NYT’s Bret Stephens in Commencement Address: Leave Your Safe Spaces

Bret Stephens (Richard Drew / Associated Press)
Richard Drew / Associated Press

New York Times columnist Bret Stephens told graduating students at Hampden-Sydney College, an all-men’s school in southern Virginia, to leave their safe spaces as part of his commencement address.

Bret Stephens, who recently faced a rough transition from his job at the Wall Street Journal to his new role at the New York Times. Many readers threatened to cancel their subscriptions over Stephen’s hiring, citing concerns over his beliefs on climate change.

Stephens gave the commencement address to the graduating seniors at Hampden-Sydney College on May 14. In the address, Stephens condemned “safe space” culture and encouraged graduates to push themselves out of their comfort zones.

But the story of safe spaces doesn’t end there, unfortunately. As Shulevitz noted in her essay, “once you designate some spaces as safe, you imply that the rest are unsafe. It follows that they should be made safer.”

That’s an important insight. It shows how easily an impulse to shield and protect the vulnerable quickly becomes a desire — and then a demand — to impose a particular concept of “safety” on others, whether they want it or not.

After all, if a college or university should accept the principle of a “safe space” in a single designated room, why should that same principle not extend to the classroom, the lecture hall, dormitories, college newspapers, chat rooms, social media and so on?

You can read the entirety of Stephen’s address here.

Tom Ciccotta is a libertarian who writes about economics and higher education for Breitbart News. You can follow him on Twitter @tciccotta or email him at tciccotta@breitbart.com


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