By Tom Rhodes, 6/11/2015
Recent poll shows that roughly ? of adults under the age of 30 think the First Amendment allows too much freedom of speech and that some speech, hate speech, should not be allowed. Although only about 2% of adults over 50 think we have too much freedom of speech. In a generation a lot of those over 50 will be dead, and those adults under 30 will be our leaders. Today’s college youth demand “trigger notices” of their classes so they won’t be offended, and routinely shout down, protest, and use violence to silence ideas they don’t think should be expressed. What you don’t hear from those under 30 is “I disagree with what you say, but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it!”
In the name of "sensitivity" and "civility" speech can now be censored. If you have "privilege" even your “sensitive” and “civil” speech can be silenced. Even stating scientific verifiable facts if they are not politically correct are no longer tolerated. Seeing that violence works, only those willing to back up their speech with violence against others who don’t agree with them are allowed to speak. At today’s institutes of higher learning, leftists can and do use violence to shut down speech they don’t approve, just as the willingness of Islamists to use violence against speech they don’t approve has effectively silenced our media from criticizing Islam.
To top off the clear and evident demise of freedom of speech, our youth are less educated and dumber. Emotions and how a person feels about any subject is carries more gravitas than logic and reason. Last Year, Rutgers student Philip Wythe suggested that The Great Gatsby was so potentially traumatizing it should be accompanied by the following warning: “Suicide, Domestic Abuse, and Graphic Violence.” The Great Gatsby explores themes of decadence, idealism, resistance to change, social upheaval, and excess, masculinity, and racism. It created a portrait of the Roaring Twenties that many educators have described as a cautionary tale of embracing the American Dream. Image our next generation of leaders so delicate that they can’t emotionally handle the themes of book which a short time ago was standard high school curricula.
Students today are so sensitive that comedians Chris Rock and Jerry Seinfeld refuse to perform at colleges and universities. In a recent interview with ESPN Radio host Colin Cowherd, Seinfeld said, "I don't play colleges, but I hear a lot of people tell me, 'Don't go near colleges. They're so PC.'" Chris Rock said, “. . . I stopped playing colleges, and the reason is because they’re way too conservative.” He explained “Not in their political views — not like they’re voting Republican — but in their social views and their willingness not to offend anybody. Kids raised on a culture of ‘We’re not going to keep score in the game because we don’t want anybody to lose.’ Or just ignoring race to a fault. You can’t say ‘the black kid over there.’ No, it’s ‘the guy with the red shoes.’ You can’t even be offensive on your way to being inoffensive.
The First Amendment is not there to protect civil acceptable speech, it exists to protect offensive ideas that challenge people. It will not survive a generation that wants and needs trigger warnings before reading The Great Gatsby. Imagine the outrage if Mel Brooks’ Blazing Saddles was released today. Imagine the outrage that would happen if George Carlin tried to do his stand up at a college now.
June 15th is the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta, most of today’s sensitive youth don’t know what it is, and if they did they would denounce it. The visceral condemnation of the few today who dare criticize the politically correct attitudes that permeate the media and today’s youth pales when compared to the opprobrium our forefathers would heap upon those promoting the mere idea of political correctness. Rather than submit to any political class or body politics’ restriction on what they would say, or how they should believe, they boldly and proudly proclaimed “Give Me Liberty, or Give Me Death!” and backed it up with a revolution.