These are sad times, indeed. According to a recent Pew poll, a majority of Americans now believe that people’s feelings are more important than freedom of speech, the founding principle of the nation they inhabit. The majority of Americans apparently believe that. To be more precise, the majority of Americans apparently feel that feelings Trump freedom.
This is a result of progressives’ decades-long rampage through American institutions, their near total infiltration and then usurpation of academia, media, entertainment, Big Business, Big Tech, the Military-Industrial complex, IRS, FBI, DOJ, CIA, and Big Religion, among other entities now inalterably infected with the inexplicable yet apparently overwhelming desire to destroy America first, the hell with whatever happens thereafter. (Likely including their own destruction.)
According to Pew, 53% of U.S. adults say “being able to feel welcome and safe online” is more important than “people being allowed to speak their minds freely.” Somewhere, Jefferson and Franklin weep.
It is no surprise that Democrats were more likely than Republicans to feel this way, some 60% prioritizing online “safety” over free expression. Yet, a shocking 45% of respondents identifying as Republicans also favored safety over liberty. And the trendline on this issue over time is depressing for anyone who still values the First Amendment.
How can one be truly “unsafe” online? More importantly, it is impossible to truly be safe if the truth cannot be told, if one cannot speak one’s mind, if only certain points of view are deemed acceptable.
When feelings trump freedom, a society is a doomed. How will you “feel” when you have no freedom, at least the freedoms you happen to cherish? Preferring feeling “welcomed” to liberty is essentially saying emotion should have primacy over reason, lust over discipline. It is an insipid form of selfishness, because what you’re really saying is, I don’t believe other people have the right to say things with which I disagree, because my right to not be offended or triggered is more important than their right to think for themselves. This, of course, becomes tyranny…writ large.
And there is no “right” to not be offended. Whether free speech exists or not.