Anti-bigotry bigotry… or swatting gnats with howitzers

Let me join in the chorus of outrage over the conviction of Holocaust-Denier and All-Around-Prick David Irving, convicted by an Austrian court of the crime of Holocaust denial, and sentenced to three years in prison.
For one thing, the timing is wonderfully outrageous: while Europeans insist that their honorary first-class citizens, the Jews, are worthy of sufficient respect so as to criminalize the kind of speech that understates suffering at the hands of the Third Reich, Europeans insist that their new second-class citizens, their Moslem immigrant population, just grin and bear speech (or cartoons, anyway) that they find mortally offensive. Let’s just say that if one wants to stoke resentment among yon second-class citizens, the message won’t be lost…
Hopefully, an Austrian appeals court will have the good sense to strike down this nonsense, and if not, maybe Irving will take his case to the European Court of Human Rights at Strasbourg.
Here’s the thing: if Irving were hit by a bus, I’d probably snicker. But human rights and constitutional rights are something that we have to pay our dues for. They have to be there for David Irving, or Jose Padilla, or, Rush Limbaugh… or Saddam Hussein… or Dick Cheney (that would be THE SAME rights as the rest of us, and not MORE, of course.) That means “bad people”, be they accused criminals, killers, drug abusers… or Holocaust deniers… have to be afforded rights. Even if it might feel better to punish them. Because, otherwise, if one of us finds ourselves in the dock, we may as well be in Soviet Moscow or Communist Beijing.
This is why we have constitutional principles broader than what “the people would vote for,” such as the current elected dictator model the Bush Administration believes the government is. Because David Irving would doubtless be convicted by majority vote just about anywhere… for one, he pleaded guilty to “the crime”. Of course, having done so, one wonders if his appeals still lie… we’ll see.