Speaking Your Mind May Become America’s Favorite Pastime
Protecting Your First Amendment Right to Freedom of Speech — Part I: Adam Carolla
You can’t say that! Or can you…
Freedom of speech. We know it’s protected in the First Amendment but what does it mean, and are we willing to give it up to be “comfortable”? Whether you are liberal or conservative, left or right, your rights are being eroded in America.
The highly anticipated crowdfunded docudrama/documentary, No Safe Spaces, starring comedian and podcaster Adam Carolla and nationally syndicated talk radio host and best-selling author, Dennis Prager. Prager also is the founder of Prager U, the most successful and most watched channel for conservative videos on YouTube, with more than 1 billion video views worldwide. The unlikely duo went on a cross country tour of college campuses exposing the root causes and the fallout from decades of politically-motivated censorship at an array of universities. The pair argue that an entire generation of minds on these campuses have been taught to eschew alternative opinions and despise debate.
Despite very different upbringings, atheist Carolla and Jewish Prager, both agree on common sense and values, and the importance of protecting freedom of speech. We talked with them in a two-part series on what sets America apart, social media censorship and the bigger conversation of choosing comfort over liberty.
Interviewed Exclusively for Risen Magazine
Risen Magazine: Adam, you and Dennis Prager have opposite upbringings, yet both share common sense and values. How did the collaboration come about for this film?
Adam Carolla: I’ve been a fan of Dennis’ since listening to Religion on the Line as a struggling blue-collar worker, hauling around trash and digging ditches on construction sites, long before I got into show business. Even though I’m an atheist I was drawn to his wisdom. Eventually in 2011 he had me on his show and it was chocolate and peanut butter, we were made for each other.
RM: How does freedom of speech set America apart, and why is it currently threatened?
AC: America was founded on free speech. When Abraham Lincoln dumped that tea in Pearl Harbor and said “give me liberty or give me death” he was using free speech. (Note: I barely graduated North Hollywood High with a 1.75 GPA.)
But seriously, freedom of speech is under threat because we have changed the definition of “speech.” The progressive left is constantly changing the definitions of words and ideas. Just look at what’s happening with gender pronouns. I recently put “non-binary” on my driver’s license just to f*** with the people who are forever moving the ball in the language department. Well, they’ve decided that there’s no longer just “speech” there’s “speech” (a.k.a. “speech that I agree with”) and “hate speech.” Any idea that challenges their worldview, especially when it comes to race or gender is no longer speech, it’s a hate crime.
RM: How did you pick the college campuses to highlight where freedom of speech has been under attack, as well as the individuals that have been singled out?
AC: Because as much as I hate the whole idea that Whitney Houston put out that “the children are the future,” it’s true. The soft brains being molded on college campuses now will soon enough be business owners, mayors, celebrities and other people in a position to ruin our society. Like when you’re trying to get rid of bees you don’t swat them individually, you find the hive. College campuses are the hive.
RM: I think a really important distinction is that freedom of speech protects regardless of who is speaking, expand if you will on why this is key.
AC: Yes, freedom has to apply equally to all. Ironically the people who whine the loudest on college campuses and try to shut up Milo Yiannopolis, Ann Coulter, and Ben Shapiro would lose their minds if it were happening to a person of color. We had a period of time in this country with un-equal freedoms like separate drinking fountains for white people and “colored” people. So why does the principle that freedom of speech applies to all, no matter what they’re speaking, seem so repugnant to these kids? They’re the ones shouting loudest about equality and “access” (another word they’ve changed the definition of). How about access for Ben Shapiro to share his ideas?
RM: I love to laugh, and nowadays it seems good writing is so hard to find. So much humor is rooted in truth, or an exaggeration of the truth, so it was really refreshing to see you with comedian Tim Allen and even showcasing Jerry Seinfeld and Kevin Hart, how do you see the future of comedy?
AC: I think the pendulum is starting to swing back on the “woke” culture and I think comedians are the tip of the spear. I feel strongly that we’ll look back on Dave Chappelle’s recent stand-up special on Netflix, and also Bill Burr’s, as a turning point where comedians started pushing back on what I call “the culture of correction”. A lot of comedians, myself included, never bought into this BS and have always been fighting it but when Chappelle stepped into the fray it really legitimized it and gave other comedians permission to push back and tell the social justice warriors to shove it. We’ve now had Oscar and Emmy ceremonies without hosts and they sucked. They were all woke and no joke. I think people are going to want to return to normal and comedy is part of that.
RM: Being in the media industry, I find the use of technology both fascinating and frightening. With the algorithms of social media, the censorship or YouTube, the analytics of Google – “they” are skewing the conversation in their favor and dominating the space. They are too big to be ignored so how do we navigate or possibly combat what is taking place?
AC: What Dennis is doing getting in front of Congress and calling out the agenda is a good start. They might be Goliath to his David – nice Old Testament reference for my Jewish friend – but he is actually doing what the campus cowards claim to be when they shout at their professors – speaking truth to power.
RM: I found it super interesting in the film that it mentioned the greatest yearning of America is to be taken care of, not free… can you break this down a bit.
AC: It’s our greatest yearning and it will be our greatest downfall. I grew up with a checked out, depressed mom on the dole. One day when I asked her why didn’t she get a job she said “And lose my welfare?” Freedom scares us. We talk a good game about it but with freedom comes responsibility and that’s what we really fear. That our choices have consequences, that in America we’re on our own to succeed or fail by our own efforts. That freaks people like my mom out.
RM: You never seem to shy away from tough conversations or controversy, what gives you the courage to speak your mind and defend truth?
AC: It comes from a rich history of being right. I was right about how over-using Purell was going to lead to more illness, I was right about how peanut allergies were mostly made up and that we needed to be exposed to them rather than ban them from schools, and I was right about weak-minded people turning every plane into a menagerie of “emotional support animals.” I see things coming down the road years before everyone else. So, I think the fact that I know what I’m saying now, and this movie is saying now, will prove to be true makes it easier to speak my mind. Also having built a pirate ship in the form of my podcast and being a stand-up, outside of the system and obligations of Hollywood, means nobody can take anything away from me if I step out of confines of the woke culture.
RM: What surprised you most about making No Safe Spaces?
AC: That Dennis was Jewish. I had no idea. Never comes up on his show.
More information at NoSafeSpaces.com
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