Social trends do not move in straight lines. They are somewhat like pendulums; when they go too far in one direction, gravity pulls them back in the other.
The reverse swing has been bound to occur with antibullyism (which I consider a more fitting term for the “anti-bullying movement”). I see it already beginning and predict that 2018 is the year in which it will gain serious momentum.
After all, there is a limit to how long society can follow a destructive policy before some thinkers begin questioning its wisdom. Thus, slavery got abolished, and minorities and women eventually won the right to vote. It took twelve years to repeal alcohol prohibition. After many decades, the war against illegal drugs, especially cannabis, is winding down.
And now prominent intellectuals are sounding the call against the child-safety movement, of which anti-bullyism is one of the major manifestations.
The backlash against over-protection of college students
In recent years there has been growing awareness of the phenomenon of students in higher education needing protection from ideas that can upset them: trigger warnings, safe zones, limitations on free speech, and protection from microaggressions. Students’ belief in their right to be protected from feeling offended has even led some to resort to physical violence to prevent speakers from appearing on campus.
One of the earliest voices against this character-weakening process in higher education has been attorney Greg Lukianoff, President and CEO of FIRE (Foundation for Individual Rights in Education) and author of Unlearning Liberty: Campus Censorship and the End of American Debate. More recently, Prof. Jordan Peterson, who has a wealth of fascinating lectures on Youtube, has joined the cause, even at the jeopardy of his university career. And probably the most influential of all is Prof. Jonathan Haidt, who very well may be the most influential psychologist at the moment, with major bestselling books like The Righteous Mind and The Happiness Hypothesis. In the attempt to save higher education from the grips of the political correctness movement in higher education, most glaringly in the social sciences, Haidt established Heterodox Academy, supported by a growing number of professors.
These giants are now joining forces, and slowly-but-surely increasing open-mindedness and resilience in higher education.
The backlash against over-protection in lower education
There are, of course, professionals who have been complaining about the over-protection of young children, denying them a normal childhood by replacing their biologically driven, self-determined play with regimented, scheduled, adult-supervised activities.
– Izzy Kalman
Photo source – Flickr.com