Great. Plurality of Americans don't like the 1st amendment
This should scare everyone. A recent poll published by the Christian Science Monitor reveals that a plurality (almost a majority) of Americans think that the 1st amendment doesn’t apply to those who engage in speech that is “offensive and harmful.” America, what have we become?
From a seemingly approving CSM:
Donald Sterling. Paula Deen. Juan Williams. Cliven Bundy. Phil Robertson.
Each of these individuals has landed in hot water thanks to controversial comments that unleashed similar responses – public outrage, a media blitz, and professional sacking or suspension. Along with scores of others, they represent a treadmill of inflammatory speech scandals that have tripped up America for decades.
Yet for all the attention devoted to the off-color comments – even President Obama weighed in on the Sterling scandal – Americans’ collective reaction to controversial speech may be far more revealing than the headline-making remarks themselves. Society’s reaction is more about style than substance, commentators say, suggesting Americans haven’t made as much progress as they think they have on issues of race, religion, gender, and sexuality.
Furthermore, incidents of inflammatory speech force Americans to confront the fine line between protecting free speech and fostering a tolerant, pluralistic society.
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This is frightening. The mere fact that we are at the point where we are taking polls about what people should and shouldn’t be allowed to say in America shows us just how far we’ve wandered from the founding principles of liberty.
The very wording of the question creates a perfect teachable moment. The 1st Amendment exists for the sole purpose of protecting speech deemed offensive, harmful or dangerous. If speech is not threatening or offensive to anyone, then there is no reason to protect it. Put another way, if we do not protect all speech, what’s the point of the first amendment?