JONATHAN HAIDT: HOW COLLEGES ARE FAILING KIDS

JONATHAN HAIDT: HOW COLLEGES ARE FAILING KIDS

August 27, 2019 11 By Stanley Isaacs


Thank you very much Good evening everyone and welcome to tonight’s program at the Commonwealth Club My name is Quentin Hardy. I’m the head of editorial at Google cloud and I’m pleased to be your moderator for tonight’s program Joining us. This evening is Jonathan Hite social psychologist Thomas Kui professor of ethical leadership at NYU’s Stern School of Business and co-author of the new book the coddling of the American mind How good intentions and bad ideas are setting up a generation for failure Something extraordinary he says is happening on college campuses today While schools portray themselves as centers of academic achievement and innovative endeavor Hite and his co-author George lukianov Argue that concerns about free speech trigger warnings and microaggressions are crippling these institutions and the students inside them Leaving students unprepared for the real world after college and setting up their generation for failure Words are seen as a source of danger he writes creating Inadvertently mental prisons that trap our next generation particularly the graduates of some of our most elite institutions tonight I hope to inquire as to why this has happened and what might be done about it We’re excited to welcome him here tonight to discuss these issues and more ladies and gentlemen Please join me in welcoming Jonathan hight to the Commonwealth level Just to say professor Hite will open with a brief 15 minutes of PowerPoint and then I’ll join him on stage to talk about the book and what he’s shown us Okay. Well, thank you so much Quentin It’s a it’s a pleasure to be here in this beautiful beautiful space and to have the chance to talk to you about About the book which just came out a week ago in just a few hours ago I found out it will be number seven on the New York Times bestseller list this weekend Now how many How many people here in the audience were born in or after 1995? Anyone raised your hand if you were okay, we have a few how many of you in the audience have children or grandchildren? Who were born in or after 1995 raise your hand? Okay about a third of the audience And how many of you care about children in some way shape or form raise your hand? Okay, and I could ask the same question about universities How many of you care about about? Universities and generally have positive feelings towards them You want them to raise your hand if you generally like universities and you want the okay? so I’m gonna talk tonight about children and universities and I’ll just give a Sort of a it’s helpful to have a kind of a narrative a story about a book like what is this book? How did it come about what’s the central idea and then Quint and I will talk about it. So We we have this idealized notion of universities certainly in the Academy We think of ourselves as the descendants of Socrates and of Plato’s Academy We think that there is a special kind of space in which people can argue in good faith There is no violence we talk about ideas and in the conflict in this very civil kind of conflict the truth comes out Where you could not find the truth just by yourself So this is what we think of ourselves. This is our cultural heritage the The purpose of universe the Talos the function is truth Seeking of truth and you can see this clearly in the crests at Harvard. The word is Veritas or truth Yale is Lux and versa so it’s usually light truth or knowledge Those are the three words that you find out most of the crests at Cal Of course, it’s let there let there be light on the bottom there um, I taught for 16 years at the University of Virginia and Thomas Jefferson wrote when he was found in the university for here. We are not afraid to follow truth wherever it may lead etcetera There’s a sense of fearlessness you have to be bold you have to be willing to question to challenge as Socrates was So this is what we think of ourselves This is what we think is necessary for university to work Well, but what happened beginning in 2014 is my co-author Greg lukianov Began to notice a lot of fear He began to notice a change in the in the culture in the atmosphere among the undergraduates. Not the faculty This was a change in the students Greg is the president of the foundation for individual rights in education they’ve been fighting against speech codes and the little free speech zones and efforts by administrators to to restrict the freedom of speech of students So we’ve been doing that since they’re around the year 2000 and in 2007 He’s been prone to depression his whole life his whole adult life But he had a really serious bout in 2007 which we described in in the book in Chapter 7 and as a result of that he learned how to do cognitive Behavioral therapy. We recognized about 10 or 15 different distortions catastrophizing discounting the positive Mind reading all these all these distortions you learn the names of them you learn to challenge them and so he learns that and then a few years later only into beginning in 2013 2014 now he sees Students doing this saying well if this Speaker comes to campus terrible things will happen and and it’ll be bad and and and there will be you know Students will be damaged. So he he notices that students are doing exactly the distortions. He learned not to do and he thinks Isn’t this gonna be bad for them if? if these distortions are what make you depressed and anxious if students are doing this won’t that make them depressed and anxious and So he came to talk to me. We’d met through a friend at a party in New York He came to talk to me in May of 2014 He told me his idea and I thought it was absolutely brilliant Because I had just begun to see some of this new way of thinking At NYU and I was reading about it as well. And I thought my god, this is a great insight I would love to join him on this and I said I think it’s a great idea Greg, you know as a psychologist I think you’re really onto something and if you want me to be a co-author with you I’d be happy to work on this with you and he jumped me that was his goal all along and so we we we We teamed up we wrote we wrote it up. We submitted to the Atlantic in 2015 January 2015 and It came out in August of 2015 well around this time The the the New Republic the New York Times were reporting on these new trends They were all brand new in 2014 trigger warnings safe spaces This was on the front page of the reviews section, New York Times at Brown there was a debate between two different feminists and one of them was skeptical of the idea that America is a rape culture and some of the students thought this would be so dangerous if she said that On campus. This could be very harmful to Students who who have been victims of sexual harassment if they hear someone doubt that America is a rape culture So they need a safe space where they can recover and a quote on the front page A debate between these two women could invalidate people’s experiences Now you would not want a college experience to invalidate ideas that you hold dear would you? So these sorts of things began happening in 2014 and they were real puzzlement people We had not seen this sort of thing on campus before This appeared in Vox. I’m a liberal professor in my liberal students terrify me So all these things were beginning to come out just in 2014 plus or minus Google Trends shows that this really was a new thing before the blue line is do is trigger warning and the red line is Microaggression these terms just simply they I mean you could find them somewhere, but they were not they didn’t register until really until 2014 So there was something new happening around 2014 Our article came out. That’s what we’re writing about The article came out in August of 2015 and then three months later all hell broke loose At Halloween it began at Yale and it spread to a lot of other other campuses I won’t go through the stories But it there are many many events where somebody used a single word Or they wrote an email that was trying to be helpful. Someone else took offense and before you know it there’s big protests and demands Demands ultimatums given to the college president. So there was a lot of protests on campus in the fall of 2015 Things accelerated especially after Trump was elected obviously here in the Bay Area you’re all very very familiar with what happen at Berkeley a month later the Charles Murray was physically attacked and a professor was injured Permanently injured actually, she has neck damage at Middlebury College And it’s just spread. It’s it there’s not that much violence Thank God but there is a lot there’s a new idea that if students are Upset about something they can go into a classroom and shut it down again It’s not very common, but it’s it’s happening enough that people astray ters are very concerned about this Professors like me we teach defensively we have to be very careful about offending anyone So I won’t go through. There’s so many of these stories The way to recognize this new culture If you see these terms safe spaces trigger warnings microaggressions bias response teams There’s a sense that America is a matrix of oppression and this leads to a call out culture Often the the the the biggest events are about a single word. It’s often about a word And so the what we think is going on This was Greg’s initial idea that the students have erroneously come to believe that they are fragile And that they live in an incredibly dangerous or hostile country world and university now we can talk about whether The world or the country is more dangerous in the long run things are getting safer and safer Rates of violence are way way down compared to what they were decades ago But to say that the university is a dangerous place That is something that is something new the idea that students need Protection from words books and speakers and if if a speaker were to come to campus even if you don’t go This could be damaging to some students. Therefore that person has to be stopped. This is the new idea that emerged in 2014 It’s not on most campuses. There are two there are 4,500 Institutions of higher education most of them are not experiencing this but along the coastal strip of the West Coast and in the Northeast At elite liberal arts colleges and at the top public Ivies. This culture is actually somewhat common at least as far as I can tell from So in the book, we we go through six reasons why this happened? Why did things change so quickly in 2014 to 20s 17 and so there it’s a it’s a fascinating social science puzzle Half of the book is a social science detective story to understand why 2014-2015 what was changing and so we go through all of these I won’t read them aloud You can just see the sorts of things that we talk about The the book is organized around this sort of Literary philosophical device that there are three really really really bad Ideas, and if we can teach these three ideas to our kids we can’t guarantee that they’ll fail in life But we make it very likely that they will not have successful lives and they are what doesn’t kill you makes you weaker Always trust your feelings and life is a battle between good people and evil people if you can just imagine a young person growing up in America today who embraces those three ideas Imagine that person going out and being a force of nature Imagine that person going out and changing the world imagine that person going out and and leading a happy productive life It’s less likely if you embrace those ideas. So I’m just going to talk about the first one So my first book was called the happiness hypothesis it grew out of my psych 101 class at the University of Virginia Where I found myself teaching psychology by quoting the ancients, and I thought if I don’t get tenure at UVA I don’t want to transfer to a third-rate school. I’ll just try to write this trade book and try to explore these via the How much the ancients knew about about psychology? Fortunate I did get tenure just barely but I did get it and I decided to write the book anyway And so the book was about ten ancient ideas Three of them are the three ideas in the new book so chapter seven the uses of adversity everybody knows Well, this is the great untruth. This is red means bad wrong. Don’t believe this So you vote you all know as Friedrich Nietzsche said what doesn’t kill me makes me stronger This is a great truth because you find this in all of the world’s wisdom traditions This is from mensches or Monza When heaven is about to confer a great responsibility on any man It will exercise his mind with suffering subject his sinews and bones to hard work, etc, etc So as to harden his nature and improve whatever he is incompetent So everybody has recognized this the world that we grow from adversity. We need adversity and if we don’t get it were soft and weak now the the key word here was not invented until just a few years ago the wonderful word that Nassim Taleb had to invent because There was no word in the English language is anti fragile Children are anti fragile What he means by that is there are we all talk about resilience like we want our kids to be resilient but Talib was saying there’s something better than resilience, and he was studying banking systems and And he pointed out that there are certain systems where if they’re fragile you protect them And there are other systems where if they actually need to be damaged. They need to be attacked or shocked in order to grow strong So something which is resilient like a plastic cup is resilient If you drop it on the floor, it won’t break But it doesn’t get better when you drop it on the floor but a banking system actually gets better if it’s subjected to shocks it learns and it and it develops defenses and so he goes through an exploration of all these systems and So bone is an example If you if you take it easy on your bones they get soft and that’s why it’s gonna be difficult to go to Mars because you have to keep putting pressure on the bones to Keep them hard The immune system and children are their examples. I’ll work through the immune system example because it’s the clearest why are peanut allergies going up peanut allergies have tripled since the 90s why and so the the most authoritative study was recently published a couple of years ago the leap study and what they did is they Also as they say in the write up to it Peanut allergy is an aberrant response by the body’s immune system peanuts are not harmful But there’s certain proteins in the the little coat that like reddish thing around the peanut there’s certain proteins that the immune system often fails To learn are harmless and then it reacts to them unnecessarily So at they point out peanut allergies have doubled this was a while ago But only in countries that try to keep pregnant women and toddlers away from peanuts That’s the only place that’s going up. And so they did an experiment a very direct experiment Based on the hypothesis that if you give peanuts to kids they won’t be allergic to them. And that’s what they did So they took 640 kids. We’re at risk peanut allergy because they had either eczema or egg allergies so they had immunity issues and They assigned them randomly to either consume or avoid peanut dust. There’s an Israeli snack food It’s like puffed corn with peanut powder on it. And so So of the kids of the half who are assigned standard procedure, you’re at risk of a peanut allergy no peanuts for you mom Don’t have any peanut products while you’re nursing 14% of them at age five had a peanut allergy Of the kids who were given peanut stuff to snack on only 2% in other words We could pretty much wipe out almost wipe out peanut allergies just by giving peanuts to kids So the conclusion here was they say for decades allergies have been recommending that young infants avoid consuming such foods But our findings suggest that this advice was incorrect and may have contributed to the rise in peanut allergies All right. That’s what we mean by how good intentions and bad ideas are Causing a generation to have peanut allergies Let’s try that again. Let’s do not the immune system. Let’s do the whole kid Okay, we don’t want kids to get hurt. Let’s protect them Right, so and let’s keep protecting them. We’ve got to be there for them. What if your kid gets lost What if your kid falls down and gets hurt? You’ve got to be there. You’ve got to know where your kid is All the way up through college what happens after the college graduation who’s going to help them find a job? so if we do this throughout life What happens now, let’s go back and look at childhood, this is a playground from about a hundred years ago This is probably not a good idea because kids could actually die They could actually break their neck. So this I think is too dangerous. This is from a little bit more recently I think this is probably just about right That you’re not gonna die here, but you could get hurt and most of us were over 40 remember the jungle gym and you could actually get get hurt on it and But why would we ever let kids get hurt? Why would we ever do that? We should have playgrounds like this where they can’t get hurt. We should have playgrounds like this Well, here’s why there was a wonderful essay So Alison Gopnik is a wonderful development psychologist at Cal and she had an article in The Wall Street Journal recently over a year ago About risk deprivation syndrome. What happens when you don’t let when you keep kids safe from risk? What happens to them? Is it good for them? Are they gonna are they more likely to grow up and and be safe and be happy and be? Effective in the world the answer is probably no and so as she puts it Try it because she talks about how in Europe they don’t do this and Europe. They let the kids go out in the woods They let them play with knives and saws and they learn Not to cut themselves So she says trying to eliminate all such risks from children’s lives might be dangerous There might be a psychological analogue to the hygiene hypothesis. That’s analogous to the peanut thing if we keep our kids safe from bacteria We’re crippling their immune systems. They’ve got to be exposed to bacteria dirt germs even parasitic worms. It turns out So she says the we there may be a benefit to having kids take risks kids seek out risks, by the way They try to make things a little riskier more dangerous So she says in the same way by shielding children from every possible risk We may lead them to react with Exaggerated fear to situations that aren’t risky at all and we isolate them from adult skills that they will one day have to master So the the dictum this is this is wisdom Not anti wisdom the wisdom this is it just a cultural saying prepare the child for the road. Not the road for the child And in Britain there begin Britain does all the same mistakes as we do but they’re ahead of us in learning how to rectify them They have begun to let kids play with bricks and lumber and things where they could actually get hurt They’re not gonna get killed But they could get hurt but along the way they learn how to handle bricks and lumber and not insult power to us So it’s not given Paris AWS, but you know So the British are realizing we’ve gone too far. We have to actually let kids take some risks What are we doing in America the opposite we’re protecting them all the way up through college We don’t want our college students to face risk and so what happens Asked about the year 1995 for a reason most people seem to think that college students are Millennials. They are not the millennial generation We all thought was maybe 1982 to 2000 That was a reasonable assumption back in the early 2000s, but it turns out that if you look at graphs This is an interesting book by Jeanne twangy She looks at graphs of all kinds of things across the generations Which she finds that there’s a surprisingly sharp break at birth year 1995. It’s about as sharp as birth here in 1946 was 1946 was really the start of a new generation The war had just ended and for a variety of reasons 1995 turns out to be such a breakpoint I’ll just show you a bit of the data Kids these days they grow up so slowly you might think they grow up fast That’s all we used to say, but they don’t think about very slowly now so this is these are graphs from back in the 70s 80s 90s and 2000’s of Have you do you have a driver’s license? And You know, if you’re my generation or older the day you turned 18 you got your license. It was very exciting, but But now yeah But but that’s been going down. Have you ever tried alcohol, you know the day you turn 12 you got drunk, you know But you know, but that’s you know, have you have you ever tried alcohol that’s going down Have you ever gone out on a date anything like a date going way down? Have you ever had a job? Have you ever worked for pay all these things are going down. I Gen, the generation born after 1985 is having much less independent experience they’re spending a lot more time on their devices at home on their bed and Here’s the result or rather. I should know. Here’s one result. We can’t say for sure. They’re connected 20 argues. They’re connected I think she’s probably right This is by self-report Across nine symptoms, even if you meet five of the nine symptoms You’re caught you’re counted as having a major depression. And so the girls always have higher rates of depression than boys with depression anxiety Basically girls have internalizing disorders. That’s where you make yourself miserable boys are always higher in externalizing disorders where you make other people miserable So that’s alcoholism psychopathy things like that But the rate for boys as soon as I Jin comes into the picture the rate for boys begins going up now That’s actually a substantial increase as a percentage, but it’s nothing compared to what’s happened to girls So the girls rate of depression has skyrocketed. That’s that’s up about 50 to 70 percent And some people from New York Times Richard Friedman saying, oh it’s just self-report That’s if there’s no don’t worry devices aren’t bad There’s not really a rise and anxiety and he’s I think he’s completely wrong because he wasn’t taking account of the suicide data this is not self-report This is this is actual dead teenagers The the rape so boys have much higher rating the girls do more attempts But boys have higher completion rates because they tend to use Irreversible means so the rate for boys has been higher in the past and it is it has risen But as a percentage the rate for girls is risen much much more to take the average of the first decade of the century And compared to the last couple years 70% increase 7-0 For teenage girls. This is much bigger than any other group. This is a major public health catastrophe And so then what happens when kids come when when this generation comes to college This is data of from just from college students And what you notice here is that in 2012 again, you see girls have higher rates of depression than boys These are the last of the Millennials in 2012. There were no members of ijen on campus was all Millennials And one sigan comes to campus the rate for for young women shoots up Again boys goes up but girls goes up much much more And so this is what we’ve been seeing over the last four or five years Counseling centers are completely flooded around the country. They cannot handle they cannot handle the demand for psychological services on campus So again, we don’t know for sure what the cause is, but I think that overprotection Diplay deprivation risk deprivation and social media are the big reasons for this. We don’t know yet It’s this is also new the data. It’s only the last two years that we’re recognizing that this is happening. So That I think is another example of how while we’re trying to protect our kids. I think we’re really hurting them So as I said, the book is based around these three great untruths each one violates a basic psychological principle and And with that, I look forward to talking with Quentin and then hearing your questions. Thank you I do want to point out that in that playground shot from a hundred years ago everybody in that picture is dead now Life is a fatal condition, I believe in data Okay so To recapitulate a little bit about your thesis. And by the way, it’s number seven on The Times bestseller list in the first week Congratulations this obviously resonates That’s very good You seem to be saying that something’s happened quite acutely in the last few years in particular This was latent but it might have exploded and as I read the book I was struck by how many of the anecdotes? were in elite universities and I wanted to ask you if you thought this was a Problem among elite universities or something more broad-based in the country. Yes. So the the increase in depression and anxiety Cuts across races and social classes gene twangy has data on that So there are six threads that all come together. The depression threat is not at all restricted to the elite. Yes. There is a 70% increase in yeah teenage female suicide that’s nationwide. That’s right cross cuts raised class. What have you? Okay but the new culture of safety ISM the idea that we should that if somebody says something We should use the language of safety and danger when we go to the Dean to demand that he’d do something about that person Most working-class students would hear them. Say what what do you mean dangerous like danger? so I think the the the safety is Emitted to it can only exist in a school where you have students coming in at the age 18 Staying together for four years and not going home. So I don’t think this could exist at a commuter school because as soon as you go home, you say these things and your parents were like what this doesn’t make any sense, so it’s mostly at elite schools in very I’m sorry, don’t bring the politics into it, but it does the shout downs the really strong stuff only happens in very blue areas. Well let me push back on that a little bit because perhaps the safety is amiss a symptom of something larger, which would be this idea that People in particular young people who have no experience the past Treat the world now as full of catastrophe and this Catastrophizing of life as you put it this psychological dial EMA of seeing everything in these other terms Could be the reason you were also seeing this rise in depression and this inability to cope with life. Right? And so the safety is amun response But you’re seeing when you see things like certain types of speech codes at conservative universities or people driving their students there their children to Charter schools they teach along a certain philosophic line, aren’t you seeing the same thing with another phenomenon? So efforts to restrict speech go back Thousands and thousands of years as long as there’s been language there have been some people who said that’s blasphemy We’re gonna kill you or expel you. So when conservatives do what it tends to be of that sort and every group does that What’s new is the idea that we have to shut you up? Because what you say will physically harm it would be it will damage the bodies and minds. Well. No, I’ve Its daint the idea of safety in danger and here that I want to actually bring back the politics because Part of what’s going on here. I believe is that the students themselves are not really that fragile there Are there are many more with anxiety depression. That’s true but the ones who are saying this tend not to be saying I Will be damaged they tend to be saying they will be damaged So it’s it’s a kind of politics and protest that says I am standing up for a marginalized group I’m standing for a group of victims So you have to show you have to shut him up to protect them not me then This is an extraordinary phenomenon and self-organized essentially That’s yes, it’s completely self-organized among the students and it’s always a it’s a small group of students It’s not in most students are doing fine. Most students are perfectly happy They come to college they want to learn but I think one thing that’s happening to our whole society because of the combination of social media and rising cross partisan hatred We really really hate each other in this country much more than we did 10 or 20 years ago So you come into a campus that is fairly politically homogeneous organized around progressive politics and You have social media allowing people to organize you get this much more expressive brand of politics and the game that we play at universities of truth-seeking Can’t happen if other people are playing the game of political warfare Mm-hmm. Can you see this? What effect do you think this will have? 5 years out say Because if you look at the six trends that we took point to None of them are going to be reversed in themselves anytime soon Unless we do something so I think things are likely to get worse possibly a lot worse unless we do something The When we wrote our article people said in 2015 people said oh come on It’s just students being students when they go out to the real world. They’re gonna have to change and We thought that might be true, but now it’s clear. I hear from journalists Any industry that hires from these elite schools and has a lot of young people. They don’t change they say you have to do something You have to do something about that person and so you see this in newsrooms, so I think I think it’s going to Media tacko to the tech. Of course. There’s been a lot of issues in tech So I think it’s going to take over the corporate world I think we’ll see a decline of 5 to 10 percent of GDP And I think we’ll see a rise of litigation Related to employment. If you have children who want a career tell them to go into employment law. That’s my prediction Fairly comprehensive For the war by the book and implement the changes and this bad future will not be the Christmas future whatever then So if I wait for the paperback version, will it be a three percent decline in GDP? But for those listening on the radio, I’d like to point out that we’re both old white dudes Are you sort of? Aware of the line check your priveledge. And did you discount for this in writing the book? Yeah We were basically writing in fear of it because that is pretty much the only argument we’ve ever gotten What I mean is when we wrote the Atlantic article we’ve made these arguments about mental health and we really we try to avoid the Politics and really just focus on what do we know about psychology? What do we know about how you overcome trauma about how you need to dishabituation? eed to have bitchu eight to stimuli so we wrote a very Psychological piece and we were expecting all kinds of pushback and pretty much the only argument we got was you’re white men protecting your privilege So we’re used to that and you know one thing I began to think is like because what I say to that and I think I think maybe what I should say is Okay suppose that’s true That could very well be true that might influence why We tend to take this view and if you’re of a different category, you can take a different view that might well be true But that has nothing to do with whether the psychological arguments are true. And People are anti fragile. It doesn’t matter if you’re male or female or black or white. Everybody’s anti fragile And so until people come back and actually address our arguments. It doesn’t really matter what race we are well and to carry that through If you want to abide by your lesson, you should welcome this conflict, but they have to keep arguing Well, I would love it if people would give us counter-argument. I’d love it if that if it didn’t end there Yeah, you’d be fine you’re mister because basically the you know, just to say you’re you know, you’re white dudes protecting your foot It’s it’s a quasi ad hominem argument you saying we put an argument out there? What’s your response Oh your race and gender. So it’s it’s not a it’s not exactly at hominin, but it’s sort of like that It’s difficult to work with it as an argument. It doesn’t lead anywhere productive you point up this very interesting sort of paradox, which is to say not feeling safe or not feeling like your group is safe or not feeling like words are safe and Encounters with difficulty are safe Promotes danger it create. It’s very self-fulfilling, isn’t it? That’s right. You get self-fulfilling prophecy Yeah, so, you know on campus in the last 20 or 30 years really since the 80s. We’ve been very aware That words can have effects and so we’ve worked very very hard You know If you refer to mankind might this have a bad effect on women who think that this doesn’t include that We know maybe it might have a small effect. There’s not a lot of evidence, but it’s plausible and so we work on cleaning up our language in all kinds of ways and then to just suddenly put out there that Members of all these different groups should define themselves as marginalized Wow Are you kidding me? You’re gonna tell you know the kids of you know Haitian immigrants have been working hard and you know that community is rising up. You’re gonna tell them You’re marginalized everyone’s against you You know This is really this is a really bad thing to do for them and you’ve tied the positivity to this idea of anti fragility Which in a sense is a kind of ecological argument Let me encounter as many behaviors and things as possible so that I can deal with change as readily as possible Well in a world where we all acknowledge Social and technological change are going to accelerate you really don’t want to put your kids in this mental position Yeah, you want to think some capable of encountering difference and doing that sort of thing. That’s right So we’re in the friend the the interesting position that if you look at what it’s like to be a kid What dangers do you actually face it gets safer and safer It’s unbelievably safe the threats from almost everything are going down down down The survival rates go up up up But at the same time the Internet has guaranteed that there will be offensive language for the rest of their lives And so at the very time when we could we can let our kids out so You know Gen X was the last generation that was allowed to go outside And play and they were going out and playing at the height of the crime wave And then just as crime begins to plummet we take I J and we say you can’t go outside and play you’re going to be abducted and At the same time that we’re over protecting them physically then the internet comes along and now there’s gonna be words Around them negative words and racism and sexism and nasty comments for the rest of their lives So, um, can we spend a couple minutes blaming the parents? Oh, yeah, but so it’s always popular to do because they love a raise them. You know, who else you got? What do you think’s going on? So there are some broad social trends that explain why we did this to our kids one of the biggest so if you remember the Bowling for Columbine thesis Michael Moore’s movie from the 80s about why Americans freaked out but Canadians didn’t because our cable TV immersed us in stories of violence and things like that So the media system We’ve got cable TV and then the internet so we got scared out of our minds by anecdotes by individual cases Even though crime was going down. Our fear of crime did not go down That’s one thing Another thing is all around the world as countries get wealthier and as women then we get more educated women go into the workforce Family size shrinks so it’s one thing if the average family size is three or four or five There are a lot of kids around and you know, I hate to put it this way But if you have five kids, you’re not as paranoid about them as if you have one as the fifth child in my family I could testify so So it’s happening all over the world I mean you see in Korea too, you know So people are more protective for a lot of reasons The other really bad thing that happened in the 90s was there was this stupid stupid idea that if you let your kids hear Mozart in the womb they’re gonna be smarter and that was Completely debunked totally untrue. Okay, but we got in our heads that early exposure to things will get them They’ll get ahead to get a head start. Let’s give them more mass. Let’s give them more spelling Let’s do it in kindergarten and that was completely wrong in Scandinavia They don’t start any of the academic stuff until age 7 which is right kids need to play That’s really all they need to do is play when they’re young. But we’ve said the play now that’s that’s not important We need to give them more academics. So we deprive them of play. We deprive them of risk We over protect them We don’t let them develop normal skills of association and then we sent him off to college They tell you a story when I started out in journalism. I was on This oil wire where I had to stay up all night and read the news from around the world and figure out what to send out to financial markets and that meant I read about shootings in Africa and earthquakes in Para my beau and Disease outbreaks in Indonesia all night long. I was reading this terrible stuff and so they’re added to markets and so it didn’t but suddenly I had this kind of window on this The catastrophe of the world ongoing and you know, the AP never wrote a story kid learns to walk. Yeah, you know Husband gets home early bakes. Great pie, you know that you don’t see those stories you just see this terror and we actually talked about this because Typically, somebody would get this job and within about 2 or 3 weeks they’d start washing their hands more and they’d call up their wife Or husband and say, how you doing, honey You know Just check it in you know or talk about some crazy person they saw on the street and over time like we actually joked about this that like you’re in this catastrophe zone at first because you start Externalizing this and it’s your mental landscape changing but then you also had the time away from work and you normalized it and you put it in perspective and I’m Just seeing the world in this strange lens My education as a journalist is like everybody’s normal reality now You know where you get all of the world’s catastrophes rushing at you? If you think that plays a role I do that certainly explains part of why we’re more fearful and overprotective But I push it a step further a lot of what we’re sharing that if you look at what people share on social media It’s not mudslides in marawis bow or whatever. You said it’s however much capitalist. Earn em I didn’t know until I got the mudslide what we’re sharing what we’re drowning in what we are being force-fed is Here’s some stupid person on the other side. Politically. You said some horrible thing? Yeah, and What’s happening on campus? As I said is very largely a part of the culture war people the students are very political They always have been are the berries by decade, but they’re very political and so the students as is happening Nationally, you know when I was a kid, I was always on the left and I you know, I hated you know Nixon was my first political memory and you know and and you’d hear about some terrible thing that the Republicans Did like every month it seemed they did something terrible, you know, and now it’s every minute like every minute There’s a new thing that everyone’s upset about and so if you can imagine How could we ever? Compromise with the other side there there the evilest things that ever lived and so and but I just that’s you know out both ways I’m saying here. So so I think that the social media landscape has just as it did to you with the sense of danger I think the sense of outrage that’s actually much more dangerous for our democracy It’s when you have a democracy where people are afraid of mudslides but you can’t have a democracy where people are totally convinced with a lot of Video evidence that the other side is so evil that we really need to just get rid of them you speak of this as a problem in tech and this is particularly paradoxical to me because I’ve been thinking a lot about How in learning difficult things math and science is in particular how important it is to be wrong You only learn by being wrong. Well in the thing they don’t do learn faster. Yeah, you can learn by being right? But yeah, they’re not better. No, but if you’re right all the time, you’re almost not doing the work or else you’re a genius, you know, you’re seeing the world to uniquely and One of the smartest people I’ve ever met, you know got really excited one time He said oh my god. I think I’m wrong You know, I’m gonna learn something new and we don’t teach being wrong very well. And so it’s a cute It’s kind of funny. You should say this in tech because competence in tech involves Wondering if you’re not right And the problem you have in the safety world is I’m gonna be challenged and that’ll give me anxiety And these two different things are kind of encountering each other. That’s right. That’s great because that’s one of the key things that play It play versus competition. So when it’s the Little League championship, you don’t say oh I’m so glad I dropped that fly ball. I got to learn something No, no, but in you know, but when you’re but before try something harder, like let’s try throwing it in a mirror Oh I missed you know, but it’s fun. So in play we can explore that We try things and we can fail right but the more competitive society becomes the more competitive College Admission The less the the more frightening failure, but yes you you can’t be seen as slipping, right? That’s let me take a question from the audience I worry about these concepts creeping into high schools or even elementary schools in there already I would cite an article in today’s Atlantic talking about high school students saying some people have anxiety We should not be forced to give public presentations because they don’t feel emotionally safe And the other side of the argument is ninety percent of employers want people who communicate well You’re only going to learn it if you get up there and do it dare. I say be wrong and that’s right Can I ask you learn how to be better? Can I ask you to tell the story about your son that you told me in the greenroom? Uh Well, sure Okay, look you can answer the question, but I I can tell the story Uh, it’s his story But he owned it so it publicly so my son has an autistic spectrum Disorder where anxiety is part of the factor and he went to a school out in Orinda That’s quite good at taking care of people with this condition. And one of the things they did was Every semester every student had to give a PowerPoint presentation and the parents had to sit through them and they just they ground it and they ground it and they ground it and You know long story short. My son was the valedictorian of his university So, you know, he wasn’t good you got better Yeah, you know, I don’t want to universalize that that’s his story, but I’ll use anecdote. Yeah Yeah, I mean that you know that when we face challenges you can either say I’m anxious therefore I’m unsafe Therefore I shouldn’t do it Or we can say I am anxious and if I do it and then nothing Terrible happens to me next time I face it. I’ll be less anxious Well, this hold the section of a content of a response. That is a good segue to the Part of your cure for this your diagnosis and cure which is cognitive behavioral therapy. And you say the phenomenon exists and They’re experiencing all of the negativity and they’re not taking on the positivity from CBT. So why don’t you spend a minute talking about? So in the 1980s There was a big emphasis on teaching critical thinking And you don’t hear about it anymore because it didn’t work you You can’t just like in class like okay Now let’s you know all learn to you know, think better but actually there is one way that does CBT cognitive behavioral therapy if you Because the thing is you don’t just tell people how to think better you practice identifying specific distortions like you know, you know in CBT, you know, you say oh, you know, I Blew that interview and now I’m never gonna get a job and the therapist says, okay What’s the evidence that you blew give me evidence and you realize what you don’t actually have evidence So you work through these things. This is critical thinking you’re grounding your claims in evidence, and you’re learning to extract You know, what? Can you infer from this? This is actually critical thinking so Greg and I feel very strongly that given that there was a mental health crisis among adolescents and CBT is the best validated kind of therapy that there is We think that it should be a standard part of growing up in high school and certainly in college that you learn CBT and even for the majority the large majority people who aren’t depressed or anxious. It’s just good thinking skills So we think that colleges are putting more and more money into all kinds of remedial problems. They face all kinds of Problems. There’s a very simple solution. It’s very cheap. You can do it by you can learn it by an app We in the in the appendix to the book We give links to apps and programs that can teach you so we think it’s it’s very effective I would also urge people to Break out of whatever Regimented norm, they’re in if you shop at Safeway go to Whole Foods If you shop at Whole Foods go to say encounter parts of America shop at Walmart for that matter You know encounter parts of America that aren’t like your experience and you also step in national service That’s that brings up the other issue So social media has is effective in a number of what actually no what we should let’s do more questions This is the time we do we could just go off and talk all night. So let’s do more questions Please note the impact of increased school screen time versus face-to-face Conversation. Yeah, this we think is a big one So Need to do all sorts of things for thousands and thousands of hours and Screens are so Pleasant and addictive you know, what most of us when we were kids it was television and our elders thought that we were rotting our minds from television, and there may be in some truth to that but Screens because it’s two-way. It’s so much more interactive and I should work in a video I have a video of my daughter calling out to me when she was seven. Daddy. Can you take away my iPad? I can’t take my eyes off of it. She literally could not raise her head up from the iPad and she recognized that so To the extent that so it looks as though I don’t want to cause a panic here the evidence Suggests that an hour or two a day doesn’t seem to be correlated with any problems But when you go above two hours a day There’s a dose-response Curve where you know for three or four hours you have more rates of mental and this and five or six you have more There could be some reverse causality but twangy goes through reasons to think that it probably is Causal in the direction that we think so yeah, the screens are not dangerous in low doses But in high doses you’re basically depriving your kids of the social nutrients they need Okay, someone in the audience wants to know about the litigious society Does the yes fear of? Lawsuits create helicopter parent said not the fear of loss. It’s not so much that it creates helicopter parents. It creates helicopter institutions, so So schools should give a lot less supervision to playtime But if you do that if there’s one more case of bullying the parents can sue you so it’s always better from their perspective It’s always better to over supervise. So my daughter the same doe same daughter when she was just last year in third grade She told me You know in the playground if somebody says to someone else I don’t like the way you did your hair and that girl cries And don’t we’ll come over what’s going on girls what happened? And with this breeds is what’s called moral dependency so Because adults are always there ready to jump in and they’re there in part because Institutions are afraid of lawsuits. So that’s part of why they over supervise So this prevents kids from learning how to resolve conflicts on their own Well, I’ll try to Reframe this question. It’s interesting. You’re making an argument that culture the culture of safety is amassed an jabal negative impacts. Yes Why should we believe that argument and not a similar argument that cultures that reinforce negative stereotypes are not equally able to have negative impacts Wait, what is it? What’s this last bet culture cultures that reinforce negative stereotypes if if we allow negative stereotypes? Isn’t that just as bad as? Not allowing as having speech codes well, I think there’s two separate things here one is what do we do about stereotypes and racism and another is do we have a Culture of safety as much people are fragile. I think you’d you would do everyone a disservice if you say we should not have Stereotypes because they will damage people it’d be much more productive say shouldn’t of stereotypes because they will offend people or It’s the idea that they will be damaged and therefore need protection right? It’s not that it’s not that charles murray may or may not be a Racist it’s that hearing charles Murray will hurt me is right because that’s right because charles murray wasn’t there to speak about race He was there to speak about social class But the Middlebury students construed it that if he were allowed to speak about anything This would cause damage and what lesson does that teach? If you’re a black student at Middlebury and you’re told that if Charles Murray goes anywhere and says anything This is a danger to me. How is this helping that student? Okay Did Allan blooms closing of the American mind which predicted the negative effects of post-modernism on elite universities in the 80s influenced your book Yeah, are you out in bloom redux? Yeah, so So I had never actually read the Allan bloom book until last summer Because the title was made up at the last minute by the editors at the Atlantic our original title was arguing towards misery Which is a bad title But it’s what the article was about and the editors the Atlantic made up the quote the the coddling the American mind it sounded catchy Greg and I didn’t like it because it seemed insulting to students, but we couldn’t come up with anything better So we went with it and only this summer did I read just the FIR half of it. It’s a it’s a very interesting book but he was talking about the sort of the relativism the lack of morality the lack of a common a Sense of a moral order he is the problem of and now actually the problem we have is is a much is a really intense Morality, that is very unforgiving. Yeah, it’s very different his own I was the relative mayhem at Cornell when he was teaching there. Yeah, and this is the opposite of mayhem Yeah, and also, you know He’s writing. He’s writing from a cultural conservative point of view and we’re not we’re writing more from mental health point of view We’re not. I mean neither Greg and I have never voted for Republican in our lives. We’re both he were sort of you know Greg calls himself sort of left libertarian and I call myself a centrist who dislikes the Republican Party intensely So it’s it’s very different in our or our goals are very different. I Spent 10 years doing a show on Fox I sure we can get along Well companies that practice safety isn’t become less competitive to ones that don’t I would think so. Yes If so imagine Imagine any cooperative group where people are both competing and cooperating It’s really hard to do Now imagine that we also decide you know What we want to make things more diverse and we do this in our companies We do it in our corporation in our you know universities So these are all good things to do Now imagine that along with making things more diverse and having all these conflicting motives We say now Let’s have a whole new set of norms. Where? People are allowed to take offense at almost anything and not just take offense if they take offense there has to be an administrative remedy an administrative remedy Imagine what it would be like to run such a company imagine it would be like to run such university Imagine spending almost all of your day addressing internal conflicts rather than making a better product at a lower cost So yeah I think that if this if if this safety culture spreads because it is that heart it’s not Necessarily about true fragility. It’s a way of It’s a way of fighting moral and political battles of us versus them And the more our institutions become the more everything becomes politics all the time The less competitive we’re going to be. Mm-hmm. Well, I would also argue from my experience writing about business one of the hardest acts In any organization but a business organization is to say what if we’re wrong And if you have a culture of safety is omits just going to be one more, right? Difficulty in you know questioning. That’s right. That’s right. Well, we need to be doing as we as We are trying to diversify everything We do need to teach people to give less offense the norms about intercultural contact contact do need to be taught But at the same time that we’re trying to teach ever to give less offence We have to also teach people to give each other the benefit of the doubt in other words to take less offense Otherwise all that happens is we just keep moving the goal posts So we have ever lower standards for what counts as offensive But we have a concert of constant conservation of offense that we make no progress. We just make life harder for ourselves That’s what I think we’re doing. Mmm. We keep identifying new areas of OBO fans That’s why it’s called micro aggression and a micro aggression by definition is a millionth of an aggression So were you heading to Pico aggression? Yeah, lucky man aggression that’s people started talking Gonna retire Do you think school administrators are doing the students and the teachers a disservice? What should the administration be doing differently? Well, they’re in a very tough spot We have a whole chapter on on administrators and it’s fashionable to blame them and but they have a very hard job and Part of the reason their job is so hard is that we on the faculty. You used to run things We’re perfectly happy to not do any committee work to just do our research and minimal teaching and to leave everything else to administrators Who generally don’t come from an academic background? So their instinct is not well, let’s defend academic freedom It’s let’s defend the institution against lawsuits and bad publicity. That’s what they’re judged on. So they’re all good people There are no villains in our in our book They’re all good people doing the job as they find it I think what we need is a common language in universities and more broadly in America a Common language to understand what are our difficulties? What are the difficulties as we go on in a more? Politically? The polarization is here to stay. How do we adapt to that? So administrators, I’m hopeful that because one thing I’m finding Administrators now recognize their job is impossible This is true in universities. And I think it’s going to spread to many other organism a B It’s true in high schools too or other schools. It’s always been difficult So I think they’re looking for a way out of this Hopeful that the book will give people a common language and a reason to say at a certain point we can’t solve problems We have to let the students solve problems. So they’re all good people trying their best and it’s going off the rails That’s the stuff of tragedy. Yeah. Well, that’s the stuff of social science. I Mean that’s you know, this isn’t about good and evil, right? This is about complex social systems in which people have diverse morals and diverse material goals all put together In a constantly changing environment with a new media ecosystem and Russian trolls manipulating us to get even angry at each other So it’s really hard nowadays All right, and I think most you know Raise your hand if you feel as though America has just gone so deeply into the twilight zone that you don’t know What the hell’s going on raise your hand? Okay, like we’ve got problems in this country and it’s not gonna be solved by us getting even more angry at the people We love to hate it’s gonna be solved by stepping back and saying what is happening to us? Yes Maybe they’re right – what if I’m wrong? Yeah You know give me an act like a real democracy where we listen to the other side and question our own thinking well other but there’s Nothing today about I have read the article yet. But is that how we are living Madison’s nightmare? Madison and the founders knew That direct democracy is a terrible thing because you get just mobs at each other’s throats and that’s why we have a republic and a limited democracy and I’m guessing the article is gonna say it just came out today yesterday guessing it’s gonna say that There’s always been the issue of mobs But with social media suddenly the mobs are vastly more powerful and influential and we’ve seen a lot of cases of mobs Forcing institutions to change decisions recently. Mm-hmm. Yes, and they seem like Enormous, ly powerful groups right people on Twitter can end up. Yeah Okay. Have you seen any parallels to this in other countries? Is this a uniquely American it’s uniquely Anglosphere. All of the Anglo countries have it. None of the European countries have it? So it’s exactly the same. It’s almost the same in Canada and the UK Canada is is that somebody’s phone? Yes, it is. Okay. Keep going Yeah, damn Phone had to check his Twitter. Yeah so the UK is Only about six months to a year behind us and all of these trends they’re getting all of these things They’re they’re different cuz they have these Student Union’s their student unions are very are very politicized. They’re different from ours There’s some difference but Canada UK and Australia are very similar Whereas in France and Germany, they’re laughing at us One reason is because we modeled our university system on Oxford and Cambridge So we have residential colleges so our elite schools. It’s it’s a very intense social experience you live together And so this this week no I shouldn’t say weird this new morality of safety ISM It cannot survive the light of day if it goes out into the broader world But it can survive at Middlebury or you know on an elite college campus But in Germany and France, they don’t have that. They have more commuter schools. They don’t all live together for four years So that’s one of the reasons Now an audience question the University of Chicago sends all incoming freshmen a letter Disavowing a liberal speech safe spaces and what you call safety ISM? Yes, what’s going on with college administrators who tolerate this behavior? And what do you think Chicago’s what led Chicago to behave differently so it so chic I did my postdoc at the University of Chicago. I love the place. It is the most intellectually intense place in America They they had you know, the students have t-shirts, you know University of Chicago where fun goes to die, you know Hell does freeze over like they’re proud of the reputation for argumentation So they have the moral resources to stand out and they also have Robert Zimmer also, and they’ve had a succession of strong presidents So they they’re the closest thing to Plato’s Republic. Plato is not repugnant or not Republic Plato’s Academy. Thank you They’re the closest the closest thing we have in this country to that so they staked out Position rejecting that now there was an error in the that Dean never should have said that, you know, we don’t accept safe spaces There’s a right of association if students want to for him a safe space they can But he meant to say and I spoke to him about this what he meant to say was our classrooms are not safe spaces That it’s obviously no physical violence, but you you know people will critique your ideas that’s gonna happen in class So Chicago is wonderful. I think it’s the best school in the country I would much rather my kids go there than to any of the Ivy’s And the problem as you see in our in our book we go through a case after case. The presidents are terrified And over and over again. I’ve spoken to many college presidents They all favor free speech they all have good liberal values liberal in the sense of they believe in the university as a liberal institution and Almost every one of them is terrified so they don’t stand up. They don’t like when the Christakis is when when Eric and Nicholas Christakis Did what anybody that sigh would say these were beautiful deeds? This was the Eric of Christakis wrote a very thoughtful letter based on her research in psychology On how students should think for themselves and not be guided by administrators and the Yale? Leadership never stood up for them. They were mobbed. They were humiliated. They were demands for them to be fired and the Yale leadership Never, you know leadership should be saying, you know you you know, yes, you have legitimate complaint here, but on the other hand I mean the leadership should have tried to say something to it stand up for the faculty as they did They didn’t on the assumption that you’re fully tenured. How are things at NYU? Well, so it’s not about tenure it’s not about losing your Shouldn’t say that I shouldn’t say that because many people have lost their jobs actually on the right on the left The dynamics are such that this is now bipartisan The fear isn’t so much losing your job The fear is if it’s being shamed and having reputation attacked publicly to get back to my question How are the administrators at NYU? How are the students at NYU? so because we’re being filmed I Don’t want to answer that I will just say I would just say that it’s Stern. I Am given enormous leeway to to develop my ideas as I see fit I have the strong support of my Dean at Stern And Stern has been wonderful also business schools, like engineering schools. Don’t have a lot of this It’s especially the safety cultures, especially in the humanities education school social work There’s a few other departments but Business School’s engineering schools There’s a few others that don’t does this get back to my earlier point that People have to learn how to be wrong. And therefore they get a little tougher. This is a uniquely humanities problem where that isn’t Practiced as often. I don’t think it’s that I think it’s the I think it’s the politics of it I think that because again a lot of this isn’t really about fragility. It’s about it’s about political warfare and I think the particular Politics of the humanities is such that they go in for these Again, not to do to prosecute their case politically I believe Mm-hmm and in your setup, this is another question from the audience and your setup you talk about Sort of the over valence to trusting your feelings and the power of emotions. Are you dismissing emotion? Do you think there is a place for gut yeah Well, so my book, the righteous mind was all about how in fact were driven by our intuitions. We are emotional creatures and the view that I’ve come to take is that we are emotional creatures who are really good at post hoc reasoning and We’re really good at justifying what we want to believe the magic of a university is that you put people together who? disprove each other’s confirmation biases so that’s why it works and if we start saying You know what? You have your reality you have yours. How dare you question her reality? You’re invalidating her reality your invalidating her existence. You can’t do that When once you when you keep it on the plane of argument based on evidence, that’s the game We’ve been playing for thousands of years not perfectly not at all times But at our best that’s what we do and to now have put people in who say different rules You can’t criticize my claims or my ideas. This is the way I feel. Mm-hmm You know, it’s like a metaphor that I use is like, you know I go out there and I play tennis every day, but beginning in 2014 You know, you hit the ball over the net and then someone jumps across and tackles you You know, and they said well we’re playing football Now we’re playing tennis like, you know, if we’re playing different games on campus nothing works. Mm-hmm It just occurred to me that we have spent an enormous amount of time Discussing what? You see is a real chaotic and dangerous situation for the future of the country that will affect the economy and our institutions and It has a lot to do with an excess of negativity and a kind of catastrophizing I’ve got two minutes for you to say something positive. How do we fix this? Yeah, so so I think actually We are in Sort of the Emperor’s New Clothes phase where most people are most people realize things are really messed up Most people want to change when I talk with other parents. Nobody defends I shouldn’t say nobody Most people don’t defend helicopter parenting most of us want to give our kids more independence, but it’s a social coordination problem You can’t just send your kids out by themselves. I tried to do it with my kids They say there are no other kids out there people. Look at me funny But so so go to so so the parenting problem we can solve First we kill all the lawyers know that We do have to address the law issue, but go to let grow org. That is an organization started by, leonora Second AZ or the food wrote the book free range kids I’m on the board of it along with Peter gray who studies play. We were trying to solve the social coordination problem so that parents and communities that care about this can actually designate a Backyard or a park a place where the kids can go and you talk with the police and they know not to arrest your parent The parents if the kids go there to play So they’re the will in a day if Tophet they can what if they drift away from the park they can How many of you ever drifted away from a park when you were a kid? I mean, yeah, that’s the part. That’s right Yeah, that’s very good. Yeah, so we can solve the parenting problems. Actually though. It’s just a coordination problem The university problems we can also solve we have all kinds of suggestions in the book the other big suggestion go to open mind platform org me and my team we’ve developed a Program that walks you through the basic moral psychology to understand. Why do we get caught in these moralistic spirals? Why do we find it so difficult to crawl to talk across the political divide? a Lot of a lot of places a lot of schools now actually want to work on this they want to produce students who can engage with people of varying political views, so Lot of people are working on this time This is why I think the libertarians and Steve Pinker was initially given talk recently one of the you know They generally say things are actually getting better and people are always Catastrophizing because the deeper the bigger problem gets the more people work on it and people are creative people are inventive We were really good at solving problems We’ve solved almost every problem until now and global warming is very serious But we are likely to solve it eventually we might run out of time, but I think we’re gonna I don’t know So the optimistic thing is to say that yes things look bad now in the book. We’re pointing to some very worrying trends They’re not but it’s not that a generation has lost its minds most kids are fine. Most universities are still working more or less properly Things are getting worse, but they but okay, sorry We got at least 90 seconds of positivity there that that we we people That well-intentioned people of good faith Even if they differ in their in their politics can come together to help kids and universities tell me three things you’ve done in life or as a parent or you wish you’d done as a consequence of writing this book that people have taken and thinks about doing So I only read lenore scan Daisy’s book free range kids. It’s wonderful book I only read it about three or four years ago when my son was already 8 or 9 I wish I had done a lot more of this with my kids when they were very young You can’t overprotect a toddler But by the time they’re five or six you really can be giving them a lot more worldly experience You know, you see these shows in Japan where they send four-year-olds out to do errands Not that we can do that in New York, but it’s actually pretty safe anyway So I wish I had done a lot more free range stuff with my kids I wish I’d been much more active and trying to get at the school to change My kids go to public school in New York City. They’re generally pretty good, but they’re very overprotective so I wish I had worked more with schools and And and other parents in the area because it’s hard to solve these problems in yourself. Mm-hm encouraging children to become resilient Yeah at an age where those immune systems can be encouraging adults and institutions to leave room for Children to have the experiences that will lead them to become resilient Yes, not something we teach it’s something we have to give them the room to learn Okay. Well, thank you for that our thanks to Jonathan hight Thomas Cooley professor of ethical leadership at NYU’s school and Stern School of Business and Co-author of his new book the coddling of the American mind how good intentions and bad ideas are setting up a generation for failure we’d also like to thank the Kenan Jack Road Family Fund for their generous support of this conversation a Reminder to our audience that Jon will be signing copies of the coddling American mind outside in just a minute So be sure to pick up a copy on your way out I’m Quentin Hardy and now this meeting of the Commonwealth Club the place where you’re in the know is adjourned You