Maggie Gallagher tells about a study showing that Americans feel less free to express themselves, less than they did in the McCarthy era of the allegedly conformist 1950′s. In 1954, 13% of Americans feared expressing themselves openly. Now, 24%–nearly a fourth–do not feel free to say what is on their minds. Is this due to the supposed erosion of civil liberties after 9/11? No. The culprit appears to be the “politically-correct” speech codes of the left.
The groups that feel most restricted are “fundamentalists” and those who oppose abortion. And they are right to feel that way. The study found that 39% of Americans would support a government ban against religious fundamentalists holding “public rallies and demonstrations in your community to advance their cause.”
Gallagher quotes the author of the study: “More than one-half of these mainstream groups believe they cannot exercise full political freedom in the United States today,” Mr. Gibson writes. “It is also noteworthy that the respondents least likely to perceive repression are those sympathetic toward gay rights activists and atheists.”