Greg Lukianoff

Reason Interviews Greg Lukianoff & Jonathan Haidt

Nick Gillespie of Reason Magazine interviews Professor Jonathan Haidt and Greg Lukianoff on their new book: The Coddling Of The American Mind:  How Good Intentions & Bad Ideas Are Setting Up A Generation For Failure

According to the interview, the book expands on their popular 2015 article at The Atlantic, which proposed that certain curently popular ideas actually work to make people more anxious and depressed, against psychological research.

They also take on the idea of identity politics in a way you might not expect (defending a broader humanism and Civil Rights activism).  This, against what they see as a more ‘us vs. them’ tribalism helping to make much more of U.S. civic and campus life political, chaotic, and potentially violent.

This blog’s take: When you abandon personal responsibility in favor of collectivist action through violence and non-violence, towards justice (still blind) and ‘social justice,’ you should probably also look around and surmise that how people are behaving now is likely how they’ll behave in the future.

For every reasonable person you imagine acting unreasonably because of deep and genuine injustice, requiring a channel for that injustice, you might also imagine at least one or more very unreasonable people ready to tear everything down, including you.

The Leftward drift towards certain ideals, ideologies and radical movements within academia is having, for this blog, rather predictable results: Many students and professors are becoming committed professionally, morally and emotionally towards a set of propositions and principles about the world.  This environment becomes the water in which many swim much of the time, human ignorance and human nature being what they are.

Related On This Site:

Merely pointing out research and having contrary suggestions about it can make one a heretic: The Intellectual Cowardice Of The Crowd-Charles Murray At Middlebury College

Actual, civil debates regarding disagreement about means and ends are possible:Via Youtube: ‘Are We Really Coming Apart?’ Charles Murray and Robert Putnam Discuss

Repost-From The Liberal Bastions-James Baldwin, Often

From FIRE.org-’Federal Government Mandates Unconstitutional Speech Codes At Colleges And Universities Nationwide’Greg Lukianoff At FIRE.Org: ‘Emily Bazelon And The Danger Of Bringing “Anti-Bullying” Laws To Campus’

Jonathan Haidt At Heteodox Academy: ‘The Blasphemy Case Against Bret Weinstein, And Its Four Lessons For Professors’

Simon Blackburn Reviews Steven Pinker’s “The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial Of Human Nature” Via the University Of Cambridge Philosophy Department

Also, just another reminder of a much better standard and moral guidepost:

“First, if any opinion is compelled to silence, that opinion may, for aught we can certainly know, be true. To deny this is to assume our own infallibility.’

‘Secondly, though the silenced opinion be an error, it may, and very commonly does, contain a portion of truth; and since the general or prevailing opinion on any subject is rarely or never the whole truth, it is only by the collision of adverse opinions that the remainder of the truth has any chance of being supplied. ‘

‘Thirdly, even if the received opinion be not only true, but the whole truth; unless it is suffered to be, and actually is, vigorously and earnestly contested, it will, by most of those who receive it, be held in the manner of a prejudice, with little comprehension or feeling of its rational grounds. ‘

And not only this, but, fourthly, the meaning of the doctrine itself will be in danger of being lost, or enfeebled, and deprived of its vital effect on the character and conduct: the dogma becoming a mere formal profession, inefficacious for good, but cumbering the ground, and preventing the growth of any real and heartfelt conviction, from reason or personal experience.”

-John Stuart Mill ‘On Liberty: Chapter II-Of The Liberty Of Thought And Discussion’

Jonathan Haidt & Greg Lukianoff At The Atlantic: ‘Why It’s a Bad Idea To Tell Students Ideas Are Violence’

Full piece here.

Following up on the idea that many students and administrators are reinforcing bad habits in a vicious circle against the grain of basic cognitive therapy practices:

‘We are not denying that college students encounter racism and other forms of discrimination on campus, from individuals or from institutional systems. We are, rather, pointing out a fact that is crucial in any discussion of stress and its effects: People do not react to the world as it is; they react to the world as they interpret it, and those interpretations are major determinants of success and failure in life. As we said in our Atlantic article:’

The humanities are in quite deep, but the social sciences have more rigor and method in dealing with the world and what we can know of it (empirical research, data analysis, peer review).  The turf wars going here on will likely affect all of our freedoms, sooner or later.

Here seems a wiser guide in dealing with differences of thought and opinion, rather than asking individuals to forego their own experiences and understanding by joining collective mass movements which organize hatreds into ideological struggles and which don’t condemn violence:

“First, if any opinion is compelled to silence, that opinion may, for aught we can certainly know, be true. To deny this is to assume our own infallibility.’

‘Secondly, though the silenced opinion be an error, it may, and very commonly does, contain a portion of truth; and since the general or prevailing opinion on any subject is rarely or never the whole truth, it is only by the collision of adverse opinions that the remainder of the truth has any chance of being supplied. ‘

‘Thirdly, even if the received opinion be not only true, but the whole truth; unless it is suffered to be, and actually is, vigorously and earnestly contested, it will, by most of those who receive it, be held in the manner of a prejudice, with little comprehension or feeling of its rational grounds. ‘

And not only this, but, fourthly, the meaning of the doctrine itself will be in danger of being lost, or enfeebled, and deprived of its vital effect on the character and conduct: the dogma becoming a mere formal profession, inefficacious for good, but cumbering the ground, and preventing the growth of any real and heartfelt conviction, from reason or personal experience.”

-John Stuart Mill ‘On Liberty: Chapter II-Of The Liberty Of Thought And Discussion’

See the previous post.The Intellectual Cowardice Of The Crowd-Charles Murray At Middlebury College

Charles Murray’s Account Of The Middlebury College Affair

Repost-From The Liberal Bastions-James Baldwin, Often

Related On This Site:From FIRE.org-’Federal Government Mandates Unconstitutional Speech Codes At Colleges And Universities Nationwide’Greg Lukianoff At FIRE.Org: ‘Emily Bazelon And The Danger Of Bringing “Anti-Bullying” Laws To Campus’

Jonathan Haidt At Heteodox Academy: ‘The Blasphemy Case Against Bret Weinstein, And Its Four Lessons For Professors’

 

 

With Less Liberty And More Injustice For All-A Sad Spectacle At Yale

Erika Christakis, whose husband can be seen below, in the middle of a shame-circle..:

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is now leaving Yale of her own accord, because she had the temerity to write the following, which is the offense that purportedly incited the shame-circling, to students who had accused her of racial insensitivity:

‘Nicholas says, if you don’t like a costume someone is wearing, look away, or tell them you are offended. Talk to each other. Free speech and the ability to tolerate offence are the hallmarks of a free and open society.

But — again, speaking as a child development specialist — I think there might be something missing in our discourse about the exercise of free speech (including how we dress ourselves) on campus, and it is this: What does this debate about Halloween costumes say about our view of young adults, of their strength and judgment?

In other words: Whose business is it to control the forms of costumes of young people? It’s not mine, I know that.’

Greg Lukianoff at F.I.R.E had this pegged from the get-go, because it’s what he does for a living.

When a mob comes calling, administrations usually don’t have your back:

‘However, there is something conspicuously missing from their otherwise strong statement: an explicit promise that neither Erika nor Nicholas Christakis will be forced or pressured to resign or otherwise punished in any way. Throughout my career, I have seen countless instances where university administrators pressured faculty to resign for controversial expression.’

I humbly submit that many truth and knowledge claims behind the total-equality seekers, the activists and planned-society-seekers, the safe-spacers and injustice warriors ends up…right here.

Perpetual grievance and victimhood theater, with new victims.

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As for Yale…

Full post here.

Reason post here.

NY Times piece here.

Christopher Hitchens on re-printing the cartoons that incited Islamic violence:

‘According to Yale logic, violence could result from the showing of the images—and not only that, but it would be those who displayed the images who were directly responsible for that violence.’

See Also:  If you thought the cartoons were bad, more on the Fitna movie here.  From The NY Times: Review Of Christopher Caldwell’s Book “Reflections on the Revolution in Europe: Immigration, Islam, and the West”  Libertarians love this issue:  Repost-A Canadian Libertarian Making Noise: Ezra Levant 

Ever more inclusion until we can’t any longer. On this site, see: Louis Menand At The New Yorker: ‘Live And Learn: Why We Have College’..

Once you take apart the old structure, you have to criticize the meritocracy you’ve helped create: David Brooks At The NY Times: ‘Why Our Elites Stink’

The anti-intellectual’s intellectual: Repost-Via Youtube: Eric Hoffer-’The Passionate State Of Mind’

Leo Strauss:From Darwinian Conservatism By Larry Arnhart: “Surfing Strauss’s Third Wave of Modernity”

A deeper look at what education “ought” to be, which is remarkably like it is now: A Review Of Martha Nussbaum’s ‘Cultivating Humanity: A Classical Defense of Reform in Liberal Education.

How dare he?: Repost-Revisting Larry Summers: What Did He Say Again?From The Harvard Educational Review-

Still reliving the 60′s?: A Few Thoughts On Robert Bork’s “Slouching Towards Gomorrah”

The classical liberal tradition…looking for classical liberals in the postmodern wilderness: Isaiah Berlin’s negative liberty: A Few Thoughts On Isaiah Berlin’s “Two Concepts Of Liberty”From George Monbiot: ‘How Freedom Became Tyranny’…Looking to supplant religion as moral source for the laws: From The Reason Archives: ‘Discussing Disgust’ Julian Sanchez Interviews Martha Nussbaum.New liberty away from Hobbes?: From Public Reason: A Discussion Of Gerald Gaus’s Book ‘The Order of Public Reason: A Theory of Freedom And Morality In A Diverse And Bounded World’…Richard Rorty tried to tie postmodernism and trendy leftist solidarity to liberalism, but wasn’t exactly classically liberal: Repost: Another Take On J.S. Mill From “Liberal England”

What Would Hitchens Say? Via The NY Times: ‘Six PEN Members Decline Gala After Award for Charlie Hebdo’

From FIRE.org-‘Federal Government Mandates Unconstitutional Speech Codes At Colleges And Universities Nationwide’

Full post here.

Sure it’s fun to mock the p.c. crowd, but this is p.c. on steroids. Greg Lukianoff, founder of FIRE (Foundation For Individual Rights In Education) sees a new threat on the doorstep:

“In 2011, the Department of Education took a hatchet to due process protections for students accused of sexual misconduct. Now the Department of Education has enlisted the help of the Department of Justice to mandate campus speech codes so broad that virtually every student will regularly violate them.’

The kind of corruption we saw coming out of the IRS is of a piece, too.

More from the article:

‘Among the forms of expression now punishable on America’s campuses by order of the federal government are: 

  • Any expression related to sexual topics that offends any person. This leaves a wide range of expressive activity—a campus performance of “The Vagina Monologues,” a presentation on safe sex practices, a debate about sexual morality, a discussion of gay marriage, or a classroom lecture on Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita—subject to discipline.

  • Any sexually themed joke overheard by any person who finds that joke offensive for any reason.

  • Any request for dates or any flirtation that is not welcomed by the recipient of such a request or flirtation.’

This blog would like to make a brief appeal:

Without glossing too much over the historical record nor the clear moral wrongs of this country’s legacy and institutions to black folks:  The above approach is closing doors you might want to keep open.  No one can take away the civil rights ethos of your elders that’s been passed down to you.  It’s been vital in carving out space for freedom, inclusion under the law, truth, wisdom, safety, dignity and common purpose.  It’s your legacy.

That said, the playing field has changed and will continue to change.  Activists and progressive political coalitions like the ones we have in power will by their nature churn out bad, restrictive laws that tend to favor a few (usually themselves and their cronies) in the name of all.  Every law that can be used to favor your interests, can be used against your interests.

To appeal further, hopefully beyond the typical libertarian argument (freedom vs. coercion, the individual vs. the State) I would say such progressive activism can harm the soil out of which future generations will grow:  The church through onerous regulations and laws which contradict church doctrine, the neighborhood through a weakened and stagnant economy, the healthy bonds that can unite different groups society-wide by encouraging political favoritism and corruption which erodes the public trust.

What am I missing?

Related On This SiteGreg Lukianoff At FIRE.Org: ‘Emily Bazelon And The Danger Of Bringing “Anti-Bullying” Laws To Campus’

From Volokh: ‘Conservatives, Libertarians, and Civil Rights History’Libertarianism In The Mainstream?: Rand Paul In The Spotlight…Thomas Sowell archives here.

Race And Free Speech-From Volokh: ‘Philadelphia Mayor Suggests Magazine Article on Race Relations Isn’t Protected by the First Amendment’

What about black people held in bondage by the laws..the liberation theology of Rev Wright…the progressive vision and the folks over at the Nation gathered piously around John Brown’s body?: Milton Friedman Via Youtube: ‘Responsibility To The Poor’……Robert George And Cornel West At Bloggingheads: “The Scandal Of The Cross”

Greg Lukianoff At FIRE.Org: ‘Emily Bazelon And The Danger Of Bringing “Anti-Bullying” Laws To Campus’

Full review here.

FIRE: The Foundation For Individual Rights In Education.  Lukianoff is the founder.

‘If those of us who defend civil liberties had to name our greatest historical adversary, the leading candidate could be summed up in two words: moral panic. Moral panic is a sudden, powerful, and often highly exaggerated perception within a society that people or their values are facing a dire threat.’

Bullying was the cause celebre for a while, especially amongst those looking for another group of victims to rally around.  Bazelon seems to have taken a more sober and reasoned approach.  This blog is generally supportive of those who aim to protect our civil liberties by battling swells of sentiment which can surge into bad law.

That’s right, gun control advocates, give your politicians better signals, please. 

‘Bazelon emphasizes “bullying, wherever it takes place, isn’t on the rise. It feels more pervasive only because the Web is pervasive,” and that “Though bullying is a problem that cuts across lines of class, race, and geography, the reality is that most kids aren’t directly involved — either as perpetrators or as targets.” She also repeats that punishing bullying often is not the best answer. I was pleasantly surprised to see her acknowledge that there “is truth in the old sticks-and-stones chant,” for which the book is named.’

***Apparently, according to an email, it’s not ‘conservative’ enough to support libertarians in their fight against progressivism, or to support liberals who use J.S. Mill’s harm principle to challenge further Left rationalist totalitarian-types

Nor to give Glenn Greenwald’s civil libertarian tendencies a hearing when it comes to drones and the rule of law, or support Peruvian Mario Vargas Llosa’s libertarian and slow change tendecies which blossomed out of the Leftism of his youth, all too standard in Bolivar’s South America.

Admit it, even if you came to learn that Christopher Hitchens started out a Marxist materialist, and ended up a contrarian, eventually tethering himself to the New Atheists, you probably enjoyed it when he defended freedom of speech against its erosion by the politically correct multiculturalists, or perhaps when he wrote his polemics supporting the Iraq war.

Keep the back flap of the tent open, and let people come have a look around.  Civil libertarians are a lot better to have around than intolerant Leftists.

Related On This Site: On Mario Vargas Llosa-Adam Kirsch At The City Journal: ‘The Dream Of The Peruvian’

Christopher Hitchens At Slate: ‘Reflections on Political Violence’

Richard Epstein At Defining Ideas: ‘Drone Wars’

Monday Quotation From Charles Kesler And A Few Thoughts on ConservatismFrom Becker And Posner: Posner On The Future Of ConservatismFrom Darwinian Conservatism: ‘The Evolution of Mind and Mathematics: Dehaene Versus Plantinga and Nagel’

A Few Thoughts On Foreign Policy-Adam Garfinkle At The American Interest: ‘Conservative Principles Of World Order’A Few Quotations From F.A. Hayek’s: ‘Why I Am Not A Conservative’From Volokh: ‘Conservatives, Libertarians, and Civil Rights History’