Kerry: Americans Have 'a Right to Be Stupid'

Freedom of speech applies to wingnuts, too, says secretary of state

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff

Posted Feb 26, 2013 2:40 PM CST

(Newser) – Life, liberty, and the pursuit of ... stupidity? These are all-American rights, secretary of state John Kerry explained to a German audience today. Reuters has the full quote:

  • "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. The reason is, that's freedom, freedom of speech. In America you have a right to be stupid—if you want to be."
That kind of tolerance of others' views is "something worth fighting for," added Kerry, who is in the midst of his first trip in his new job.

Secretary of State John Kerry adjusts his translation earphones while listening to German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle at a news conference in Berlin.
Secretary of State John Kerry adjusts his translation earphones while listening to German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle at a news conference in Berlin.   (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, Pool)
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