Newly minted Secretary of State John Kerry told
a German audience Tuesday that Americans have a right to be stupid. Not that they are
stupid, mind you, but that they have the right to be if they "want to be":
People have sometimes wondered about why our Supreme Court allows one group or another to march in a parade [e.g. neo-Nazis in 1977 Illinois] even though it's the most provocative thing in the world and they carry signs that are an insult to one group or another. The reason is, that's freedom, freedom of speech. In America you have a right to be stupid - if you want to be.
While an obvious no-brainer - so to speak - to Americans, it's a point of view even other liberal democracies haven't adopted in its entirety. America's commitment to free expression come-what-may is considered radical by global standards, as Slate
's Eric Posner told readers last year in his controversial piece, "The World Doesn't Love the First Amendment
"Americans need to learn that the rest of the world sees no sense in the First Amendment," claimed Posner. "Even other Western nations take a more circumspect position on freedom of expression than we do, realizing that often free speech must yield to other values and the need for order."
Via Newser and Slate