Posted by Masakim on January 29, 2002 at
In Reply to: Voltaire posted by R. Berg on January 29, 2002
: : Who said ,and I paraphrase here, I disagree with your views but will defend until death your right to say them.
: Voltaire, and the wording of the English translation varies: see link below for a Google search (http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=%22will+defend+to+the+death+your+right%22).
disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it."
These are not Voltaire's words, though the sentiment is Voltairean enough. Whether
or not Voltaire ever said -- or, more accurately, wrote -- a similar sentence
is a somewhat sticky question. When E. Beatrice Hall, writing [_The Friends of
Voltaire_, 1907] under the name of S. G. Tallentyre, first put these words on
paper, she did not claim they were Voltaire's; she offered them as a free paraphrase
on a sentence from Voltaire's _Essay on Tolerance_: "Think for yourselves and
let others enjoy the privelege to do so too."
The question is further complicated, however, by the fact that Norbert Guterman claims that Voltaire wrote in a letter to one M. le Riche "... I detest what you write, but I would give my life to make it possible for you to continue write." The letter, says Guterman, was written February 6, 1770.
As things stand now, one can only say that as usually printed, the statement varies from Voltaire's written words while preserving, of course, their sense.
From _The Dictionary of MIsinformation_ by Tom Burnam