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Nearly Half of Democrats Believe Free Speech Should Be Legal ‘Only Under Certain Circumstances’

Nearly Half of Democrats Believe Free Speech Should Be Legal ‘Only Under Certain Circumstances’

“A bare majority of Democrats (53%) say speech should be legal under any circumstances, while 47% say it should be legal ‘only under certain circumstances.’”

Almost half of Democrats believe free speech should be legal “only under certain circumstances,” according to new polling. This is not really surprising, as Democrats have been following the model of college progressives, who believe that speech can be violence and shouting down speakers they don’t like is acceptable behavior.

Tom Bevan of Real Clear Politics tweeted this:

Carl M. Cannon writes at Real Clear Politics:

The concept of free speech dates to the 5th century B.C. in ancient Greece and was codified in America’s founding documents on Dec. 15, 1791, with the ratification of the Bill of Rights. The 45-word First Amendment prohibited Congress from “abridging freedom of speech, or of the press,” and has been long understood to include any branch of government…

A new poll on censorship by RealClear Opinion Research shows that 90% of voters in the United States express support for the Founders’ curbs on government power.

“Overall, 9 in 10 voters in the U.S. think First Amendment protections for freedom of speech is a good thing, while only 9% think it is a bad thing,” said pollster Spencer Kimball, who directed the RCP survey. “This is agreed upon across the demographics, like party affiliation, age, and race.”…

Asked whether they support free speech even if it’s “deeply offensive,” 78% of men answered affirmatively, compared to 66% of women.

But the most glaring gap is between conservatives and liberals, i.e., between Republicans and Democrats. On the issue of free expression, at least, Republicans are not the authoritarian party. That distinction belongs to the Democrats, the party launched by Thomas Jefferson — the Founding Father who famously said that if he were forced to choose between “a government without newspapers or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.”

These are the two big findings:

– Republican voters (74%) and independents (61%) believe speech should be legal “under any circumstances, while Democrats are almost evenly divided. A bare majority of Democrats (53%) say speech should be legal under any circumstances, while 47% say it should be legal “only under certain circumstances.”

– Nearly one-third of Democratic voters (34%) say Americans have “too much freedom.” This compared to 14.6% of Republicans. Republicans were most likely to say Americans have too little freedom (46%), while only 22% of Democrats feel that way. Independents were in the middle in both categories.

Megyn Kelly’s reaction was perfect. The New York Post reported on it:

Megyn Kelly reacted over the weekend to a new survey that found nearly half of Democrats support limiting freedom of speech.

“This is what we’re up against,” Kelly wrote on the social media platform X — linking to a RealClearPolitics survey which showed a startlingly high number of Democrats backing censorship

According to the survey, 47% of Democrats say that speech should be legal “only under certain circumstances.”

A slim majority of Democrats (53%) agreed that speech should be legal under any circumstances while a third of Democrats (34%) think Americans have “too much freedom,” according to the poll.

Among registered Republicans, almost three quarters of them (74%) think speech should be legal “under any circumstances” while 61% of independents say the same, the RealClearPolitics survey found.

Here are some other reactions:


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    fscarn in reply to amwick. | September 26, 2023 at 12:34 pm

    “Almost half of Democrats believe free speech should be legal ‘only under certain circumstances'”

    And they say the government schools haven’t been successful.

    “In questions of power, let no more be heard of confidence in man, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the constitution.”

    TJ himself

      The Constitution Is the Solution,

      The Dangers of Democracy lecture will show that there are no governmental limitations in a democracy, which is why our Founding Fathers did not establish the U.S. as a democracy. Instead America was founded as a Republic, which has governmental limitations and is ruled by law.

      There is only one known alternative to limited government, and that is . . .

The problem with this poll, or at least its caption is that speech can be limited in time, place and manner. That is the law. But it’s unlikely that respondents had these restrictions in mind.

    The questions did address restrictions:

    “Even though the US Constitution guarantees freedom of speech, the government has placed some restrictions on it Overall, do you think Americans have too much freedom to speak freely, too little freedom to speak freely, or is the amount of freedom to spea ”

    Copied and pasted exactly from survey results:

    Other questions address if certain groups be able to speak freely, and there’s even the old saw about yelling fire in a crowded theatre.

    Most interesting to me was the question if conservatives are being unfairly restricted on social media. A plurality 55.9% agreed.

      alaskabob in reply to alien. | September 26, 2023 at 12:22 pm

      One can yell “fire” in a theater ….if there is a fire. The Left prefers to ban theater goers with loud voices or ones that carry. They prefer to muzzle people so that even in danger an alarm can’t be yelled. Of course, if people weren’t just herd animals they would orderly leave the burning theater. I thought with all the regulations these days…anyone yelling “fire” would be laughed at by officials……until its no laughing matter.

    The Gentle Grizzly in reply to Stuytown. | September 26, 2023 at 9:50 am

    One cannot shout “STAGE PLAY” inside a crowded fire station.

For some reason it’s the people who cry about defending democracy that act the most authoritarian.

    “Fifty-one percent of a nation can establish a totalitarian regime, suppress minorities and still remain democratic.”
    –Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn

    wendybar in reply to SeymourButz. | September 26, 2023 at 8:43 am

    They are the FASCISTS they have been looking for.

      Exactly this. After years of screeching that Trump was LITERALLY HITLER these same people gleefully support a biased and weaponized government leaning on big tech to silence their political opponents. It’s almost like they don’t understand the meaning of the word fascist.

        Whitewall in reply to Paul. | September 26, 2023 at 10:08 am

        Sure they do. It means any Republican that stands in the way of Democrats getting everything they want.

          The meaning of peace is the absence of opposition to socialism.

          Karl Marx

          henrybowman in reply to Whitewall. | September 26, 2023 at 2:35 pm

          Most Americans have been conditioned to accept the view that “freedom” is a condition defined by the state; that as long as one is obedient to governmental authority, they will stay out of trouble. By this definition, “freedom” has always existed everywhere: one was “free,” in 1938, to stand on a street corner in Germany and praise Hitler, or to laud Stalin on the streets of Moscow.

          It’s an universal law– intolerance is the first sign of an inadequate education. An ill-educated person behaves with arrogant impatience, whereas truly profound education breeds humility.

          And remember who provides the bulk of our education.

        Evil Otto in reply to Paul. | September 27, 2023 at 6:50 am

        Yep. I’ve met a few of them, and I always ask whether they would want Donald Trump to have the power to limit their speech. I have yet to get a good answer back. The truth is they think it’s fine when it happens to other people, not themselves.

      CommoChief in reply to wendybar. | September 26, 2023 at 11:21 am

      Yes indeed. Nazis are a creation of the left. It is one aspect of National Socialism aka Fascism which Mussolini popularized from the LEFT. Heck Stalin was cheering the fascists on until he realized their version of national socialism wasn’t going to go far enough for his taste towards breaking up the middle-class and punishing the wealthy in favor of the ‘workers’.

      To this day the leftists admire the authority and power to transform their Nations held by Mussolini, Hitler, Stalin and Mao. They like the idea of a ‘strong man’ leader who relies on a cadre of like-minded ideologues to enforce their writ on the unwilling. The left has no problem with totalitarian people or policies; see Covid, see Ukraine/Zelenskyy.

        Mauiobserver in reply to CommoChief. | September 26, 2023 at 2:44 pm

        Yes and Mussolini was among the leaders of the Italian Socialists prior to WWI. He broke with the socialists in that he was also a Nationalists believing in the sovereignty of nations. The socialists/communist/globalists have a long history of trying to destroy the fabric of western society. In order to succeed they must destroy the concept of individual rights, primacy of the family unit, Christianity, and national sovereignty and even the idea that there is a standard of good and of evil.

          CommoChief in reply to Mauiobserver. | September 26, 2023 at 7:24 pm

          More correctly he broke with the international communist movement b/c they criticized him for not going further left to reach the Stalinist ideal. IMO he didn’t go further b/c Italy would have been a small fish in the Soviet communist ocean he (and anyone else with any sense) saw on the horizon. It wasn’t so much about his commitment to Italian Nationalism as about keeping Italy distinct from Stalin’s emerging Empire and thus himself as the leader of an intact Italy separate from others influence.

    That is only because they are also liars.

Alternate headline:


The greatest threats to America today are: our Government, media and the continued existence of the Dem party.

    AF_Chief_Master_Sgt in reply to Whitewall. | September 26, 2023 at 11:15 am

    I would like to add the enormous amount of youth who have been raised by many single parent mothers, the very people who look to government to be their sugar daddy. Mainly because they are incapable of being in relationships where they have to do their fair share of making the relationship work.

    Why would they put in any effort when men still can pay child support and taxes to provide support for these breeders.


This is the result of being fed the lie that our rights are subject to restrictions placed there by the very people that our Bill of Rights was designed to protect us from

    AF_Chief_Master_Sgt in reply to MarkS. | September 26, 2023 at 11:17 am

    It amazes me that youth will put full faith in a government system that will destroy their rights, and then forcefully control the people with weapons.

    But let’s be sure to allow those very same people the power to disarm.

    nordic prince in reply to MarkS. | September 26, 2023 at 11:51 am

    It’s a fundamental lack of understanding of what the phrase “unalienable rights” truly means.

    These morons think rights are granted to them by government, and what the government giveth, the government can take away. That’s not a “right,” that’s a “privilege.”

    But our RIGHTS are given to us by God, not government, and as such the government lacks both the moral and legal authority to take them away from us.

Fat_Freddys_Cat | September 26, 2023 at 8:27 am

The Democrat Party should be renamed: The Too Much Freedom Party.

I guess they agree with Loki, that slavery is mankind’s ideal state.

Justice Roberts is a staunch defender of free speech. He feels that non-government-approved free speech should be allowed, subject to a non-compliant use tax.

If it is not always free speech it is never free speech. These clowns always forget that there is no one watching the watcher and many in Germany found that’s a bad idea.

One way to combat this problem is when a Democrat says that free speech should be legal only in certain circumstances… arrest them and tell them this ain’t one of those circumstances.

These the same half of Democrats who thought the unvaccinated to be jailed and lose their children?

AF_Chief_Master_Sgt | September 26, 2023 at 11:09 am

Actually, I am OK with control of speech. If Democrat Fascists deem certain speech criminal and worthy of censor, then turnabout is fair play.

We should actively control left wing speech as hate speech.

Of course, this is sarcasm. But screaming harpies on the left, and their stupid, ignorant dumb asses in what passes for higher education would shït a brick if their speech was controlled.

I can’t believe so many people are this g^dd@mned stupid. alluded to above in a prior post these folks have been conditioned. They want their safe space. They are IMO the epitome of late stage civilization; they are the weak people that decades of relatively ‘good times’ create. These are folks who will eventually create the downward spiral to the ‘bad times’. The bad times will create strong/resilient/self reliant people who in turn will restore the ‘good times’, only for their progeny to eventually turn into weaklings and cycle will continue.

      AF_Chief_Master_Sgt in reply to CommoChief. | September 26, 2023 at 1:14 pm

      True Chief. But there is a step between the weak created by good times, and the strong created by bad times.

      That step is tyranny – a seriously bad time. Russia had this step, and it lasted 7 decades.

    When someone proposes hate speech laws I agree as long I am the one that decides what is hate speech. They don’t like that idea.

Would they still have the same opinion if President Trump, as president, said that the idea that a man can become a woman is hate speech?

(Stop laughing! I’m serious!)

I’d guess it divides women and men mostly. Women prioritize feelings, men prioritize structural stability.

Who’d have ever thought that the two things on which the two major parties would switch would be free speech and war?

    henrybowman in reply to LukeHandCool. | September 26, 2023 at 2:52 pm

    Don’t ever believe the Democrat lie of “Halftime in America.”

    Jefferson founded the “Republican Party,” a party for anti-federalists (individualists) to contest Federalist Party (big-government) policies. When the Federalist Party fell apart with the election of Jefferson in 1800, the locusts migrated (as they always do), invading the Republican party and eventually causing a schism, into the “Democratic-Republican Party” (big government, central bank collectivists under Hamilton) and “National Republicans,” later “Whigs.” The latter collapsed just before the Civil War and resurrected as Republicans, while the former referred to themselves as Democrats, and that is how things have been ever since.

    Claiming that Jefferson founded the Democratic Party is like claiming that Leo X founded Lutheranism.

This is what progressives are all about as an end goal

“Can there be no peace between our peoples?”
No. Not any more.

“Thomas Jefferson — the Founding Father who famously said”
Jefferson’s relationship with the press was severely checkered. He was a great champion of the press until he became president; then he wrote things like “Nothing can now be believed which is seen in a newspaper. Truth itself becomes suspicious by being put into that polluted vehicle.” Between his retirement and his death, he again became a press champion.
Ideology, meet reality, I guess.

In this world; DEMOCRAT = Communist.
Call them what they are ……. COMMUNISTS.

Free speech is absolute. There is no such thing as ‘hate speech’. The only speech that is proscribed is incitement to violence.

Free speech is a natural right. My ancestors wrote it into law, and I honor them for that precious gift.


    Actually it’s incitement to imminently commit any crime. And that is only one of the recognized exceptions to the freedom of speech. There’s also defamation, true threats, fraud, conspiracy to commit a crime, perjury, breach of copyright, obscenity (whatever that means), and possibly still “fighting words”, though it’s likely that that exception no longer exists. But the set of exceptions is pretty much closed by now; neither misinformation nor hatred are among them.

This may be difficult for lay people to understand, but lawyers know that the First Amendment is not absolute. The Supreme Court has ruled that there are reasonable time, place, and manner restrictions that can be applied to First Amendment rights. I won’t bother to list the hundreds of court cases that explain this in detail, but you can read them for yourself if you google it. So yes, in a strictly legal sense, free speech is not legal under all circumstances.

    Milhouse in reply to JR. | September 26, 2023 at 11:05 pm

    Time, place, and manner restrictions are not really exceptions; in such cases you’re not being told you can’t say that, just that you can’t say it on a residential street, at 85 decibels, at 3 in the morning. Come back at noon and you’ll be free to say the exact same thing, at a reasonable volume.

    Exceptions are things like defamation, fraud, true threats, incitement, perjury, etc. You can’t say those anywhere, at any time, because they do actual and identifiable harm, so the people who ratified and accepted the first amendment never meant to include those. The “freedom of speech and of the press” that Congress was told it couldn’t make any law abridging, never included these things.

    Neither misinformation nor hatred are among these exceptions.

    henrybowman in reply to JR. | September 27, 2023 at 12:38 am

    Your argument is that the very people that the First Amendment was printed to protect us from, have over the years (and quite predictably) whittled down the protections of the amendment; and their interpretation is always the correct one.

    This is the same intellectual exercise as reading a book of history and being amazed that the good guys won every single conflict.

      Milhouse in reply to henrybowman. | September 27, 2023 at 2:41 am

      No, that’s not his argument at all. It’s obvious that the government has the right to regulate the time, place, and manner of even fully protected speech. As I wrote above, you have every right to express your opinion, using any words you choose, but not on a residential street, at 85 decibels, at 3 in the morning. Come back at noon and you will be free to say the exact same words, at any volume that is reasonable for that time and place.

      That’s not even considered an exception to the freedom of speech. It’s not a limit on what you say, just on how you say it.

      There are also exceptions, things you can’t say at any time, in any place, or in any manner. And those are also built in to the first amendment from the beginning. It says Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech, and that’s absolute, but the law against verbally assaulting people doesn’t abridge it, because the freedom doesn’t include doing that.