We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
The American legal philosopher Joel Feinberg attacked Mill by saying that we feel offence like a wound. You only have to think about the hurt from slights that have stayed with you longer than the pain from a broken bone to see the truth in his argument. Societies and individuals feel disgust, revulsion, shock, shame and embarrassment when they hear views that don’t physically harm them, Feinberg said in the 1980s. They can and should replace Mill’s “harm principle” with his “offence principle”—that the law can stop speech that causes serious offense.
Feinberg’s mild authoritarianism buttressed the illiberal version of liberalism that flourishes to this day. It supports the laws against “hate speech” which may not be so hateful it provokes its audience to violence, but is still grossly offensive. It provides the philosophical justification for the incessant Twitter storms and media fits about “gaffes”, “misspeaks”, or to use a modern phrase that reeks of the Victorian drawing-room, “inappropriate language”.
Go into the modern university and you won’t hear much about Mill or Milton or the millions around the world who have had to learn the hard way why freedom of speech matters. Instead, you will be fed philosophers far less rigorous than Feinberg.
The totalitarian impulse is omnipresent, and must be resisted at all times. The "offence principle," however, is nothing but a self-ridiculing bullying tactic which deserves mockery rather that resistance. If you equate offense with a wound, you live on the wrong planet. I am offended by people and things continuously, and that's normal life. But this is not really about emotional wounds - it's a bullying tactic and rarely if ever genuine. Not that that matters anyway.