Poll: Nearly a Fifth of Students Support Using Violence to Shut Down Free Speech
Over half say its acceptable to de-platform “controversial” speakers through heckling
A new poll conducted by the Brooking Institution has found that 19% of students support the use of violence to shut down ‘offensive’ free speech and over half support the use of heckling to shut down speakers opposed by protesters.
When asked if it was acceptable for a student group to disrupt a “controversial speaker” by “loudly and repeatedly shouting so that the audience cannot hear the speaker,” 51% of students agreed with this compared to 49% who opposed it.
In other words, over half of students don’t support unimpeded free speech.
The students were then asked if it was OK for a student group opposed to the speaker to use “violence to prevent the speaker from speaking”.
19% agreed that violence was acceptable in this context, leading the Brookings Institution to comment that “the fraction of students who view the use of violence as acceptable is extremely high” and that “any number significantly above zero is concerning”.
A clear majority of students (62%) believe it should be “legally required” for a group to offer a platform to a speaker with an opposing point of view if that on-campus organization is “featuring a speaker known for making statements that many students consider to be offensive and hurtful.”
This is a nod to the infamous Fairness Doctrine, which required holders of broadcast licenses to give contrasting views for every political issue.
44% of respondents are also unaware of the fact that the First Amendment, as defined by the Supreme Court, protects “hate speech” as free speech, with 39% indicating they are aware of this.
The results of this survey are depressing but not surprising. Given that many professors are now literally members of Antifa, a group that openly and violently opposes free speech, colleges are becoming breeding grounds for intellectual intolerance – the very opposite of their supposed function.
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