Lukianoff takes the time to go back to first principles. The reason free speech is important is because debate is important, and the reason debate is important is that it is the key tool of deliberative democracies. If we don’t train our students to argue with each other, without crying foul every time one side hurts the other’s feelings, we will wind up with … a dysfunctional Congress, maybe? So the book’s mission is fundamentally civic, and I applaud it for that reason.
Several months back, it was my great pleasure to sit down and interview Harvard psychology professor and bestselling author Steven Pinker about his books, the crucial role dissent plays in keeping society sane, the special importance of free speech on campus, and the origins of political correctness. Professor Pinker is the author of The Blank Slate, The Better Angels of our Nature, and The Stuff of Thought. He is also a member of FIRE‘s Board of Advisors and, thanks to his boldness, insight, and elegant prose, one of my favorite authors.