Democracy is the regime of courtesy opinion

1. Too often we forget that liberal democracy is the regime of moderation against extremes. We tend to do the part for the whole. If freedom of expression and the free press are two of its basic requirements, there is no difference between their manifestations, all of which are equally acceptable. In the midst of this general “freedom”, the lines between moderation and extremism, between politeness and good humor become blurred, thereby legitimizing all opinions and forms of expression equally. Democracy is nothing. And when it does, the extremes that normally deny it find their place much easier. In Portugal today we are experiencing one of those moments of relative disorientation that manifests itself in two simultaneous effects – the hellish cacophony of public debate; the arrival of a new right-wing extremist force.