The defenders of so called “safe spaces” have reached a tedious impasse. So strident in their position that they should be spared being exposed to any views that they find mildly uncomfortable that some have gone so far as to threaten individuals who defy them with *actual* violence.
Not only do “safe spaces” render the whole point of Universities null and void but I doubt their effectiveness. I was brought up in the Middle East and in my early teens I was exposed to some very un-PC views in my mandatory Islamic Studies classes. I was a mild homophobe in my late teens and quite “small-c” conservative. Until University I had never met an openly gay person.
Yet as an adult I am neither a homophobe, a transphobe, a sexist, nor a racist. Being exposed to challenging view points and enlightenment values changed my mind. Until I was challenged I didn’t know that I was wrong. It didn’t take very long for that change to happen. Enlightenment values defeated the superstition and totalitarianism of feudalism and theocracy in Europe by consistently questioning the pre-existing orthodoxy.
To shut down the voices of those with un-PC views is a direct attack on Enlightenment principles. Enlightenment values are under sustained attack in overt ways all around the world. The fact that the “safe space” phenomenon is happening in supposed bastions of eduation and enlightenment, Universities and Schools, makes the situation even more disheartening.
What’s more worrying, however, is that this phenomenom may mean we are weaker against more overt attacks on Enlightenment values. “Safe spaces” may result in creating a generation of people who are less apt at challenging and defeating bigoted views. Ergo, if your goal is to rid the world of intolerance, ignorance and bigotry, so called “safe spaces” may create the very world you have sought to eradicate.