Limits on free speech are often justified to prevent people from offending others. But to paraphrase Nietzsche, if we can overcome what offends us, it makes us stronger.

In the Learn Liberty video below, Northwestern University Professor Laura Kipnis explains how being offended can actually be an intellectual exercise which allows us to explore the roots of why we are offended.

For instance, she is personally offended by Hustler magazine. Writing about this has allowed her to explore her own boundaries, gender, class, and manners—a very rewarding intellectual experience for her. Only by confronting what offends us, argues Professor Kipnis, can we sharpen our intellect to refute it.

Limits on free speech keep us from engaging in this intellectual exercise—and thereby prevent us from empowering ourselves through critical thinking and expression.