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Ep. 37 – The Coddling of the American Mind: Trigger Warnings, Microaggressions, and the Failure of the Academy (Interview with FIRE President Greg Lukianoff)


After their disruptive essay in The Atlantic was released in 2015 on the harm of trigger warnings and microagressions, Greg Lukianoff and co-author Jonathan Haidt followed up by publishing their new book, The Coddling of the American Mind: How Good intentions and Bad Ideas Are Setting Up a Generation for Failure.

Using scientific research, they support their claims that “trigger warnings” and “microaggressions” are actually causing serious, negative repercussions that harm the students they’re trying to protect.  Greg Lukianoff is the President of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) and is a fierce advocate of academic freedom.

SHOW NOTES 

  • 5:30 Discover why it’s so hard to define a “safe space” – because there are at least seven different definitions ranging from reasonable to mostly ridiculous!
  • 7:30 Learn how liberals have hijacked the term “triggering,” which medically gives a heads-up to those suffering from PTSD when a word or phrase might evoke traumatic memories
  • 9:30 The obsession with “trigger warnings” is so bad that professors are afraid to train law students in sexual assault law – which lawyers have to know to defend victims.
  • 14:00 Lukianoff defines microaggressions and tells us who’s pushing this toxic type of political correctness.
  • 17:05 Discover how even some left-wing professors are outraged by this political correctness, and how they can join conservatives against self-styled “progressives” who believe free speech is the problem, not the solution.
  • 18:50 Lukianoff tells us what we can do to fight for academic freedom and freedom of speech, and how the fight is winnable.
  • 22:00 One Last Thing…with Greg Lukianoff” bonus episode is available for only for VIP Members!  Register here
  • 22:45 What will happen if America goes farther down the road of political correctness, and if free speech fails? Lukianoff explains the sobering effects on mental health.
  • 25:10 Why aren’t state legislatures making a more conspicuous effort to help schools in this fight for free speech? Learn about the victories won for free speech by Lukianoff and FIRE working with local legislatures!

OUR GUEST AUTHORGreg Lukianoff

  • Greg Lukianoff is an attorney, the president of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), and a graduate of American University and Stanford Law School.
  • He has testified several times before both the U.S. and House of Representatives on matters relating to free speech on American campuses, and his writing has appeared in The Washington Post, the New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Wall Street Journal, and The Boston Globe, in addition to dozens of other publications. He is a regular columnist for The Huffington Post and has appeared on television shows, including the “CBS Evening News,” “Fox & Friends,” “The Today Show,” CNN’s “New Day,” C-SPAN’s “Washington Journal,” and “Stossel.”
  • He was also the executive producer of “Can We Take a Joke?”, a feature-length documentary that explores the collision between comedy, censorship, and outrage culture both on and off campus.
  • In his free time he runs the Genetic Music Project, an open source genetic art project combining music and science.

BOOK OVERVIEW – The Coddling of the American Mind

  • Something has been going wrong on many college campuses in the last few years. Speakers are shouted down. Students and professors say they are walking on eggshells and are afraid to speak honestly. Rates of anxiety, depression, and suicide are rising—on campus as well as nationally. How did this happen?
  • First Amendment expert Greg Lukianoff and social psychologist Jonathan Haidt show how the new problems on campus have their origins in three terrible ideas that have become increasingly woven into American childhood and education: What doesn’t kill you makes you weakeralways trust your feelings; and life is a battle between good people and evil people.
  • Lukianoff and Haidt explore changes in childhood and on campuses, situating the conflicts on campus within the context of America’s rapidly rising political polarization and dysfunction.
  • The Coddling of the American Mind is a book for anyone who is confused by what is happening on college campuses today, or has children, or is  about the growing inability of Americans to live, work, and cooperate across party lines.

RESOURCES

ENDORSEMENTS

“This book is a much needed guide for how to thrive in a pluralistic society. Lukianoff and Haidt demonstrate how ancient wisdom and modern psychology can encourage more dialogue across lines of difference, build stronger institutions, and make us happier. They provide an antidote to our seemingly intractable divisions, and not a moment too soon.” —Kirsten Powers, author of The Silencing

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