Salman Rushdie, Charles Murray, Fatwa and Cancel Culture

by | Aug 30, 2022


At first glance, there would appear to be something wrong with the title of this essay. Surely, the Muslim fatwa against Salman Rushdie (death sentence in his case) for writing The Satanic Verses, a book widely deemed offensive in this community, can have little or nothing to do with Charles Murray in particular and the wokester cancel culture in general?

Not so fast.

Au contraire, there are indeed similarities between the two, and important ones at that. Both Salman Rushdie and Charles Murray were physically attacked upon the occasion of them giving public speeches on intellectual/artistic matters.

Yes, it cannot be denied that no one, at least of yet, has been murdered by the progressives for articulating viewpoints they regard as invasive. But, then, the same can be said of Salman Rushdie. He was recently subjected to a violent attack on him in Chautauqua, near Lake Erie in western New York, at the Chautauqua Institution, a community that offers arts and literary programming; despite that, he is still alive. Moreover, a fatwa is merely a finding emanating from a recognized Islamic authority on a point of Muslim law. By no means do all fatwas call for the death of those judged in this manner.

On the other hand victims of the so-called “progressives” have indeed also suffered from violence. Consider the case of Charles Murray. Conservative and libertarian Middlebury College students invited him to speak on his latest book Coming Apart, which subjects the plight of the white working class to the same type of rigorous analysis for which he most famous for, which appeared in his co authored book The Bell Curve. Leftist students at that institution of higher learning found his views odious, and tried to physically intimidate him.

He escaped bodily unscathed, but the same cannot be said for Allison Stanger, a Middlebury professor who accompanied him; she had to be hospitalized with a concussion. Not as bad as being knifed in the neck? True enough. But we’re getting there.

Here is a very famous statement by New York State Senator Chuck Schumer addressed to two U. S. supreme court judges: “I want to tell you, Gorsuch. I want to tell you, Kavanaugh. You have released the whirlwind and you will pay the price. You won’t know what hit you if you go forward with these awful decisions,” concerning Roe v. Wade. Those words were a clear criminal threat, and should have been punished. I want to now use similar words, not as a threat, but as a prediction: if the liberal – left continues down its present path of quelling free speech, they, too, will be “releasing the whirlwind.”

The chickens will come home to roost; no, they are already doing so. As we have just seen in the case of one of their own favorites, Salman Rushdie, both sides can victimized by this evil, vicious game.

I implore the left, socialist, liberals to cease and desist from this barking mad behavior of theirs. That would include, in addition to cancelling speakers, requiring McCarthyism-type loyalty oaths for hiring, tenure and promotion in academia, safe spaces, microaggressions, promoting the view that all whites are racists and the claim that all racial or sexual diversity is due to racism or sexism to elementary school children and all the other panoply of these modern-day totalitarians.


  • Walter E. Block

    Walter Edward Block is an American economist and anarcho-capitalist theorist who holds the Harold E. Wirth Eminent Scholar Endowed Chair in Economics at the J. A. Butt School of Business at Loyola University New Orleans.

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