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Hidden Consensus

The Hidden Consensus on Free Expression

For the past year, I have been working with an interdisciplinary team of collaborators to study free expression issues at my home institution, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. This week, we made our findings public in the form of an extensive report, now available online. Our effort is distinctive in that it tries..


“Splitting” and Identity Politics

A few years ago, I provided psychotherapy to a 20-year-old White female college student whom we’ll call ‘Amanda.’ She had regular conflicts with her parents. She was irritable, unfocused, and depressed — and had little energy for much outside of surfing the web and brooding in her room. She smoked pot regularly. She had friends,..

controversial topics

To Tease Out Heterogeneity and Combat Polarization, Make Some Topics *More* Controversial

It has long been a talking point on the right that leftist professors are ‘indoctrinating’ college kids (an elaboration on why many quite reasonably hold this belief is available here). However, a number of recent studies suggest that this narrative is incorrect: students can reliably determine what their professors’ political beliefs are, and when they..

against fairness

Against Fairness

The song “I Walk the Line” is about the sacrifices and the devotions of love –the profound lengths to which we will go for our favorites. The bonds of favoritism create moral gravity and contour the way we treat people inside and outside the gravitational field. I don’t walk the line for just anybody. Johnny..

callosal disconnection syndrome

Callosal Failure: One Hundred Years of Viewpoint Diversity Activism

Callosal disconnection syndrome, more colloquially known as ‘split brain syndrome’ occurs when the connections between the left and right hemispheres of the brain are disrupted or severed. The condition often makes it difficult for people to fully access and synthesize various flows of information or to properly coordinate their actions. This is, perhaps, a perfect..

James Poniewozik

Episode 77: James Poniewozik, Audience of One: Donald Trump, Television, and the Fracturing of America

James Poniewozik is my guest today. He’s the chief television critic for the New York Times. We’ll be talking about his new book “Audience of One: Donald Trump, Television, and the Fracturing of America,” which was listed as one of the 10 best books of the year by Publishers Weekly, one of the 50 notable works of nonfiction in 2019 by The Washington Post, and a notable book of the year by the New York Times Book Review.

academic freedom in the uk

Academic Freedom in the UK

Recently, Tom Simpson of Oxford University and myself co-authored a report, Academic Freedom in the UK for the British Think Tank Policy Exchange. The report garnered considerable attention in the British media, largely positive (see here, here, here, here for instance), with a couple critical — if revealing — comments as well (e.g. here, here)...