11/29/2019

Civil Discourse, Civility, and Due Doubt

"As for most major social problems, the causes of demonization are complex, defying perfect comprehension. I bring just one more cause to our attention, a factor that complicates the analysis: the rise of what social theorist Frank Furedi labeled “emotional correctness” in his book What’s Happened to the University? Furedi maintains that a governing purpose of higher education today is to protect the emotional comfort of students and others, regardless of how subjective and unreasonable the claim for comfort might be. The ubiquity of campus identity politics helps to fuel this process. If one feels offended or harassed, that is sufficient to justify the claim and to seek remedial action regardless of any contrary reasoned external judgment. Furedi’s concept is a recent variant of what Philip Rieff christened “the triumph of the therapeutic” in his classic 1966 book of that name."