“The Coddling of the American Mind: How Good Intentions and Bad Ideas Are Setting Up a Generation for Failure” by Greg Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt

Niall Ferguson in The Times:

The speed with which campus life has changed for the worse is one of the most important points made by Greg Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt in this important if disturbing book. Lukianoff is a lawyer and head of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (Fire), which works to protect academic freedom. Haidt is a professor of social psychology at NYU’s Stern School of Business and the founder of Heterodox Academy, which promotes intellectual diversity in academic life — the one type of diversity that universities appear not to care about.

Of course, the authors no more believe in a prelapsarian paradise than I do. When Allan Bloom published The Closing of the American Mind more than 30 years ago, there were already reasons to worry about where the fad for “political correctness” was leading: after all, Bloom’s subtitle was How Higher Education Has Failed Democracy and Impoverished the Souls of Today’s Students. The crusade against the western civilisation and the “dead white men” who created it is not new.

But Lukianoff and Haidt are describing not the closing but the losing of the American mind. In their view, things changed as recently as 2013, when they first heard students demanding that “triggering” material be removed from courses and “offensive” speakers be disinvited from giving talks.

More here.