In the U.S., we have a right to free speech–a right from government (of all levels) interference. In other words, government can never make a law that would in any way limit, confine or define speech of any kind.
This does NOT mean that private companies or individuals are not able to limit, confine or define speech of any kind and it’s important that the two never get conflated.
(For instance, the Kapernick kneeling situation has nothing to do with “free speech”. If he were on government grounds, the government could not hinder his right to demonstrate or protest. However, the First Amendment and Constitution provide absolutely no protection for him or anyone else from the NFL teams and how they decide they want to run their organizations. It’s the same as saying that a company can dictate a dress code for their employees or a code of conduct. Government can’t regulate how a company chooses to handle these policies.)
Here’s the thing. The Constitution, and the U.S. as a country, were both founded on this underlying principle: liberty entails offensiveness. There is no such thing as a world without offense. Everything is offensive to someone. The sooner we get that, the better off we’ll be.
AND in the U.S., because the government cannot make laws that limit, confine or define speech of any kind, we have the liberty the offend and to be offended.
This new trend to call on government regulation anytime someone is offended is entirely unconstitutional and very dangerous. Doing so essentially says that people forfeit their rights and liberties if others arbitrarily determine that what another person said or did was offensive. In other words, there’s a new argument taking root that says this: “You’re right as a person to speak and think freely doesn’t matter if you are thinking or speaking in a way that offends me.”
It’s the perfect weapon. Calling someone a racist, sexist, bigot, homophobe or any other “ist” is now the justification for asking government to violate an individual’s freedom of speech.
Friends, with liberty comes the inherent, given result of offensiveness.
Offensiveness is living.
Tell me? What marriage or relationship has ever existed without offense? Further, what marriage or relationship has ever been healthy without the willingness to offend or be offended? Humans innately offend each other. That’s life. In fact, that’s healthy. We’re different and we need to be willing to air out our grievances and actually talk.
Some people are jerks and should just be ignored and it’s also your right to feel offended by them, but just because they said something offensive doesn’t mean they no longer have the right to say something offensive and you being offended doesn’t give you the right to take away their right.
Think about it. Every right we have is based on the pre-supposition that we have a right to offend and be offended. Imagine a jury trial where no one is offended by the events of the trial? Take away our right to offend, take away our right to a trial by jury.
Imagine the free press if they couldn’t offend? Imagine learning and education? Religion? Imagine life in general, even just you in your daily life, without ever being able to offend anyone?
Free thought implicates offensiveness.
Again, everything is offensive to someone.
Under our current Constitution, under our current Bill of Rights, we have the liberty to offend and be offended all day every day without government interference. And without that, liberty would vanish.
The word “offensive” is the perfect tool for government to use to justify arbitrary power and to justify the elimination of liberty. Don’t fall for the ruse.
Offending and being offending is part of living…freely.
The Liberty Belle
—There’s such a wealth to unpack here. Just getting started.