A timely investigation into the new "safety culture" on campus and the dangers it poses to free speech, mental health, education, and ultimately democracy
The generation now coming of age has been taught three Great Untruths: their feelings are always right; they should avoid pain and discomfort; and they should look for faults in others and not themselves. These three Great Untruths are part of a larger philosophy that sees young people as fragile creatures who must be protected and supervised by adults. But despite the good intentions of the adults who impart them, the Great Untruths are harming kids by teaching them the opposite of ancient wisdom and the opposite of modern psychological findings on grit, growth, and antifragility.
The result is rising rates of depression and anxiety, along with endless stories of college campuses torn apart by moralistic divisions and mutual recriminations.
This is a book about how we got here. First Amendment expert Greg Lukianoff and social psychologist Jonathan Haidt take us on a tour of the social trends stretching back to the 1980s that have produced the confusion and conflict on campus today, including the loss of unsupervised play time and the birth of social media, all during a time of rising political polarization.
This is a book about how to fix the mess. The culture of “safety” and its intolerance of opposing viewpoints has left many young people anxious and unprepared for adult life, with devastating consequences for them, for their parents, for the companies that will soon hire them, and for a democracy that is already pushed to the brink of violence over its growing political divisions. Lukianoff and Haidt offer a comprehensive set of reforms that will strengthen young people and institutions, allowing us all to reap the benefits of diversity, including viewpoint diversity.
This is a book for anyone who is confused by what’s happening on college campuses today, or has children, or is concerned about the growing inability of Americans to live and work and cooperate across party lines.
“Our behavior in society is not immune to the power of rational scientific analysis. Through that lens, prepare yourself for a candid look at the softening of America, and what we can do about it.” (Neil deGrasse Tyson, director, Hayden Planetarium, and author of Astrophysics for People in a Hurry)