A year or so after the fatwa on Salman Rushdie, I found myself opining that a senior Conservative MP had been “wrong to criticize Rushdie on political grounds for his comparison of Britain with Nazi Germany and for his crude insults for Mrs. Thatcher. But they’re certainly contemptible on literary grounds.” At the time Rushdie responded by saying that “Mr. Steyn may think it bad form to get angry about racial bigotry, but he ought at least to study what a man actually said before calling him ‘contemptible.’ ” For my enlightenment, he then repeated what he’d actually said: “Britain isn’t Nazi Germany. The British Empire wasn’t the Third Reich. But in postwar Germany attempts were made by many people to purify German thought and the German language of the pollution of Nazism. But British thought has never been cleansed of the filth...

 
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