A recent survey of 2,000 Americans by Cato Institute/YouGov found that 62% of Americans say “the political climate these days prevents them from saying things they believe because others might find them offensive”.
This is up from 2017, when 58% agreed with this statement.
“Majorities of Democrats (52%), independents (59%) and Republicans (77%) all agree they have political opinions they are afraid to share”.
People who defined themselves as staunch liberals self-censored considerably less:
“Strong liberals stand out, however, as the only political group who feel they can express themselves. Nearly 6 in 10 (58%) of staunch liberals feel they can say what they believe”.
If truly representative, the numbers are chilling: The US nominally enshrines the most far-reaching freedom of speech, thanks to the First Amendment of the Constitution. Yet the average number of Americans who self-censor is slowly beginning to approximate that of Germany, where a survey on self-censorship a year ago concluded:
“Nearly two-thirds of citizens are convinced that ‘today one has to be very careful on which topics one expresses oneself’, because there are many unwritten laws about what opinions are acceptable and admissible”.
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