Taking on the Culture of Safetyism by Amanda S. Green


*Sorry — mostly to Amanda — this is so late.  Have been out of house: cabinets. Making apartment downstairs self-sufficient… stuff. -SAH*

Taking on the Culture of Safetyism by Amanda S. Green

I don’t know about the rest of you, but a very large part of me wishes I’d been hiding under a rock, deep in the back of a cave. The media, which long ago forgot it was supposed to report the news and not frame it, much less try to make it (up), worked overtime to help destroy a man willing to step up and serve this country as a member of the Supreme Court. But that’s not what this post is about. More than enough has already been written on what a kangaroo court the Dems tried to make of Judge Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearing. I may have more to say on it later—hell, you know I will—but not this morning.

As I noted in my last post, I’ve been trying to find a book to read and comment on here. I needed a break from the crap I’d been reading. As much as I love snarking most of the books I review here, there comes a time when I have to step back and have a mental cleanse of sorts. I’ll get back to the snarking but even I, the masochistic book reviewer, can take only so much.

So, I’ve been trawling Amazon and other outlets looking for something to read. It needed to be something I could enjoy. It needed to be fairly well-written. It didn’t need to be completely in line with my own political or social beliefs. I’m adult enough to be able to read and consider other ideas. That’s part of learning. But I also didn’t want to be preached to. I can get that Sunday mornings by going to church—or by listening to Michelle Obama, et al.

I think I finally found the book. I’ve seen it mentioned a couple of times by friends but hadn’t had a chance to look at it until this morning. Life this week has been hectic, especially the last few days. That’s why this post is a day late.


The book I’m going to be covering the next couple of weeks is The Coddling of the American Mind: How Good Intentions and Bad Ideas are Setting Up a Generation for Failure by Greg Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt. The first paragraph of the book’s blurb sold me. I’m hoping the book lives up to the expectation:

First Amendment expert Greg Lukianoff and social psychologist Jonathan Haidt show how the new problems on campus have their origins in three terrible ideas that have become increasingly woven into American childhood and education: what doesn’t kill you makes you weaker; always trust your feelings; and life is a battle between good people and evil people. These three Great Untruths are incompatible with basic psychological principles, as well as ancient wisdom from many cultures. They interfere with healthy development. Anyone who embraces these untruths—and the resulting culture of safetyism—is less likely to become an autonomous adult able to navigate the bumpy road of life.

“Culture of safetyism”.

I might call it the “culture of feelz” but, in a way, it is the same thing. Our education system, the vocal minority from Hollywood, too many of our vocal politicians have preached this for years. We have moved away from taking responsibility for our own actions. We have forgotten one of the cornerstones of this nation: innocent until proven guilty.

Instead, it is a rush to judgment. Or, as I’ve said before, trial by innuendo and judgment by media. We’ve seen it with the sexual abuse allegations coming out of Hollywood. We’ve seen it with Judge Kavanaugh. What we haven’t seen is it with the Democrats. If we had, we’d see Keith Ellison under as much fire as Judge Kavanaugh.

And that, perhaps, will be a weakness in the book. Will it discuss the double-standard out there? Only time, and reading, will tell.

One thing is certain, there is that culture of safetyism in our schools and on our college campuses. Free speech areas have been moved from heavily trafficked areas of campus to more remote locations so those who might be upset by what’s said won’t have to listen. We have “safe spaces” for those who don’t want to associate with others who don’t fit their ideal of being the “right kind of person”. Once upon a time, that was called segregation. Today, it’s called safety.

Speakers have been canceled because they don’t pat the little darlings on the heads and tell them they too can grow up to be good socialists. If demanding they not be allowed to speak doesn’t work, the little darlings protest, often violently. Why? Because the speaker might hurt their feelings.

Funny, they don’t seem to give a damn about the feelings—or property—of others.

The why for all this is because there are no longer consequences for their actions. That begins in school. Districts are now disciplining teachers for—gasp—grading homework. Earlier this week, I saw a story about a teacher who lost her job because she refused to give an 80, if I remember correctly, to her students who failed to turn in homework. While I have long condemned the amount of homework many students have, this is ridiculous.

Then there are the districts that let students take tests over and over and over again until they not only pass but get a grade they want. What happened to studying for the damned exam or risking failing? This removal of consequences doesn’t help anyone, not in the long run.

There are other examples. The “every child is a winner” mind set also fails our kids. Yes, every child has his or her own talents but they have to learn that doesn’t mean they can do everything they want whenever they want. Not keeping score in games like softball or kickball because you don’t want to damage poor Johnny’s psyche is another. We need to teach our kids they won’t always win and how to lose with grace.

Schools have done away with titles like valedictorian. Why? Because they don’t want to make anyone feel bad because they didn’t do as well as Susie. As if that isn’t enough, other schools have quit noting placement in a class at all: no Top 10, etc. Only your grade. The problem? Universities are still interested in that sort of thing. So, by trying to insure everyone is equal, you are punishing those who excel.

Reading the free sample of the book, I have to say the authors seem to be hitting the problem square on the head.

“What doesn’t kill you makes you weaker. So avoid pain, avoid discomfort, and avoid all potentially bad experiences.”

Sound familiar? It should. It is what’s at the base of the demands for safe spaces and the attempts to keep folks like Milo, Vice President Pence and Ann Coulter from speaking on college campuses.

“Always trust your feelings. Never question them.”

We’ve seen that in full technicolor, to age myself, this week with the Kavanaugh hearings. How many have backed Ford without question because they “feel” her pain? How many of those attacking Judge Kavanaugh are doing so because they “feel” men are inherently evil or prone to doing as Ford has claimed? How many of them have failed to sit back and question their feelings and the so-called evidence against him?

“Life is a battle between good and evil people. . . You can see how bad and wrong some people are. You must call them out! Assemble a coalition of the righteous and shame the evil ones until they change their ways.”

Again, look at the behavior of some of those with regard to the Kavanaugh hearings. Jeff Flake was accosted, not that they would admit it, in the elevator by those wanting him to vote “the right way”. Senator Ted Cruz and his wife were run from a restaurant by so-called protesters who didn’t give a damn about them or the other diners at the restaurant. They had “feelz” and they should take precedence over all.

So, yeah, based on a couple of pages, I think this is the book to do. We’ll see how it goes.

166 thoughts on “Taking on the Culture of Safetyism by Amanda S. Green

      1. I have a safety kitten who definitely chomps a little extra-hard when play-fighting. (The other one doesn’t break the skin.) S’okay. You don’t get Cat Scratch Fever from indoor cats unless your house is truly nasty.

        1. Engine kitty would lovingly shred flesh when he would play, and with the sweetest of intentions.

  1. I think it was a 50% on the homework not turned in, rather than an 80% but yeah. Sounds like a good book.

      1. My sister is a middle school science teacher. She is not allowed to fail anyone. She still grades homework as zero if not turned in. But turning in homework only counts if you need it to bring up your grade. So if you can learn the material without turning in homework, good on you. Otherwise a “D” is a passing grade. Yes. There has been more than one parent that has tried to get rid of her, about every other year. More than once it has been the same parent every 2 or 3 years depending on the spread of the kids in that particular family. Personally I think sis should file harassment against the parent, but sis wouldn’t get away with that. Teachers are suppose to sit there & take it. I’d make a lousy teacher …

        When kid was in 6th grade, first year of middle school locally, we got a call from the teacher that he hadn’t turned in his writing assignment. What??? That is considered a “4th grade” problem with the kids going through the grade school closest to us … because it is setup to make sure each & every child fails to turn in a homework, to get the point through, always do & turn in your homework. Kid hadn’t failed to turn in homework since he succeed in the 4th grade fail. Well, what the “4th grade” problem doesn’t do is require done homework to be readable. That was the problem. The 6th grade teacher rejected the homework because it was not readable. He was suppose to redo it so readable & turn it back in, which he hadn’t done. Made him type it up, hand writing is never going to readable, ever; dad is a lousy example. Teacher would then call us if kid didn’t follow through. So kid redid homework (plus we forced him to reorganized his school work so nothing could get “lost”), by typing it up, & turned it in, before the new due date. We get a call from the teacher that the homework HADN’T been turned in. So, I tear out from work, pull him out of his class, verify by checking his notebook that, yes work is not in there, already verified not at home. He says I turned in on Wednesday, into “Wednesdays” basket. I called the teacher back told her I’d checked was with him, after pulling him from class, & it had been turned in on Wednesday. Matter of fact, no accusations, just let her know that was what had happened so she could find the work. Let the kid know that teachers make mistakes too, but we had to follow through when she couldn’t find it.

        Result, note this was not requested: Teacher found paperwork where he’d said it was (she looked originally in wrong basket) apologized to kid in class that she had said he hadn’t followed through, when he had. Called us to also apologize & thank us. Not only had we followed through on backing her to have him redo the homework. When she called that day about the missing homework, we followed through again, then didn’t beat her over the head with it. Or let the kid do so. We were rare parents.

        1. Sheesh. But my frame of reference was five years as an Aerospace Engineering student at Virginia Tech. Where the freshman loss rate was 50%…and the sophomore loss rate about 30%. As one professor (a good one) told us, “I get paid whether you pass or fail.”

            1. Oh man. I hope he at least has been given coping strategies for same (whether structural or medicinal.) ADHD is a subtly nasty thing that many people have to cope with alone because “it would be fine if you’d just focus.” (Which of course is the whole PROBLEM…)

          1. We had a few flunkout/.weedout courses at the Ivory Corn Silo. CS101 (Mostly Fortran IV on an IBM 360, getoffmylawn!) was one, and for many EEs, Theoretical and Applied Mechanics 154. They dropped the requirement for EEs just before the add-drop date, and a few others I knew dropped it. OTOH, my roommate and I (both EE) were getting As, and it was fun. (Same semester as CS101. Whee!) Side note: I’ll use that knowledge occasionally, still.

            I’d type reports and term papers on the Olivetti From Hell. If you didn’t have a really smooth touch, it would helpfully add an extra space between letters. I didn’t, and got really familiar with the typewriter eraser. No white-out, see lawn comment above. (I’ve had an application or two that would make a typing sound when you hit a key. I loath those and turn off the freaking, obnoxious, hellspawn sound at once.)

            1. I actually miss the old clickkey keyboards. Not as loud as an old-fashioned typewriter, but they let you know when you have made enough contact to type the letter.

              1. I don’t mind the key clicking, but the whack of the machine striking the paper gives me trouble.

      2. I got an A in College Algebra even though when I took the final exam I didn’t even recognize half the problems (I have serious math issues, When I learn it, I can usually do it OK for a day or two, but then it’s gone and I have to learn it all over again). I got the A because the Prof was told he wasn’t allowed to fail anyone, and – according to the syllabus – homework was something like 50% of our grade (strangely, the grade was just for the turning in of the homework, It didn’t even have to be correct to get full credit).

        SO, even though I did horrible on the final, I did “OK” on the quizzes and ALWAYS turned in my homework, which a huge percentage of the class didn’t (There were maybe 3 or 4 of us turning in any given assignment). I rode the grading curve to an A. Without the curve, the Prof said over 2/3 of the class would have failed.

        1. I hated “grading on the curve” as I always wanted the “grade I earned” not a grade based on “how everybody else did”.

          IE If I earned a “D” then I should get the “D”.

          Oh, one professor I had gave a quiz on material that wasn’t covered in his class because “he wanted to know if we knew that stuff”.

          Of course, he graded the quiz on the curve. 😡

          1. “I hated “grading on the curve” as I always wanted the “grade I earned” not a grade based on “how everybody else did”. IE If I earned a “D” then I should get the “D”.”

            Ditto. But, if I earned 92%, I wanted my “A”, not the “D” because of the curve. Or more likely in the high 80’s, then I earned my “B”. I despised grading on the curve.

        2. I tried to tutor a friend in high school who was like that, although he would forget even faster. I would slowly get him through a particular type of problem, do a couple in a row, then move on to the next type. After getting through that type, I gave him one of the previous type, and he had no idea how to start.

          Quite maddening to someone who eats math like candy.

          1. I’m not quite that bad. If I learned it when I was suppose to, then I retained it for awhile; not forever like hubby, but for awhile. Problem is I generally need a study group/tutor to “really get it”. Study group, worked best, because while I was rarely the first one to understand what was going on in the homework, I was never the last one so I could help the next person (Learn it, teach it to really learn it.) I did decent if I didn’t have this, but I did really good if I did.

          2. Imagine being on the other side of it. When I was younger, it was assumed that I just wasn’t applying myself so I was called a lazy kid and punished (usually rather harshly). By the time High School came around I’d pretty much given up on the whole thing and avoided math as much as possible. When I couldn’t avoid it, I studied right before class when we were going to have quizzes or tests. It was enough to make me barely pass.

            Finally, as a senior in High School, a sharp school concealer figured out something was going on and did some testing that showed I had a disability… but it was too late because I had already taken most of the required math and since she didn’t want it to follow me around for the rest of my life, she agreed to leave it out of my “official” school records.

            Still, occasionally a bit of math comes up when people are around and it’s embarrassing that everyone else just knows the answer (or at least how to get it) and I sit there looking stupid.

      3. My mother once had a kid, a senior, who, on the final, filled out the multiple choice at random and wrote taunting comments about not needing the course in the written answers. He forgot that while she could not give lower than a 40 for a quarter, she could go do to zero for a final.

        She gave him the randomly correct answers and therefore a 22 and a D for the year. His college told him he was on academic probation.

    1. I believe she already has one, and I do not believe their identity is anyone’s business outside of the Hoyt family.

  2. Good books to read, but probably wouldn’t provide grist for a snarky blog post: any of Victor Davis Hanson’s works, like The Savior Generals; 1776 or John Adams bio by McCullouch.

    1. I have recently returned the American Revolutionary period for the recorded book I listen to while doing chores and cooking. I just finished Peter Ellis’ Founding Brothers. I am presently debating with myself the next book. David McCullouch’s 1776 and John Adams are both in the cue. As are Ron Chernow’s Washington: A Life and Alexander Hamilton.

      1. I enjoy Chernow’s writing style. I think his Hamilton is a bit better than his Washington, so I’d actually recommend reading Washington first. 😉

  3. And each of those three things runs counter to the zeroth law of civilization: Treat Other People Like You Want To Be Treated.

    1. If You Were In Their Shoes.

      No, harassing someone to join your leisure time activities, and opting for emotional blackmail when they don’t, does not make you nice. It makes you extremely vicious.

  4. The culture of emotion uber alles and perpetual victimhood may be one of the things more toxic than a mercury-arsenic martini with a dash of strychnine.

    1. It’s a self correcting problem, in the long run.
      If your culture wants to remain in perpetual childhood and eschews “adulting”, eventually the adults will put a stop to it.

      1. Eventually … speaking of “adulting” – waiting in line to get some fabric cut at Hobby Lobby – amusing spontaneous conversation going on about sewing and Halloween costumes. Two thirtyish women in line behind me were asking how and where I had learned to sew, and envious beyond belief that my mother had taught me. (Mom was an incredible seamstress, capable of tackling complicated Vogue designer patters, involving tailoring.) Both younger women positively green with envy, and that they had missed having home ec classes in high school, where the sixtyish-aged woman in line ahead of me had learned to sew.
        Well, we pointed out – at the very least, women who really want to learn have youtube videos, now.

        1. The primary reason I moved heaven and earth (pretty literally; I’m pretty sure she came up in the attendance lottery just because Himself wanted to Shut Me Up) to get Kid in her current school is that they offer an entire period of Adulting classes in sophomore year. One month of car care, one month of cooking, one of budgeting, one of gardening…

          They also require a “thesis” to graduate. Options are academic-style research project; internship; design and possibly attempt a small business.

          1. How nice to hear that reality is following fiction — in my Luna City series, one of the minor features in the local school system, is that there is an “adulting” series taught by local experts: home maintenance, subsistence cooking (which the MC earns community responsibility credits by volunteering for), first aid, car maintenance, budgeting, handling a job interview … all that sort of stuff.
            My daughter had a class sort of like that in HS – she and her friends got very intense about it. How much it would cost to live and support a family? All the students drew cards which determined their situation. This was a Catholic school. She practically confiscated all my recipes and utility bills for several months, in the name of research.

            1. Those sound like neat classes — both the two real ones and the fictional. I wonder if I’d have taken one if offered the option… I was kind of trying to get through all the AP classes I could for both the college credit and GPA bonus, and my parents are very competent and available for consultation. (I need to learn more, though, and put the time into implementing.)

              My middle school did have one single elective that rotated students through shop, home ec, and some basic computer intro. I did like that one.

                1. Class is called “keyboarding”, now. Kid took that too.

                  Yes. Touch typing is a must have skill. Even as a programmer. Although I have seen very fast two fingered typing programmers, but it is weird to watch.

                  1. I could consistently two-finger 60PWPM on my 84-key IBM board. When too much software started wanting keycodes that board didn’t have, I moved to a 101-key IBM board. Dropped down to about 15WPM and never got much better after eight years of fighting it. The surfboards have deeply curved in the wrong direction, and for some reason they chose to offset the rows of keys different from the earlier boards. I still clip the corners of the wrong keys, reaching for the keys that *ought* to be there. And while the deeply-curved board might be the feline’s posterior for a 1950s bolt-upright-with-keyboard-in-your-lap typing position, that’s not how most people use a keyboard nowadays.

                    I’ve seen people brag they can thumb their phone faster than some people can use a keyboard; considering how awful most keyboards are, I believe it.

                    1. And while the deeply-curved board might be the feline’s posterior for a 1950s bolt-upright-with-keyboard-in-your-lap typing position, that’s not how most people use a keyboard nowadays.

                      Problem is, the higher location used by most people nowadays leads to a higher incidence of repetitive stress injury (such as carpal tunnel). I’m going to have my keyboard practically in my lap once I move to a new desk.

                    2. “Repetitive Stress – Carpal Tunnel”

                      I had been programming about 9 years, when my forearms started aching regularly. Lucky. Not carpal tunnel. Instead Tendinitis of the forearms, by using the mouse, of all things. Having the keyboard setup correctly isn’t enough if you are reaching too far for the mouse. Switching which side I used the mouse on, didn’t help. Just made the non-dominant side hurt faster. I have to use a touch pad, whether on a laptop or desktop with standard keyboard. It was good news/bad news. Carpal Tunnel has a treatment. Tendinitis, doesn’t.

                      Hubby has Carpal Tunnel from his job which involved pounding on logs for rot, for 35 years, & using handheld data entry. No surgery yet.

                  2. The only thing I’d like to see from keyboarding would be varying the keyboard size. A normal keyboard I can get a good run going sometimes. But most laptops and travel type keyboards make it much more difficult

                2. I hated typing (see earlier comment about the Olivetti from Hell), but the touch-typing stuck in my mind and muscle memory, and when I got to keyboards that didn’t KerChunk! with every stroke, I actually built up some speed.

                  In Junior HS, they started a woodshop course for the boys my second year (same year they set up a cooking/sewing Home Ec course for the girls). Between that and the sophomore metal shop class (had to browbeat my advisor into letting me take it; College Prep Kids Just Didn’t Do That. Until he met me), it’s made life a lot easier being able to do a lot of stuff for myself.

                  The budget now says I can afford to take a dedicated welding class; my skills are barely sufficient in some techniques, but ugly. The time of the class will matter; I’m still wary of night driving as my eyes heal.

                3. Same here, by far. Typing is still something I use every single day, and while Iv’e since learned to enjoy writing by hand (thank you fountain pens…) the ability to type rapidly and (mostly) precisely is just so very very useful.

                  1. I’m not the best typist in the world, but for me typing is much easier than writing by hand.

                    1. I have purely awful handwriting – and for me, it’s simply easier to type, or keyboard. I had about a week of HS typing class before being transferred out because of a conflict with a class that I REALLY NEEDED, and then my mother got me a chart that I practiced keystrokes and drills with.
                      Been tying ever since.

                    2. My handwriting is horrible, and with the advent of a bit of arthritis and the joys of age, it’s less than enjoyable. For all my typos, it’s still better than my penmanship; at least I can figure out what I’ve typed. Not always doable with my scrawl.

                    3. Most people (including myself) can read my hand-writing but I find it very hard to write for very long.

                  2. Taking typing in high school worked out; I ended up spending ~40 years (so far) working as a technical writer and editor.

                    My penmanship was nothing to write home about, but picking up fountain pens a few years ago has made a big difference, both in legibility and reduced hand stress. Gotta get some more ink before the weather goes too cold…

            2. Kid had the same class. Class made up families. Families had to budget for two adults & two kids, one of which was an infant; based off of current costs. Items went into “must have” & “want” categories. Then each person drew for careers & incomes. They then had to budget based on their lists of must & wants.

              I think what the kids got out of this was how expensive it was locally, especially rent. Even good incomes are difficult for a couple to manage.

              1. We had that, though there was a “single parent” option for those of us who didn’t want to have to find a boy (we were at an all-girls’ school.) As part of my side assignment, I researched a local co-op living group (I’ve forgotten the exact term, but there’s quite a few around the country.) Neat living arrangement, for those who want a mandatory semi-social neighborhood.

                1. “Single Parent option”

                  I think it wasn’t an “option” as much as it got drawn. Plus during the exercise, the “pairs” drew for “life happens”, one was in an accident or got sick, sick kid, third kid, twins, one died, divorce (custody not presumed), job lost, etc., really mixed things up. Then everyone had to present to class their results … honestly this was the hardest part for son. Not a public speaker.

                    1. strike: “feminine hygiene products”

                      replace with: “beer”

                      I can’t see it makes much difference in the larger scheme of things…

                    2. Well it is part of why it is such a common demographic that is targeted with marketing (why many people whose only experience with the US is media think that half the nation is gay). Best sort of buyers for nonessentials are DINK. Double income no kids.

                    3. Welcome to the US school system. Johnny may not be able to read or write but he can tell you how evil the western world is and a whole slew of sex acts.

                    4. Of course, if it wasn’t random, they picked the wrong family for it to be really offensive. Given your characters, it would go whoosh, right past the target.

                      But it was still a crappy thing to do, unless a kid requested it, and maybe even then.

                    5. In some sense I think it would be better to just randomly assign everyone a partner without any girl/boy pairing. No one is actually producing children, after all, and you’re not picking someone on compatibility issues.

                  1. You were supposed to pick your own partner, and since this was a Catholic girls’ school in the 90s, you had to pick a male from somewhere else. So for those of us who didn’t have a boyfriend and didn’t want to be paired with a father or brother, this option was provided.

                    We all had to have the nine-pound “baby”, though. Mine was a stuffed rabbit.

            3. Funny thing is, all these descriptions of “adulting” training skills read like the advancement and merit badge requirements the Boy Scouts used to have when I was growing up.

              Of course that was then, and today’s Boy Scouts aren’t your father’s Boy Scouts.

              1. Nope. Basic skills still required. Well not sewing. Although that is encouraged. But definitely orienteering (map & compass), camping, cooking, financial (*), family life or household chores, first aid, government for local, & national, etc.

                One of my more favorite examples is “You can pick one. 1) start with $.01 the first day, each day for 30 days the value doubles. Ex. $.01, $.02, $.04, days 1, 2, & 3, etc.; OR 2) $1./day for 30 days.” (don’t actually get the money; uh no way…) Scouts invariably pick option 2. Then I have them work out the math …

                Interestingly enough their econ teacher in HS gave the same story problem. They all remembered their lesson. They all chose option 1. FYI. The answer is 2 ^ 30; or just shy of 10 3/4 million.

        2. Hmm. I think that like cooking and carpentry (my two things), you also need practice – which in this case means patient models.

          Mom learned basic sewing from her mother – but I don’t think she really got good at the fancy things (prom dresses, etc.) until she had gone through at least two of the three daughters. Good thing she had them first; I was useless for practice. Except for taking pants legs up three inches and then dropping them back down about a half inch every three months. Oh, and putting in knee reinforcements.

        3. I had to teach a grown adult how to do a spot of hand sewing. As in “thread a needle and attach something to something else” level. And how to sew on a button.

          1. Actually, I think I really didn’t learn that until I was a grown person myself. (“Adult” – possibly not, from my cringing memories now…)

            I still, and probably will ever be, at the level of “it’s going to hold together until everything wears out around it, but it ain’t a gonna be pretty.” There are at least two shirts still in my closet that I have resewn every button onto – once. There would be more, but unless they are gifts, I don’t have button-down shirts. When I buy them, I buy those with snaps.

            It is interesting, though, to think about how skill sets change. Gram was a farm girl. She sewed, knitted, crocheted, embroidered, quilted, if it had to do with threads, she did it (well, probably not lace, other than what is called “lace” crocheted onto doilies). I even remember her pulling out a hand loom when one of the sisters was working on her Girl Scout badge for same.

            Mom sewed and knitted, pretty much. She could embroider and crochet, but wasn’t like her mother who always had a project at hand of one or the other.

            On the other hand, so far as cooking goes, I do all of the Midwest meat/potatoes/gravy/other vegetable/pie/cake things – but I also do a lot of cooking that neither Gram nor Mom would have had a clue about.

          2. One of the buttons came off my favorite jacket. I used the lathe to make a new one from aluminum and riveted it on. No fiddly needle-threading or stitching for rivets.

        4. I did OK in Home Ec cooking, lousy in sewing, and well in shop. I eventually won massive hall-creds in college for mending a formal that had let go on the seam – while the gal was wearing it and was on her way to the dance. (The maker had skimped on the seam allowance and there wasn’t enough material for the original stitching to “bite” well. She was slender, and I could do a stop-gap that would hold until she could find a real seamstress to do it properly.)

        5. The local library has a Maker space where they can also have sewing classes in addition to the normal maker classes with 3D printers, etc…

        6. I’m good for simple sewing tasks – I had to learn, they don’t make pants with inseams to fit my stubby legs. So I can do a hem, replace buttons, etc. And type. Some basic home repairs, but I don’t claim to be any good at them. A few gunsmithing tasks.

    2. The culture of emotion uber alles and perpetual victimhood …

      I wonder whether History can offer any example of such a culture surviving more than a generation, much less prospering?

  5. A lot of this nonsense ties in to the Free Range Kids movement that Lenore Skenazy started; the idea that life is so dangerous that kids must be watched over 24/7/365. Which is ballocks; crime is DOWN. Kids are (in general) safer than I was, roaming around in the 1970’s.

    So college student arrive at their school of choice less prepared to deal with the bumps and bruises or life than I was in my young teens. Mommy isn’t there to tuck them in at night, and they act more like highschool teens then young adults.

    And, of course, the public schools have failed them badly, feeding them pap and (lefty) delusion. And they react to things beyond their experience with fear and anger. They’ve never developed any inner resources, because they have never been allowed to fail, or be legitimately scared.

    This isn’t entirely new, by any means, but it used to be the exception not the rule. Kipling has a brutal story called THROWN AWAY, about a young man who was sheltered all his life until he was sent off to Sandhurst and into the British Army in India. There, he took everything seriously, and came to gambling and liquor unprepared and with no one to fall back on when he made a fool of himself. He got into debt, and was lectured by his CO (an ‘ordinary Colonel’s wigging’, but he had nothing to compare it to) and he blows his brains out.

    How many of these little coddled darlings are going to go out into the cold wide world and do the same?

    Antifa are children playing at revolution, and they are going to be brutally shocked when society decides it has had enough of their crap.

    It all ties together.

    1. I was hoping there’d be a focus on the “no risk is acceptable!” philosophy that comes with… everything, these days, but is particularly noxious when it comes to parenting (because everything is noxious there.) But, y’know–I also worked in the Environment, Health & Safety department for a factory–it ain’t just parenting, not by a long shot. -_-

      My husband (a former engineer) says there’s a saying in thr field: At some point, you have to shoot the engineers and proceed. I do wish we’d give a similar thought to the insufferable busybodies and safety-firsters.

          1. Crazy safety concerns we can agree on. I do truly think it’s a mix of much more dangerous in some very dark ways, and people going overboard on what they can control.

        1. Let me go a little further;

          The child abductions everyone talks bout when they discuss why kids shouldn’t be let out alone are so rare that we hear about nearly ever single one. Oh, there are abductions within families, when a marriage has gone toxic, but abductions by strangers? A child is liklier to be struck by lightning. Violent crime is DOWN from what it was in the 1970’s, when I was wandering around inner city Cleveland on my own.

          Oh, there are cities, and parts of cities, that are still dangerous. Most of them run be Democrats and with strong Gun Control laws. And if you’re an out-of-place Ofay prick in too nice clothes, I expect you can get yourself mugged pretty much anywhere if you work at it.

          But helicopter parenting is driven by perceived risk, not real risk.

          1. My sisters & I ran around with neighborhood kids.

            My husband, youngest by far of all his siblings, ran around with neighborhood kids.

            Both of us were under the rule “be home by dinner, or when you hear the whistle. Or else.”

            Despite the fact we live across the street & two houses down our son was the only kid on the entire block, & the two streets on either side of us. School, for whatever reason was not a hangout place for kids.

            Did the kid walk unaccompanied between home & school or his friends house, yes. Was he allowed to just roam the neighborhood & haunt the playground waiting for someone to play with, like we did. No. That would be a good way for a bored kid get into trouble, guilty or not.

            Didn’t get any easier when a cousin (mine) barely older than my son (his playmate) was ran down by a hit & run driver (likely drunk, but not provable, so now there is “Katie’s Law”). That it was while she was with, 3 friends, & her 19 year old brother, thus chaperoned; which was beside the point.

            1. The current trend towards “girls are (and should be!) always afraid of boys” goes back towards that change in trends, not allowing kids to run around together and spend time with each other, as well, at least in my opinion. I used to run around with my brothers and my uncles and their friends, and everyone of them respected me and what I would do to them if they offered me disrespect. We have lost that.

          2. I really cannot answer you further without crossing privacy lines. See my comment below, in reference latch-key kids and the result of multiple generations of kids exposed to “Mommy’s boyfriend.”

            The safety problems of which the wider society is most (and most justifiably) afraid they will not solve. So they overcompensate.

    2. A friend recently retired from being a long-haul truck driver. For the last ten years or so he was also a driver trainer – after the six week school, his company teamed newbies with experienced driver for a month before turning them loose on their own.

      He probably had half a dozen who got off at the first truck stop after realizing that “a month” meant “not going back home tonight.” How can someone make it that far without knowing that? The ones who showed up with no money or way to feed themselves, the ones who expected to wear the same socks and underwear for a month, the ones who quit when they learned they weren’t allowed to drive while stuck to their phones… that’s not even counting the ones the “school” graduated who didn’t know how to drive a manual transmission, or basic paperwork, or who apparently spoke no English at all…

      It was a systemic failure; they were getting fat chunks of Federal money to “train” people for CDLs, but there was no oversight to see they actually accomplished what they were being paid for.

      1. https://www.stripes.com/news/deaths-of-two-sailors-swept-from-sub-first-such-incident-in-six-years-1.58842

        A few years before this when the requirement came out that harnesses and safety lines must be worn at all times underway I said this would happen in a restricted channel. It did. If they hadn’t been firmly attached to the boat and beaten against the side because the boat couldn’t stop without going aground- they’d have floated free and been picked up by a pilot boat or tug.

        Out on the open ocean being firmly attached to the deck makes sense. Not entering or leaving port with restricted maneuverability. Too much safety kills. FYI- speaking your mind, even if you’re right, especially if you’re right, is not often a good career move.

    3. You mean when they pick up a rifle and decide that their two range sessions means they are ready, and discover that Bobby from San Dimas is an FBI agent? 😀

      1. Depends. In the historical school of enticing terror attacks to get collars or in the modern school of actually believing in the revolution and wanting a coup.

    4. Reminds me…

      If anyone here has seen Mobile Suit Gundam, there’s a famous scene in the series in which Amuro Rey, the super pilot and protagonist of the series, is acting like an entitled brat. And as a result, the captain of the ship, Captain Bright, slaps him. It’s a pretty shocking moment. Amuro whines after it happens (“Even my father never slapped me!”), but it’s hard to argue that he didn’t have it coming.

      A blogger I once used to follow was watching the series for the first time, and writing summaries of each episode as he watched them. He got to this episode and, of course, brought up the slap. And in his comments, someone defended Amuro, and said that Bright shouldn’t have done it. When I listed points why I felt the slap was justified, the commenter argued right back. There was no way to convince him that Bright wasn’t out of line.

      1. Bright was fairly young himself, and I understand that there might have been irregularities in his commissioning and taking command as Captain. Certainly, Amuro’s legal status should have been pretty irregular.

        1. IIRC, Bright was a junior officer on White Base, but also happened to be the surviving ranking officer after the attack on the Side 7 colony. So his rank wasn’t Captain, but he held the title by virtue of being the individual in charge of the ship (again, since he was the ranking officer). In real life, someone of the appropriate rank and time in service would have been assigned to command the ship after it linked up with Federation forces on Earth.

          1. What? You mean they DON’T give out starships as video game prizes? But J. J. Abrams said…

            1. Don’t get me started. TOS made a lot of sense, it was firmly grounded in existing military procedures. The reboot was complete garbage.

          2. It seemed that the Feddies at the time were running on “if it ain’t broke”. White Base had a pretty impressive combat record by the time they got to where they could be re-crewed (fighting off Char and taking out Ramba Ral for instance).
            After the One Year War, he does wind up as kind of a pariah.

      2. Bright’s response: “Maybe he should have!”

        Of course, the Bright Slap has since been recognized for it’s ability to turn whiny boys into Men of Destiny.

    5. Real world example: news last night had a piece about suicide prevention at UT-Austin. One of the “peer counselors” was a gal who is an aerospace engineering major. She said that she came to UT and discovered that the stress level was high and the other students were very good. And she got into trouble and needed help. I suspect that she’d been the star student, a gal going into STEM, lionized and honored and put in the limelight… And reality hit hard. I’m glad she was able to get through it and come out wiser, but ugh, what a rough way to be forced to learn that you’re not queen of the world anymore.

      1. That’s actually pretty common for engineering students. You’ve waltzed through high school without working up a sweat, hit college…and bounce. Then it’s gut-check time.

        Because if you reach a senior position, what you will do at work will be even harder. Try being responsible for running the first flight of a multi-billion dollar aircraft acquisition program.

        1. At Rensselaer there were a lot of students who changed majors out of engineering after hitting junior year, where the engineering went REALLY intensive.

          1. My freshman class was about 40 people (very small undergrad, about 700 people). I graduated with 6. Of those, only four of us were 4 year students.

        2. When we were growing up, I was “the smart one.” Which I realized even then didn’t mean that much, but apparently was hard on my next eldest brother, who felt less smart than I was. Ha. He’s the rocket scientist, which shows you that determination (plus his actual native intelligence, which is just fine) counts for lots more than being “the smart one.”

          (It probably didn’t hurt that he learned how to study before college, either. I figured it out by the end, but you just can’t coast through Chemistry.)

      2. It’s not uncommon at all. I was actually warned when looking at schools and contemplating MIT (borderline chance although from the graduates I have seen that would be a good thing) that they were known for above average suicide rates.

        I don’t think they really pushed the mental health resources at GT but were set up for five intakes at same time. Just a standard questionnaire that immediately lit up the staff with any of the red flags .

    6. I still remember a story about a vastly obese 14-year-old whose mother said that she cook when she could, but when she couldn’t, she had to send the boy to get fast food.

      When I was nine I was perfectly capable of cooking an entire meal for the whole family.

      1. Me too. 🙂

        It was a trade off… if I made supper, my mom could go milk the cows. The family ate a lot of spaghetti. Lots of spaghetti.

        1. LOTS of spaghetti.

          It’s a bit disheartening, when people are going about and you don’t know the count for dinner, to sit down to a table set for four, with spaghetti enough for four, by yourself.

          Every one of the four did show up before the hour was up.

            1. Still don’t know how to do hamburgers, and never will.

              My mother had more sense than to have me cook things where I wouldn’t care if they burned to a crisp.

      1. Yes and no. Teen and young adult are up but not the drivers of the increase. They are the ones that tend to get the actual press and are fought sometimes. Most of the increase is middle and old age iirc.

  6. Good choice Mrs Green, I look forward to your review. Jonathan Haidt is ever so interesting, he is one of few social scientists that I am willing to listen to. I read Haidt’s The Righteous Mind a few years ago and I thought it was terrific book, he is first social scientist that I read that realizes libertarians think differently than progressives and conservatives.

  7. Looks like it might be a good read. I’m currently trying to stomach through an essay known as, “The Soul of Man Under Socialism” by Oscar Wilde. It feels like every sentence that I read, I keep asking myself, why aren’t we allowed to have private property? 😂😂😂😂

    1. I tried that. May try again. Couldn’t tell for sure when he was serious and when he was trolling the socialists, too.

  8. I’ve read this one, and I enjoyed it. I had some nitpicks here and there due to Haidt and Lukianoff’s biases, but I’ll bring them up as/if they come up.

    Some more reading recs:
    Republicans Buy Sneakers Too – Clay Travis (this would be a good tie-in, as Travis deals with campus and pro sports activist culture)
    Contempt – Ken Starr
    Sex Matters – Mona Charon (can’t remember if I’ve rec’d this one already, but it’s a great read).

  9. I am frequently reminded, these days, of a passage in Walter Miller’s great novel, A Canticle for Leibowitz:

    “To minimize suffering and to maximize security were natural and proper ends of society and Caesar. But then they became the only ends, somehow, and the only basis of law—a perversion. Inevitably, then, in seeking only them, we found only their opposites: maximum suffering and minimum security.”

  10. I am deeply offended by the misogyny of Sarah’s latest column at PJ Media and must go swoon.

    1. Speaking of Hoyt writings that appear elsewhere… It would be nice to maybe have a post here for the writing columns that link over there – in this place where you actually dare to read the comments. (Although the comments on the short story series have actually been mostly quality, so far anyway).

      Apropos of the latest (#3), I wanted to note “The Roads Must Roll” for the difference between a “tech gimmick” and a real “idea.”

      A question, too, that hit me recently. Thinking about my grandmother suddenly reminded me of the “True Confession” magazines she read (and I read, too – “it might be horrible, but it’s different words on paper.” Addiction can be a terrible thing.)

      My vague memories of some of those – would they qualify as having been “romance short stories”? I seem to remember that many of them followed the standard pattern as I understand it. But maybe not.

      1. Standard romance tropes vary a lot.

        Also, the True Confessions stuff was not all romance; some of it was traditionally true-crime style shockers, or “soap opera/family saga” type stories of ups and downs.

        Don’t know much about it, though, or how the mag changed through the years.

  11. Lesse

    Sophocles is reported to have said that the male libido was like being chained to a lunatic.

    I can honestly say, being a woman in 21st-century America, that I have him beat cold. I have somehow been chained to over a hundred and fifty million lunatics.

    Okay, not every woman is a lunatic. I even have women friends. But making friends with women is like making friends in the science fiction field. I start by assuming they will be part of a strange form of Marxist victim-group and I look for signs they might, just might, be safe.

    Read the whole thing.

    1. One notes that feminists’ winning victories for her is an EXCELLENT reason to not be a feminist. Did the freed blacks leap to become abolitionists after the American Civil War? They weren’t such fools.

  12. Ah, but if you make men third-class citizens, or even fifth-class …

    You Can’t Make Women First-Class Citizens by Making Men Second-Class Citizens
    By Sarah Hoyt
    Sophocles is reported to have said that the male libido was like being chained to a lunatic.

    I can honestly say, being a woman in 21st-century America, that I have him beat cold. I have somehow been chained to over a hundred and fifty million lunatics.

    Okay, not every woman is a lunatic. I even have women friends. But making friends with women is like making friends in the science fiction field. I start by assuming they will be part of a strange form of Marxist victim-group and I look for signs they might, just might, be safe.

    Then there’s a whole dance as you reveal yourself to the other as not-a-standard-woman.

    At first, I thought American women had a chip on their shoulder, but I didn’t realize it was nearly this bad.

    First, so you can understand where I’m coming from – because I have been told the reason I’m not hot for “feminism” is that women won the fight for me. …

      1. I’m thinking of suggesting to my youngest college age son that he and his buddies get together and host a “safe party”. He goes to a Catholic college. Borrow some nuns, advertise chaperones will be there, and all co-eds will be safely escorted back to their dorms sans male companions. I’m sure the women will flock to the party….

          1. How long before the parents of boys hire go-betweens and match-makers and have marriage contracts between the families, in order to protect all involved? At the rate things are going…

            1. We’re not all that far, really.
              In fact, now would be a great time to start a traditional style matchmaking company.

            2. They will need to not only have all of the legalese between partners but also be able to account for every hour as we are currently seeing. Especially if there will be a career or social benefit from harming someone.

        1. That’s a pretty nice idea. I used to go to this social thing held at the American Church of Paris called Young Adult’s Pizza Night. It was run by one of the pastors, intended to give young folks a ‘clean and safe’ social venue and activity to .. well, socialise. For a donation (Ten francs?) per person (used to handle the costs of supplies, drinks and utilities) you could make, bake and share pizzas. Attendees could bring ingredients and drinks – as long as they weren’t alcoholic. I think it ran from about 6 – 10 pm. I was too young to be one of the attendees (18+, I was 16) but I worked in the kitchen, helping get the dough out of the big bins and cutting them up, then helping with the ovens and ingredients.

  13. I have one problem with the title to the book in question. In the subtitle, why do they assume the intentions are good?

    1. Because they’re looking at the parenting trends, and they way the best intentions have proved harmful: that the restriction from free-roaming was due to an increase in reporting on attacks on kids, and the restrictions on free play and unstructured time came as a side effect of the motivation to make sure their child excelled from the start. (They even bring up Mozart in the Womb, which is an excellent example of the excesses of this trend.)

      Choices made from love are even harder to escape than choices made from fear, much les choices made from hatred. As they say, “We decided that kids couldn’t have any unstructured play time, or fail and have to get up on their own, for the first 14 years of their life, and we didn’t think this would affect them?”

      1. I’m thinking of those pushing the trends, and the increased breathless reporting. OTOH, I’ve seen way too much in terms of agenda driven Bovine Excrement lately. See Senate hearings re Justice Kavanaugh.

        1. In the interview they do with Jordan Peterson, they say they thing it’s both politically motivated by some, and motivated by non-political desires to protect and help (even though it’s contrary to everything we know about treating anxiety) on others’ parts.

          1. My own mother, who IIRC let me walk around the block alone when I was four (although I now suspect I might’ve been shadowed, or at least that she might have asked a neighbor or few to look out the window), let me and my brother linger by the reading material at various stores, and let us go biking a fair amount when we were… idk, 8-12?… keeps sending me links about people getting between parents and their kids in stores and making off with the kids, and regards toddler leashes with suspicion because somebody could cut them.

            She’s generally a very sensible person. These worries feel strange to me, but they’re hard to dismiss, especially with certain parties (hah) making a variety of concerted efforts to encourage criminals.

            And it’s like with the lack of… of squid farms on Mars, or whatever the example was. It’s too easy to look at acute losses — kidnapping, getting run over — and have your heart freeze and go no, I can’t let that happen than to look the same way at the lost potential from a lack of independence.

            I don’t know how to balance it.

          2. I can guarantee that some of the people I know who promote this kind of foolishness are not doing it from some hidden evil agenda. They sincerely believe that what they are promoting is the best thing for children.

            How do I know this? I know this because the people I’m talking about are neither smart enough nor deceitful enough to have an ulterior motive. They are simply gullible idiots who fall for any well-worded thing that speaks to their fears and ambitions.

        2. First rule: the foot soldiers of any movement are usually well intentioned (apart from the loot, pillage, and burn types)
          Second rule: the leaders rarely are

          1. Second rule corollary: if the movement’s leaders are truly idealistic & well intentioned, they will be pushed out of the way.

    2. why do they assume the intentions are good?

      Best case scenario, and a reminder of the paving stones for the Highway to Hell.

    1. Heh. And I keep thinking of the adage “mankind is like a drunk on a donkey who thinks that the solution to leaning so far over to the right that he falls off, is to get back on and fall off the right side.

      (Channelling Prof Kirke) proverbs! It’s all in proverbs!

  14. Funny, they don’t seem to give a damn about the feelings—or property—of others.
    Well, yeah, because it’s not about their ‘feelz‘, it’s about power.

    The “every child is a winner” mind set also fails our kids.
    There is an age where not keeping score is fine. At the age where soccer = “mob the ball”, cool. At the age where kids need to actually strive to succeed, not so much.

    Good luck with the book.

    1. “There is an age where not keeping score is fine. At the age where soccer = “mob the ball”, cool. ”

      *Bumble Bee “soccer” – “mob the ball” except the goalies who are sitting on the ground picking clover … unfortunately this is not played in our area now. They’ve gone to 3 on 3 soccer for the younger sets (down to age 3). Might be better for developing soccer skills, but boy are the parents missing out on a treat. YMMV 🙂

      *T-Ball & Coach Pitch – both of which the runner stops at the base once the ball is in the in-field & held up, or ball actually makes it to the base the runner is running to; no tag outs. Maximum of 10 hitters.

  15. ‘Culture of safetyism’. I might call it the ‘culture of feelz’ but, in a way, it is the same thing.

    It is precisely the same thing. Safety is a psychological state, a perception rather than a physical condition. You are never other than relatively safe; there is always the risk of SMOD, of the Yellowstone Caldera blowing, of a minor cut becoming septic. Relative safety is a physical condition which often produces the psychological state — but consider the degree to which “At last, we’re safe!” has become a meme preceding imminent disaster.

    As for the double standard employed … well, some people, good people are just more deserving of their safety being protected. You wouldn’t want to protect the safety of bad* people. of Raaaaacists, of Philin Theblankophobes, of Nazis, would you? To paraphrase the magisterial tome on the First Amendment written by Nat Hentoff: “Safety for Me, Not for Thee.”

    *Someday I will learn the HTML coding for big wavery scare letters. But this is not that day.

    1. You are never other than relatively safe

      I know several examples. One friend died of a blood clot after a comparatively minor surgery on her wrist. Another died suddenly of an aortic anyeurism. My father NEARLY died of an abdominal anyeurism. My wife contracted an enormous case of cellulitis undetected, and died 24 hours after taking her to the ER.

      1. My dad started “acting funny” one day at work. His boss insisted another co-worker take dad straight to the ER where he ultimately was admitted into the ICU with a stroke brought on by the clogging of his carotid artery. Left side 100% blocked, the right 95% blocked. Once 100% blocked, then, there was nothing that could be done. But surgery to clean the right was possible, although very risky, due to clots breaking away & causing deadly strokes. OTOH, death was 100% without the surgery. He had the surgery & survived another 22 years, including the carotid surgery again, 10 years later, quadruple heart artery bypass, & cancer.

        However, given what originally happened to dad, a lot of people he worked with & friends had their arteries checked, as they had the same risk factors. Two of them were very close to being in the same state as dad; not a matter of “if”, but “when”. So, they had the surgery to prevent the stoke. One of them died on the table.

        1. My grandfather died after a perfectly normal surgery. He was in for two (economy, right?) and passed away before he could get the second surgery done.

          Life sucks like that, sometimes.

    2. I was explicitly told today that we don’t have to protect the safety of all women. (In context, she was arguing for protecting only the safety of those who aren’t women in reality.)

        1. Actually, it turned out that it is in fact a he who wants to use the ladies’ room and so insists that we don’t have to worry about the safety of women, but of him and his fellows.

          1. Well if you think about it … why would anyone sane want to stand in the line to get into the women’s bathrooms? Okay, the bathrooms, make sense (as anyone who has boys at home can attest), but there is always a line, always.

            /sarcastic tag / tongue firmly planted in cheek …

    3. but consider the degree to which “At last, we’re safe!” has become a meme preceding imminent disaster.
      There was an entire movie like that. Was it 2012 that was the end-of-earth-as-inspired-by-a-misreading-of-the-Mayan-calendar?

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