Subversive “Unsafe Space” tour from Spiked

Reader Merilee sent me this announcement, which had landed in her email. It’s an upcoming moveable feast of panels hosted by Spiked magazine, and if you register now, you can go for free. I suspect that, given the roster of speakers, tickets will soon be gone. To get one or more tickets, just go to the appropriate link (below) and simply provide your name, the number of tickets you want, and your email address.

Here’s the announcement:

And the introduction by a Spiked editor:

There’s more explanation here, as well as the first bit of the schedule:

Unsafe Space is a provocation with a profound point to make. Our aim is to puncture taboos not for its own sake, but to the end of understanding what is going on, drawing out the radical, humanist case for free speech, and convincing students of why every college should be an Unsafe Space. Join us. Book your free tickets to our first two panels, at American University and Rutgers. And keep your eye on this page for upcoming events at Harvard [JAC: you can book tickets there now], Columbia and elsewhere. If you’d like to be kept updated, or if you want to bring the tour to your campus, email Viv Regan. And if you’d like to help keep the show on the road, donate here.

Tickets are free, too! On September 28, there’s a panel at American University (Washington, D.C.) on “Feminism, sex, and censorship on campus” featuring Nadine Strossen, Elizabeth Nolan Brown, Ella Whelan and Robert Shibley; on October 2, Rutgers University will host a panel on “Identity politics: the new racialism on campus?” with Kmele Foster, Sarah Haider, Mark Lilla, and Brian Stascavage; on November 2 in New York (location not yet specified) you can hear a panel on “Is the Left eating itself?” with Bret Weinstein, Laura Kipnis, and Brendan O’Neill; and on November 6 at Harvard there’s a panel on “Is political correctness why Trump won?” with Wendy Kaminer, Steve Pinker, Brendan O’Neill, and Robby Soave.

I can already hear the howls of objection from the Regressive Left, for if these speakers have anything in common, it’s that they’re Leftists who have nonetheless violated the taboos of Identity Culture and failed the Purity Test. But these are no Milo Yiannopouli; they’re a distinguished group that will have something interesting to say. It’s a pity they’re not coming to Chicago, but I will try to get to Boston to visit friends and also see the last panel.

Again, tickets are free, and you should reserve them now.


  1. Posted September 9, 2017 at 10:45 am | Permalink

    Re “they’re not coming to Chicago”! :o(

    On Sat, Sep 9, 2017 at 10:30 AM, Why Evolution Is True wrote:

    > whyevolutionistrue posted: “Reader Merilee sent me this announcement, > which had landed in her email. It’s an upcoming moveable feast of panels > hosted by Spiked magazine, and if you register now, you can go for free. I > suspect that, given the roster of speakers, tickets will soon be ” >

  2. Posted September 9, 2017 at 10:53 am | Permalink

    On the chance that one of the esteemed speakers on the roster read my comment: Please, read Richard Delgado & Jean Stefancinc’s material on Critical Race Theory (CRT), e.g. their Introduction (2006).

    The reason is this: there is an excellent chance that what we see on Campus is an expression of this very framework. Astonishingly it is still barely recognized. It’s like talking about Nazi Germany, but ignoring fascism — the ideology — altogether.

    Critical Race Theory explains where the concept of “whiteness” (along with checking it) comes from. It states plainly that CRT is critical of the Enlightenment and liberal project, which could prevent the wishful-thinking that proponents “just didn’t understood” something.

    The key argument is this: they do. They know what they are doing, even if the ordinary so-called SJW has no idea that the ideology they embrace is CRT, and even when they created Tumblr mutations that lost any resemblance to academical ideas.

  3. BJ
    Posted September 9, 2017 at 10:53 am | Permalink

    That is some lineup. Best of luck to them.

    “But these are no Milo Yiannopouli; they’re a distinguished group that will have something interesting to say.”

    While I of course support the right of campus groups to invite Yiannopoulis and others like him to speak (as I know Jerry does), I’m glad this lineup doesn’t include such people. The lineup for this tour is packed with real intellectual heavyweights who will not only provide excellent arguments and discussions, but will be much harder to denigrate in the regressive media when the inevitable protests occur — though I’m sure those rags will still find ways to denigrate them regardless.

  4. Posted September 9, 2017 at 10:57 am | Permalink

    This is a good thing. I especially like how the editor describes the recent campus blow-ups as a pantomime between the opposing factions. One side deliberately sets up “talks” from the crazy right at strongly liberal campuses, just to troll the left, and the illiberal left is unable to not do damage to themselves (and to property) as they take the bait hook, line, and sinker.

  5. Historian
    Posted September 9, 2017 at 11:31 am | Permalink

    I wish I could attend the panel on “Is political correctness why Trump won?” I do not know what the panelists will say, but if I were on the panel my answer would be no. It is a much too limited question. Any person who has studied the 2016 election will realize that perhaps a dozen reasons why Trump won have been offered, including economics, culture, the Electoral College, and Clinton’s poorly run campaign. Probably hundreds of articles have been written analyzing the campaign. I don’t think you will find many of them having political correctness high on their lists, except perhaps as a small subset of the culture issue. If the term “white resentment” (particularly among Christians) were substituted for “political correctness,” then I would say that that was one factor, among others, that should be given consideration. Paul Waldman in The Washington Post notes:

    “But stoking anger at immigration wasn’t the whole story — it fit into a larger argument about an America that Trump voters felt had been lost. Their economic opportunities are more limited, their communities aren’t as vibrant as they once were, and the dominant culture embraces a set of cosmopolitan and socially liberal values they find alienating. Not only that, they feel, not without reason, that the culture sends them a message that their values are outdated, small-minded and in many cases simply wrong.”

    He goes on to say about the evangelicals:

    “Whatever you think of their reaction, just like the broader group of Trump voters, white evangelicals are right in their assessment that their hegemonic cultural position has been eroded. It’s not just that their proportion of the population is dwindling, though it is. It’s also that the assumption that their culture is the culture no longer holds. Now they have to accommodate themselves to a diverse society, in the way everyone else used to have to accommodate to them. They really have lost something, whether you think they should ever have had it in the first place.”

    The argument that Waldman and others have made about white resentment reminds me of an expression that I believe was coined by the most famous historian of mid-twentieth century America, who is still often quoted today (a rare feat for a long dead historian), Richard Hofstadter: “status anxiety.” Hofstadter used the term in reference to the Progressive Era of the early twentieth century, but the principle seems to apply to the current situation. When people view that the status of the social group they belong to seems to be slipping vis-à-vis other groups, they will organize political groups to attempt to counter the trend. These groups could be on the left or the right and will call themselves “reformers,” when in reality they are reactionary, attempting to preserve the status quo or return to a mythical golden age. This is why the evangelicals overwhelmingly voted for Trump, although his personal habits were antithetical to everything they believed in. They bought Trump’s argument that he could turn back the clock.

    But, as Waldman notes, the white evangelicals may be fighting a losing battle. The Public Religion Research Institute has issued a report documenting beyond doubt that white Christian America is fast becoming a minority. The 2016 election may have been their last hurrah (I certainly hope so).

    Political correctness per se played a minor role in the 2016 election and will most likely be even less in future elections. The majority of voters in this country may rightfully not be pleased with what is happening on campuses, but such attitudes will have little effect on electoral results. This is particularly true because most of the people who are quite vexed about political correctness and subscribe to the politics of resentment would have voted Republican anyway, even if political correctness was not a concern.

    • Posted September 9, 2017 at 11:39 am | Permalink

      Agreed. But maybe the panelists won’t say what you think they will!

    • biz
      Posted September 9, 2017 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

      Trump’s margin of victory in several deciding states (MI, WI, PA) was so small that almost any issue could be said to have made the difference. Therefore we can’t discount people’s legitimate anger over PC and campus excesses as one of the factors that put the least qualified person in the world in the White House.

      • Historian
        Posted September 9, 2017 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

        Yes, many factors could be presented to explain Trump’s victory in the rust belt states. Political correctness may have been one of them, but we’ll never know for sure. But, consider this. Suppose Hillary had forthrightly condemned political correctness without changing anything else. Would many white evangelicals or working class folk have changed their minds and voted for her? I think the number would have been negligible. I think many more people who like political correctness and think in terms of identity politics would have soured on her and stayed at home. In other words, from the view of pragmatic electoral politics, Hillary probably helped herself by keeping quiet. She had to keep her base placated.

        • BJ
          Posted September 9, 2017 at 4:35 pm | Permalink

          I know several people who have voted Democrat all their lives who either sat out the election (or, at least, the Presidential part of it) or voted third party because they were sick of the excesses of the left. Anecdotal, I know, but it was clearly an issue for some people, and I have a feeling that it was for many who sat out and for many who voted twice for Obama, and then (seemingly inexplicably) voted for Trump.

    • Posted September 11, 2017 at 11:47 am | Permalink

      It is precisely in social matters where I think some sort of work on “aggregation” (or generally mereology) of events is necessary in order to understand causes and effects.

  6. Randy schenck
    Posted September 9, 2017 at 11:55 am | Permalink

    I think the liberals, democrats, whatever you want to call all of us who lost the last election would be far better served if they figure out, not why Trump won but why the democrats lost. Why the other guy won does not win you the next election. It is like preparing for the next war by studying the last one. History shows this to be a great failure.

    • Dan
      Posted September 9, 2017 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

      The disenfranchisement of large swathes of predominantly African-American voters in some states’ voting districts was a much larger factor IMO, for reasons I hopefully do not have to explain here.

      • Randy schenck
        Posted September 9, 2017 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

        I suspect you could include a number of other voters as well.

      • nicky
        Posted September 10, 2017 at 5:00 am | Permalink

        Yes, I think that is quite well established.
        I also think there has been some hanky-panky with the counting (aka. fraud) in ‘Swing States’. There was a great, in the order of several percentage points, not tenths of percentage points, discrepancy between the exit polls and the actual count, something excessively rare and extremely fishy. And always in Mr Trump’s favour in states where the GOP was in control of the counting. Only in Virginia, where a Dem was in control that did not happen. I think Mr Trump is an usurper.
        You US-ians, nay the world, so we all, have been screwed, in other words.

  7. Cate Plys
    Posted September 9, 2017 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

    Wow, if only they would film and post these to YouTube.

  8. BJ
    Posted September 9, 2017 at 4:39 pm | Permalink

    Regarding campus rape: I did not read the pieces above, but just to address what you wrote as a partial explanation of why these new Title IX rules are such a travesty: it’s not just the preponderance of the evidence standard. All these campus kangaroo courts don’t allow the accused to cross examine or in any way question their accuser the accuser’s supporting witnesses, the tribunal gets to decide if evidence from the accused will be allowed, the accused isn’t allowed any representation by a professional (while the accuser gets counselors and others who help them build their case and through every step of the process), etc. etc. It’s a trial done Soviet-style. And remember, if it’s a preponderance of the evidence standard, and if everyone running these tribunals believe that “we should always trust the victim,” then any he-said she-said case with no other evidence or witnesses will automatically result in the accused being found guilty, as the accuser’s word will always be considered trustworthy (and thus the 50.01% preponderance threshold is met).

    • BJ
      Posted September 9, 2017 at 6:11 pm | Permalink

      Sorry, wrong thread!

  9. Jonathan Dore
    Posted September 10, 2017 at 9:22 am | Permalink

    Brendan O’Neill is weirdly in favour of Brexit, but otherwise this seems like a great panel of speakers.

    • Eric Grobler
      Posted October 30, 2017 at 11:33 am | Permalink

      ” weirdly in favour of Brexit”
      Why weird?
      I can see good arguments for and against Brexit.

  10. jay
    Posted September 11, 2017 at 9:26 am | Permalink

    Meanwhile there is a new ‘protection’ racket. Restaurant owners can submit to re-education and get to put a safe space decal in the window; presumably to avoid boycotts and possible damage.

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