You Have No Right to Insult Me with Your Profanity

You Have No Right to Insult Me
with Your Profanity

© David Burton 2012

No Profanity!

     Today, profanity is everywhere - in public, in the written media, on the airwaves, in the movies. According to the American Heritage Dictionary, the definition of the root of the word is: to treat with irreverence, to put to an improper, unworthy, or degrading use, abuse. Profanity then is defined as the use of abusive, vulgar or irreverent language.

     Nobody should have the right to infringe upon the rights of others. When somebody utters profanity in public, they infringe upon the rights of the public to not have to listen to these vulgarities. Using crude language is a sign of disrespect. People who go around spouting profanity and obscenities in public have no respect for the rights of anyone else and, in reality, they have little to no respect for themselves. They are part of the “me generation.” To these misfits, it’s all about “me”, “me” and “me”. Nobody else matters to them. They don’t care if they offend someone else. In truth, they want to offend others in order to gain attention and to show that they have no respect for anyone else and the society in which they live. They say that they have the right to free speech, but they ignore the fact that they are trampling on the rights of others who don’t want to listen to their verbal trash – they could care less.

     We have morphed into a culture where: it’s regarded as a civil liberty to assault the ears of anyone with smut; far too many think it’s cute to plaster walls, overpasses and any other structure with graffiti; it’s ok to father a child and walk away from the responsibility of raising that child; it's an accepted practice to bear a child and collect welfare for the fatherless child and for being an unwed mother; civility has lost all meaning; and, where civil pride, self-respect, and tolerance for the feelings and rights of others are irrelevant. American society has become a far less friendly and nurturing place than it once was.

     It's unfortunate when we have to have laws that control what should come from common sense. We have had more than enough of the disrespectful profanity that flies through the air, anywhere at any time, by all ages. Clearly, self-respect in America has disappeared and been replaced by the tactless ''I can do or say anything that I want – everyone else be damned!'' attitude. It's a sad state when people care nothing about how they come across to others.

     In late June of this year. “A tart-tongued activist hosting today’s ‘Free (Expletive) Speech Demonstration’ at Middleboro Town Hall to protest the town’s $20 fine for cursing in public is inviting President Obama – in Boston today – to come on down, take a bullhorn and join him swearing up a blue streak … for freedom!” (Ref. 1)

     At the pro-profanity “rally” outside the Middleboro, Massachusetts town hall on June 25th, the profanity spouting activist was backed up by a sign reading “NO VICTIM, NO CRIME.” (Ref. 2) Well, there are victims to the crime and these victims are me, my children, my grandchildren and everyone else offended by the use of profanity in public.

     Protesters cursed Middleboro's rule against public profanity and flashed middle fingers for free speech in a rally that drew about 60 various fringe element members from the region and beyond. "I'd like to open up this megaphone now as an open mike to let anybody who wants to take the stage join me here and give the town of Middleboro, Massachusetts, a piece of their (expletive) mind," said the protest organizer. (Ref. 1)

     Among the lunatics present at the event were: a 38 year old mother who brought her 4-year-old son to the protest; the organizer who wore a belt buckle emblazoned with "Don't Tread on Me," the colonial motto the tea party has adopted; a 19-year-old who carried a sign with words ranging from the stuff of PG-rated movies to the "F-bomb" and "Mother(expletive); a group that had traveled from Keene, N.H., where participants in a movement called the Free State Project have engaged in protests ranging from hosting public smoke-outs for marijuana legalization to a woman standing topless with a gun in the town's center. "I feel like it's a human right to use one's mouth as one pleases as long as you're not putting it on other people," said a 23-year-old from Keene, who said he'd just gotten out of jail for a "victimless crime spree." (Ref. 3)

     “Good behavior is nothing but good manners, simply consideration of others. . . . But manners aren’t just gray-haired pretensions practiced by smug elites on special occasions. They are the daily tithes we willingly surrender to civilization.
     “An ‘MF’ here or an ‘FU’ there might not constitute the unraveling of society, but each one uttered in another’s involuntary presence is a tiny act of violence against kindness, of which we surely could use more.” (Ref. 4)

     Now I’m far front a saint and I certainly am not a Puritan. I can and do swear with the best of them – BUT, I swear when it is appropriate. I don’t go around spouting 4-letter profanities in public and not in front of children and innocent bystanders who have a right to be offended by gratuitous profanity. I don’t have the right to offend others. I wouldn’t go around slapping others in the face and I don’t go around verbally slapping them in the face with profanity. As far as I’m concerned, gratuitous public profanity is a violation of one’s rights and deserves to be punished. For the record, let me state one more time, You have no right to insult me, or anyone else, with your profanity!



  1. No worse for swear, Laurel J. Sweet, Boston Herald, Page 2, 25 June 2012.
  2. Ex-Marine swears by his crusade, Tessa Janus, Boston Herald, Page 11, 26 June 2012.
  3. Protesters curse Middleboro's new bylaw against public profanity, Anika Clark,, 26 June 2012.
  4. Public profanity bleeds our civility, Kathleen Parker,, 27 June 2012.

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