Brand-new Secretary of State John Kerry gave a speech Tuesday proudly defending Americans' "right to be stupid" in front of the very people who are most likely to think Americans are stupid, Europeans. "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 told students in Berlin, according to Reuters, which notes the remark prompted laughter. "The reason is, that's freedom, freedom of speech. In America you have a right to be stupid -- if you want to be."
American stupidity appears to be a longstanding fixation for Kerry, the man who lost the 2004 presidential election against George W. Bush. In the fall of 2006, he joked, "You know education, if you make the most of it, you study hard, you do your homework, and you make an effort to be smart, you can do well. If you don't, you get stuck in Iraq." Whoops. That sounds like he thinks our soldiers are stupid. The joke was originally written as, "Do you know where you end up if you don't study, if you aren't smart, if you're intellectually lazy? You end up getting us stuck in a war in Iraq. Just ask President Bush." Alas, there's nothing worse than making a dumb mistake while trying to make a joke about how someone else is a dummy.
Kerry explained to the German students that the freedom from brains is a good thing. "Now, I think that's a virtue. I think that's something worth fighting for... The important thing is to have the tolerance to say, you know, you can have a different point of view."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.