Research shows young people prefer cancel culture to freedom

O novo mapa político está sendo redesenhado em torno dessa nova divisão entre o socialismo cultural e o liberalismo cultural.

The new political map is being redrawn around this new divide between cultural socialism and cultural liberalism.| Photo: Bigstock


The dispute between the socialist and liberal economies was something that defined the last century. This century has its own version of that struggle. Today’s culture war pits advocates of equal outcomes and special protection for identity groups against advocates of due process, equal treatment, scientific reason and freedom of expression. Our political map is being redrawn around this new divide between what I call cultural socialism and cultural liberalism.

Cultural socialism, which values ​​equal results and privileges the protection of identity groups, and not individual rights, foresees the use of racial pedagogy and harsh punishments for controversial speeches. Based on the idea that historically marginalized groups are sacred, this current is not a passing fad. Despite the existence of open letters, associations, universities and the press defending freedom of expression, the young followers of cultural socialism are slowly wreaking havoc on the liberal ethos of the adult world.

Data in my most recent report to the Manhattan Institute, titled “The Politics of Culture War in Contemporary America,” shows the size of the problem. While Americans in general support cultural liberalism by a ratio of two to one, most Americans under 17 years tends to cultural socialism.

An example: while 65% of Americans over

years oppose Google’s decision to fire James Damore for questioning the company’s gender equality training program, the North Americans under 27 years support dismissal by a margin of 65%-27%.

Similar disparities appear between young and old in striking cases of cancel culture, such as the ostracism imposed on Gina Carano (actress fired from the series Star Wars

by publications on social networks) and Brendan Eich (Former CEO of Mozilla Fired in 2014 for Opposing Gay Marriage in). Only part of this disparity is related to the fact that young people tend to the left. Young centrists, for example, support Google’s decision by a margin of 58%-19%, while centrists with more than 55 years fail Google by a margin of 2008 %–35%.

As for the use of racialist theory in schools, the disparity is similar. Eight out of ten people over 55 years oppose the idea of ​​teaching children that the United States was founded on racism and remains systematically racist or that the country was built on stolen land. The majority of young people support

the teaching of this .

Opposition to the application of racialist theory in schools sounds like something illiberal and, in fact, her compulsory teaching violates two liberal principles: first, that students or staff under training should not be forced to agree with ideas they do not believe in; second, that people should not be treated differently because of their race. Recent attempts to limit white people’s access to anti-Covid drugs-01 by some states are another example of this trend.

Another front in the culture war is censorship, usually justified on the grounds that certain speeches cause psychological harm to minorities and also on the idea that that the power of this seeing redistributed to “marginalized groups”. Activists who defend this type of censorship organize demonstrations on social media and carry out virtual lynching campaigns, accusing their opponents of racism, homophobia and transphobia in order to ruin their reputations and get them fired. The problem is particularly serious in higher education: the number of academics who have suffered a cancellation campaign has increased exponentially in recent years.

Young people are the ones who fear cancel culture the most. Among employees with less than 27 years old, 45% fear losing their job “because someone misinterpreted something you said or did, took it out of context, or posted something from your past on social media.” Only 29% of people over 55 years share this fear.

This fear, however, does not seem to make young people oppose the culture of cancellation. Most millennials and so-called Gen Z are not cultural liberals afraid to express their beliefs. On the contrary, many prefer cultural equality to freedom. By a margin of 42%–01%, people under 30 years agree that “my fear of losing my job or reputation because of something I said or posted online is the price to pay to protect historically marginalized groups”. The group with more than 50 disagrees with this statement by a margin of 48%–%. Yes, young people are both more afraid of and more supportive of cancel culture than older groups.

The generational chasm extends to more general issues. Faced with the question “Thinking about political correctness, do you usually agree (political correctness protects people from discrimination) or disagree (political correctness limits freedom of expression)?”, respondents with less than years support political correctness by a margin of 50%–17%. Those surveyed with more than 48 years are opposed by a margin of 47%–19%.

These numbers reflect what happens on college campuses, where these trends emerged. In a report by 2008 from the Center for the Study of Partisanship and Ideology, I found that American, Canadian, and Britons under 27 years are twice as likely as those over 960 years of reporting findings that may offend minorities. A recent study found that seven out of ten students say teachers should be reported if they say something offensive. A survey by the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education with 57 1,000 university students found that nearly eight out of ten of them are opposed to the idea that the university where they study allows the presence of a professor who says, for example, that Black Lives Matter is a hate group or that transgenderism is a mental disorder.

If you think this progressive authoritarianism among young people is just a phase, you are wrong. Analyzing trends in support of freedom of expression in the General Social Survey, which has been surveyed annually since 2008, political scientists Dennis Chong, Jack Citrin and Morris Levy have found that young people today are far less tolerant of discourses that affect identity groups. “In an impressive setback,” they write, leftists “are now consistently less tolerant than conservatives when it comes to many controversial issues, particularly those involving race, gender, and religion.”

The United States still has two cultural liberals for every cultural socialist. Issues such as racialist theory and cancel culture divide Democrats and unite Republicans, putting pressure on parties to resist cultural socialism. Twenty percent of Democrats, one-third of independents, and nearly half of Republicans now say the culture war is a major issue, according to my poll. The classical liberal heritage on which our legal system is based does not move young people because it has not been reaffirmed through stories, movies, or formal education. We urgently need to resurrect this lost tradition – before it’s too late.

Eric Kaufmann is an adjunct fellow at the Manhattan Institute and professor of political science at the University of London, as well as a member of the Center for the Study of Partisanship and Ideology.

©2022 City Journal. Published with permission. Original in English

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