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So to Speak podcast: the complacent campus with professor Tyler Cowen

George Mason University Professor Tyler Cowen has spent the better part of the last 40 years on college campuses. That’s why when he wrote in his new book “The Complacent Class: The Self-Defeating Quest for the American Dream” that college campuses are “among the segments of American society where the complacent class exercises its strongest influence,” we wanted to learn more.

In his book, professor Cowen coined the phrase “the complacent class” to describe “the growing number of people in our society who accept, welcome, or even enforce a resistance to things new, different, or challenging.” He theorizes that the modern comforts that Americans enjoy sap our pioneer spirit and sense of urgency, the evidence for which can be found in our rates of entrepreneurship, where we choose to live, who we choose to marry — and by observing what happens on our college campuses.

On today’s episode of So to Speak: The Free Speech Podcast, we ask professor Cowen why he believes campuses are complacent and what impact, if any, this has on recent campus debates about freedom of speech.

Joining me in quizzing professor Cowen about the implications his thesis has for free speech is FIRE President and CEO Greg Lukianoff, who is also curious about some of professor Cowen’s other areas of expertise — economics and food.

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