The Coddling of the American Mind with Jonathan Haidt

by Scott Barry Kaufman, September 5, 2018

“There are two ideas about safe spaces. One is a very good idea, and one is a terrible idea. The idea of being physically safe on a campus, not being subjected to sexual harassment and physical abuse, or being targeted for something specifically for some sort of hate speech… I’m perfectly fine with that. But there’s another that is now ascendent, which I just think is a horrible view, which is ‘I need to be safe ideologically, I need to be safe emotionally, I just need to feel good all the time. And if someone says something that I don’t like, that is a problem for everyone else, including the administration.’ I think that is a terrible idea for the following reason: I don’t want you to be safe ideologically. I don’t want you to be safe emotionally. I want you to be strong. That’s different. I’m not going to pave the jungle for you. Put on some boots, and learn how to deal with adversity. I’m not going to take all the weights out of the gym. That’s the whole point of the gym. This is the gym.

— Anthony Van Jones

Today we have Jonathan Haidt on the podcast. Dr. Haidt is a social psychologist at New York University’s Stern School of Business. Dr. Haidt’s research examines the intuitive foundations of morality, and how morality varies across cultures— including the cultures of American progressive, conservatives, and libertarians. Haidt is the author of The Happiness Hypothesis, and of The New York Times bestseller The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion. His third book, co-authored with Greg Lukianoff, is called The Coddling of the American Mind: How Good Intentions and Bad Ideas are Setting up a Generation for Failure.

In this episode we discuss:

  •  “The tumultuous years” on college campuses from 2015-2017
  • Wisdom and its opposite
  • The three great untruths
  • The main aims of Heterodox Academy
  • The importance of exposing students to opposing views on campus
  • The detrimental effects of moral amplification
  • How moral foundations theory helps explain political divides
  • The common humanity of liberals and conservatives
  • The psychological function of having a common enemy
  • How social media amplifies tribalism
  • The rise of antifragility
  • The net effect of “callout culture”
  • The importance of play in early childhood
  • The importance of cognitive behavioral therapy and sharpening your intuitions
  • The importance of both racial/ethnic minority diversity and viewpoint diversity
  • How to help young people flourish in college

Links

Heterodox Academy

Wisdom as a classical source of human strength: Conceptualization and empirical inquiry

Moral amplification and the emotions that attach us to saints and demons

Liberals and conservatives rely on common moral foundations when making moral judgments about influential people

How to Win Friends and Influence People

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