There are moments when I fall a bit like Alice falling down the rabbit hole. The latest results from a YouGov poll that asked respondents about making hate speech a criminal offense is one of those moments.
Over the last year YouGov has done two major national polls (Poll 1 from October 2014, and Poll 2 from this past week) on the subject, and what they’ve found is startling and a bit scary. Both polls found that just over half of all Democrats believe that free speech should be restricted and that anything considered “hate speech” should be a criminal offense. It’s maddening to believe that so-called “liberals” who say they value individual rights above all else could possibly buy into limiting free speech, but it seems that is exactly the case. Thankfully, in the latest poll more Democrats seem to have grown averse to the idea of limiting free speech, but that is not the case with Republicans!
In October, 49% of Republicans opposed restrictions on free speech and only 25% supported them, but the latest poll shows a 14-point swing towards fascism! The most recent poll shows 47% of Republicans opposing free speech restrictions, but a jaw-dropping 37% favoring them!
The totals mean that 41% of our country thinks it should be okay to arrest people who say things that they don’t like!
I would just like tot take a moment to remind everyone – Republican and Democrat alike – that the First Amendment was not written for uncontroversial speech. Our Founders didn’t guarantee our freedom of speech so that we could talk about the weather and discuss our favorite sporting events… they included the first amendment so that we could be free to say what we believed, even when—no– ESPECIALLY when it Pissed Other People Off.
The First Amendment was written with the idea that one day people would begin saying things that were unpopular and other people would try to use the government to stop them. The First Amendment guarantees that they will not be able to stop unpopular or even “hateful” speech.
I am saddened by Democrat (liberal) support for hate speech laws, but observing that those same laws have become almost endemic liberal European society… I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that American liberals have joined the anti-free speech parade.
But I save my greatest disappointment for those who would call themselves “conservatives” while supporting hate speech laws. These Republicans are cowards and fascists who would gladly give up freedom to give the government more power in our daily lives.
Please, dear reader, I beg of you – become a free speech zealot. Preach the gospel of liberty to your friends and neighbors. Tell them that society can only be free when we allow dissent, especially dissent that we find personally offensive. Every now and again freedom hurts… but it’s always better than the alternative.