Disturbing: Too many Americans opposed to free speech


Above: Conservative public speaker Ben Shapiro, editor-in-chief for DailyWire.com and host of The Ben Shapiro Show, spoke at the University of Wisconsin to make his case against safe spaces and other recent movements on college campuses he sees as inhibiting free speech last November.

Shouts escalated on both sides throughout the evening, with protesters repeatedly interrupting Shapiro’s speech yelling the words “shame” and “safety,” and some non-protesting audience members countering with “decency” or yelling at the protesters to “shut up” and “get out.”

Shapiro then addressed the protests and said he was aware of the private Facebook event “Fuck White Supremacy: Interrupting Ben Shapiro.”

“With all due respect, eff you right back,” Shapiro said.

And the leftist protests have never subsided. Free speech, if, and only if, we agree with you.

The Cato Institute has released a survey on attitudes about free speech, campus speech, religious liberty, and tolerance of political expression.

Check out some of the findings.

Nearly three-fourths (71%) of Americans believe that political correctness has done more to silence important discussions our society needs to have.

Only a little more than a quarter (28%) instead believe that political correctness has done more to help people avoid offending others.

Forty percent (40%) think government should prevent hate speech in public. Nonetheless, an overwhelming majority (79%) agree that it is “morally unacceptable” to engage in hate speech against racial or religious groups. Thus, the public appears to distinguish between allowing offensive speech and endorsing it.

Despite their desire for viewpoint diversity, a slim majority (53%) also agree that “colleges have an obligation to protect students from offensive speech and ideas that could create a difficult learning environment.” This share rises to 66% among Democrats, but 57% of Republicans disagree.

Despite this, the survey also found Americans willing to censor, regulate, or punish a wide variety of speech and expression they personally find offensive:

  • 51% of strong liberals say it’s “morally acceptable” to punch Nazis.
  • 53% of Republicans favor stripping U.S. citizenship from people who burn the American flag.
  • 51% of Democrats support a law that requires Americans use transgender people’s preferred gender pronouns.
  • 47% of Republicans favor bans on building new mosques.
  • 58% of Democrats say employers should punish employees for offensive Facebook posts.
  • 65% of Republicans say NFL players should be fired if they refuse to stand for the national anthem.

When asked about specific speakers, about half of Americans with college experience think a wide variety should not be allowed to speak at their college:

  • A speaker who says that all white people are racist (51%)
  • A speaker who says Muslims shouldn’t be allowed to come to the U.S. (50%)
  • A speaker who says that transgender people have a mental disorder (50%)
  • A speaker who publicly criticizes and disrespects the police (49%)
  • A speaker who says all Christians are backward and brainwashed (49%)
  • A speaker who says the average IQ of whites and Asians is higher than African Americans and Hispanics (48%)
  • A speaker who says the police are justified in stopping African Americans at higher rates than other groups (48%)’
  • A speaker who says all illegal immigrants should be deported (41%)
  • A speaker who says men on average are better at math than women (40%)

There’s more.

Long story short. It should be alarming that so many Americans feel free speech censorship is appropriate.

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