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The Freedom To Not Be Offended

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posted on Sep, 21 2009 @ 03:53 AM
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Wow. I didn't realise the thread would resonate so much. It's such a simple concept and we all know it - we all know the power of labels.



Originally posted by EnlightenUp
Apologies for focusing on the first issue in that list too much but it has had the most tangible impact on me so far of any of them. A dying down of the fervor over it has made things go a bit more smoothly of late.

That's ok. We all, due to our personal areas of interest, are drawn more to one 'label' than another. I suppose I put the immigration thing first because I've been wrongly called racist more than any other label due to my concern about immigration. That "R" word stumps any further debate and thus the issue is never properly addressed.



Originally posted by Lazyninja
If you censor people or shut them up, it just annoys them. If radical or fringe voices aren't allowed to talk, they will just become more radical. Everybody no matter how foul you might think their opinion is deserves the right to have their voice heard.

That's exactly it, and why this game of labels is so dangerous. It is quite honestly why America is on the verge of revolution - because the people are sick of having their concerns swatted away like flies. Had the government properly addressed each and every concern without immediately resorting to derogatory labels, things could be reconciled peacefully.



Originally posted by ImaginaryReality1984
Will we ever escape it?

We'll never escape the Ad Hominems and whilst I often question their use, I hope we never do escape them. Freedom of speech is the freedom to offend. But it has no power over us if we exercise our freedom to not be offended.



Originally posted by djusdjus
The fact that you are writing this here, freely and of your own accord kind of diminishes your point.

Then I have to say, I'm not sure you actually understand my point. I'm not saying our freedom of speech is being curtailed forecefully. I'm saying we each curtail our own freedom of speech for fear of being labelled.



Originally posted by neformore
And what if someone enacts their freedom to respond, and kicks the crap out of the person enacting their so called "freedom to offend", or shoots them dead for the offense you caused?

Offending people for the sake of it just because they have "freedom of speech" just makes someone an ass.

Sticks and stones Nef. I'm a strong believer that there's a chasm of difference between saying and doing. We should always be free to speak our minds, but we should not necessarily be free to put those offensive thoughts and words into action. No-one's suggesting that we should offend for the sake of it, simply because we have the freedom. But you agree we do have the freedom. Point is - it is not up to me to decide whether you're saying something for the sake of offending or if you're trying to make a genuine point. I cannot and should not tell you how to speak. All I can do is choose whether or not to be offended by what you say.

And once we all choose not to be offended or deterred by what someone says about us - as many in this thread have - then we have individually reached a new level of liberty, which will eventually transfer over to a collective level of liberty.

I know that this is a controversial thread in light of ATS's new terms and conditions (regarding racism and bigotry) because obviously, we are not free to say anything - not here anyway. Is that right? Well, I think there are words and sentiments which clearly have no possible alternative use than to offend - overt racist insults being a prime example. But wherever our words can be seen to have a genuine, legitimate concern behind them, they are legitimate, should be discussed and should not be shouted down by one sharp swift label.




posted on Sep, 21 2009 @ 06:25 AM
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Remember the precedent set by the French Revolution. The people rose up and killed off the aristocracy there. Saying the wrong thing during this time would get you killed - that was the so-called 'will of the people'. It didn't matter who you were, if you spoke out for freedom of speech on behalf of the wrong people, you got the chop.

Freedom of speech is all well and good, but if your right to say it doesn't guarantee you protection - then there is no freedom in your speech.

Voltaire - "I may not like what you say, but I'll defend your right to say it to the death..."

I think racist speech and published bigotry should be allowed. That way, we can all have great fun (and sharpen our moral knives) in eviscerating them textually. They wouldn't be racist for very long - they would soon revert to raw stupidity and nobody would listen to them. Plus they wouldn't hide and do their thing in secret.

The only censorship that should be allowed is that which constrains obtuse stupidity. That way, half of the threads that come through ATS would be deleted, and we could have legitimate, intelligent sceptical debate. As opposed to rehashing the same rubbish, time and time again, and constantly trying to educate idiot-box fed high-school kids.

[edit on 21-9-2009 by Parallex]



posted on Sep, 21 2009 @ 07:09 AM
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reply to post by Cythraul
 


If you'd like to be taken seriously you also need to include the following:


Speak out against war:

Un-American, weak-kneed liberal


Speak out for Health Care Reform:

Socialist


Question Religion:

Immoral



Speak out for Civil Rights:

Minority-loving liberal



Speak out for Environmental Regulations:

Fascist



posted on Sep, 21 2009 @ 08:05 AM
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Originally posted by mrsoul2009
If you'd like to be taken seriously you also need to include the following:

Bit of a confrontational tone there, I'm not sure why. I'm not sure who you think I'm trying to be taken seriously by. They're just some thoughts of mine, like the thousands of others on ATS. But yes, the list can go on and on. Thanks for adding to them. I just offered a few of the more common examples in my OP.



posted on Sep, 21 2009 @ 08:09 AM
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Originally posted by mrsoul2009
reply to post by Cythraul
 


If you'd like to be taken seriously you also need to include the following:




Attempt to gain attention by piggybacking someone else's original post.
SAD



RT OP
There are so many horrible titles that are thrown about. Remember...POINT OF VIEW.

To Americans, the Boston tea party was a gnarly demonstration against taxation. To the Monarchy, it was terrorism.

So who was right? The label or the labeler. Call me wtf ever...I just know what side I'm on.



posted on Sep, 21 2009 @ 08:46 AM
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Originally posted by neformore
Freedom of speech = freedom to offend?

Really?


Ooh. That's not what I got from the OP.
What did I miss?
(I admit, I don't know the OP, so I may be missing an underlying meaning - and after reading the rest of the thread, I think that may be the case.)

My take was that we all have freedom of speech (in the USA, not on ATS, necessarily). It's an option for each of us to choose NOT to take offense at what someone else says about us.



Freedom of speech is a treasure, and a responsibility.


Very true.


Originally posted by Cythraul
I'm a strong believer that there's a chasm of difference between saying and doing. We should always be free to speak our minds, but we should not necessarily be free to put those offensive thoughts and words into action.


Totally agree. Not on ATS, but in general, yes. ATS, while allowing MUCH free expression, is not a Free Speech zone. And that's OK.


But wherever our words can be seen to have a genuine, legitimate concern behind them, they are legitimate, should be discussed and should not be shouted down by one sharp swift label.


That applies here on ATS. In the real world, however, The "labeler" has the same freedom of speech as the "labelee". As you said, it's up to the "labelee" to be offended or not. The labeler has the same right.


Originally posted by Cythraul
Bit of a confrontational tone there, I'm not sure why.



Originally posted by Cotechs
Attempt to gain attention by piggybacking someone else's original post.
SAD


So, you guys are labeling mrsoul2009 as "confrontational", "attention-seeker" and "piggybacker" because they shared their opinion? Did you take offense? This door swings both ways, you know?


[edit on 21-9-2009 by Benevolent Heretic]



posted on Sep, 21 2009 @ 09:15 AM
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I don't think we curtail our freedom of speech at all.

If we do, it is because we don't actually have the facts and may be more cautious in how we broach a subject.

which if anything is only rational.

if we run around blurting out that we believe this or that and offer nothing to substantiate that, then it only stands to reason that people will question your motivations for being so vocal about something that you can't back up.

they wonder about your rational, about your ability to grasp reality when one does this.

I frankly see no difference from someone who is a true believer in a religion and someone who is a true believer in the paranormal or ufos or what have you.

If evidence can be produced that is not fraudulent or that cannot be explained, then great, lets look at that, but to draw conclusions about an anomaly without actually truly understanding what it is often leads to hysteria and alarmist views that are contradictory to actual truth.

hence weather balloons are seen as alien ships, diodes reflected on a window are aliens, water drops on a window are spaceships etc etc etc.

In truth, the real evidence is as thin as gold leaf. And while I believe there is a tremendous probability of life besides our own planet in our own galaxy, I haven't seen anything yet that actually confirms that.

I can see it coming soon though, because everyone really IS looking!




posted on Sep, 21 2009 @ 09:42 AM
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Originally posted by Benevolent Heretic
Ooh. That's not what I got from the OP.
What did I miss?
(I admit, I don't know the OP, so I may be missing an underlying meaning - and after reading the rest of the thread, I think that may be the case.)

You haven't missed anything BH. Nefermore and I have a fundamental ideological disagreement. When we engage one another, I feel it's pretty much always civil and well-mannered - and for that I thank Nef.


Originally posted by Benevolent Heretic
So, you guys are labeling mrsoul2009 as "confrontational", "attention-seeker" and "piggybacker" because they shared their opinion? Did you take offense? This door swings both ways, you know?

Of course it does. The important thing is that if I want to call someone 'confrontational', they have the freedom to not be offended. Equally, I have the freedom to not be offended by the way someone addresses me in a thread.

I think a few people may be missing the point. I've not suggested that we should never be offended, or that we should never be allowed to offend. I'm not even suggesting that it's wrong to label someone (that's part of free-speech too). What I'm saying is that we can liberate ourselves if we learn how to not be offended. And by the way, that's not me saying I've mastered it either. I've got as long a way to go as anyone. But if we recognise that freedom lies in the ability to not be offended, that's a powerful tool to work towards.



posted on Sep, 21 2009 @ 09:46 AM
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Originally posted by Cythraul
What I'm saying is that we can liberate ourselves if we learn how to not be offended.


OK. Thanks for the response. I agree with you! It is quite liberating to know that I have the control of my feelings and that to be offended is a CHOICE!
I'm not perfect, either. But I recognized the truth in what you said right away.



posted on Sep, 21 2009 @ 11:23 AM
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Great thread. S&F

Ive always kind of thought this. An effective way to push aside the people who think different to the 'official' story or viewpoint is to label them or critisize their character.



posted on Sep, 21 2009 @ 12:34 PM
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The following is my opinion as a member participating in this discussion.



Originally posted by Cythraul
Nefermore and I have a fundamental ideological disagreement. When we engage one another, I feel it's pretty much always civil and well-mannered - and for that I thank Nef.


We may do, it always is and you're most welcome! (but you could spell my S/N correctly)

You forgot to mention the part about me being right though


You claim you have a "right to offend" - but fundamentally that is just claiming "freedom to offend" by exercising free speech.

You can play with the words if you want, the meaning is the same.

No one has a "right to offend", because there is always a choice to offend or not.

People choose to offend. There is a massive difference.


As an ATS Staff Member, I will not moderate in threads such as this where I have participated as a member.


Edited for clarity

[edit on 21/9/09 by neformore]



posted on Sep, 21 2009 @ 01:28 PM
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Just had to pop in and say I have agreed with Neformore and starred those words.There is nothing more I want to say on this subject as I know the true reasons for this thread and I have said all I need to on another topic



posted on Sep, 21 2009 @ 01:50 PM
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Originally posted by EnlightenUp

Speak out about immigration?
RACIST


I can say with absolute certainty there is more than a fair share of those who conceal their bigotry with this issue.


Sorry, but unless you can prove this statement - and there is no way you can - it is nothing more than your own biased opinion.

So, bottom line - so what?



posted on Sep, 21 2009 @ 01:52 PM
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To the OP - starred and flagged.

What this is aimed at is so-called political correctness, which is really nothing more than a form of thought police.

Glad to see more people taking on the true disciples of PC.




posted on Sep, 21 2009 @ 01:58 PM
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Originally posted by neformore



No one has a "right to offend", because there is always a choice to offend or not.

People choose to offend. There is a massive difference.

[edit on 21/9/09 by neformore]


See, this is exactly where your pro-PC argument falls apart.

Being "offended" is entirely the opinion of the person supposedly being offended. And what offends one person, may not offend the next.

So, if you try to quantify not offending people into law, you'd ultimately have to outlaw everything!.

Give it up. It can't and shouldn't be done. Much better to use genetic engineering to provide the pro-PC people with a thicker skin.

Or people could all just use the Golden Rule (do unto others as you would have them do unto you) and leave government totally out of the equation.



[edit on 9/21/2009 by centurion1211]



posted on Sep, 21 2009 @ 02:02 PM
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What it oughta be...


Speak out about immigration?
ALIENATED

Speak out about 9/11?
OBSERVANT

Speak out about the banker bailout?
PISSED OFF

Speak out about mass-surveillance?
MERITOCRATIC

Speak out about the right-to-bear-arms?
VIGILANT




posted on Sep, 21 2009 @ 02:05 PM
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Originally posted by neformore
We may do, it always is and you're most welcome! (but you could spell my S/N correctly)

Apologies Nef



Originally posted by neformore
You claim you have a "right to offend" - but fundamentally that is just claiming "freedom to offend" by exercising free speech.

Yes, ultimately this comes down to the basic principle of free-speech. I'm still not sure you 100% see where I'm coming from. I'm absolutely not saying that the right to offend means that we should never restrain ourselves from doing so. Someone who offends whenever the opportunity arises, for the sake of it, is an idiot. I'm sure we can agree on that. Still, they shouldn't be forcibly silenced, even if their motives are questionable.



Originally posted by noangels
There is nothing more I want to say on this subject as I know the true reasons for this thread

Right. You think I'm racist because my ideology differs from yours. Whilst it's true that discussional confrontations like you and I may have had in other threads have subconsciously contributed to the concept I present here, they are not the direct cause of this thread. I can promise you that. This issue of free speech and learning to handle its positives and negatives is something I feel very strongly about. I don't really remember whether you've flung the "R" word at me, thus stifling any further debate, but if you still think you have me pegged as a racist, you might want to reconsider.



Originally posted by centurion1211
What this is aimed at is so-called political correctness, which is really nothing more than a form of thought police.

A star for you. Yes, this really does come back to political correctness. Political correctness is the state-created tool which allows for this derogatory labelling and subsequent suppression of dissidence. It's quite deliberate.



posted on Sep, 21 2009 @ 03:30 PM
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Originally posted by Cotechs

Attempt to gain attention by piggybacking someone else's original post.
SAD



Brilliant! You are a genius.



posted on Sep, 21 2009 @ 03:55 PM
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reply to post by Cythraul
 


If you dis-agree with the Socialist ideas of the new Democrats in D.C. then your a NAZI Terrorist say Nancy Pelosi.
This nations government needs an enema.



posted on Sep, 21 2009 @ 04:25 PM
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Originally posted by centurion1211

Originally posted by EnlightenUp

Speak out about immigration?
RACIST


I can say with absolute certainty there is more than a fair share of those who conceal their bigotry with this issue.


Sorry, but unless you can prove this statement - and there is no way you can - it is nothing more than your own biased opinion.

So, bottom line - so what?


Umm, no, not 'so what'. No, not biased. Yes, I have evidence. I don't give a darn about your attempt to diminish what I say other than to assert its falsehood. Wake up. Don't be naiive.

Maybe you aren't and you are deliberately trying to confuse the issue for those that are still blind or defend your preconceived notions. Those that are open can learn to see will see it for themselves. Those that refuse to see will simply never see.

I used to think like that until reality slapped me squarely in the face. I am thankful for the more balanced outlook. The personal revelation transcends political rhetoric and agenda.



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