Campus Free Speech

Study: 44% of Students Incorrectly Think the First Amendment Does Not Protect Hate Speech

"The majority of students appear to prefer an environment...that shelters them from offensive views."

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Student censorship
Wavebreakmedia Ltd

It is not just a matter of wanting authority figures to prohibit other people from engaging in offensive speech: A near-majority of surveyed college students think hate speech is already outside the bounds of legal protection.

A new study conducted by the Brookings Institution's John Villasenor, a professor at the University of California-Los Angeles, asked 1,500 students at four-year universities about their views on the free speech, and the results are unsettling.

The greatest number, 44 percent answered "no" when asked if the First Amendment protects hate speech. Just 39 percent of students answered correctly and 16 percent answered "don't know."

Men were more likely than women to say hate speech was protected (51 percent vs. 31 percent.) And while conservative students are often thought to be more in favor of free speech than their liberal counterparts—at least in the present campus censorship wars—the study suggests this reputation is undeserved. Just 44 percent of self-identified Republicans said that hate speech was protected by the First Amendment, compared with 39 percent of Democrats and 40 percent of independents.

A striking majority of surveyed students—51 percent—thought "shouting so that the audience cannot hear" was a valid tactic for opposing a controversial speaker. Violence was acceptable to 19 percent of respondents.

"Across most categories, and in the aggregate, the majority of students appear to prefer an environment in which their institution is expected to create an environment that shelters them from offensive views," wrote Villasenor. "The exceptions are among Republicans and Independents, though even in those categories nearly half of the students still expressed a preference for the more sheltered environment."

It's not just a matter of preference, however. Given that a majority of students incorrectly say the First Amendment doesn't protect hate speech, or that they don't know whether it does, we must also consider sheer ignorance as an explanation for the waves of student-led shut downs on American campuses in recent years.

Teenagers are somehow making it through 12 years of primary education without absorbing the most basic civics lesson: The founding documents of the United States of America zealously protect people who make offensive statements from censorship at the hands of government officials or violent mobs.

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  1. A striking majority of surveyed students?51 percent?thought “shouting so that the audience cannot hear” was a valid tactic for opposing a controversial speaker. Violence was acceptable to 19 percent of respondents.

    I really don’t want to believe this.

    1. It’s all about the feelz. They’d had a [young adult] lifetime of this drummed into them. Garbage in…

      1. With great wealth comes complacency and stupidity ultimately.

        The only flaw of capitalism is that it enriches so many people and improves the standard of living to a degree that people are basically fat and happy. Like Rome.

        With such high living standards, people stop paying attention to what the government is doing.
        What all governments do is strive to grow power and control to rape the system and to enrich the bureaucrats.

        When the people stopped paying attention, the corruption ran amuck. Lack of proper education and certainly a purposeful brainwashing via American schools was one of the results.

        1. The views expressed in this article are offensive and should be immediately banned. Hate talk, which is an action like shouting fire in that crowded theater, might become sort of okay if it’s politely expressed in a proper setting by the right person, but it’s certainly not protected by any line in that there constitution thing, especially when it crosses the line into inappropriate “parody.” Surely no one here would dare to defend the “First Amendment dissent” of a single, isolated judge in America’s leading criminal “satire” case? See the documentation at:

          https://raphaelgolbtrial.wordpress.com/

          1. “Hate talk, which is an action like shouting fire in that crowded theater…”

            Or yelling “wolf!” in a crowded theater, as Nancy Pelosi recently suggested:
            http://www.nationalreview.com/…..tional-law

            1. Fire and wolves are bad enough, but imagine what would happen if people began to yell “plagiarism!” or “satire!” in crowded theaters. Clearly such crimes cannot be allowed to go unpunished in our society.

    2. Let’s take a poll in the Los Angeles public schools with a grain of salt. Do you think the responses would have been the same in Kentucky or Montana?

      1. “To explore the critical issue of the First Amendment on college campuses, during the second half of August I conducted a national survey of 1,500 current undergraduate students at U.S. four-year colleges and universities. The survey population was geographically diverse, with respondents from 49 states and the District of Columbia.”

    3. Shouting is a form of speech, so it is a valid tactic.

      Removing a shouter from the assembly is also a valid tactic if shouting breaks the rule d’jour.

      1. That doesn’t make sense. If shouting down a speaker is valid, how can removing the shouter for doing so also be valid? You’re wrong. Shouting down a speaker violates the freedom of speech of the speaker, and the right of the listeners to hear. That’s why it’s valid to eject the shouter.

        1. You’re removing the shouter not for the words he is using, but for the fact that he is creating a disturbance. In other words, sanctioning him for the volume, not the content.

  2. They cannot conceive of a time when what you empower a government to do unto others, will inevitably be done unto you.

    1. Leftists should have that in their minds now, as they witnessed Trump undo Obama’s executive orders and agency regulations that they were sure were going to stay in place under a Clinton presidency.

      1. Nuclear option does not only apply to North Korea.

  3. Given that a majority of students incorrectly say the First Amendment doesn’t protect hate speech, or that they don’t know whether it does, we must also consider sheer ignorance as an explanation for the waves of student-led shut downs on American campuses in recent years.

    Teenagers are somehow making it through 12 years of primary education without absorbing the most basic civics lesson: The founding documents of the United States of America zealously protect people who make offensive statements from censorship at the hands of government officials or violent mobs.

    Solution: pay teachers more.

    1. Supply and demand. There are, of course, many intelligent and dedicated teachers, But in many places, that is the exception, not the rule. On average, Education majors have for a long time tested near the very bottom rung of competence in universities; only P.E. majors come in lower. Perhaps this is the origin of the homily “those who can, do; those who can’t, teach” (I’m convinced it explains their compulsive NEED to be referred to as “Doctor” as soon as they manage to pencil-whip their PhD in Education.)

      If or when utter stupidity and ignorance finally becomes a barrier to a career as a public school teacher, the shortage of qualified candidates will increase salaries, which will draw people into the field as one of the many choices available to intelligent people, rather than the only option for those who can’t do anything else.

    1. Is that why you prefer roosters?

      1. A boy asked his mother, “where do babies come from?”
        His mother said, “um, the stork.”
        The boy then asked, “then who fucks the stork?”

        1. That boy wasn’t SIV. SIV would have just nodded knowingly.

  4. Independents are authoritarians

    Welch and Gillespie hardest hit.

  5. Koch-funded study show’s…

    1. That’s the main gist of the Washington Post comment section on the story. What motives they would have for making up these numbers in their quest for global domination are strangely ignored.

      1. It’s part of the effort to get more “free speech” laws passed, the bastards.

  6. How many people who want to ban “hate speech” spend much of their time talking about how they hate Donald Trump?
    That’s one of the more fucked up things about the whole idea of “hate speech”. It’s not about expressing actual hate. It’s about policing the use of certain words and silencing the exponents of certain ideas.

    1. It’s about policing the use of certain words and silencing the exponents of certain ideas.

      Everyone knows that proggie hate is the only acceptable hate. How else do they get away with foaming at the mouth with abject and absolute vile bigotry while preaching “tolerance”, “inclusivity”, and “no hate”?

    2. It is unacceptable to hate someone for something that is out of their control, like gender identity, sexual orientation, or race. Hating people for anything that is a choice, like political beliefs, is not only acceptable, but encouraged.

      1. “… gender identity, sexual orientation, or race.”

        One of these doesn’t belong. The “gender identity” concept IS a belief.

        1. Huh. SO I only believe that I’m male, it’s not an actual fact?

          1. I don’t know. Are you male? If so, it’s a fact. If your sex is male, but you insist your “gender identity” is female, that’s a belief.

  7. “Men were more likely than women to say hate speech was protected (51 percent vs. 31 percent.)”

    Hate speech protection knowledge gap.

    WHO’S GONNA CLOSE IT?!

  8. Is it unsettling because they think legally 1A doesn’t protect it or that they think it shouldn’t and the courts haven’t made the correct interpretation yet? Is this answer coming from ignorance or standard social justice wishful thinking?

    1. From ignorance, or from education?

      There is abundant evidence they are being taught that “hate speech” is not protected.

      1. That’s why I scratched my head at

        Teenagers are somehow making it through 12 years of primary education without absorbing the most basic civics lesson

        It’s not that they’re failing to absorb it; it’s that they’re being taught rightthinkful alternative facts.

        1. They’re indoctrinated before they get to college and I don’t think they’re learning it all from Teen Vogue and tumblr.

      2. I’ve seen politicians on Tv say that hate speech is not protected so its not just ignorant students it also politicians who have re-worked the definition of the 1st amendment just like they ignore the “shall not be infringed” part of the 2nd. The great OZ Hillary even said all rights are limited. so they believe, not honestly, that we are the ignorant ones. I can’t blame the students when the politicians and professors are making the same claims.

        1. It’s possible many who are saying it’s not protected are doing so hoping that if they say it enough it will eventually come true. And it just might.

          1. Or the teachers, school administrators, politicians, celebrities, media et al who have been telling any and all who listen are hoping this will come to pass.

            They just cannot imagine that, like nuclear options, it will come back to bite their snowy little assess in due course.

    2. What’s the difference?

    3. As the article stated, they think that “hate speech” already is unprotected.

  9. It kinda all makes sense. We all suspected the base root of their behaviour on campuses was ignorance.

    It’s a pity but extremely troubling they reach adult hood without a sense of curiosity and thirst for knowledge. That lack of knowledge is not jiving with reality and – poof! – safe spaces, mob rule, shrill hysterics etc.

    Without knowledge they can’t contextualize or keep a healthy perspective on contemporary events. E.g. this is why you get Trump is literally a Nazi.

    1. As Reagan said, “‘It isn’t so much that liberals are ignorant. It’s just that they know so many things that aren’t so.”

  10. If you asked whether direct, credible threats were protected by the first amendment, a large majority of people would say no. But threats are speech. Most people would say that fraudulent advertising is not protected. But fraud is speech. So, most people would say that threats and fraud aren’t free speech. But that’s not true. They’re both speech, so why aren’t we free to utter them?

    That’s where almost everyone draws the line. They say that the first amendment couldn’t possibly be meant to protect those forms of speech. Well, these people that say so-called hate speech isn’t protected have drawn a different line and say that the first amendment couldn’t possibly be meant to protect it.

    I disagree, but just realize that you likely have your own idea about what constitutes harmful speech that shouldn’t be tolerated and can’t possibly be protected by the first amendment.

    1. What’s a threat? A guy standing there waving a Confederate battle flag is not a threat. A guy shouting to a group of people armed with clubs says, “Let’s kill that guy on stage!”. That’s a threat. Or, to appeal to your hipster sensibilities, here is the difference:

      https://youtu.be/AoEUkE7-KeA

      1. You completely missed the point.

      2. “What’s a threat? ”

        This was covered in a previous thread. It’s when a sexually confused dude walks slowly toward police with a loaded leatherman.

    2. But fraud is speech.

      If I take a bunch people hostage and shoot them, the fact I happened to say something to one of the hostages over the course of the situation doesn’t make the entire exercise “speech”. Likewise, the fact that spoken words may have be uttered in the course of perpetrating a fraud does not make the fraud “speech”.

      There is a distinction between fraud, which is not speech, and lying, which is speech, even though lies may be used during a fraud.

      1. You’re right, but I think that most people would probably not let it even get to that point. They would want to stop your speech before any transaction took place. Even if everyone knows that what you say about your product isn’t true and aren’t actually being deceived, most people would want to stop your speech because there’s a possibility that someone somewhere might be.

      2. Correct. A gun is morally neutral. Shooting someone with it is not.

    3. No, it’s not a matter of arbitrarily drawing the line at different places. The placement of the line that has evolved in our case law has sound reasoning behind it?that speech can be prohibited when it is directly connected to an imminent illegal act. Direct credible threats are made in pursuit of causing immediate physical harm to someone. Fraudulent speech is prohibited because it done as a means to rob someone. Conspiracy and collusion are speech, but it is illegal if the speakers are conspiring to break the law. Statements that these days are defined as “hate speech” by various activists do not have that direct connection to illegal acts. Expressing the opinion that Black people are mentally inferior, or that “gender identity” is an illusion, or that Islam is inherently violent, could and are being called “hate speech”, but do not have that imminent connection to harmful and illegal action. If anti-“hate speech” activists can present a coherent definition of what is and is not “hate speech” and a sound rationale for prohibiting it, I’ll listen. So far I haven’t heard that?just, “Oh! What an awful thing to say! That shouldn’t be allowed!”

  11. Maybe the study should be recreated at a college in a normal state

  12. and the results are unsettling.

    Mostly because these are the a-holes that gravitate toward positions of power.

  13. I ask again, we’re funding higher education WHY?

    Can’t fascists just fund their own indoctrination programs?

  14. Men were more likely than women to say hate speech was protected (51 percent vs. 31 percent.)

    Right there. Patriarchy. Male privilege. ummmmmm… intersectional whiteness.

  15. “And while conservative students are often thought to be more in favor of free speech than their liberal counterparts?at least in the present campus censorship wars?the study suggests this reputation is undeserved.”

    I checked the link and read the survey.
    Nowhere does it ask whether A1 *should* protect this or that, only whether it *does*. So claiming a desire of a particular condition is a total non-sequitur.
    The students aren’t real familiar with the Constitution, and Brookings seems to be only vaguely acquainted with logic.

    1. I was wondering this as well. There’s a huge gap between is and ought. I don’t know if you can jump that gap with these results and still have valid conclusions.

    2. I had the same thought. Are people saying that it doesn’t protect hate speech talking about the actual meaning of the first amendment, or about it’s practical effectiveness?

  16. I need to get the examination proposes this notoriety is undeserved. Only 44 percent of self-distinguished Republicans said that detest discourse was secured by the First Amendment, contrasted and 39 percent of Democrats and 40 percent of independents.

    1. See now, THIS is why Reason needs an “edit” function on their forums.

  17. “Sheer ignorance”, huh. I’d consider sheer indoctrination, and deliberate misinformation.

  18. This reminds me that choosing a Supreme Court Justice is significant. This also reminds me how happy I am that I’ll never say the words “President Hillary Clinton”

    1. Heh. She’s not dead yet. Don’t jinx it.

      1. She’s out and about making some noise as to how the election is somehow or other not valid. I’m sure she’s totally open to any opportunity to step in and fill the role. The fact that there is absolutely no Constitutional provision for invalidating an election that has been certified by the electors certainly would not deter her or her followers. Just needs a little lawyering, and asking what is is and so forth.

  19. Anyone who doesn’t comprehend free speech should be stripped of their rights to franchise for a first violation and dropped from a helicopter for the second.

  20. Anyone who doesn’t comprehend free speech should be stripped of their rights to franchise for a first violation and dropped from a helicopter for the second.

  21. It is not just sheer ignorance. Some of them are being taught that and have heard that from politicians and political leaders. I heard one female college student who called in a radio program and talked about how she had a great civics teacher who taught her that hate speech is not free speech. What’s worse is many judges at Lower Court levels who share these uninformed ideas and use dubious concepts such as “compelling government interest” to limit Free Speech. Eventually some of these cases reach the Supreme Court where they are reversed but others do not. And one day we will have a whole new supreme court with younger judges who might be less likely to maintain the current Free Speech standards. So in our Democratic Republic, 9 elected judges have the final say. Technically a constitutional amendment can change the outcome but it is too rare to really even consider it. The Anti-Federalists pointed out the supremacy of the unelected Court over the other two branches.

  22. “Men were more likely than women to say hate speech was protected (51 percent vs. 31 percent.)”

    Hate speech protection knowledge gap.

    WHO’S GONNA CLOSE IT?!
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  23. It’s not clear whether the survey is asking people what they think the law is or what they want the law to be, which makes this article unfair. For example, some people don’t think that the constitution includes a right to abortion. That doesn’t mean that those people aren’t aware that the supreme court has ruled that it does. Similarly, some people don’t think the second amendment protects a right to bear arms for self defense. That doesn’t mean those people aren’t aware that the court has ruled otherwise.

  24. It’s not? How about thought crimes? Surely thought crimes are illegal.

    Any sound that Winston made, above the level of a very low whisper, would be picked up by it; moreover, so long as he remained within the field of vision which the metal plaque commanded, he could be seen as well as heard. There was of course no way of knowing whether you were being watched at any given moment. How often, or on what system, the Thought Police plugged in on any individual wire was guesswork.

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