Jonathan Haidt appeared with author and New York Times columnist Frank Bruni on The Charlie Rose Show to discuss recent events surrounding Charles Murray’s speaking event at Middlebury College last week.
In a far-reaching discussion moderated by Dan Senor filling in for Charlie Rose, Haidt and Bruni analyzed the many causes of the rising illiberalism on college campuses, which makes many students and professors reluctant to voice dissenting opinions.
In particular, they noted that the new illiberal attitude is not characteristic of most students or most universities. Rather, it is usually only shown by a subset of students, supported by faculty in a small subset of departments. But on some campuses this subset has been able to intimidate the majority into silence; on other campuses they do not have as much influence. Haidt and Bruni also discussed the way that this subset of students has learned to use rhetoric: they tend to make slurs rather than arguments, as HxA member Mark Lilla has explained. This is why they are such a socially powerful force within the campus community–people are afraid of being slurred if they speak up. And this is why it is so important that in the wake of the Middlebury affair, more and more faculty members are standing up to defend the core principles of the academy.
For anyone concerned about viewpoint diversity, we urge you to view the entire 30-minute discussion either below or online.
“Colleges owe students turbulence, because it’s from a contest of perspectives and an assault on presumptions that truth emerges — and, with it, true confidence.”