Sometimes I think the fundamental tension in our country is between the right to be stupid and the right to be protected from our stupidity. I think this tension is abating as we continually move closer and closer to a society that protects us from ourselves. For good reason. Stupidity is expensive and costs all of us whether it’s an uninsured motorist or a person without health insurance who goes to the emergency room for the flu. But I admit that protecting us from ourselves is expensive too. I don’t really believe it’s on our best interest to be guaranteed safety and security. We have to participate in the equation through personal responsibility and hard work. But we should also be protected from disasters not of our own making. And from enemies, foreign, abroad and at home (the NRA).
In this insane election cycle this sort of nuanced view is in short supply. Voters want simple solutions to extremely complex problems. And the candidates, both left and right, pander to them. Yes, you have a right to be stupid. But with rights come responsibilities. In this case, the responsibility to accept the consequences of ignorance.