The Battle Over Free Speech: Are Trigger Warnings, Safe Spaces & No-Platforming Harming Young Minds?

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thank you and I have news for all of you before we begin that this is actually a safe space for an hour and a half you will not hear any mention of brexit and that is my promise to you for now and a warm welcome to you all as we debate the battle force free speech trigger warning safe spaces microaggressions and no platforming I'm going to start by saying something uncharacteristically odd so bear with me I'm going to make a huge assumption and you are welcome to prove me wrong throughout the course of the evening based on what we think we know of the demographic here the geography in the heart of Westminster the instincts and the appetite of our audiences here I'm going to assume that most of you come here tonight because you espouse free speech because you defend free speech to the death we play with Dangerous Ideas here and you like that and you have come my assumption to have your minds opened perhaps even changed so the idea of not encouraging people to air their long-held views or not say things in their particular way might be anathema to our audience here tonight it might shock you it might disgust you but today I'm going to ask you to take your imagination your tolerance for an even longer walk than you normally do and I'm going to ask you to be open to the idea that free speech is not always okay I'm going to ask you to listen to the idea that language might sometimes have to be adjusted perhaps even censored and if you are truly in that place tonight where you're willing to listen to everything even the views that tell you some ideas are too dangerous to say out loud then I think you will be better placed to appreciate tonight's event with balance that's the end of my lesson I'm going to introduce our speakers a wonderful lot here Jonathan hight is the social and cultural psychologist author of the coddling of the American mind have good intentions and bad ideas are set up for general set up a generation for failure Jonathan is over here for a week his professor at New York University and he'll be signing copies of his book afterwards in the foyer a K and a Andrews is a professor of Black Studies at Birmingham City University author of Back to Black retelling black radicalism for the 21st century Alan a penny is an activist journalist and online editor at red pepper magazine and rabbi Lord Sachs chief rabbi until 2013 recent author of not in God's name confronting religious violence who is also taught at new university as well but we're going to start with Jonathan our guest for the evening as it were and a warm welcome to you and take us through the problem that you're writing about your book is about the the coddling of American minds and the fears you have for campuses and for students right certainly well first thanks so much to IQ squared for bringing us all together here a lot of my work is on how we need viewpoint diversity we need people to challenge us to make us smarter and I think this format rather than a formal debate to bring people been writing about this together in a in a collegial way to who probably gonna take opposite views on many things I think is a productive and really enjoyable format so thank you to IQ squared and to all of you for coming out tonight the there are two related problems that have that have sort of flooded into the United States become very visible in the last three or four years they weren't really visible before then so I'll just very briefly state them in that I hope will set us up for a discussion the first is that we have I'd say a mental health crisis for boys and a mental health catastrophe for girls what I mean by that is that rates of anxiety and depression were fairly stable in the early from 2000 to 2010 and then they begin rising very sharply for boys rates of made depression are up about 30% for girls they're up about 40% some people say this is just self-report it's not real but rates of hospital admission for self-harm are up in the same way for girls not for boys though for suicide in the United States suicide for teenage boys is up 25% from the first decade of the century if you look at the rise to the last 2 or 3 years 25 percent increase for girls it's 70 percent 7-0 percent increase I just looked at the numbers for the UK but on my way over here The Guardian has had a lot of really good coverage of the various studies that have come out it's the exact same thing you two have no rise at all in hospital admissions for boys boys are not cutting themselves more but your girls are going to the hospital much more because they cut their bodies and are bleeding you also have even though the suicide rate I think was in England and Wales even though that suicide rate is going down to historic levels overall the rate for teenage girls has reached its highest level ever you also have about a 60 or 65 percent increase in completed suicides for English English girls English and Welsh girls so there's a mental health catastrophe going on we don't really know what causes it but the best the the most likely explanations are the combination of social media which is much harder on girls than boys and the vast vast overprotection that we in the United States we decided to stop letting our kids out to tell them the world is dangerous to tell them that if they're ever not watched by an adult they will be abducted we started telling them this in the 1980s and especially in the 1990s just as our crime rate was plummeting we taught them that life is so dangerous that they shouldn't be allowed outside we deprive them of free play so we don't know for sure but we have a mental health crisis it begins with kids born in 1995 we call them gen Z or Gen Zed you would say or the or I Gen for the internet generation so when this generation arrives on campus in the United States that's around age 18 they come to the University so in nineteen twenty thirteen they first the first members of Gen Z Gen Zed come to campus and that's when all of these things start none of us had heard of these terms practically but by 2014 in a few school students were asking for protections from words books speakers ideas they were treating them as though they were dangerous of course students can protest and have protested words books speakers and ideas but they never before said if this is presented if this person comes on I or someone will be traumatized harmed damaged this was new we call this in the book who have Greg Luciano and I call it safety ISM though the worship of safety that that the the view of the world as safe versus dangerous Americans now young Americans talk about emotional safety we used to call it emotional discomfort socrates reveled in creating emotional discomfort on the way to learning many of us are reluctant to do that now because if I create emotional discomfort and my students they might take that as that they're unsafe and there's a number to call there's an email to call to report me even from class they can report me if they think I've made them unsafe just coming you have actually changed the way you teach because of your own worries yes I used to be a provocative teacher I do not provoke anymore I just play it straight I don't tell jokes I don't show many videos because it's happened to you personally yeah it happens to a lot of people so we all share stories when I started this in 2015 people thought that we were exaggerating we're taught to talk about a few anecdotes because it was just starting then now it has spread so far that even though most students are fine most students are not depress they want to learn they want to be exposed but if you have a class of 300 students you now have to teach to the most sensitive student because any one of them can report you give us an example of how you think this is manifesting itself on campuses in the US what what have you actually seen in concrete terms so let's see what what have I seen so we're very careful about exploring hypotheses that could be taken as contrary to received wisdom on politically sensitive topics let's take gender for example so it's commonly said that women earn be present as much as men now that's a true fact in the United States but that doesn't account for hours work or job picked if you correct for those then we're up in the 90s but it sounds better to say that women are only paid 70% as much as men for the same work any social scientist knows that's a meaningless statistic unless you equate for the kind of job and the hours worked but I have seen social scientists I've seen people say this from the stage that women are only paid 70% as much and I've seen another social scientists who know that that's not true won't say anything because you don't want to be called sexist you don't want to be seen as challenging as somehow denying or minimizing the problem and at what point do you think the students have the upper hand do you think that students now dictate what is being taught and what is being said on campuses well you have to think about in terms of everybody is making a calculation as they walk through we're all caught in a minefield we're all walking through a world in which one word we say this is true for everybody faculty students everybody one one word one thing you say can be misreported or properly recorded on Twitter and it blows up into something so this we're all stuck in this and this is one of the reasons for the mental health crisis what we know from surveys that we've conducted I run an organization or used to be called heterodox Academy we've surveyed students what we know is that they are afraid to speak up in class or many of them report that they self-censor mostly because they're afraid of other students professors are mostly afraid of other students the students again gen Zed which grew up with the ability to block things that they don't want a lot of people they don't want they're very adept at social media and so what's happened is we don't trust each other we don't we it's very difficult for professors to trust their students we can trust most of them but that's not enough you talk about antifragility now I know that's a phrase that goes up back to I think it's Nassim Taleb isn't it but you use this phrase antifragility to talk about an inability to have resilience yes this is the most important concept in the book and so I'll just I can lay it out very quickly and if we if we all if we have this on the table everything else will make more sense so many things this you know this is fragile and if I drop it it will break and it won't be better it will be broken and so we give kids plastic cups because plastic is resilient but if a kid drops a plastic cup it doesn't get better there are a few things that need to be dropped there are a few things that have to be challenged in order to configure themselves so the immune system is the best example if you protect your kids from bacteria and peanuts they will have more autoimmune diseases and more likely to have peanut allergies so the immune system requires exposure to all sorts of things well it turns out human beings are anti fragile human beings require we have to experience stress exclusion teasing insults we have to experience these things in small doses as kids to set the social system that allows it to wire itself ups that we can face larger things by the time we're adults in the United States now we have gone so far towards protecting kids my daughter when she was in third grade last year in New York City public schools the girls would form play groups on the playground and hers was the kitty cat club and only members of the kitty cat Club could hang out in a certain place and so the teacher said well you know she led them through why we can't exclude people it's wrong to exclude people well okay it's a good discussion to have but if my daughter would go all the way through schooling without having those experiences when she gets to college she won't be able to handle small things that's what we think is happening kids are actually anti fragile in the United States and in Britain you've been raising kids as though they're fragile one of your head teachers recently banned snowball fights because what if someone gets hit in the eye if we protect kids from small risks they don't learn how to face larger risks and I'm gonna pick up with Eleanor now lucky you you're you're our representative you are what do you prefer i gen or Zen Jen Zed or you choose no if you want I reserve that for my closest friends let's talk about the things that Jonathan has just mentioned their stress exclusion insults teasing do you feel that those are areas that you should try and protect young people from or did you actually agree with most of what he said well I think the what Jonathan's questions Jones's questions attempt to essentially frame what is a political problem as a problem that can be reduced to and solved on the level of like personal psychological robustness and I think that movement is something that is inherently flawed because what we're facing now is a series of overlapping political crises the students on campuses across the country across the world are attempting to develop frameworks and epistemological tactics and organizational tactics in order to change that and yes sometimes those look uncomfortable to the kind of colonists who are triggered enough to write an article about how they don't have a platform in a national newspaper however I think we're in danger of calling the people pointing out the problem the problem we're in danger of massively misdiagnosing the real existential threats to our freedom of speech which do exist but they don't look like the very overblown handful of cases of students on campus and over using tactics such as you know such as no platforming or such as trigger warnings they look like you know the mass surveillance that's going on in our society they look like government collecting data on Muslim students through prevent legislation they look like the rise and rise of the far-right who have explicitly mobilized around things like shutting down free speech they like to play victims and they like to spin a narrative of martyrdom but really as the as Donald Trump has shown us they have very little interest in in the game that we think they we think we're playing they have no interest in civility they have no interest in truth and they have no interest in freedom of speech and what we're in danger of doing here and I use that word purposefully don't worry is having exactly the kind of concept creep that you talk about in the book right from freedom of speech as freedom from prosecution and freedom from when you will voice your opinion to a kind of freedom from consequence so what we're expected is that powerful speakers often powerful right-wing men are expected to be invited along to very prestigious platforms to air their views and not be challenged for it and to me that's not that's not free speech it's it's the exact opposite it's using free speech that's using the trappings of free speech to essentially protect people who are already powerful from being challenged it's it's essentially flying alive one of the most fundamental rights in our democracy and you know wearing it's dead skins so then I'm going to come in here because um you make it these are really important points I think now I wouldn't have gone straight for no platforming because I think that's probably exactly the area that you think people push this debate onto when it's if you like the pinnacle of it but since you are doing that and you're talking about the far right let's put some examples here the obvious one is Steve Bannon who was an Oxford talking at the Union so in that situation you would not want Steve Bannon anywhere near your University well I think that well first of all my University UCL represent has an inglorious history of things like white supremacist conferences eugenics that kind of thing so the University in and of itself isn't this kind of like sanctified repository of of knowledge that cannot be that is apolitical and cannot be questioned there are cultural institutions they live in our society they are as flawed and as struggling and in evolution as the rest of us right I think what we need to need to understand is that the University as a cultural institution also conveys a stamp of approval and that is a stamp of approval but I don't want to see given to someone who has no interest in protecting free speech and does pose and the politics that he has espoused does pose an existential threat to you know me and people like me I think what we need to remember here this is that free speech is fundamentally important because words have an impact and to say that like we shouldn't consider the impact of those words in a limited number of cases such as such as the you know fascism I think is ludicrous and I think is an under analysis of the importance of free speech let me bring in Lord Sachs bad luck you're both called Jonathan so you get Jonathan tonight and you get Lord Sachs just to make it easier Lord doesn't get anywhere in they'll say how do you do mr. Rais is a really critical point there which is when you look at the university is it a a platform is it an open platform in which any idea can be shared or rejected or explored or whatever or is it a community that has its own identity and you have to be careful as a university what signals you are sending out who you welcome and how seriously those words of people who might be undesirables are taken to me a university I was the first member of my family to go to university it was a huge culture shock my dad bless him left school at the age of 14 and always we felt his four boys that we were getting the education he wished he'd had so I mean and and and I found something in the university I you know I grew up as a Jewish pupil at a school called Christ College so I knew I was you know a cognitive minority but that didn't bother me because I've often argued that Judaism is a civilization all of whose canonical texts anthologies of arguments and I think that's all God actually does in the in the Bible is argue with people and the people he loves arguing with people I gave round Moses Jeremiah and Joe these are the heroes of faith there's no such thing there's no Hebrew word for obedience no just work that out there's a religion with a lot of Commandments but no word for obedience so Jews always develop this kind of intellectual antifragility because we are used to being a cognitive minority now I didn't know what on earth was going to happened in university I found it very very disorienting at first meaning people of a kind that I'd never met before public school kids all sorts of attitudes that were very alien to me but I found myself studying philosophy with one of the world's great philosophers the late Sir Bernard Williams and he was a very principled atheist a lapsed Catholic and I was a lot more pious than I am now and you know and I wondered what's gonna happen here and the fact is but we had the most extraordinary conversation but he never once made fun of my faith never once ridiculed it only challenged me to make a a coherent argument a lucid argument it challenged me at every point but the fact that a guy like that was willing to listen to somebody like me gave me the courage gave me the antifragility that I was able to do stuff that not all that many Orthodox rabbis had done before which is take a Jewish voice into the public domain through broadcasting through the press knowing that most people who will hear message when I where I'm coming from and we'll probably disagree but saying society is it's a symphony score choral symphony scored for many voices and that to me is the beauty of the university and why becomes so important when we are disaggregating our societies in tune on communicating sects of the like-minded now all the cries of pain that come from excluded marginalized groups have to be heard but they have to be heard by all of us I'm in favor of free speech because they're only out of that conversation that Democratic conversation do we arrive at a society where we can all feel we have a share we are heard so that for me is the importance of the University of why I'm so bothered the way the university has gone the way of rest of society where is it ought to be a safe space in which we are willing to give a respectful hearing to views opposed to our own knowing that our own views will be given a respectful hearing despite the fact that many of those doing the hearing don't agree with a word I say now out of that democratic conversation come real solutions and real listening to other people's pain otherwise if you disaggregate society into little silos and little boxes of of of Google filters and Facebook Likes then you get non communicating groups who can only fear feel towards other groups fear and anxiety and that's just bad for all of us Kenzo why is [Applause] [Music] why is Jonathan Sacks wrong on that why why is the way to immunize ourself against this fragility against safety ISM not just to hear everyone and allow the merits of what is being said to dictate who is listened to in his important because this is this fantasy version of the University where it is an institution is based on equality and reason and there's no power relations in its discussion the actually irony of this conversation is that it is rooted in frigidity but it's the fragility of the white elite and actually the white male elite in particular as an alternative way we can look at this picture where in 1965 in the UK and in the u.s. only 5% of the population went to university rich white men now what's happened over the last 50 years is it's been opened up you've got women you've got minorities you've got LGBTQ communities and not ironically not surprisingly these are the groups who are saying that the universities are harmful the universities we need protection from these institutions which not not too long ago would have determined that I wasn't a human being have the same curriculum and bases of knowledge that say that I am NOT a human being these are the spaces into which we have put minorities women etc and then we are somehow surprised when people say we need a safe space or actually maybe I need a trigger warning to learn about European enlightenment because it's basically telling me that I can't think right and it's the fragility of the elite who will come into this space and now hear the actual voices of minorities right of people saying you need to work differently because this isn't gonna wrong for us and I'm supposed to feel sorry for you because you have to change how you how you respond I mean that's this is a deeply fragile argument but on the other side just but I'm gonna let Jonathan respond to that why do you think you need safe spaces to learn about this though that's the question why do you need to be protected from learning about what happened in history what happened in literature what happened in classics well it's interesting the mental health statistics are interesting because mental health you mentally or more generally if you're a minority that's there applies in universities the dropout rate for minorities is higher in universities the more less likely to get a good degree in universities why because actually the curriculum the environment everything about it is alienating to you right so with students as a win Africa if you feel offended and actually are there is a I don't I use the word violence but I don't mean that in it what I mean is learning an institution so for example look around this was what my university experience was one black face and literally a hundred white people right learning only from learning only stuff written by white Europeans right in environments with dead white men hanging on the wall right that's an actual violence based on you so if I say I need a different a space where I can just have a bit of quiet from me from the hegemonic whiteness that people are asking but is there any different to Jonathan Sacks you know going to Christchurch school as a Jew I mean isn't it how you deal with your minority vulnerability that then informs whether you become stronger or weaker from it I mean it is a there's a kind of a look on some level I agree that's what society is like I have to learn how to deal with racism right well I got that's not really a good argument for universities and the other flip side to this is ah the people the elite in these universities who make all this noise about no platform etc well more than likely going to jobs where they won't see any diversity this is the university is the only time that some people will ever have a diverse experience and maybe they should spend that time listening to the people who never talk to you again because it may be their only opportunity um that needs addressing okay so there's a diff team in psychology that thinking is for doing we we think in terms of what are we trying to do and then we use cognitive processes appropriate to reach that goal and so if what we're doing is trying to find the truth what we're doing is exploration discovery we organize ourselves in a certain land we're all oriented towards claims and counterclaims this is what we think of ourselves as doing it kandi may be right that this is utilized view there's a lot else going on this is what Talmudic scholarship is about there's a phrase in the in the Bible maybe some proverbs iron sharpens iron we get smarter from contesting so if that's what we're trying to do we have one set of norms and that's going to favor favored fairly broad conception of speech free speech another thing that we might do in universities is help students grow and I've looked at a lot of university mission statements and they usually are about discovery and growth or learning now if we do that it's going to be a different mindset but it's going to be a kind of a somewhat therapeutic mindset of what do students need and what do they need to grow and here I think is where we might disagree on what the right what the best way is but here I want to quote that the smartest thing I've read about this so Van Jones is a democratic activist in United States he was in the Obama administration and when he was invited to speak at the University of Chicago of two years ago and they had just had a member of the Trump administration had been there there was a movement to kick him out to not let him speak and David Axelrod was a political consultant for Obama asked Van Jones what he thought of that and Van Jones said something I thought that was beautiful and and very wise he said if there's a certain conception of safety I mean physical safety or if people are screaming racial epithets at you of course you should be safe from that he said but there's another conception of safety which is terrible terrible for students he said I don't want you to hear he's speaking to the especially the the Democratic activists in the audience he says I don't want you to be safe emotionally I don't want you to be safe ideologically I want you to be strong and that's different he says he says I'm not going to take the weights out of the gym this is the gym he says expose yourself to things expose yourself to people this will make you stronger so we can be organized for growth and learning but the third game the third game we play we're very good at is victory this is what we do in the public square discourse in the public square is terrible because we're not bound into a community that has to find references for our claims we're not trying to help people we're trying to crush people defeat people and there's a time and a place for this what I see happening when we talk about in chapter 3 of the book is we call it great untruth number three life is a battle between good people and evil people and increasingly what I'm seeing in American universities is students are being taught to look out on society look at all the people out there don't see people see groups locked in struggle with groups in an eternal zero-sum game the white men are the group on top they're the bad people they always have been they always will be unless we all organize to take them down now there may be some truth to that in some institutions but this is most prevalent at the most egalitarian American universities which are just about the most anti-racist places one can think of they're not happening at most other American universities so the the norms of combat the norms of victory in the public square make it very difficult to do our work in university the mind prepared for battle is not a mind prepared for learning I want to bring back a Hindi's point an Alanis point because if everyone were learning in the same way from the same starting point maybe that would be true your mind is open you receive everything if you come in as 10% to a roomful of 90% then there is immediately that imbalance which needs to be corrected aren't you talking about progress here I'll let you argue I just think it's to imagine that women the LGBT people that minority people aren't already some of the most robust people out there because to survive which is what we're talking about and when when we're using this like you know psychological framework to survive to thrive to flourish in this deeply deeply oppressive society in many ways you need to be robust I would love it if what we were talking about when we were talking about safety culture is a set of tactics where I didn't need to think about sexism I didn't need to worry about anti-semitism for another day brilliant I can just take these tools and put myself a little bubble and you know so what if I get paid less at work and so what if I you know get assaulted on the night bus home I'm sick that's not what we're talking about here what we're talking about here is creating the spaces necessary for people who are already robust to encounter the things to confront head-on the structures that day to day we don't have the mental time to address now for me that's not about shutting down debate those are precisely the conditions it takes to confront honestly and with intellectual rigor the kind of structures on which our society is found it now in the book we talk about being triggered in the right circumstances as in CBT as a as a necessary process for growth I completely agree I've actually I've had a PTSD diagnosis myself I've been through CBT cognitive behavioral therapy have or therapy by the book but you took PTSD thank you but that's precisely what safe spaces are they are structures where people can people can allow themselves to confront material and to bring new perspectives in to institutions that usually exclude them now as an academic I want to embrace that I want to embrace what is in flourishing a proliferation of viewpoints and of course the ways in which those viewpoints are brought in and addressed and not going to look the same as the ways in which we were used to in the past because the people and the perspectives are changing right that's one of the gifts of feminist epistemology right that there are all kinds of ways of inquiry and all kinds of ways of knowing things and we should be embracing that that's not an t intellect let me just ask you that in terms of embracing views you don't like would you say you would not want to hear a sexist voice on campus you would not want to hear a right-wing voice on campus or an extreme right-wing voice on campus this is to help us out in terms of because the problem is that you are deciding where those lines offset what is unpalatable to you I mean I think that's it's completely like I'm not saying you want mischaracterize I'm saying that this isn't this characterization right sorry it's very convenient mischaracterization if you want to paint this like tiny minority of the left as the real enemies of society and distract from everything else that's going on but okay cool what's happening here is to say that like when what safety what safe spaces is to say that what we need to do when we're in this room is to be mindful of how our language and how our behaviors affect other people and this is a space in which we can confront the structures that we move through every day in a considered compassionate way and what a trigger warning is is not I'm not going to read this book but I need to take a breath take a little pause in order that I can read this book and the hysteria around having a 30 second port was all leading to step out the room for a bit is to me the real that's the realest area here okay so if if it is just about the use of language the use of kindness of compassion there is nothing for Chief Rabbi to disagree with there is that well you know I'm always willing to disagree so you get to be chief but I mean you know I just I just wanna frame to step back and put it in a slightly larger frame one thing has bothered me for the last 50 years we have focused on two institutions one favored by the left one favored by the right namely the state and the market the state is about the creation and distribution of power market about the creation and distribution of wealth and the right tends to find market-based solutions the left tends to fund state based solutions I don't let anything hang on that but it seems to me that we have always historically had healthy societies when we had a third arena because the state and the market are both about competition they're about what in the short term is zero sum games the more power I give away the less I have the more money I give away the less I have there has to be a third arena which we sometimes called civil society a key arena of which is the university which is not about competition it's about collaboration and cooperation and we need to learn how to cooperate as well as how to completely compete what I object to and what is very dangerous is if you turn the university into a version of the market ie you get privileged according to how you can pay or you turn it into a version of this state where what's really at stake is relationships of power and candy you've said that universities are to be understood as relationships of power and that to me is is it an allegation that needs to be taken terribly seriously are people using power to impose their views on others or silenced views they don't want to hear universities have to stand aside as a third sector we will learn to trust one another listen to one another respect one another's differences and I think we're losing that and I can see left question bear with me let me take your imagination for a walk if you replace the word University with gentleman's club right which is what it may sound like if you come from a minority that does not expect you in it does that change if instead of saying University you say in this gentlemen's club we have to you know push back against the rule that doesn't allow women we have to push back against the law that makes black men feel uncomfortable does it then change look it says this son of a guy who sews what is in Commercial Road are you you know Lowry site sort of stuff yeah that's exactly what University looked like to me I've wandered into this gentlemen's club where clearly I don't belong and it was a scary experience I have to say this and then I suddenly discover that all these very very well often aristocratic and public school guys are willing to sit down and argue and when we're talking seriously from the heart with passion but with lucidity all of a sudden most distinctions of class and and and privilege just disappeared and for a mote that that was for me an epiphany that said to me this isn't a gentlemen's club here is a place where I as a Jew a cognitive minority representing less than 1/2 of 1% of the population of this country I have a voice here I have a place here and the same must apply to Black's it must apply to LGBTQ it must apply to any minority they have to feel this is not a club that excludes me and therefore I won't exclude the other voices in this club but the truth is that's not what happens and the idea that the university is a third space that's not true the university has always been an expression of state power and market power right so the university justified slavery at a time when you need slavery for example and going to this point about 2010 it's been a big change what happened in 2008 there was a major financial crisis which Unleashed neoliberalism in a way that had not been seen on the university sector the university sector is just a market like there is no barrier to that at all and when you look at things like fees you feel away the price of accommodation if you look at competition and market bit that is probably the better explanation for why you're having these problems with students then because they're being mollycoddled actually this university is the market and the market is racism and that market excludes people many minorities and that's really the problem we're talking about you and what really is being said in safe spaces or no platforming or trigger warnings if you have a group of students now in this market if you like and they are saying we should be the ones who decide what speech what what is OK speech because I think we all agree that not if not all speech is OK you wouldn't have a sama bin Laden comment to the university campus right but that's not just an objective decision well maybe you wouldn't I don't think most people would right but I saw what you're always gonna have no platform there's always a level where you say look Holocaust denier don't come to university right but who is it that has the power to decide whether Steve banner should come I would argue if the students you should not be the danza nearly and if the students get together and say we don't want this person then that's a perfectly fine expression of their free will right to speak so so I think we can all agree that universities like most institutions used to be like gentlemen's clubs used to exclude women or people of African descent I think we all agree that there used to be enormous racism we can all agree that many groups we can talk about today as historically marginalized I think we all agree to that and our debate comes down to have we made no progress a little progress or enormous progress and if we've made enormous progress should we continue or you might think we've made little and therefore we need to try a totally new way so I'd like to share with you what happened to me when I was on well this when I was on a panel at soon after I wrote an article in Atlantic with Gregg look II honor from 2015 there was a panel organized at the New York University Law School to talk about this and one of the the one of the participants was a law student of Latin American descent who was talking about being a Latino student at NYU law and she was talking about the the constant violence perpetrated on her and I asked her to elaborate on that what do you mean violence like actual like physical violence and she said no no not physical violence but but violence nonetheless and she said well I mean you have to admit that this university was not built for it was not designed for people like me and I looked around the panel and I said okay I'll agree to that wasn't built for people like me I'm Jewish it wasn't built for people like her she's chinese-american it wasn't built for him he's a gay half black British philosopher wasn't built for any of us isn't that wonderful isn't that progress and to take the fact of historical prejudice as a reason to feel excluded today as a reason to dam an institution that is trying its hardest to overcome that to increase diversity this is what we're talking about with great untruth number two that what we call the untruth of emotional reasoning always trust your feelings if your catastrophizing if you're deliberately trying to if you're deliberately telling students this institution is against you see oppression everywhere people here hate you they will do anything to stop you that's a really good recipe to disempower them if you want to make the black students at NYU Law fail tell them that okay take that phrase I don't mind which of your answers stop seeing oppression everywhere because that is ultimately what's holding back minorities it's one of the things you might actually be appreciated I don't know I think it is profoundly patronizing isn't it to say that to respond to someone's cry of pain as a rabbi sacks so so eloquently put and with your pain is not valid your pain is in fact the cognitive distortion is a misdiagnosis of the world and I think when went is to say that that university students reason purely from emotion is it's just untrue that is the great untruth here but what we need to talk about here is that when many mainstream philosophers at the moment Center emotional emotional factors like intuition like private pain like distress what that is is a corrective to a long history of people who have experienced depression being told you're misdiagnosed in your situation you're lying you're overestimating what's happening to you when really all of these are just historical tactics that have been used to silence dissent and forget people to shut up basically now I'm not saying that that's what you're doing but I am saying that that is very convenient for people who are trying to do that and I'm sitting and I'm saying that that of those kinds of convenient narratives that we are inculcating in our universities invite invite a kind of very damaging framework and I'm not talking about damaging as in like discomforting I'm talking about damaging to the fabric of exactly the kind of free robust institution that we're all invested in but I just want to come back one thing that rabbi said it's that two things when we are engaging in a free in a free debate there is this kind of sense of a contract there is a sense of give-and-take that I disagree with your views but I will respect them at yours free speech and you disagree with my views but you respect my free speech that is not the case when you are talking about Steve Steve and his many compatriots that is not the case when you are talking about the framework far right because the far right is invested politically and tactically in depriving those rights from many many people and yes Jewish people thank God have a wonderful history of debate and arguing Christ like I know that from like from half of my family and it's one of my favorite things about like going to see my aunties but Jewish people also have a very noble history of drawing a line somewhere and that line is always always to stop fascist mobilizing because we know that they pose us a direct threat that was the line that was drawn in Kayla Street in 1936 that was the line that was drawn in Lewisham in 1978 and both of those times it worked and we would be so naive to not learn the lessons of history very briefly if you want to come back I agree with you hate speeches out but but it does seem to me that I mean what Kant is saying is that the university today is not the one I went to and I agree with you I agree with you let me be blunt if I were today a member of Gen Z or Gen Z I couldn't afford to go to university none of my family could have afforded we went with with with with no tuition fees and with a government grant and if I found myself having to go to university pan enormous some burden myself with that I could never have had the career that I've had I could never have become the person I became and therefore if I were sitting where you're sitting I'd also feel very angry and I think there's there are a lot of groups in society today who have justified reasons for feeling very angry and I I really hear that anger and I'm saying if if I'd been born 40 years later or whatever I would also feel angry the question is what do you do with that anger a number one I think it's terribly important to be able to speak from that anger to actually persuade people to listen to you and take you seriously and that that is obviously what I forgive the cliche but that's what Martin Luther King did he spoke to the better angels of our nature there was a lot of anger in that man but he nonetheless spoke in ways that evoked not anger but but a sense that you know what we have not lived up to our ideals I think of James Baldwin for instance it was doubly marginal of being both black and gay who said one of the truest things about about hate which we really have to listen to today where there's a lot of hates sloshing around he said I think people cling on to their hate because they're afraid that if they let go of their hate they will have to confront pain so when there's a lot of pain going around that isn't able to be expressed it generates hate so I hope I've said to you I think I hear where you're coming from but I still ask how can we take that anger and do the anti fragile thing turn those negative energies into positive ones and I think open conversation and reasoning together is the best way of taking negative energies and turning them into constructive things I'm going to come to questions in the audience in a moment but hey Andy you get the last word in this debate well I'm always a Malcolm X Men personally so no baby tell you where I'm coming from and I just hate this Buddhist radicalism I always want to put this into context because we're talking about a reality that does not exist if you are an ethnic minority in this country you are less likely to get into an elite University you are less likely to get a good degree you are let more likely to drop out you are more likely to have mental health issues you are less likely to get a job after you graduate you are almost impossible you're gonna see a black lecturer or a black professor only a hundred out of 18,000 in the whole entire of the UK and you're not going to see any black people in management these institutions are not to the institutions which you are set telling us these are institutions which haven't changed anywhere near as much as you were saying and because the racism and sexism in the misogyny is so deeply present this is why the people who opened up a widen access are saying that we need to think differently and unfortunately because of the fragility from the top you hear that as oh there's something wrong with you no there's something wrong with the university and therefore we need to fix it I'm I took if we can get the lights hi yes I can see a lady with her hand up there I'm going to take questions in threes there's a lady here in the second row right right so hi Karen Robinson here I'm both from Democrats abroad UK and also a social media strategist professionally so I'm coming into it this discussion from both social media and a u.s. politics point of view and I'm hoping that Jonathan can fill in what I think is a missing part of his argument that I didn't hear in his conversation which is he talks about young people being struggling with crippling anxiety suicidal issues serious psychological problems afflicting this generation more so than any other but he also then stipulates that this must be because they have not experienced the kind of bullying and können and difficulty that perhaps his generation has I don't see the evidence for that and I would like to understand more aware he's building that argument out because from a political point of view we certainly have seen the rise of a bullying political culture and on social media we certainly have seen individual people and young people in petite more so than certainly my generation or generations that have come since experienced directly misogyny and racism and political oppression directed at them individually in a way that I don't think previous subsequent generations have seen so I'd like to kind of just have them fill in that argument a little bit thank you very much okay hi my name is you today I'm a graduate that studied international tourism management so I've had a lot of knowledge on stuff to do with all over the world and things like that but as a brown-skinned woman sorry this is my first time here and I'm quite nervous but I just wrote down like a few things that I've been thinking about like over the week and especially what we see in the news especially as a black minority basically and what I noticed is that in the news you tend to get these students who are named as depressed suicidal they went for a stage of bullying and when it comes to for example American schools where you've got a white man shooting people in school and then after then the media is telling us that they suffered from mental health but then on the other side you've got black young men who are doing absolutely well for themselves trying to hustle their way through life and then having a different like they looked at in such a negative way but then it's like they're classed as the big bad guy so you think the perceptions the way the media portrays people yeah is different according to their skin color but yeah thankfully first just because we're in the UK storms EE he's a meet he's a grime artist however he sponsored minority students to go into Cambridge because of this issue which has opened many doors for us as well thank you so thank you very much indeed let me get the third mic yes sir hi I'm 18 I guess in the eyes of a lot of people older than me that makes me like a defend to the death free speech person but I raised recently read Deborah Lipstadt spoke denial and I was really really interested to hear what you think about of in the Holocaust yeah and I think just in general in terms of historical truths I'd be really interested to see at which point you would as you say draw the line in terms of free speech like at which point can you you know Deborah Lipstadt says you know there there are facts and there are lives and at which point can you just get away with anything because of freedom of speech right especially in regards to Holocaust denial thank you very much indeed right we can start with you rabbi chief rabbi let's go backwards let's go backwards and then we'll pick up in that order don't think you can talk to the the lady from Democrats abroad and we'll all dress I didn't catch your name I'm sorry yep you couldn't a that's right we'll pick up on that do you want to talk about where you draw the line does your does your need to step in override your need to hear speech of all kinds the important thing that happened with Deborah Lipstadt and and denial is that it wasn't Deborah who brought the case against Irving it was David Irving brought the case against her I think Deborah believes as we believe that free speech gets us beyond prejudice my hatred because in the end there's such a thing as historical fact so she never sought to deprive him of his freedom to speak I think there are some European countries obviously Germany but others likewise who have such searing experiences what were done during the Holocaust years that they did enact laws banning whole denial and so on and and that's got to do with their own inner history you know they needed time to heal those wounds but Debra never sought to to do that and if you really have confidence that you are right then you never seek to silence your opponents there's a very interesting argument given that where we are today in in in the world and religions are turning inwards and ethnic groups are turning inward and we're all a little more fearful of one another it's just worth remembering the history of this free speech argument I think it was the 12th century Muslim thinker Islamic think of arrows who developed the first case that I know of of a religious defense of free speech saying that if you're confident in your truth then you welcome opponents who are as strong as they possibly can be because you know you're right and that is picked up in the 16th century by one of my ancestors Rabbi Judah Loew II of Prague it is then picked up in the 17th century by John Milton in Areopagitica and it is then picked up in the 19th century by the secular thinker John Stuart Mill in his tract on Liberty so it seems to me that if you really have confidence in what you believe you do not seek to limit speech because you believe that truth will win in the end [Music] a fabulous question sadly very relevant well I think what you've hit on here is the fact that what is sold to us as a kind of right what is sold to us as simply a neutral protection of free speech that raises up everyone maybe including some far-right people that we happen to disagree with it's not actually the case because what what's happening is that people are making choices right when you give someone a platform you offer them a choice now I have no interests in depriving in depriving anyone of their free speech but I do have an interests in resisting the concept creep the means that we equate freedom of speech and a right to a national powerful platform because those two things are not the same and I think when we Institute I'm very suspicious of state-based solutions to things that should be worked out in the public and civic sphere and these are precisely those discussions but I think what we need to be doing here is examining why these choices are being made and for instance that Milo gianopolous was given a a lot of platforms and a very sweet book deal on the basis that he was this free speech Crusader and that anyone who opposed him and opposed his his absolute god-given right to speak in front of thousands and thousands of people which he could have done anyway via the Internet which is you know another point you can't possibly know platform anyone ultimately these days because of the technology you know that seemed like a neutral choice but as soon as he came out and said something that people genuinely disagreed with which was when he said things in support of pedophilic relations he instantly had his platforms poles he had his book deal withdrawn which indicates that people weren't neutrally supporting free speech because they certainly weren't giving those kind of 250 thousand pound buck deals to kind of you know like crusty and narcos like rummaging through the bins at the back of the publishing house as well they were giving it to people who - whose views were acceptable to their world picture and it's those editorial choices that we need to be examining and that examination is part of nourishing a free speech culture ok I'm going to ask for some more hands I'm gonna let you Jonathan respond to you today and also to Karen if we can just weave those two together today was talking about how how badly wrong the perception in the media is of you know when when a white person does something wrong when a black person does something wrong how that gets conflated and she talked about storm Z trying to bring more black students into Cambridge University a sort of sponsorship program almost and Karen was talking about bullying and why you would think that they were not robust given how much bullying actually goes on through social media and through many other channels now okay so on the other question down here I don't have have much to say there are still there are widespread stereotypes there are norms and problems within each institution in the United States there are a lot of problems with the criminal justice system I'm very as we say in the book it's pretty clear that we can understand what it means to say there's institutional racism the criminal justice system the universities are just a different sort of place I don't know as much about about the media so I don't have a good answer to the question down there but on the question on antifragility let me clarify I certainly didn't mean to say that bullying is good for you that kids who are bullied are gonna come out strong or bullying especially when it goes on it's if it goes on for weeks it really can have a lasting impact chronic stress is very bad for kids brains I'm not saying bullying is good the evidence that we refer that we cover in the book is not about benefits of bullying or even benefits of harm or that the evidence is on the benefits of free play unsupervised free play which includes conflict and risk-taking that's what there is clear evidence in animal so rat pups and other animals that are deprived of free play are then more fearful and put in a new environment so that at least matches on there have not been clear experiments with human kids we can't randomly assign half the kids to not play and half to play but we do make we do at least make the case that it's unsupervised free play where the kids face difficulty and have some negative emotions that scene is what seems to be beneficial if I could just use the opportunity just comment down a little bit on the free speech points that I just want to get yeah lots more voices in but ok so I actually agree with a lot of what penny and her sister have written and said on free speech that there is no absolute right to free speech it doesn't mean you have a right to speak without consequences on a college campus I don't think everyone has a right to free speech if that means you can yell whatever you want or say obnoxious things so I think we actually agree for the most part on the there there are and have to be limitations on speech in order to have the kind of community that we want to have I also agree that a lot of political correctness is just being more polite updating language so that it doesn't alienate people unnecessarily so I think on free speech we're actually not that far apart the one thing that I would add is that what we need on campus especially in addition to trying to give less offense we also have to learn to take less offense and the reason I say that is because we are trying so hard to increase diversity and we are successful the percentage of non-whites on all the top schools keeps going up and up and up and we're all proud of that if you're going to bring people together especially internationally if you have more people who have Asperger's or other mental mental illnesses you're going to have huge numbers of misunderstandings you're going to have language used in all kinds of ways that could offend people so yes we need to give less offence but we it can't work unless we have a general regimen of give people the benefit of the doubt there's a lovely phrase in your book which is about the principle of charity which is when somebody says something that you find offensive you have to work out whether it was intended to be or not give it it's more its best reading out its worst okay Andy I'm gonna bring Internet so let me just get some hands yes I'm going right to the back now number three you choose me some myself there's a very unlike green one I quite like that one yeah dickweed arm right there should we go with you Green Green arm yes certainly the benefits of wearing high vis clothing to a lecture really quickly just interested in the discussion about how universities can be elite institutions we have members of the panel from Great Britain members of the panel from the United States I'm myself Canadian I wonder the UK has moved towards more expensive post-secondary education in the United States that's often been the case there are state schools but American education is generally more expensive than a number of countries does the data bear out for instance in countries where post-secondary education is a lot cheaper that that there is greater diversity that there is less of a kind of us versus them or are we having the same sort of trends in for instance in Scandinavian countries or Canada or Australia or areas where education is a bit cheaper than the post-secondary level you raise a great point thank you very much you and my second arm yes that was you yeah I thought it was ironic that Eleanor's should mention fascism was whereas she was giving herself the unilateral right to decide who could and could not have free speech and was actually even justifying the use of violence historically to stop people exercising their right to free speech and of course it was Kehinde and her that tried to analyze society in terms of racial groups rather than as individuals and it is in fact you even evoked Malcolm X who called white people Devils so it's this kind of attempt to demonize white men as an exploiter class that is gives you them the self-appointed right to decide who can and cannot have free speech and this isn't itself a form of fascism thank you very much okay so you're gonna deal with demonizing white men there's one more hand this lady here no there's a lady who has the mic yes oh hi Andy Andrews I have a question for you um very briefly i am brazilian Brazilian Portuguese my boyfriend is British Caribbean black so we had a very we have very heated discussions about these sort of things and in a nutshell my question is cuz I was talking to him about this yesterday actually he was explaining how he was basically repeating a lot of the things that you say how society is sort of built obviously against minorities it's it's it's Britain like it's it's built on we know the history its exclusionary you cannot get into university these days if you do not have a lot of money my question is because in a nutshell what I argued with him was I recognize what he says in terms of you know white privilege system being built against certain minorities all of that I agree what my argument was in order to find a solution it would be more beneficiary it would be more of a solution to to seek economic equality because money is the equalizer okay so how do you think money in making it accessible to everyone would just sort of solve a lot of the problems that you raise thank you very much indeed okay well you're so excited I can tell anything I'm gonna let you just take on your your demonizing of white men head-on favorite things to do like it makes for great apart from making for a great Saturday night demonizing white men it's not actually what we're doing okay we're talking about being able to examine historical processes by which some people by virtue of their position in terms of race composition class composition gender move through the world in different ways now that's not dividing people into good and bad that's precisely the opposite it's saying that we are all implicated in different ways in an incredibly complex political system and frankly that no one comes out with their hands clean and that's ok because that's the first movement to under to bridging understanding you have to acknowledge and embrace difference and in order to try and sort resolve the systems that produce that difference insofar as being a fascist is concerned that was weird the point was that the point was who is making the choice well Quinto was the one saying the students now and the minority students and the people who who have not always belonged in these institutions now get to make the rules do you get to rate the rules and me I mean I have other things to do um and I am a Democrat I think that we should have a proliferation of more voices more diverse forces getting a say in who gets access to these platforms and I think it's it's not up to me it's up to all of us to decide what that looks like and not just all of us quite frankly because it's a very white audience and people pay 30 quid to be here so we need an even more diverse set of people so it's deciding that so it's not up to everyone to decide on cancer it's showing up to minorities to decide um I think I think we need to we need to have a sense of first of all a kind of democracy that assesses everyone as equals and then bolt on strategies that acknowledge the fact that if you are from a minority you will have certain access to certain experiences certain knowledge --is that are relevant when making these decisions that that if you are white or if you are a woman say you might not the media access to and that's just a case of giving people the necessary knowledge they need to make that decision quickly I mean so first of the America mix actually stopped calling white people Devils but I keep getting reasons why we should just go back to you right and I think I think that's maybe one of them and I have jokes but I really want to say look I mean the idea that talking about racial groups is the problem is complete nonsense look at any statistic will tell you that this society is racist I mean just fundamentally races so to not talk about it is to collude in racism and I'm gonna go back to the sisters point to raise earlier because this this the way that we're viewed is really part of this and tells you one of the problems of university so for example I went to university day in jeans and trainers I never do this at university because when I do this usually even though I've been a member of staff for years I get harassed by security I have staff questioning me where I'm going in the building so as he's anxious going into work dressed like this that were usually dressed right that's what is like at university and I go to Burnham City I work at Birmingham City which is one of the most diverse universities in the in the country so imagine me as a black man Cambridge or Oxford that's the kind of violence we're talking about this says that we need to have safe spaces that's the kind of racism we're talking about that says actually we need to have some kind of protection from this so the idea that we're raising this issue as a black person is the problem is frankly one of the most racist and terrible things you could possibly say that's a problem with this whole debate really I'm going to ask you to respond to the question that we had at the beginning do cheaper institutions find diversity easier or the opposite I don't know if there's any work on that and to go back I think that one also came to Yuka Hindi to the lady with the Brazilian partner who said it all comes back to economics presumably that is a very simple yes isn't it not on universities because there is this kind of idealization of what before they were fees I went to university in there was was very minimal fees my sister went to university and it was free and the problems were exactly the same the problem is the institution and whether you pay for it or whether you don't they still did those pressures is still in the curriculum we still got the staff we still got that history so I don't think you should pay for university but that's not that sounds like a very easy simple solution but it actually wouldn't deal with the institutional problem for more questions because and I think we're going to have times up I can't see so just choose me some good hands if it's for white maybe you've know I'm gonna make them sit down but choose me some good hands yes yes yes and yes on the left side yeah I was just wondering you've talked a lot about the benefits that you think there are of trigger warnings safe spaces no platforming but I don't feel it's been addressed at all whether this relates to harming young minds on the left so the debate here and I wonder what you have to say directly relating to these and harming young minds or not okay so do trigger warnings harm Minds the actual the trigger warning does that harm minds okay next one I'm going to ask everyone to be as prompt brilliantly prompt and sort of synced as that because then we'll get everyone in number two where's number two oh yes number three go high but go on then sorry I can't see so I just want to play devil's advocate a little bit and I want to ask creating safe spaces for like marginalized groups such as maybe Colored People or LGBTQ or women do you think that creating those safe spaces is actually allowing us to backtrack and actually pushing them away from creating diversity actually isolating them and saying you know this is our own little comfortable bubble okay isn't that making us regress okay thank you very much yeah hello yeah I'm half-black and half-white and the lady in front of me she was Brazilian she's got a black boyfriend and that goes black over there there's a Jewish man sitting over there like what I say is when you Iceman is loud like I'm looking at this room I don't really care that anyone's white like because there's a lot of because you're saying our COC of 80% white beef when it's like that all the time wait so you're that's what you're seeing as a as a black man yourself here but I'm not seeing that so I don't and I don't like how you are okay and I don't like how you're putting you and me in the same category because all these white people are different in their own rights and me and you are different and I don't I don't make sense okay number four yeah thank you yeah I've never let my color or my sex get in the way of the progress that I wanted to make I've managed to break the glass ceiling just through hard work and I've never made any excuses for you know where I wanted to go I think that if you see no color and you see no prejudice then you get it reciprocated thank you very much okay right it's fair to say that more of those questions came to you to clean they you answer the gut there who gave this last question yeah I just fell oh I guess maybe it's a really moving moment where we have all of these wonderful exceptions to the rule that the societies actually built are serious issues of racial discrimination I mean me and my look the idea that we're gonna disagree cause of black who said that my point is that whether you like it or not you were seen as a black man and whether you like it or not that's gonna have an impact on your life now you can live in a dreamland where you think it does not but that's up to you right you stay there am I gonna set a real level because one of the problems with this debate is this idea that the route to equality is we sit down reason it out and we come to this wonderful new utopia we have been on the right side of the argument for 500 years it has gotten those are nowhere that is not how progress happens it's simply not that's not how progress happens progress happens through organization when people come together when people do things like I don't know protester races speak a university that would be able to bring in the lady number two who said by creating these self safe spaces whether it's LGBTQ or a mixed-race L space or a black cell space or a female cell space all you're doing is isolating yourself off into your own bubble but what one of the things you can find evidence for both in the UK and in America is when you have groups African Caribbean societies or your African American groups those spaces actually because the unit's because this university generally is so is so problematic having no spaces of safety in that space of where you can just do things differently even if it's simple things like cultural things are a huge part of building resilience all the evidence will show you that if you're in these groups you do better at university so actually I've completely disagree all the evidence tells us that having having no spaces helps to prepare you better and do better in the University Society I'm gonna let you Eleanor answer the question about trigger warnings does that actually make people safer and bring in if you like your own experience of the lady who said oh that she'd done it on her own merit and didn't think about her gender or her color okay so the BBC has been doing trigger warnings for 50 years and no one has had a problem with it until like women and queer people and people of color started getting a say in what those trigger warnings look like so if they harm Minds we're all harmed by them as soon as we switch on radio for and so to think about this kind of like you know the trigger warning as like a cosseting mechanism when really it's about you know giving people the kind of equipment they need to address possibly difficult topics I think is a mischaracterization and also just for the record woods I am I Jen and I spat I've been through the wringer of student activism which and I've been you know I was at Occupy is like a school child I went on the student protests I've been there man and the number of times I have actually seen trigger warnings used yes I'm gonna I'm gonna bring Jonathan in and to end with him is there anyone here who has a problem or has a question that directly relates to what he has been saying that you would like to tackle head on yes arm right here this is going straight Jonathan yeah yeah that's lovely thank you very much and then we're gonna end here but I will let you two answers Chris hello hi so I'm a student at statistics and last week we learned about spurious correlation and as a social scientist no doubt you've do you also use statistics when you've in your papers and so these phenomenon of the rise of overprotection and the rise of psychological problems in young what is a statistic of significance that leads you to conclude the causality between these two phenomenons like other than just correlation so on that question we are very careful you're right that most most studies of human outcomes over many years can't be done experimentally so it is correlational so in the book we're very careful about that we draw on research that at least tries to look at time lag so if something changes in one place and one point in one place in a different time in a different place that and then the outcomes differ that is at least some reason to infer that there's probably causality we are very careful about that you're right frankly we don't know why the depression rates are rising and we deal very carefully with that we say here the hypotheses here's the reason to think this we don't know why they're rising so quickly in the Anglosphere in particular but I'd like to adjust a broader question of the question we were here to address which one of the questioners asked so at the end of this 90 minutes together what do you think do you think that freeze that trigger warnings no safe spaces and no platforming or harming young minds are helping them you've heard two people say that they're generally helpful and at least we're generally on the side that they are at least not helpful and possibly harmful we did a lot of we talked to a lot of clinical psychologists about trigger warnings you're absolutely right that they're very rare they're not used often although the New York Times had an article yesterday they're now in theaters if you go into a play in America you might now see a trigger warning they're likely to become common in the future but you're right they have not been common on campus yet but it's an empirical question whether they help people who have PTSD that is not a question that we can just guess that oh it would probably be helpful to them that is an empirical question to be addressed by clinical psychologists who've done the research on it we spoke to a lot of clinical psychologists who work on PTSD and they they all said the same thing exposure to the thing that you are afraid of in a graduated way where nothing Bad's can happen is the cure for it moving away from reminders is a symptom of PTSD it is not a cure there are also a few experiments that have tried experimentally to either give or not give they suggest either no benefit we'll be some backfire we don't know the answer yet good experiments are going to be done it's an empirical question so far there is very there is no evidence to suggest that trigger warnings are helpful to people with PTSD on the broader question of this whole package trigger warning safe spaces this approach to your University this approach to the world of ideas and books and speakers is this helpful to students or harmful and I would submit and I think we show the evidence in in the book that thinking this way makes you see more threats makes you have more of an external locus of control because these vast forces are what determine your outcome and my god does it waste your 4 years when you could be learning and instead you're focused on defeating the enemy I think I'll end it there quit while you're ahead on that note we're going to thank all of our speakers thank you all very much indeed [Applause]
Channel: Intelligence Squared
Views: 434,185
Rating: 4.5195765 out of 5
Keywords: intelligence squared, debate, oratory, trigger warnings, safe spaces, no platforming, jonathan haidt, jonathan sacks, kehinde andrews, eleanor penny, emily maitlis, no-platforming, free speech
Id: wpGd5DZ_K5w
Channel Id: undefined
Length: 85min 12sec (5112 seconds)
Published: Thu Mar 28 2019
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