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‘Coddling of the American Mind’ Wins David Brooks’ ‘Sidney Award’

By December 18, 2015

New York Times columnist David Brooks has chosen “The Coddling of the American Mind” as a winner of his annual Sidney Awards, honoring the year’s best long-form essays in politics and culture.

The essay, written by FIRE President and CEO Greg Lukianoff and New York University professor and psychologist Jonathan Haidt, graced the cover of September’s issue of The Atlantic. The piece remained among The Atlantic’s most popular stories for months after it was published, and has been shared more than 500,000 times on Facebook. President Obama even referenced language used in the piece earlier this year, telling a crowd at an education town hall meeting that he disagreed with the idea “that you when you become students at colleges, you have to be coddled and protected from different points of view.”

The winners were announced this morning:

Brooks had high praise for “The Coddling of the American Mind”:

This was the most important article this year on student hypersensitivity, the way some students seek safe spaces in case they are assaulted by microaggressions. The authors invent the apt term “vindictive protectiveness” to capture this mind-set and describe how this mental state leads to depression and leaves students unprepared for the real world.

Brooks has been giving Sidney Awards—named after philosopher and political theorist Sidney Hooksince 2004.

You can read about the other nominees on The New York Times’ website.