Analysis of an Argument: “The Coddling of the American Mind” by Greg Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt

Analysis of an Argument: “The Coddling of the American Mind” by Greg Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt
Greg Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt. (2015) The Coddling of the American Mind The Atlantic Retrieved at
Motive is the reason behind doing something. In the education circles, the reason behind teaching a student is to equip them with the necessary tools essential in a particular field one selects as one secures a job in the workforce based on their learning. The key intention is to impact students with the necessary education needed in the world today. The way in which students are taught in universities in the current settings take different forms especially when considering such factors as the way the current generation has been brought up – in the advent of advanced technologies and vindictive protectiveness. Personal rights are being established as students exercise their rights from all areas. This has disrupted the education systems especially in universities where lecturers and professors and now cautious of their language and what they teach. Students too are caught in between as they demand to set the pace within which they will be taught. This means that students now play a key role in dictating to lecturers the system to use in teaching and in some instances, the words to use and materials.
The author asserts that students getting into universities today are more “desirous of protection and more hostile towards ideological opponents….…”(Greg Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt. 2015). This means that self-righteousness and hostility triggered by strong partisan emotions creates a moral crusade where people tend to express their allegiance to a group. He stipulates that such an assertion can indeed interfere with student’s ability to think critically. His view is that students should acknowledge other people’s views and learn how to cope with the diversity of this world. He examines the Socratic method of teaching whereby students are taught how to think and this fosters critical thinking. This encourages students to examine other people’s beliefs critically though at times it may trigger discomfort and anger in reference to way of understanding.
Students should be prepared intellectually for professional life as they are going to meet people with ideas and assumptions that they might find wrong (Greg Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt. 2015). In a campus setting, this may be considered as hate speech as one is culpable of committing an offence against another student or lecturer. The culture being fostered at campus is that of policing speech and punishing speakers which shapes ones patterns of thoughts. For instance, in the globalized world, one is likely to find a job in another part of the continent far from where they were born. If a person’s background is based on thinking pathologically, they are unlikely to fit in that societal setting. Adapting to a different environment becomes difficult as one is inclined to thinking in a particular way far from what the masses depict. This results to anxiety and depression as one is unable to cope with the changing environment in their professional life.
In a university setting, a student easily gets back-up from other students who have a common thinking. In this way, it becomes very easy for a student to forge a common ground and together they lobby the institution to do as per their intentions. Such an environment breeds protectiveness as students have more control over the teaching systems. For instance,Jonathan Haidt cites Jeannie Suks` online article on the New Yorker about “law students asking her fellow professors at Harvard not to teach rape law—or, in one case, even use the word violate (as in “that violates the law”) lest it cause students distress” (Greg Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt. 2015). This means that a movement has been rising in the campuses driven by the students to eliminate ideas, words, and subjects that are likely to cause discomfort.Imagine a situation where the students are dictating what they will be taught. Imagine them dictating to a lecturer not to engage into a subject that is already in the syllabus.It’s my assumption that if the current trend continues, then the students will not be equipped enough in their professional life. The education system is likely to be paralyzed as it becomes difficult to polish speech and subjects to conform to the needs of students.
As a result of globalization and advanced technology, space has shrinked as people are able to communicate and interact with people of diverse cultures and backgrounds.In a situation where other peoples values, ideas, or speech are depicted as wrong and aggressive towards an innocent victim, it’s difficult to foster an environment of mutual respect and negotiation. Understanding that we cannot be equal and that we should learn to incorporate other people’s diverse ideas should be the core areas in which universities should base their curriculum and teachings in. This is because universities attract people from different countries and backgrounds who are brought together by search for education. Just as people emanate from different backgrounds, it is difficult or nearly impossible to please every student. What one student considers good can be regarded by another student as being wrong based on various factors such as cultural elements. Emotions directly impact of actions and are twofold. This means that an emotion can necessitate an action and vice versa where an action can trigger an emotion. An action can therefore produce happiness as happiness too can effect a certain action. One’s reaction is normally dependent on the surrounding environment. An action in this case can be defined as a process or fact of doing something to achieve an aim. Personal gratification is the norm of the day in campuses irrespective of the status quo.
Distorted thinking is the key word and all stakeholders in the education system should strive to change the thinking of campus students. The key goal is to eliminate distorted thinking and foster an inclusive thinking where one is not driven by emotions. The author provides a clear guideline on how students can tame their thinking: one starts by learning the common cognitive distortions and each time one finds himself/herself in a situation that demands critical thinking, he/she names it, defines the facts of the situation, examines alternative interpretations and then settles on an interpretation that most likely conforms to those facts. Every day is filled with mixed emotions each specific and nuanced to the social and physical situations which we find ourselves in. We are capable of 4 basic emotions: happiness, sadness, surprised/afraid, and disgusted/angry. The environment fosters these emotions and this is what shapes a student’s thinking and emotional action.
The authors conclusion is that the increased “attempts to shield students from words, ideas, and people that might cause them emotional discomfort are bad for the students” (Greg Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt. 2015). This is based on the fact that if such a trend is incepted in a student and continues to act in a similar manner even in workplace, then they are likely to be embedded in unending litigations as they push their expectations forward. Rather than putting measures aimed at protecting students against ideas, words, and subjects that deem unfit, campuses should strive to equip their students to thrive in diverse environments full of ideas, words, or culture they cannot control.
Naturally, specific emotion states are linked to action patterns that encompass philosophical components and expressed in particular bodily and facial behaviors. This means that in normal circumstances, ones emotions are directly influenced by surrounding actions and this dictates a person’s behavior. Ones emotions should be based on clear and accurate interpretation of facts and ideas and this improves mental hygiene as it frees students from repetitive irrational thoughts that they were previously engulfed in in their consciousness: they now become less depressed, angry and anxious.
Greg Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt. (2015) The Coddling of the AmericanMind The Atlantic Retrieved at

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