AIn October 2022, our founder Ayaan Hirsi Ali gave the 20th Reichmuth & Co Lecture at the University of Lucerne. Below is the beginning of a write-up of the lecture translated from the original German version (as published by the Institute for Swiss Economic Policy) by the Worldwide Speakers Group.
In Western countries, freedom of speech is in danger, said the Dutch-American women’s rights activist and political scientist Ayaan Hirsi Ali in the 20th Reichmuth & Co Lecture at the University of Lucerne. The main threat she describes is “wokeism” (from English “woke”, awakened or enlightened). Hirsi Ali reported that it was a movement that arose in the universities of the USA, which is committed to social justice but ultimately only strives for political power.
“When I came to the Netherlands, the West was free and tolerant.”
When Hirsi Ali came to the Netherlands, the West was free and tolerant. When Indo-British author Salman Rushdie’s book The Satanic Verses sparked debate about the limits of free speech in 1989, the West stood up for the fundamental rights of its citizens. At that time, British Prime Minister Margreth Thatcher protected the Indo-British writer, despite completely different political views, after the Iranian head of state Ayatollah Khomeini issued a fatwa against him. Although Rushdie’s book was criticized in Western countries, freedom of speech was never an issue.
Read the rest of the write-up here. The original German version can be found here.