MEMO #9: Per Stig Møller

“Freedom of expression must be protected, and its value must be explained.”
– Per Stig Møller



What is a characteristic of democracies deserve greater awareness or appreciation?



Read Per Stig Møller’s answer: 

Democracy has many qualities that other forms of government do not, such as tolerance and freedom of speech, but now freedom of speech is under pressure in several democracies. Including, to a certain extent, ours (in Denmark).


Historically, it is freedom of expression that democracy has struggled with since around 400 BC, when the resurrected Athenian democracy condemned Socrates to death for blasphemy and misleading the youth, and it is also freedom of expression that the Danish government restricts when Muslims accuse Denmark of tolerating blasphemy. In their own countries, of course, there is no freedom of speech.


Freedom of expression must be protected, and its value must be explained. I did this myself, for example, during the cartoon crisis, where I held several press conferences in the Muslim world and explained freedom of expression as a core value in democracy – and this was actually respected and not criticized. So just stand your ground and keep pushing.