*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.