I’ll admit it; I like offending people. I rarely do it to simply be an asshole, but that does happen occasionally. Instead, when all else has failed to sway an individual and I know he/she is wrong on a particular subject I will purposely offend them with a cutting remark about whatever topic we were on. I’m batting a 1000 on pissing them off by the way.
The most typical reply I hear is how I’ve somehow broken one of their “rights” to be talked to in a respectful manner. What they fail to realize is that I tried that, it didn’t work, and instead of letting them keep spouting on I stepped up and not-so-subtley insulted them. However, what really gets to me is this belief that people have the right to not be offended by what other people say or write. There is no such right and there never has been. In fact, if that right were to exist then the whole concept of free speech would die immediately. (even more hysterical is how such people purport to cherish their ability to speak freely, but not those who disagree with them)
This topic typically comes up with regard to some religion being offended by another group’s “blasphemous” actions. It came up with the Danish Muhammad cartoons and is currently by theists all over the world with the current “there’s probably no God” ad campaign. I can’t say I’m surprised by this considering the history of religions dealing with dissent, but that doesn’t mean I cannot be insulted (not offended) by it. What really gets me is the exceptionalism espoused by those offended. What they want is for them, and ONLY them, to determine what is offensive. What they are unable to do is put themselves in the shoes of a group that differs from their view. If they were I imagine they would quickly reverse their views and cry discrimination.
The religious currently benefit from being the majority of the US (though I highly doubt how religious the vast majority of the population claiming to be religious actually is) and therefore many times demands that their view take precedence over all others. That is why we have the Intelligent Design Creationism manufactroversy and the continued uproar any time there is a seeming insult to what the religious hold sacred.
Well, too bad, because as long as I can speak freely I will continue to offend others when I need to. That is what’s currently being done by the atheist bus campaign and it should continue to happen.