This piece is rife with strawmen arguments.
- Being pro-safe spaces is not being anti-free speech. There is no one unified notion of free speech, but the idea that it means saying anything at anytime has never been the case and is ahistorical. There have always been places nominally protected from the oppression of hateful speech. Whether it is a community shouting down a racist or whether it is a campus policy that says sexist language is not tolerated within the four walls of a separate section of the school, this does not exist in opposition to free speech. The notion that we ought to not care about preventing sexist or racist behavior in areas where oppressed minorities congregates and instead care about “changing the world” implies a mutual exclusivity that is just not present, and assumes that the former doesn’t “change the world.”
- Dialogue is rarely shut-off. What you witness is dialogue not being entertained because it is so offensive and stupid. That someone can argue that homosexuality is a philosophical sin, that global warming is an anti-capitalist conspiracy, or that black people are genetically disposed to being of lower intelligence does not matter to me in the vacuum of whether or not the discussion should happen as a matter of right. Clearly, it should be permitted. The question is: Does this require a campus or an organization to support it by entertaining it? Again, clearly the answer is no. If a “white lives matter” group on a school campus wants to entertain the speech of a racist, they are welcome to do it. And they are welcome to be told to do so off campus and without school recognition.
- Conflating fascism with what you disagree with is intellectually dishonest for a variety of very obvious reasons.
- That some on the left may venture into navel-gazing is hardly an impute on the entirety of the social justice movement. The fact is that the theory you so readily deride does explain the pressures faced by oppressed groups. Your issue is not with theorists or academics but with specific individuals. It’s a shame that you can’t divorce the two.