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Jan 08 2021

College Students Reject Free Speech

There is no freedom without freedom of speech. Reverence for it has always been the bedrock of American liberty. A recent survey at University of Wisconsin–Madison suggests that it will not last long unless current trends are reversed.

The College Fix reports:

A new survey from the University of Wisconsin-Madison shows that 63 percent of students on campus believe the government should be able to punish “hate speech.”

The question asked was: “How much do you agree or disagree with the following statement: The government should be able to punish hate speech?” An overwhelming majority responded that they agreed, while 29 percent disagreed, and six percent were unsure.

The concept of hate speech is precious to authoritarians because of its elasticity. Federal laws restricting it are likely, with Democrats set to take full control of the federal government.

Things deemed “hate speech” on American college campuses often include public statements on abortion, gender, race and immigration.

That is, any statement on a controversial topic is hate speech if liberals disagree with the viewpoint expressed. For example,

40 percent of students agreed the government should be able to restrict the speech of “climate change deniers” …

If you don’t believe that the ever-changing climate is somehow a problem, or that Big Government can force it to stop fluctuating through taxation and regulation, you had better keep quiet unless you want to be charged with hate speech.

Tyranny appears to have a gender bias:

Only 47 percent of male students said they “slightly,” “somewhat,” or “strongly” agreed that the government should be able to restrict hate speech, while an astounding 75 percent of female students believed so.

The ongoing demasculinization of Western culture is bad news for free speech. So is the impending ascendancy of the Left:

While 62 percent of liberals agreed that a person should be able to prevent another person from speaking if they believe that person’s speech is hateful, only 18.1 percent of conservatives supported such speech restrictions.

UW-Madison is no outlier.

In March 2020, a survey by College Pulse found that 60 percent of students believe “offensive jokes can constitute hate speech.”

A joke that could not possibly offend anyone isn’t likely to be funny. But they won’t ban humor altogether. Ridicule of disfavored groups like Christians and Caucasians will still be allowed.

In one 2019 survey by the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, a majority of college students said they value inclusivity over free speech, think their fellow students should have their political views censored if they are hurtful or offensive to certain students, and think that students should be excluded from extracurricular activities if they publicly express intolerant, hurtful, or offensive viewpoints.

Goodbye marketplace of ideas, hello totalitarianism.

Today’s college campus is tomorrow’s workplace and media environment. We are entering a world where only one set of opinions is permitted.

The free exchange of viewpoints prevents a society from going out on a limb. There is no guessing how far we will stray from sanity when leftist tunnel vision has been imposed. The 20th century histories of Russia, China, and Cambodia offer an indication.

Hat tip: Conservative Playlist.


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