Several recent surveys show that the majority of Americans want freedom from government intervention in key areas of their lives, most notably speech and COVID mandates.
A poll by the Trafalgar Group showed that 63 percent of Americans say that the government should take no action in trying to combat the Delta variant of the COVID virus. Moreover, they believe that people should be free to make their own personal decisions on how to handle COVID, with just 17.7 percent in favor of the government mandating social distancing and masks and a mere 7 percent wanting more lockdowns.
A slight majority of Democrats, 50.1 percent, say no further COVID restrictions were needed whereas 37.1 percent say the government should reinstate restrictions. Of GOP voters, 83.4 percent favor personal liberty whereas just 9.6 percent support more government measures.
Notably, a majority of Americans, 57.1 percent, say that civil liberties have been lost as a result of COVID, including 57.2 percent of Democrats and 81.7 percent of Republicans.
The survey also found that 62.4 percent of D.C. residents, an extraordinarily blue city, believe that the will of the people is no longer a consideration for district leaders when they make decisions.
Moreover, a Scott Rasmussen poll indicates that despite the current cancel culture taking place, 80 percent of Americans want more freedom in the area of speech, saying that they prefer allowing people to speak freely even if that speech is offensive or inaccurate. By contrast, only 9 percent of Americans say they want the government to decide which speech is allowed and which isn’t. In fact, the positive response was so overwhelming on this question that at least 70 percent of every measured demographic group chose the free speech option.
Rasmussen notes that earlier polls found that 59 percent of Americans see the federal government as a special interest group that looks out for its own interests and only 34 percent believe that the federal government supports the founding ideals of freedom, equality, and self-governance.
Still, Americans favor candidates who promote those ideals. A fourth Scott Rasmussen survey found that 54 percent of registered voters would favor a candidate who campaigned on freedom and equality, in contrast to 29 percent who would prefer a candidate who campaigns on social justice and equity.
Americans do not support government intrusion on their rights even when there is danger in allowing unfettered freedom. As George Washington said, “It will be found an unjust and unwise jealousy to deprive a man of his natural liberty upon the supposition he may abuse it.”
Washington and the Founders were not naïve. They knew that liberty could be abused, but for the country to be truly free, the risks inherent in allowing individual liberty was necessary.
That same freedom allowed the United States to become the most powerful nation in the world. Is there some danger in allowing people to make their own decisions regarding COVID variations? Yes, but as we learned, states with the most harsh restrictions struggled more than those with more lenient requirements.
Free speech can cause offense, but if the government is the authority on who can speak and who cannot, then there is no freedom of speech.
Americans yearn for freedom and they know that government is increasingly working to restrict that. To live up to the vision of the Founders, the government — not the people’s rights — must be limited for that is the only way that freedom will survive.