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The Desire To Silence Others Is Unhealthy

Defending the free speech of those you dislike is a sign of health

Glenn C. Loury is one of America’s most influential public intellectuals. He is the Merton P. Stoltz Professor of the Social Sciences in the Department of Economics at Brown University. Loury was raised on the south side of Chicago, earned a PhD in MIT’s economics program, and became the first tenured African American professor of economics at Harvard.

In two weeks, W.W. Norton will publish his memoir, Late Admissions. The promotional copy for the book writes that “He has been, at turns, a young father, a drug addict, an adulterer, a psychiatric patient, a born-again Christian, a lapsed born-again Christian, a Black Reaganite who has swung from the right to the left and back again.”

A murderer’s row of prominent scholars including Shelby Steele, Thomas Chatterton, Robert Putnam, Mark Lilla, and Randal Kennedy all wrote blurbs for Glenn’s new book.

For me, Glenn and his more liberal debating partner, John McWhorter, author of Woke Racism, were voices of sanity during Covid. Watching their weekly podcast made me feel less alone during those dark times.

I was thus thrilled when I learned Glenn would be in the audience during my lecture, “Escape the Woke Matrix,” at the University of Austin last year. “Your talk was over the top good,” he said. ”I say that as somebody who's heard a lot of talks. Not only was it entertaining and full of information, but it was challenging… firing right across the bow.”

And I was thrilled to join him recently for a one-on-one conversation.

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