The notion of giving offence suggests that certain beliefs are so important or valuable to certain people that they should be put beyond the possibility of being insulted, caricatured or even questioned. The importance of the principle of free speech is precisely that it provides a challenge to the idea that some questions are beyond contention, and thus acts as a challenge to authority. Once we give up on the right to offend in the name of “tolerance” or “respect,” we constrain our ability to challenge those in power, and therefore to challenge injustice.
The paragraph given challenges the idea of “giving offence”. It declares that by cordoning off some beliefs as beyond question or parody, the idea of giving offence curtails free speech and our ability to stand up to those in power. Option A- For such diverse societies to function and to be fair, we need to show respect for other peoples, cultures, and viewpoints, and quell offensive voices. This statement contradicts the main idea of the paragraph. The paragraph argues against quelling offensive voices. Hence we rule out this option. Option B- The right to subject each others’ fundamental beliefs to criticism is the bedrock of an open, diverse, just society. This statement echoes the main idea of the paragraph. It continues the line of thought of the penultimate line that the right to offend gives us the power to challenge power and injustice. Option C- If people are to occupy the same political space without conflict, they mutually have to limit the extent to which they subject each others’ fundamental beliefs to criticism Again, the paragraph contradicts this statement. It argues against limiting free speech. So we cross this option out. Option D- The more that policy makers give license for people to be offended, the more that people will seize the opportunity to feel offended. This is a new line of thought—that offence is taken where opportunities to do so are sanctioned by policy makers. It does not conclude the given paragraph. Correct Answer: Choice (b)
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