by William Teach | September 19, 2017 8:22 am
All these college students are in for a very rude awakening when they finally graduate (with tens of thousands in student loans debt) and attempt to enter the work force. Here’s the Washington Post’s Catherine Rampell discussing a new study
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.
And, what they consider “offensive and hurtful statements” is essentially everything that doesn’t conform to their narrow worldview. No need for a long discussion on this, we’ve seen it playing out on the news and blogs and such, we understand how it works. The study check on 1,500 college students
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.
I wonder why they would misunderstand? Could it be they have been taught incorrectly by their leftist parents, leftist k-12 teachers, and now at college?
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.
If you look at the response for this, it’s not just Democrats who fail: 39% of Republicans and 44% of Independents say that “hate speech” is not protected, as compared to 41% of Democrats. Overall, just 39% say that speech-they-don’t-like is protected, 44% say not protected, and 16% do not know. This is pathetic.
Students were asked whether the First Amendment requires that an offensive speaker at a public university be matched with one with an opposing view. Here, 6 in 10 (mistakenly) said that, yes, the First Amendment requires balance.
Should we be blaming the children, and, yes, with their attitudes, they are children, or blaming the school systems?
The most chilling findings, however, involved how students think repugnant speech should be dealt with.
Villasenor offered a hypothetical that may sound familiar to those who recall recent fracases at California State University at Los Angeles, Middlebury College , Claremont McKenna College and other institutions:
Let’s say a public university hosts a “very controversial speaker,” one “known for making offensive and hurtful statements.” Would it be acceptable for a student group to disrupt the speech “by loudly and repeatedly shouting so that the audience cannot hear the speaker”?
Overall, 51% agree. But, a big part of that is Democrats, who agree at 62%. Again, though, sadly, Republicans are at 39% and Independents at 45%.
Respondents were also asked if it would be acceptable for a student group to use violence to prevent that same controversial speaker from talking. Here, 19 percent said yes.
The D/R/I breakdown is 20/22/16 in favor of violence. Shame on Republicans the most.
What’s more, colleges alone are not to blame for these findings. Other data suggest that freshmen are arriving on campus with more intolerant attitudes toward free speech than their predecessors did, and that Americans of all ages have become strikingly hostile toward basic civil and political liberties.
Again, we have to look at the parents and K-12 schools. And this is entering the Real World. It’s not going to go well for them.
Crossed at Pirate’s Cove. Follow me on Twitter @WilliamTeach.
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