According to the Cato Institute’s latest Free Speech and Tolerance Survey, more Americans than ever before are ready to see European-style speech laws come to the land of the free. As you might have guessed from watching liberals go crazy on social media and from watching them take over classes at one college campus after another, there is an increasing amount of hostility towards the constitutional idea of protecting free expression. Liberals, who used to be the bastions of free speech, are now turning against the First Amendment in record numbers. Believing that some opinions are just too awful to be heard, they are pining away for the day when they can not only keep disagreeable enemies off their campuses, they can actually put them in jail.
According to the Cato survey, 53% of Americans now believe that hate speech is a form of violence. A full 66% of Democrats believe that to be true. 56% of Americans “say society can prohibit hate speech and protect free speech” at the same time, which gives you a clue as to how confused our citizens are right about now.
“The idea of upholding free speech protections but also banning hate speech may work better in theory than in practice,” the Cato Institute writes. “As an earlier section detailed, an overwhelming majority (82%) of Americans believe it would be ‘hard’ to ban hate speech precisely because ‘people can’t agree on what speech is hateful.’ Indeed, the survey finds Americans sharply disagree about what opinions are hateful, offensive but not hateful, or simply a political opinion.”
And that’s really the end of the discussion. We are never going to agree, as a nation, which opinions rightfully belong in the “hate speech” column. That’s exactly why the Founding Fathers, in their infinite wisdom, chose to enshrine this right in the very first Amendment to the Constitution. You don’t want partisan politicians monkeying around with the right of a free people to express their views – on the government or on anything else, for that matter. No good can come of it. Whatever “good” might be gained by protecting certain groups from the nasty words of others will be far outweighed by the stifling of legitimate discourse.
It’s unbelievably frightening that the majority of Americans think this is even something worth considering.