Censoring Language as Offensive Violates the Constitution

The concept that language and actions should be censored or banned outright by public schools and public spaces because some persons may be offended violates the U.S. Constitution in many ways.

One, the most obvious one, is that it allows a tiny group of people to say they are offended and thereby censor the language of others. The First Amendment does not say that the freedom of speech can be infringed by somebody claiming to be offended by the exercise of someone else’s speech. This standard of personal feeling is not written anywhere into any right protected by the Constitution. Feelings are not relevant -- they simply are not mentioned as variables that influence legislation. If they were, people should have the power to shut down government regulations because they were offended by them. But, curiously, those who promote using the concept of personal offense never speak of limiting government, only limiting the people.

Evidence of this is that we are told no matter how many people are offended by government mandates or Supreme Court decisions, such as same-sex marriage, the fact that people are offended doesn’t have any standing when standing in the way of the rights of others being expanded. The people can’t influence government on the basis of being personally offended, only government bureaucrats can use this strategy.

This leads into the second important Constitutional issue regarding the offensive language standard: the 14th Amendment. The 14th Amendment says that no state can pass a law that denies anyone equal protection. This means that a tiny group of people cannot have a right to censor language as offensive, and no one else. So far no one has explained, in constitutional terms; why one person, who claims to be offended, has the right to shut down the speech, clothing, or legal actions of everyone else.

At first glance this looks ridiculous, and it is. But like many other liberal power-enabling concepts, those perpetrating it intend to repeat it so often that it becomes accepted by a majority of Americans. But it cannot survive constitutional scrutiny for the simple reason that in order to accept the censorship authority of person A, one has to disqualify the censorship authority of person B. Simply put, this implies that one person’s feeling of being offended has value, and everyone else’s doesn’t. This is unequal protection. A regulation is as legally binding as a law, so one can argue that this regulation, of elevating personal feelings to regulations, is asserting unequal protection of the law. And this is what the 14th Amendment clearly bans.

The idea that one person, or a small number of persons, can veto a law or control the speech of others has the very real effect of seizing power over the votes of everyone else. This is because if a small group of bureaucrats can censor speech, they can censor the expression of speech through the ballot box. This deliberately concentrates power into the hands of a small number of people. And this violates the one person one vote concept that has been repeatedly protected by Supreme Court rulings.

The primary reason for the “offended” concept is that the Obama administration, and liberal Democrats in general, are working to take legislative authority away from Congress and the voice of the people and place it into the hands of a tiny number of unelected bureaucrats. This was Obama’s intention in refusing to negotiate budgets and installing 32 czars as heads of agencies. These agencies have enforcement mechanisms such as fines and court action. The power of the EPA to force people to pay fines or lose their property is a well-known illustration of law by regulation.

The concept of controlling the nation and writing laws based on the concept of “offense” sounds ridiculous when discussed this way, but it is another attempt by liberal Democrats to bypass the U.S. Constitution’s allocation of power to Congress and the will of the people.

This discussion of how the concept of offense is used to secretly proclaim laws that affect Americans must result in a conversation. Curiously, this conversation has been avoided. Americans are just “told” that a new regulation has been passed because some people are offended, and that this justification, of a personal feeling, has the authority to affect their daily lives. But no one discusses this concept, how it came about, where it is founded in the constitution, and how it challenges the rights of voters. This is because the media act as mouthpieces for the liberal bureaucrats and don’t want to incite a conversation on these issues.

They imply an “as if” justification, as if the concept of offense is a legitimate one and provides a constitutional basis for regulations with the power of law.

It violates the basic concept of equality and consent of the governed. The government is controlled by the governed, not vice versa. To introduce feelings of offense, personal dislike, as ways to legislate behavior has no basis in a representative government or the rule of law.

This tactic doesn’t look authoritarian because it avoids direct manipulation as a means to control thought. It is far more subtle. Americans are being introduced to the idea that they should censor their own language and thought, so as not to risk offending anyone. So the goal is to create self-restraint, not appear to be authoritarian by exercising an external restraint. Liberals have been very successful by exploiting people’s humanitarian concerns for others. This is how they have gotten way with giving themselves $500,000 a year pensions: on the basis that they are devoted to caring for the sick and elderly.  

When bureaucrats issue regulations, legislators do not have the opportunity to review them. Voters have no opportunity to give their consent. The Constitution states that laws in Congress must be passed by the majority, not a tiny minority of people who may have feelings of being offended. Bureaucracies are set up to avoid legislative review because they are trying to circumvent the 14th Amendment: that no law can be passed by states that deprive persons of equal protection. This is similar to the tactic employed by Hillary Clinton to refuse to use the state.gov email account because that was susceptible to FOIA scrutiny.

This is how liberals work: they establish a go-between in government, whether it be a bureaucracy, czars, or SCOTUS. Then these go-betweens clandestinely seize the power of government from the states, Congress and the people.

In the 20th century, some nations engaged in “cultural cleansing,” a government sanctioned banning of undesirable cultural practices including language and political discourse. While what liberals are doing in the U.S. cannot be described with such a strong term, we do have “safe spaces” and “politically correct” words and concepts. And these are all enforced by government regulation, primarily through public education. While they may seem gentle, they have the same long-term goal: to control speech and behavior. Big things have small beginnings and future historians will see these regulations as the beginnings.


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