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Sunday, October 22, 2017

Catherine Rampell | September 18 | 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.

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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. There were no statistically significant differences in response to this question based on political affiliation.

The most chilling findings, however, involved how students think repugnant speech should be dealt with.

Astonishingly, half said that snuffing out upsetting speech -- rather than, presumably, rebutting or even ignoring it -- would be appropriate.

Democrats were more likely than Republicans to find this response acceptable (62 percent to 39 percent), and men were more likely than women (57 percent to 47 percent). Even so, sizable shares of all groups agreed.

Colleges provide a crucible for America's increasingly strained attitudes toward free discourse. But they are just the canaries in the coal mine.

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This is the result of a generation raised by helicopter parents, scheduled play-dates, participation trophies, and never being told as kids that they lost ...

I've ripped right-wingers on the site for years because of their BS reactions to President Blackenstein. Now people on the far left are starting to show their true colors in their reaction to Trump.

When it comes to having the better arguments overall, it's my opinion that liberals and Democrats almost always win hands down.

However, as Gore Vidal pointed out, we are the 'United States of Amnesia' -- because we remember nothing -- like what free speech is supposed to mean.

It's like we never knew about 'Hogan's Heroes', 'All in The Family', or saying out loud that hate speech is protected speech -- we as a country have to constantly learn, and then re-learn, these very basic concepts over and over.

#1 | Posted by PinchALoaf at 2017-10-22 08:52 AM | Reply

Here's a nice cogent comment in the comments section of Rampell's op-ed piece ...

Polarization leads to hostility, and hostility leads to violence, or at least desire for violence.

But to back up a bit, "hate speech" is free speech. It violates no right, not counting the recently invented right not to be (a leftist) offended (by a rightist), whereas attempts to prevent it do violate a right.

Once a right not to be offended is accepted, it is amazing how easily offended people become, in their efforts to shut up their opponents.

If voters want a right not be offended to be added to the Constitution, they can try adding such a thing. Till then, it has no standing.


Well said.

#2 | Posted by PinchALoaf at 2017-10-22 09:05 AM | Reply | Newsworthy 1

Many have fought for decades to "come out of the shadows" on a variety of issues that, at one time or another in history, couldn't be discussed openly.

Now they want to send others into the shadows. Being forced into the shadows doesn't extinguish a belief or ideology.

Progressives, of all people, should know this.

#3 | Posted by SheepleSchism at 2017-10-22 12:34 PM | Reply | Funny: 1 | Newsworthy 2

We must tolerate intolerance or be labeled as intolerant.

Sorry. White supremacists and nazis need to be shamed.

#4 | Posted by 726 at 2017-10-23 08:32 AM | Reply

#31

Tolerating Nazis has a recent historical record. What happened then?

Nazism needs to be in the shadows. People who wink at it's promotion are dangerous

#5 | Posted by Zed at 2017-10-23 08:42 AM | Reply

--White supremacists and nazis need to be shamed.

So do communists. This month marks the 100th anniversary of communism and 100 million dead, and progressives are silent.

#6 | Posted by nullifidian at 2017-10-23 08:48 AM | Reply | Newsworthy 2

We must tolerate intolerance or be labeled as intolerant.

Sorry. White supremacists and nazis need to be shamed.

#4 | POSTED BY 726

Then shame them by speaking out.

Tolerating hate speech is not a liberal or conservative thing, is what America is supposed to be about.

#7 | Posted by PinchALoaf at 2017-10-23 08:57 AM | Reply

#7

Tolerating hate speech I do everyday. Don't see why a public institution should be a venue for it.

#8 | Posted by Zed at 2017-10-23 09:01 AM | Reply

So do communists. This month marks the 100th anniversary of communism and 100 million dead, and progressives are silent.

#6 | POSTED BY NULLIFIDIAN

Agree -- communism is a failed system of government that murdered millions ... totalitarianism is the polar opposite of what America stands for, imo.

#9 | Posted by PinchALoaf at 2017-10-23 09:03 AM | Reply | Newsworthy 1

Tolerating hate speech I do everyday. Don't see why a public institution should be a venue for it.

#8 | POSTED BY ZED

If that's what these colleges and universities do, then so be it.

But I would argue that those types of decisions are short-sided and do more harm in the long run ... just the idea of shielding college-age adults from speech they don't like is something I think is ridiculous.

#10 | Posted by PinchALoaf at 2017-10-23 09:10 AM | Reply

--Tolerating hate speech I do everyday. Don't see why a public institution should be a venue for it.

So you want to fire all the communist professors on our campuses?

#11 | Posted by nullifidian at 2017-10-23 09:16 AM | Reply | Newsworthy 1

#8 Did you not read what Pinch posted?

Once a right not to be offended is accepted, it is amazing how easily offended people become, in their efforts to shut up their opponents.

The person who wrote this comment understood and concisely described "the slippery slope" regarding the suppression of free speech. FAR too many millenials believe that if they disagree with a speech it's because it's offensive, and that offensive speech is violence that deserves violence in retort. Cut out the middle man in that statement, and what they really believe is that if they disagree with you they have the right to engage in physical violence to shut you up. That belief is the hallmark of every totalitarian regime in world history. Every. Single. One.

#12 | Posted by MUSTANG at 2017-10-23 10:41 AM | Reply

Good thread, Loaf.

#13 | Posted by JeffJ at 2017-10-23 11:03 AM | Reply | Newsworthy 1

The left has done a fantastic job of brain washing the sheep.

#14 | Posted by Sniper at 2017-10-23 02:06 PM | Reply

What the hell is the author on about?

"Astonishingly, half said that snuffing out upsetting speech -- rather than, presumably, rebutting or even ignoring it -- would be appropriate. Democrats were more likely than Republicans to find this response acceptable (62 percent to 39 percent), and men were more likely than women (57 percent to 47 percent). Even so, sizable shares of all groups agreed. It gets worse."

Sounds like the author is against the free speech of protest.

You cannot be "pro-free speech" for a cu** like Spencer but against the protesting put forth by the students. The Right's war on 1st amendment is a disgrace to the nation. I guess Catherine Rampell is either vocabulary-deficient or she doesn't believe protest is a part of free speech. Either way, its nice to know the results of that study demonstrate the exact opposite of this headline.

#15 | Posted by IndianaJones at 2017-10-23 07:27 PM | Reply | Funny: 1

#12 | POSTED BY MUSTANG

You should probably look up the paradox of tolerance because your slippery slope fallacy regarding free speech is exactly that -- a fallacy.

#16 | Posted by IndianaJones at 2017-10-23 07:28 PM | Reply

"Study: College Students Hostile Toward Free Speech"

Q: What are "free speech zones"

A: Restrictions on political speech that have existed, on both "sides," since today's college students were old enough to tie their own shoes.

College students are merely reflections of the only world they've ever known.

You're blaming the thermometer that it's hot out.
JeffJ thinks that makes you smart.

#17 | Posted by snoofy at 2017-10-23 07:40 PM | Reply

Sounds like the author is against the free speech of protest

Define "protest".

Because what is going on at universities is shouting down speakers and even violence.

Also, when a speaker is invited to a university and is given a forum to speak students who wish it have a right to hear what the speaker has to say.

#18 | Posted by JeffJ at 2017-10-23 07:51 PM | Reply

#17 That's not what it's about at all. I had a communist state history teacher, and didn't learn a damn thing about state history. All I learned was that white people are racist and evil. She actually taught a communist version of history, and we had no text books in class (because every text book I ever read, and every encyclopedia entry, and every period historical text I checked, said she was just a lying racist promulgating hate speech against white people.

Critical Theory is just 1930's German communist propaganda, for instance. It's nothing but hate speech. And it is very, very easy to refute. But if you do, you are a Nazi.

That is the face of the new left, and why I quit voting Democrat after 30 years of voting democrat.

#19 | Posted by HeliumRat at 2017-10-23 07:57 PM | Reply

#19 has nothing to do with nothing.

#20 | Posted by snoofy at 2017-10-23 08:06 PM | Reply

What the hell is the author on about?
...
Sounds like the author is against the free speech of protest.

"[S]nuffing out upsetting speech" sounds a lot like "heckler's veto." A response prohibited by the First Amendment. www.duhaime.org

#21 | Posted by et_al at 2017-10-23 08:09 PM | Reply

This poll asks the question if it's okay to shout down a speaker you don't like.

Someone want to explain to me how that's a First Amendment issue?

Unless the government is paying you to shout them down, it's not.

Heck, I bet you could even get a PAC to pay people to shout down a political figure you don't like, and the donations to the PAC, and the people being paid to do the shouting itself, would all still be considered free speech.

#22 | Posted by snoofy at 2017-10-23 08:09 PM | Reply

Wikipedia Heckler's Veto en.wikipedia.org
In the free speech context, a heckler's veto is either of two situations in which a person who disagrees with a speaker's message is able to unilaterally trigger events that result in the speaker being silenced.

In the strict legal sense, a heckler's veto occurs when the speaker's right is curtailed or restricted by the government in order to prevent a reacting party's behavior. The common example is the termination of a speech or demonstration in the interest of maintaining the public peace based on the anticipated negative reaction of someone opposed to that speech or demonstration. The term was coined by University of Chicago professor of law Harry Kalven.[1][citation needed]

In common parlance, the term is used to describe situations where hecklers or demonstrators silence a speaker without intervention of the law.

^
if Et_Al is attempting to invoke the common parlance, then that's a good laugh.

#23 | Posted by snoofy at 2017-10-23 08:12 PM | Reply

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