I’ve mocked safe spaces before, mostly because what they actually are, most of the time, are segregated spaces: spaces for one race, one sex, one whatever.
They are the result of heads being filled with way too much neo-Marxism, in which humanity can be infinitely divided into endless little classes and groups. By definition, each group must strive against the other.
Why must the groups strive against each other? I don’t know. Also shut up, racist.
Okay, in truth, in the academic Marxist’s mind, each group must strive against the other because the economy is a finite, closed pie, and if you’re getting a lot of apple, I must be stuck with the crust.
Of course, since I attended an all-girls high school, overwhelmingly with a single ethnicity (since this was in Portugal and Portugal in the seventies was nowhere near as “diverse” as it is now), I raise eyebrows at the idea these are safe spaces. Safe from what, precisely? Turns out my all-girl, all-Portuguese high school had the normal number of nut cases, violent idiots, and all the rest. It even had me. (Fortunately, I wasn’t locked in there with them. They were locked in there with me.)
Safe spaces strike me as a bizarre idea, but not as bizarre as the new idea of “safety.”
I’ve seen it bandied all over the place: Trump talking about illegal immigrants makes people feel “unsafe.” If you make a joke about fat people, you make fat people feel “unsafe.” If you make a joke about women, or Italians, or porcupines, you’re making those people feel unsafe.
I shall quote her, as what she says is what I often feel like saying when people equate “feeling uncomfortable” with “feeling unsafe.”
RAMBUKKANA: Do you understand how what happened was contrary to… gendered and sexual violence policy? Do you understand how —
SHEPHERD: Sorry, what did I violate in that policy?
JOEL: So, gender-based violence, transphobia in that policy. Causing harm to trans students by bringing their identity as invalid, or their pronouns as invalid – potentially invalid.
SHEPHERD: So I caused harm and violence?
JOEL: Which is under the Ontario Human Rights Code a protected thing, and also something that Laurier holds as a value.
SHEPHERD: Okay, so, by proxy, me showing a YouTube video, I’m transphobic and I caused harm and violence? So be it. I can’t do anything to control that.
Go read that again. Watching a YouTube video, no matter what the people in it say, should not make anyone feel unsafe unless what they’re saying is “Let’s go visit Mr. Jones of 24 Downhome street and beat him up with cudgels.” Then, yeah, possibly, Mr. Jones has some reason to feel unsafe.
Yes, sure, if you are part of a small, visible minority – say, self-identified and loud non-leftist science fiction writers – and people say things like “I think she should be dead” or you hear that people are actively reporting disturbances to send SWAT teams to invade the homes of people like you, you might feel unsafe to the extent of actually calling your local police and saying, “You know, I think you should be aware of this.”
Or if, say, your long-time insurance agent, after reading your blog and poking around the net, refuses to give you a rental insurance policy because people have made noises about burning your house down… you might feel slightly unsafe. But not really, since the house you were renting was not registered under your name anywhere, and you were actually more likely to be hit by a small meteor that has lain in wait in an alleyway than to have these internet tough guys try to tangle with you physically.
However, you can see how those things above, being a credible threat of physical harm by people who have the power (potentially) to carry out that threat, could worry one somewhat, as could the more commonly bandied threat a few years ago of “you’ll never work in this town again.”
I know that threats are more than enough to keep a good portion of my field’s (not even mentioning other fields, like academia) conservatives and libertarians in the political closet.
You know what aren’t credible threats that make us run away and call for safe rooms, or to silence the people who said these mean things? Jokes about us — or even slurs about us. There is no conservative or libertarian alive who hasn’t, suddenly, in the middle of a non-political gathering, been sucker-punched with an insult to his beliefs, or one directed toward people like her.
Until very recently, and still now in some professions, conservatives were the safe target of not just jokes and slander, but hatred.
If we’d needed to hide in a “safe place” from these, none of us would be in these professions.
Then in a stunning reversal, elderly men who had disagreed with the SJWs on the subject of what is good science fiction were being denounced to conventions as “making people feel unsafe.” Kindly note that the persons involved had never, in anyone’s experience, raised a hand in anger to another human being. But disagreeing with approved victim groups – the loudest of which is wealthy liberal females – makes people feel “unsafe.” Somehow.
The idea that if you say something someone doesn’t like, something even that someone finds offensive, you’re making them feel “unsafe” is a curious one.
It is suggestive of the sort of mind that fears to have unapproved thoughts. If they even hear things contrary to the group think they might think one of these unapproved thoughts, and then they will be damned to the outer darkness, with the rest of us evil people.
It is also suggestive – when they say words could lead to violence – of the sort of mind for whom criticizing someone or something is an incitement to kill and destroy. It gives you the image of a colony of creatures, all exactly alike, who need only to identify someone as an outsider to wish to destroy that creature. It is shuddersome, and I think honestly a good view into the group-mind that our incredibly liberal
indoctrination education system has created. It’s more important to agree with everyone than to be able to justify your thoughts.
The system has created an entire generation of emotional “bubble boys” unable to survive normal human intercourse, where opinions and preferences are disputed, argued, and often intellectually dissected.
This does not bode well for the future, or for professions that depend on reason, such as most STEM fields. And I don’t think it’s actually possible to maintain a technological civilization with unthinking primitives who think that a harsh word is exactly the same as a harsh slap.
The truth is that the world is not a safe space. The laws of physics don’t respect your feelings (says the 55-year-old woman who is losing her fight with gravity) and if you think being told something you don’t like is the same as being attacked, you won’t survive long.
Our universities are failing these young people, and so are all of us who hide in the political closet. Yes, I know, the left brings awful penalties and the politics of destruction to bear on all of our “revealed brethren” and people need jobs to feed their families, and they don’t want their kids attacked. But then people grow up imagining crazy things about conservatives and libertarians and being told that words are physical attacks.
The end of this safety dance is a world in which no one is safe because the collective gives, the collective takes away, and it never stops looking for heretics.
It could be you next.