Wednesday, September 20, 2017

A chilling study shows how hostile college students are toward free speech

Here's the problem with suggesting that upsetting speech warrants "safe spaces," or otherwise conflating mere words with physical assault: If speech is violence, then violence becomes a justifiable response to speech.

Just ask college students. A fifth of undergrads now say it's acceptable to use physical force to silence a speaker who makes "offensive and hurtful statements."

That's one finding from a disturbing new survey of students conducted by John Villasenor, a Brookings Institution senior fellow and University of California at Los Angeles professor.

In August, motivated by concerns about the "narrowing window of permissible topics" for discussion on campuses, Villasenor conducted a nationwide survey of 1,500 undergraduate students at four-year colleges. Financial support for the survey was provided by the Charles Koch Foundation, which Villasenor said had no involvement in designing, administering or analyzing the questionnaire; as of this writing, the foundation had also not seen his results.

Many of Villasenor's questions were designed to gauge students' understanding of the First Amendment. Colleges, after all, pay a lot of lip service to "freedom of speech," despite high-profile examples of civil-liberty-squelching on campus. The survey suggests that this might not be due to hypocrisy so much as a misunderstanding of what the First Amendment actually entails.

For example, when students were asked whether the First Amendment protects "hate speech," 4 in 10 said no. This is, of course, incorrect. Speech promoting hatred - or at least, speech perceived as promoting hatred - may be abhorrent, but it is nonetheless constitutionally protected.



Anonymous said...

I have a sense that many young people (and some not so young) are shallow and superficial.

Bird of Paradise said...

If their that way toward Free Speech then its way past to to totaly defunt these leftists run collages and spent the money on better things like retired vets and their families make these little collage snowflakes Get a Job and Leave their Safe space/Playpen and their administraors get the boot

Anonymous said...

"All power comes from the barrel of a gun." -- Chairman Mao.

This is becoming more and more like the 60's everyday. The communists who fomented social change under the guise of anti-war protests then seem to be back now. People need to remember the violence of groups like the Weather Underground.

Spurwing Plover the fighting shorebird said...

Mousie Dung(Mao Si Tung)as my mom called him was a worse mass murderer then Hitler he murdered humans and sparrows

Anonymous said...

So, sticks and stones may break your bones if your words hurt me.