“In this country, the right of freedom of speech is guaranteed by the Constitution to every citizen and is cherished as part of the national heritage.” But free speech is one thing, being offended is another. Hull understood how the Germans were deeply offended by the critique of Nazism. “I very earnestly deprecate the utterances which have given offense to the German Government,” Hull wrote.
FDR was more circumspect. Speaking to Hull he asked “what would you say if I agreed completely with La Guardia?” But Hull was adamant, La Guardia was the problem, not the poor offended German Nazis. Just as Iran Ayatollahs and Saudi imams are always offended, between hanging and stoning people and spreading hatred, the German chauvinists must be coddled. FDR told Hull that La Guardia would get a slap on the wrist.
Everywhere in the world many of the groups that are the most aggressive and hateful, are also the first to shout that they are “offended”. Being “offended” becomes a license to bully and censor and eventually to have one monolithic viewpoint.