The Right to Potentially Offend

“I hate your opinions but I will die for you to have the right to express them.”

Voltaire (sort of)

Nowhere in Canada’s Constitution does it say you have a legal right not to be offended.

In fact the Charter protects your fundamental right to speak your mind and potentially offend.

Nowhere in the Constitution does it say we cannot wear whatever we want when we want; that right to wear whatever is upheld by the Charter. And so on and so forth.

Progressives are well-meaning individuals who, regrettably, mistake their deep conviction for the legal colour of right. They also mistake the advent of political correctness for genuine progress. They seem to fail to appreciate exactly what it means to live in a liberal society governed through the rule of law in their attempts to childproof society.

Specifically, it is not reasonable to shame or morally coerce citizens into accepting that parts of the language are off limits because you feel certain words should not be expressed; we do not live in a theocracy–secular or otherwise–where words like Jehovah or phrases like “manning the table” (a male micro-aggression) are off limits; political correctness is intellectually stultifying and I have a legal right to speak my mind short of promoting active hatred of others. You do not have a right to promote hatred but you do have the right to disagree.

Thus, while I accept the fact I am not absolutely free, but that responsibilities follow from possessing and practicing fundamental liberties, I reject the apparent moral authority of leftists who seek to reshape society into some sort of childproofed utopia (by using their personal feelings on any given matter as the standard by which we should all judge a thing right or wrong).

Democracies are supposed to be messy; and although many of the aims of progressives are admirable the means by which they attain them–the shouting down, black balling and public shaming of opponents, the wrong headed indoctrination of the young in high schools and universities churning out social justice warriors unwilling to entertain nuanced positions on complex issues–demonstrates, at least to me, that they are more of a threat to genuine progress than anything else. Why? Because they push for greater tolerance through their own intolerance; they push for greater freedom by seeking to restrict the freedom of others; and they claim the moral high ground when in fact this cannot be achieved through bully tactics but through genuine dialogue while agreeing, potentially, to disagree.

If this post offends and you want to unfriend/unfollow, I respond, “So what? It is too bad our friendship couldn’t weather such disagreement. I wish you well.”

If I was a betting man I would say we are going to see the successful push for sanity from actual liberals (centrists) and conservatives in the coming years. Political correctness is a blight on our society and I will resist it unto my dying breath.