March 10, 2006

Being Offended Is Not Against The Law

From The Volokh Conspiracy:
Of course I realize that some disagree, and see any even possibly pejorative reference to Mohammed — or for that matter any depiction of Mohammed — as a horrible emotional injury. But their subjective feelings, real as they may be to them, are not sufficient reasons for the rest of us to change the way we talk or write. "I'm offended" cannot be justification enough, either in law or in manners, for the conclusion "therefore you must shut up."(Among other things, note that many people are quite understandably offended when others say "I'm offended, therefore you must shut up." If mere offense on some listeners' part is reason enough for the speakers to stop saying, then I take it that those who are offended have an obligation to themselves remain silent.)

This is why this issue is so important: Those who demand that the cartoons not be published or republished are cutting at the heart of public debate. They are either demanding that some ideologies not be criticized, or that they be handled with such kid gloves that normal debate about them — which is inevitably impassioned, given the magnitude of the issues involved — is practically impossible. This is why the West must resist this pressure to silence, both as a legal matter and as a matter of editorial judgment.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Speaking of those who offend, did you see this Ann Coulter piece?

Sat Mar 11, 09:04:00 AM  
Blogger benning said...

I am so offended at not being offended at the offended who are offended!

How offensive!

Sat Mar 11, 06:31:00 PM  

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