The “right to be stupid” is a freedom that Americans have, said Secretary of State John Kerry. Kerry was speaking about the rights granted by the First Amendment.
Secretary of State John Kerry said that Americans have the “right to be stupid if you want to be” in defense of First Amendment rights.
“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,” Kerry told students in Berlin, , reported Reuters.
Kerry made the comment in front of German students during his second stop on his first visit abroad on Tuesday.
“People have sometimes wondered about why our Supreme Court allows one group or another to march in a parade even though it’s the most provocative thing in the world and they carry signs that are an insult to one group or another,” Kerry said, according to The Associated Press.
He added: “The reason is, that’s freedom, freedom of speech. In America you have a right to be stupid. … And we tolerate it. We somehow make it through that.”
Kerry’s response triggered a negative response from conservative-leaning aggregating site Drudge Report, as well as Breitbart News.
Conservative pundit Ann Coulter wrote on Twitter that Kerry’s comments imply that Democrats aren’t very bright. “John Kerry says Americans have the right to be stupid. Add that to the right to vote and you get the 2012 election results,” she tweeted.
However, Kerry had his share of supporters.
Alexandra Petri of The Washington Post writes that the right to be stupid is “[her] favorite. It’s right there in the Constitution.”
“Well, it’s not there exactly,” she adds, “but it’s pretty strongly implied in the emanations of the penumbras. But it’s a little more prominent and less ambiguous than privacy.”
Kerry also spoke of when he was a child living in Berlin in 1954, elaborating on the differences between communist East Germany and democratic West Germany.
“I saw the difference between east and west. I saw the people wearing darker clothing. There were fewer cars. I didn’t feel the energy or the movement,” he was quoted by AP as saying.
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