Film Review: No Safe Spaces

no sfae spaces

No Safe Spaces, released October 25, 2019, featuring Adam Corolla and Dennis Prager.

Whether or not we are living in an era when free speech is under assault is a point of debate. Those among us who believe that harsh consequences imposed as a result of politically incorrect speech are a bad thing will love this film. Or at least, they’ll like it. Those who believe that the 1st Amendment is protection from legal prosecution, but not economic sanction or social ostracization, will consider Prager and Corolla as nothing more than white boys crying wolf. After all, as one reviewer quipped, Prager and Corolla are actually profiting from their free speech rights.

I suspect this divergent understanding of the limits, if any, on free speech and the acceptable scope of consequences is at the heart of the mostly negative reviews I read of this film before recently venturing out with friends to judge for myself. My take? When we have to be afraid of any consequence that may be imposed as a result of a dissident or unpopular perspective, our free speech is in danger.

This is not to say that individuals and corporations are not equally free to exercise their rights. However, what we have now is tantamount to a speech cartel, cocked and loaded for bear against anyone who dares utter or has ever dared to utter any words against selected groups of people or behaviors. It is this dynamic, the carnage it leaves, and the fear it imposes on average Americans that Prager and Corolla set out to address.

This is a documentary and not even a great one as far as documentaries go. If you’re looking for great filmmaking, you won’t find it here. What you will find is a well documented series of incidents, mostly on college campuses, in which well-meaning, even-handed professors are punished for failing to espouse the right ideology. You’ll find conservative and religious students increasingly penalized and marginalized for their beliefs. Of course, there’s also well-publicized instances of conservative speakers being threatened and harassed on college campuses to the extent that many of their talks had to be canceled. Most importantly, you’ll see that universities as bastions of various ideas and critical thought has given way to something far more sinister.

The interspersed animated skits to illustrate the absurdity of social justice warriors and the assassination of the Bill of Rights were rather extemporaneous, but the commentary is valuable for those people who are not up to speed on the current trajectory of our political discourse.

It is worth remembering that the young people on college campuses today will be leaders of politics, academia, and media tomorrow.

3 out of 5 stars

 

 

 

3 thoughts on “Film Review: No Safe Spaces

  1. nellperkins says:

    I have gone from being shunned and mocked at a hyper-conservative work place for daring to oppose the invasion of Iraq in 2003 to being shut up at a hyper-lefty work place because I secretly think 99 percent of trans stuff is a plot to help sterilize humanity. A great documentary might concentrate on how, over the course of my lifetime, all ordinary workers (not professors, not journalists) had to do was make sure we didn’t make a mistake on where and with whom we discussed hardcore workplace issues (payscales, breaks, etc.) , to being terrified my employer will find out my religious and philosophical beliefs. It’s been a big shift over my lifetime and it isn’t a hopeful sign at all, not at all.

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  2. Elspeth says:

    @ nellperkins:

    I know -trust me, I know- how isolating it can be not to have a stable political home. To not fit neatly in the “church of big business” on the right or the “temple of intolerance masquerading as tolerance” on the left. It’s a sticky spot…

    A great documentary might concentrate on how, over the course of my lifetime, all ordinary workers (not professors, not journalists) had to do was make sure we didn’t make a mistake on where and with whom we discussed hardcore workplace issues (payscales, breaks, etc.) , to being terrified my employer will find out my religious and philosophical beliefs. It’s been a big shift over my lifetime and it isn’t a hopeful sign at all, not at all.

    That would be a good documentary. I actually think this particular film is an introduction of how we got into that shift, but they didn’t go all the way, instead focusing on the current brainwashing of America’s youth and young adults.

    Maybe someone will take the time to discuss the plight of men like James Damore and Brendan Eich and how those of us down here among the mainstream middle are going to fare far worse than they did in this next wave of washing away the first amendment.

    Like

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