The best cure for bad speech is more speech. –John S. Mills
Calvert City, KY – Students in America have recently been asking for “safe spaces.” Places where they can be free from anything offensive. It is, of course, the worst idea since someone invented chocolate covered beetles.
The idea is that the safe spaces would be a place where students could go to help lay salve their damaged egos, lick their wounds, and cry in quiet because someone out there disagrees with them. It would sort of be to free speech what gun safe zones are to guns.
Supposedly, when one group of students was recently offended by a debate happening on a campus: “A ‘safe space’ was created for students upset by the debate; the space included cookies, coloring books, bubbles, Play-Doh, calming music, pillows, blankets, and a video of puppies.”
Besides the fact that if the government were to start mandating safe spaces of any kind, where free speech was not allowed, it would be violating the constitution and beginning an Orwellian society where the “safe spaces” would grow and grow until there was nowhere left anyone could say what they believed-besides all that, practicality makes them an impossibility.
For instance, what sort of people shall be allowed in? Can a white supremacist or a black supremacist retreat here and demand that anyone of other ethnicity not be allowed in? What if a practicing nudist decides to flee to the safe spaces and demand that everyone else take off their clothes, because the nudist finds such things offensive? What if a Muslim wants to take refuge there, and demands that all gays be cast out, because they are antithetical to the Islam? Or, vice versa, what if the gays want to kick the Muslims out?
What if the Catholics want to kick the atheists out, or the atheists want to kick out someone who is tired of hearing about evolution, and has taken refuge here to watch videos about creationism.
Shall we have a safe space for everyone? For each ethnicity, for each religion, for each political party and each way of thought? For, if we do that, if we run for the hills because we are being offended, if we hide in our own cocoons and refuse to talk to anyone to disagrees with us or might offend us, and demand that the government keep them away from our ears and eyes, we will be right back where we started sixty years ago, with the whites and the blacks and the Catholics and the Protestants and the Atheists all living in their own areas, and hating and misunderstanding anyone outside of their own sheltered place.
We don’t need safe spaces, and we can’t have them if we want to keep our country going. However, for those that really need them, there are already safe spaces…it’s called your home. Go there. If your family disagrees with you, move to your own place. Some might cry “but the internet, the internet is still in my home, and there are people on there that disagree with me and offend me!” Then, to you I would say stop sucking your thumb, and start arguing. Debate until you are blue in the face. For that is the purpose of free speech. We are to strive to convert others to our opinions, not demand that they not share theirs.
And if you are a horrible debater, and you must be, if you want a safe space, then to you I would say go to your internet router, take a look at all those flashy lights, and turn it off. Now your safe. Safe from ever learning anything, safe from ever being stretched, safe from ever being offended. Congratulations, you have at last created your own dystopia.
Andrew C. Abbott