The First Amendment’s Years Are Numbered, If this Poll is Accurate

A new poll says that 10% of college students say it’s sometimes acceptable to shut down a speaker with violence. An earlier poll showed the number as high as 19%. Think about it: anywhere from a tenth to a fifth of all college students think it’s ok to use violence against someone just because you disagree!

Democrats have the biggest share of those who support violence against dissenters, but even a majority of Republicans are prepared to bow to threats from the likes of Antifa by barring people from campus in the name of averting violence, according to an article on the subject.

These results are broadly in line with polls of the general population on hate speech. More left-wingers are in favor of censorship than right-wingers; in fact, there’s a significant majority of Republicans who are opposed not only to this idea, but also to other equally terrible forms of censorship, presumably on the theory that some of their own favored groups might be protected from criticism under “hate speech” laws. [Source: Gallup/Knight Foundation and]

The root of censorship is the rotten, corrupt concept of “hate speech”. The moment we began to differentiate “hate speech” from legitimate, First Amendment protected speech in the United States is the moment the death knell for free speech was sounded. The rest is only a matter of time, as these polls show.

It starts with leftists who say, “Well, you can’t shout fire in a crowded theater, and you can’t say offensive things about people,” at least not people (e.g. gays, transgenders, Muslims) they deem worthy of this special protection. But how long before conservatives turn around and say, “Well, if it’s illegal to say offensive things about gay people or Muslims, then it’s equally illegal to say offensive things about straight people or Christians”? That’s the sad thing we’re seeing in this survey, particularly the younger population.

I have been saying for years that the flawed concept of “hate speech” will set us on a path to censorship in America. Now we have hard evidence that younger people are not only ready to censor each other, but to even use violence against one another to protest speech — and speech alone.

The root of all this? The decline of reason. Because as reason declines, people’s confidence in the ability of free speech to change minds weakens as well. The inclination to use violence to shut people up or “knock sense into” them corresponds with the death of reason. No free country can or will survive if reason and objective truth continue to erode.

Only when and if reason makes a resurgence, especially on college campuses, will the First Amendment once again have a fighting chance.

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