How a target of students’ ire came to write a book about humanity’s transcendent goodness.
Christakis’s wife, Erika, who also taught at Yale back then, had circulated a memo in which she questioned a university edict against culturally insensitive Halloween costumes, suggesting that students could police themselves and should have both the freedom to err and the strength to cope with offense. She wrote that her husband concurred.
Despite listening and reasoning Nicholas Christaki was ostracized by some students. I think this intolerance fueled by youthful righteousness and the unwillingness to tolerate other reasoning is unhealthy. It suppresses healthy debate, which is so important in any academic environment.
It moves debates and deep thinking of what is moral to a fanatic emotional pitch, very similar to the “hatred of the other” in our current political and social siloes.