“Freedom of speech is a principal pillar of a free government; when this support is taken away, the constitution of a free society is dissolved, and tyranny is erected on its ruins…
An evil magistrate intrusted [sic] with power to punish for words, would be armed with a weapon the most destructive and terrible. Under pretence [sic] of pruning off the exuberant branches, he would be apt to destroy the tree.” – Benjamin Franklin, On Freedom of Speech and the Press, 1737
A new poll by the leftist Brookings Institute finds that 44 percent of college students surveyed believe that the First Amendment does not protect “hate speech”. (Hate speech is considered by many to be violence itself, so responding with violence is acceptable behavior.) [source]
51 percent believe that shutting down a speaker with whom they disagree is okay, and nearly 20 percent agree with using violence to oppose speakers with whom they disagree. The researcher says that “Freedom of expression is deeply imperiled on U.S. campuses.” And that does not bode well for the future of this country, as these students become professionals and voters, and affect society in other ways; not to mention raising another generation of Americans who hold these beliefs.
One can hope that these students — many of whom could be caught up in youthful, activist exuberance, and don’t understand the logical conclusions of their opinions… because they’re young and know nothing — will one day realize that the logical conclusion is conflict over free speech. And an America where citizens must literally fight to be heard — fight to defend themselves for simply unpopular speech — is an America in a domestic conflict.
My conclusion is that this conflict is already here at a low level and could very well escalate into a larger conflict. That’s why Forward Observer is starting a new intelligence product called Low Intensity Conflict, which will chronicle the “alternative” political movements that embrace violence as a form of political speech. You can begin your subscription here and start receiving our intelligence reports when we launch in the first week of October.