(copied from Lighthouse Liberty Club)
This came to me as a true story although I cannot confirm how true it is but did come from someone who gives reliable information. Here it is without any changes.
A man went to court. He told the judge he was an idiot and didn’t understand their statutes. He asked, “Do you prosecute idiots in your court room?” “No,” said the judge. “Get out of here.” He left. The Judge then said, “If there are any other idiots in my courtroom, get out now.” They all stayed, got prosecuted, and fined . . . except the idiot who left the courtroom.
“Idiot” is another word that has changed its meaning over the centuries, although not as dramatically as “nice” once it was imported into English.
The Greek “idiotes” meant simply “private individual” (from “idios,” meaning “personal”), as opposed to a “public man,” a politician (government agent mine) or other well-known individual. (“Idios” also gave us “idiom,” one’s own way of speaking, and “idiosyncrasy,” one’s personal quirks and habits.)