Today the battle-cry of many dangerous and hateful people is “That’s offensive!” They have succeeded in fooling the whole world into believing that words can do actual harm, especially to people who belong to certain groups. It is nonsense and idiocy at its absolute highest level. Words might hurt feelings, but they only do serious harm if you choose to believe them to be true.
And the crowd that is supposedly fighting the harm of words are perhaps the most destructive and disrespectful of all. They keep telling people that they are helpless, soft, oppressed, and victims. They tell them that hurtful words are indicative of a system that is stacked against them. They they are helpless victims so fragile that words can hurt them. And they offer money and support to people who are willing to accept that idea.
There is a whole class now of the “professionally offended” who are constantly crying their outrage to the world. They have been given a hell of a platform to do it on,too. The United Nations and the European Union Council are both happy to listen to them, and then pass their ideas of how to control and censor other people’s thoughts into law.
And of course they would… the professionally offended are what Lenin called “Useful Idiots.” Every time they make a demand, governments get to pass more laws and create more programs to convince people that they are victims. For each new program, they can claim more power; now they suddenly can control which websites you can look at, or whether or not your allowed to propose such-an-such an idea. They might even be able to charge you with a “hate speech” offense for making a website with views that the people in power don’t agree with. If they control what you can say, they can control what ideas get shared, and thus control how people think. They can also raise taxes, or print off more money (which causes inflation, which is really just another less visible kind of tax), which they use with terrible inefficiency. Right now, to create a program that gives a poor “victim” $1000 dollars worth of help costs roughly $2100, because you need bureaucrats, computers, “consultants” (people whose job it is to decide what is offensive) and far far more. They may not care about the “hurt” parties, but they sure like to be able to siphon off that extra $1100!
The idea that words can hurt anyone is nonsense. Believing harmful words, being afraid of words, and trying to control people over what words they use can hurt a hell of a lot of people.
If you want to be a functional adult in the real world, you need a thick skin. People are going to say rotten things, because they are people. When unmindful people are in pain, they try to pass it on to others. You need to be able to ignore the stupid things that people just say. It’s actions that are important, anyway. It is being able to ignore people’s rotten words and unkind attitudes that will let you see – and discuss the world as it really is. If we want to be truthful, we don’t need to set out to be offensive, but we also can’t dance around other people’s feelings. Compassion and empathy are only helpful when protected by clear boundaries, and your freedom should be a hard line. When we are offended, we have to stop and ask why. Because it may be a good indicator that we are ignoring something pretty fundamental to ourselves.
Shutting down unkind speech can only destroy the marketplace for ideas. And in the absence of a marketplace, only the ideas of totalitarians will get a say in things.
Don’t contribute to the insanity! Don’t set out to be offensive, but if someone gets angry at you for speaking the truth as you know it and says “That’s offensive!” counter with “So what?”, “Live with it.”, “So is bullying,” or “I’m offended that you think your feelings have a right to keep people from having a conversation.”
Or even just plain “Grow up.“
P.S. One of the greatest must-read books of all time is 1984 by George Orwell. It explores the themes of controlling thought and language, governments using and abusing their people, and much more: 1984. I also recommend you read Kindly Inquisitors by Johnathan Ruach, I’ll happily lend you my copy.