In this wide ranging conversation focused on Greg Lukianoff’s co-authored (with Jonathan Haidt) book The Coddling of the American Mind, and his new documentary film Mighty Ira: A Civil Liberties Story, about the free speech champion Ira Glassner, who headed the ACLU for decades, he and Shermer discuss:
the state of free speech today, how coddled today’s students are, the data on rates of depression and anxiety in students today, possible causes of the coddling of the American mind: social media, screen time, culture of safetyism, culture of victimhood, helicopter parenting, the decline of unsupervised, child-directed play, cancel culture and its effect on self-censorship and silencing speech, current rates of deplatforming and canceling in academia, the polarization of politics, when self-censorship is healthy, default to truth theory vs. default to skepticism theory, How gullible are we, really? how to combat the negative influencers on social media, a brief history of free speech in the 20th and 21th centuries, why people in power want to silence dissenters (even free speech advocates in power), and the value of viewpoint diversity. Greg Lukianoff is the president and CEO of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE). Lukianoff is a graduate of American University and Stanford Law School. He specializes in free speech and First Amendment issues in higher education. He is the author of Unlearning Liberty: Campus Censorship and the End of American Debate and Freedom From Speech. Read about his new film: Mighty Ira: A Civil Liberties Story.