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Do we have the right to offend?

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Unfortunately someone saying "you have the right to offend" is usually interpreted by the dim witted that it gives them the right to be as bigoted and obnoxious as possible.

Freedom of speech has to coexist with other rights and responsibilities.

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You don't have an inalienable right to say whatever you want. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news.

 

So who defines what i can and can't say?

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So what do you think happens then?
Nothing.

 

Nothing happens when you offend someone. Its not like they get offended and their kidneys stop working. Its how they choose to react that makes the difference.

 

People are too damn sensitive they believe they have the right to not be offended and they don't. Everyone should be offended every day its good for you. You are not a special little snowflake with perfect absolute rights to be treated like gold by everyone. Nobody owes you a thing. If your feelings are hurt, so what? They'll recover. Suck it up buttercup and get on with your day. Stop your pitiful whining about being offended and move on. Everyone has too much to do without treading on eggshells round everyone else.

 

That said thats not to say you should deliberately antogonise people and go out of your way to upset them. But if its an accident then so what?

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Arguing, as you are, that not having an absolute right to offend under any circumstances means you must never offend anyone under any circumstances is creating a false dichotomy. The first does not require the second.

 

You could quite easily have an argument that you should not be allowed to offend someone by saying "I'm glad your baby died of cot death." whilst being quite happy for you to offend someone by saying "I don't like your jumper.".

 

So if i have an argument with a bible believing Christian do i have the right to offend them by saying their beliefs are bull excrement.

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So who defines what i can and can't say?

 

Well, you can be prosecuted for saying things that are illegal. So technically you can say them, but you don't have a right to say them without consequences.

 

For the stuff that isn't illegal but is offensive, you might just get criticisised instead of prosecuted.

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That story doesn't have much relevance on whether we have a right to offend or not. For example if i was at a bus surrounded with people do i or do i not have the right to say what i want even if some were offended.

 

I believe there are legal constraints on what you can say in a public place.

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“It's now very common to hear people say, 'I'm rather offended by that.' As if that gives them certain rights. It's actually nothing more... than a whine. 'I find that offensive.' It has no meaning; it has no purpose; it has no reason to be respected as a phrase. 'I am offended by that.' Well, so what."

 

- Stephen Fry.

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Unfortunately someone saying "you have the right to offend" is usually interpreted by the dim witted that it gives them the right to be as bigoted and obnoxious as possible.

Freedom of speech has to coexist with other rights and responsibilities.

 

Absolutely right. I have a responsibility to use my right of free speech in a moderate manner but if i choose not to i shouldn't face any consequences.

 

---------- Post added 24-01-2014 at 21:10 ----------

 

Nothing.

 

Nothing happens when you offend someone. Its not like they get offended and their kidneys stop working. Its how they choose to react that makes the difference.

 

People are too damn sensitive they believe they have the right to not be offended and they don't. Everyone should be offended every day its good for you. You are not a special little snowflake with perfect absolute rights to be treated like gold by everyone. Nobody owes you a thing. If your feelings are hurt, so what? They'll recover. Suck it up buttercup and get on with your day. Stop your pitiful whining about being offended and move on. Everyone has too much to do without treading on eggshells round everyone else.

 

That said thats not to say you should deliberately antogonise people and go out of your way to upset them. But if its an accident then so what?

 

:thumbsup:

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'Every man has a right to utter what he believes to be truth, and every other man has a right to knock him down for it. Martyrdom is the test.'

 

Samuel Johnson.

 

That's it basically, say it if you believe it to be true and you are prepared to accept the consequences.

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I believe there are legal constraints on what you can say in a public place.

 

But should there be?

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That story doesn't have much relevance on whether we have a right to offend or not. For example if i was at a bus surrounded with people do i or do i not have the right to say what i want even if some were offended.

 

No what you mean is, that it doesn't have a lot of relevance with the discussion that you are trying to provoke, which is different.

 

Let me put this in your frame (as you are clearly on the warpath) if you offended me on the basis that I am a different race, sexuality or something else equally divisive, I would choose between ignoring you, offending you back, finding out who you are and threaten you or suing you (and possibly sheffieldforum.co.uk for allowing me to be offended by you) depending on the severity of the case and the amount of alcohol I consumed.

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So if i have an argument with a bible believing Christian do i have the right to offend them by saying their beliefs are bull excrement.

 

Personally, I'd say so. People don't have an absolute right to not be offended any more than they have an absolute right to offend.

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