Freedom: If you’re not giving or taking offense regularly, you’re not doing it right.

It is hard to go more than a day or two without hearing someone either complaining about being offended or someone else tripping over themselves to stop doing something for fear of offending.

STOP IT! Go out and offend! The bottom line is that we should all be very concerned when suddenly the world of public discourse does not include ideas that offend a pretty good chunk of people. In fact, one of the best measures of our freedoms being well used is the fact that people are being offended.

While many seem to believe that our Bill of Rights and Constitution were written, in part, with the intent of preventing us from being offended, nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, it is the complete opposite that is true. One of the things our founding documents were designed to insure was our right to offend whoever we like – with no impact on our rights.

However, this does not mean that offending carries no responsibility. If you offend, it is the right of others to decide how they will treat you. While the government cannot take away any of your rights because you have offended, if you offend me, I am free to not associate with you. That could mean not using your services or buying your products. Any punishment for any offense you might give or take falls to the community in which you live. As it should be.

What is most important here is that as long as your opinions are informed and considered, you are likely to offend far fewer than you will impress. Of course, the opposite is also true. The stupid among us will quickly find that when they offend, they offend far more than they win over. What could be better to help encourage the stupid to become less so than the vast majority of their community expressing to them exactly how stupid they are? So giving and taking offense can combat stupidity and even provide a sort of self correcting mechanism in the world of political discourse.

So get informed, consider some thoughts and go out and offend.

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