A new survey of college students by the liberal-leaning Knight Foundation shows the future of the First Amendment doesn't look so bright in America. It found 41 percent said "hate speech" should not be protected by the Constitution. Only 58 percent thought it should.
In fact, a 2017 survey out of UCLA found that out of 1,500 college students who were asked whether "hate speech" is protected by the First Amendment, only 39 percent correctly said yes. On campus today, it can be defined as "unsafe" to hear an opinion you don't like. Unwelcome speech is compared to a physical attack.
Make no mistake. The Thought Police are gaining ground, dangerously.
The central question is what qualifies as "hate speech"? The standards can shift quickly. The Knight Foundation poll found that 68 percent of students believe the campus climate prevents students from expressing their opinions because of fears they might offend other classmates.
The irony is inescapable. So many of them support the censorship they claim to abhor.
We've all heard story after story about students protesting those horrible right-wing speakers like Henry Kissinger and Condoleezza Rice for daring to set foot on campus. These same radicals regularly try to end the careers of professors found to be extremists for things such as seeing no problem in little white girls dressing as a Disney character "of color," like Mulan or Tiana, for Halloween.
Yale University seems to be the new True North for political intolerance, and here comes yet another episode in an endless list of grievances from the $72,000-a-year-tuition oppressed. An LGBTQ advocacy group called the Outlaws is furious that Yale's Federalist Society invited a lawyer from a so-called "hate group," the Alliance Defending Freedom, to discuss the case of Colorado baker Jack Phillips's refusal to make a cake for a same-sex wedding. For the record, ADF is one of the most respected organizations in the conservative movement today, which is why it qualifies as a hate group. In a sympathetic response, Yale Law School is creating a policy to stop providing stipends or loan forgiveness to students who work for organizations that defend traditional Christian views on sexual ethics.
So if you work for the ACLU or Planned Parenthood after college, you can receive some loan forgiveness. You can defend abortionists or terrorist suspects and Yale will love you. But support traditional marriage? The right to life? That's beyond the pale.
Sen. Ted Cruz called the policy "transparently discriminatory" and is now investigating, noting that Yale receives lots of federal funding, and the Trump administration has made it clear it's willing to deny federal funding to universities that curb freedom of speech. It's about time.
"I think Yale law school is the canary in the coal mine," Sen. Cruz says. "If they get away with this, we'll see law school after law school after law school following the same pattern. And I'll tell you, what the LGBT group demanded of Yale not just that they discriminate against Christians and financial aid. They demanded that they discriminate against anyone who believes in traditional marriage in admissions, that they not even admit anyone who believes in a biblical definition of marriage. That is profoundly dangerous, and we've got to stand up and prevent it."
Yale officials told Sen. Cruz that its policy isn't based on excluding a religion or ideology, which is false on its face. The LGBTQ ideology will not abide the expression of a biblical view of sexuality and marriage. It wants the view punished as "hate speech," and it wants to begin blacklisting Christians for advocating their beliefs in public. To the libertine left, opposing "discrimination" means building an imposing border wall with barbed wire around the First Amendment. "Tolerance" demands no less.
L. Brent Bozell III is the president of the Media Research Center. Tim Graham is director of media analysis at the Media Research Center and executive editor of the blog NewsBusters.org. To find out more about Brent Bozell III and Tim Graham, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.