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It’s time to stop being offended

By   /   November 21, 2012  /   Comments

OK, so maybe it’s not time to stop being offended, but it is time to stop trying to craft laws that block things we find offensive.  Why?  Because there is not right to not be offended.  I’m sorry to break it to you, but there isn’t.  Are you offended by saggy britches?  Then berate those who wear their pants in such a manner.  Don’t allow them in your stores.  There are tons of ways to exert pressure to change that don’t require laws.

Why does this matter?  Well, take a look at our nation for a moment.  If something is offensive, someone wants to try and outlaw it rather than simply combat it through other means.  Such actions gave us Prohibition, as well as the rise of the mafia.

The problem is that what offends one person is perfectly acceptable to another.  Sometimes, the action that offends a group involved an infringement on the rights of another individual.  That’s why you will never here me stand up for the rights of anyone to practice something like human sacrifice or ritualistic rape.  It’s not a matter of the acts offending me, though they do, but that they infringe on the rights of the victim of the acts.

Other times though, the actions don’t affect anyone else.  While I hate seeing saggy britches as much as anyone, I’m perfectly content to just openly mock the ridiculous fashion versus trying to outlaw it.  Joe having his pants half way to his knees doesn’t infringe on my rights at all, so why should we pass a law along those lines?

Many people decry what they call “The Nanny State”.  They should.  Unfortunately, many of them turn to that same Nanny State to outlaw whatever thing they find offensive next.

We all value our rights.  It’s a natural human condition, and it’s the reason that so many of us simply refuse to leave this nation despite its downward slide in our lifetimes.  For better or worse, it’s still the freest nation on Earth in most any way you want to look at it.  However, for you to be free, I must be free as well.  Otherwise, your freedom is merely an illusion.

You don’t have to like what someone does with their freedom.  Trust me, I wasn’t a big fan of what most of the Occupy Wall Street crowd was doing with their freedom.  However, I don’t think that Oakland was justified when they rolled up on the Occupy Oakland crowd and started cracking heads.  Freedom to assemble is guaranteed, whether we like what they are assembling about or not.

Unfortunately, some folks were actually kind of tickled by the whole thing.  How would they have felt if that was a Tea Party gathering?

Stop being offended so blasted much and stop enjoying the infringement of the rights of others.  You’re going to be offended, but try and combat it without letting lawmakers to get involved.  We’ll all be better off in the long run.

Tom Knighton is the Editor and Publisher of the Albany Journal.

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Owner / Editor / Writer

Tom Knighton is the publisher of The Albany Journal. In November, 2011, he became the first blogger to take over a newspaper anywhere in the world. In August of 2012, he made the difficult decision to take the Journal out of print circulation and become an online news agency, a first for the Albany area.

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