The American Interest
Analysis by Walter Russell Mead & Staff
Speak the Truth and Light a Candle

Salman Rushdie issued a battle cry in Delhi this weekend. The NYT has a story on his speech, his first in India since he was forced to cancel a trip to the Jaipur Literary Festival because of death threats:

There is a cultural war being waged in India today against freedom of speech, he [Rushdie] said, and it is being “carried out while the general public sits by, mostly, indifferently.” Thanks to bullying and violence by both Hindus and Muslims, “voices are being silenced, to chilling effect,” he said. “Violence is very real and growing in this country,” he said.

Salman Rushdie is wrong about a lot of things, and, for our own part, Via Meadia chooses not to be rude about religions we do not follow. But he is right about this. People have an inalienable, God-given right to speak their minds. If we do not protect this right by exercising it, we may find that, bit by bit, the forces of darkness take over.

Speak the truth and light a candle. We salute Rushdie for his courage in defense of human freedom.

Published on March 20, 2012 12:53 pm
  • http://knownofold.blogspot.com J R Yankovic

    “Bullying and violence by BOTH Hindus and Muslims”?

    Excuse me? In THIS globally enlightened, fun new age? I’ll grant you, maybe in those Blue Dark Ages of a generation or two ago. But NOW – in this era of big, bustling, business-driven answers to every conceivable human problem? This dawn of spread-your-wings entrepreneurial freedom? Assuming it’s happening at all, I can only take it for the vestiges of some fast-closing – though hardly fast enough – chapter of recent history.

    Anyhow Rushdie doesn’t fool me. Sounds to me like he’s the one who’s got issues with freedom of expression. What’s the matter, Salman? Can’t handle the warmth of VIGOROUS debate?

    Like I always say: Gimme that HOT New Religion . . .

  • Jim.

    To speak freely–

    Some freedoms are more critical than others.

    For decades — not coincidentally, the period in which England surpassed France as Europe (and the world’s) primary power — smugglers made lots of money shipping books back and forth.

    You see, pornography was banned in England, and political treatises were banned in France.

    Two lessons can be gleaned from this: one, banning things is never 100% effective, and governments have to learn to live with that.

    But the most important thing we need to learn, is that laws banning libertine vice are no impediment to shooting to the top of the world, but banning political commentary will drag your countr down from its perch.

  • WigWag

    “Salman Rushdie is wrong about a lot of things, and, for our own part, Via Meadia chooses not to be rude about religions we do not follow…” (Via Meadia)

    Most of us are wrong about “a lot of things” but I don’t understand what Via Meadia is getting at when it suggests that Rushdie is “rude about religions” he does not follow.

    Forgive me if I am being dense, but what is this statement supposed to mean?

  • Jacksonian Libertarian

    “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing”
    By not opposing those religions when you see them being evil, can you call yourself good?
    When diplomacy descends into appeasement, it becomes the enabler of evil.

  • Lyle Smith

    People are getting arrested over racist tweets in the United Kingdom. Some young man was arrested following Fabrice Muamba’s near death causing cardiac arrest on the football pitch this past weekend. Kid was arrested tweeting some “racist” tweets.

    So India is not the only place where people need standing up for.