The Dumbest Person in the World

Jim Carrey And Jeff Daniels In 'Dumb & Dumber'

This is the ninth in a collection of newspaper ads from United Technologies that appeared in the Wall Street Journal from the late 1970s through the early 1980s. The link to the original ad is at the end of this post.

So who is the dumbest person in the world? Well according to this ad from 35 years ago, “it’s the American who knocks what he’s got”.

The ad points out all of the wonderful things we have available to us in America: vast natural resources, plentiful food, a great judicial system, a free press, public schools, a secure voting system (just voted today as a matter of fact), religious freedom, jobs and other financial opportunities, freedom to explore, and social programs such as Medicare, Social Security, and unemployment insurance.

While that is the list from 1980, not much has really changed. We are still a great country.

But that doesn’t mean it can’t be better, that there aren’t serious problems that need to be addressed.

But that’s what also makes us great, the freedom to express ourselves, to let our voice be heard, to have a different opinion, to disagree. And with the options available today through social media, there’s no excuse for not letting your voice be heard.

So I think there’s a fine line between what the ad refers to as the dumbest person in the world and someone who complains about what is happening to our environment, our food supply, our public school system, and the growing income inequality. The complainer, as the ad calls him, could simply be a visionary who sees even greater possibilities for America, and is willing to speak out on such issues.

And while we may have been the number one country in the world in the early 1980s,  that’s certainly not the case as evidenced by some recent polls. There is room for improvement, but we won’t improve if we just sit back and say everything is just fine.

So yes, by all means, we should be grateful for all that we have been blessed with in the U.S. But at the same time we need to be willing to speak up when we believe there is something wrong, or that there is a better way.

After all, it was a bunch of complainers who helped us to become the great country that we are.

Here is the United Technologies ad that inspired this post.

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Jim Borden

Accounting Prof. at Villanova; happily married for 30+ years; father of 3 outstanding young men; vegan; interests: fitness, creativity, education, blogging, social media.

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