Secretary of State John Kerry gave an address to a group of German students on his second stop of his inaugural tour in which he suggested “you have a right to be stupid if you want to be.” His speech was a defense of our freedom of speech, religion and thought in the United States according to Reuters on Feb. 26.
Speaking to students in Berlin, he said:
“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.
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. And you have a right to be disconnected to somebody else if you want to be.
And we tolerate it. We somehow make it through that. 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.”
His remark about the ‘right to be stupid’ brought laughter before he continued with his explanation. His speech was well-received and demonstrated what is beloved by Americans in terms of our freedoms even if he used an unusual but memorable tactic to make his point.
Kerry took the office of Secretary of State on Feb.1. This is his first trip abroad in that capacity. He made one-night visits to London and Berlin. From there he will go on to Paris, Rome, Ankara, Cairo, Riyadh, Abu Dhabi and Doha. He will return to the U.S. after Doha on March 6.
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