A recent survey by Redfield & Wilton Strategies for Newsweek, found that 44 percent of millennials (between ages 25-34) favor criminal charges for people who use the wrong pronouns for others or so-called “misgendering.”
We have previously discussed how misgendering is now a crime in countries like Great Britain.
Misgendering has been referred to as an “act of violence” at some U.S. universities.
There has been a concern that we are seeing the rise of a generation of censors, who have been taught since a young age that speech is harmful and even violent.
Given that fact, it is astonishing to claim that a pronoun violation could lead to incarceration. Only 31 percent of the millennials disagreed with the proposition.
They are not alone.
Former Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean declared the identical position: “Hate speech is not protected by the First Amendment.”
Even some dictionaries now espouse this false premise, defining “hate speech” as “Speech not protected by the First Amendment, because it is intended to foster hatred against individuals or groups based on race, religion, gender, sexual preference, place of national origin, or other improper classification.”
If hate speech is constitutionally protected, pronoun use or misuse is also protected as a criminal matter.
(There is ongoing litigation of the protection in an employment setting for civil liability or disciplinary action).
Yet, the most serious concern is the inclination of this generation to use criminal laws to police such questions.
It reflects the erosion of free speech principles with younger generations.
That crisis of faith could prove disastrous with free speech in a virtual free fall in Europe.