Aum wrote: ↑
Thu Nov 30, 8:24 2017
Hmmm... this really needs to be parsed carefully. The "safe space" phenomenon is not without its problems, including censorship of students and professors on college campuses. At the same time, college campuses really do have sexual harassment and assault problems. I'm all for designated safe spaces as long as they don't become a power grab like we are seeing in some areas (i.e. Berkeley) to shut down dissenting opinion.
The "snowflake" aspect of the polarized debate mostly arises from not being able to openly talk about certain subjects that make some people uncomfortable without social justice strategies being used to oppress their expression, to the over all detrimental of social justice movements. On the flipside, even this observation itself is abused by rightists to shut down modern liberalism, when in actual fact it's an observation that moderates are making about the current state of political discourse.
I think what's really going on here is that there is an extremist element arising in both left and right politics that is co-opting the fundamental principles of each side for their own oppressive agenda. I have seen both leftists and rightist attack free speech under this guise for no real reason other than they hate their political enemies. Meanwhile there are young men and women being raped on campuses in America on a daily basis who need genuine safe spaces, and there are right-wingers trying to argue for traditional values, smaller government and financial reform who get called racists, misogynists and white nationalists the second they open their mouths.
The U.S. is in cultural crisis. While the lines of communication are getting disrupted and shut down by so much extremist noise, the government is making real power grabs to oppress freedom and liberty. Anyone who lives outside the U.S. can see what's about to happen. You guys need to stop squabbling among yourselves.
This is exactly what I've been saying for such a very long time.
The problem at this stage isn't with the right or the left, but rather with extremists blurring the issues on both sides. There is a cultural war, and without the extremist elements the progressive side would likely win with minimal conflict.
For example, there was an issue with a "circus" show recently. It is fairly well known to be a burlesque style show where each member of the audience will be interacted with. It involves some risque acts, laced with humor, and the plot is about some sort of mad scientist trying to create the perfect woman. The issue with the show is that there has been issues regarding audience members feeling uncomfortable because they were being either touched without express consent, or victims of sexual assault being triggered by various bits.
Now, its very easy to take the side of the audience members - because any way you slice it its simply wrong to touch someone without their consent. However, the fact is that the audience members that are complaining are in the minority.
No matter how many audience members might NOT be complaining because of social pressure, etc., this doesn't change the fact that arguably most people really enjoy the show and have no problem. That leaves a real question to be asked...
If a show has an audience that is willing and happy to be involved in said show, doesn't that show have a right to exist?
The answer, is of course, complicated.
IMHO, it absolutely does, but it certainly needs some tweaking. It needs to better set expectations with audience members, it probably needs some mechanical adjustments and the like, maybe some waivers, etc. Essentially, it needs to create a mechanism that reasonably ensures that audience members are aware of the content of the show and are consenting to participate.
Now, perhaps there are some on this forum that might disagree... and that's sort of the point. None of us are going to agree on everything, so our collective needle of what is appropriate and inappropriate is likewise going to shift. So we need to be able to discuss these things, and that means that while its certainly important to have safe spaces, by definition if there are safe spaces there are also UNSAFE spaces. Spaces where disagreements can be peacefully aired. Spaces where controversial ideas can be discussed. Spaces where we can ask questions that might be considered abhorent at first glance... because there is likely fertile and unexplored ground given they are not often exposed to the light of inquiry.
Perhaps those spaces aren't unsafe at all, but rather safe for objectionable discussions and the like. Or perhaps, as Aum pointed out, safe spaces are only valuable so long as they too aren't taken to extremes. That requires perhaps, less formality, and a greater tolerance for rhetorical disagreements. Tolerance, in a lot of ways, is simply the margin between peaceful disagreement and violence. I fail to see the problem with advocating debate over censorship. I know of no wars or murders caused by an overabundance of rational discourse.