Free speech trumps being offended

In a free society we value free speech and that means at times we are going to be offended by our views, beliefs and opinions being challenged and insulted.

The easy answer is to say that so and so should be banned for saying what they have said but if we were banned from saying something how would we feel?

Our religious views or the lack of them is often an area where offence can be intended and indeed taken but that does not mean whose who offend should be stopped from making their views known.

The difficulty we face is our ability to take criticism that challenges our own prejudices but of course those prejudices vary markedly from person to person.

So yes, you have the right to be offended just as you have the right to be the offender. That does not of course excuse bad behaviour which is meant to hurt but some will indeed have intended just that.

For a free society to work we need to be tolerant and considerate when we know that a small minority of us will not be. But the more rules and laws we bring in to stop us being offended the less free we all become.