The Corner

Study: Student Support for Censorship Reaches All-Time High

This graphic, courtesy of UCLA’s Higher Education Research Institute, should sober everyone who cares not just about the First Amendment but also about a culture that respects free speech:

The survey questioned more than 140,000 incoming freshmen and found that free speech was less popular even than during previous waves of political correctness, with an all-time high of 71% willing to ban “racist/sexist” speech on their campuses. Racist or sexist speech isn’t defined, but suffice to say that there is no First Amendment exception to speech deemed offensive on the basis of race or gender. And in virtually every speech code context on college campuses, universities define racism and sexism subjectively, based entirely on the perception of the listener. In other words, if speech is perceived to be racist, then it is racist — regardless of reason or intent.

It should be noted that incoming students are both hostile to speech and remarkably socially liberal. A full 81 percent support same-sex marriage, 64 percent support legalized abortion. Politically, 34 percent identify as liberal or far left (the highest share since 1973) while only 21 percent identify as conservative or far right. 

Students are moving Left, and they’re undermining rights of dissent as they go. We increasingly have a post-constitutional government, and we may soon have a post-constitutional population.

David French is a senior writer for National Review, a senior fellow at the National Review Institute, and a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

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