The Spectator

The case against the Rushdie knighthood

The case against the Rushdie knighthood
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Yesterday, I was happily thundering away against all the hand-wringing over the Rushdie knighthood when a friend brought me up short my making a rather good case against it. The argument goes that we defended, rightly, the Satanic Verses on free speech grounds and we are always telling these protestors, Voltaire-style, that while we might not agree with what is said—or in the case of the Danish cartoons, drawn—we defend their right to say it. But HMG giving Rushdie an honour blurs this line and suggests that the State has a position not only on Rushdie’s right to speak freely but also on the worth of his statements.