You do not have a right not to be offended

I do not have a right not to be offended.

If speech offends me I do not have a right to ban it. If a thought offends me I do not have a right to claim that it should not be expressed. Yet all this politically correct bullshit is showing me that this is untrue, that if someone finds it offensive then it should be banned. This is wrong.

Too much concern is being placed upon “is it offensive to anyone”. This entire approach falls apart fast if you try to apply it fairly. If the hypothetical “they” have a right not to be offended then I must have that same right, correct? Well, that is good because I’m offended when someone else takes offense at something. Oops, instant “I’m offended” checkmate. Who counts more, the person offended at something or me offended at the correction?

I quickly find out it is not me. As a heterosexual white male minority I have no rights and so I am usually just ignored. But wait, that’s not applying it fairly. Ok, so I do not have the right to never have my beliefs challenged. I do not have the right to never be offended by anything. But if that is true then neither does anyone else.

Why? Because there is no such right that can be fairly applied. If I find something offensive, I can speak out in opposition to it or I can ignore it, but I could not in any fairness ban it without stepping on someone else’s rights.

The world is a massive mixture of cultures, beliefs, and ideals, with so many differences that everything is offensive to someone somewhere. If everyone was given the right to never be offended it would mean that no belief or culture could ever be challenged. This is because if applied fairly it would mean “I’m offended” checkmate nearly every time.

For example, I’m offended by little unidentified red things in macaroni salad and I think they should be banned. Even if I did have that right, I wouldn’t be able to ban it anyway. Because certainly someone out there would claim that any macaroni salad without little unidentified red things was offensive to him. So I’d be stepping on someone else’s right not to be offended. “I’m offended” checkmate, who gets to win? Oh yeah, right, not me, the non-heterosexual non-white non-male gets to win.

I can be certain of a few things. I can be certain that I will be offended. I can be certain that I will offend someone else. I can be certain that this will happen many times throughout my life. I can also be certain that sometimes I will be in the majority and sometimes in the minority in finding something offensive. Sometimes I may even be alone. Sometimes in the right and sometimes in the wrong.

But I will not forget that regardless of whether I am in the majority, minority, alone, right, or wrong I will still not have the right not to be offended. No one has the right not to be offended and it’s time to stop acting like some do.

The commentary above was written by Steve back on June 25, 2005.

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