Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Quote of the day

"It must be, in any free society, OK to be as open as you want to be about your dislike of a set of ideas. Otherwise it becomes impossible to think, it becomes impossible to have any kind of interchange of thought in a society, if you are told that there are ideas which are off limits. Nothing is off limits."

Salman Rushdie, 10/11/06, New York City (hat tip: LGF). His part of the recording starts with an introduction around minute 16, and he actually starts speaking a little before minute 21. The quote above is just after minute 27.

The total recording (including a shorter segment in the beginning with Ibn Warraq, which is also good) runs a bit over an hour. If you have the time, though, it is certainly worth it. He touches on a number of aspects of religious tolerance, and along the way covers the Danish cartoons, veils in the UK, and the lack of Muslim outrage about genocide in Africa (among other things).

He also takes a shot at many intellectuals of the Left (with whom I suspect he would normally find himself in more comfortable company) regarding their reluctance to criticize certain groups (about minute 43):

"And for the Left to refuse to understand the nature of the people that they're refusing to criticize is a historical mistake as great as those who were the fellow travelers of Stalinist communism in an earlier age."
I'll write another time about how important Rushdie was to me growing up. For now, I'll just leave you to listen to his words for yourself.

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