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Wednesday, January 24, 2018

The State of Free Speech and Tolerance in America

The State of Free Speech and Tolerance in America | Cato Institute

"Nearly three-fourths (71%) of Americans believe that political correctness has done more to silence important discussions our society needs to have. A little more than a quarter (28%) instead believe that political correctness has done more to help people avoid offending others.

The consequences are personal-58% of Americans believe the political climate today prevents them from saying things they believe. Democrats are unique, however, in that a slim majority (53%) do not feel the need to self-censor. Conversely, strong majorities of Republicans (73%) and independents (58%) say they keep some political beliefs to themselves...

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.

An overwhelming majority (82%) of Americans agree that it would be difficult to ban hate speech because people can’t agree what speech is hateful and offensive. Indeed, when presented with specific statements and ideas, Americans can’t agree on what speech is hateful, offensive, or simply a political opinion:

59% of liberals say it’s hate speech to say transgender people have a mental disorder, only 17% of conservatives agree.
39% of conservatives believe it’s hate speech to say the police are racist, only 17% of liberals agree.
80% of liberals say it’s hateful or offensive to say illegal immigrants should be deported, only 36% of conservatives agree.
87% of liberals say it’s hateful or offensive to say women shouldn’t fight in military combat roles; 47% of conservatives agree.
90% of liberals say it’s hateful or offensive to say homosexuality is a sin; 47% of conservatives agree...

Two-thirds (66%) of Americans say colleges and universities aren’t doing enough to teach young Americans today about the value of free speech. When asked which is more important, 65% say colleges should “expose students to all types of viewpoints, even if they are offensive or biased against certain groups.” About a third (34%) say colleges should “prohibit offensive speech that is biased against certain groups.”...

More than three-fourths (76%) of Americans say that recent campus protests and cancellations of controversial speakers are part of a “broader pattern” of how college students deal with offensive ideas. About a quarter (22%) think these protests and shutdowns are simply isolated incidents.

However, 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 the average IQ of whites and Asians is higher than African Americans and Hispanics (48%)
A speaker who says men on average are better at math than women (40%)

Excluding a speaker who would disrespect police, Democrats are about 15 to 30 points more likely than Republicans to say each of these speakers should not be allowed to speak.

Two-thirds (65%) say colleges need to discipline students who disrupt invited speakers and prevent them from speaking...

Many microaggressions that colleges and universities advise faculty and students to avoid aren’t considered offensive by most African Americans and Latinos...

A majority (66%) of Americans have heard of safe spaces, but half or less are familiar with other social justice terms and phrases popular on college campuses today, including: cultural appropriation (50%), trigger warnings (49%), “check your privilege” (48%), microaggressions (43%), and “mansplaining” (41%).

In contrast, strong majorities of current college students and graduate students are familiar with all of these words and phrases: safe spaces (86%), cultural appropriation (76%), trigger warnings (75%), “check your privilege” (77%), microaggressions (66%), and “mansplaining” (69%).

Nearly two-thirds (65%) of the public say colleges shouldn’t advise students about offensive Halloween costumes and should instead let students work it out on their own. A third (33%) think it is the responsibility of the university to advise students not to wear costumes that stereotype racial or ethnic groups at off-campus parties...

A slim majority (51%) of Americans oppose, while nearly as many (48%) support, the idea of a confidential reporting system at colleges and universities in which students could report people who make offensive comments about a person’s race, gender, sexual orientation, age, or disability status...

Most Americans believe many major news outlets have a liberal bias, including the New York Times (52%), CNN (50%), and MSNBC (59%)...

Majorities of Democrats believe most major news organizations are balanced in their reporting...

Nearly two-thirds (61%) of Hillary Clinton’s voters agree that it’s “hard” to be friends with Donald Trump’s voters. However, only 34% of Trump’s voters feel the same way about Clinton’s. Instead, nearly two-thirds (64%) of Trump voters don’t think it’s difficult to be friends with Clinton voters...

Current college and graduate students diverge from Americans who have already graduated from college. About half (49%) of current students say government should ban hate speech while the same proportion (49%) say it should not. In contrast, among college graduates, 64% say hate speech should be legal and a third (36%) say it should not.

Using a political typology to identify ideological groups, we find that Libertarians (82%) are the most opposed to hate speech laws, followed by Conservatives (75%) and a slim majority (53%) of Liberals. However, nearly two-thirds of Populists (64%) say government should prevent hate speech in public...

Democrats favor hate speech protections for some groups more than others... In contrast, majorities of Republicans tend to more consistently oppose hate speech laws for all the groups included on the survey...

Hispanic (51%) and black (40%) Americans are also more likely than white Americans (32%) to support making it illegal to say offensive or disrespectful things about the police. This is surprising given that surveys have long shown that African Americans and Latinos view the police more negatively. The data reveal that both groups tend to more consistently support laws that restrict offensive public speech about any group, not just some groups...

Liberals are also more likely than conservatives to view a variety of political opinions and speech as either offensive or hateful.

Liberals are more than 40 points more likely than conservatives to think it is offensive or hateful for a person to say that... illegal immigrants should be deported (80% vs. 36%), or Islam is taking over Europe (79% vs. 33%). Not even a majority of conservatives find these statements to be offensive or hateful. Notice that two of these, women fighting in combat roles and deporting illegal immigrants, are policy positions that a substantial number of Americans hold. Yet, to merely express these as political positions would also be viewed as highly offensive to a large share of the population...

Strong liberals’ approval of Nazi-punching is not representative of Democrats as a whole. A majority (56%) of Democrats believe it is not morally acceptable to punch a Nazi. Thus, tolerance of violence as a response to offensive speech and ideas is found primarily on the far Left of the Democratic Party.

Approval for punching Nazis also varies with age and race. Millennials (42%) are nearly twice as likely as people over 55 (24%) to say violence is morally justified. African Americans (45%) are also 17 points more likely than whites (28%) and 10 points more likely than Latinos (35%) to say punching Nazis is morally acceptable. Nevertheless, majorities of each of these groups say physical force is not justified, even against a Nazi...

While Democrats are more supportive of censorship when it comes to hate speech, Republicans disdain criticizing patriotic symbols like the American flag...

Most Democrats (53%) also believe supporting a racist’s free speech rights is as bad as holding racist views...

Strong majorities of white Americans (74%), African Americans (64%), and Latinos (58%) agree that political correctness has silenced necessary conversations. Overwhelming majorities of Republicans (89%) and independents (80%) also agree...

Why are Republicans more afraid than Democrats to share their views in this “political climate” given that Republicans currently control both Congress and the White House? Perhaps political power does not solely determine the political climate. Cultural sources of power, such as media, academia, and entertainment may matter more. The survey found that Americans believe most large media outlets, like the New York Times (52%) and CNN (50%), have a liberal bent. A plurality (45%) also believe college faculties are mostly liberal. These institutions may shape the political environment such that liberals feel more comfortable sharing their political views.

But perhaps, one might argue, liberals feel more comfortable sharing their political opinions because their views are less offensive. However, the survey found several instances where conservatives are more offended than liberals by political views more commonly held among liberals...

Notably, liberals also self-censored conventionally conservative sentiments. These included: indifference to identity politics, a belief that racial minorities receive favoritism, support for free speech, and opposition to “PC culture” and removing Confederate statues...

Nearly two-thirds (61%) of Americans believe that “people often call others racist or sexist to avoid having to debate with them.”...

A slim majority (51%) of Democrats believe that calling out racism or sexism is typically justified and not an avoidance tactic. In sharp contrast, about three-fourths (76%) of Republicans and two-thirds (65%) of independents believe it’s primarily used as a tool to stifle debate...

Major differences emerge between Democrats and Republicans in their willingness to allow controversial and offensive speakers speak on campus. Even on issues in which one might expect Republicans to be more offended, they were less likely than Democrats to support cancelling the speaker...

How College Students Would Handle a Racist Campus Speaker

Democratic and Republican students say they’d handle the situation differently. Democratic students are more likely than Republicans to say they’d hold a counter-event in a different location (50% vs. 33%), protest outside (38% vs. 15%), or sign a petition beforehand to get the speech canceled (48% vs. 22%). On the other hand, Republican students are somewhat more likely to say they’d attend the speech and ask tough questions (53% vs. 44%) or simply attend the speech (25% vs. 15%)...

African Americans and Latinos Say Student Newspapers Should Get Approval before Printing Controversial News Stories

Nearly two-thirds of men (63%) do not believe controversial news stories in student papers should need approval while 51% of women think they should...

A slim majority (53%) of Americans say that business employers should not discipline their employees for posting controversial or offensive opinions on social media accounts like Facebook. Forty-six percent (46%) think businesses should.

Democrats stand out with 58% who say businesses should discipline their employees for offensive Facebook posts...

A slim majority (52%) of Democrats say the national news media is doing a good or even excellent job “holding government accountable.” In contrast, only 24% of independents and 16% of Republicans agree... The more a person identifies as liberal the more likely they are to say the media is doing a good job...

Americans make a distinction between requiring businesses with religious objections to serve gay and lesbian people and providing custom services to same-sex weddings."


What does it say that African Americans and Hispanics are skeptical of free speech, if freedom of speech is an American value?

If sizeable minorities with college experience think people who state facts should not be allowed to speak at their college, what does it say about Truth and the attitude towards it of those who mock Trump's approach to it?

Presumably Clinton voters thinking it's hard to be friends with Trump voters but not vice versa just shows the latter are deplorable.

This provides more evidence that liberals are anti-free speech - since Republicans are generally friendlier to speech they disagree with.
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