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Standing up for the right to offend

Open season on free speech in divided Britain - Times Online
As our society fragments into more and more special-interest groups – I’m sorry, I mean, as our society blossoms into an ever more vibrant and diverse “rainbow nation” – these competing groups find more and more reasons to feel offended, and to demand that the law protect them from feeling offended again. This is missing a fundamental point about a democratic state: the right to freedom of speech far outweighs the right not to feel offended. As George Orwell said, “If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.”...Our political leaders should toughen up a bit, and encourage some of the electorate to toughen up as well. There’s nothing dumb about freedom of speech.

Comments

Oh - thank goodness there is someone else with that little known commodoty 'common sense' out there.

I have been yelling into thin air for years, that being offended is a choice- you can choose to be offended or you choose not to be.

All this nonsense about people being sacked because they said something that might have offended 'someone' (even when the person who supposedly ought to have been offended actually wasn't) is ridiculous. If I am not offended by what is said either to me or about me, then you have no right to be offended on my behalf!

Offence is like a poison; it only affects those who take it. Wazzucks.

It's getting worse than just politics.

For my sins I do a bit of computer consultancy, and had occasion to present some findings to the board of a reasonably well-known company a few months ago.

One of the points I made about the IT organisation was that it lacked a positive direction; it was reactive, had no roadmap, and the various teams were rather fragmented in their approaches. The IT director jumped up, announced that she was 'offended' by my comments, and the rest of the board looked at me, expecting me to apologise.

I don't suppose it helped when I tried to explain that the company had spent a lot of money on me, and, in my view, they would have wasted it if they only expect me to tell them how marvellous everything was......

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