High School Kids Jonesing for Official Secrets Act

|

The Knight Foundation polls 15,000 students and finds American high school kids are "far more likely to take classes that teach about the First Amendment than they were two years ago." And what have they learned?

"The First Amendment goes too far in the rights it guarantees"

report091806q3-chart-1_revised.gif

On the bright side, 54 percent say newspapers should be able to publish without government approval—an increase from two years back.

More here.

NEXT: Sock Puppet Sinks Pundit

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. “The First Amendment goes too far in the rights it guarantees” is an opinion, btw. It doesn’t really reflect on how much a person has learned about the First Amendment.

  2. I am not surprised at all. Most people are only interested in protecting THEIR particular speech, and outlawing everything else.

    Paleo-servatives don’t want people talking smack about the stars and stripes, moms, and apple pie.

    Libtards want to make it against the law to poke fun at females and brown people.

    I hear folks say how smart today’s kids are. Tech-wise, yes. But social consciousness? I figure they’re just as stupid, if not more so, than Gen X.

  3. Scariest stat form the study:

    ?just 14% of the female students agreed that flag burning as a means of protest should be a protected right, as compared to 19% of the male students.?

    The above stat must correlate to this one:

    ?42 percent (of teachers in 2006) think schools are doing a fair or poor job teaching students about the First Amendment, compared to 36 percent in 2004.?

  4. I was a teacher just after the Iraq War started, and was very depressed by the number of students who said it’s okay to protest a war before it starts, but afterwards you should keep quiet because opposition might depress the troops and hurt the war effort.

  5. the thing you have to understand is that most people are basically stupid robots.

  6. Ehh….give the kids a break. I, like everyone else, had a lot of stupid opinions in highschool. Imagine if you had interviewed the Greatest Generation when they were in highschool and saw what they had to think. I’m sure they would have been much more Pro-State when it comes to the military.

    Find out what these same kids are feeling in a few years after they’ve gotten a chance to actually exercise their freedoms a bit.

  7. What amazes me is that we have as many freedoms as we do. There seems to be a strong impulse in people to force other people to behave in a prescribed manner. At least the inertia from the founding has kept us going in the right direction, but civil liberties seem to be valued less and less as a general matter.

    Personally, I think we should not be allowed to speak at all, in any manner, without prior permission from the government. That way, no one gets offended or hurt.

  8. “the thing you have to understand is that most people are basically stupid robots.”

    Danger, Will Robinson! Danger! Categorical thinking and refusal to consider opposing views present. Danger!

  9. the thing you have to understand is that most people are basically stupid robots.

    Including most posters on this thread.

    But then again.. the bill of rights should be interpreted as it is writen. Not as some would like it to be.
    So lets agree people have the right to burn the flag, (as long as it is their flag) with out gov.
    interference.
    I also have the right to say flag burners are dickweeds and to laugh if someone kicks their silly asses.
    And not to buy their crappy cd’s.

  10. because opposition might depress the troops and hurt the war effort.

    People making that argument always bring a smile to my face. The troops can handle killing, being horribly injured, friends dying, seeing communities destroyed, and the the other horrors that war brings with it, but people back home disagreeing with pro-war politicians magically transforms them into morose sitting ducks, incapable of fighting.

  11. the thing you have to understand is that most people are basically stupid robots.

    rock ’em sock ’em robots, in fact.

    To me, the question about the first amendment going to far seems odd. Why not ask it like the question about press freedom, rather than starting with the statement that it goes to far. Perhaps also a follow up question for the people who answered yes, listing the stated rights and asking which they disagreed with, or just the statement, “if you agreed mildly or strongly with the above statement…what the hell is wrong with you?”

    That should get ’em thinkin’.

  12. those should be “too”s, by the way; my keyboard was running out of Os and I had to skimp somewhere. And trying to post my correction, I got this:

    In an effort to curb malicious comment posting by abusive users, I’ve enabled a feature that requires a weblog commenter to wait a short amount of time before being able to post again. Please try to post your comment again in a short while. Thanks for your patience.

    Thank you, self-aware Reason server!

  13. Is the statement “neutral?”

  14. Since I’m on record here for saying that I think schools should be run like the Von Trapp family. . .pre-Maria. . .my solution to this problem is to send in a Civil Liberties Programmer once a week. He will blow his whistle for all of the kids to stand at attention, he will walk up to each one, and he will ask them a question about his/her rights. If the answer is wussy and pro-government, he will apply one regulation bitch slap. As well as a Marine DI-type chastisement.

  15. Interview these little preppy shits in two years when they’re in college. We’ll see if things change.

  16. Pro Libertate

    Ah, Yes.

    “The People’s Democratic Libertarian Republic.”

    I like it.

  17. How hard can it be?

    “You kids shut up. Your opinion doesn’t count.”

    “But I have a right to-uh…”

    “And where is that right found?”

    “The-uh-First Amendment?”

    “See?”

    Of course, then schools would have students thinking about how messed up the “Zero Tolerance” policy is, and how the state shouldn’t be telling schools what drinks can be served in the vending machines, and how students shouldn’t have to pee in a cup every time a vice-principal twitches, and We Can’t Have That.

  18. Aresna,

    I can’t claim that the idea of Liberty by Force began with me–after all, New Hampshire regularly instructs its citizens to “Live Free or Die”. To reduce the totalitarianesque effect of my cunning plan, let me emphasize that only children will be eligible for bitch slapping. If you’re 18 or older and managed to hold on to your statist views after receiving 500 bitch slaps and public abuses, well, that’s fair enough. We have room for such people in the marketplace of ideas 🙂

  19. While I doubt the kids are thinking at this sophisticated a level, there is a plausible sense in which the First Amendment goes too far in protecting rights. We shoe-horn a lot of things into the First Amendment that probably don’t fall within the original public meaning of the text (I think nude dancing is a good example). Calling these activities “speech” is stretching things a bit; While I think they should be protected, I’d find it much more natural to protect them under the 9th and 14th Amendments.

    Of course, in our second-best world, where we don’t take the 9th and 14th Amendments very seriously, I’d rather see those activities squeezed within the First Amendment than left totally unprotected.

  20. Oh, and Aresena:

    Here’s the enabling bill: Schools Having Ultimate Tyranny over Underage Pupils Act of 2006.

  21. The ideal situation would be for the government to ban all harmful speech while allowing all beneficial speech.

    Since the First Amendment allows both harmful and beneficial speech, it does in fact go too far.

  22. Ehh….give the kids a break. I, like everyone else, had a lot of stupid opinions in highschool.

    As a policy, I generally don’t worry about the politics of people under the age of 20. Almost certainly, their views will be kinda dumb, no matter what their leanings or points of view are. They’ll almost never have banged their ideas up against opposing ones or really examined them. (And that’s cool – that’s what college and/or the real world are there for.)

    But, c’mon. These are attitudes we know they carry forward, based on polls of adults and how they view free speech.

    (Mind you, the linked article does not specify the margin of error in the polls. Boo! 4% and 6% changes may not even be out of the statistical noise.)

    Most people are only interested in protecting THEIR particular speech, and outlawing everything else.

    Quoted for frickin’ truth.

  23. Dan T.,

    We ban all sorts of harmful speech. Conspiracy, libel, slander, perjury, true threats, etc. What do you mean by “harmful”, and what harmful speech do you think the Constitution over-protects?

  24. Shut Up Act.

    Has a nice ring to it.

    [The extra “a” at the end of my last post name was a typo. The Robot Aresen was also me, in case anyone is accusing me of sock puppetry per the article posted further down.]

  25. “Harmful speech?” Huh? You mean, like sedition? Questioning the government in anything it does? Offending anyone, anywhere? Wow, that just guts the entire purpose of the First Amendment, doesn’t it?

  26. Paul S.,

    If that’s what he meant, well, okay then. Free speech has never been and never will be an absolute right. It can’t be. Our legal system would become a complete wreck overnight, for one thing. “Incitement” is a fuzzier area, but I won’t quibble.

    Aresen, I thought maybe you were like Loretta and wanted to be a woman. Didn’t want to offend you or anything with my harmful speech 🙂

  27. We ban all sorts of harmful speech. Conspiracy, libel, slander, perjury, true threats, etc.

    True, and by doing that we basically ignore the First Amendment. So unless you literally think all speech should be legal, you’re admitting it goes too far.

    What do you mean by “harmful”, and what harmful speech do you think the Constitution over-protects?

    Harmful yet legal speech might include pornography, some advertising, rumormongering, or any publication that inspires people to do harmful things.

  28. “Harmful speech?” Huh? You mean, like sedition? Questioning the government in anything it does? Offending anyone, anywhere? Wow, that just guts the entire purpose of the First Amendment, doesn’t it?

    You’re jumping to conclusions here. I’m just pointing out that the idea behind the FA is that it’s better to allow harmful speech than to supress beneficial speech. It “goes too far” quite on purpose.

  29. Dan T: or any publication that inspires people to do harmful things.

    “That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”

    I suspect King George considered that quote “inspires people to do harmful things.”

    Keep your “but” out of my Bill of Rights.

  30. ” ‘We ban all sorts of harmful speech. Conspiracy, libel, slander, perjury, true threats, etc.’

    True, and by doing that we basically ignore the First Amendment. So unless you literally think all speech should be legal, you’re admitting it goes too far.”

    Most of the examples cited involve actual harm to a person or his rights. The criminal penalties involved are really taking the place of the civil-law remedies that the victim might otherwise have.

    Real harm can be done by words. I don’t think anyone can reasonably construe the First Amendment (or its English Law equivalent) rights to exempt a person from the damage he might do by his utterances.

  31. The ideal situation would be for the government to ban all harmful speech while allowing all beneficial speech.

    Harmful to whom, as judged by whom?

    Beneficial to whom, as judged by whom?

    Your ideal situation doesn’t even describe an imaginable situation, let alone one that could exist in the real world.

  32. It was a very nice idea! Just wanna say thank you for the information you have shared. Just continue writing this kind of post. I will be your loyal reader. Thanks again.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.