Stupid is as stupid does
The U.S. Secretary of State, like any other diplomat, must carefully choose his — or her — words.
So why did John Kerry, less than three weeks into that job, choose the word “stupid” while describing America’s defining commitment to personal liberty?
The former Massachusetts senator told an audience of German students in Berlin last week: “In America you have a right to be stupid — if you want to be.”
Some critics on the right rapidly condemned that as a “stupid” comment.
Yet in the full context of his remarks, we see Secretary Kerry’s overriding point
As he put it: “As a country, as a society, we live and breathe the idea of religious freedom and religious tolerance, whatever the religion, and political freedom and political tolerance, whatever the point of view.”
So don’t be too hard on Mr. Kerry for his defense of every American’s prerogative to be, well, let’s say misguided. After all, he’s new at the job.
But do remember that while we Americans retain our “right to be stupid,” we also have a right to be smart.
And if we don’t wise up to the intensifying perils of Washington recklessly spending far beyond our means, our collective stupidity could even threaten our fundamental right to be wrong.