“The lucrative gas-lighting industry”

Writing in New Socialist, Pete Mitchell does a thoroughly entertaining demolition of two books making the culture war argument that “the left” is somehow silencing free speech. The whole thing’s worth a read but I particularly liked these bits:

In Lukianoff and Haidt’s account, college students aren’t distressed because they’re facing unprecedented debt and insecurity, because those safety nets they had are being stripped away from them, because they can no longer look forward to a recognisable future – or indeed because white supremacists keep trying to gather on their campuses to intimidate them, while their parents’ generation stands around finger-wagging about the importance of robust debate – but because they’re decadent, attached to their phones, full of self-pity, over-indulged and lacking in will.

The well-worn argument here is that millennial snowflakes refuse to be exposed to opposing views from people who disagree with them.

As anyone who’s spent any time around these debates knows by now, those “opposing views” usually turn out to be some variation of exactly the same one, and the “people who disagree with you” are always some variation of the same person: a well-paid white man who isn’t sure where all these women and brown people and queers came from but has some ideas about where he’d like to send them.