The Corner

Great Start Secretary Kerry

As you no doubt have heard, the Germans have banned the Nazi party. It wasn’t a decision grounded in some academic principle or an over-abundance of political correctness about hate speech and the like. It’s because the country succumbed to a madness that plunged the world into war and made the German people the authors of staggering genocide. With an abundance of soul-searching, self-awareness, and well-earned shame they opted to ban organizations that profess a desire to return to such horrors. It’s part of their effort to ensure the phrase “never again” has meaning. 

But don’t tell that to John Kerry, who seems to have a sophomore’s grasp of the issues involved. In his first trip to Germany, he felt the need to brag about how in America you can be a neo-Nazi if you want. From the Jewish Press:

 “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.”

Now, I do believe in the United States that neo-Nazis have the right to free speech, though I also think there is room for reasonable limitations on that speech as well. But America is not Germany. What I find ridiculous is the way Kerry feels the need to lecture Germans about such things. I mean, what is the point, beyond preening in senatorial fashion? I am all in favor of democracy promotion and singing the praises of free expression. But getting the Germans to be more tolerant of Nazi propagandizing is low on my list of priorities. Really, really, really low. Let’s see if he’s willing to give a similar talk about religious freedom and tolerance in Saudi Arabia. My hunch is that he’d be much quicker to respect the cultural distinctiveness of Saudi attitudes. 

Most Popular

Law & the Courts

Obstruction Confusions

In his Lawfare critique of one of my several columns about the purported obstruction case against President Trump, Gabriel Schoenfeld loses me — as I suspect he will lose others — when he says of himself, “I do not think I am Trump-deranged.” Gabe graciously expresses fondness for me, and the feeling is ... Read More
Politics & Policy

Students’ Anti-Gun Views

Are children innocents or are they leaders? Are teenagers fully autonomous decision-makers, or are they lumps of mental clay, still being molded by unfolding brain development? The Left seems to have a particularly hard time deciding these days. Take, for example, the high-school students from Parkland, ... Read More
PC Culture

Kill Chic

We live in a society in which gratuitous violence is the trademark of video games, movies, and popular music. Kill this, shoot that in repugnant detail becomes a race to the visual and spoken bottom. We have gone from Sam Peckinpah’s realistic portrayal of violent death to a gory ritual of metal ripping ... Read More
Elections

Romney Is a Misfit for America

Mitt’s back. The former governor of Massachusetts and occasional native son of Michigan has a new persona: Mr. Utah. He’s going to bring Utah conservatism to the whole Republican party and to the country at large. Wholesome, efficient, industrious, faithful. “Utah has a lot to teach the politicians in ... Read More
Law & the Courts

What the Second Amendment Means Today

The horrifying school massacre in Parkland, Fla., has prompted another national debate about guns. Unfortunately, it seems that these conversations are never terribly constructive — they are too often dominated by screeching extremists on both sides of the aisle and armchair pundits who offer sweeping opinions ... Read More
U.S.

Fire the FBI Chief

American government is supposed to look and sound like George Washington. What it actually looks and sounds like is Henry Hill from Goodfellas: bad suit, hand out, intoning the eternal mantra: “F*** you, pay me.” American government mostly works by interposition, standing between us, the free people at ... Read More