Thanks a lot, Voltaire

News just in: seven out of ten Dutch people have participated in a poll about Geert Wilders.

Whatever issue Wilders addresses becomes the discussion of the day, and in such a way that Wilders himself becomes the issue once again. I’m not usually one for conspiracy theories, but I read somewhere that someone’s brother-in-law overheard a source close to a rumour … that Wilders was a Mossad agent, codenamed Mephistopheles.

Watching Wilders today contemplating the debate on dual passports that he had initiated, I found myself straining to tweak Evelyn Hall‘s famous defence of free speech, usually misattributed to Voltaire:

I do not agree with what you have to say,
but you’ll deaden the deaf with your right to say it.

On a more sombre note, another quote that is attributed to Voltaire strikes a sensitive point in recent political events in the Netherlands:

The ideal form of government is democracy tempered with assassination.

However, I’ve only found the quote in English, without reference to an original source, and without a trace of an original version in French.