Pew: Seventy Percent of Democrats and Democratic-Leaning Independents Support Speech Limits

I have previously written columns about the rising generation of censors in our country. After years of being told that free speech is harmful and dangerous, many young people are virtual speech phobics — demanding that opposing views be silenced as “triggering” or even forms of violence. Now a Pew poll shows just how much ground we have lost, including the emergence of the Democratic Party as a virulent anti-free speech party. Pew found that “Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents are much more likely than Republicans and Republican leaners to support the U.S. government taking steps to restrict false information online (70% vs. 39%).”

I was raised in a politically active Democratic family in Chicago. Free speech was viewed as one of the defining values of the party and championed across campuses in the country. That changed dramatically in the course of the last ten years as many liberal politicians and professors called for opposing voices to be banned or canceled. I no longer recognize the party as it pushes for censorship and speech regulation.

The result is reflected in the poll which shows that “Just over half of Americans (55%) support the U.S. government taking steps to restrict false information online, even if it limits people from freely publishing or accessing information.”

What is particularly chilling is that this poll is occurring after the disclosure of biased censorship efforts by the government and corporations, including the suppression of views that were later found to be legitimate. That includes the banning or cancelling of scientists who raised concerns over Covid-19 that are now considered valid from the lab theory to the efficacy of masks to natural immunities. It also includes the suppression of political stories like the Hunter Biden laptop.

The growing support for censorship may reflect the echo chambered media environment. Many people watch and read news that continues to downplay or entirely omit reports on biased censorship. President Biden even charged that companies who refused to censor opposing views on social media were “killing people.”  Others have denounced free speech as “a white man’s obsession.” New York democrats called for limiting speech as a way of protecting democracy. Indeed, former Clinton Labor Secretary Robert Reich has declared free speech is “tyranny.”

Many journalists have joined politicians and professors in decrying the dangers of free speech. Some falsely claim that hate speech is not protected under the First Amendment.  Others panicked at the notion of free speech protections being restored at Twitter. On CNN, speech limits were called a “harm-reduction model” for the media.

The result left free speech values in free fall in our country. We have previously discussed the alarming rollback on free speech rights in the West. The European crackdown on free speech has now reached our shores and there are a growing number of citizens calling on the government to limit their right to free expression. It is a form of constitutional immolation by citizens who have never known true authoritarian government.

The Pew poll shows how dire this struggle has become. Despite our long history of free speech protection, every generation can renew or rescind that support. This is a crisis of faith that we cannot ignore. Justice Louis Brandeis once warned that “The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well-meaning but without understanding.”

245 thoughts on “Pew: Seventy Percent of Democrats and Democratic-Leaning Independents Support Speech Limits”

  1. There are two fatal flaws to censorship. Those who would be censors fervently believe that they alone are capable of recognizing he truth, and secondly, they are absolutely certain that those they would censor are themselves abjectly incapable of ever discovering said truth.

  2. When you value empathy, caring, or doing-no-harm highly enough, you can more easily justify censoring words that hurt.
    Also, if you think you know the answers, then the people who ask questions seem like troublemakers, ne’er-do-wells. Those people don’t speak to advance the situation, but to set it back. Shut them up too.

    My experience: plenty of Democrats are run-of-the mill people who don’t want to cause or see hurt feelings. So, they are willing to clamp down on speech that does just that. Political correctness..microagressions — these people are okay with the censorship because it seems so small in light of the harm that seems so real.

    Also my experience: plenty of activist/highly educated people are arrogant Democrats. By virtue of their education they know more (but not as much as they think they do). Disagreeing with them is sign of stupidity or bad intentions. If you were smarter, you ‘d be on their team. If your smart but not on their team it must mean you have a sinister motive. Censorship is tolerated because it’s either for your own good or because you are not acting in good, you are abusing free speech.

  3. You should probably add that law school professors are some of the worst offenders when it comes to suppressing speech–what is the legal profession going to do to address its free speech problem?

  4. Anonymous
    He did ? How so ?

    MAL is Trumps property – his home is His personal property.

    There is no requirement that private people run their homes and their security as the government wishes them to.

    In Watergate Nixon is on tape authorizing payments to people for their silence.
    We have lots of credible allegations of the use of Govenrment power to obstrruct the Hunter Biden investigation.

    What about the Biden’s efforts to supress the Hunter Biden laptop story ?
    Buy YOUR definition of coverup – that is a criminal coverup – Worse than Watergate.

    Regardless, Was Trump at MAL selling Classified documents to Russia ? China ? ukraine ? Romainia ?

    There is absolutley SERO doubt at all that the Bidens were selling something to foreign powers – often Hostile foreign powers.
    Classified documents ? Influence ? What was being sold ?

    Further we find today that there are atleast 3 times as many bank accounts as previously thorugh and the expected amount of money the Biden’s have taken in primarily from hostile foreign sources is likely over $50M.

    What is it that the Biden’s were selling ? Hunters awful Art ? Coke ?

    Joe Biden has a massive problem. Atleast 10 members of his family – likely including himself – directly or indirectly have collected $50M dollars – a great deal of that While Biden was VP,

    And they have no plausible explanation for why they were paid.

    In the McDonald Case SCOTUS through the case out – because while McDonald received money – miniscule amounts compared tot he bidens. From entities his government was regulating. He was being paid for actual services – maybe exhorbitantly but still paid.

    Sen. Menedez was exchanging goodwill with a constitutent. They did favors for each other.

    You can claim McDonald and Menedez were corrupt – and I do. But there is a facially valid explanation for what occured.
    It may be a pretense – but an explanation exists.

    Hillary Clinton receivesd hundreds of millions from the Russians. But she collected it as donations to here Charity.

    Many of us beleive that was corrupt – but there is atleast a pretense of an explanation.

    We learned this week that the Bidens have offshore bank accounts.
    If you are actually doing Business in foreign countries that makes sense.

    Manafort was actually running political campaigns in Ukraine That’s is not even a pretense – He really did that,
    and he was paid for that work into bank accounts outside of the US legally.

    He got into trouble becuase he
    “loaned”himself money from foreign accounts intro the US – that is legal. But he very poorly documented the loans and then failed to make efforts to repay the loans.

    But the Biden’s have no consequential legitimate business outside the US.

    Hunter produces nothing. The whole Biden family produces nothing.
    What is it that Hunter is selling for millions of dollars ?

    And why have the bidens gone to such incredible trouble to hide it all ?

    We have likely had more corrupt presidents than Biden. LBJ certainly comes to mind.

    But we have never had evidence this credible that a president was being bribed – worse by foreign powers before.
    The bribery scandlas of prior presidents stopped with their underlings.

    Maybe they were better at not getting caught.
    Regardless, VP BIden is certainly the most proveably corrupt US president ever.

    He has been CAUGHT.

    I personally do not think that House Republicans should start with an impeachment inquiry into VP Biden.
    not that they do not already have more than enough to impeach and if 1/3 of Senate Democrats had any morals to remove Biden.

    This is ACTUALLY worse that Watergate.

    The Collusion Delusion was WORSE THAT WATERGATE
    The LAPTOP coverup was WORSE than WATERGATE.
    The Election rigging was WORSE than Watergate.

    Election rigging that is ONGIONG, and was started by Obama.

    In violation fo the Hatch ACt Obama started giving government grants to private entities to meddle in the election.
    Biden has put that all on steroids.

    Now instead of Zuckerberg buying the election – we have the federal govenrment tyring to buy Joe Biden’s re-election.
    More crooked nonsense from the left.

    We have democrats caught brazenly violating the first amendment in the run up to 2020 and continuing today.
    This is far worse than anything Sen. Joe MacCarthy ever did.

    your trying to claim Trump was engaged in a coverup – of WHAT CRIME ?
    Failing to Kow Tow to NARA ?

    JW v NARA makes it perfectlyu clear that presidents can take whatever they wish from the Whitehouse.
    Classified on not. Clitnon had classified tapes in his sock drawer.

    So What Crime was being covered up ?

    Nixon attempted to cover up a burglary – actually multiple burglaries.
    Biden has been conspiring to coverup his entire family’s illegal influence pedaling and bribery.

    What is Trump covering up ?

    A coverup requires a crime and you do not have one.

    The Biden’s and DOJ and FBI are covering up large scale Bribery.

    For further interest – thoujgh this investigation is playing out now.
    The crimes occured while Biden was VP and Obama was president.

    We are facing the largest credible bribery allegation ever to permeate the whitehouse – and it occured during the allegedly scandal free Obama Administration.

    1. Dude.take a breath. Just admit Trump screwed you. Return to your safe place beneath the rock.

      1. MM, try making an argument. Trolling an ad hominem are juvenile.
        But that should not surpirse – the left today is 4yr olds pretending to be adults.

        I did not vote for Trump – how did he “screw” me ?

        I expect that when you prosecute someone for a crime – that you can identify a clear Crime.

        I expect that you do that whether you are accusing a black teenager or an old pasty white guy with orange hair.

        There is ZERO question that the Biden family profited by Selling the public trust.
        The only outstanding question regarding the Biden’s is whether they defrauded those who paid them of 10’s of millions.
        In which case any US crimes they committed are minor. Or whether they actually delivered – and the evidence strongly suggests the later.

        Regardless, the crime is clear – bribery. The use of public power for personal gain.
        We all know that is wrong.
        We know why it is wrong.
        Absolutely everyone who does not have their heads deep in the sand KNOWS that even if the Biden’s did not deliver – which the evidence suggests they did. That what they PROMISED was highly illegal.

        Before I could convict Joe of being bribed, I would need proof that he actually delivered – though I think especially in the case of Burisma – that is well established.

        With respect to impeaching Biden – even if the Biden family was just running a SCAM defrauding foreigners with false promises of what VP Biden would do for them, Promises that We have established that Joe Biden participated in, that is STILL enogh to impeach easily.

        Are you really seekign to defend The Biden’s with the UNLIKELY claim that Joe was not ACTUALLY bribed – he just committed foreign Fraud against the people who were bribing him ?

        As to Trump and J6ers.

        The 202 Election was RIGGED – we are well past that. It has been PROVEN that Government engaged in censoring the truth for the purpose of getting Joe Biden elected. That is FRAUD, that is ELECTION RIGGING.
        Far more Fraud and misconduct occured than just that. But we are well past having PROVEN that.

        Falsus in unum, Falsus in Omnibus.

        Whether you like it or not – we are NOW at a point where the real question is whether the threshold our founders provided for JUSTIFIED Violence – revolution – insurrection, was MET.

        What measures are JUSTFIED in response to a FRAUDULENT and RIGGED election ?
        What measures are justified having pursued all legitimate means – court challenges, etc. and been thwarted
        despite REAL FRAUD.

        Or a different question – is it actually an insurection when the government itself is not legitimate.

        Because when you have committed FRAUD to win an election – they then your election is NOT legitimate.

        I am presenting the MOST Extreme case here – the argument that an actual insurection against an illegitimate government is justified – certainly not a crime.

        And you can not even address that – which SHOULD be the easiest argument for you to win.

        If you can not win that argument – how do you manage to get past that prosecuting someone for the excercise of TRUTHFUL free speech against a rigged election is somehow a crime ?

        In point of fact – the excercise of free speech against a LEGITMATE govenrment, the excercise of policial free speech by LYING about an election is still the most protected form of free speech in the US. But you are 10,000 miles short of that.

        With respect to MAL – The courts have already ruled that ex-President Clinton could take Classified tapes and keep them in his sock drawer as he left the White House. There is no crime. PERIOD.
        Or more accurately – there is no Crime by Trump.

        Even if by some miracle the supreme court chose in a future review to decide that JW V NARA was wrongly decided – which is highly unlikely. It was STILL good law in 2021 When Trump left the white house. and it remains good law today.
        Trump is entitled to rely on it. Nor would I note does that case stand alone. There are dozens of precidents prior that establish,
        that the Government MUST go to court to ACCESS the documents that an ex-president takes with them.
        And that ACCESS is all that they can get, that those documents are the PROPERTY of the ex-president.
        That has been the case for 250yrs, and remains the case today – the PRA not withstanding.

        Regardless, Trump has not fooled me.

        But you have absolutely been fooled.

  5. This is a reflection fo the disaster that is the evolution of our education system over the past 40 years.

    We are likely to have to learn the hardway that the price for restricting speech – even bad speech is harm to all.

    You would have thought that after Covid that people would have learned.

    It is not an accident that much of what we told was wrong. While the right is correct to fear that Covid was weaponized by the left to gain power. Even absent that conspiracy. It is certain that the “experts” will be wrong most of the time.

    It is actually quite hard to get things right.

    Today 50% of what each of us believes to be true will be proven false int he next 10 years.
    That is not because we are stupid. It is not because we are evil.
    It is because the rate with which were are gaining new knowledge is growing exponentially, and the result is that often well meaning efforts to derive new knowledge ultimately prove wrong.

    Complicating that with deliberate efforts to lie to all of us only amplifies the extent to which much of what we beleive to be true isn’t.

    Again this is not actually ideological.

    Though it is why the deck is actually stacked in favor of conservatism.
    It is far more likely that knowledge that has survived the test of centuries is correct.
    as opposed to what was discovered last week.

    What was learned last week has been vetted and tested for 7 days.
    The Pythagorean theorum has been vetted and tested for 2000 years.

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