A new Cato Institute study shows how Democrat and Republican partisans are leading the fight against the First Amendment.
The study begins on a positive note, indicating that 71 percent of Americans believe political correctness has deterred important social discussions. Unfortunately, things then rapidly go downhill.
On the political Left, we see that anti-First Amendment attitudes center in political correctness. According to Cato, 51 percent of strong liberals say it's "morally acceptable" to punch Nazis (Bill Maher offers a counterpoint) and 51 percent of all Democrats would support a law requiring all Americans to use a transgender person's preferred gender pronouns.
Perhaps most troubling is the poll below, which shows that significant majorities of Democrats believe controversial speakers shouldn't be allowed to speak at their universities.
The situation isn't much better on the political Right.
Ignoring the Supreme Court's explanation that "We do not consecrate the flag by punishing its desecration, for in doing so we dilute the freedom that this cherished emblem represents," 53 percent of Republicans favor stripping U.S. citizenship from those who burn the American flag. Similarly disinterested in freedom of worship, 47 percent of Republicans support a ban on building new mosques.
Somewhat ominously, 63 percent of Republicans also believe journalists are an "enemy of the American people."
The results tell us more, however.
For one, perhaps reflecting greater liberal influence in contemporary culture, 73 percent of Republicans say they have political views they're afraid to share, but only 53 percent of Democrats feel the same way. Another indication of liberal cultural influence is Cato's finding that 50 percent of Americans "say businesses should be required to serve LGBT people, but 68 percent say a baker shouldn’t be required to bake a cake for a same-sex wedding."
Here we see the separation between moral political reflexes and specific viewpoints on particular situations.
Regardless, the overall data are concerning. After all, it points to an America in which individuals are more predisposed against individual freedom.