The 21st Century is likely to be remembered as the century where people were coddled and protected from reality and even from their own emotions. The entire point of higher education, to become educated, has flown out of the proverbial window. While pure sciences are somewhat stable they are slowly being encroached upon by the same anti-intellectual ideologies that have already corrupted and warped the Liberal Arts and Creative Arts as well as many others.
Entire fields have been created which stroke the egos of pseudo-academics who are all too willing to further ideas with no factual basis. Subjects such as Gender Studies and Grievance Studies do not actually study either gender or grievance, rather they classify and enforce their opinion of what these are based on their own heavy biases rather than taking an apolitical and balanced approach to issues or events. Instead of assisting students who have actually had a hard life, they fill the heads of those under their tutelage with the most mindless and harmful ideas, everything is caused by the mythological patriarchy or everything is caused by a certain oppressive race or group.
In the end, they lock their students into a mindset that encourages them to be mentally incarcerated either in the past, or in a feeling of being oppressed or otherwise self flagellation for events that were never under their control. These so called “empowerment academics” are responsible for doing the very opposite, they disempower their students and make it all the more difficult for them to succeed. Safe spaces are a symptom of a self serving ideology that is unable to see the distinction between emotion, facts, feelings and reality. Consider the concepts and myths.
Myth 1: Safe spaces promote a better studying environment.
Reality: On the contrary safe places promote stupidity and are the polar opposite of anything that can be called academic. The entire point of having a university is to equip people with the skills to live in the real world. In the real world there are no safe spaces. In the real world there are some very unsavoury people and it takes some degree of intelligence to avoid these types of individuals, rolling up in a ball as if one is a hedgehog is not an option.
Mental and cognitive strength is gained the the exercise of perceptive powers and gaining an understanding of ideas around oneself, even if one does not agree with the said ideas. Maturity means that one is able to not only articulate one's own opinions and thoughts but consider the viewpoints of others and if these are really incorrect or even reprehensible, then one should have the fortitude to point this out with a reasonable argument and facts not personal feelings. To anyone who requires a trigger warning before anything controversial or different to your expectation is said, here is a message for you : “Grow up or quit university”.
There is nothing worse than an overgrown infant, a person who has the intellectual capability of a toddler due to their desire to revel in their own ignorance. They are of no use to society and merely exist to consume and get attention but unlike infants and toddlers they refuse to grow up.
Myth 2: A lack of safe spaces puts people in danger.
Reality: In danger from what? From being educated? It is indeed a truly depressing thing when grown adults equate words of disagreement (not even threats) with violence. To be sure, there are words that can be said to be “incitement to violence” and no time should that be acceptable but there is a certain degree of hypocrisy in this regard, as many advocates of so called safe spaces condone or call for violence against those who differ in opinion from them. Should safe spaces then be used as insane asylums to protect the rest of the student population from the vile behaviour of a minority?
Violence is something that is physically harmful to the person, debate and words should not be considered violence and downplays the actual abhorrence of using violence. Words should not be redefined for the sake of an ideological and aggressive minority. Wake up, the world is not a Mad Max film.
A young teacher, Lindsay Shepherd was subject to extreme harassment by her so called progressive (in actual fact regressive and medieval) professors who objected to her showing a short clip of Jordan Peterson. They claimed that students had complained about feeling unsafe when in actual fact they merely wanted to bully her into submission. Professor Nathan Rambukkana ruined a young woman’s career and essentially blacklisted her when she had done nothing unethical, ironically he is one of the feminist advocates that claims everything is sexist. The subtle odor of hypocrisy.
Myth 3: Safe spaces are about respect.
Reality: On the contrary. They are disrespectful. Safe spaces assume that a tiny minority of insecure individuals are constantly in danger of being lynched by perfectly normal students. Is it normal for an everyday person to go and assault someone else? Safe spaces disrespect the greater society by assuming anyone would desire to attack a certain minority.
A large problem comes from the way the semantics of “respect” and “respectful” are used. To show someone respect is to elevate them above oneself, to be respectful is merely to show common courtesy and conflating the two is a sign that one ought to go further study the english language. One can be in disagreement and still be “respectful” or “show common courtesy” without actually respecting the person. True respect is therefore earned.
The argument that safe spaces are about respect is therefore a farce designed to make the censorship of knowledge and intellect by ideologies to seem somehow ethical.
Myth 4: Safe spaces help students to grow through support.
Reality: This is like saying that a seed without any soil, moisture or nutrients will grow into a tree. Using a “protective bubble” devoid of intellectual oxygen will be of no benefit, this is merely pure propaganda and brainwashing of the worst kind. Students are spoon fed to turn them into robotic ideologues with no ability to use their cognitive powers to think or reason for themselves.
Ideologue professors believe it is their duty to indoctrinate the next generation rather than to teach them how to reason and think like adults. Everything becomes centered around group identity and students ability to see reality becomes like a gradually growing social cataract that blind them to actual issues. Back to the tree analogy. A sapling planted in good nutritious soil with adequate moisture will grow well, however, occasionally strong winds blow. Would it make sense to remove all soil and moisture to protect the tree? Of course this would kill the roots and the tree. A more sensible approach would be to tie a stake to the tree so that it can be stabilised until it has sufficient roots to support itself. The issue here is that this takes more effort for professors to support students as they have issues. It takes considerable more effort to get to know and understand a student's difficulties on a personal ( although professional) level than to put everyone in the same “safe space” which is basically just a lazy cookie-cutter approach.
Safe spaces are not supportive.
The sad reality is that the solution is very simple. Unfortunately, some professors are either too spineless to oppose popular opinion to do what is right, others hope to get tenure and appease their student masses and yet others are on some type of propagandist power trip where they feel themselves encouraged by their ideologue students to further their own totalitarian beliefs on the general student populace.
The antidote to “safe spaces”is “intellectual spaces”. Intellectual spaces or smart spaces are what every classroom should be. Take as an example my classroom. Approximately 95% of my students are female and all are aware of my disdain for feminism but not for individuals. In a highly conservative country like Korea many individuals are unwilling to express their ideas in front of their superiors. My classes did away with this, students were encouraged to share their thoughts even when I disagreed with them. Students were permitted to disagree with and attack the arguments of others but not to make ad hominem attacks on other students. What was the result?
Students with vastly different opinions not only expressed their own ideas but many had a change of heart. Many male students conceded that the female nurses had more stress than males in terms of employment competition and many female nurses changed their opinion on the view that everything was easy for men, even some of the feminist students. This interchange of ideas fostered better understanding between the two genders. It was a force for unification not a polarising effect as seen in “safe spaces”.
Intellectual spaces dignify each individual student by assuming that they are mentally and cognitively mature enough to behave like adults and show manners and logic in debating or discussing contentious issues.
If you are an academic or especially a professor, I implore you to have the determination not to bow to pressures to appease a vocal minority, to actually care for your students, to really help them to grow and not shield them from reality. Build confidence in your students, knowing that if they are personally attacked for their race or any other reason that they are mature and intellectually capable of rising above any discrimination. Failing to prepare students is like throwing a chick without feathers out of the window and expecting them not only to fly but avoid hawks. If you as an academic or professor use safe spaces to shield your students from reality, you are part of the problem and guilty by proxy for the calamity that befall them due to their own immaturity.