The Coddling of the American Mind

Greg Lukianoff, Jonathan Haidt, The Atlantic, Aug 13, 2015
Commentary by Stephen Downes

Actually, the best bit of this post is the list of common cognitive disorders at the end of the article, taken from Robert L. Leahy, Stephen J. F. Holland, and Lata K. McGinn’s Treatment Plans and Interventions for Depression and Anxiety Disorders (2012). The rest of the article is an extended argument to the effect that people who are opposed or sensitive to objectionable discourse should buck up and get tougher. It's not an exaggeration. They object, for example, to this case of microaggression: "I believe the most qualified person should get the job." This is a dog whistle, and people recognize it as such. From my perspective, the opposition to 'political correctness' is based on the desire of a certain subset of people to be boorish, offensive, racist and worse. No, you can't mandate a change in language. But you can demonstrate through personal and social policy that such language isn't tolerated in polite society. And the university, of all places, should be polite society. And - in my view - it's the increasing tolerance for boorish, offensive, racist and worse behaviour that signals the decline in American discourse, not the opposition to it.

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