The essay The Coddling of the American Mind offers some insights about how students in American colleges are having their freedom of speech affected by their disillusioned emotions. After reading the essay, I have discovered that campuses are putting too much effort to prevent people being offended. Consequently, the freedom of speech has been curtailed for fear of breaking such laws. The writers have based his arguments on various studies done in campuses to assert his findings. Guidelines have been provided for lecturers on the extent to which they should go in their verbal messages in an attempt to reduce verbal abuses. However, overprotection of the young people from such trivial matters may make them too weak to tolerate any verbal discussion that appears to be against them.
The American youths have been fed with misogynistic beliefs on how they should relate to each other and live in the campuses. They have been made to believe that their feelings are never long and whoever hurts them is their enemy. Additionally, they are required to always evade pain and discomfort by faulting other people whenever there is a problem. These policies have been propagated with the aim of protecting the young people from the aggression in the society. However, I agree with the pundits that it is creating a fragile generation that is getting used to depending on the older people even when they become of age. Despite the fact that they have been made in a good intention to prevent any harm to these people, the coddling of the mind is against the traditional principles of self-reliance and psychological development.
Drawing on the arguments of the author, it appears that the American students are not being taught how to become responsible in future and may face difficulties as soon as they are in school. The article indicates that students "should not be taught what to think, teach them how to think" (4). This view is in correspondence with the Socratic thinking that encourages critical thinking and the examination of one's beliefs applying the wisdom of the old people. Accordingly, such self-evaluation leads to a form of discomfort that makes one come up with solutions to their issues. Additionally, this way promotes a deeper understanding of the emerging issues in the society and how to deal with them.
In contrast to the critical thinking, vindictive protectiveness fosters poor thinking techniques among the students and reduces the ability to hold an intellectual engagement with people that have contrary ideas. Besides, the college culture of cracking down speech that appears offensive has been identified as a cause of psychological disturbance and illnesses. Accordingly, the county is experiencing an increased rate of depression and anxiety among the young people. Psychological experts have blamed this pattern on the cognitive model and behavioral therapy that is based on pathological thinking.
Several court cases regarding the speech in various institutions have been listed in the article. Reading some of them makes one empathize with the situation. Most of them have come up due to the policies created by most schools on what is allowed to be spoken in public within the institution. Due to these regulations, "everyone must think twice before speaking up, Otherwise, they might face charges against what they said due to making another person feel uncomfortable (8). In my view, putting such restrictions may reduce the capability of these students to communicate effectively with their work colleagues where conversations will never be censored. Most likely, they will continue to feel offended leading to depression and hate. Therefore, there is a need to come up with comprehensive policies to curb this issue as early now before the American youths have their brains destroyed.
The coddling of the campus students has been going on for over thirty years since the crime rates in the US started going up. At this period, most of the young people would run away from their homes to become criminals. Therefore parents started to become too close to them to ensure they were safe. What started as a good strategy to protect the children from illegal practices has grown to be a psychological concern that is inflicting emotional distraught on children. The number of psychiatric illnesses among students has significantly increased since then.
Initially, the rules were only against excessively offensive speeches while allowing objective criticism. However, it has metamorphosed to banning of "any speech that is considered unwelcome by the victim" (6) Besides, evidence in courts regarding offensive speech has been broadened to include emotional reasoning. Currently, most schools require that the lecturers issue warnings against sensitive subjects so that students can avoid discussions around such issues. Such policies have been strictly followed to protect students suffering from post-traumatic stress disorders and to prevent any discomfort.
Like the authors of this article, I disagree with such a method of sanctioning discussions among the young people. While it may help in the short-term, one is not able to cope up with such instances. Accordingly, they may suffer after coming from the school to where such discussions are free within the community and in the media. I agree with this article that institutions should find a better way to protect the students from being offended by speech. Clearly, the coddling of the mind of Americans youths is doing more harm than good.
Lukianoff, Gregg, and Haidt, Jonathan. The Coddling of the American Mind. The Atlantic, 2015.
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