Safe Spaces for Me But Not for Thee - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
Safe Spaces for Me But Not for Thee
Adam Carolla and Dennis Prager (“No Safe Spaces” trailer, screenshot)

“You need to get out!”

So screams an irate woman. Turning to another young feminist, a larger one, she barks an order: “Help me to get this reporter out of here! I need some muscle over here!”

This spectacle plays out at — where else? — a college campus.

The second feminist begins stomping over. She looks ready to kick some butt — that is, the butt of a non-person, someone dehumanized, someone denounced with the full litany from the leftist manual: hater, sexist, bigot, homophobe, racist, Nazi, fascist, white supremacist.

The object of the feminist hate is a person whose sin is singular: disagreement.

Such is the raging progressive acting in the name of … tolerance. And diversity. The battleground where this spectacle plays out is the angry young ladies’ “safe space.” In a way that only the leftist mind can rationalize, that safe space is no safe space for someone of differing views. If you don’t submit to the new orthodoxy, you’re not permitted a safe space. Free speech and dialogue stop at dissent.

All in the name of tolerance and diversity, of course.

This surreal but typical display is captured in the stunning new film documentary No Safe Spaces.

In the very next frame, another young woman sitting in a lecture hall at — where else? — a college campus, is throwing a fit. It smacks of a caricature, a parody, but no, it’s real. This college girl is shaking her arms, legs, losing it. It’s a full-blown temper tantrum. Actually, it’s an ideological tantrum. And it’s sadly commonplace in the ideological asylums better known as college campuses, which the political Left has utterly wrecked. Our colleges are carnivals, ideological zoos.

Such are the opening scenes of this remarkable new documentary that not a living American should miss, especially any American thinking about sending a child to one of these crazy houses, along with tens if not hundreds of thousands of hard-earned dollars.

Trigger warnings, microaggression, snowflakes, and, above all, safe spaces, which this film defines as “A place (as on a college campus) intended to be free of bias, conflict, criticism or potentially threatening actions, ideas, or conversations.”

The film, which opens this October, is a brilliant piece of work that focuses on the experiences of not just campus nuthouses but also of two very different individuals doing their best to fight through this toxic Kultursmog, namely, Dennis Prager and Adam Carolla.

Dennis Prager is the longtime radio talk-show host, namesake of the indispensable PragerU, and all-around renowned pontificator.

Adam Carolla is a longtime comedian and TV personality who burst on to the scene first through MTV and then his wild Comedy Central show, The Man Show. He runs a popular podcast.

As Adam notes in one of the opening scenes, here are two fellows who at first glance couldn’t seem more different. Dennis hails from the East, Adam from the West. Dennis (as Adam puts it) hails from “religion,” Adam from “atheism, paganism.” But, Adam says, “We share something called common sense and values.”

Among their differences, Adam was raised in a welfare household. In a funny scene, he recalls life in his mother’s home. “Why don’t you just get a job?,” he asks his mom, sitting on the couch staring at the TV. She informs him, “If I go get a job, I’ll lose my welfare. Use your head, boy!”

A young Adam thought to himself, “Not for me.”

Adam would make it for himself, never as a victim — and as a staunch proponent of free speech. His comedy pushed the politically incorrect, which means not fearing offending anyone. That very notion is anathema to the perpetually offended. Every broadcast of Adam’s and Jimmy Kimmel’s The Man Show would be banned immediately on any college campus in 2019. Kimmel, for the record, has been forgiven this heresy in the Progressive Church because he today kowtows to liberals. His penance has been accepted. All sins can be washed clean at the liberal altar, so long as the penitent proffers conversion.

Nonetheless, free speech is free speech. It’s the lifeblood of comedians, whose art is to make fun of people: you and me. You and I might not always like what they say, but beware the speech banner, because eventually the anti-speech man (or woman) will come for you.

That’s a theme of No Safe Spaces: You have the right to remain SILENT.

Like Adam, Dennis recalls a formative moment from his youth. He remembers growing up in Brooklyn and playing stick ball. One wise guy would tell another to shut up. The reply: “Hey, it’s a free country! There’s freedom of speech here.” But that’s not the America of today’s college campus.

Today’s fundamental transformers on the campus, especially LGBTQ bullies, engage in what Herbert Marcuse called “repressive tolerance.” Tolerance is extended only to those the leftist wants to tolerate. Other will be repressed, in the name of tolerance.

As the late Nat Hentoff used to say, free speech for me but not for thee. For today’s progressives, it’s tolerance and diversity for me but not for thee. Safe spaces for me but not for thee.

No Safe Spaces captures marvelously the climate of left-wing prejudice and fanaticism. We see students holding a banner that says: “IT’S NOT ABOUT ‘FREE SPEECH,’ IT’S ABOUT BIGOTS TRYING TO NORMALIZE HATE.” They insist, “There is no free speech for a fascist!” (i.e., a person who disagrees with you).

That’s a cudgel being wielded particularly against religious people. A new leftist mantra, likewise captured in this film, is the insistence that Christians should not be permitted to use their freedom of religion to protect their “hate.” For instance, you should no longer be permitted to stand by your Christian faith’s 2,000-year-old teaching that marriage is between a man and a woman. That was okay for 2,000 years, but now it’s pure hate. Christians cannot “hide behind” their faith as an excuse to “discriminate” against gay people.

The modern Jacobins will come for you.

All in the name of tolerance and diversity, of course.

The film shows such rampant left-wing bigotry on campuses from Yale to the University of Wyoming and with targets ranging from liberals fired for not toeing the party line to a long line of conservatives, such as Ann Coulter, Ben Shapiro, Jordan Peterson, and, among others, Charles Murray, who was shouted down by thugs at Middlebury College: “Charles Murray go away, racist, sexist, anti-gay!” (Real clever, guys.)

The violent protests against Ben Shapiro are covered in this film. Big Ben was branded as a “threat,” to which he humorously protests, “Look at me. Do I look like a physical threat to anybody? The last time I was in a fight I was 14 years old. I was two years younger than everyone else in my high school class, and I was getting my ass kicked.”

In one particularly telling exchange, one disciple of diversity is interviewed by a Los Angeles television anchor about the blacklisting of a conservative speaker. The anchor asks the activist what his reaction might be if the situation was reversed with, say, campus conservatives shutting down an appearance by Rachel Maddow. The agitator’s answer speaks volumes: “I’m trying to picture that actually happening.”

Precisely, dude!

And so, the likes of Shapiro are stalked, including by the thought police at Berkeley, home of the free speech movement, who hold placards urging fellow progressive militants to “BECOME UNGOVERNABLE” because “THIS IS WAR.”

For leftists, it is indeed. For conservatives who shirked at fighting back in the culture war, not wanting to endure the unbearable ignominy of being called a name on Twitter, well, nice job — the barbarians are now inside the gates. You were afraid, you ran away, and now you’ll pay the progressive piper as she comes for your scalp.

Fortunately, there are good, honest liberals who see what’s happening, and this film brings them in — even if they are too few and too late.

There’s Alan Dershowitz, Van Jones, Cornel West, David Rubin. Rubin warns fellow liberals that they’re not safe from the mob. The two most riveting cases profiled in No Safe Spaces are outright chilling: Lindsay Shepherd of Wilfrid Laurier University in Canada, who ran afoul of her university’s totalitarian codes, and Bret Weinstein of Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington, who disobeyed an edict by campus racists banning whites one particularly surreal day.

“I’ve heard people dismiss Evergreen as an extreme case,” says Weinstein. “That’s a mistake. In some ways, Evergreen is preview of what’s coming…. Evergreen describes a future that is rapidly approaching.”

Still worse, this cultural revolution is being fostered within the academy. As Jordan Peterson notes, “The most politically correct disciplines are producing activists. That’s their goal.” They generate activists who generate political correctness.

And those unhinged activists will turn on fellow leftists who don’t bow to their dictates. The Left is like Saturn; it eats its own children.

The makers of this film understand this.

Dennis Prager sums up: “I’m perplexed that people can even say, ‘Oh, it’s not an issue.’ It’s one of the biggest issues in America today: The place that is supposed to be a place of ideas, the university, is the most closed place in the United States.”

Prager calls for courage: “All the good intentions in the world amount to nothing … without courage. You cannot do good if you are afraid of being attacked. The first thing to decide is: I will be courageous.” He adds, “They call us haters. That’s the irony. That’s really the irony.” It sure is.

Be sure to watch No Safe Spaces. You’ll be riveted, you’ll laugh, you should probably cry. Better, create a safe space to show it at the campus near you.

Paul Kengor
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Paul Kengor is professor of political science at Grove City College in Grove City, Pa., and senior academic fellow at the Center for Vision & Values. Dr. Kengor is author of over a dozen books, including A Pope and a President: John Paul II, Ronald Reagan, and the Extraordinary Untold Story of the 20th Century, The Politically Incorrect Guide to Communism, and Dupes: How America’s Adversaries Have Manipulated Progressives for a Century.
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