Monday, July 28, 2014

Did the Libertarian magazine Reason publish holocaust denials?

Mark Ames at Pando has uncovered a 1976 issue of Libertarian flagship publication Reason featuring multiple notorious Holocaust deniers and multiple instances of Holocaust denial. Unsurprisingly, Libertarians have labored to dismiss this discovery as somehow not absolutely horrific.

Have they succeeded? Consider the rapid-response piece penned by Reason editor-in-chief Nick Gillespie: Did Reason Really Publish a "Holocaust Denial 'Special Issue'" in 1976? Of Course Not.

The headline telegraphs a basic problem: Gillespie, on his own terms, has failed to address the most damning criticism. The 1976 issue published multiple Holocaust deniers and multiple instances of Holocaust denial.

This is true however we characterize the issue itself - as a "holocaust denial special issue" or whatever. It's true even if we don't think the Libertarian movement is "a hotbed for pro-apartheid Holocaust deniers who slavishly do the bidding of David and Charles Koch" etcetera. Unfortunately for Libertarians, it's true no matter how much Ames sensationalizes it, and no matter how implausibly Gillespie sensationalizes Ames. It turns out that a 1976 issue of Reason featured multiple holocaust deniers and multiple denials of the holocaust.

Does anything Gillespie say impeach this most damning allegation? His counterpoints, in turn:
  • Reason recently celebrated the legalization of marijuana
  • Reason covers instances of police brutality
  • Reason thinks George W. Bush was a socialist
  • Libertarianism is catching on, even with the lefties
  • Ames is a bad journalist
  • Left-wing academics are skeptical of establishment history narratives
  • The 1976 issue also talked about other things
  • The American left is skeptical of the Koch brothers' role in modern politics
  • The Koch brothers have been heavily involved in promoting Libertarianism
  • Reason won some journalism awards
  • Reason promotes a Libertarian agenda, and maybe you won't agree with all of it, but maybe you'll find some of what they write interesting, and also Mark Ames sucks
Suffice to say that none of this actually contests or even diminishes the fact that Reason published multiple Holocaust deniers and multiple instances of Holocaust denial. I have, of course, skipped one crucial sentence:

Ames is correct that some of the contributors to that issue developed an interest in or were fellow travelers with that most pathetic area of study known as Holocaust revisionism or denialism.

This isn't really a counterpoint, either.