblance of balance. He doesn’t even discuss in detail the monograph’s faults but dismisses Hoggan himself with an obscenity and this is surely what the shrinks call projection. Hoggan knew that Reitlinger was not a revisionist and that Reitlinger regarded key parts of Höss’s testimony as hopelessly untrustworthy. In a lengthy discussion I had with David Hoggan on the Stanford campus in January, 1973 he made it very plain that his monograph was a rough first draft only and was not to be published until he could provide full documentation as he did for The Forced War.

On Dr. James J. Martin, I need to state for the record that Jim and I were very good friends and correspondents for almost twenty years, 1971-1990. We never had a falling out but I became preoccupied with other things and let our friendship lapse, which I very much regret. A few years ago I reread all of his letters which was an absorbing educational experience unto itself. Then I reread American Liberalism and World Politics, 1931-1941, two massive, very well written volumes. Rollins starts with a factual error in his writing on Martin. The IHR revisionist conference was held on the Labor Day weekend of 1979, not 1974 as Rollins writes. For a guy who upbraids Rassinier for being 20 days off (see above) he is five years off here !

Rollins quotes Martin writing in an obscure libertarian publication that the Communists played a major role in the whole Holocaust legend. This is on its face absolutely correct as the gas chamber stories had been discredited as regards Germany by the 1960s. I distinctly remember a Turk on the Joe Payne TV show in 1966 claiming that he had seen gas chambers in a German camp and a representative of the Jewish Agency called him a liar. I also recall hearing many people over the years claim there were both six million Jews and six million non-Jews exterminated in Poland where the alleged extermination was taking place. I don’t know who started this but that the Communists were the main beneficiaries of it in Europe cannot be doubted. The booklet that Martin quotes seems ambiguous enough as to leave room for honest doubt. Rollins doesn’t appear interested in nuance or giving any benefit of the doubt to people who have done immense intellectual work such as Martin, Hoggan and Rassinier. Considering what these folks have done as compared with Rollins’ rather modest efforts ought to inspire more caution in him.

It was only after the fall of the Soviet bloc that revised figures appeared at the Auschwitz camp. It had been four million for decades, even J. Edgar Hoover in 1958 wrote of four million Jews exterminated at Auschwitz in his Masters Of Deceit. I understand the Polish Historical Society now gives a figure of 750,000 while the camp sign states over a million. As far as Martin citing Dr. Broszat as a source on the German camps there’s nothing wrong with that precisely because Broszat made an admission against interest there. You can even say that he partially recognizes the truth. Rollins presents a false 'all or nothing' dichotomy here. You have to believe everything Broszat said or nothing at all. As far as Martin slighting the confessions of Gerstein, Kramer, et al, that would be difficult because they have been exposed as flagrant perjurers by Rassinier initially and then others. Höss was captured by the British but then in a nasty bit of double dealing was turned over to the Soviets in Poland where he was coerced, tortured and executed. Martin never claimed that the Communists were the only beneficiaries of what later came to be called the Holocaust but that they were great beneficiaries of same for 45 years after the year and were the main promoters of the legend in Europe.

The people who created the Gulag in the USSR and helped install Mao’s murderous regime in China invented the Holocaust. This does not preclude other liars in the so-called western democracies, the organized Jewish community and others across the political spectrum who have their axes to grind here. Martin was skeptical of the value of much government documentation but preferred it to perjuring witnesses and hysterical testimony which was common at all the trials in 1945 as well as Frankfurt in 1963-64, Eichmann in 1961, Demjanjuk in the late 80s, etc. The Nation critic who accused Rassinier of documentitis was sore because he couldn’t refute what Rassinier wrote. It reminds me of Tom Wicker’s criticism of Noam Chomsky that his media books were too well documented !

On the Majdanek concentration camp, the reader is referred to the book, Concentration Camp Majdanek by Jürgen Graf and Carlo Mattogno, which demolishes the idea of mass exterminations via gas or shootings. Rollins believes a good case can be made for mass exterminations at Majdanek but Graf and Mattogno put the lie to this. Rollins ignores the fact that the testimony of Höss, Stangl, Kramer, Gerstein, Broad, Kremer, Hoettl, Wislicency, Ohlendorf and others have been thoroughly challenged and discredited by revisionists.

Contrary to Rollins assertion, there is a heavy monopoly of falsehood on the conventional side, which is not to say that there have not been unsavory characters in the revisionist ranks such as David McCalden. Revisionists such as myself were libeled in his newsletter to which I responded vigorously.

But Rollins agnostic position is as untenable here as it is in the religious area. Just as proponents of the existence of a God have to prove their positive assertion so do proponents of the Holocaust. We atheists in both areas don’t have to prove anything and are entitled to remain atheists as long the positive claims are unproved. Even David Hume admitted that his epistemological agnosticism would to insanity or suicide if practiced consistently (see History of Western Philosophy by Bertrand Russell.) There is a brief, rather juvenile letter to Allah sprinkled with the profanity that is part of Mr. Rollins persona. It’s supposed to take some great courage to attack Islam ?

Rollins in his "Lucifer’s Lexicon" describes Holocaust Revisionism as a “Historic pornography. A thought crime against humanity” and Holocaust Revisionist as “One who denies that he is a denier.” Rollins is obviously no supporter of Holocaust revisionism and that he is a columnist of a new internet revisionist publication is as mystifying as Mark Weber remaining head of IHR. With friends like this we don’t need enemies.

A final comment on the central premise of Rollins book where he selectively quotes Ayn Rand. In "The Objectivist Ethics" (reprinted in The Virtue of Selfishness) Rand states: “The source of man’s rights is not divine law or congressional law, but the law of identity. A is A and Man is Man. Rights are conditions of existence required by man’s nature for his proper survival.” At length Rand refutes Rollins anti-natural rights position almost half a century ago. Rollins takes the fanatically statist position that rights don’t exist unless the state recognizes them and since states often don’t, then they can’t exist. As Rand correctly points out where a gun begins, morality ends. That is why physical force should be restricted to retaliatory force against those initiate force or fraud (an indirect form of force.) I’m tempted to go on at great length here but this may not be the right venue.

I’m glad Mr. Rollins has left the revisionist ranks and I trust others of like mind will follow him. I’d have to characterize Mr. Rollins’ work here in the same manner that William F. Buckley, Jr., characterized a 1961 Papal Encyclical: “A venture in triviality.”


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Author(s): Michael Hardesty
Title: The Myth of Natural Rights and Other Essays, A Review
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Published: 2008-01-01
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