“The right to offend is the most precious right. Without it, free speech is meaningless.” Those are the words of NYT columnist Bret Stephens, a man who has offended many with ugly, distasteful commentary, but who recently demonstrated the hollowness of his principles. Bret believes in the right to offend so much that he complained about “the disease of the Arab mind” (totally not racist), and claimed the campus rape epidemic was “imaginary” (totally concerned about the wellbeing of women). He’s not a fan of Black Lives Matter, responding to it with the cliché that “all lives matter,” disputing the problem of discrimination faced by African Americans at the hands of police, and suggesting it’s due to “criminality… [occurring] in African-American communities. And police go to where criminality occurs.” (yup, definitely not racist). But this free speech warrior draws the line somewhere: When a New York Times employee complained that there were bedbugs in the building, GWU professor David Karpf tweeted a humorous jab, suggesting “the bedbugs are a metaphor,” and adding: “The bedbugs are Bret Stephens.” Forget bigotry, this personal joke at his expense is where the line has to be drawn! Stephens wrote the professor an email “inviting” (read: challenging) him to come over and repeat the joke to his face, and cc-ed the university provost in an obvious effort to get Karpf in professional trouble. After being trashed on Twitter for his shameless hypocrisy, Stephens deactivated his account. Clearly, he can handle being offended so well, for offending him is “the most precious right” people can exercise after all.

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