There are lots of people these days who call themselves Americans that would not hesitate to punish their fellow Americans for the “crime” of exercising “offensive speech.” Sadly, the numbers of such free speech haters are growing. To them the First Amendment is offensive.
A recent the Pew Research Center poll reveals, for example, that 40 percent of younger Americans aged 18-34 believe that government ought to censor any speech deemed "offensive to minorities." The younger they are the more likely they think that the First Amendment should be trashed. As many as 24 percent of Americans of my own generation -- aged 51-69 -- think that government censorship of speech is a great idea.
These individuals simply do not realize how fortunate they are to live in a nation where fundamental freedoms are guaranteed by a constitution. Either they have never learned or have forgotten the history of the United States of America; the Declaration of Independence; the Revolutionary War; the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. If nothing else, those essential lessons should be taught in public schools from kindergarten through high school.
The lessons are no longer taught. Too many young people in America today have never even heard of the First Amendment, much less knowing why it is important to their lives. They don’t understand that, if their government may censor speech it deems offensive, then that same government might censor their own right to speak.
A First Amendment offensive is sweeping college campuses today. Students are demanding the implementation of speech codes which would punish any and all expression from others with which they don’t agree. Any speech with which they don’t agree is deemed “offensive speech” that should be banned and subject to punishment.
They seek to destroy the careers of campus administrators and professors who are deemed “insensitive” to their sensibilities. They protest and demand that controversial speakers they don’t agree with be muzzled or banned altogether from addressing the student body. They think they have the right to regulate opinions on campus.
This is not the United States of America I grew up in. This is not the land of the free that I learned about in public school. This is not the university atmosphere I’m familiar with. No, this is the ugly face of statism, tyranny and First Amendment offensive by the mindless mob.