Jo Black writes in The Listener:
New Zealand has no shortage of people ready to take offence at any hint of racism or gender bias, or able to detect any trace of political correctness or the nanny state. Former National Party leader Don Brash was “disinvited” to speak at Massey University by Vice-Chancellor Jan Thomas. She cited “security concerns” but an email trail showed that she didn’t like his anti-Treaty rhetoric.
But Haidt and Lukianoff say that in the US, the new morality has reached its apogee in prestigious universities, particularly in residential colleges.
In these institutions, they say, student demands have escalated for “safe spaces” where students can be protected from speakers, language or ideas that offend them – if they have been unsuccessful in getting invitations to such speakers withdrawn in the first place. Some students demand that lecturers give “trigger warnings” if a lecture might contain language or ideas that might upset them, and sometimes such language can be considered aggression, or even violence.
There are shame circles, denunciations and ritualised apologies as during the Cultural Revolution in Communist China. “We have data showing students are afraid, mostly of each other, and the professors are afraid, mostly of the students.”
Ironic that the biggest threat to students, is other students.
The great majority of students today want to learn and want to be exposed to different views. So I would never tell a story about a generation that has lost its mind; that has not happened. But what has happened is that we have a big increase in the small minority that embrace this call-out culture and their power to intimidate people has been multiplied at least tenfold by social media.
The social media lynch mob.