The Paradoxical Effect of Speech-Suppressing Appeals to the First Amendment

Canelo KS, Hansford TG, Nicholson SP. The Paradoxical Effect of Speech-Suppressing Appeals to the First Amendment. Journal of Politics. 2018;80(1):309-313.
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Abstract

While the Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment prohibits government from imposing adverse consequences for speech it dislikes, in popular discourse this part of the Constitution is often referenced in an attempt to suppress nongovernmental criticism of controversial statements. To assess whether inappropriate, speech-suppressing appeals to the First Amendment cause intolerance of criticism or, unintentionally, promote tolerance of adverse responses to controversial statements, we employ a survey experiment and find evidence of the latter effect. Appeals to the Free Speech Clause that seek to suppress speech have the unintended consequence of increasing public tolerance for speech. Invoking freedom of speech is what matters, not the specific direction of the appeal. Click here for replication data provided at the JOP Dataverse
Last updated on 07/18/2022