Your Tender Feelings Cannot Manufacture Non-Constitutional Rights

Barb Wire

“I’m offended and somebody’s got to pay!”

The first time yours truly read that preposterous demand was nearly 40 years ago. Even in that nascent era of pre-political correctness, the demand seemed absurd. Yet, the news report didn’t have a single quote from anyone calling it what it obviously was: nonsense.

Sadly, the failure in the ensuing decades to stand up to such idiocy is largely responsible for foolishness becoming commonplace.

Today too many people are persuaded they have a right not to be offended. No one apparently ever thought it worthwhile to tell them otherwise.

Trending: Itching Ears that Hate the Truth

It’s instructive that these fragile flowers can’t tell you what their “right” not to be offended is based upon, other than their own desires. It’s more telling that they don’t recognize their own desires to be inadequate grounds for forcing the world to comply.

All of this offends me. Who’s going to pay for that? Where do I collect?

The “I have a right not to be offended” mentality is the inevitable logical outgrowth of the entitlement mentality.

Once people are persuaded they are entitled to other people’s money, it’s a short walk to the Land of Entitlement where “rights” are magically manufactured to demand other people’s jobs, property and now even their respect. The pinnacle is the Realm of Inoffensive Bliss, where never a discouraging word is heard.

In other words, if I’m allowed to lay claim to what’s yours, I certainly can impose my personal desires, to the point of outlawing your speech if it scares or offends me. That’s a short trip to the next stop on the road to hell, Progressive Oz, where somebody’s got to pay!

This is another reason we will miss Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia so much. Before his death over the weekend, Scalia was one of the foremost correctors of nonsensical thinking. Rights, as Scalia understood, do not spring from one’s loins, or appetite, or heart. You can find them in the Constitution, where they are supposed to be protected from molestation.

Similarly, in applying constitutional principles to laws and life, Scalia refused to use those principles either as a wax nose to twist to accommodate the latest fashion, or to find in them words that aren’t there.

“Scalia is right to say that there is nothing in the Constitution that requires the government to be neutral about religion,” noted William Donohue of the Catholic League.

And as Scalia flatly observed: “A Constitution is not meant to facilitate change. It is meant to impede change, to make it difficult to change.”

None of this resonates with the “I am offended” crowd, which instead concocts rights on the fly, rooted in nothing more than the passion du jour. For them, the Constitution, if it’s even given a second thought, is a living document, the ultimate wax nose to conform to the culture’s next transformation.

Scalia, of course, knew better: “What is a moderate interpretation of the text? Halfway between what it really means and what you’d like it to mean?”

For those who would force the world to comply with their desires today, tomorrow is always a day away. But tomorrow always arrives, and with it new passions and their attendant absurdities. This is how the biologically unproven assumption that homosexuality is inborn was adopted sans proof, and new “rights” quickly attached, as if authored by God or the Founders, which of course neither did.

Sure enough, with the passage of time, a new day brought a new set of passions insisting that sexuality is mutable, and can be whatever one chooses, apparently changeable from day to day. Voila! A new set of “rights” were demanded based on the new, also unproven, assumption that men can be women, and vice versa, and then switch back, by simply choosing.

Hand in hand with all this stuff comes the “I am offended” mantra and its demands that whatever outrageous new “rights” may be asserted, they must be met with bows and hugs, otherwise, “somebody’s got to pay!”

This is all like a fourth act in Alice in Wonderland, where reality is flexible and rules transient, yet absolute. “Do as I say, until I say differently,” is the logic of the Red Queen, who holds ultimate power to make someone pay: “Off with their heads.”

In such a fast-moving (one might say quickly decaying) world, it can be risky to hold to Constitutional rights, let alone immutable truths. You could end up paying.

At the least, a person of faith risks being ostracized for not going with the flow and applauding today what he likely will be commanded to boo tomorrow.

Scalia understood that when men seek a Progressive Utopia, Christians will be offended.

“God assumed from the beginning that the wise of the world would view Christians as fools … and he has not been disappointed,” Scalia said. “…Have the courage to have your wisdom regarded as stupidity. Be fools for Christ. And have the courage to suffer the contempt of the sophisticated world.”

Rest assured, for some, there will be hell to pay.

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Barb Wire.

Mark Landsbaum
Mark Landsbaum is a Christian husband, father, grandfather and journalist who has written for a living for 43 years, ever since discovering he had no particular talents. He can be found on Facebook, Linkedin, and in the archives of the Orange County Register where he wrote another column for 10 years. He can be reached at

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