Free Speech and Free Offense

With the exception of “fighting words” (sometimes referred to in states with provisional laws regarding them as “provoking speeches and gestures) the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America makes absolutely no mention of so-called “hate speech” or speech relating to prejudice, bigotry or racism as being unlawful. The simple fact is that our freedom of speech is extended to calling people terrible names. We the people can refer to anyone as anything we choose. For example there is that one word that starts with the letter n which offends a certain group of people. Sorry but there is absolutely no law against it.

And that is exactly as it should be.

You read that sentence correctly. The First Amendment absolutely should, in fact must protect the horrible and hateful things we say just as it protects the nice and fluffy things we say.

There are groups in America, and indeed throughout the world, who are vying to make it illegal to use what they deem as “hate speech.” These people are proponents of freedom. They are defenders of the defenseless. They are the champions of the bullied, the picked on and the just plain wounded.

They are also complete idiots. They are absolute morons. Those people are the most stupid of the stupid.

But they don’t like to hear that. It’s likely to offend them. They certainly will refuse to believe it.

See, here’s the problem: if we make it illegal to call someone, for example, a guinea (I’m half Italian and personally I dislike being referred to by that particular term) then where does it end?

Sure it may make some people comfortable to know that, should I walk up and call them a frog (the other half is French) they can have me arrested. But how comfortable will they be when it becomes illegal to say “Chevrolet” because it offends Ford owners. Will everyone be able to enjoy life when you can no longer wish someone “Merry Christmas” because it offends?

By god (sorry … I don’t believe in god so I’m not about to capitalize it) we already walk on eggshells with that particular issue. I have run across plenty of people who say “happy holidays” so as not to offend someone within earshot who might take offense.

Well. I’m here to tell you I celebrate Christmas, in spite of my lack of Christianity, and if I want to wish you a Merry Christmas, it’s my right and should be. It’s also your right to be offended by it. If you are offended then feel free to walk away. Or tell me how offended you are. You won’t bother me either way.

We can’t have it both ways, children. We can’t have our freedom of speech and chop it into tiny bits and exclude the words we don’t like too. It just doesn’t work that way.

My advice to you, which you are free to follow or ignore is simple; ignore what you don’t like. If you’re so thin skinned that words can hurt you, maybe move to a place where speech isn’t free. I’m sure you can find someplace in the Middle East to suit your needs.

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