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Denmark’s Salman Rushdie
“The Left now seems to have reverence for fanatics.”

Lars Hedegaard

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Dennis Prager

HEDEGAARD: Well, good for you. Many of my friends are conservative.

PRAGER: I’m sure more and more are.

HEDEGAARD: Can we disagree on politics in a civilized manner? Can we stop killing each other? Threatening each other? That is my point. Can we maintain free speech — the First Amendment?

PRAGER: You write in your Wall Street Journal article that in your home country of Denmark, “some newspapers have availed themselves of this opportunity to emphasize what a despicable racist I am. But at least they express their satisfaction that I’m not dead. Not so in Sweden. . . . They seem disappointed that my delivery man was not a better marksman.” And Sweden is more left than perhaps anywhere else in Europe.

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HEDEGAARD: I wouldn’t exactly describe it as left. It’s more politically correct.

PRAGER: Forgive me, but political correctness is a brainchild of the Left.

HEDEGAARD: It is. It is indeed. I’ve got to admit that.

I think among all the countries in Europe, Sweden has the most politically correct media. They are in absolute agreement on anything you can imagine, from man-made warming of the world to Islam. And any deviation from the line will be considered a sin.

PRAGER: Do you still call yourself a Marxist?

HEDEGAARD: Yes, to some extent. I don’t believe in the desirability or inevitability of revolution or socialism. But some of the analytical terms of Marxism I still use, to the great amazement of my friends, who think I’m an idiot. But I stick to that.

PRAGER: Is there any way for us to support your work for freedom, other than reading your work? Can we sign up for anything? Do you take money?

HEDEGAARD: Well, you can subscribe to the paper [Dispatch International] in English online. By the way, I am suing the Swedish media for libel, and there is a donate button on our website. I think it’ll be a big thing. They have been lying through their teeth.

PRAGER: What have they been saying?

HEDEGAARD: They’ve been saying that I’m a convicted racist, and the fact is I’ve been acquitted by a unanimous Danish supreme court.

PRAGER: In America, at least as of this moment, there is no such thing as being convicted as a racist. You are free in this country to say what you like.

HEDEGAARD: I know that.

PRAGER: Europe does not have that.

HEDEGAARD: We do not. We don’t have your First Amendment. The Free Press Society has been fighting for nine years to introduce a first amendment in Denmark and other places in Europe. We don’t have that. We have an article in our penal code called 266(b), which means that you can be convicted of hate speech, racism, denigration of religion, or a number of things, which is despicable.

I agree with the American Constitution — you should be able to say anything you want, and if you’re an idiot or a jerk you should be corrected by other people. You can lose your career, you can lose your reputation if you talk ill of people because of their race, which I have never done. But you should have the right to say anything. You should have laws against libel, lying about people, threatening people with violence, revealing state secrets, etc. You have that in any civilized country. But apart from that, I agree with the First Amendment. We don’t have it here.

PRAGER: I’ll tell you another thing you don’t have there, which I periodically say to Europeans that I have on my show: You don’t have talk radio. This has been a major factor in America in offering the alternate universe to that which the Swedish press and the American Left — such as the New York Times, which would be perfectly at home in Stockholm — present to us.

HEDEGAARD: You’re right. Speaking about the New York Times, they had an article today about me, that I’m full of bile and viciousness and racism and whatnot. No, we don’t have talk radio. What we do have is state radio, something that the people are forced to support by their tax dollars.

PRAGER: Thank you. Good luck to you.

— Dennis Prager is a nationally syndicated radio talk-show host and columnist. His most recent book is Still the Best Hope: Why the World Needs American Values to Triumph. He is the founder of Prager University and may be contacted at dennisprager.com.



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