1. Fragility: What doesn’t kill you makes you weaker.
2. Emotional Reasoning: Always trust your feelings.
3. Us vs Them: Life is a battle between good & evil ppl.
1. They contradict ancient wisdom.
2. They contradict psychology research on well being.
3. They harm the communities that accept them.
As is standard for pop-sci books, chapter opens with illustrative story and study. This time a preschool being overcautious about peanut allergies & a study that revealed early exposure to peanuts helped reduces amount of allergic reactions.
Conflating protection of emotion/feeling of university students as safety = bad.
Concept creep has lead to the over pathologising of normal behavior/experience.
Hypothetical campus counselling session to start the chapter sounds fantastical. Counsellor advising someone who feels anxious they may be damaged for life and need to hide... seems unlikely. 😂 Contrasted with ancient wisdom examples.
1. Emotional reasoning
3. Over generalising
4. Black and white thinking
7. Negative filtering
8. Discounting positives
Chapter 3: Us vs. Them
Starts by emphasising importance of charitable interpretation. Discusses controversies over emails from academics (Spellman & Christakis) that led to student outcry. I agree that these two are ex’s of dramatic overreactions by students.
Chapter 4: Intimidation and violence
This chapter starts off with a discussion of the violent protests at Berkeley over Milo’s talk. There is a pretty nuanced treatment of this event despite clear condemnation of the attacks and the rhetoric surrounding them.
Witch-hunts and similar phenomenon are a result of 1) perception of severe threat from outside and/or 2) loss of internal cohesion in a given society. There is a long interesting tangent about Durkheim and how his theories might apply to witchhunts.
Chapter 6: The Polarization Cycle
This third part signals a move from describing the nature of the problem to turning to (what they see) as the causes. There will be six ‘explanatory threads’ documented in Part III. They do a good job of caveating that these causes...
Starts with powerful personal anecdote by Greg about how he used CBT to overcome suicidal thoughts. Can certainlybsee why that would make you an enthusiastic advocate for the method.
Intro to this chapter discusses benign sounding case of a women letting her 9 year old son ride the subway alone to get home and how she was dubbed America’s worst mother. I’ve heard Haidt wax lyrical about free range parenting before and it ...
Starts by discussing the importance of play to mammal development. Discusses some animal studies that while fascinating are also pretty depressing as they involve emotionally/physically tormenting social animals. 😩
Chapter starts with a return to the less than convincing hypothetical university counsellor visit from Ch 2. Here they link it to a real case where students were warned of possible penalties for sharing suicidal thoughts with other...
Chapter opens with discussion of voting habits and age range. They posit that the current ‘social justice’ era might be a new version of the dramatic politics of 1968-1972. The listing of recent political/notable events is troubling but also...
Ok so now we are getting to their solutions. I’m anxious about what they are going to argue for here given their less than convincing and chapters about the unflattering defining characteristics of iGen. But willing to 👂and potentially be surprised!
Give them responsibility and let them take some risks ✅
Let kids travel by themselves small distances and male friends with nearby kids ✅
Teach kids CBT techniques 🤔 (not sure this is necessary beyond some very basic principles)
Teach children mindfulness 🤔 (not convinced by claims made here, feel overstated)
Stress common humanity and respect ✅
Fundamental purpose of univeristy is promote knowledge and truth. Universities that fail to promote truth in service of ideology or profit seeking then they are not good universities. Same goes for professors.
2. Pick best mix of people: better to have more diverse student body, esp. older students/political views.
4. Draw larger circle around community: Stress...
They summarise their thesis as being based on three contrasts.
1. Young people are not fragile vs. What doesn’t kill you makes you weaker
2. We are all prone to emotional reasoning and confirmation bias vs. Trust your emotions they are always correct
They think the embrace of the three ‘untruths’ is causing current problems and restate their summary with a final hat tip to Pinker’s ‘Enlightenment Now’. Optimism warranted.
1. Social media & tech reforms 👍
2. Potential harms of overprotection of kids now more widely acknowledged 👌
4. Universities committing to free speech and pushing back against safetyism 🤔
Odd closing argument about market forces likely resolving everything. Maybe an attempt to end on a 🤗