Sentences I'd never thought I'd write: Pussy Riot are right. There is no right not to be offended, nor should there be. Neither is offending someone--even really, really offending them--the sort of thing that should be punishable by the state. Moreover, implicating the state in defending the legitimacy of speech restrictions against non-state groups is exactly the sort of thing is inherently problematic. Defenders of Putin and the Orthodox Church seem unable to imagine contexts in which this exact combination of elements would be unacceptable, from restrictions of exactly the same kind involving other religions (the treatment of Christians in Egypt, for example) to lesser levels of social prohibition that limits speech (campus speech codes, 'political correctness'). See also Alex Massie:

Sewell suggests the trio are not serious dissidents. Their lack of seriousness, naturally, means that while what has happened to them is regrettable (even unjust!) it is hardly either surprising or something anyone else should find too bothersome. Or something like that, anyway. ...

Perhaps you think she protests too much. Perhaps you think her punk protest misguided. I’m not sure, however, that you can really doubt her seriousness. Note too the desire to live without politics and with it the implied question: how can you live without politics in a state that outlaws politics? I’d suggest that’s a serious question and a moral one of the kind you won’t find from many people in other, happier countries.

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