Nick Gillespie

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’

Reason Interview Via Youtube: ‘Dirty Jobs’ Mike Rowe On The High Cost Of College’

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Quite reasonable.

How do we best line-up expectations with aspirations, training with available jobs, and credentials with marketable skills?  Technology and global competition are forcing change rapidly, and Rowe pushes against the oversold idea that everyone should go to college (and many are going into non-dischargable debt to do so, driving-up prices rapidly).

A four-year degree is still worth the investment for many people, and higher annual incomes don’t lie, but there are many escalators leading out of four-year degree programs straight into unrelated cubicle-work, or back to Mom and Dad’s couch in this economy.  Buyer beware.

This blog holds out hope that a reasonable equality-of-opportunity approach can be maintained out of the mess of grade-inflation, watered-down standards, and the kind of competitive meritocracy that has come about.  I suspect the rise of helicopter-parenting and over-monitored kids has a lot to do with fewer perceived opportunities and more intense competition for those opportunities.

Any thoughts and comments are welcome.

Related On This Site: Should you get a college degree?:  Gene Expression On Charles Murray: Does College Really Pay Off?…Charles Murray In The New Criterion: The Age Of Educational Romanticism

,,Ron Unz At The American Conservative: ‘The Myth Of American Meritocracy’

Analagous to old media? What to change and what to keepFrom The Arnoldian Project: ‘Architecture, Campus, And Learning To Become’

Two Americas forming?:  Virginia Postrel At Bloomberg: ‘How The Elites Built America’s Economic Wall’

The libertarian angle, getting smart, ambitious people off of the degree treadmill:  From The American Interest: Francis Fukuyama Interviews Peter Thiel-’A Conversation With Peter Thiel’ I think it’s going too far, trying to apply libertarian economics onto education, but Milton Friedman on Education is thought-provoking.

Via Youtube-Reason’s Matt Welch & Nick Gillespie Interview George Will

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Exploring the libertarian/conservative divide.   Will is always a pleasure, and as he terms it, a Henry Clay/Abraham Lincoln Whig from Illinois.

He puts his finger on a lot of things in the video, but this stuck out.  The regulators and the regulated:

We have produced an enormous number of people who think they’re entitled to rule, who are trained to rule, which is to say, trained to administer the regulatory State, and arguably, absent the New Deal, we wouldn’t have had the regulatory state, which gave rise to this class…

I’m sure there can be philosophical disagreement, especially about that last part, but with an anemic 1-2% economic growth and many young people living at home, we’re pretty much arguing more about less at the moment.

This reminded me of Charles Kesler’s Four Waves Of Liberalism theory, a deep conservative political philosophy.

Addition:  Another quote from Will,  which highlights something I think many libertarians and conservatives can usually agree upon, and where the divide between libertarians/conservatives and liberals can be striking (he obviously doesn’t mean that percentage accurately):

“98% percent of the what the government does is for factions, or what the founders called factions, which are those who are not public-spirited, but private spirited, who are trying to bend public power to private advantage.”

The refrain I hear most often from frustrated libertarians/conservatives is that ideologically, progressives pursue aims which naturally lead to an enormous public sector and State.  Individual “rights” are not there to be safeguarded, but rather conferred by membership in a group of activists and ‘community’ members, the better of whom will lead the government.

This puts progressive interests in charge of the public power while they pursue their private interests.  There are good and smart people among them, of course, but this model came with many unelected czars, an army of rent-seeking bureaucrats (focusing on the environment, health-care & education especially), union cartels potentially free-riding on the public good and various other hangers-on looking for money, power, and influence.

Whatever your views on your moral obligations to others, and what kind of society you’d like to live in, this is a particularly inefficient and often corruptible way to go about it.

Considering the fact that we’ve had a steadily growing government for awhile now, with ever more questionable and complex legislation coming from both sides of the aisle, along with a public making conflicting and sometimes incompatible demands upon elected officials, it’s no wonder there’s such frustration all around.

Of course, we can all be guilty of overlooking our own interests and justifying our actions with noble purpose and lofty ideals. but that’s one of the beauties of our system:  Many of our founders knew this all too well.

Addition:  The American Conservative Blog isn’t convinced by Will’s libertarian bent:

If you substitute “pointy heads” for big government, Will’s intellectual evolution begins to make perfect sense. His newfound libertarianism isn’t theoretical so much as it’s personal. He’s basically the same George Will—just older and crankier.

Related On This Site:  No cosmic theories (or grand continental ones) for George Will, thank you: …Repost-Via Youtube: ‘George Will Discusses Metaphysical Concepts’George Will Via The Jewish World Review: ‘America’s Political Disharmony’

The NY Times op-ed writer and a practicing Catholic? William Saletan and Ross Douthat At Slate: ‘Liberalism Is Stuck Halfway Between Heaven And Earth’…Douthat’s The Grand New PartyRoss Douthat At First Principles: ‘The Quest for Community in the Age of Obama: Nisbet’s Prescience’

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’

Monday Quotation From Charles Kesler And A Few Thoughts on Conservatism

The Hoover Institution Via Youtube: Charles Murray On ‘Coming Apart’

Charles Murray At The New Criterion: ‘Belmont & Fishtown’Charles Murray Lecture At AEI: The Happiness Of People…Can you maintain the virtues of religion without the church…of England?:  From The City Journal: Roger Scruton On “Forgiveness And Irony”…

 Robert Nozick merged elements of Kant and Locke into a strong, libertarian defense of the individual, and also responded to Rawls distributive justice:  A Few Thoughts On Robert Nozick’s “Anarchy, State and Utopia”…liberals attack: From Slate: ‘The Liberty Scam-Why Even Robert Nozick, The Philosophical Father Of Libertarianism, Gave Up On The Movement He Inspired.’

LIbertarianism at high tide against a particularly liberal administration?…Anarcho-capitalism:  Pro-market, anti-state, anti-war…paleo-libertarian: Link To Lew Rockwell Via A Reader…Anarcho-syndicalist, libertarian socialist and sometime blind supporter of lefty causes:  Via Youtube: (1 of 3) Kant, Chomsky and the Problem of KnowledgeTwo Sunday Quotations By Albert Jay Nock in ‘Anarchist’s Progress’…new liberty away from Hobbes?: Repost-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’

Updated:  Clink on this link to explore the ideas of David Friedman, and his brand of libertarianism and anarcho-capitalism for yourself.  Many of his positions are well-reasoned and should be considered on their merits.  Few people make such a compelling and clear argument for private property: Youtube Via Libertarianism.Org-David Friedman: ‘The Machinery Of Freedom’.

Some Friday Quotations: (On) Kant, Locke, and Pierce

Daddy’s Gonna Make You Do It

Nick Gillespie’s piece at Reason here: ‘3 Cheers for Coercive Paternalism – Or, Why Rich, Elected Officials Really are Better than You’

Where did Mayor Bloomberg get his ideas?

A few ticks left of ‘Libertarian Paternalism,’ Gillespie links to Sarah Conly’s piece at the NY Times: ‘Three Cheers For the Nanny State‘ expanding upon her book ‘Against Autonomy: Justifying Coercive Paternalism.’

‘Coercive Paternalism’ has a nice ring to it.