It turns out that an incredibly high number of Americans don’t really seem to agree with the concept of censorship in general. 91% of respondents said that they disagreed with censorship at least partially, and 59% of them believed that existing censorship was already out of control and that anything further than this would be even more excessive than the levels that they are currently seeing which are unacceptable according to them.
About two thirds of the respondents to this survey, 66% to be exact, said that they censored themselves. 46% of them said that there should never be any single entity that should have this much power that would allow them to end up censoring someone or the other, and 86% of respondents didn’t want the government being involved in this at all.
These rather drastic numbers are making it quite clear what Americans want. For one thing, they would prefer there not being any kind of censorship at all, and even if there is they most certainly don’t want the government being in any way involved with it. Rather, they would much prefer being able to take control of their own censorship and making it so that they can be the judge of what they should say and when because of the fact that this is the sort of thing that could potentially end up giving them a lot more liberty on a day to day basis.
With all of that having been said and now out of the way, it is important to note that there were some things that Americans responding to this survey felt might justify some form of censorship. While 17% said that censorship was never something that they should or anyone else should have to go through, 22% said that incitement of violence could warrant some form of censorship. The same percentage said the same for false or misleading information, and 20% each said that sexually explicit content or discriminatory communication warranted censorship to some degree.
This basically means that a lot of Americans do think that there could be some occasions where they should be required to censor themselves, but their main problem tends to be around someone else telling them that they should go about censoring the manner in which they happen to talk. The interesting thing about this research and survey is that it did not restrict its respondents to a single age bracket either.
Much on the contrary, the respondents to these surveys were from a wide range of age groups, though the largest group was people from between 18-24 years old who comprised 30% of the total number of respondents involved in this survey. Respondents aged 25-39 and 40-54 comprised 14% and 13% respectively, and there was a slight uptick in elderly respondents with 23% of the total being older than 65 years of age.
These responses might just be another example of America’s belief in its own exceptionalism though. Rampant censorship is definitely a threat to free speech, but at the same time the rise of social media has made it exceptionally easy for someone or the other to manipulate people by misusing their right to free speech and subsequently doing things like inciting violence as well as trying to spread false information.
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