Category Archives: Culture

Safe Spaces Aren’t Just for SJWs

spAs much as I despise Donald Trump, on some level I understand why he has die hard supporters. The most popular reason for this phenomenon is he seems to be the answer to the political correctness of our time. Trump may be many, many, horrible things, but being politically correct isn’t one of them.

Indeed, political correctness is a significant problem in our culture. Participation trophies, zero tolerance, and the very Orwellian PC language in which the Social Justice Warriors (SJWs) insist we use in our public discourse are doing great harm to the Millennials. The concept of ‘safe spaces’ on college campuses wraps all of the above (and more) in one tidy bow which infantilizes young adults. Not too long ago, college campuses were once considered the place to debate and explore controversial ideas, now have spaces to protect the precious Millennial snowflakes from debate and controversial ideas.

Yes, the SJWs certainly do suck. I’m sure that SJWs who read the above two paragraphs are angry I didn’t include a trigger warning before challenging their world view but here’s the thing: it’s not just SJWs who retreat into safe spaces nor just the generation raised in this very PC culture. As it turns out, some of the very people who are most critical of political correctness, Millennials, and safe spaces don’t want their worldviews challenged either!

I can’t speak for anyone else’s social media feed other than my own but I have seen people leave controversial comments followed by something to the effect of ‘I’m not going to debate this, if you post something that disagrees with me on my wall it will be deleted.’ Or s/he will simply delete the post without explanation (I’ve seen this behavior from conservatives and progressives alike).

Of course, having different opinions and refusing to debate opinions is one thing; being upset that someone shares an inconvenient fact completely destroying the basis of an opinion is another. Around Memorial Day Weekend, someone posted on my FaceBook wall about how awful it was that President Obama went to Hiroshima, Japan on Memorial Day instead of the traditional laying the reef at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. There was just one problem with this person’s complaint: it wasn’t true. All it took to see if this person had a legitimate beef with Obama was a five second Google search (in the age of information, ignorance is a choice). In fact Obama visited Hiroshima on Friday, May 27, 2016 and visited the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier on Monday, May 30, 2016 (AKA Memorial Day).

In response to my posting readily available news articles reporting that Obama attended both of these ceremonies, I received a private message asking me: ‘Why are you always defending Obama?’ I don’t remember my exact response but it would have went something like ‘I’m not always defending Obama but the truth matters.’

The same sort of thing happened when someone blamed Obama for pulling the troops out of Iraq too soon and I dutifully pointed out that Obama was carrying out the troop withdrawal signed by President Bush.

These were just two examples off the top of my head; there are certainly other examples I could have used. As we are getting mercifully closer to the end of the 2016 campaign, conservatives, progressives, and yes, even some libertarians are retreating to their safe spaces refusing to be challenged at all.

The worst offenders IMO are the Trump supporters who are oh so critical of safe spaces on college campuses and Trump himself. The Trumpster divers tell us that all of Bill Clinton’s sexual assault accusers are to be believed while Trump’s accusers are all liars. Why did they all wait to come forward until a month before election day? Surely, they are all either opportunists and/or working directly for Hillary!

This is entirely possible. It’s possible that some if not all of them are lying. It’s also possible that because the world has now been exposed to Trump being Trump, these women now feel like the public will listen when prior to the leak the public otherwise would not.

Then there’s the issue of Trump’s poll numbers. As I look at my FaceBook feed, I see several Trump supporters posting articles from Trump friendly sites claiming that Trump is polling at 67% to Hillary’s 19%. In contrast, Real Clear Politics, averaging the leading scientific polls show Hillary leading Trump 44.7% to 39.4%.

Of course in terms of the election itself, it’s the electoral college map that matters not the popular vote. How are the candidates fairing on the electoral map? The Real Clear Politics Map is showing 262 electoral votes for Clinton, 164 for Trump, and another 112 are considered toss ups. The candidate who receives a minimum of 270 electoral votes becomes the next POTUS. By my math, that means that HRC is within 8 electoral votes of the magic number in this projection. This doesn’t provide much room for error for Mr. Trump. In order for Trump to win based on the above, he would have to win just about every one of the toss up states and not lose a single state projected to be in his column. If he wins all of the toss up states except for Florida, Trump still loses.

Clearly, either Real Clear Politics with its scientific polling or Trump biased Arizona Freedom Alliance will be proven wrong on Election Day, safe spaces be damned. One would think that but with Trump openly saying he won’t necessarily accept the election results (whatever that means!), he and his supporters will remain in their safe spaces for a bit longer.

It’s not too difficult to see how damaging the safe space phenomenon will be to our culture. Verifiable facts are ignored while rumors and provable falsehoods are considered truth when it aligns with an agenda.

As a people, we need to realize that being skeptical isn’t a bad thing. We must be careful of confirmation bias. We should read articles we disagree with and have friends we can argue important issues with (and remain friends at the end of the day).

And if you want to take a short break in your safe space (we all do, don’t kid yourself), then do so. Just don’t make it your permanent address. One can deny reality but cannot escape its consequences.

I DID Call the Police. Here’s How It Worked Out For Me.

Over the past 24 hours I have been surrounded in person, online and over media by people announcing they don’t believe the Trump accusers (or the Clinton accusers) because they didn’t call the police at the time of their alleged incidents. I need to get this off my chest. The thing Trump joked about. Well that exact thing happened to me. I did call the police and here is how it worked out for me:

I was a 19-year-old college student in Missoula, Montana. My friends and I went to see Quiet Riot in a bar. It struck us as funny, somehow.

Quiet Riot.

In a bar.

In Montana.

At some point, I was separated from my friends. I went to the bathroom or to get a drink or something, I don’t recall. As I was pushing through the crowd to get back to my friends, that’s when it happened. The exact thing Trump says he can do to women.

Now, a word here about what I was wearing.

Not because it’s relevant to me “deserving it.” But it is relevant to how easy it was to get inside my clothes.

Inside me.

I was wearing a white peasant skirt. Above the knees but not by that much. Loose and billowy. My underwear were white and satiny. Not at all skimpy. Full coverage and loose fitting. I have no memory of my top or my shoes or how I wore my hair that night. I recall the details of the skirt and underwear clearly.

Because they were loose-fitting and that made it easy.

I was pushing through the crowd to get back to my friends. The bodies were packed tightly together and it was slow going. All of a sudden someone’s hand was moving up under my skirt, into my underwear, into me.

It was such a complete shock. One minute I was just walking through a crowd and the next a stranger’s finger was inside my body. I looked over my shoulder and found myself looking into the eyes of the finger’s owner.

The look on his face is something I will never get over.

It said that he knew it was a violation, that he didn’t care because I deserved it, and that there was nothing I could do about it.

He was still inside me at that point.

For years I would think to myself, why didn’t I fucking punch him? Why didn’t I head butt him? Why didn’t I tackle him and start whaling on him and refuse to stop until the whole place came to a halt?

I can only say that in the moment, a lot of things conspired against it. Part of it was the shock. Part of it was the look on his face. In it was something I had never confronted before, never contemplated, never even really knew existed. And it intimidated me. Part of it was simply the tight space. There was literally no room to fight. Our bodies were packed so closely together. The only people paying attention were the ones packed around me and they all had the same smirk on their faces he did.

In that moment, my instinct was only to get away. I pulled away from him, pushed on through the crowd and made it back to my friends. I was breathing strangely and talking choppily. I told people what had happened. Those people told other people. Everyone thought I should call the police.

Of course, I thought, as thought returned. That’s what you do. If you don’t, then he can do it to someone else. You’re supposed to stop him.

One of my friends talked to the owner of the bar. He talked to me and then he called the police (this was before cell phones).

Guess what happened?

Several police cars came. A bunch of cops shut down the concert, shut down the bar, and made everyone in there file out past me in the hopes I could identify the guy. I never saw him in that line of faces. He must have left before the cops got there or maybe he went out a back door. I saw lots of other things. Curiosity. Amusement. Sympathy. Encouragement. Disbelief. Annoyance. Disgust. Condemnation. I saw what it looks like when a face says the word “whore.”

After they were all gone, one of the cops put me into a police car to talk to me. He said the way I was dressed invited certain behaviors. He said that I was 19 years old and in a bar. He said that I was drunk. He said the owner of the bar was going to prosecute me if I ever stepped foot in there again.

Some of you are probably thinking, well yeah, you shouldn’t have even been there and you could have gotten that bar owner in a lot of trouble and you probably cost him a lot of money. I don’t blame you for thinking those thoughts. I don’t think it makes you a bad person. How could I, when I have thought them too?

Those thoughts are why some victims don’t call the police.

I never found out who the finger guy was. Just some random stranger who put himself inside me and then went on his merry way. Maybe we have passed each other on the street and I never knew because it was a long time ago and I was drunk.

It’s weird because our culture seems most comfortable with two models for women in the wake of assault.

In one, the one you see most often in fiction, the woman stops having consensual sex, gets nervous and jumpy around men, is scared to go places, and cries all the time. In the other, her lack of evident distress renders her story unbelievable.

Well, nothing changed in my relationship with my boyfriend. I didn’t stop liking sex. I wasn’t scared of men. I wasn’t jumpy or nervous anywhere. Nothing changed in my classwork. I became more aware of personal safety issues, but the changes were subtle. For the most part, my relationships with people and the world continued as they had before.

I can imagine many reasons victims don’t call the police. Belonging to a familial, social, or religious culture in which victims are perceived as damaged, for example. Fear of losing a spouse or significant other. Fear of having a consensual sexual history divulged. Fear of being perceived as one of those troublesome women who cause too much drama. Fear of professional repercussions.

Of all the possibilities, I can only speak of one from experience. Maybe they feel like they’re acting too normal for anyone to believe the words they would need to speak.

Because sometimes there are no marks on your body and no obvious ones on your soul and you’re a little bit in shock and the façade of normalcy you’re wearing makes you think they won’t believe you. And having to look into all those judging faces as you tell the thing that happened, the thing you yourself sort of agree can’t be that important or it would have left deeper marks – you know that part would leave marks, so maybe you should just cut your losses.

In the weeks that followed, a victim’s advocacy group called me several times. “I’m fine,” I told them each time. Because I was fine and what else was there to say? We all knew they were never going to find that guy. We all knew they weren’t out looking.

Because I was fine.

The feeling of that strange finger inside of me would return viscerally at the oddest moments, though. For the first year, it happened a lot. Then I thought of it less often. Now the memory of that finger has lost its sharpness.

Not the look on his face though. That part will never fade.

I never thought my clothes were inviting. Even if I had, I still wouldn’t have judged myself for wearing them. Nor for being 19 and in a bar. Nor for being drunk.

I judged myself for not fighting back. That part bothered me even more than the look or the finger. Because I’m only responsible for me. And I just stood there and took it and did NOTHING to wipe that smirk off his face.

It’s been 25 years and I just cried when I typed those words.

If someone were to do the same thing to me again now, I like to think I would fight back this time. I guess you never know until it happens.

I’m not sure I would call the police.

Sarah Baker is a libertarian, attorney and writer. She lives in Montana with her daughter and a house full of pets.

Quote of the Day: Honest Debate Edition

popehatOver at Popehat, Ken White makes the point that gun control advocates should have the balls to say that all firearms should be banned instead of using purposely vague or misleading language (as people on the Left tend to do). Using vague, sometimes Orwellian terms tend to creep into other areas of our private lives

I want [gun control] advocates to learn the difference [between ‘automatic’ and ‘semi-automatic’ firearms for example] so I can have some level of confidence that I know what kind of proposed government power we’re debating […]


Gun control advocates may argue that it’s pointless to define terms because gun control opponents will oppose gun control laws no matter how they are crafted. […] But it’s not a logical or moral excuse for not trying. Urging vague and unconstrained government power is not how responsible citizens of a free society ought to act. It’s a bad habit and it’s dangerous and irresponsible to promote it.


We live in a country where the government uses the power we’ve already given it as a rationale for giving it more: “how can we not ban x when we’ve already banned y?”

Nationalism Vs Patriotism


Tomorrow is Independence Day in the United States. Americans will celebrate declaring their independence from the British Crown in 1776. Hopefully many will take time to reflect on what their country stands for and what makes it unique in the world.

I recommend reflecting on the idea of patriotism itself. What makes patriotism, a generally good thing, different from nationalism, which usually leads to many terrible things? There is definitely a fine line between the two concepts. Nationalism vs patriotism is one of the oldest arguments in history.

What is a patriotism? Lawrence Reed at the Foundation for Economic Education has an excellent definition.

I subscribe to a patriotism rooted in ideas that in turn gave birth to a country, but it’s the ideas that I think of when I’m feeling patriotic. I’m a patriotic American because I revere the ideas that motivated the Founders and compelled them, in many instances, to put their lives, fortunes, and sacred honor on the line.


What ideas? Read the Declaration of Independence again. Or, if you’re like most Americans these days, read it for the very first time. It’s all there. All men are created equal. They are endowed not by government but by their Creator with certain unalienable rights. Premier among those rights are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Government must be limited to protecting the peace and preserving our liberties, and doing so through the consent of the governed. It’s the right of a free people to rid themselves of a government that becomes destructive of those ends, as our Founders did in a supreme act of courage and defiance more than two hundred years ago.


Call it freedom. Call it liberty. Call it whatever you want, but it’s the bedrock on which this nation was founded and from which we stray at our peril. It’s what has defined us as Americans. It’s what almost everyone who has ever lived on this planet has yearned for. It makes life worth living, which means it’s worth fighting and dying for.

Or as Benjamin Franklin said, ““Where liberty dwells, there is my country.”

America is more than just a place, it’s an ideal. It’s a land where people are free to say what they want, believe what they want, and do what they want as long as they don’t hurt others or destroy their stuff. It’s a land where everyone has the opportunity to make the most of their life. It’s a land where people govern themselves and no government can exist without the consent of the governed.

We believe all men are created equal and are always equal in the eyes of their Creator.

A patriot believes in an ideal, not in a particular place. There is nothing exceptional about a country that has no ideals.

Nationalism on the other hand is all about flag-waving, a particular place, or even a particular ethnic group or religion. It is a mentality of “my country, right or wrong” instead of being an honest critic where necessary of one’s government. It often includes hatred of those who are different.

What worries me is that for far too many Americans this country is becoming less about ideals and more about a place on the map. The second we stray from our ideals is the second America is no longer worth celebrating.

Be a patriot, not a mindless nationalist.

I’m one of the original co-founders of The Liberty Papers all the way back in 2005. Since then, I wound up doing this blogging thing professionally. Now I’m running the site now. You can find my other work at The and Rare. You can also find me over at the R Street Institute.

Your Ox Will Eventually Be Gored (Re-post)


It seems logical that every American, regardless of political affiliation/philosophy, race, religion or creed, would be concerned about the revelations concerning domestic spying on the part of the NSA. If the Obama administration can spy on and mistreat the Tea Party and other right wing causes, the next Republican administration could spy on and mistreat Occupy Wall Street and other left wing causes.

As it turns out, this is not necessarily the case. According to an article by David A. Love, the black community has largely greeted this news with a shrug and a yawn.

Is this lack of concern because many blacks do not want to be critical of the first black* president? This might account for some of this shrugging but Love suspects that there is something much deeper at work here:

The black community has decades of experience being monitored, so this type of surveillance is nothing new. Given the long history of being spied upon, many blacks already assume they are being monitored by the government […]
African-Americans are no strangers to surveillance, as their activities were highly regulated through the slave codes, laws which controlled both slaves and free blacks.

The mistreatment of blacks did not end when slavery was abolished, of course. Love goes on to describe several other atrocities such as the Tuskegee experiment, J. Edgar Hoover’s illegal spying on Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, the Black Panthers, and others.

Tragic chapters such as Tuskegee have been cited as a reason why African-Americans distrust the medical establishment and are hesitant to participate in clinical research. One study found that 67 percent of black parents distrusted the medical profession, compared to half of white parents.

As I read this, I wondered why there isn’t a similar distrust of the government as the medical establishment by blacks in general. The Tuskegee experiments were done at the behest of the U.S. Public Health Service, after all!

After finishing the article, I decided to read through the comments section (this is a blog that is dedicated primarily with concerns of the black community; the comments can sometimes be very illuminating). The very first comment by a user with the handle “Blackheywood Heywood” did not disappoint:

The US government began spying on Black folks before this government was created, yet it was no outrage.Give me a break, it seems slowly mainstream America is discovering how it feels to be thought of as suspicious or guilty before being accused, never mind arrested. Welcome to the world of the American Black male.

Heywood has a valid point. The answer to the question why the lack of outrage by the black community concerning the NSA and IRS scandals could just as easily turned against what Heywood called “mainstream America.” Indeed, where was the right (for lack of a better term) on these outrages? Where has the Tea Party been on the question of “stop and frisk,” in New York in which minorities are especially targeted to be searched, supposedly at random? Is this simply a case of “out of sight, out of mind?”

I believe there’s also another phenomenon at work: the memory hole. Near the close of the article, Love mentioned an event that took place in Philadelphia in 1985 I was completely unaware of:

On May 13, 1985, following a standoff, a Philadelphia police helicopter dropped a bomb on the house on Osage Avenue occupied by the black “radical” group known as MOVE. Police reportedly fired on MOVE members as they escaped the burning home […]
The 1985 bombing—which killed 11 people, including 5 children and destroyed an entire neighborhood of 61 row homes in West Philadelphia—marked the first such attack on U.S. citizens by government authorities. The survivors and victims’ families received $5.5 million in compensation from the city of Philadelphia.

I try my best to be informed about historical events as well as current events. How is it that this is the first I had ever heard about the Philadelphia Police dropping a freaking bomb on a neighborhood in an American city?** I must have been sick that day in American History class (I also didn’t learn about the Tuskegee experiments until well into my twenties; maybe I was sick on that day as well).

Maybe MOVE was a radical organization maybe it wasn’t*** but nothing could justify the police dropping a bomb on a neighborhood. Perhaps this atrocity is well known by people in the black community, both young and old but not so much outside the black community (or maybe I’m one of the few Americans who never heard about this but I doubt it).

MOVE probably wasn’t the first group the government described as “extreme” to a point where government officials ordered and used military force against its members; it certainly wasn’t the last. How many people out of a hundred know about what happened at Ruby Ridge? The Weaver family, why they were “extremists” after all and therefore, why should anyone care about their rights? How many people out of a hundred know about the conflicting accounts of what really happened at assault on the Branch Davidians in Waco, Texas? (Here’s a hint: a great deal more than what the MSM reported at the time). I suppose because these people were part of some sort of cult, their rights didn’t matter either!

This is where the real problem of indifference lies. I’ve heard far too many people with the attitude “it’s not my problem” or “it doesn’t affect me”. Even more disturbing is the attitude some people have that they are happy when someone of an opposing view has his or her rights of life, liberty, and/or property trampled on (i.e. “Screw them, they are ‘extremists’”). Far too often, concerns about civil liberties depend on whose ox is being gored at that particular time.

I would like to humbly suggest that if you are not as upset when its someone else’s ox, even if it’s the ox of your opponent’s, one day it will be your ox that will be gored. Perhaps Martin Niemoller said it best in his very short work “First they Came” describing how the Nazis took freedom away from the whole population, one group at a time. By the time the Nazis got around to taking freedom from what remained of the population, Niemoller concluded “there was no one left to speak for me.”

To be clear, I am not comparing the U.S. government to the Nazis. Such hyperbolic comparisons are not constructive and minimize the very crimes against humanity the Nazis committed. I am making a comparison about how populations respond to encroachments on liberty, however. As demonstrated in Love’s article, there are plenty of examples of injustice from American history.

Here are just a handful more:

  • The Indian Removal Act
  • Slavery
  • The internment of Japanese Americans
  • Jim Crow
  • McCarthyism

And many, many more.

Each of these policies were permitted to happen because the majority apparently felt that curtailing freedoms of these minorities would somehow not affect their own freedoms. We should acknowledge that these injustices occurred and try to learn the right lessons (rather than pretend the U.S. government or the American people have committed no wrongs ever) and move on.

Every injustice and every violation of rights of life, liberty, and property must be answered by all of us as if it’s our own liberty that is at stake.

*Yes, I’m aware that Obama is actually half black. However, if a man of his description was accused of committing a crime and at large, he would be described as a black man.

**In light of this, Rand Paul’s questions about government using drones to attack Americans on American soil no longer seem so far fetched, unfortunately.

***All I know is what I read in the cited article.

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