Photo Credit: DPA

On Tuesday, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry bragged about freedom of speech, religion and thought in the United States in front of an audience of German students, telling them that in America “you have a right to be stupid if you want to be.”

Forgetting, perhaps, that he was in Berlin, former home to the most terrifying regime under Heaven, Kerry bragged, according to Reuters:

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“As a country, as a society, we live and breathe the idea of religious freedom and religious tolerance, whatever the religion, and political freedom and political tolerance, whatever the point of view.”

Then Kerry really turned it on, telling his audience how in the land of the free neo Nazis are permitted to strut in their jackboots and swastika wherever they feel like, even in the Jewish suburbs of Chicago. This is how Mr. sensitivity phrased it:

“People have sometimes wondered about why our Supreme Court allows one group or another to march in a parade even though it’s the most provocative thing in the world and they carry signs that are an insult to one group or another.”

Heart warming.

Except that, in Germany, the law restricts neo-Nazi propaganda and Nazi symbols are banned, with the exception of artistic or historic reenactment purposes. In 2005, Germany’s parliament tightened the restrictions on neo-Nazi marches to keep them away from sensitive memorials such as former concentration camps. The changes make it easier for local authorities to ban such gatherings.

Oblivious to all that, Kerry boasted: “The reason is, that’s freedom, freedom of speech. In America you have a right to be stupid – if you want to be… And we tolerate it. We somehow make it through that.”

Actually, not all of us – certainly those unlucky Jews who used to live in Berlin while all that stupidity was going on, starting in 1933.

“Now, I think that’s a virtue,” Kerry declared proudly. “I think that’s something worth fighting for. The important thing is to have the tolerance to say, you know, you can have a different point of view.”

So now what, revoke all those intolerant laws against neo Nazi marches through Berlin? Because that certainly sounded like the natural conclusion from the uber-tolerant Kerry.

Kerry made the comments in favor of letting Nazis be Nazis on his first foreign trip since becoming secretary of state on Feb 1. After one-night stops in London and Berlin, he is visiting Paris, Rome, Ankara, Cairo, Riyadh, Abu Dhabi and Doha before returning to Washington on March 6.

So little time, so many folks to embarrass…

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32 COMMENTS

  1. Yes the US is very tolerant of dissenting views unless you make a film telling the truth about Islam and then they claim your freedom is a parole violation. Very tolerant until a pastor dares to burn a Koran and the head of the Dep of Def calls him personally and demands he stops. Very tolerant until someone publishes a cartoon of the Jew-hater pedophile schizophrenic Mohammed and Obama declares "the future doesn't belong to those who slander Islam and Mohammed." In other words, the future doesn't belong to those who violate Sharia. Very tolerant of dissenting views but the Secretary of State goes on Pakistani TV and apologizes for our 1st amendment.

  2. Truth is not slander, and printed or broadcast truth is not libel, can only be considered libelous if it can be demonstrated the action is based on a showing of knowledge of falsity or reckless disregard for the truth.

  3. Truth is not slander, and printed or broadcast truth is not libel, can only be considered libelous if it can be demonstrated the action is based on a showing of knowledge of falsity or reckless disregard for the truth.

  4. Truth is not slander, and printed or broadcast truth is not libel, can only be considered libelous if it can be demonstrated the action is based on a showing of knowledge of falsity or reckless disregard for the truth.

  5. What a kind of crappy propaganda text lines "the most terrifying regime under Heaven"… you better take care of that one in Israel, made by those who didn't learn nothing about compassion and their own suffering…

  6. Of course, Kerry is correct. Should it be illegal in America to march with swastikas (or white hoods)? The fact that it is illegal in Germany (perhaps for good reason) and protected speech in America points to an essential difference between America and Europe – and is to America's credit.

  7. This is what he said about the filmmaker. "The violence in Cairo and Benghazi is unacceptable and unjustifiable. The stupidity of one filmmaker, no matter how offensive, is not now, and never, a rationale for violence. A despicable act like this hurts us all – Americans and peaceful people who aspire to build their own democracy." You will note that there is still no law against slandering Islam in America.

  8. I agree with much of what you say on this page, but slander as a legal term, often confused with defamation, libel, and liable, involves false or unjustified injury of the good reputation of another, not merely truthful rhetoric that causes consternation, personal insult or bad feeling. It must be shown to be malicious, and knowingly fraudulent before suit for damages may occur. Slander and libel are both civil matters in most cases. The injured party can always try to bring an action if they feel injured.

    What I disagree with is your portrayal of the tone of the article. It does not appear to me that Yori is advocating any sort of ban in the United States, but merely pointing out that a State Department official, especially the Secretary of State should choose his words and topic more wisely, and consider his audience.

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