Wednesday, November 01, 2017

Are YOU Politically Correct? Everything Cool With The Trigger Alerts Lately?


Yesterday, libertarian think tank CATO released some interesting polling, their annual State of Free Speech and Tolerance in America, which seeks to measure attitudes about free speech, campus speech, religious liberty and tolerance of political expression. You may not agree with their conclusions but they're worth paying attention to because they help explain the non-Fox News listeners' hatred for Hillary, Pelosi and other Democrats beyond just knee-jerk defensive assumptions about the sad state of American voters' intelligence. Let's start with this one: 71% of Americans believe that political correctness has silenced important discussions our society needs to have. Just 28% of Americans believe that political correctness has done more to help people avoid offending others.
The consequences are personal-- 58% of Americans believe the political climate prevents them from sharing their own political beliefs.

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.

It follows that a solid majority (59%) of Americans think people should be allowed to express unpopular opinions in public, even those deeply offensive to others. On the other hand, 40% think government should prevent hate speech. Despite this, the survey also found Americans willing to censor, regulate, or punish a wide variety of speech and expression they personally find offensive:

51% of staunch 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.
65% of Republicans say NFL players should be fired if they refuse to stand for the anthem.
58% of Democrats say employers should punish employees for offensive Facebook posts.
47% of Republicans favor bans on building new mosques.
Americans also can’t agree 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, while 47% of conservatives agree.
90% of liberals say it’s hateful or offensive to say homosexuality is a sin, while 47% of conservatives agree. 

Americans Oppose Hate Speech Bans, But Say Hate Speech is Morally Unacceptable

Although Americans oppose (59%) outright bans on public hate speech, that doesn’t mean they think hate speech is acceptable. An overwhelming majority (79%) say it’s “morally unacceptable” to say offensive things about racial or religious groups.

Black, Hispanic, and White Americans Disagree about How Free Speech Operates

African Americans and Hispanics are more likely than white Americans to believe:
Free speech does more to protect majority opinions, not minority viewpoints (59%, 49%, 34%).
Supporting someone’s right to say racist things is as bad as holding racist views yourself (65%, 61%, 34%).
People who don’t respect others don’t deserve the right of free speech (59%, 62%, 36%).
Hate speech is an act of violence (75%, 72%, 46%).
Our society can prohibit hate speech and still protect free speech (69%, 71%, 49%).
People usually have bad intentions when they express offensive opinions (70%, 75%, 52%).
However, black, Hispanic, and white Americans agree that free speech ensures the truth will ultimately prevail (68%, 70%, 66%). Majorities also agree that it would be difficult to ban hate speech since people can’t agree what hate speech is (59%, 77%, 87%).

Two-Thirds Say Colleges Aren’t Doing Enough to Teach the Value of Free Speech

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.”

But Americans are conflicted. Despite their desire for viewpoint diversity, a slim majority (53%) also agree that “colleges have an obligation to protect students from offensive speech and ideas that could create a difficult learning environment.” This share rises to 66% among Democrats, but 57% of Republicans disagree.

76% Say Students Shutting Down Offensive Speakers Reveals “Broader Pattern” of How Students Cope

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 that all white people are racist (51%)
A speaker who says Muslims shouldn’t be allowed to come to the U.S. (50%)
A speaker who says that transgender people have a mental disorder (50%)
A speaker who publicly criticizes and disrespects the police (49%)
A speaker who says all Christians are backward and brainwashed (49%)
A speaker who says the average IQ of whites and Asians is higher than African Americans and Hispanics (48%)
A speaker who says the police are justified in stopping African Americans at higher rates than other groups (48%)
A speaker who says all illegal immigrants should be deported (41%)
A speaker who says men on average are better at math than women (40%)

Are political correct demands the reason Trump does as well as he does? Over and above what this survey shows, I'd say it's a real factor. No one likes being told how to live their lives and what they can say and not say. Civil society has to somehow figure out authoritarian tendencies of snowflakes with a functioning democracy with rapidly fraying shared values. Trump will only acerbate the mess as part of the divisiveness he cultivates to expand his power. Eye on the ball!

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At 6:18 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Awww. Those poor Nazis. They feel that their hate speech and advocacy of killing whomever they hate the worst is being suppressed by the PC police.

Look, as far as colleges are concerned, maybe they should simply exercise a little judgement about who should and should not speak. If the speaker wants to incite hate for its own sake or incite violence or advocate killing people or the like... To what end?
If they want to espouse already debunked malarkey, to what end?
If they simply want to promote a political party, to what end?
Religious myth (see debunked comment above)? no.

Those college kids can find any of the above easily elsewhere. Colleges should not pile on to the ignorance and hate.

Free speech isn't absolute. Remember the old test about yelling fire in a crowded theater just to see people trample each other?

Free speech should not be an excuse for any narcissistic potted plant, hatemonger or crackpot to make noise for no reason. Its purpose is to allow IDEAS to be expressed.

Leave the hate, death and bronze-age myth to the politicians on the teevee machine. Let colleges welcome speech that might enlighten.

At 11:19 AM, Blogger Elizabeth Burton said...

It's never really possible to analyze the published results of a poll unless one knows the detailed demographics of those polled and the wording of the questions. Personally, I'd rather have the nasties spouting their bile in public where we can keep an eye on them and know how they're trying to manipulate their audiences than drive them underground.


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