John, your rationale is exactly the same we heard from the apologists during the rioting over the Mohammad cartoons. Here it is nice and simple – the right to offend is a real and time-honored freedom. The right to not be offended does not exist.
No, Rob. You are misunderstanding. I am not trying to have the State interfere in what some consider “offensive”. (For the record, I do not consider the Mohammad cartoons unfairly insulting.) That’s why I brought up the simple example of a guy insulting another guy’s wife and getting his head knocked in because of it. There was no necessity for the offended gentlemen to seek the State’s intervention. He just did what came naturally to him. And to that, you said such a reaction was “understandable”. I am speaking BEYOND the mere legal license you have been granted by the State to offend, and going to the heart of what true freedom is and what its transgression can mean for our society. I am speaking of the moral significance, not the legal one. One may have been granted the legal license to unfairly insult or even to commit an immoral act, but that does not mean there is an inherent right to do so. An inherent right, Rob, is given to us by God and is a permanent and immutable inheritance. It is not given by man or the State — otherwise it can be taken away as sure as it can be fraudulently granted (i.e. abortion, gay “marriage”). And because a genuine right has God for its author, it is also subject to the objective moral order and the Truth.
You see, Rob, libertarians blindly believe that they can keep exercising their license to do or say just about anything they want without any real and tragic consequences befalling them or the culture around them. They do so, of course, because they refuse to admit an objective moral boundary for their “liberty”. Every time they brazenly pass this boundary, they encroach on natural justice and consign the society to internal corruption, decay, and eventually death.
That does not mean one has to be happy when offended – the counter to offensive expression is expression. If someone has published something you think is offensive to you personally or to your religion – be outragted, tell that person to go to hell, write about it on your blog, urge other people to send angry letters, urge other people to boycott that person or that person’s site, radio show, whatever. Do not go crying to the state.
This is a very strange response, Rob. You find it “understandable” that someone would resort to violence if his wife were grievously and unfairly insulted, yet you do not have the same feelings when it concerns someone’s religion. And, amazingly, you seem to be even more unimpressed that someone would usual peaceful means to address their grievance.
I do not say this to support violence or go “crying to the State” whenever there is an offense committed. In fact, I do not. I only bring this up to show the rank hypocrisy of libertarians when the playing field is level: you’ve got understanding when it suits you, but a lack of that same understanding when it doesn’t.