A new survey on Americans’ views of free speech gives mixed results

Why Evolution Is True

I’ve known about this survey on free speech for a while, but was told not to divulge the details until it was published. Well, it still hasn’t come out yet, but since Conor Friedersdorf published some of its results in The Atlantic (“American’s many divides over free speech“), these are now in the public domain. There are a lot more data to come, of course, but I’ll just summarize what’s been published.

The results, which come from a Cato Institute/YouGov survey of 2300 people, are heartening but not completely so. The good news is that most Americans favor no or very limited restrictions on speech. The bad news is that a substantial fraction of Americans still want restrictions on “hate speech” (despite even more of them arguing, correctly, that defining “hate speech” is problematic), and even laws against it. Many Americans think that “hate speech” is already illegal…

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