“The Coddling of the American Mind” – Lukainoff and Haidt

  1. The authors write that the current trend of providing trigger warnings and calling out microaggressions is more than a simple resurgence of political correctness. What is different now?
  2. What is vindictive protectiveness? Why are they concerned about it?
  3. Trace the causal chain the authors lay out to explain how the current culture evolved.
  4. How do the authors connect emotional reasoning to the problem they see on college campuses?
  5. Lukainoff and Haidt assert, “Schools may be training students in thinking styles that will damage their careers and friendships, along with their mental health.” How do they arrive at this assertion? Trace the logic of their reasoning.
  6. Explain the connection the authors see between fortune-telling and trigger warnings.
  7. Why do the authors believe that trigger warnings are problematic?
  8. What problems do the authors see with micro aggressions? With zero tolerance?
  9. After laying out the problems on college campuses, Lukainoff and Haidt conclude, “Rather than trying to protect students from words and ideas that they will inevitably encounter, colleges should do all they can to equip students to thrive in a world full of words and idea that they cannot control.” Respond to their conclusion: do you agree or disagree? Do you think there is a different way we should be looking at the situation?