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Smart people talking about politics, policy, culture and other stuff
1 day ago
Not a Trumpist, Not Yet a Dem (Bill Scher & Matt K. Lewis)
Why Matt’s criticisms of Democrats don’t make him pro-Trump ... The politics of the filibuster ... Bill: Obama is wrong, the filibuster must be defended ... Can pro-choicers and pro-lifers ever reach a compromise? ... Bill: Kamala Harris is the most likely VP pick ...
2 days ago
"Hamilton" and Shakespeare (Aryeh Cohen-Wade & Isaac Butler)
Hamilton arrives on the small screen ... Interpreting the very last moment of the play ... Isaac connects Hamilton and Shakespeare’s Henry IV Part 1 ... Prince Hal’s unsympathetic ambition ... The two parts of Henry IV and the two acts of Hamilton ... A brilliant Muppets parody of Hamilton ... Hamilton in Trump’s America ...
2 days ago
Foreign Policy Realism (Robert Wright & Emma Ashford)
Defining foreign policy realism ... Emma fears that China will disrupt global trade and energy flows ... Is there a role for idealism within realism? ... Does economic engagement promote democratization? ... A realist take on Russia’s annexation of Crimea ... Emma doubts a major power would willingly bind itself to international law ... What Emma wishes America hadn’t done over the past 30 years ...
1 hr 9 min
3 days ago
Just to Play Devil's Advocate (Kat Rosenfield & Phoebe Maltz Bovy)
The latest online dating scourge: "wokefishing" ... When your boyfriend confesses to you that he used to be a Nazi ... "Media Thirst Guys," the men who want to date women who know Ezra Klein ... Should the Very Online only date the Very Online? ... A portrait of a woman who went from white supremacist to Muslim convert ... Why is the media always shocked when a woman is a racist? ...
1 hr 11 min
6 days ago
Trump's Perfect Storm (Robert Wright & Mickey Kaus)
Mickey: The LBJ ’68 scenario is gathering steam ... The perfect storm that would get Trump reelected ... Bob vs. Mickey on America’s posture toward China ... Hydroxychloroquine and sex with demons ... Woke denialism about moral progress ... Mickey’s unconventional plan for socioeconomically integrating the suburbs ... Weighing Susan Rice as VP ... Do the new Epstein revelations support the Mossad theory? ... Can Alan Dershowitz sink any lower? ... Mickey: If the GOP loses the Senate, the party is history ...
1 hr 42 min
Jul 31, 2020
The IQ Taboo (Glenn Loury & Amy Wax)
Debating Charles Murray’s new book, Human Diversity: The Biology of Gender, Race, and Class ... Amy: It is an undeniable fact that there are IQ differences between whites and blacks ... Do group IQ differences have a place in politics? ... Does public opinion about race influence elites? ... Amy: Bohemians belong on the margins of society ... The benefits of a meritocratic society ...
1 hr 23 min
Jul 30, 2020
Special Beach Edition (Bill Scher & Matt K. Lewis)
Herman Cain’s death and conservative resistance to masks ... Matt: GOP senators are acting like they know Trump is going to lose ... Would President Biden be able to cut deals with McConnell? ... The dilemma for GOP reformers: fix the party or burn it down? ... Did Politico accidentally reveal Biden’s VP pick? ... The case against Susan Rice for VP ...
Jul 29, 2020
Apocalypse Never (John Horgan & Michael Shellenberger)
Michael’s new book, Apocalypse Never: Why Environmental Alarmism Hurts Us All ... Michael: No one has to die from climate change ... Why Michael doesn’t consider himself to be a climate-change skeptic ... The economics of nuclear power... ... …and the politics of nuclear weapons ... Michael: “I don’t think we’ve ever had a capitalist system” ...
1 hr 20 min
Jul 27, 2020
The Return of Holy Russia (Nikita Petrov & Gary Lachman)
Gary’s new book, The Return of Holy Russia ... Russian exceptionalism and psychogeography ... Why are people always talking about “the Russian soul”? ... Was Bolshevism a break with the past or a continuation of it? ... The Russian desire to unite opposites ... The infamous TV broadcast that claimed Lenin was a mushroom ... Putin’s skillful use of ideology ... The twin crises in America and Russia ...
1 hr 32 min
Jul 25, 2020
Woke Critical Mass (Robert Wright & Mickey Kaus)
Trump's three- (or maybe four-) pronged campaign strategy ... Was Bob too nice to Bari Weiss in his anti-Bari essay? ... What's really new about cancel culture? ... On the purported bigotry of Maria Farmer, a prominent victim of Jeffrey Epstein ... Mickey wishes Ghislaine well ... Reasons to doubt "horseshoe theory," where the Trumpist right teams up with the left ... Remembering Michael Brooks, who died this week at 36 ... The liberal conspiracy theory that Trump is poised to impose martial law ... Aleister Crowley, Walter Duranty, and the Parrot Room ...
1 hr 38 min
Jul 23, 2020
The Dark Arts (Glenn Loury & John McWhorter)
John on "a truly medieval moment" ... Why Glenn didn't sign the Harper's open letter ... Linguists petition against fellow linguist Steven Pinker ... Is this actually just about the economics of the collapsing media industry? ... Calling someone a racist vs. calling someone a witch ... John's harsh review of White Fragility ... Critiquing an open letter by 300 Princeton professors on anti-racism ...
Jul 22, 2020
Baseball Metaphor Edition (Bill Scher & Matt K. Lewis)
Why South Carolina deserves to be the Democratic primary "cleanup hitter" ... Has Biden boxed himself into picking a black woman as VP? ... The case for having a "next in line" ... Bill: The pick will be either a woman of color or a populist progressive, not both ... Liz Cheney, Tucker, Hannity, and the emerging GOP civil war ... Are NeverTrumpers trying to destroy the GOP in order to save it? ...
Jul 20, 2020
Everything in Moderation (Aryeh Cohen-Wade & Leigh Stein)
Leigh's new novel, Self Care ... Are social justice warriors sincere or cynical? ... On being a white author writing a black character in 2020 ... Why are all these white women apologizing on Instagram? ... The trials and tribulations of being a moderator ... Aryeh: Many of today's controversies come down to forum moderation ... Leigh: There's no restorative justice in cancel culture ... Would eliminating social media lead to a better world?
1 hr 6 min
Jul 18, 2020
Cancelled and Uncancelled (Robert Wright & Mickey Kaus)
Mickey gets epically ratioed for a tweet about cancel culture ... Is it creepy that the Lincoln Project wants to "de-Trumpify" the GOP? ... The problem with data-driven campaigns ... Bob tries to uncancel himself on trans issues ... Bari Weiss and Andrew Sullivan exit their woke publications ... How culpable is Trump for rising Covid deaths? ... The Trump administration’s attack on Fauci ... A smarter way to counter China ... This week's wild Epstein speculation ... Will Israel’s covert attacks on Iran start a war? ... What happens if there's a Supreme Court vacancy before November?
1 hr 35 min
Jul 16, 2020
Keys to the White House (Bill Scher & Matt K. Lewis)
Should progressives stop giving money to the Lincoln Project? ... Psychological warfare against Trump ... Does the GOP need to eradicate Trumpism from the party? ... George Will's top pick for Biden's VP ... Will Biden want a "president in waiting?" ... Evaluating the "13 Keys to the White House," which claims to predict presidential races ...
Jul 15, 2020
Open Letters (Aryeh Cohen-Wade & Katie Herzog)
Bari Weiss's very public resignation from the New York Times ... Is the NYT a toxic workplace? ... Why Katie signed the Harper's open letter ... Aryeh: The vagueness of the letter fueled the backlash ... Do we have a cancel culture problem or a Twitter culture problem? ... Katie critiques the counterletter ... The recent failed attempt to cancel Aryeh ... Do online subcultures trend toward toxicity? ...
1 hr 7 min
Jul 10, 2020
Vilified Incumbents (Robert Wright & Mickey Kaus)
Covid deaths are suddenly rising and a new school year approaches ... Is Trump’s reelection campaign doomed? (And is Steve Bannon part of it?) ... Mickey’s theory about BLM and the future of American cities ... Weighing the consequences of the Harper’s anti-cancel-culture letter ... Bob complains about American journalism (cont’d) ... Who killed Jeffrey Epstein? Discussing an underdiscussed candidate. ...
1 hr 47 min
Jul 9, 2020
Braver Angels (Glenn Loury & John Wood, Jr.)
John explains how the current national crisis came to be ... Is civic discourse dead? ... Glenn: We are sliding into a state where the basic preconditions of society are at question ... Is America going backwards on race? ... Glenn: "I feel like my side is losing, and I think it's a catastrophe" ... Can faith help bind up the nation's wounds? ...
Jul 8, 2020
A Safe Haven (Bill Scher & Matt K. Lewis)
Monticello, Hamilton, and Archie Bunker ... Matt questions how the Harper's open letter could make someone feel "unsafe" ... Bill: "I don't see what the letter actually accomplishes" ... When Bill was fired for his political views ... Should being a jerk in a viral video be a fireable offense? ... Did Tammy Duckworth torpedo her VP chances? ...
1 hr 7 min
Jul 4, 2020
The Unraveling (Glenn Loury & John McWhorter)
John: White Fragility is "one of the worst books ever written" ... Debating how we should remember Woodrow Wilson ... Glenn: Our story is about more than just domination and oppression ... On being a dissident black academic ... Why John resigned from the board of the National Books Critics Circle ... Should John and Glenn fear defenestration by the mob? ...
Jul 3, 2020
Down the Ghislaine Maxwell Rabbithole (Robert Wright & Mickey Kaus)
Mickey to Trump: Drop out ... How can the number of cases be rising while deaths stay steady? ... How Biden can put his bumbling to his advantage ... Digging into the "Russian bounty on GIs in Afghanistan" story ... Ghislaine Maxwell and the many Epstein conspiracy theories ... Will we ever find out the names of the men Epstein procured girls for? ... Weighing the cancellations of Woodrow Wilson, John Wayne, and JFK ... Mickey sees a potential "Sister Stab-ya" moment ...
1 hr 49 min
Jul 2, 2020
Politics, Power, and Fireworks (Nikita Petrov & John Horgan)
Conspiracy theories about fireworks ... John has flashbacks to the late 1960s ... Movements without leaders ... Nikita thinks about buying land in Russia and settling down ... Why some Russians think that Putin doesn't exist ... Is life a game you can win? ... The revived popularity of strongmen ...
1 hr 7 min
Jul 1, 2020
Faustian Bargain Edition (Bill Scher & Matt K. Lewis)
The GOP's bad bargain on Trump and judicial appointments ... Why do social conservatives keep losing at the Supreme Court? ... A brief interlude on baseball and baseball movies ... A QAnon fan beats a five-term GOP incumbent ... Bill on Woodrow Wilson's complicated legacy ... Between lionizing and demonizing ...
Jul 1, 2020
Self Care: A Novel (Kat Rosenfield, Phoebe Maltz Bovy, and Leigh Stein)
Leigh's new satirical novel, Self Care ... Leigh's viral essay on the fall of the girlboss ... The life-changing magic of tidying up your whiteness ... Activism as self-improvement ... Are activists inadvertently promoting racial segregation? ... Why are women's spaces prone to unraveling? ...
Jun 30, 2020
Why Evangelicals Love Trump (Robert Wright & Sarah Posner)
How did evangelicals view Trump's infamous walk to the church? ... Sarah's new book, Unholy: Why White Evangelicals Worship at the Altar of Donald Trump ... The many commonalities between Trump and Cyrus the Great ... The Christian Right and alt-right, a "coalition of lost cultural dominance" ... The secret origin story of the Christian Right ... Sarah: Race is an animating force of the Christian Right ... Can anything lessen America's tribal grievances? ...
1 hr 9 min
Jun 29, 2020
A Life in History (Glenn Loury & David Kaiser)
David's memoir, A Life in History ... David: Political history is being ignored in the academy ... Defending the Western model ... Did the Vietnam War spark a turn away from Enlightenment values? ... The 1619 Project and the ideals of the founding ... The lament of the white male ... Why is college so expensive? ... Did the founders actually believe in universal values? ...
1 hr 8 min
Jun 26, 2020
A Nice Sheen (Robert Wright & Mickey Kaus)
Theories about why infection numbers are going back up ... What they don't tell you about masks ... Is it too early to dance on Trump's grave? ... Mickey: The NYT has become a guilt-tripping barrage of wokedom ... Black activist Shaun King presents Biden with a Sister Souljah opportunity ... A new theory about the infamous WaPo Halloween party story ... Why has the right lost the culture war? ... What would a post-Trump GOP look like? ...
1 hr 43 min
Jun 24, 2020
The Absence of Structure (Bill Scher & Matt K. Lewis)
On New York's primary night, did the left strike back? ... Mail-in voting and fears of corruption ... Biden is up 14 in one poll, but Matt isn't ready to dance on Trump's grave ... How is it that Biden is doing better during a period of leftwing civil unrest? ... Why the odds of Warren as VP keep sinking ... Thought experiment: What if Trump goes silent? ...
Jun 23, 2020
China's Perspective (Robert Wright & Kaiser Kuo)
How Kaiser became one of China's first rockstars ... How the American bombing of the Chinese embassy in Belgrade helped break up the band ... Did America’s post-9/11 War on Terror have a liberalizing effect on China? ... Seeing the world from Beijing's perspective ... Some philosophical questions occasioned by China's rise ... Racism and America’s fear of China ... How should we judge China's behavior in its own neighborhood? ... Is President Xi a corruption fighter or just a power consolidator? ... Steve Bannon and his dodgy Chinese sugar daddy ... Kaiser: A huge misconception about China is that engagement failed ...
1 hr 31 min
Jun 23, 2020
Black Faces, Black Interests (Glenn Loury & Carol M. Swain)
How Glenn and Carol first met ... Carol's 1993 book, Black Faces, Black Interests ... Would Stacey Abrams have won if she were pro-life? ... Carol's journey to Christianity ... Carol's prescient book on the new white nationalism ... Carol: "I have a lot of respect for Jared Taylor" ... Carol's harsh critique of identity politics on college campuses ... Are black conservatives winning, losing, or something else? ... Why Carol loves Donald Trump ...
1 hr 5 min
Jun 19, 2020
My Moose Is Bigger than Your Moose (Robert Wright & Mickey Kaus)
Threats of disorder and promises of reform after George Floyd ... Mickey: “The Supreme Court is falling apart” ... The Washington Post Halloween party blackface debacle ... The not-very-shocking revelations in John Bolton’s new book ... Mickey complains to the manager and clarifies his position on welfare reform ... Bob: Yes, Covid cases are rising—but deaths are falling ... Bob attempts to strong-arm Mickey into starting a Patreon ...
1 hr 41 min
Jun 18, 2020
Dropping the Mask (Glenn Loury & Coleman Hughes)
Coleman's post-collegiate life (with a cameo from Glenn's wife) ... Reopening and the invisible cost of agreeing with Trump ... Thomas Sowell's thoughts on partisanship ... Glenn: Trump is "bumbling his way through" the tradeoffs of reopening ... Masks as a way of life ... Do racial disparities in Covid deaths demonstrate systemic bias? ...
Jun 17, 2020
What Is the Point of it All? (Bill Scher & Matt K. Lewis)
Gorsuch's landmark opinion affirming LGBT workplace protections ... The failure of the conservative legal movement ... Matt: The "but Gorsuch" argument for Trump is dead ... Biden is up in all the polls, but Matt is skeptical ... Bill: The left is still seeking a big primary win ... Imagining Biden's first 100 days ...
Jun 16, 2020
Justice Is Global (Robert Wright & Tobita Chow)
Toby's organization, Justice Is Global ... Slow economic growth and rightwing nationalism ... Toby: The only way to deal effectively with inequality is globally ... How to solve the overcapacity problem in the steel industry ... Toby's radical idea: a global minimum wage ... Can the WTO become a vehicle for progressive policies? ... Will the GOP's "blame China" strategy work? ... Worrying about an October surprise from Trump ... Toby: Racial justice and economic justice go hand in hand ...
1 hr 19 min
Jun 15, 2020
What Are Cops Thinking? (Aryeh Cohen-Wade & Peter Moskos)
Looking for the truth between "Blue Lives Matter" and "ACAB" ... The rarely noted decline in police shootings ... What are the cops thinking? ... Peter: The police will never be fully demilitarized ... Aryeh: The underlying issue is widespread gun possession ... The Buffalo protester and cops who are bad at PR ... Peter: The actions of George Floyd's killer are baffling ... Peter argues that police abolition is "crazy" ... Peter lists his ideal police reforms ... The vast regional disparities in policing ...
1 hr 6 min
Jun 13, 2020
Welcoming Our New Woke Overlords (Robert Wright & Mickey Kaus)
Is liberalism being supplanted? ... Why Millennials succeeded in changing the culture of the workplace ... James Bennet's resignation and the "new samizdat" ... Mickey dismisses Bob’s fears about Trump’s authoritarian potential ... Is the New York Times now a journal of opinion? ... Mickey laments that welfare reform didn't work as well as he hoped ... Bob wants progressives to think about class, not just race ... Mickey: Conservatives should retreat on Confederate statues ... Examining conspiracy theories about the elderly Buffalo protester ... Lafayette Square revisited ...
1 hr 41 min
Jun 11, 2020
Everyone's Sorry (Kat Rosenfield & Phoebe Maltz Bovy)
"Lean In" feminism and the Karen meme ... What does it mean to call the cops? ... The politics of quitting your job ... Amid the protests, past microaggressions are aired online ... Brands agree that black lives matter. Hooray? ... Examining the apology of a pretty, white lifestyle influencer ...
Jun 11, 2020
Beardless Edition (Bill Scher & Matt K. Lewis)
On shaving and summer schedules ... Bill: "A blue wave is building" ... Matt fears a monster movie–style Trump comeback ... Bill: Elected Democrats aren't on board with #DefundThePolice ... Is Kamala now the safe VP pick? ... The trouble with hashtag slogans ... Examining Tom Cotton's controversial NYT op-ed ...
1 hr 4 min
Jun 10, 2020
The Viruses (Glenn Loury & John McWhorter)
John: George Floyd's murder was not an exclusively racial matter ... Glenn: "We're in the grip of hysteria" ... John: Apparently anti-racism trumps even medical science ... What it's like being a black contrarian right now ... Glenn: The real threat to black people is crime ... John argues that fixing problems with the cops has to be the first step ...