Most Americans Want Free Speech Protected As Cancel Culture Is Now ‘Out Of Control’: Poll

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More than two-thirds of American adults believe "cancel culture" has "gotten out of control" according to a new survey of a thousand Americans conducted at the end of August. Most respondents believe that protecting free speech is more important than protecting people from offensive speech.

According to the Christian Post, Rasmussen Reports and The National Pulse recently conducted a survey of 1,000 American adults between October 27 to 28, during which respondents were asked about their views on cancel culture. On Wednesday, pollsters released the results of the recent survey, in which 72% said they believed that cancel culture had "gotten out of control." About 15% thought otherwise, while 12% said they were unsure.

The Rasmussen Reports and The National Pulse survey also revealed that 75% of poll participants said they believed that "protecting free speech is more important than protecting people from speech that is offensive." Only 16% disagreed with this.

The poll results showed that the majorities of both Democrats and Republicans agreed that cancel culture was out of control. However, Democrats were more likely than their Republican counterparts to believe that protecting individuals from offensive speech took greater importance than protecting free speech.

In fact, 27% of Democrats believed that protecting people from offensive speech was more important than protecting free speech itself. This is compared to 9% of Republicans and 11% of independents who thought the same.

Cathy Young argued at The Bulwark that "progressive cancel culture has a much broader reach. It does not simply retaliate against speech by ideological opponents; it also quite often targets progressives or neutrals for sometimes accidental transgressions against the new norms of identity-based social justice. It does not simply punish opposition but demands allegiance, including repentance by transgressors."

Meanwhile, Young explained that today's "cancel culture" is vastly different from the "'normal' push-and-pull of speech-related pressures" due to the internet and social media, which enables "more public speech" by anyone who has access to it. She also cited how the internet and social media "have become highly effective vehicles for collective retaliation for disapproved-of speech or conduct."

Lastly, she cited that the "version of progressivism" that highlights the "harm" done by "very broadly defined racist, sexist, homophobic, or otherwise bigoted speech and expression" has infiltrated the mainstream media, universities, and other cultural institutions.

This is evident even in mainstream entertainment, with comedian Dave Chapelle recently coming under fire for his comments during one of his Netflix comedy specials. Newsweek's Peter Roff warned that, "The culture of political correctness is killing comedy. That's a bad thing, and not just because it goes against the free speech culture that has contributed so much to making America an exceptional place."

Roff, who argued that there is nothing people "should be afraid to joke about," posited that cancel culture "places limits on how we can talk about ourselves, our similarities and our differences. Putting restrictions on comedy impedes cultural change."