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Throw Your Kid in the Scorpion Pit

2 22 531
13.01.2018

"He has a class on race and emotional safety," an old friend of mine squealed with delight about her son's public school schedule.

I am equally delighted to report that my own kid receives no such lessons. When it comes to Anthony's education, my goal is to de-emphasize, not ratchet up, the importance that race plays in his interpersonal dealings. I also don't think that focusing on emotional safety—whatever that is—is likely to build the kind of strong, resilient people who can handle life's curve balls.

But I'm also glad that my friend is free to feed her offspring whatever nonsense she sees fit. The worst-case scenario is a world of homogeneous groupthink. Instead, if enough families do their jobs right, our kids will grow up in world of differing opinions and contending values—the sort of intellectual scorpion pit that fuels a free and open society.

"An important part of critical thinking is being able to give reasons to support or criticize a position," argues Joe Lau, a philosopher at the University of Hong Kong who specialized in metacognition. "The proper functioning of a liberal democracy........

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