Brandon Showalter on “No Safe Spaces” Shows Why We Must Confront Those Who Attack Free Speech in U.S.

Fans of free speech owe it to themselves to check out the documentary film “No Safe Spaces,” which I got to screen the week before Thanksgiving.

And if those free speech fans have not been paying attention, they will be shocked to discover just how dramatically their fundamental freedoms are eroding.

“No Safe Spaces” impressively chronicles an alarming trend in the West, particularly on college campuses, where the “woke” left is violently resisting free speech, aided and abetted by tenured academics and other ivory tower types.

Distressingly, many young people today believe that “hate speech,” as they define it, “isn’t free.”

Therefore, because it isn’t free, such speech ought not be permitted. And because it should not be allowed, despite the clear wording of the First Amendment and the long Western tradition of open debate, policy measures should be implemented to restrict certain speech, they believe.

This is dangerous, uncharted territory in the U.S., the filmmakers stress, and young people today are stunningly ignorant of their own heritage and privileges, which, for most of human history, has not been the norm.

Hosted by conservative icon Dennis Prager and popular podcaster and comedian Adam Carolla, the film features a slate of both right-wing and left-wing public figures and talking heads, all of whom have expressed concerns that free speech is vanishing in the West. The film covers several thoughtful dimensions, flows seamlessly, and is woven together effectively.

Prager deliberately distinguishes between political liberals and the left, defining the latter as aggressively illiberal and the former as liberal in the truest sense of the word, meaning free. The hosts and others argue that a large-scale cultural shift toward a hard left posture occurred sometime in 2013 or 2014 though they do not definitively pinpoint this change on one specific event. Nevertheless, the case they make that such a shift happened is compelling, given what has transpired since that time.

The film highlights some of the most egregious examples of the suppression of speech on college campuses in recent years, such as the organized, student-led harassment and violent threats leveled at biology professor Bret Weinstein at Evergreen State College in Washington state; the wrath that erupted at Christian UC-Berkeley student government senator Isabella Chou; and the Yale University students who were filmed hysterically lambasting sociologist Nicholas Christakis for his email comments on Halloween costumes.

I will not revisit any of those incidents here, except to say they are all perfect examples of the madness that has all but completely swallowed many universities. Do read up on them if you’re not familiar.

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SOURCE: Christian Post, Brandon Showalter