Should condoning terrorism be a crime?

Repellent as condoning it may be, writes Dalrymple,

I do not think so. I am not even sure about incitement. After all, everyone is normally held (until proven otherwise) to be responsible for his own acts, and it seems to me a poor defence to a wicked deed that someone else encouraged me to do it, even if I was the part of a mob at the time being whipped up to frenzy by a demagogue. There is no better way to infantilise people than to make others responsible for their acts.

He is willing, however, to be persuaded otherwise on the question.

I might concede that I am being psychologically unrealistic in expecting everyone to be able to resist the siren-song of accomplished hate-mongers. And if at the time of the Salman Rushdie affair the British authorities had taken a more robust stance towards those who marched through British streets calling for Salman Rushdie’s death, it is even possible that the world might have been saved quite a lot of trouble. The episode pretty clearly revealed how lukewarm or feeble was our defence of free speech when it was seriously threatened by a determined enemy.

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