Free speech is considered one of the “core” values of America, and is ideally manifested on the college campus. However, this has been under attack, and the campus is now viewed by many as a battleground where certain ideas are tolerated and others are viciously persecuted. Now the very concept of free speech seems to be dwindling away as 41% of people in colleges no longer believe that “hate speech” should be protected according to a report:
Some 41 percent of college students say hate speech shouldn’t be protected under the First Amendment, according to a new survey.
Just 58 percent said that hate speech should be protected under the amendment, which guarantees American’s a right to freedom of speech, according to the survey of 4,407 students by the Miami-based Knight Foundation.
‘There is a new class of students on college campuses, increasingly varied in background and ideology, who are grappling with the reach and limits of free speech and what it means in the 21st century,’ said Sam Gill, Knight Foundation vice president for learning and communities.
‘Studying their views is key to understanding the impact that they may have on rights that are fundamental to our democracy,’ he added.
Opinions split dramatically along gender lines, with just 41 percent of college women saying that protecting free speech was more important that inclusivity, compared to 71 percent of college men.
More than two-thirds (68 percent) of respondents said they felt that students can’t openly express their views due to a climate on campus that has people fearful of offending their peers.
Just 31 percent disagreed that such a climate exists.
These opinions of young Americans on the matter of freedom of speech are problematic – if well intended, said Ken Paulson, the director of the Free Speech Center at Middle Tennessee State University.
‘Protecting hate speech is actually the reason we have a First Amendment,’ he told DailyMail.com. ‘We don’t need protection for freedom of speech if everyone agrees with one another. The protection we need is for speech that others may find offensive.’
The survey comes as more colleges are opting to cancel or not invite controversial speakers to their campuses due to student outrage.
For example, Middlebury College in Vermont apologized to students earlier this year after getting a negative reaction to inviting a conservative speaker to campus. College officials also promised to do more to prevent invitations to such speakers going forward.
‘The big difference between today and a decade ago is that the conservatives are the big driving force behind freedom of speech on campuses,’ Paulson said.
The report also found that more than half (53 percent) are in favor of protecting freedom of speech, while 46 percent say it’s important to ‘promote an inclusive and welcoming society.’
‘The Constitution was not designed to keep your feelings from being hurt,’ said Paulson, also the former editor-in-chief of USA Today. ‘It was designed so every American could say or do whatever they wanted and do so without being punished. To understand freedom of speech you have to understand that it’s the minority being protected against the majority and the government.’
The survey also found that a majority of Mormon (81 percent), white evangelical Protestant (71 percent), white mainline Protestant (64 percent) and Catholic (62 percent) students felt that protecting free speech is more important than inclusivity.
By comparison, a majority of Jewish students (65 percent) and non-religious students (54) said that inclusivity is more important than free speech.
In addition, just 39 percent of college students knew that freedom of speech is protected by the Constitution, according to a separate 2017 survey of 1,500 students by the Brookings Institution and UCLA.
Some 44 percent said free speech was not protected and an additional 16 percent said they didn’t know either way.
‘There’s no question that these young people are well intended and are doing exactly what their parents raised them to do,’ Paulson said. ‘You shouldn’t offend people of other races and faiths you shouldn’t go out of your way to hurt other peoples’ feelings. But the Constitution is about being able to live life to the fullest and that includes being able to say whatever you want.’
‘I’m absolutely convinced that the failure to honor and respect First Amendment freedoms comes from a lack of understanding,’ he added. ‘And all of our educators have to make a commitment to turn this around.’ (source, source)
“Hate speech” is a subjective term and because of this, a dangerous one. What is “hateful” to one person may be gospel to another, for while truth is objective and absolute, and while what one holds as truth can objectively be a lie, the term “hate speech” opens the way for truth to be redefined as a lie and a lie defined as a truth depending on the social concensus.
What Ted and I write about many times would be considered a lie because it is not popular, especially the fact that we attempt to constantly emphasize the divinely revealed teaching of the Catholic Faith on sodomite behavior.
The issue is not “college campuses” either, but about the reflection of the campus as an view into the attitudes of the coming generation. If 41% of students believe that essentially views they do not like are not “protected”, given the American cultural context, what does this mean for the future other than a tyranny of the masses where law reflects a constantly changing zeitgeist and it is unsafe to express any view lest one unintentionally find oneself in the firing range of the law at the current time. This is inevitably going to change how people relate to each other, what the topics of conversation will be, and the free interchange of ideas in a society.
For almost a century, the US has adapted a socialistic view on how government should conduct itself. It does not matter if the party in charge was on the “left” or the “right,” because both adhered to the same core philosophy. Now while the US fought against international socialism, she embraced national socialism, which eventually yields the same results. Interestingly, the very evil that she opposed publicly she is now also publicly becoming and the fruits are showing themselves. It is history repeating itself again.