Today’s Cit World involved reviewing the basic rights of different nations and noting which were similar and which were different. I posed the question “can anyone think of an exception to America’s granting of freedom of speech?” Normally I hear something about libelous or defamatory speech, calls to violence or the old standby of yelling “Fire!” in a crowded theatre. Instead, some little kid raised his paw and said “teachers aren’t allowed to teach the truth of intelligent design”. In the past, when kids innocently said something like this, I’d rhetorically tear them a new asshole; this happened with regularity when I was in ecology and someone contested climate science and the occasional “medical secrets they don’t want you to know”. Here, I simply replied “Can you think of a better example”, he shrugged his shoulders and we moved on.
I was very proud of my powers of self-restraint and thought myself slowly becoming an adult when I dismissed the session and hadn’t decapitated anyone. Shortly thereafter one Scout and one staff member approached me saying “wow, Terry, I really thought you were going to hand it to that free speech kid”.