The “safe space” on the college campus is a place for “individuals, who feel marginalized to come together to communicate regarding their experiences with marginalization.” Alternatively, it can be the area around someone in authority, like a teacher, who “does not tolerate violence, harassment, hate speech or dissenting views, thereby creating a safe place for all people.” Another aspect of the safe space is that those, who should be excluded from it, react scornfully or negatively to the idea of the safe space.
It is a good example of how insider language works. To those into left-wing identity politics, the term makes perfect sense. A part of how they define themselves, even though they hold the whip hand on the college campus, is in terms of their victim status. The more you need the safe space, the more marginalized you are from the imaginary core, which is supposedly dominated by guys named Chad and Dylan. On the other hand, the outsiders find the whole idea weird and amusing. They don’t get it, because they don’t need it.
Of course, like everything with the Left, the opposite of what they say is always a good place to start when trying to understand what is really happening. In this case, the people who need the safe space are those with the dissenting opinions. If you are a one-legged trans woman of color, the campus is your safe space. If you are a normal person, you have to live like a white guy in a black ghetto. Everything you say and do is watched, as they look for a chance to pounce. You have no safe space, even in your head.
The idea of the safe space gets scoffed at by the so-called right, because that’s the role designed for them, so they play it enthusiastically. They never bother to examine it in any detail or wonder if there is more to it. Their cartoon existence is entirely reactionary and uncritical of the world created for them by the Left. The chubby, blue-haired lesbian starts screaming about the need for a safe space and Ben Shapiro callously mocks her. That’s the choreographed drama that pretty much explains all of our politics.
The thing is though, this safe space idea is not just a goofy college campus thing. It is spreading across the ruling class layer. For example, the left-wing cable chat shows are almost entirely free of dissent these days. What little is tolerated, must strictly adhere to that role of the callous, unfeeling face of the core, sneering at the marginalized. That person is the all-purpose foil for the other players on the stage to point, hiss and show their moral indignation. That person is never allowed to ask a useful question.
More ominously, our politics has become a safe space. No left-wing politician is ever exposed to a dissenting opinion. The closest we get is indignant chattering skulls giving someone like Ilhan Omar the business from a great distance. Maybe they try to have a proxy challenge someone like Tulsi Gabbard in a fake town hall meeting. You’ll note that these town hall style candidate forums are a safe space for the participants. The whole point of the event is to make sure no one utters a discouraging word.
The so-called conservatives are getting in on the act too. The intellectual dark web is really just a safe space for the NPC’s and stock characters of the so-called Right to mingle with one another. It’s like the hospitality tent for the never ending drama, but reserved for the non-liberal characters and their fans. They get to play make believe, pretending they are challenging conventional wisdom and disrupting the status quo, when in reality they are just warming up their lungs for their time on the main stage.
That’s another aspect of the safe space. It’s not a place to hide. It is place where those inside get to play make believe. Chad and Dylan are not just outside the door. They are banished from the earth. That leaves the freaks, weirdos and dullards to frolic in the sun, without fearing the ogres of normality. If you want to believe you are a unicorn, you are free to do so. If you want to pretend you are an intellectual challenging the status quo, you can do that to. You’re free to pretend to be what you like in the safe space.
Take a look at the intellectual dark web. Claire Lehmann is one of the intellectual leaders of this group. According to their talking points, these are people “determined to resist parroting what’s politically convenient.” Lehmann is probably a nice person, but her opinions would feel at home on most left-wing websites. In her favor, she is not demanding we burn down libraries and execute biologists, which is now the default position of the Left, but no curious person would confuse Lehmann with a dissident intellectual.
Consider Ben Shapiro, who markets himself as the super-intelligent right-wing slayer of liberal pundits. There are lots of clips on YouTube of Ben supposedly “destroying a liberal” in a debate. Yet, all of the clips are of him smacking around a dopey coed or maybe a third tier cable airhead. Everything about him is manufactured, but he is able to thrive because he exists in a safe space. He’s never going to have to sit across the table from someone, who can handle themselves, forcing him to defend his positions.
Of course, this is why the “opponents” of the Left are just as enthusiastic about defending the safe space as the Left. It’s not the money or even a fear of the people outside the walls of the safe space. That certainly plays a part. It’s that the people inside cannot exist without the safe space. They are hothouse flowers, who would wither and die if exposed to the outside world. Ben Shapiro is the assistant credit manager at a mid-sized company in real life. In the safe space he is an intellectual giant.
This concept of the safe space has evolved to the point where the political class now lives within a safe space, at the center of the larger safe space of the media. Two decades ago, your congressman would show up a few times a year to hear from constituents. Then he would show up and be interviewed on stage by some media people. Now, if he has any influence, he does not show up at all. Instead, you see him on TV or read about him being asked questions by someone from the media. Politics is now the ultimate safe space.
This is why our political class is immune to what’s happening far outside their safe space, where the voters live. Most Congressman, for example are unaware of the damage caused by indentured servants. They have no clue about how companies replace their American workers with visa holders from over the rainbow. That never makes it into the media safe space, so it never penetrates the political safe space. It’s also why Trump seemed like a howling lunatic when he used to talk about these subjects.
Can the global world be run by people living in an insulated fantasy land? It seems unlikely, but the very notion of a safe space seemed ridiculous not so long ago. Perhaps when the West passed the post-scarcity threshold, none of this matters anymore. The system is now a form of defense in-depth, so even delusional morons can run it, without causing the whole thing to collapse. Perhaps it is just a matter of the right crisis coming along to breech the walls of the safe space, so reality can pour through.