Amendment I to the U.S. Constitution:
"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances."
That old rascally 1st amendment that once caused town halls to flourish, so that Americans might air out their opinions on the public square, is under full frontal attack in the past few years. Those town hall meetings, once held in a church, or town library, or local school auditoriums are dying a slow death. Should one want to attend one, and stand up to speak your mind, you are most likely to be shouted down by those holding a different point of view.
I think America lost her civility about the time those Vietnam war protestors took to the field. The rules changed. The only ones heard were those with the biggest bull horn, or in the greatest numbers. That was about the time Norman Rockwell's America bit the dust.
Sadly, today, Generation Z has taken suppression of speech to whole new levels. Anyone with a conservative thought, or anyone who expresses a tiny doubt about climate change, or racism, or fiscal responsibility are either outright barred from campus, or shouted down without a single word uttered by those who believe freedom of speech is only for them.
In 2018 the Foundation For Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) joined with YouGov.Org to conduct a survey of college students on matters of free expression. The results were scary. Seems that, while 96 percent of college students said it was important that their civil liberties be protected, the vast majority of them citing freedom of speech as most essential, Generation Z has chosen to add some small print to the 1st Amendment.
Seems that 57 percent of Generation Z believe free speech is an option, only if you are not offending anyone. Pretty hard not to offend anyone so let's pretty much gag anyone that offends anyone.
70 percent of those students say extracurricular activities that exclude anyone, regardless of their lack of ability, or disqualifying skill sets needs to be shut down. That would seem to preclude pretty much everything; collegiate sports, managing and writing for the school paper, sororities, or the formation of political clubs that do not conform to the morals and morays of a single soul.
Ten percent of students surveyed said it is perfectly acceptable to employ violence to silence speakers they do not agree with.
In a 2017 university survey, conducted jointly by the Knight Foundation and Gallup, 37 percent of students said if they couldn't keep a speaker with a conservative view off campus it was perfectly okay to stand up and shout them down.
We see these kind of tactics played out all across America now. If one cannot win a debate on facts one is free to suppress the free expression of another; most especially when you don't agree with them.
It's ironic that, for more than 300 years, the campus was supposed to be the place for human beings to explore a wide range of philosophies. Given the leisure to do so, it always seemed that some of America's best ideas originated on a school campus. Today those who populate our campuses are far more reactionary than the older generations who are supposed to be carrying that banner around. Now it's the young people who are set in their ways. Well indoctrinated by a liberal education system, these strange new creatures will not tolerate anyone who suggests they might be wrong about something.
Generation Z says they still believe in the First Amendment...........as long as you read the restrictive fine print proscribing the 21st century's new limitations.
Sad. Damned Sad.