Ben Sasse on the Space between Nebraska and Neverland (Ep. 25 — Live at Mason)

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On Nebraska

President Cabrera introduced the conversation

On the many counties of Nebraska

Nebraska’s population density. Credit: Jim Irwin

On Sasse’s dissertation


If you think about the long 1960s, it is amazing. There have only been four truly gigantic landslides in the history of presidential politics in America...two of them were LBJ in ’64 and then Nixon in ’72. That swing in eight years from a landslide one way to a landslide the other is really amazing, and you could only understand that if you understand how disruptive the 1960s were in community after community across the US.


On the intellectual exhaustion of both political parties

On why Sasse visits Israel each year

On driving for Uber


I currently have an argument with Senate Ethics Committee, so I’m kind of on suspension from Uber.


On pluralizing higher education delivery


We used to brag, “Look how great we are. We have a 40:1 student ratio in our accounting programs, and the University of Nebraska–Lincoln,” the flagship big state university campus down the road, “they have a 330:1 ratio. We’re 40:1; they’re 330:1.”

We bragged about that a lot. Turns out, there’s some data on this, and the student experience at 40:1 and 330:1 is just not different at all…


On things under- and overrated

On Chaucer and Rousseau


Neverland in Peter Pan is a dystopian hell. Neverland is not a good place. You don’t want to get to the place where you’re physically an adult and you have no moral sense, you have no awareness of history, you have no interest in the future. Peter Pan is killing people, and he doesn’t really care; he doesn’t remember their names. It’s a really dystopian thing.


On travel as learning

On age segregation in education


If you brought people from 300 years ago or 3,000 years ago to live among us now, if you dropped them out of a time machine, I think the first thing that would stun them is just simply our material abundance and our tools, and especially our digital tools…

But if those folks stayed with us for a while, 30 days later, that would wear off, and the thing that would be most striking to people from other times and places living among us is how age-segregated we live.



And one time we were hosting this party, and this woman said, “…If a boy is old enough that I would trust him to be alone with my baby for 90 minutes, such that he might have to change a diaper during the time he’s there, he’s a man. And if he’s not, he’s still a child.” And all these 30-year-old guys around the table started squirming in their seats . . .


Q&A


Conversations with Tyler

A podcast in which esteemed economist Tyler Cowen engages with today's most underrated thinkers in wide-ranging explorations of their work, the world, and everything in between.

Mercatus Center

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The Mercatus Center at George Mason University is the world’s premier university source for market-oriented ideas.

Conversations with Tyler

A podcast in which esteemed economist Tyler Cowen engages with today's most underrated thinkers in wide-ranging explorations of their work, the world, and everything in between.