Whatever happened to the idea that colleges and universities were sanctuaries of free speech, where academics and students could vigorously study and debate differing ideas? Why have so many institutions of higher learning—once regarded as bastions of vigorous, honest scholarship, where the search for truth was inviolable—morphed into places of intolerance and rigid ideological conformity? Speakers with “unacceptable” viewpoints are shouted down or even resisted with violence. Students whose views are not in line with the prevailing orthodoxy on these campuses can risk real trouble with their peers, professors and college administrators .
A new film examines this disturbing, unprecedented eruption of intolerance. Just released nationally, No Safe Spaces grippingly documents specific occurrences of this illiberal fanaticism on various campuses. It does so through the eyes of two very different yet compelling personalities, popular radio show host Dennis Prager and noted comedian and podcast king Adam Corolla. This odd couple keeps the narrative moving in a gripping—and entertaining—way. The movie even uses animation. What makes this piece so persuasive is that it features credible figures on both the right and the left.
In this conversation I talk with director Justin Folk and producer Owen William Brennan. No Safe Spaces is a wonderful example of effective, educational storytelling. You’ll get a sobering sense of how serious this anti-free-speech crisis is and how it could be spreading to the rest of society. But the film also ends on an optimistic note: Believers in the fundamental importance of the right of free expression are fighting back!