Safer spaces?

One of the facets of Occupy, at least in London, was the concept of "safer spaces"; in conceptual terms, it is highly commendable to ensure people (particularly the vulnerable and less confident) feel comfortable in group discussions, to be able to speak out without fear of attack or vilification. Dialogue requires respect for others views and listening to each other rather than shouting down those who disagree with us.

But that should not extend to censorship (either by others or ourselves). In days past, "sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me" was taught to children when abused verbally. That is not to suggest that calling people names is acceptable - that too inhibits dialogue. However, "safer spaces" have become another weapon in the armoury of those who would control us and are closing down healthy debate, particularly in academia.

A Groundbreaking Speech by the British Minister for Universities and Science – Will Perhaps – Opens Up To Real Education, Real Science and Real Democracy
The British Minister for Universities and Science Jo Johnson held yesterday, 26 December 2017, a remarkable speech titled “Free speech in the liberal university”.

In the immortal words of Steve Hughes "be offended"

Belatedly, here is lively discussion from a Critical Thinking session on political economy from September 2017 in which nobody was "offended".

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