“This Offends Me!”

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It seems that one can not go a day without hearing those words, or stumbling into the ripples caused by some person or group uttering those words. Everybody has their points of contention.
But never before has it been easier to share these negative feelings (and drum up a lot of feedback in the process), then today with social media and the Internet.

Being offended, is just a part of living in a free society. Everyone has things that are offensive to the their sensibilities. The more rigid minded of us,those morally and ethically upstanding citizens, tend to be predictable, with what offends them. Those in contemporary society, tend to be also that way. Not as rigidly bound to traditional morals and ethics, but none the less, very predictable in nature.

When it comes to people like me that like to push the boundaries and skirt the edges of contemporary society, though we are often times not NEARLY as easily offended as our many of our societal peers, we have our annoyances. For me personally, many things that “offend” me are not so much based in morality or ethics, but more in collective mass behavior.

For example, people that become so ingrained in a phenomenon of their cultural environment (for example, hockey in Canada and Religion and/or Patriotism in the U S of A), that they turn themselves into easy pray for those willing to exploit their blindly obedient nature.

Case in point, advertisers. You can sell anything in Canada, just by associating it with the sport of hockey. And in the US, many a con man has made millions, by simply selling Christianity. Those are just the ones that got caught.
And of course, this does not account for those that operate on the “right” side of the law. Argue all you want, they all make the same sales pitch.

While the thoughtless and arguably sheep like nature of people is offensive to my sensibilities (and to the whole intelligence of the species), I would never try to force my will on people, in trying to “change” this to my liking. Yes, it would be nice if people did not collectively, leave themselves so open to outside manipulation. But that is just an aspect of living in a free society.

However, there are many, that would love nothing better then to impose their personal will, on the rest of society. You know who these people are.

These are what one would call, the squeaky wheels within society.

The religious right is a good example. As can be, many libertarians and progressives.

First of all, the act being offended is not the problem. In a society where freedom of speech reins and any and all  ideals are allowed to foster (including those that lie on the edge,  and outside, the boundaries of what is “Politically Correct”), conflicts are bound to happen. And happen they do.
Some like to isolate themselves from such conflicts to the best of their ability, by sticking to a predictable circle of peers.

I like the familiar. But I also keep a few people around with “conflicting” beliefs and conclusions, just to keep life interesting.

But back to the piece, it is not the act of offense, that is the problem. You can believe (for the most part), whatever you want. It is when you have an expectation that your will should be imposed on society at large (above that of all others), that the problem arises.

A good example, is censorship. A great part about free speech, is the ability to say pretty much anything we want, without fear of prosecution. The ability to share whatever opinions we want, no matter how nutty they may be.

NOTE: Freedom of speech as guaranteed by law, is not the only consideration, when you are using any sort of Internet portal. The law just says that you can not be prosecuted under the LAW. That does not mean that the portal you are using, can not remove your content and/or terminate your presence on it. As long as the servers are private property, your bound by those terms of service.

In a free society, all are free to say whatever they please. However, if one group decides that they think something is so “offensive” that it should not be said anymore (#banbossy ! ), then by rights, everyone should have their say on the matter.

Until the only words you have left are “I surrender!”, as the police kick in your door for sending a tweet of 30 characters that  “offends” the sensibilities of  15  different groups.

Free speech is an awesome thing. You can say virtually whatever you want, and you can tell the person with the ridiculous conclusions, exactly what you think of his or her ideas. It is something that should not be taken lightly.

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