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:
“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.”
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…