Tonight, a good friend and I went out to eat at the Grand Lux Café on Michigan Avenue. Here is my review of the Grand Lux Café in one sentence: girlie, froo-froo, elegant, rather expensive, yummy restaurant. It’s totally a place to take your girlfriends. Iwanski will never go there.
But the description of the conversation with my friend? Fun, hilarious, intelligent, and thought-provoking. Especially thought-provoking.
I always love it when someone says something that challenges a thought I’ve had for a long time. For example, I totally believe in free speech in our society—with the obvious exception of, for example, you can’t yell “fire!” in a crowded theater, and that type of thing. But I’ve always believed that in order for free speech to work, you need to allow all people and groups to speak their minds. So yes, that means even the crazy Nazis.
But tonight, my friend said that she doesn’t believe in complete free speech—and not just the not yelling “fire” stuff, either. She believes that if a group is inciting violence, they should not be allowed to speak freely in public. Hmm, I thought, I agree with that. I mean, someone can’t just say to a crowd of people, “Alright everybody, let’s go take baseball bats and start hitting all Republicans over the head!” (As much as we’d sometimes maybe like to!) But that would be inciting violence. (And besides, some of my best friends are Republicans. Well, okay, my parents are, anyway.)
But what if the Ku Klux Klan are just having a peaceful protest? Granted, they may be holding up signs and chanting words that are extremely offensive, but does that mean they are inciting violence? My friend believes they are—particularly because they have committed violent acts in the past. Hmmm, I thought. What do I think about that?
I came home and started discussing this with Iwanski. As he always does, he doesn’t just tell me what he thinks, but instead starts asking me questions and reminding me of other things that might help me make a decision for myself. (He’s good at that.) He did remind me that in Germany, there is no free speech for Nazis. Not that that’s right or wrong, but still, you can kind-of see why they have that law.
I haven’t quite made up my mind yet on this one. I still feel like allowing all people and groups to speak their minds is the right thing to do, but I haven’t thought enough about it yet.
Sometimes it’s difficult for me, because I can see all points of view and I have a hard time making up my mind. I guess it’s a good thing that I’m not running for president.