Monday, June 8, 2015

The Tyranny of Trigger Words and Campus Safe Spaces

Richard Ebeling emails:

Dear Bob,

I have a new article on the news and commentary website, “EpicTimes,” on, “The Tyranny of Trigger Words and College Safe Spaces.”

The media has made much of the rising opposition on college and university campuses to the classroom and other uses of “trigger words” – words, ideas, or phrases that generate sad, “hurtful” or unhappy thoughts in a student.

And the insistence that sensitive students need “safe spaces” on campus in which they are protected from others due to gender, racial or social biases or discrimination, where students are isolated from such “bad” thoughts or people.

What has not always been given the attention that it deserves is how the Marxian premises of “class conflict” and “class exploitation” are implicitly at the bottom of much of the premises of “gender” or “racial” conflict as captured in the recent college campus demands to ban or restrict the use of words, phrases and ideas, and the insistence that “hurtful” and “oppressive” influences must be prevented by creating “space” to separate the “oppressed” from their “oppressors.”

It is another and dangerous instance of the persistent and pervasive influence of collectivist and tribal conceptions of human beings and their relationships in society. And one that threatens a tyrannical control and manipulation of words and ideas in a continuing “war” against capitalism and freedom of thought, action, and association.

It is an attack not only against free expression and association, but another assault on the ideas of individualism, personal liberty and the market order, since the proponents of such “trigger words” and “safe space” notions invariably see the root causes of “social,” racial,” and “gender” conflict in society to be very the existence of a capitalist economic system.



  1. Private property seems like an excellent solution to the alleged problem of cruel loud mouth jerks offending your delicate sensibilities. Don't allow them on your property. Problem solved.

  2. I had thought that the infantilism of many college students was being exaggerated. "I don't feel safe when we are discussing X or Y." But after seeing a number of clips and reading some articles in some college newspapers, I see it is not exaggerated at all.

  3. Just go to an engineering school and talk only about engineering and sports. It worked for me.

  4. ─It is an attack not only against free expression and association, but another assault on the ideas of individualism, personal liberty and the market order─

    indeed but you can recognize that these expressions of collectivism are pretty banal and childish. Even the teachers who encouraged these ideas 10 or 20 years ago are scared of the monster they unleashed.

  5. Yes, can we please establish "safe places" to lure in all morons, so that we know who they are and avoid them?

  6. After demolishing the nonsense that is Modern Monetary Theory in the comments to an MMT website, one of my opponents made me this poster:

    I now require a two foot tall huggable Kermit the Frog made of sponge material to recover.

    And what does Walter Block need after being called a lover of slavery by both the NYT AND a US District judge?

    Because we know that leftists are just so nice.

    1. That poster is scary and funny. These people really are morons. I love the implication that you owned the sun. Pathetic.

      Keep up the good work!

    2. I don't think they are morons. In their hearts, they know we're right. They are afraid to allow our concepts to penetrate their minds ever so slightly. While they are afraid of us, they are also bullies and we're just too nice to them, IMHO.

      Again I ask: Has ANYONE ever confronted a statist who really understood the NAP and economic calculation and the argument that central bank shenanigans preceded the Great Depression? I'm not asking if they agreed with those concepts. I'm just asking if there is someone who is familiar with them. I don't think so.

      Regardless of the topic, the entire reaction to us is just like the MSM reporting [not] on Obama's Nazis in Ukraine. Lying, distortion, avoidance. If they weren't afraid of us, they would engage our positions and refute them on the merits in 10 minutes.