And by somewhat edgier territory, I’m referring to the excerpt of, and link to, this post by David Clemens, which is about critical thinking in regards to holocaust denial. Here’s Clemens’s conclusion:
The application of critical thinking’s processes and methodological objectivity simply won’t permit [granting any legitimacy to Holocaust denial].
But looking at David Henderson’s post, that isn’t obvious. Here’s the beginning of Henderson’s excerpt:
Since students actually know so little, I must explain the differences between Holocaust deniers, Holocaust minimizers, and Hitler rehabilitationists. I must explain propaganda and euphemism and anti-Zionism. I must acquaint them with fascism, eugenics, Romantic struggle and surrender, Einsatzgruppen and Sonderkommandos, the Wannsee Conference, and so on. I must do so informationally and dispassionately, employing locutions such as “the Holocaust believer would say” and “the Holocaust denier would reply,” and “my understanding is.” Such reticence is necessary because it is essential that the students decide the capstone question for themselves.Students are dubious or indifferent about most things. Because of our digitized world, they are predisposed to think that documents are faked (think of Dan Rather’s manufactured Texas Air National Guard memos), pictures are Photoshopped, memories are unreliable, testimony is coerced, and so on. (Bolding mine, CM)
These passages leave Clemens’s beliefs ambiguous, and to some, talking about holocaust deniers without explicitly condemning them is itself condemnable. Which is to say, they completely miss the point of Clemens’s piece, which is to disentangle emotion from reasoned analysis, and to focus discourse, insofar as possible, on the latter.