In the New English Review, Dalrymple comments on the Libyan uprising against Ghaddafi:
To hate a tyrant is not to love liberty: rather more is required than that. And with liberty as with all other objects of affection, the course of true love never did run smooth. It is unlikely to do so in the Middle East.Of all the tyrants, Muammar Ghaddafi is undoubtedly the worst. If he were not so sanguinary, if he had not brought permanent civil war to so many parts of Africa, if he had not ruled so consistently by terror, he would have been a figure of fun, more to be derided than hated: a preposterous semi-lunatic with bad taste let loose in the store of a theatrical costumier, who thinks himself valiant by pinning a made-up medal to the chest of his own made-up uniform, and who frequently dresses as if he had asked Armani to design a costume incorporating the Bedouin and Ruritanian traditions, with just a hint of African tribal leader thrown in. Of course, it is not so very long ago that he had his admirers among the left-leaning intelligentsia of Europe…
Later, he turns to our own Western societies, warning that freedom there is nothing to take for granted:
It is difficult now to imagine a modern university intellectual saying something as simple and unequivocal as ‘I disagree with what you say, but I defend to the death your right to say it.’ He would be more likely to think, if not actually to say out loud or in public, ‘I disagree with what you say, and therefore rationalise to the death my right to suppress it.’….Very rarely do we find someone whos [sic] is a university intellectual saying that ‘x is indeed a desirable goal, even a highly desirable goal, but the cost to freedom of achieving it is simply too great.’
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Unfortunately you are right. Quite recently, some Argentinean modern intellectuals of the left have dared to object the invitation to the latest Nobel Price Mario Vargas LLosa as the key speaker at the inauguration of the Buenos Aires Book Festival,arguing that Vargas LLosa was getting increasingly aggressive to popular processes.
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