Americans Hate America for Its Freedom
Eugene Volokh points to a First Amendment Center survey (PDF) showing that 42 percent of Americans disagree with the proposition People should be allowed to say things in public that might be offensive to RELIGIOUS groups and 54% disagree that People should be allowed to say things in public that might be offensive to RACIAL groups. What’s more, he notes, these numbers are actually down from when the Center first started taking this annual survey in 1997.
Now, as some early commenters on his post note, the questions may have confused people. Presumably, had the question been phrased as “people should be jailed or fined if they said something to offend,” the responses would have been radically different. “Allowed” could be taken to mean “without social scorn,” or “by employers” or whathaveyou.
It’s quite possible, though, that we’ve simply created a culture that values sparing hurt feelings over individual freedom of expression.