To attend a meeting of the Danish Free Debate Society several years ago in Copenhagen, my name had to be submitted to the police in advance. A motley crew of academics, journalists, activists, and ordinary folks, the society meets regularly and informally to discuss books and political controversies. The gathering that cold December evening took place in a cozy walk-up apartment, where the subjects of conversation were a recently published tome on the history of free speech in Denmark and a biography of a wartime collaborationist politician. Over mulled wine and snacks, about 15 guests took part in a series of spirited debates that lasted into the wee hours.
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