Jeff Jacoby Quote

“The First Amendment says nothing about a right not to be offended. The risk of finding someone else's speech offensive is the price each of us pays for our own free speech. Free people don't run to court -- or to the principal -- when they encounter a message they don't like. They answer it with one of their own.”

~ Jeff Jacoby

Ratings and Comments

Tony, Phoenix

He's correct.

don dalgleish, london uk

such a clear common-sense statement of our resposibility as well as our rights

Mike, Norwalk

Its too bad that atheists don't believe speech associated with other belief systems fall within the category of free speech. Its too bad the fascists over democratic oligarchies don't believe speech concerning inalienable rights, or against torture, or anything in opposition to the omnipotent oligarchy is safe, or appropriate. Its too bad the pornographers and other destructive dregs hide under the banner of free speech. Its too bad for all of this offense and much much more but, its better than the alternative.

Me Again, Your Town,USA.


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EGL, LA    9/25/06

This is the necessity for all discourse that may then hopefully lead to a resolution of conflict--one reason that in the current practice of diplomacy not talking to your adversray makes absolutely no sense and is self defeating.

E Archer, NYC

People do not have a right to protection from 'offensive' speech. However, they do have the right to (and IMHO a responsibility to) counter such offensive speech with a sound argument to the contrary. If we cannot inspire people to our way of thinking, we oughtn't enlist the power of others to force our views upon those who do not share them. That is what Liberty is all about.

Logan, Memphis, TN

Well said, Archer. We're facing a terrible and increasing problem today in the type of “educated” students we are graduating out of our schools and universities-- we're turning out students who cannot communicate their emotions, thoughts, problems, or concerns intelligently. It’s becoming rarer to find men and women who can use the appropriate words to express themselves, and present an idea to society with an intelligent argument to back it up. What use is free speech to the generation lacks the ability of intelligent communication? It’s another example that our nation cannot remain ignorant and free. If the trend is left unchecked, the next generation may possibly live to see this freedom totally eroded, and lack the ability of doing anything about it.

David L Rosenthal

Perhaps it is not harder to find intelligent people who can express themselves clearly. Perhaps it is simply so easy to find so many who reason erroneously and like to express themselves. In any case, although I do agree to a great extent with the quote, it would be very nice if people would find more civil language and manners with which to criticize others. One thing is to be easily offended by an opposing opinion, but it is something else to be offended because you have been belittled or harassed in an agressive and obscene manner. We have the right to be secure in our persons, which includes our inner persons, who should not without reason be harassed, mistreated, or persecuted, even verbally. Actually, certain types of offensive speech are actionable in court, and should be. If you do not agree with me, @#%&!.

R Van Winkle,

Hmmm....seems like I recall that Free Speech had to do with the citizen's right to express themselves against the government...and absolutely nothing about pornography, flag burning, etc... DId I miss something? Don't tell me that those ol' supreme court justices are making up rights that are not there again. Of course, no one would ever put up wih that for long. Right? RVW

Anonymous, Reston, VA US

... and remember, free speech is not the same as freedom to indoctrinate our children or otherwise waste the people's money on spreading the word of your god...

Ken, Allyn, WA

Logan, today's "educated" students are no longer taught to think: they are taught to feel. Being mind numbed robots, they have very little of worth to say. It's not that they can't effectively communicate their emotions, thoughts, problems, or concerns intelligently, they simply don't have any to communicate other that what someone spoonfeeds them. A right to free speech is worth very little if noone has anything to say. As far as the quote goes "Free people don't run to court -- or to the principal -- when they encounter a message they don't like." Free people also don't riot in the streets, burn effigies of popes, saw peoples heads off and burn their corpes when they dislike a phrase or cartoon.

Mike, Norwalk

Reston and his cronies are resound in their rhetoric as long as their collectivist gods are indoctrinating our children with their prejudice and ignorance.

Michael, Houston, TX

Well, good morning Reston...kinda sensitive about this huh? It is amazing to me what people would rather stomach than to consider that there is really a God out there that will not change according to whim... Soooo, instead of are willing to teach as facts the most inane stuff...including, in post modern nihlism that there really are no facts anyway... Well friend...don't look now, but the rest of the world still believes stuff like engineering, science and morals.... Oh, is that why you really can't say what you are for or against becasue you are in such a pittiful minority and have to force YOUR views on everyone else via the courts? Gotcha! (whether you know if or not)

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anonymous    3/27/14

"The First Amendment says nothing about a right not to be offended."

Yeah, I couldn't find it either - in the body of the Constitution or any amendment thereof.

It's a small crowd who thinks they have a right not to be offended.

jim k, austin tx

Ken Allen is right, well said. Colleges today are infested with kangaroo courts that can kick someone out because someone is offended by just about anything. Especially if a muslim is offended.

Elizabeth, Queens, NY

Freedom of speech is a right that, by these three words alone, includes freedom of insult; whether as an act of irresponsibility or courage.

Ron w13, Or

It has and always will be our right to speak freely. Contraries and lackidasicals , trouble makers, class clowns, want attention. Some do get the lesson in class, others don't. It seems and now is more than ever before, that distraction at home causes most disgruntled behavior among children, and adults. Cheap fixes for time spent at idle. Prop babies, abound in our society while some parents wish to remain children. Big media takes control, when parents turn away from being responsible. There are two sides to the track, always has been. Who can stand before envy. Open rebuke is better than secret love. Let one or two generations slip, then you have a mell of a hess to clean up.

Ron w13, Or

It is much more relaxed, to speak among those that have a degree of, seeking understanding. Many do curb their tongue, now more than before, in the presence of a sound mind. Hope is not lost, as some may think. Around us all, are willing minds with ears that hear, what is needed now more than ever before, is ( longsuffering ), with your fellow human being. Open rebuke is better than secret love. Spoken by the wisest man to have ever lived. So love and caring are manifest. We are not fools, but do wish to educate. Tempering the Art of skill with the Art of love. It takes two to care. Our neighbors and more over, their children are everywhere. Speak wisely to their children, and their parents will pay attention. Do not treat them as children, but as adults, lovingly so. No child likes to be talked down to, or as if.

Mike, Norwalk

Anonymous from Reston, you are right so, why does the occupying statist theocracy infesting this land do exactly that ?


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