What is the Faurisson Debate, What Does It Mean?June 26, 2021
At the beginning of the 1980s, a discussion environment arose in France.
The reason seems to be that Chomsky asked Serge Thion for a justification in the fall of 1979 regarding the Holocaust that took place in 1978 and the French literature professor Robert Faurisson’s demand for the defense of freedom of speech. In 1978 and 1979, Faurisson published articles in Le Monde denying the existence of gas stoves used in the genocide. He was subsequently sentenced to a three-month sentence and fined 21,000 francs for his defamatory and incitement to hatred of foreign races.
Chomsky, who is of Jewish ancestry, knew that he was striving for freedom of speech, even though his views on the Holocaust were at odds with those of Faurisson and he knew that Faurisson was anti-Semitic and Neo-Nazi. Later, Chomsky realized that one can sometimes strive for the ‘ugliest thoughts’ for free speeches, and this is a century old principle. Below is a small excerpt from his book about this idea.
“For years, even centuries, the right to free expression of thought must be consistently defended, especially when it comes to dreadful ideas; it is quite easy to defend the right of free expression on behalf of those who have never sought it.” Chomsky used these phrases in his texts on freedom of speech. He has given free use permission to anyone who will use it as a preface for his book. This attitude created new sensations and was condemned by Faurisson. Also, historian Pierre Vidal-Naquet additionally accused Chomsky. He also accused Faurisson of responding disrespectfully to Chomsky’s allegations.
Chomsky’s Acceptance in Germany
Chomsky’s political writings on conflicts between states were first published in Germany by Suhrkamp Publications; however, Chomsky’s writings have not been republished there since the 1980s. Chomsky completely disappeared from the horizon of the dominant culture as a policy critic in Germany to re-emerge in the late 1990s. Chomsky has also gained acceptance in America, comparable to Europe. He wrote articles for some small left-wing newspapers such as Schwarzer Faden and Dinge Der Zeit until he again attracted media attention with his movements against globalization and his books were published all over Europe.
Chomsky’s Linguistic Studies, particularly his Call to Wilhelm von Humboldt in the Cartesian language, received intense criticism from philosophical and historical authorities soon after its publication.
In addition to his dissenting views on Linguistics studies and America’s foreign policies, Chomsky kept close contacts with Turkey and gave seminars because of his book “American Interventionism”, which was published and confiscated in Turkey.
Selections from awards
1984 American Psychological Organization Award for Scientific Contribution
1988 Kyoto prize
1996 Berlin-Brandenburg Science award
2004 Carl- von – Ossietzky prize for contemporary history and Oldenburg politics
2005 Worldwide intellectual award
006 Uppsala University PhD Award
Prepared by: Sociologist Ömer YILDIRIM
Source: Omer YILDIRIM’s Personal Lecture Notes. Atatürk University Sociology Department 1st Year “Introduction to Philosophy” and 2nd, 3rd, 4th Grade “History of Philosophy” Lecture Notes (Ömer YILDIRIM); Open Education Philosophy Textbook