Restricting Brenton Tarrant’s The Great Replacement

A censorious and censoring attitude has engulfed responses to the mental airings of the Christchurch shooter.  Material in connection with Brenton Tarrant, the alleged gunman behind the killing of 50 individuals at two mosques in New Zealand, is drying up; his manifesto, for one, is being disaggregated and spread through multiple forms, removed from their various parts with blunt razors.  Doing so does a disservice to any arguments that might be mounted against him, but having a debate is not what this is generally about.

Arguments on banning the incendiary and dangerous are easily mounted against a range of publications. The smutty supposedly corrupt public morals; the revolutionary supposedly give citizens strange and cocksure ideas about overthrowing the order of things. Then there are just the downright bizarre and adventurous, incapable of classification, but deemed dangerous for not falling into any clear category.  Certitude is fundamentally important for the rule-directed censor and paper shuffling bureaucrat.

One example stands out, a testament to the failure of such efforts and the misunderstandings and distortions that follow. Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf, as a stellar case, was banned in Germany after the Second World War.  In January 2016, it was republished on the expiry of copyright held by the Bavarian government.  As Steven Luckert remarked in The Atlantic at the time, “the history of the book, and of Hitler’s words more generally, demonstrates…

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