The Gross National Debt

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Your right to be offended - Part I

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OK, bad ancient pun. I still like it.

To be, or not to be, that is the question:
Whether 'tis Nobler in the mind to suffer
The Slings and Arrows of outrageous Fortune,
Or to take Arms against a Sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them: to die, to sleep
and etc…

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/To_be,_or_not_to_be

I pose to you today an ancillary to the Bard’s quandry -

Which is more important? The right to offend or the right to not be offended?

My position on this is clear, at least to me.

Today’s musing has come about by way of conversations I’ve had recently with a number of atheists regarding religious displays. The more intelligent atheists have avoided the word “offend” and its various permutations to discuss why they object to religious displays on public property. One has used “offend” to describe how people of one religion may perceive a display of another religion. The less intelligent describe how such displays offend them.
Please, do tell me.

Arg. Confusing.

I retreat back to the Topic du Jour statement. Which is more important? The right to offend or the right to not be offended?

What about it? Ever been offended. Ever offended someone?

Well, duh, of course you have.

So what was your reaction to being offended? To offending someone?

Lemme take one more step down this road. When you were offended and the other person knew, what did you think about their reaction to your being offended? How did you react to someone being offended at what you did?
Just need some help to know what to do.

Back on track - Should there be limits to how much offense can be incurred or delivered?

Who is going to set those limits? Do we even need limits?

What gives anyone the right to give offense? What gives anyone the right to not be offended?

If you have ANY interaction with fellow human beings, you are going to offended eventually. As remarkable as it may seem, I can be offended. You are going to have get up early in the morning to do it. It’s probably best to not even go to bed if you want to offend me.

Anyway, in Part II below, I provide you with some reader feedback.

3 comments:

  1. The right to offend. Imagine the world without all those who chose the 'against the grain' theory of life.

    I'd hazard a guess that the Crown was humiliatingly offended by The Declaration of Independence.

    Equally, the Church (name a date, branch, facet, locale...) is, or at least has- historically, offended by free thought outside the mandates of said institution. More to point- the fractures within the factions (that create the multitude of choices for 'worship' along any lines that fit in with one's particular stomach-able style) must also offend the other.

    Further, I find it completely laughable that one is unable to be offended. Everyone has their own (mostly) unspoken individual standards. Indignation, and the resulting conflict, comes from 'secretly' imposing your own moral/ethical/educational/financial/etc standards on the innocent (as to your intent) populace at large. I think, probably, that you are unable to be offended in the conventional sense of the term. Tell the truth. :P

    Ps. Anonymous is the only option available to me at this moment- don't take offense....

    ReplyDelete
  2. I think the "limit" is where offense crosses over into violation. The idea that someone steals is "offensive" to me because I do not approve of stealing. But if someone steals from me personally and specifically that is not merely offensive. That is, in fact, a violation of legitimate boundaries which the law defines as a crime.

    Switching gears now --
    The main problem with "rights" to offend or not be offended is this: it seems to me that everyone takes it for granted that just because they felt offended, offense was offered. In some cases this is true and usually very obvious, but in many cases, people TAKE offense where NONE is offered. Then they use that occasion to excuse themselves to forego all good manners and basic common courtesy, and BE as offensive (on purpose) as they want to be. Considering people do this in response to being offended, it basically constitutes hypocrisy. They object to offense they perceive given, and their response is to give offense. Allowing for oneself what one disallows for others is the core definition of hypocrisy.

    And taking offense, when you get right down to it, is stealing. After all, if you didn't offer it to someone what right do they have to take it?

    ReplyDelete

Hi. I welcome lively debate. Attack the argument. Go after a person in the thread, your comments will not be posted.