In an op-ed for the New York Times, author Salman Rushdie wonders why "physical bravery" has come to trump "moral courage" in the eyes of the public. "It’s a vexing time for those of us who believe in the right of artists, intellectuals and ordinary, affronted citizens to push boundaries and take risks and so, at times, to change the way we see the world," Rushdie writes.
From the op-ed:
It’s harder for us to see politicians, with the exception of Nelson Mandela and Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, as courageous these days. Perhaps we have seen too much, grown too cynical about the inevitable compromises of power. There are no Gandhis, no Lincolns anymore. One man’s hero (Hugo Chávez, Fidel Castro) is another’s villain. We no longer easily agree on what it means to be good, or principled, or brave. When political leaders do take courageous steps — as France’s Nicolas Sarkozy, then president, did in Libya by intervening militarily to support the uprising against Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi — there are as many who doubt as approve. Political courage, nowadays, is almost always ambiguous.