The author Hedegaard is one of the few Danes who is a certified racist, as he some years ago was fined by a High Court for having stated in a blog interview that Muslim fathers rape their children. He was later acquitted by the Supreme Court.
That last sentence negates the ones above. There is no conviction for "racism": Both it and the fine were quashed, reversed, overturned, kicked into the garbage can by the supreme court. The prosecution was outrageous, and some sense of what Denmark's most eminent jurists made of it can be deduced from their decision to revoke his conviction 7–0. What sort of reporter writes that "the author Hedegaard is one of the few Danes who is a certified racist" ("papper på att han var rasist")? Even in an ever more absurdly over-credentialed world, the Danish state is not yet handing out certificates for racism. Whatever a "certified racist" is, Lars remains, as far as the Danish legal system is concerned, fully uncertified.
I have read the "papper på att han var rasist" line in a couple of dozen Swedish media outlets now without being able to find a name appended to the piece: It's just an un-bylined wire story that appeared everywhere. But I wonder about the furtive anonymous man who wrote it, and the agency managers who sent it out to their clients, and the editors who read it through and printed it unchanged. I would wager that all of them are considerably younger than Lars, and so marinated in the state ideology that they can barely comprehend that free societies should not have a state ideology. And so what matters to them about this story is not that in liberal, progressive Scandinavia writers are threatened with death but that writers should not be holding these opinions in the first place.
If this is how it goes when Sweden's Muslim population is 5 percent, what will it be like when it's 10 or 15? "You can't live your life that way," Lars told Douglas Murray in The Spectator. "If every time you sit down to your computer to write something you have this idea in the back of your head, 'I may be killed if I write this,' then of course you won't be as good as you could be. You've got to distance yourself from fear if you want to be a true writer."
Last year at the European Parliament, I had the honor of presenting Lars with a "Defender of Freedom" award, and noted that journalists congratulate themselves on their "courage" endlessly, far more often than soldiers or firemen do. But on the rare occasions they're actually called upon to show any, they shrink and shrivel: "All your liberal friends who went to the PEN dinners and bored the pants off you with that bit of apocryphal Voltaire — 'I disapprove of what you say but I will defend to the death your right to say it' — all fall utterly silent. C'mon, nobody's asking you to defend anyone to the death. A mildly principled tweet would do. A tepidly supportive fax."
But no. Too much to ask.
As I said, Lars is 70. But I would rather have him fighting my corner than the young, self-neutered eunuch-men of a cowed media, watching the lights go out on free speech and slipping easily and painlessly into the accomplices of thuggery.