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My buddies often challenge me on my position on free speech. I am very open to people speaking their mind, and they come up with examples where I too find what that particular speech would entail to be offensive. But just being offensive to me I don’t feel is a reason they shouldn’t be permitted to speak their mind and to let others hear it. However, if someone is going to give a rant, and they know that they will be offensive to some portion of the public, then they should give a reasonable warning that would permit those people who don’t want to participate to depart. A physical example would be for a nudist beach to have a sign at 300 hundred meters out such as NUDIST BEACH 300 YARDS, and another at 100 meters and another at the beginning. ENTERING NUDIST BEACH AREA. That gives people a fair warning, so they can avoid being offended, but it also gives nudists the freedom to behave as they wish.

Do what you want to do, but give others fair warning if it might be offensive.

A similar problem arises with the use of experimental drugs, because the drug companies need to follow elaborate procedures to assure that their new drugs are safe, effective, and have no unexpected long-term side effects. This should be balanced with people who are diagnosed by a panel of doctors who agree that they have only a short time to live. For example if one has a disease with no effective cure, such as pancreatic cancer, then the patient should have the right to proceed with any experimental procedure they choose. In Oregon people with a deadly situation have the right to die in a dignified and peaceful way at a time of their own choosing. But, if they have the right to die voluntarily, it seems only reasonable that they should also be given absolute rights to do anything possible to prolong their lives. The only limitation is that it must not hurt other people, and that they leave careful records of what they have done, so others may benefit from their experiment. Such things as the drugs they have taken, what the dosages and timing were, and how their body reacted. That way even their death could be a guide to what others might try, and even their failure to survive would be a success, because now we, the living, know that procedure didn’t work in that case.

Do what you want to do, but give others the opportunity live healthier lives.

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