Factually Wrong: Freedom of Speech and Being Offended

Saying “I am offended” is just as much protected speech as whatever speech causes that response. The First Amendment restricts the government’s power to censor speech. It does not protect one from ridicule or even retaliation by private entities (as long as said retaliation is a legal activity).

Unless “I am offended” is followed by a “cops! Get him!” or a punch, it is not censorship. XKCD, as usual, explains it well:

Free Speech


4 thoughts on “Factually Wrong: Freedom of Speech and Being Offended

    • I hate to say so, but I agree with Randall Munroe on this point. Not because I think ousting Brendan Eich was a good thing – it was rude and evil. However, private people are allowed to associate with others or not as they desire. Boycotting a non for profit for any or no reason is part of that.

      I can definitely see this going the other way, with conservatives refusing to do business with liberals in retaliation. It is bad. But it is within the rules of the game.


    • My point is that people have a perfect right to say “I am offended”, that isn’t censorship.

      According to several of my friends, I am ignoring the subtext here, which is that “I am offended” leads to behaviors which aren’t legit, such as calls for censorship or swatting and doxing.

      Thinking about it, they might be right. I forgot that even in the US we have some benighted areas where speech is restricted. Living in Texas and having acquired my university education by mail and Internet somewhat explains my oversight.


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