Christopher Hitchens, reflecting on the hand-wringing of pseudo-intellectuals since that attacks of Sept. 11, 2001:
“[S]ome stout simplicities deservedly remain. Among them: Holocaust denial is in fact a surreptitious form of Holocaust affirmation. The fatwa against Salman Rushdie was a direct and lethal challenge to free expression, not a clash between traditional faith and “free speech fundamentalism.” The mass murder in Bosnia-Herzegovina was not the random product of “ancient hatreds” but a deliberate plan to erase the Muslim population. The regimes of Saddam Hussein and Kim Jong Il and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad fully deserve to be called “evil.” And, 10 years ago in Manhattan and Washington and Shanksville, Pa., there was a direct confrontation with the totalitarian idea, expressed in its most vicious and unvarnished form. Let this and other struggles temper and strengthen us for future battles where it will be necessary to repudiate the big lie.
A culture of freedom is always better than a culture of repression. But because freedom by its nature invites a clash of ideas, it occasionally looks less tidy than that the pure filth of oppression. 9-11 exposed the dirt of despotism for what it was.