American Youth Love Free Speech — Unless It Offends Them

(Photo: TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)

Scott Greer Contributor
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Schools throughout the country let their kids walk out and demand gun control last week.

The walkouts were met with glowing admiration from the press, who saw the young students as courageous advocates for social justice — even though there was absolutely no risk for most young activists as many schools encouraged and even organized the walkouts.

It was hardly a rebellion against authority for the vast majority of students. In some cases, the adults were the ones calling all the shots, such as one “walkout” done by elementary school kids in Northern Virginia. It’s hard to believe ten-year-olds decided on their own to protest against guns and craft a list of demands, but credulous journalists still treated it as such.

According to the primary media narrative, the youth of America are unafraid to voice their political opinions and are the true embodiment of the First Amendment. These demonstrations are what patriotism is all about.

However, there were signs on Wednesday that the narrative wasn’t quite accurate. Many kids took the opportunity to forego protesting to engage in vandalism. A school in Nashville witnessed students rampaging through the campus and tearing down the American flag. Students from one Chicago high school trashed a Walmart during their walkout.

Many students carried signs that either had little to do with guns or presented incredibly dubious statements.

The picture below captures some of the head-scratching messages of the protests.

Apparently, the Second Amendment isn’t meant to protect citizens, and the police need to be neutered as well. After giving away your gun, you need to pay for reparations.

Just like the Founding Fathers intended.

The students above were only expressing the proper sentiments of the protests and what they learn in school.

Students who decided to not join in the left-wing activism found themselves the target of punishment by administrators and their fellow students. A student waving a Trump flag during a walkout in Minnesota was beaten up by his classmates. A student with a pro-gun sign at another Minnesota school was singled out by his principal and barred from the protest. One Ohio student who refused to join the walkout was suspended.

Not exactly a day where students were encouraged to stand up for their beliefs. The only views that were encouraged were those that aligned with progressive orthodoxy. Any dissent was not tolerated.

Unfortunately, this reflects a larger trend among young people and how they view free speech. The vast majority of millennials and Generation Z claim to support free speech — unless it’s deemed to be too offensive. A new Gallup poll shows that the majority of college students prefer a “diverse and inclusive society” over free speech.

Nearly percent of students demand a “positive” campus environment that bans offensive speech, according to the poll. A 2017 Cato survey found that 49 percent of college students want “hate speech” banned.

College students demonstrate this preference on a regular basis in their willingness to use force to shut down speakers they disagree with.

Sadly, it appears current high schoolers are only going to reinforce this trend when they go to college.

The youth didn’t learn to think like this on their own. The administrators, teachers and journalists cheered them on take up left-wing activism and the kids know there are serious incentives to progressive advocacy, such as getting a boost in gaining entrance to a prestigious university.

Many top universities announced they would not punish skipping class to protest against guns, signalling their support for the demonstrations.

Colleges are well-known for their ability to mold young minds into taking up a variety of left-wing causes, as my book, “No Campus for White Men,” amply demonstrates. Less attention is paid to how high schools and middle schools promote the same worldview to their students, a possibly more harmful development considering the greater malleability of teenagers.

We will likely see more schools officially sanction left-wing activism in the future, giving kids days off to demonstrate in favor of a host of social issues. At the same time, schools will crack down on any conservative viewpoints that dissent from the line put forth by the administrators, letting the student body know which expressions of free speech are allowed.

The establishment media may love high schoolers finding their voice in protesting in favor of its pet causes, but it should worry the rest of America that these students only believe their views constitute free speech.

Everything else is hate speech and warrants a suspension.

Follow Scott on Twitter and buy his book, “No Campus for White Men.”