Polling results from Campaign For Free Speech (CFS) paint a frightening picture of where freedom of speech stands in our nation. 51% of Americans think the First Amendment is outdated and should be rewritten. 48% believe hate speech should be illegal. Least surprising of all, 80% don’t actually know what the First Amendment really protects.

Campaign For Free Speech stated “those polled believed this statement is true: ‘The First Amendment allows anyone to say their opinion no matter what, and they are protected by law from any consequences of saying those thoughts or opinions.”

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What is actually true is “The First Amendment prevents the government from punishing you for your speech (with exceptions such as yelling ‘fire’ in a crowded area to induce panic).” CFS evaluates their findings to be explained by two factors:

One is the obvious polarization of politics and the media…Second, we hear much about “hate speech.” Although the term is never defined, most agree that it should be opposed, rebuked, and criticized. But should it be punished by the government? If the government is in charge of determining what is hate speech, then it inevitably becomes political—a weapon that can be used to punish people on the other side of an issue.

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