Doutré’s Last Words

Martin Doutré has had his last words, and they seem to be `Holocaust Denier1.’

As for David Irving, it was generally accepted worldwide that he was the most astute, prolific, all-round scholar and historian on the subject of WWII, at least up until May, 1988, when he made a very bad career choice. At that time he was called upon to give expert testimony, under oath, in a court case and stated that he could find no documented evidence of “Hitler’s Final Solution”. For this unforgivable admission, he fell foul of the Zionists who, thereafter, focused their hatred on him and have been unrelenting in trying to destroy his credibility ever since.

What is interesting about this (aside from the fact that he seems to be morally repugnant for reasons other than mere racism) is that he is rooting for the underdog, researchers like himself who are `unfairly’ maligned by the general populace and the academic `left.’ People like David Irving and Joel Haywood dare to say the correct thing and get slammed for it. It’s not as if they end up asserting falsehoods or supporting unwarranted conclusions.

Of course, the difference between Doutré and someone like Irving is that Irving should (and probably) does know better. Doutré is unqualified and shows a lack of critical thinking skills. Irving was a highly-respected academic whose early works were greatly acclaimed. Irving was an historian whose early works earnt him some respect. However, he then used, and I stressed `used’ here, his data to advance a series of controversial and contentious claims that did not fit the evidence. When he was called on this he did not do the intellectual and rational thing, which was to admit that he was wrong in his inferences (and note here that I’m giving Irving the benefit of the doubt when it comes to whatever personal motivations he might have had); no, he stuck to them and accused others of conspiring to hide the truth of the Holocaust.

Two things2:

1. Doutré commits the lesser of two evils. He is a self-educated man writing on issues he would appear to be genuinely passionate about. Some of his mistakes in reasoning are understandable; Thor Heyerdahl was, for a while, thought to be in the ballpark when it came to discussions of how Polynesia was settled. There is something to the Diffusionist thesis (but it is nowhere near as strong as Doutré makes it out to be). A lot of the material he half-arsedly considers is complex and hard to explain in soundbites. You can, I think, understand why people like Doutré exist; he is genuinely and fundamentally confused about some really deep and complex issues to do with History. I’m sure we all have similar foibles.

Most of us, however, don’t try to write books and make publicity out of it, though.

Doutré does not advance his thesis because he is a cunning and malevolent mastermind trying to undermine the indigenous people of the Pacific. He does it because he knows no better.

Tragic, really.

2. Doutré does what a lot of Conspiracy Theorists do; he aggregates Conspiracy Theories and he does it with the sorting mechanism of choosing underdogs. I wonder what his view on Intelligent Design is, given his reference to `Christendom’ in his reply to Edward on the Scoop Review of Books. This became especially apparent when started defending Holocaust Denial; he’s putting all the alternative historians into the same boat and thus ending up with strange bedfellows (boat, beds; I’m mixing metaphors like its 1812 again). It’s also interesting how he doesn’t like these bedfellows to be called out for being a bit weird; Irving is merely the man who said there was no explicit document stating the aims and desires of the Final Solution. He’s not the man who has publicly denied the history of the Holocaust. Kerry Bolton is a librarian. He’s not a neo-Nazi.

There is more to say. I’ve still got the `Uncensored’ article to comment on (it’s long and seems to rest upon a statue of the Egyptian god looking a lot like a statue found outside marae) and after that, well, in monthly installments, more articles. So let’s stay in touch.

Update: Scott takes me to task for characterising Doutré as a bit of a fool here. I think he’s largely right, as you can see from my comments there.

Notes

  1. I’ll also accept `Possible Anti-semite.’
  2. Well, three if you add in how, quite remarkably, he seems to ignore my rebuttal of his twenty-nine questions. Obviously answering them makes me well beneath his contempt.

About Matthew Dentith

Author of "The Philosophy of Conspiracy Theories" (Palgrave Macmillan), Matthew Dentith wrote his PhD on epistemic issues surrounding belief in conspiracy theories. He is a frequent media commentator on the weird and the wonderful, both locally and internationally. On occasion he can be caught dreaming about wax lions but, mostly, it is rumoured he works for elements of the New World Order.

5 comments:

  1. and note here that I’m giving Irving the benefit of the doubt when it comes to whatever personal motivations he might have had

    You’re being generous to a fault!

  2. “Irving was a highly-respected academic whose early works were greatly acclaimed.” RLY? Irving has never held an academic position and never completed a university degree. His early works use extensive documentation but their veracity (in such instances as the number of casualites at Dresden) has been questioned.

    I think you are being too generous to Doutre. Anyone who uses the phrase “fell foul of the Zionists” get my Fascist Detector buzzing. Besides, it was Irving who was trying to destroy Lipstadt’s credibility by suing her for libel.

  3. Suddenly struck with doubt I checked Wikipedia, fount of all knowledge (little `k’ definitely intended) and found that some academic historians call him an historian (and thus a kind of academic) and some still respect his early work. Still, maybe I should rephrase my statement as follows:

    “Irving was an historian whose early works earnt him some respect.”

  4. A lot of respect to Matthew for his patience and well considered response to Doutre on the Scoop Review. You points were accurate and well placed, and I couldn’t have put it better myself. In fact I refused to answer his irrelevant questions, but in retrospect I am glad that someone has as, unanswered, they may have misinformed some other readers.

    Cheers,

    Edward

    1. I understand why you did not want to engage him any further; I’ve been in similar arguments where you know that you are not going to be able to convince the opposition (Doutré). We didn’t, but it looks as if we might have swayed Jim, which is good.

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