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Outrage and Inquiry

Outrage and Inquiry

From our new piece in The Chronicle of Higher Education:

The new activist culture calls for colleges to confront the small, perhaps unintended slights known as microaggressions, to provide trigger warnings for course material that might offend or upset, and to become safe spaces where ideas go unchallenged. It is characterized by extreme moral sensitivity, and in this way is similar to honor cultures of the past where men were highly sensitive to insults and responded to perceived slurs against their character with duels and other forms of violence.

The new culture is less concerned with slights against individual character than with anything perceived as furthering the oppression of victim groups. In either case, though, extreme moral sensitivity presents a problem in an academic environment. As we warned, “Honest inquiry and communication are bound to offend someone,” so if colleges are to be places of inquiry and communication, “they must have a climate where people are less — not more — prone to outrage than elsewhere.”

Read the whole thing here.

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