A concerning number of registered Democrats were reported to believe Americans have “too much” of one particular freedom and that it should only be legal “under certain circumstances.”
“This is what we’re up against.”
The creation of the term “hate speech” helped further the narrative that the First Amendment had limitations despite rational thinkers understanding only speech that is disagreed upon needs protection. While an overwhelming majority of Americans could accept free speech as “inviolable,” a new poll from RealClear Opinion Research found around one-third of Democrats believed the amendment provided “too much freedom.”
After polling 1,000 respondents, RealClearPolitics co-founder Tom Bevan highlighted some of the findings that included, “47% of Dems say free speech should be legal ‘only under certain circumstances. 34% of Dems say Americans ‘have too much freedom’.”
In addition, “75% of Dems say government has a responsibility to censor ‘hateful’ social media posts,” and, he continued, “Only 31% strongly agree with the statement, ‘I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.'”
Podcast host Megyn Kelly shared the information in a post Sunday and reacted, “This is what we’re up against.”
This is what we’re up against. https://t.co/TfNJ14ZXax
— Megyn Kelly (@megynkelly) September 24, 2023
According to the polling, nine out of 10 respondents were in favor of the First Amendment but there was disagreement as to what that actually entailed. Among respondents under the age of 30, 42% believed it was “more important” for the government to be able to restrict speech for “national security” reasons whereas the same could only be said of 26% over the age of 65.
Unlike the split for Democrats, 74% of Republican voters were in agreement that speech should be legal “under any circumstances” and 61% of independents attested to the same. Of the idea that there was “too much freedom,” 14.6% of Republicans found themselves in agreement with the 34% of Democrats.
A mere 22% of Democrats believed Americans had too little freedom compared to 46% of Republicans.
In reporting on the findings, RealClear Politics referenced an original draft of the First Amendment from James Madison that read “The people shall not be deprived or abridged of their right to speak, to write, or to publish their sentiments; and the freedom of the press, as one of the great bulwarks of liberty, shall be inviolable.”
Meanwhile, contrasted with the original intent, a majority of respondents supported the notion of government and social media having the “responsibility to restrict hateful posts and discrimination,” with “Fully three-fourths of Democrats” and 50% of Republicans in agreement.
These findings were corroborated by a July study from the University of California, San Diego that found “a large and statistically significant difference between the content moderation preferences of Republicans and Democrats.”
According to the research, “even when Republicans agree that content is false, they are half as likely as Democrats to say that the content should be removed and more than twice as likely to consider removal as censorship.”
Reports of the poll’s findings come as the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in New Orleans prepared to rehear the case of Missouri v. Biden which had previously limited certain government agencies from communicating with Big Tech companies.
The Washington Examiner reported Monday that the state attorneys general of Louisiana and Missouri had filed a request Friday to include the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, the State Department’s Global Engagement Center, and the Stanford-based Election Integrity Project into the court’s decision limiting the government’s interactions with Big Tech.
The granted rehearing comes ahead of an expected decision from the U.S. Supreme Court on whether or not the lower court’s ruling will remain that asserted President Joe Biden’s administration “ran afoul of the First Amendment” for “coercing” Big Tech to control social media content.
Reactions to the findings showed little surprise.
It’s not stunning. Free speech is for underdogs. Progressives control institutions so free speech can only hurt them.
— Jeff Deist (@jeffdeist) September 24, 2023
Least surprising numbers out this month.
— Chuck (@SilverBulletLLC) September 24, 2023
Result pf Marxist educators for generations.
— TrueWest (@Trestresjolie) September 25, 2023
A generation raised in a system that has taught young adults that they can live in a world in which they’re never offended, always a victim and their feelings are of the most importance.
Yeah, it’s not surprising.
— Syzmon Thomas (@ThomasSzymon) September 24, 2023
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