Explaining the new left’s intolerance involves a bit of a nostalgia for the past, and probably for a time in our history that a lot of us in our 30s barely remember. Growing up, I was the final generation to not have smartphones (I got my first cell phone, a flip phone, in 2005 when I was in college). I also remember growing up during the 90s that only my wealthy friends had a computer with internet access. Without the distraction pseudo engagement of being connected to people via a screen, people up until I’d say 15 years ago were still doing it the old fashioned way.
“Hi, I’m Alex, nice to meet you”
When you formed your friendships back in the past it was based on proximity first. You might befriend your next door neighbor and would possibly say the following about him “Dave is a great guy, he’s good to his family and we both grew up Mets fans. Odd that he’s a Democrat, but whatever that’s not important.”
You could at one point (and pretty much throughout all of history) make lasting friendships with people and have only one or two things in common with them. Growing up in Bloomfield and Montclair, NJ was like that. In my mind, if you were remotely into punk I wanted to be your friend. Hell, the members of the Ramones became friends because they all liked the Stooges.
(Video here at 3:55)
The two founding members of Screeching Weasel met in middle school because they were on the same wrestling team.
Now let’s look at how people make friends today: proximity is out the window and it’s 100% based on shared interests. To be honest, this is a great thing – just look at us Proud Boys for instance. However, there’s always that pesky law of unintended consequences. When you grow up “internetically” (a word I made up just for this article TM Proud Boy Magazine) and are able to search an interest and find what you need in seconds, it makes you not appreciate the results as much as if you had to put in some real leg work to find what you were looking for. I once again call back to my punk past, finding new bands or just records by bands you liked really took some effort, and just like that enjoyable beer after a hard day’s work, finding that band or record after you spent all that mental energy was really rewarding.
Why wouldn’t friendships work the same way?
So what does all of this have to do with safe spaces? Put yourself in the mind of a millennial – everything they’ve ever needed has been handed to them: physical needs, entertainment, ideas and with whom they associate. In their culture it’s all clicks, and if you don’t like what someone has to say on social media it’s very easy to block/unfriend and never hear from them again. Imagine doing that to a neighbor or coworker? You can’t just make someone in real life disappear with the ease you can do that online. So what’s the next best thing? A safe space for you to be shielded from thoughts and ideas you don’t like.
You can’t be bubble wrapped culturally for 20years and expect to be well adjusted in the real world. Think of your parents’ generation, they were able to get social immunization by having to make friends with those nearby and LEARNING to accept others’ differences and thus making them better people (at the very least when stacked up against the Millennials). Hell even, Gen Xers share more traits with Baby Boomers than they do with someone ten years younger than them.
I framed this as a left wing problem. Thanks to cultural Marxism, the 20 year olds of today have been thoroughly brainwashed by social media, mixed with my aforementioned mental atropine leaves a generation of spoiled brats that never left daycare. It’s a mix of the lack of hard work and the destructive narrative from the Left that have turned a generation of people into overgrown toddlers.