Besides the standard NGO capacity trainings that I am conducting in the Caucasus, I always leave a time slot open for some political discussion, most often centered around the concept of freedom. I usually keep my own political opinions rather discrete and let the participants play around themselves with me moderating. Not only because the – often traditional – crowd I train is politically diverse and I don’t want to antagonize them, but also because I am afraid that my philosophical, radical understanding of freedom is not always easy to explain within an hour or so and can actually turn people off.
Now, today (Gymri, Armenia) was an exception and I went into the mud myself, though admittedly only knee-deep. Some remarks:
Myself: “I see absolutely no reason why someone would be able to prohibit me from smoking marihuana.” Participant #1: “So what if someone tries to kill you?”
Participant #2: “If we are going to follow your understanding of freedom, we will all turn into beasts.”
Participant #3: “Can we please come back to the question what freedom exactly is?” (he repeated this 3 times, as if he was still expecting me to pull it out of a high hat at some point of time)
We had a good time though.