According to a new poll conducted by the Pew Research Center, a striking 40% of Millennials think that government should be able to limit speech which is offensive to minorities. It’s a huge difference from Gen X (27%) to the Baby Boomers (21%) and the Silents(12%.)
Now to be fair, polls aren’t always accurate. However, on the other hand, Pew Research Center is generally trusted. Their research is top-notch and one of the finest in the country. And if this is true– if 40% of millennials believe that the government should be able to limit speech which is offensive to minorities, then how do we define minorities?
Do we censor speech which is offensive to Jews considering that they make a small percentage of the population? Censor speech offensive to the Amish such as Family Guy episodes? Do we censor South Park? These are shows that are offensive towards both evangelical Christians and social justice warriors, so we should censor them. Can we censor speech which is offensive to libertarians such as Bernie Sanders speeches considering that libertarianism isn’t as wide spread as the two party system?
The problem with this is that it flies in the face of everything our country stands for. The Constitution states in the First Amendment that,”Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
We’ve seen the rise of safe spaces, political correctness, and trigger warnings. People from Bill Maher to Ben Shapiro have spoken against political correctness, and publications from Reason to The Atlantic have published articles about it. The Atlantic published an article titled The Coddling of the American Mind, an excellent read. In it, written by Greg Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt, there is this passage. (additions provided by the Washington Post)
“The current movement [to, for instance, prevent “microaggressions” and require “trigger warnings,”] is largely about emotional well-being. More than the last [movement to restrict speech on campus], it presumes an extraordinary fragility of the collegiate psyche, and therefore elevates the goal of protecting students from psychological harm. The ultimate aim, it seems, is to turn campuses into “safe spaces” where young adults are shielded from words and ideas that make some uncomfortable.
And more than the last, this movement seeks to punish anyone who interferes with that aim, even accidentally. You might call this impulse vindictive protectiveness. It is creating a culture in which everyone must think twice before speaking up, lest they face charges of insensitivity, aggression, or worse.”
In all, millennials are more likely to run to the government to censor speech they don’t like. It’s a nightmare where the largest voting bloc in the entire United States is looking for the government to actively dismantle the Constitution. This generation, has become one of the worst in regards to the First Amendment. This poll, along with the actions at Missouri in barring the media, demanding that offensive or different opinions not be tolerated or censored, the idea of intolerant millennials is becoming more true by the instant. Luckily, there are sane people out there not demanding safe spaces or that the government and college cuddle us. I am hoping that the silent majority rise up against this menace which threatens our constitutional right to free speech and freedom of the press.
In defense of free speech, I leave you with a quote attributed to Voltaire, but said by Evelyn Beatrice Hall.
“I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”
Hopefully these words will resonate with more than just 60% of millennials. Otherwise the Orwellian future of 1984 takes one more step into becoming even more of a reality.