Anthony Morris, who defended two of the Queensland students persecuted by the Human Rights Commission, says HRC president Gillian Triggs is actually a perfect recipient of Liberty Victoria’s worthless Voltaire award.
Liberty Victoria makes this award under the ignorant delusion that it was Voltaire who said: “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” If that were true, bestowing such an award on Triggs would be grotesque.
But anyone even half-educated in human rights will confirm there is no record that Voltaire said any such thing. The quote first appeared more than a century after Voltaire’s death, and was coined by his biographer, Evelyn Beatrice Hall, writing under the pseudonym S. G. Tallentyre.
Yet a number of Voltaire’s authenticated sayings are highly pertinent to Triggs. He said: “If you want to know who controls you, look at whom you are not allowed to criticise.” It was also Voltaire who said: “So long as the people do not care to exercise their freedom, those who wish to tyrannise will do so; for tyrants are active and ardent, and will devote themselves in the name of any number of gods, religious and otherwise, to put shackles upon sleeping men.”