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Free Inquiry on Campus: A Statement of Principles by a Collection of Middlebury Faculty

The statement below has been signed by 53 professors at Middlebury College (UPDATE 3/9: the total is now 89 professors, one emeritus college mental health professional, and one writer-in-residence) and it will be updated with new signatures through March 11. The signatories come from the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences. I agree with all of the..

How Marcuse made today’s students less tolerant than their parents

When Samuel Stouffer first wrote on political tolerance during the McCarthy era, he concluded that Americans were generally an intolerant bunch. Yet, finding that younger people were more tolerant than their parents, he also concluded that Americans would become more and more tolerant over time, due to generational replacement and increases in education. However, Stouffer did not predict the rise of the New Left, which I argue has reframed our collective notions about free expression, resulting in a significant decline in political tolerance among America’s youth. I develop this argument in a chapter I wrote for Stanley Rothman’s last book, The End of the Experiment, (Rothman, Nagai, Maranto, and Woessner, 2015) My findings are outlined below.