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  • Writer's pictureJoanne Jacobs

You can't say that

Students don't have real discussions in his AP English class, writes 11th-grader Zach Gottlieb in the Los Angeles Times. Every one knows the "approved positions on issues such as gender identity, patriarchy, cultural appropriation and microaggressions," and they know that "any perceived misstep can ruin a reputation in a flash."

However, one day, as students walked down the hall, someone expressed an opinion that would have been taboo in class, and someone else responded with an actual opinion, he writes. It was a "revelation."

Just when my friends and I should be trying out many perspectives and figuring out where we stand, we’re self-censoring, following familiar scripts. . . . if we spend our teenage years afraid we might share our thoughts in the wrong way or at the wrong moment, how is this affecting a crucial ingredient in becoming an adult: the ability to think critically?

In a 2020 survey of New York City high school students, 60 percent said they censored their views in class, Gottlieb. notes.

A 2022 Knight Foundation survey reported that 89 percent of high school students said people should be allowed to express “unpopular” opinions, but only 40 percent agreed that people should be allowed to say whatever they want, even if it’s “offensive.”

"Of course, almost anything can be deemed offensive," Gottlieb writes.

College students are afraid to explore ideas, says Rikki Schlott in a Reason interview iwth Nick Gillespie. Schlott, who teamed up with Greg Lukianoff to crite The Canceling of the American Mind, self-censored in high school. When she started NYU as right-leaning libertarian," she hid her Thomas Sowell and Jordan Peterson books under the bed. Finally, she came out politically -- and dropped out of college.

Young people are supposed to "explore different ideas and be an anarchist one day and a communist the next day and figure it out in the end, but we've taught young people that any of their missteps or any of their heterodox opinions are grounds to tear them down," she says. "That's no way to grow up."

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JK Brown
JK Brown
Dec 13, 2023

And what do we hear? How young people are lonely and often despondent. The "experts" recommend more conformity to the collective. But past experts knew differently:

“Loneliness does not come from having no people about one, but from being unable to communicate the things that seem important to oneself, or from holding certain views which others find inadmissible.” ― Carl Gustav Jung

The young student should come to regard acquaintance with the varying views as necessary to the formation of a reliable opinion on any topic and of sound judgement in general. That conviction will compel him to keep on the lookout for new light. -- McMurry, Frank M. ( Morton). How to Study and Teaching How to Study (1909)


Dec 12, 2023

I have met Rikki Schlott and she is one impressive young lady. I think she will go far.

One of the few benefits of getting old is that you quit having to care about all of this nonsense.


Craig Randall
Craig Randall
Dec 12, 2023


Editor: There are a couple of spelling errors in the penultimate paragraph: "iwth" instead of "with" and "crite" instead of "write." 😉

Dec 12, 2023
Replying to

That offensive, racist fussiness about spelling is going onto your Permanent Record.

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