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Freedom of Speech More Important Than Offending Others, Say 85 Percent of Americans: Poll

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In the face of PayPal’s shameful debacle of banning the likes of Pamela Geller, Robert Spencer and the counterjihad PI News site, comes this slice of good news: Fully 85 percent of Americans say freedom of speech is more important than the risk of offending people.

Americans by and large support free speech, and the concept put forth by Voltaire — that even offensive speech is protected.

The poll, conducted by Rasmussen Reports, was just published this week, around the same time Spencer’s Jihad Watch account was blocked — briefly — by PayPal. Similar blocks occurred to the accounts of the German-based PI News and the donation-funded Pamela Geller accounts.

“PayPal did inndeed suspend my account after a hit piece by ProPublic, a George Soros-funded uber-left quote-unquote ‘think tank,’ as it were,” Geller told Breitbart News Daily.

Well, if polls are to believed, most Americans find such censorship outright distasteful.

Breitbart has the story:

An overwhelming 85 percent of Americans say freedom of speech is “more important than making sure no one is offended by what others say,” according to a poll published by Rasmussen Reports on Wednesday.

A new poll released by Rasmussen Reports on Wednesday revealed that over 85 percent of American adults believe that the right to free speech is “more important than making sure no one is offended by what others say.” A mere eight percent said they believe that guarding against personal offense is more important than protecting free speech.

73 percent also agreed with the famous line often attributed to Voltaire: “I disapprove of what you say but will defend to the death your right to say it.” Another 10 percent disagreed with that statement, and 17 percent said they are undecided.

The poll reveals that there is bipartisan agreement with regards to freedom of speech. Despite overwhelming support for speech rights, Democrats are slightly less supportive as a group of protecting speech for those they disagree with than are Republicans.

Additionally, 47 percent of respondents said they believe that most college administrators and professors are more interested in getting students to toe a specific political line rather than to participate in a free exchange of ideas.

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