About Me

In writing the "About Me" portion of this blog I thought about the purpose of the blog - namely, preventing the growth of Socialism & stopping the Death Of Democracy in the American Republic & returning her to the "liberty to abundance" stage of our history. One word descriptions of people's philosophies or purposes are quite often inadequate. I feel that I am "liberal" meaning that I am broad minded, independent, generous, hospitable, & magnanimous. Under these terms "liberal" is a perfectly good word that has been corrupted over the years to mean the person is a left-winger or as Mark Levin more accurately wrote in his book "Liberty & Tyranny" a "statist" - someone looking for government or state control of society. I am certainly not that & have dedicated the blog to fighting this. I believe that I find what I am when I consider whether or not I am a "conservative" & specifically when I ask what is it that I am trying to conserve? It is the libertarian principles that America was founded upon & originally followed. That is the Return To Excellence that this blog is named for & is all about.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Surveys Point To Dreadful Understanding Of The Constitution

The anniversary of the signing of our glorious Constitution 230 years ago this past Sunday brought out, among other things, several surveys conducted to find out just what people know about the Constitution.  The two most noted surveys that came to my attention were conducted by the Annenberg Public Policy Center Of The University of Pennsylvania that surveyed 1013 adults & the Brookings Institute that surveyed 1,500 college undergraduates.
The Annenberg survey aptly carried the online headline Americans Are Poorly Informed About Basic Constitutional Provisions & reported that more than a third of the adults surveyed (37%) could not name any of the rights guaranteed under the First Amendment & only a quarter (26%) could name all three branches of government.
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Only 48% of respondents could name freedom of speech as a right guaranteed by the First Amendment, but unprompted, 37% could not name any First Amendment right.  Naming the other four First Amendment rights dropped off fast as indicated on the above graph.
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Just a little over a quarter of respondents (26%) could name the three branches of government (legislative, executive, & judicial).  This is a drop from the 2011 Annenberg survey when 38% could name all three.  One third of respondents could not name any of the three branches.
The Brookings Institute survey of 1,500 current undergraduate students @ U.S. four-year colleges & universities had a geographically diverse population with respondents from 49 states & DC.
John Villasenor, the author of the Brookings survey, wrote "Freedom of expression is deeply imperiled on U.S. campuses.  In fact, despite protestations to the contrary (often with statements like 'we fully support the First Amendment, but . . .'), freedom of expression is clearly not, in practice, available on many campuses, including many public campuses that have First Amendment obligations."  You don't need a physical Antifa presence on every campus to enforce the politically correct mindset that doesn't understand the liberties Americans are losing.
Some specifics, in percentage of respondents, from the Brookings survey – questions presented in italics:
Does the First Amendment protect "hate speech"?
Political Affiliation Type of College Gender
All Dem Rep Ind Public Private Female Male
Yes 39 39 44 40 38 43 31 51
No 44 41 39 44 44 44 49 38
Don't know 16 15 17 17 17 13 21 11
Fewer than half of the respondents in the above table in all three political affiliations correctly believe that hate speech is constitutionally protected. 
A student group opposed to a speaker (known for making offensive & hurtful statements) disrupts the speech by loudly and repeatedly shouting so that the audience cannot hear the speaker. Do you agree or disagree that the student group's actions are acceptable?
Political Affiliation Type of College Gender
All Dem Rep Ind Public Private Female Male
Agree 51 62 39 45 51 51 47 57
Disagree 49 38 61 55 49 49 53 43
The numbers in the above table indicate that a large percentage of students believe it is OK to silence a speaker they find offensive by shouting him off the stage.  The next question escalates the matter.
A student group opposed to the speaker uses violence to prevent the speaker from speaking. Do you agree or disagree that the student group's actions are acceptable?
Political Affiliation Type of College Gender
All Dem Rep Ind Public Private Female Male
Agree 19 20 22 16 18 21 10 30
Disagree 81 80 78 84 82 79 90 70
Having ten to thirty percent of respondents being OK with violence to silence a speaker is a good barometer of the state of the campus today.
Consider an event, hosted at a public U.S. university by an on-campus organization, featuring a speaker known for making statements that many students consider to be offensive and hurtful. A student group opposed to the speaker issues a statement saying that, under the First Amendment, the on-campus organization hosting the event is legally required to ensure that the event includes not only the offensive speaker but also a speaker who presents an opposing view. What is your view on the student group's statement?
Political Affiliation Type of College Gender
All Dem Rep Ind Public Private Female Male
Agree 62 65 62 58 63 60 60 66
Disagree 38 35 38 42 37 40 40 34
Of course the First Amendment does not require any such requirement.  The majority of students may be thinking about good event design in their answers but that has nothing to do with the First Amendment.
In summary, & no surprise to regular readers of RTE, the above results of both the Annenberg survey & the Brookings Institute survey were dreadful & offer very little hope for turning around the intellectually inept politically correct mindset that has gripped the country. 
Adults in the Annenberg survey knew nothing about the Constitution itself & a far too large number of students in the Brookings survey see nothing wrong with stifling another's point of view with shouting &/or violence while thinking they should be protected from hate speech as they define the term.
"Protecting the rights guaranteed by the Constitution presupposes that we know what they are."  - Kathleen Jamieson, Director of the Annenberg Center.  And of course many of the combined 2513 people from the two surveys were clueless on this point as indicated above.
Judge for yourself whether the above survey results indicate that America is tending toward socialism, communism, Marxism, fascism or something else; but the survey results, when coupled with recent violent demonstrations across America, point to us being in jeopardy of throwing away the libertarian principles the country was founded on that have produced the greatest wealth & standard of living in human history.

1 comment:

  1. RTE
    Many segments of US citizens are oblivious about whether the elite Left is driving the US to a very un-American version of deep Socialism or Marxism, with Maoist like controls over freedoms. Thank the elite Left for controlling public schools and media to point where Americans know very little about the Constitution. Do not think for a second that BO and others in his shadow Gov Deep State like Samantha Powers, Valerie Jarret, and Van Jones appreciate the Constitution. They want to eliminate it and create a new one. BO learned constitutional law because he wanted to learn all angles how to destroy it.

    What to do?
    Kudos to Trump for challenging NFL to fire players who do not honor our flag. NFL is private and can suspend or cut any player. Maybe this disrespect is the last straw. We have had enough. I anxiously wait for the 1st NFL owner to end this madness.

    Americans need to appreciate our freedoms and take initiatives to better educate themselves about how great a constitution we have.