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. Here is the original ad.

How dumb?
Very dumb.
It’s the
who knocks
what he’s got.
Here’s what
he’s got:
A country of
unbounded beauty.
Almost unlimited
natural resources.
A judicial system
that is the envy
of the rest of
the world.
Food so plentiful
overeating is a 
major problem.
A press
nobody can dominate.
A ballot box
nobody can stuff.
Churches of your choice.
One hundred million jobs.
Freedom to go anywhere
you want, with the
planes, cars and highways
to get you there.
Social Security.
Unemployment insurance.
Public schools and
plentiful scholarships.
Opportunity to become a 
O.K., Complainer,
what’s your second

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.


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