Brady Africk in The Factual:
Have you ever felt uncomfortable sharing your opinion on politics — whether online or with friends? If so, you’re not alone. Americans are becoming increasingly cautious about sharing their political opinions. In a recent survey, 62 percent of Americans described today’s political climate as one that “prevents them from saying things they believe because others might find them offensive.” Further, this was not a sentiment limited to one side of the political spectrum. More than half of liberals and three-quarters of conservatives are hesitant to share some of their political views. Both of these percentages have risen in recent years, in tandem with the rising debate over so-called “cancel culture.”
But it’s not just everyday Americans that feel limited in their speech. In July 2020, 153 notable academics, authors, journalists, and others published “A Letter on Justice and Open Debate” in Harper’s Magazine. In the letter, signees ranging from liberal philosopher Noam Chomsky to conservative author David Brooks voice their concern over “cancel culture” and the preservation of free speech. While the extent to which “cancel culture” endangers free speech is debated, the letter demonstrates that some academics and media professionals consider it a serious threat.
This prompts several key questions…