The coddling of the american mind thesis

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the coddling of the american mind thesis

Mehrsa (The United States)’s review of The Coddling of the American Mind: How Good Intentions and Bad Ideas Are Setting Up a Generation for Failure

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Jonathan Haidt - The Coddling of the American Mind

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Jonathan Haidt

The Coddling of the American Mind

In The Coddling of the American Mind , Jonathan Haidt and Greg Lukianoff argue that well-intentioned adults are unwittingly harming young people by raising them in ways that implicitly convey three untruths:. In their telling, the spread of these untruths, especially in the middle and upper classes, helps to explain a spike in mental-health problems among young people and recent tumult on the campuses of highly selective colleges. I liked the book, which has its origins in a cover story in this magazine. The updated thesis, when fleshed out across detailed chapters, struck me as clearly stated, logically argued, and plausibly true—and the proposed remedies struck me as highly unlikely to do harm. They even include practical advice for conveying those lessons in child-rearing.

While the authors seem bent on sparking a movement, their thesis will struggle to win over their tremulous subjects. Photograph: Getty Images. Published in , The Closing of the American Mind was a recondite jeremiad against cultural relativism and declining academic standards — not the material of your average blockbuster. But it shifted a million-plus copies. By design of its title and subject, The Coddling of the American Mind invites comparison with this near-namesake. And not a few dancing bears stalk its pages.

In The Coddling of the American Mind, Jonathan Haidt and Greg The updated thesis, when fleshed out across detailed chapters, struck me.
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How Good Intentions and Bad Ideas Are Setting Up a Generation for Failure

The Coddling of the American Mind: A First Principles Conversation with Dr. Jonathan Haidt

The first section of the book focuses on three great untruths that the authors say now "dominate college campuses" [6] —untruths that have been increasingly included as part of American childhood and education. Part III discusses "rising political polarization and cross party animosity". They claim that the left and right are "locked into a game of mutual provocation and reciprocal outrage". They cited Allison Stanger , "Political life and discourse in the United States is at a boiling point, and nowhere is the reaction to that more heightened than on college campuses. In part IV the authors call on university and college administrators to identify with freedom of inquiry by endorsing the Chicago principles on free speech [7] : , through which university and colleges notify students in advance that they do not support the use of trigger warnings or safe spaces. On this point they cite Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn 's The Gulag Archipelago , " If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them.

I am pleased to have been wrong. The title is a discordant note coming from two authors who center the benefits of rational debate as a necessary part of our public discourse. They believe this plays a factor in some of the campus speech disputes as students are acculturated to fearing anything that may prove challenging and react accordingly. This is the problem that Haidt and Lukianoff say they want to attack, and I am with them. Unfortunately, the book is the equivalent of describing the noxious fumes which permeate the landscape without digging for the source of the toxins. Their solutions are the equivalent of providing respirators to some of the people breathing the poison, rather than cleaning up the Superfund site. They do so without ever questioning the underlying culture in which safetyism seems to thrive.

1 COMMENTS

  1. Lorraine L. says:

    Lukianoff and Haidt produce evidence from several sources, including David D.

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