Little Hypocrites

Something about a handbasket & going somewhere in it. GOOD NEWS, BAD NEWS, UNBELIEVABLE NEWS

by Bill Winter ()

High school students against free speech

Here”s the good news: Fully 69% of American high school students think musicians should be allowed to sing songs with “offensive” lyrics without fear of prosecution. (So Snoop Dogg and Buckcherry can breathe a sigh of relief.)

Here”s the bad news: Only 54% of students say newspapers should be allowed to publish controversial stories without government approval.

(Sorry, New York Times.)

That”s according to a new survey of 14,498 high school students and 800 teachers funded by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

According to the survey, students support the First Amendment most when it directly affects them. For example, 64 percent said student newspapers should be able to publish without school officials” approval.

But a significant number of students have major reservations about free speech in general. Fully 45 percent said the First Amendment “goes too far,” while 32 percent said the press has “too much freedom.” (More frighteningly, 29 percent of teachers also thought the press has too much freedom.)

This widespread opposition to free-speech rights comes four years after Congress passed a bill requiring federally funded schools to teach students about the Constitution.

Ironically, of course, the Constitution doesn”t give the federal government the power to mandate what schools should teach. This led libertarian columnist Walter Williams to write: “I cannot think of a piece of legislation that makes greater mockery of the Constitution.”

So, an unconstitutional bill, ordering teachers (a significant ercentage of whom are dubious about the First Amendment) in government-funded schools to instruct students about the constitution (which was written to limit the power of government) doesn”t seem to be instilling in students a proper appreciation of freedom of speech.

Why aren”t we surprised?

Source: Knight Foundation

USA Today (September 17, 2006)

Walter Williams Column (September 13, 2006)

1 comment

  1. Codiac

    Unless I’m mistaken, there was another survey, saying pretty much the same thing, that was released quite some time ago. Can’t remember where I read it, but I do remember thinking that the numbers seemed about right. After all, who cares about other people’s liberties? As long as I’ve got mine, you can go jump off a cliff, right?

    Sad, sad, sad.

    ‘Course, I suppose it’s not too bad. At least it was just high schoolers (who likely will discover the “Real World” by it giving them an unceromonious a kick in the face. It could have been much worse.

    Imagine if the survey had been of our congress critters… 😯

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