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Silencing Popularity

October 10, 2017

There’s an article in the Atlantic about a poll done by Cato and YouGov. They list the popularity of censoring speakers at colleges on various topics. What surprises me is that among the category of “expressing unpopular opinions”, the least popular thing was:
“A speaker who says the Holocaust did not occur (57 percent)”

And the most were:
“A person who says all illegal immigrants should be deported (41 percent)” and
“A speaker who says men on average are better at math than women (40 percent)”

The least popular is, in my mind, both completely crazy and a great litmus test to see if the speaker is utterly evil. I would not silence such a person, but I would not go to their speaking event either unless it were to challenge them. The other end of the spectrum though is only 17 percentage points away. That means that statistically, only 17% of people statistically (I get that they are not the same people question to question), want to silence Holocaust deniers, but don’t want to silence speakers who say that men are better at math. The opinion that illegal immigrants should be deported, an idea our current president won by campaigning on, has a whopping 41% of respondents saying speakers should be silenced.

It’s just very surprising to me just how little the rate changes between expressing things that are true (men are better at math), things that are popular enough to win presidential elections on (deport illegals), and anti-Semitic nonsense. I wonder what the numbers would be for silencing speakers who say that puppies are fluffy and cute? Maybe 35% if this is anything to go on.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. June 12, 2018 4:20 pm

    I would guess that the reason is that a lot of people misunderstood the question. I’ll bet a 25% of the people got the direction wrong.

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