What To Do About Racist Political Groups?

A democracy inevitably confronts the issue of handling extremists who employ the media to spread hatred and fear of minorities, those who they seek to demonize, and the unknown in all its manifestations. People in the Czech Republic have been subjected to propaganda from racist political parties which seek to use the presence of a Roma minority as their wedge to secure support from the general populace. A recent poll reveals three fourths of the Czech people support the ban of all parties that use racist slogans in their election campaign. A recent anti-Roma video was used by the National Party in its quest for votes and even included a statement about “the final solution to the Roma question” which could have come from any Nazi statement concerning that group.

Over two-thirds of the population supports the request of the Interior Minister to seek a court order to dissolve the National Party. The Czech Radio has refused to play certain statements by the National Party. A strict adherence to democracy would argue the National Party has a right to be racist. Are there times when society has the right to halt speech? We believe there is a difference between “speech” and “action.” Any person has a right to utter words, but no one has the right to instigate violent action against other members of society.