Saturday, February 18, 2017

Safe spaces

The concept of civilization only makes sense in the context of interactions between humans. A solitary individual having no interactions with others would have no use for norms and traditions that are useful in public life. A civilized society is one in which the clashes and confrontations that inevitable arise when human beings interact are managed by certain understandings regarding tolerance, accommodation and compromise. The norms and institutions of civilization are means by which the clashes of individual interests and diversity of opinions are processed so as to make social interactions worthwhile. Civilization is a consequence of the public benefits which arise from preserving individuality. Civilization thrives when individual differences are allowed to compete.

A "safe space," in the current usage of the term, is a place that is free from distressing opinions or disquieting deviations from uniformity. They are precincts where feeble ideas are allowed to persist unchallenged and unimproved, not because of the intellectual validity of those ideas but because of the emotional discomfort occasioned by alternative views. Safe spaces only appear so because of uniformity and conformity, and as such are intellectually stagnant. The aversion to individual thought and dispute makes them intellectually inert and emotionally anesthetic. The adjective "safe" is a euphemism intended to disguise an environment that is intellectually desolate, intolerant and craven.

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