"A Compelling and Scary Warning"
What You Need To Know:
Although strong conservative voices lead the way, NO SAFE SPACES also features support for free speech from two liberals and even two leftists. It’s a well-crafted, fair documentary showing the dangers of the Radical Left’s attempts to curtail freedom of speech. The warnings it presents are clear-cut and truly scary. The movie seldom falters in grabbing and holding the viewer’s attention. NO SAFE SPACES has a very strong Pro-American, moral worldview. It’s a must see, but there’s some brief foul language and violent newsreel footage. So, caution is advised for children, especially for younger ones.
CONTENT: (BBB, PPP, H, Ho, L, V, D, M):
NO SAFE SPACES is a scary documentary by two conservative pundits about the attack on freedom of speech by the Radical Left on many college campuses and in the mass media. Although strong conservative voices lead the way, NO SAFE SPACES also features support for free speech and open discussion from two liberals and even two leftists, so it’s a well-produced, informative, provocative movie that’s trying to rally opposition against the tyrannical, often violent assault on free speech from radical left-wing groups like Antifa and LGBTQ activists.
The movie is hosted by conservative talk show host and renowned author Dennis Prager and libertarian comic Adam Carolla, who has his own popular podcast. Prager is Jewish, but Carolla is an atheist. Despite that, Carolla says, “Common sense and values should trump everything.”
The movie opens with a brief introduction mentioning Prager’s experiences as a visitor to the Soviet Union in the 1970s, where he made underground contacts with suffering Soviet Jews, smuggling letters from them out of the country while smuggling religious materials into the country. “I experienced tyranny at a very young age in the Soviet Union,” he notes.
Carolla reveals he grew up in a poor family with a single mother on welfare who had a college degree in “Chicano Studies.” Adam recalls one time when he asked his mother why she didn’t get a job. Mom told Adam if she got a job, she would lose her welfare. That didn’t make sense to Adam, so he eventually moved out of the house and got jobs to support himself.
Prager recalls playing stickball in the streets of Brooklyn as a child, where people would have an argument about something and someone would reply, “It’s a free country!” That’s not true anymore in today’s America because of political correctness, he asserts.
“Leftists want to close us down,” Prager says about conservatives at this point. Moments later, he adds, “If you are conservative, you are not just wrong, you are evil. They have to think you are evil, because, then, they don’t have to debate us.”
To illustrate these points, the documentary focuses on several major free speech controversies during recent years. The movie interviews many of the people involved in those controversies who had their civil rights violated. One of the people is a Christian student in student government at the University of Berkeley. Several others are actually liberals who refused to tow the leftist party line, such as Professor Bret Weinstein and his wife, Professor Heather Heying, at Evergreen College in Olympia, Washington. At one point during their battle with angry leftist protestors, the local police told Weinstein they couldn’t protect his safety any longer. Eventually, Weinstein and his wife left the university. The movie also shows scary scenes of leftist protestors, often with masks over their faces, attacking other people, punching one man, committing arson, smashing windows, telling people they should resign from their jobs or be fired, etc.
Prager cites a poll of college students where 49% did not believe in free speech for hate speech. “Free speech doesn’t apply to love speech,” he argues. “It’s free speech to speech you hate or find hateful. We hope that, if everybody speaks, then the good will win.”
In one section of the movie, a roundtable of standup comics, led by television star Tim Allen and including Carolla, discusses the atmosphere of political correctness on college campuses and in some comedy clubs. The comics say the atmosphere is so bad that they no longer play college campuses and that even some people at comedy clubs are afraid to laugh at certain jokes. The movie plays a clip of Jerry Seinfeld on a late-night TV program also complaining about political correctness. Seinfeld says he’s very concerned about this “creepy political correctness.”
At another point, Prager, Carolla and black historian Shelby Steele discuss political correctness when it comes to racial issues. They talk about the anger many African Americans feel toward white people because of past racial discrimination and injustice. “How long are you going to ride that beef?” asks Steele, who criticizes the victimization mentality in many leftist arguments about race and sex. “Our job is to convince young people they’re not victims,” Carolla says. “You can’t be happy if you think yourself a victim,” Prager notes.
Steele is a black conservative. Prager also views himself now as a Jewish conservative, though he long thought of himself as a traditional center-right liberal, while Carolla leans toward the libertarian side of the political spectrum. In addition to Steele, the documentary includes comments from Canadian clinical psychologist Jordan Peterson, a popular lecturer and author of MAPS OF MEANING: THE ARCHITECTURE OF BELIEF and 12 RULES FOR LIFE: AN ANTIDOTE TO CHAOS. Peterson, who describes himself as a “traditionalist,” has made several YouTube videos criticizing political correctness and Canada’s law allegedly protecting “gender identity and expression.” Peterson believes the law compels people to use “preferred pronouns” for people claiming they’re “transgender” in some way. The movie interviews a liberal teaching assistant at Wilfrid Lauerier University, Lindsay Shepherd, who showed a video of Peterson criticizing the bill in a class discussion of the law’s pros and cons. Faculty members attacked Shepherd for even showing the video and discussing Peterson’s opinions with her students. Of course, Canada doesn’t have a First Amendment, so the country isn’t really founded on freedom of speech, unlike the United States.
Besides Steele, Prager, Carolla, and Peterson, the documentary includes a clip of President Obama urging people to be willing to discuss issues with people who disagree with them. Also featured are comments favoring free speech and opposing attempts to curtail people’s freedom of speech from leftist commentator Van Jones, socialist professor Cornel West and liberal lawyer Alan Dershowitz. Limiting the ability of people to speak freely “makes it difficult for you to learn from other people,” West notes. “If you want to feel good,” Dershowitz says, “get a massage.” “You should be able to share your ideas without fear of being fired from your job or shouted down,” Carolla says.
How do we stop the attacks on freedom of speech by the “safe spaces” movement?
“The way we turn the tide is to say what you believe,” says liberal Dave Rubin, who sides with Prager, Carolla and Peterson about the dangers of political correctness run amok. “The only way to separate the good ideas from the bad ideas,” Carolla adds, “is to be free to say whatever we want about them.” “Liberty is the flame to light the path to great ideas,” Prager says. “America is the true safe space” because of the First Amendment.
NO SAFE SPACES is a well-crafted documentary showing the dangers of the Radical Left’s attempts to curtail people’s freedom of speech. The warnings it presents are clear-cut and truly scary. The movie seldom falters in grabbing and holding the viewer’s attention. The movie’s technical aspects are excellent, especially the sound on the interviews and snatches of public speeches the filmmakers use to make their points. NO SAFE SPACES also has more than several funny moments that help express the movie’s concern about the attacks on free speech in America. Finally, the fact that the filmmakers include interviews with and comments by liberals and leftists on this topic, including liberals and leftists who have themselves seen the brunt of these attacks from the Hard Left, makes the movie even more powerful and more convincing. Thus, even viewers who may have a problem with some or many of the social, political or religious views of people like Dennis Prager and Adam Carolla should find NO SAFE SPACES a worthwhile, important movie to see.
Of course, NO SAFE SPACES has a very strong Pro-American, moral worldview that vigorously defends free speech, the First Amendment and open sociopolitical debate. It includes a positive reference to “In God We Trust,” the official motto of the United States of America. Otherwise, however, it doesn’t approach its topic from an overtly Christian, Jewish and/or biblical viewpoint. That is probably a flaw in the arguments the movie presents. MOVIEGUIDE® believes that only the Christian Bible, and a Christocentric, biblical view of God, religion and morality, provides the best, most rational and most factual foundation for the Good, the True and the Beautiful, including notions of Justice. MOVIEGUIDER® also believes our readers should have a solid foundation in constitutional law, including a solid foundation in the English Common Law upon which the United States Constitution is founded. As such, MOVIEGUIDE® supports freedom of speech, but we also believe that the concept of American liberty does not include a liberty for license. Thus, political and religious speech should be free, but there is no liberty for pornographic or obscene speech (please see NO LIBERTY FOR LICENSE: THE FORGOTTEN LOGIC OF THE FIRST AMENDMENT by David Lowenthall and THE THEME IS FREEDOM: RELIGION, POLITICS AND THE AMERICAN TRADITION by M. Stanton Evans). NO SAFE SPACES also could have benefitted from an interview with black pundit Larry Elder, who has some very worthwhile things to say about racial politics in America. A Fox News commentator, Elder could have made an invaluable contribution to the documentary in the discussion about the victimization mentality among leftists.
Despite all this, NO SAFE SPACES is a must see for anyone who’s interested in the major sociopolitical issues facing the United States of America. In fact, every person who intends to exercise his or her right to vote in America probably should see this movie before they cast their vote in the future. NO SAFE SPACES does have some brief foul language and violent newsreel footage, plus a brief cartoon segment where a talking First Amendment cartoon character gets shot down in cold blood. Also, NO SAFE SPACES has some references to homosexuality, but not in a salacious way. These references, however, are relatively neutral, a position that contradicts the Bible’s negative view of such sexual immortality. So, MOVIEGUIDE® advises caution for children, especially younger pre-school children.