New polling data suggests that there’s a silent majority of millennials (those aged 18-34) who ardently support both free speech and religious freedom.
The Fund for American Studies conducted the poll and found that contrary to what seems like a never-ending stream of headlines touting millennial love of safe spaces, hatred for ideological and social diversity, and affinity towards homogenized speech might not be telling the whole story.
The survey “measures how Americans define freedom and whether they generally support “more” or “less” government interference in their daily lives.”
Among the key findings:
93% of millennials support religious freedom
92% of millennials support free speech
“The media keeps showing us images of violent protests on college campuses, young Americans being angry and disruptive, but the truth is that millennials support religious and social freedoms more than non-millennials,” said Roger Ream, President, The Fund for American Studies (TFAS). “There’s a vast, silent majority of millennials who embrace these freedoms and those are the young men and women we are seeing in our programs.”
In the age of massive government expansion, it’s not entirely unusual that millennial reliance upon government to secure individual freedoms is high, but they also maintain government securing of liberty is more important than a government that guarantees security.
Might be a good time for another lesson on natural rights and the derivation of liberty. But I digress…
Almost 6 out of 10 millennials would choose liberty (60%) over security (40%) as opposed to individuals age 55-64 who are evenly split in their support for security (49%) and liberty (51%)
54% of millennials support “more government” over “less government” (40%) as opposed to non-millennials who support “less government” (51%) over “more government” (45%)
The study also explores the difference between political parties in terms of their attitudes toward liberty and security:
Republicans support security (57%) over liberty (43%)
Democrats support liberty (64%) over security (36%)
Independents support security (60%) over liberty (40%)
Lastly, the survey found a disconnect “between a general support for freedom and support for freedom on specific economic issues.”
Certain items in the survey emphasize the complexity of the free market, especially in demographics we didn’t expect, namely conservatives and Republicans. Where Republicans and conservatives strongly support a reduction in government regulations over property rights, they also support an increase in government through regulations of industries. For instance:
A majority of Republicans (61%) and Conservatives (57%) believe that the government should regulate oil companies to keep gas prices at reasonable levels
A majority of Republicans (74%) and Conservatives (71%) believe that the government should prevent drug companies from increasing the prices of life-saving drugs
A majority of Republicans (71%) and Conservatives (70%) support tariffs on goods that Americans buy from overseas
“This is due in part to a failure on the part of traditional education to teach economics and the media to explain economics to the average American,” Ream said. “The Fund for American Studies was formed to bridge that gap, and provide an educational foundation which teaches economics and emphasizes the importance of all aspects of freedom.”
There’s a lot of room for improvement, namely the whole role of government bit, but it’s not all bad news for the next generation. There might be hope yet.
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