Freedom of what?, from CNN

…when told of the exact text of the First Amendment, more than one in three high school students said it goes “too far” in the rights it guarantees. Only half of the students said newspapers should be allowed to publish freely without government approval of stories.

I wrote a big long rant about this yesterday but didn’t post it. I’ve now deleted big chunks of it. When I start throwing around the word “fascist” that’s usually a sign I need to down back sit. But it started like this:

I’ve read things that indicate that kids these days are not as concerned about personal privacy as adults, which I always assumed was the result of growing up in an era when you have to give personal details to do nearly anything online – an environment in which you can’t help but generate exoinformation. Someone told me the other day – and now I can’t remember who it was – that her students often have 3 email accounts: their institutional one from school, the one they give out for anything that may generate spam, and the one they actually use. So we have a generation that may not be very concerned about personal privacy, but who have developed coping strategies for living in such an environment.

…and then it went on like this:

These are the kids we’ll all have in class within a few years. You think there’s a problem with academics being accused of liberal indoctrination now? Soon we may be teaching a generation of students 17% of whom think that people should not be allowed to express unpopular views. (It’s bad enough that 3% of their teachers think this.)

…and finally it ended more or less like this:

It’s pretty difficult to teach information science without getting into politically sensitive topics: Intellectual Property? Privacy? Authority vs. openness? The digital divide? Freedom of the press? How do you address those in an environment in which you have to fear 17% of your students reporting you to the Chancellor?

How do you teach civic engagement?

I just hope that the results of this study reflect the fact that the respondents, being high school students, simply haven’t thought through this issue, and that when they do, they will come to realize that a free society is actually a good idea.

This is like the Reader’s Digest version of yesterday’s rant. My more vituperative writing has been expunged, in the interest of not coming across like I’m completely rabid.

Here’s the site for the original Future of the First Amendment report.