Lukianoff and Haidt in The Atlantic: ‘Why It’s a Bad Idea to Tell Students Words Are Violence’

July 18, 2017

Today in The Atlantic, FIRE President and CEO Greg Lukianoff and best-selling author, New York University professor, and social psychologist Jonathan Haidt forcefully respond to the increasingly popular argument that speech can sometimes be a form of violence.

Co-authors of the award-winning “The Coddling of the American Mind,” Lukianoff and Haidt join forces again in a rejoinder to prominent psychologist and emotion researcher Lisa Feldman Barrett’s recent New York Times essay “When Is Speech Violence?

Lukianoff and Haidt argue that equating stress-causing speech with “violence,” as Feldman Barrett does, isn’t simply an overstatement. Instead, it’s students’ overblown perception of their own fragility — not exposure to the occasional offensive viewpoint — that’s causing widespread mental health problems among today’s college students.

Their prescription is sure to spark discussion in our nation’s college classrooms — and beyond.

“Free speech, properly understood, is not violence. It is a cure for violence.”

Click over to The Atlantic’s website to read the full piece. We think it’s worth considering thoughtfully, and sharing widely.