Review: The Coddling of the American Mind: How Good Intentions and Bad Ideas Are Setting Up a Generation for Failure by Jonathan Haidt and Greg Lukianoff

Coddling of the American Mind

One of my favorite aspects of my job is the opportunity to work with interns during the Utah legislative session. We usually hire several interns from the colleges and universities across the state, and they help us during the state legislative session as we track legislation and communicate with staff and legislators. They are all bright, capable, and intelligent. I don’t necessarily think college is for everyone, but for me, getting accepted and then going off to college was akin to receiving my letter to Hogwarts and boarding the train…

Race and Diversity at Utah Colleges

An article in the Salt Lake Tribune of 18 May conveys some good news and a dire warning of future mischief. The article asks “how many women and minorities are faculty at Utah’s universities.” The good news is (tho that is not at all the conclusion of the reporter, or of her sources), again in the words of the article, “no one really knows.” I regard it as profoundly encouraging that, though the Utah Board of Regents, the supervisory body over the state’s eight public institutions of higher learning, has…

Even politicians need sleep

At a public meeting, a state legislator appeared almost drunk. His speech was slightly slurred and you could tell he was just giving automatic responses. He hadn’t been drinking but was exhausted from a lack of sleep. Utah has a part-time legislature with a 45-day legislative session. During that time, the legislature is extremely busy with committee meetings, general sessions, and reading through bills. Curious as to how big of an issue this was, I asked a group of legislators at another public meeting if they were getting enough sleep…

The real scandal

The real scandal is, or at least ought to be, that grade inflation and credentialing are alive and well in our world. A thinking observer should say “OK, so Felicity Huffman and Lori Laughlin could buy their kids into Stanford or Harvard, but how could unqualified kids survive there?” Sadly, admission IS the game when it comes to top schools. The rest is, in two words from Supreme Court nominee Robert Bork, “grade inflation.” For decades the top schools give students grades they don’t earn so as to guarantee their…

Reimagining Welfare (Part 2 of 2)

In Part I, I explained, “Caring for our neighbors in need is the only way we’ll achieve a higher sense of self, community, and democracy – a transcendent political culture.” Let me try to explain how to accomplish this great vision. Sixty years of a failed War on Poverty suggests we tie the welfare of one another to community, not government. Tying the welfare of one another to government has failed. Yes, wealth per se – some $22 trillion over the past 50 years – has been redistributed. Many people…

Reimagining Welfare (part 1 of 2)

The contentious debate over Medicaid expansion is a great example of why I founded Next Generation Freedom Fund to encourage Utah’s conservative policymakers to see the poor, poverty and poverty relief in transcendent terms. The divisive politics surrounding Proposition 3 have little to do with the general unity over the policy of Medicaid expansion. Regardless of state legislators tinkering with the initiative, the fact remains that nearly every legislator has now voted for Medicaid expansion. I raised this point four years ago in defense of the Healthy Utah plan: The…

Our rush-to-condemnation problem

One of the consequences of being off social media is that I’m generally blissfully ignorant of current events.  Wait you mean the government shut down??  Last week??  I didn’t notice until I had to call The Department of Housing and Urban Development for work and it went to an answering machine. But the news makes its way to me sooner or later, and this afternoon, I learned about the controversy over Governor Ralph Northram of Virginia.  If you’re reading this, I’m sure you know all about it already, so I…

Pox America

“Clowns to the left of me. Jokers to the right. Here I am, stuck in the middle with you.” — Stealers Wheel Most internet searches of my name and that of Donald Trump would reveal a litany of polemics published on cachaevalleydaily.com and Utah PoliticoHub in which I scathingly rebuke Trump, his presidential campaign, his presidency, and his supporters. I stand by those columns. For the most part, I was right about what was happening and what would come to pass. In short, Donald Trump is a disaster as a…

Legislate or Litigate?

In a few days, the House of Representatives will change hands. The House majority has flipped control and the same old faces are positioning themselves to take back the levers of power, beginning with Nancy Pelosi. The question for the average American is: will Congress actually accomplish anything over the next two years or will we face a constant stream of litigious sideshows as the Democrats use their restored base of power to derail anything and everything Trump? President Trump faced an uphill battle to implement a reformist agenda when…