Starbucks is working with a Harvard start-up that gives free coffee to people with opposing political views, as long as they engage in polite discourse. Essentially, each person gets half a gift card, and then they have to meet up to get the free caffeine.
Sounds good to me, but how do you find two sides on campus? Remember, it's only one side of this divide that silences the other. It's not the right who needs a bribe to keep from shouting down historians or beating up professors. And it says something that it's a company pushing this new diversity. I sense the teachers' lounge would not approve.
But I have to say, I applaud Starbucks. This app is apt. The campus is now ground zero for toxic identity politics, which seeks to replace natural human collaboration with regressive vindictiveness.
Studies on the brain show how cooperation enhances positive feelings, which then drives collaborative activities like creating companies, cities, civilizations. Human evolution relies on cooperation, which is why identity politics feels so backward.
Social justice warriors want to return to the Dark Ages when you communicated with a club instead of joining one. So perhaps a free cup of joe is one small step against a twisted movement that rolls back progress by pitting us against each other.
So try the app. Have that coffee, and make one for beer. Civilization may depend on it.