The Trouble With Tolerance

Some years ago, just after Salman Rushdie was made the object of a fatwa, I found myself at an academic conference listening to a panel address the issues raised by his situation. A member of the audience rose and, without a trace of irony, gave voice to this question/accusation: "What's the matter with those Iranians? Haven't they ever heard of the First Amendment?" The empirical answer to the question was maybe yes, maybe no. Some individual Iranians and many members of the Iranian legal