While teaching Law and Literature this year, I attached very gentle, low key “trigger warnings” to a number of items on the syllabus, namely those dealing with extreme violence, rape, and some other very unpleasant situations. I am glad I did this. I told students that if they preferred to do a substitute assignment, I could arrange that. Is that so unreasonable? There were no takers, but I don’t see it did anyone harm or limited free speech in the classroom (or outside of it) to make this offer. If anything, it may have eased speech a slight amount by noting it is OK to feel uncomfortable with some topics, or at least serving up that possibility into the realm of common knowledge. That struck me as better and wiser than simply pretending we were studying the successful operation of the Coase theorem the whole time.
—Tyler Cowen, “Why I like trigger warnings”