Here’s something that has bothered me for some time: The ever-increasing concern people seem to have about things being “offensive”.
I could write a very long post about freedom of speech and its limitations, but I don’t feel like doing that — at least not right now. Instead, I’m going to focus on why the concept of people feeling “offended” bothers me: because simply put I cannot wrap my head around it.
Let’s assume someone made a statement. Not any type of statement: Specifically, a statement that puts you — or a person you love, or a organization you’re part of, or something you care deeply about — under a bad light. As with any other statement, whatever the person said is bound to be either true or false:
- If what they said is false, then there’s no point at all in feeling bad about it. Sure, you might feel disappointed with the person who made the statement for holding such a mistaken opinion about X, but there’s no reason to feel offended.
- Conversely, if what they said is true, no matter how much it makes you feel sad, how much you regret it, how much you’d like for things to be different, there’s no point in feeling offended with reality. After all, it’s reality. Nothing can be done about it. (In the rare cases where something can be done to change reality, feeling offended is actually counter-productive.)
Corollary: People who feel offended about things are either:
- Irrational — They’re unable to reason about what they hear or read;
- Delusional — They’re not willing to accept unfortunate realities they cannot control or change. They are instead determined to remain undisturbed in their own fantasy world;
- Lazy — They’re not willing to change unfortunate realities they can control and change.