Thursday, February 11, 2021

Citing Voltaire

Representative Jamie Raskin (D, Maryland-8) and his fellow House managers continue to do a great job in presenting the case against Donald Trump**. In arguing against the First Amendment defense Trump**’s lawyers are expected to present, Raskin today cited Voltaire:

“You know, Voltaire said, famously, and our Founders knew it, ‘I may disagree with everything you say, but I will defend with my life your right to say it.’ President Trump says, ‘Because I disagree with everything you say, I will overturn your popular election and incite insurrection against the government.’ And we might take a moment to consider another Voltaire insight, which a high-school teacher of mine told me when a student asked, ‘When was the beginning of the Enlightenement?’ And she said, ‘I think it was when Voltaire said, “Anyone who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.”’”
Did Voltaire really say (write) those things? Yes, at least roughly. Someone has already done the work of figuring it out, and did so back in December. Read Walter Olson’s “The Origins of a Warning from Voltaire” for the details.

You can watch Rep. Raskin cite Voltaire in this C-SPAN clip, beginning at 15:26.

A related post
Voltaire on intolerance

[My transcription and punctuation. How great to have been a law student in a class with Professor Raskin, eh?]

comments: 0