Dennis Prager and Adam Carolla spend many of the early moments of their new documentary highlighting what makes them different, not what brings them together. Prager, a conservative radio icon, details his upbringing in an Orthodox Jewish family and his work in the Soviet Union where, as the documentary stresses, free speech was nonexistent. Carolla traces his roots from growing up in a middle-class California family to his success as an influential podcast host and comedian.
What unites the two is a belief in the value of freedom of speech in American society. Their new documentary, No Safe Spaces, features interviews with major figures from a wide variety of political backgrounds including former Obama administration adviser Van Jones, bestselling author Jordan Peterson, and activist Dave Rubin. Prager said he aims to bring the message of free and open speech to the places where it is most threatened: the college campus.
"That is truly my dream. To show this at every campus. This is the best possible thing we could do," Prager said during a Q&A session after the screening of the film at the Uptown Theater in Cleveland Park, Washington, D.C.
David Rutz breaks down the most important news about the enemies of freedom, here and around the world, in this comprehensive morning newsletter.
Sign up here and stay informed!
The film, which opened in a limited release on Oct. 25 and will open nationally on Dec. 6, contains several examples of noteworthy incidents of student protest or violence on college campuses over the past five years.
Bret Weinstein, a former biology professor at Evergreen State College, is interviewed about his decision to stay on campus during a so-called Day of Absence, a move that sparked significant protest and several encounters between Weinstein and student activists. The schools president ordered police to stand down during the protests. Weinstein eventually resigned and received a $500,000 settlement after filing a lawsuit against the school. The documentary points out that Evergreens enrollment suffered in the wake of the controversy.
Weinstein speaks about his confusion over how to handle the situation without any administrative support. He found that attempts to engage directly with students were not productive.
The film also recalls a 2015 scandal at Yale University where an email regarding Halloween costumes resulted in the resignation of lecturer Erika Christakis. A video of Christakiss husband, Dr. Nicholas Christakis, confronting students went viral. The video showed students calling Christakis "disgusting" and yelling at him to step down from his position due to his disagreement with the idea of creating a "safe space" on campus.
A third example involves a student senator at UC Berkeley, the birthplace of the free speech movement in the 1960s. Isabella Chow abstained from a vote on a bill condemning a Trump administration proposal to recognize gender as determined by an individuals sex at birth, not by an individuals decisions concerning his or her identity. Chow cited her religious beliefs for her abstention, saying voting for the bill would have forced her to violate her values. More than 1,000 people signed an online petition demanding her resignation. Students also stormed a school Senate meeting to call for her exile from the student government. Chow tells the filmmakers she was ostracized from all of her student organizations for standing up for her religious beliefs.
Prager criticizes campus administrators for enabling an environment that is hostile toward open inquiry and free speech. He is not alone in this frustration. In a July study published by the Pew Research Center, just 33 percent of Republican respondents said they believe colleges and universities have a positive effect on the country, compared with 67 percent of Democrat respondents.
"I tell people that if you give to your alma mater, if you give $1 million, you have not merely wasted money. I dont care if you waste your money. I care if you use your money to hurt the society," Prager said. "If you flush the million dollars down the toilet, you would be wasting a million dollars, but you would not be harming society. If you give a million dollars to 99 percent of universities, you are harming society."
Prager also ripped tech companies for encroaching on free speech. He mentioned his lawsuit against YouTube for restricting certain videos on his "Prager University" page. He expressed confidence in the lawsuits success, despite a series of setbacks. He also mentioned a leaked email from inside of the streaming giant's parent company, Google. An employee refers to Peterson, conservative pundit andDaily Wire editor in chief Ben Shapiro, and Prager University as Nazis, according to the message.
"What theyve done on the Left, among other horrible things, is they have cheapened all evil. Nazi means nothing anymore. Racist means nothing anymore. All evil terms mean nothing anymore because of the Left," Prager said.
The documentary has proven divisive among critics and audiences, but has registeredfar more positiveopinions, according to critic aggregator Rotten Tomatoes. The movie comes in the wake of aDecember 2018 survey from the Knight Foundation examining how free speech views among high school students have changed over the past 15 years. The report found that students who took a class on the First Amendment were more supportive of free speech rights than students who did not. Prager said civic education is needed to reverse alarming trends among young adults, who are more likely than any other age group to demand changes to the First Amendment.
Guests that Carolla and Prager feature in the film fall all across the political spectrum but are united in their belief in free speech. A moment toward the end of the film shows former president Barack Obama speaking about the importance of free speech, offering optimism for bipartisan support for the First Amendment. But as the documentary indicates, free speech is a nuanced and divisive issue bound to continue to be a source of controversy, particularly on campus.
Graham is a media analyst at the Free Beacon. He graduated from Georgetown University in 2018 and was a staff reporter for the College Fix. Follow him on Twitter at @graham_piro or reach him at email@example.com.
See the original post:
Documentary Takes Aim At Higher Eds Free Speech Violations - Washington Free Beacon
- Facebook and Zuckerberg keep getting freedom of expression wrong - The Next Web - January 21st, 2020
- Sheffield Arena urged to cancel event by 'homophobic' Trump ally - The Guardian - January 21st, 2020
- Ninth Circuit Affirms Anti-Libel Injunction, Rejects Overbroad Portion - Reason - January 21st, 2020
- What we still havent learned from Gamergate - Vox.com - January 21st, 2020
- Montclair State Univ. Sued for 'Unconstitutional' Speech Policy and Favoring One Student Group Over Another Based on Their Beliefs - CBN News - January 21st, 2020
- POV: Trump's Executive Order Aimed at Protecting Jews Will Have a Chilling Effect on Freedom of Speech at Colleges - BU Today - December 21st, 2019
- 92% of Americans think their basic rights are being threatened, new poll shows - USA TODAY - December 21st, 2019
- Trump's Executive Order Targets Federal Funding to Universities in Suppression of Speech on Palestinian Rights - International Middle East Media... - December 21st, 2019
- Washington State's Mike Leach responds to Donald Trump impeachment: 'I'm yet to hear what he did wrong' - Sports and Weather Right Now - December 21st, 2019
- Impeachment won't slow the global rise of the radical right but an alternative vision might - Salon - December 21st, 2019
- Over Regulating Intermediaries: Threat To Free Speech? - Inc42 Media - December 15th, 2019
- Charter of Freedom of Speech and Academic Freedom to be adopted - News - The University of Sydney - December 15th, 2019
- Is YouTube Cracking Down on Free Speech With New 'Harassment Policy'? - NewsBusters - December 15th, 2019
- Johnson orders universities to protect freedom of speech - Stock Daily Dish - December 15th, 2019
- Freedom of speech must trump safe spaces in universities, minister says - Stock Daily Dish - December 15th, 2019
- Alberta premier says energy war room will be respectful as it takes on critics - CFJC Today Kamloops - December 15th, 2019
- Amnesty International Canada Questions Freedom of Speech and Assembly - Reason - December 13th, 2019
- Why we need to stop believing freedom of speech is a dangerous thing - Marie Claire UK - December 13th, 2019
- Drawing the Line: When Does Freedom of Speech Go Too Far? - SUNY The New Paltz Oracle - December 13th, 2019
- RTI is Inbuilt within Right to Freedom of Speech and Expression, says Bombay HC - Moneylife - December 13th, 2019
- Opinion: The clear line between hate speech and free speech - DW (English) - November 26th, 2019
- Appleton school board signs off on policy that some say endangers free speech, others see as a constitutional safeguard - Post-Crescent - November 26th, 2019
- What to Be Thankful For | Cato @ Liberty - Cato Institute - November 26th, 2019
- Universities Enabling the Hijacking of Free Speech When Jews are Involved - The Times of Israel - November 26th, 2019
- Should the First Amendment protect language deemed to be hate speech? - The Vector: NJIT's Student Newspaper - November 26th, 2019
- Fight to protect your freedom of speech - The Saint - November 26th, 2019
- Improv joke reaction: What about free speech? - Mount Airy News - November 26th, 2019
- Trump defends Yovanovitch attack: 'I have freedom of speech' | TheHill - The Hill - November 17th, 2019
- 'Critical Infrastructure' Bill Is a Major Threat to Freedom of Speech - Shepherd Express - November 17th, 2019
- Free speech rights a concern in Wisconsin water resolution - Minneapolis Star Tribune - November 17th, 2019
- Freedom of speech and freedom from lies - Opinion - Cape Cod Times - November 17th, 2019
- Trump: 'I Have Freedom of Speech Just as Other People Do' - MRCTV - November 17th, 2019
- Freedom of speech and its consequences - BCLocalNews - November 17th, 2019
- Free speech in Canada: It was bad five years ago. Do you think it's gotten better since? - National Post - November 17th, 2019
- The American Internet Sucks. The Alternative Is China. - BuzzFeed News - November 17th, 2019
- On free speech, a new era and that blocking thing | Editorial - Chico Enterprise-Record - October 27th, 2019
- Sydney University to consider updating Freedom of Speech Charter - News - The University of Sydney - October 27th, 2019
- SABAG: Promoting Anti-Semitism By Perverting The Freedom Of Speech - The Daily Wire - October 24th, 2019
- Analysis: The Long Arm Of China And Free Speech - NPR - October 11th, 2019
- There are differences between free speech, hate speech and academic freedom and they matter - The Conversation AU - October 11th, 2019
- The Coalition: Where protesting free speech is only a right for the Right - Independent Australia - October 11th, 2019
- Free Speech Moment for Facebook! Platform Allows Trump Ad That CNN Banned - NewsBusters - October 11th, 2019
- Is Free Speech an Absolute Right, or Does Context Matter? - New York Times - August 25th, 2017
- UC Berkeley tries to reclaim its free speech legacy - The Mercury News - August 25th, 2017
- Unlikely Allies Join Fight To Protect Free Speech On The Internet - NPR - August 25th, 2017
- 73% Say Freedom of Speech Worth Dying For - Rasmussen Reports - August 25th, 2017
- Poll: 85 Percent Say Freedom of Speech More Important Than Not ... - Breitbart News - August 25th, 2017
- When 'free speech' becomes a political weapon - Washington Post - August 22nd, 2017
- Alt-Right 'America First' Rallies Move Online After Boston 'Free Speech' Protest Is Overrun - Newsweek - August 22nd, 2017
- A free-speech rally, minus the free speech - The Boston Globe - August 22nd, 2017
- Freedom of speech is for all - The Register-Guard - August 22nd, 2017
- The Fight Over Free Speech Online - The New Yorker - August 22nd, 2017
- Free Speech: The Left Moves In for the Kill - PJ Media - August 22nd, 2017
- Why Even Nazis Deserve Free Speech - POLITICO Magazine - August 20th, 2017
- So, just how guaranteed is your freedom of speech online? - New York Post - August 20th, 2017
- Our View: With freedom of speech comes great responsibility - HollandSentinel.com - August 20th, 2017
- Is hate speech protected by American law? Quartz - Quartz - August 20th, 2017
- Fighting Neo-Nazis and the Future of Free Expression - EFF - August 18th, 2017
- Free Speech and Assembly in Hong Kong - New York Times - August 16th, 2017
- Free speech comes at a price - Spectrum News - August 16th, 2017
- Strange bedfellows: The ACLU, free speech and Neo-Nazis - ABC News - August 16th, 2017
- Free speech and White Supremacy at Texas A & M (and elsewhere) - Washington Post - August 16th, 2017
- College Responds To Hosting Panel On Free Speech By Canceling It - The Daily Caller - August 16th, 2017
- Q&A: Experts break down Freedom of Speech, what it means - KCRA Sacramento - August 15th, 2017
- Illinois' abortion notification law harms free speech - Chicago Tribune - August 11th, 2017
- Free-speech rights don't apply in the American workplace, as Google demonstrates - Quartz - August 9th, 2017
- SMU Student Groups: Moving The 9/11 Memorial Restricts Freedom of Speech - Texas Monthly - August 9th, 2017
- The War on Free Speech Turns Further Left - Capital Research Center - Capital Research Center - August 9th, 2017
- Google's Free Speech & Diversity But | National Review - National Review - August 8th, 2017
- Is the Israel Anti-Boycott Act an infringement of free speech? - The Jerusalem Post mobile website - August 6th, 2017
- Anti-BDS Bill Does Much Worse Than Threaten Free Speech The ... - Forward - August 6th, 2017
- Liberals intent on eliminating free speech - New Castle News - August 4th, 2017
- Nick in the AM: National free-speech tempest hits Galesburg college - Peoria Journal Star - August 3rd, 2017
- Direct, indirect attack being made on freedom of speech: Gopalkrishna Gandhi - Economic Times - August 3rd, 2017
- North Carolina Campus Free-Speech Act: First Goldwater-Based Law - National Review - August 1st, 2017
- Letter to the Editor: Johnson County Sheriff's Office protects free speech - The Daily Iowan - July 31st, 2017
- Hassan should support freedom of speech - Seacoastonline.com - July 31st, 2017
- India has failed Taslima Nasreen yet again: Freedom of speech is still a victim as govt, police pass the buck - Firstpost - July 31st, 2017
- Soy milk is at the epicenter of a global free-speech debate - Quartz - July 30th, 2017
- Merkel, Germany, the Media and Free Speech - National Review - July 30th, 2017