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Poll: 71% of Americans Say Political Correctness Has Silenced Discussions Society Needs to Have, 58% Have Political Views They’re Afraid to Share

Emily Ekins reports: The Cato 2017 Free Speech and Tolerance Survey, a new national poll of 2,300 U.S. adults, finds that 71% Americans believe that political correctness has silenced important discussions our society needs to have. The consequences are personal—58%

of Americans believe the political climate prevents them from sharing their own political beliefs.

Democrats are unique, however, in that a slim majority (53%) do not feel the need to self-censor. Conversely, strong majorities of Republicans (73%) and independents (58%) say they keep some political beliefs to themselves.

[Full survey results and report found here.]

It follows that a solid majority (59%) of Americans think people should be allowed to express unpopular opinions in public, even those deeply offensive to others.

 [Also see – Free Speech in the Good War]

On the other hand, 40% think government should prevent hate speech. Despite this, the survey also found Americans willing to censor, regulate, or punish a wide variety of speech and expression they personally find offensive:

  • 51% of staunch liberals say it’s “morally acceptable” to punch Nazis.
  • 53% of Republicans favor stripping U.S. citizenship from people who burn the American flag.
  • 51% of Democrats support a law that requires Americans use transgender people’s preferred gender pronouns.
  • 65% of Republicans say NFL players should be fired if they refuse to stand for the anthem.
  • 58% of Democrats say employers should punish employees for offensive Facebook posts.
  • 47% of Republicans favor bans on building new mosques.

Americans also can’t agree what speech is hateful, offensive, or simply a political opinion:

  • 59% of liberals say it’s hate speech to say transgender people have a mental disorder; only 17% of conservatives agree.
  • 39% of conservatives believe it’s hate speech to say the police are racist; only 17% of liberals agree.
  • 80% of liberals say it’s hateful or offensive to say illegal immigrants should be deported; only 36% of conservatives agree.
  • 87% of liberals say it’s hateful or offensive to say women shouldn’t fight in military combat roles, while 47% of conservatives agree.
  • 90% of liberals say it’s hateful or offensive to say homosexuality is a sin, while 47% of conservatives agree.

Americans Oppose Hate Speech Bans, But Say Hate Speech is Morally Unacceptable

Although Americans oppose (59%) outright bans on public hate speech, that doesn’t mean they think hate speech is acceptable. Read the rest of this entry »

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REWIND: ‘Maybe it was a Bad Idea to Concentrate So Much Power in the Oval Office in the First Place’

Getty Images

If the next president can turn out to be a tyrant, then ‘tyrant-proofing the presidency’ is our most pressing political task.

Gene Healy writes: The prospect of Donald Trump as president is only slightly less ridiculous than the idea of Charlie Sheen with nukes—and possibly more frightening. And yet, it looks as though the verbally incontinent celebreality billionaire has a one in three chance of being elected come Tuesday.

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Terrifying, yes, but fear can be useful. In this case, it ought to concentrate the mind wonderfully: if someone so manifestly unfit, so transparently likely to abuse power, can come within striking distance of the presidency, then maybe it was a bad idea to concentrate so much power in the Oval Office in the first place.

White-House-w-Fence

“A broad majority of Americans—far more than will end up voting for Trump—distrust Hillary Clinton, the second most reviled candidate in the history of polling. Are they wrong to worry about her having the power to ‘unilaterally change this country to its core’? Should anyone have that kind of power?”

It’s no secret that the “most powerful office in the world” grew even more powerful in the Bush-Obama years. Both presidents stretched the 2001 Authorization for the Use of Military Force into a wholesale delegation of congressional war powers broad enough to underwrite open-ended, globe-spanning war. Bush began—and Obama continued—the host of secret dragnet surveillance programs revealed by Edward Snowden—and others we’re still largely the dark about. And lately, on the home front, Obama has used the power of the pen to rewrite broad swathes of American law and spend billions of dollars Congress never appropriated.

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America’s center-left papers of record have lately begun to notice that the vast powers recent presidents have forged would be available to Trump as well. The New York Times’s Carl Hulse writes that Obama’s assertion of a presidential power of the purse could have ”huge consequences for our constitutional democracy…. How would lawmakers react if a willful new chief executive, unable to win money from Congress for a wall on the Mexican border, simply shifted $7 billion from another account and built it anyway?”

[Read the full story here, at Cato @ Liberty]

And a month ago, the Washington Post kicked off a series of half a dozen editorials warning what would befall the republic should Trump ascend to Real Ultimate Power: “A President Trump could, unilaterally, change this country to its core,” the Post’s editorialists argued, and the other branches won’t be able to stop him: “in the U.S. System, the scope for executive action is, as we will lay out in a series of editorials next week, astonishingly broad.”

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It was nice to see the Post editorial board, which had called Obama’s recess-appointments gambit “a justifiable power grab,” evince some concern about potential abuses of executive power. Through five more editorials, they’d go on to observe that a President Trump could, among other abuses: “launch wars”; “take the oil”; “assassinate foreigners who opposed him”; issue a secret legal opinion overturning the torture ban; “launch surveillance programs targeting foreigners without informing Congress”; pull out of NAFTA, start a trade war, and “destroy the world economy.” An imposing parade of horribles, all leading up to the limpest of takeaways: “the nation should not subject itself to such a risk.” In other words, don’t vote for Trump. OK, then: Problem solved?

I don’t disagree with the Post’s argument that Trump represents a unique threat to what remains of constitutional government. Read the rest of this entry »


Happy Human Rights Day!


The Tradition of Civil Disobedience


In Honor of Constitution Day….

WASHINGTON - DECEMBER 15: Ethan Kasnett, an 8th grade student at the Lab School in Washington, DC, views the original constitution. (Brendan Smialowski/GETTY IMAGES)

The Cato Supreme Court Review, edited by Ilya Shapiro, is published annually on Constitution Day.

Now in its fourteenth edition, the Review is the first scholarly journal to appear after each SCOTUS term ends and the only one grounded in the nation’s first principles, liberty, and limited governmentCATO-SCOTUS

The Review has built quite a reputation over the years, and has earned some high praise from notable SCOTUS experts:

“Cato, with its emphasis on limited government and individual rights, has weighed in with a book of essays by academics and practicing lawyers that manages to skewer liberal and conservative justices alike.”
Tony Mauro, Supreme Court correspondent, The National Law Journal and Legal Times

“Unquestionably, the definitive volume on the Supreme Court’s term.”
Tom Goldstein, founder of SCOTUSblog (and co-chair of litigation and Supreme Court practice at Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld LLP)

In this year’s issueShapiro and other leading legal scholars analyze the 2014-2015 Supreme Court term, specifically focusing on the most important and far-reaching cases of the year, as well as upcoming cases to watch.

Read this issue online, or explore the archive…..