Thank God I Have the Right to Be Stupid

This is a humour article I wrote a number of years ago. It is laced with sarcasm. Not everyone appreciates sarcasm as a form of humour. I just want you to be aware. Proceed with caution. :)

It occurred to me the other day that we all have the right to remain silent even if we are not being arrested. You should take a moment and contemplate the ramifications of this right considering how little it’s exercised these days. In fact, I am choosing to rescind this right even as I type this out so that I might offer you my opinion, something that for some, has all the value of a sponge in the desert.

Perhaps the reason my opinion has so little value is because the marketplace of opinion is grossly oversupplied and under-demanded. Still, none of this will stop me from offering you my opinion because, similar to a golf swing, once you start it, it’s almost impossible to stop.

Back to rights. A number of years ago, former US Secretary of State John F. Kerry addressed a group of German students, who apparently had gotten all their homework done and were now looking for some kind of entertainment in their day. In this address regarding freedom of speech and other such myths, the former senator informed these students that “in America, you have the right to be stupid.” Apparently in Germany, when you’re being stupid, you are tearing a hole in the fabric of space and time, but in America, they have the right to eat tide pods. They have the right to deep fry their Twinkies. They have a right to text loved ones while doing 150 kph down the highway. They have a right to fiction that fronts as news. Shall I go on?

For some of us in Canada, Kerry’s proclamation should come as a huge sigh of relief knowing that the right to be stupid is not limited to the land of the free and the home of the brave.

Imagine how awful it would be that all those times you locked you locked your keys in the car while it was still running that you had no right to be stupid. Perhaps, of all the rights we have been granted, none get used to the degree of the Kerry-sanctioned right to be stupid. You know what? Maybe that man should run for President.

I once sold a portable stereo valued at $150 for $5 at a pawn shop because I was too lazy to carry it with me on a lengthy bus trip. I once took that bus trip from Tulsa, Oklahoma to Lethbridge, Alberta over a three-day period because the money that I had been given to buy a plane ticket got used on pizza and video games. For two months, I once tried to sell a $1700 vacuum cleaner to people who didn’t even own their own home. Or the time when I licked the frost on the edge of our deep freeze because I wanted to know what it would taste like. I once set up a dummy corporation of friends to help me muster the courage to tell a girl that I liked her.

Where would I be without the right to be stupid?

The Bible actually has a few things to say on this topic, believe it or not.

“Have this attitude in yourselves, which was also in Christ Jesus, who although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but instead emptied Himself, taking the form of a bondservant” (Philippians 2:5-7).

Jesus had the RIGHT to be God. He was equal with the Father as a person. As such, He could have come to the Earth as God, doing a lot more of the water-to-wine and the dead-man-rising stuff. He could have with one spoken word at Golgotha smote everyone who had a hand in trying to crucify Him. But He waived His rights.

Just because we have a right to something, doesn’t mean that exercising that right is always a good thing. Just because we have the right to be stupid, doesn’t mean we should chase down bears to take their picture.

Nonetheless, don’t think too ill of former soldier John F. Kerry. He preaches the rights of stupid people everywhere of which I am one.

Pastor Scott