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Vox Conversations

Vox Conversations brings you discussions between the brightest minds and the deepest thinkers; conversations that will cause you to question old assumptions and think about the world and our role in it in a new light. Join Sean Illing, Jamil Smith, and their colleagues across the Vox newsroom for new episodes every Monday and Thursday.

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Best of: Alison Gopnik changed how I think about love

Happy Thanksgiving! We will be back next week with brand new episodes, but on a day when so many of us are thinking about love and relationships I wanted to share an episode that has changed the way I think about those topics in a profound way. Alison Gopnik is a professor of psychology and philosophy at the University of California Berkeley. She’s published more than 100 journal articles and half a dozen books, including most recently The Gardener and the Carpenter: What the New Science of Child Development Tells Us About the Relationship Between Parents and Children. She runs a cognitive development and learning lab where she studies how young children come to understand the world around them, and she’s built on that research to do work in AI, to understand how adults form bonds with both children and each other, and to examine what creativity is and how we can nurture it in ourselves and — more importantly — each other.But this conversation isn’t just about kids -- it's about what it means to be human. What makes us feel love for each other. How we can best care for each other. How our minds really work in the formative, earliest days, and what we lose as we get older. The role community is meant to play in our lives.This episode has done more than just change the way I think. It’s changed how I live my life. I hope it can do the same for you.Book recommendations:A Treatise of Human Natureby David HumeAlice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis CarrollThe works of Jean PiagetCredits:Producer/Audio engineer - Jeff GeldResearcher - Roge KarmaPlease consider making a contribution to Vox to support this show: bit.ly/givepodcasts Your support will help us keep having ambitious conversations about big ideas.New to the show? Want to check out Ezra’s favorite episodes? Check out the Ezra Klein Show beginner’s guide (http://bit.ly/EKSbeginhere)Want to contact the show? Reach out at ezrakleinshow@vox.com Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

1hr 35mins

26 Nov 2020

Rank #1

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Mark Zuckerberg on Facebook’s hardest year, and what comes next

It’s been a tough year for Facebook. The social networking juggernaut found itself engulfed by controversies over fake news, electoral interference, privacy violations, and a broad backlash to smartphone addiction. Wall Street has noticed: the company has lost almost $100 billion in market cap in recent weeks. Behind Facebook’s hard year is a collision between the company’s values, ambitions, business model, and mindboggling scale. Mark Zuckerberg, the site’s founder, has long held that the company’s mission is to make the world more open and connected — with the assumption being that a more open and connected world is a better world. But a more open world can make it easier for governments to undermine each other’s elections from afar; a more connected world can make it easier to spread hatred and incite violence. So has Facebook become too big to manage, and too dangerous when it fails? Should the social infrastructure of the global community be managed by a corporation headquartered in Northern California? What’s Zuckerberg’s reply to Apple CEO Tim Cook, who says the social media giant’s business model is at odds with its users’ interests? And how has all this changed Zuckerberg’s ambitions for Facebook’s future, and confidence in its mission? Zuckerberg and I talk about all of this and more in this conversation. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

51mins

2 Apr 2018

Rank #2

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Jenny Odell on nature, art, and burnout in quarantine

One of my favorite episodes of this show was my conversation with Jenny Odell, just under a year ago. Odell, a visual artist, writer, and Stanford lecturer, had just released her book How to Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy and we had a fascinating conversation about the importance of maintenance work, the problem with ceaseless productivity, the forces vying for our attention, the comforts of nature, and so much more. A lot has changed since then. Odell’s book became a sensation: it captured a cultural moment, made it onto Barack Obama’s favorite books of 2019 list and became, for many, a touchstone. And then, a global pandemic hit, radically altering the world in ways that made the core themes of Odell’s work more prescient, and more difficult. What happens when, instead of choosing to “do nothing,” doing nothing is forced upon you? What happens when all you have access to is nature? What happens when the work of maintenance becomes not just essential, but also dangerous?So I asked Odell back, for a very different conversation in a very different time. This isn’t a conversation, really, about fixing the world right now. It’s about living in it, and what that feels like. It’s about the role of art in this moment, why we undervalue the most important work in our society, how to have collective sympathy in a moment of fractured suffering, where to find beauty right now, the tensions of productivity, the melting of time, our reckoning with interdependence, and much more. And, at the end, Odell offers literally my favorite book recommendation ever on this show. And no, it’s not for my book. References: My previous conversation with Jenny Odell on the art of attention "The Myth of Self-Reliance" by Jenny Odell, The Paris Review"I tried to write an essay about productivity in quarantine. It took me a month to do it." by Constance Grady, VoxThe Genius of Birds by Jennifer AckermanBook recommendations: Give People Money by Annie LowreyLurking: How a Person Became a User by Joanne McNeilWhat It's Like to Be a Bird by David Allen SibleyWant to contact the show? Reach out at ezrakleinshow@vox.comPlease consider making a contribution to Vox to support this show: bit.ly/givepodcasts Your support will help us keep having ambitious conversations about big ideas.The Ezra Klein Show is a finalist for a Webby! Make sure to vote at https://bit.ly/TEKS-webbyNew to the show? Want to check out Ezra’s favorite episodes? Check out the Ezra Klein Show beginner’s guide (http://bit.ly/EKSbeginhere)Credits:Producer/Editor - Jeff GeldResearcher - Roge Karma Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

1hr 8mins

7 May 2020

Rank #3

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Best-of: Bryan Stevenson

Here, at the holidays, I wanted to share some of my favorite episodes of the show with you. Bryan Stevenson tops the list. He’s the founder of the Equal Justice Initiative, the author of the remarkable book Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption, a MacArthur genius, and so much more. There are some people you meet who seem like they’re operating on a higher plane of decency, grace, and thoughtfulness. Stevenson is one of them. His thoughts on justice, on poverty, on racism, and on shame have stayed with me ever since this conversation, and they’ll do the same for you. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

1hr 34mins

27 Dec 2018

Rank #4

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Biden's immigration architect on racism, reform, and the Obama legacy

NPR journalist, memoirist, and host of the upcoming WBEZ podcast The Art of Power Aarti Shahani talks with Cecilia Muñoz, a former aide to Obama and part of Biden's transition team. It's a conversation about immigration policy reform and the challenges ahead for President Biden — and for a country wrestling with changing demographics, racism, and its history. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

1hr 4mins

11 Feb 2021

Rank #5

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Ta-Nehisi Coates: "There’s not gonna be a happy ending to this story"

Ta-Nehisi Coates is an author at the Atlantic. His book, Between the World and Me, won the National Book Award, and was spoofed on SNL. He's writing the (awesome) Black Panther series for Marvel. He's a certified MacArthur Genius. And he just released a blockbuster story based on hours of interviews with President Obama about the role race played in Obama's upbringing, his presidency, and the 2016 campaign.Coates is also one of my favorite people to talk to, and I think this conversation shows why.The first half of our conversation is political: it's about Coates's conversations with Obama, his impressions of the president, his perspective on American politics, the way his atheism informs his worldview, why he thinks a tragic outlook is important for finding the truth but — at least for nonwhite politicians — a hindrance for winning political power. The second half is much more personal: it's about his frustrations as a writer, his discomfort with the way "Between the World and Me" was adopted by white audiences, how he learns, his surprising advice for young writers, his belief that personal stability enables professional wildness, his past as a blogger, his desire to return to school, his favorite books. I loved this interview. I think you will, too. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

1hr 46mins

14 Dec 2016

Rank #6

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Best of: Michael Lewis reads my mind

Michael Lewis needs little introduction. He’s the author of Liar’s Poker, Moneyball, The Big Short, The Blind Side, The Fifth Risk. He’s the host of the new podcast “Against the Rules.” He’s a master at making seemingly boring topics — baseball statistics, government bureaucrats, collateralized debt obligations — riveting. So how does he do it?What I wanted to do in this conversation was understand Lewis’s process. How does he choose his topics? How does he find his characters? How does he get them to trust him? What is he looking for when he’s with them? What allows him to see the gleam in subjects that would strike others, on their face, as dull?Lewis more than delivered. There’s a master class in reporting — or just in getting to know people — tucked inside this conversation. As in the NK Jemisin episode, Lewis shows how he does his work in real time, using me and something I revealed as the example. Sometimes the conversations on this show are a delight. Sometimes they’re actually useful. This one is both.Book recommendations:Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark TwainA Collection of Essays by George OrwellThe Right Stuff by Tom WolfeCredits:Producer/Audio engineer - Jeff GeldResearcher - Roge KarmaPlease consider making a contribution to Vox to support this show: bit.ly/givepodcasts Your support will help us keep having ambitious conversations about big ideas.New to the show? Want to check out Ezra’s favorite episodes? Check out the Ezra Klein Show beginner’s guide (http://bit.ly/EKSbeginhere)Want to contact the show? Reach out at ezrakleinshow@vox.com Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

1hr 46mins

28 Dec 2020

Rank #7

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Ta-Nehisi Coates on my “cold, atheist book”

This one was a pleasure. Ta-Nehisi Coates joined me in Brooklyn for part of the “Why We’re Polarized” tour. His description of the book may be my favorite yet. It is, he says, “a cold, atheist book.” We talk about what that means, and from there, go into some of the harder questions raised not so much by the book, but by American history itself. Then Coates asked me a question I never expected to hear from him: Is there anything I could say to leave him with some hope? Don’t miss this one.New to the show? Want to check out Ezra's favorite episodes? Check out the Ezra Klein Show beginner's guide (http://bit.ly/EKSbeginhere)The “Why We’re Polarized” tour continues, with events in Austin, Nashville, Chicago, and Greenville. Go to WhyWerePolarized.com for the full schedule!Want to contact the show? Reach out at ezrakleinshow@vox.comCredits:Producer/Editor - Jeff GeldResearcher - Roge Karma Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

1hr 15mins

17 Feb 2020

Rank #8

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Malcolm Gladwell on the danger of joining consensus opinions

Malcolm Gladwell needs no introduction (though if you didn't know the famed author has launched a podcast, you should — it's called Revisionist History, and it's great.).Gladwell's work has become so iconic, so known, that it's become easy to take it for granted. But Gladwell is perhaps the greatest contrarian journalist of his generation — he looks at things you've seen before, comes to conclusions that are often the opposite of the conventional wisdom, and then leaves you wondering how you could ever have missed what he saw. To see something new in something old is a talent, it's a process, and it's what we discuss, in a dozen different ways, in this episode. Among the topics we tackle:-How Gladwell got started at the Washington Post after being fired from another job for waking up late-Gladwell’s high school zine based on personal attacks and Bill Buckley-How Canadians are disinclined to escalate conflicts-The value and nature of boredom in childhood-How people reflexively pile on to convenient narratives -How the economics of media might be influencing its current tone-Why pickup trucks today are so much larger than they used to be-His insights about the current identity of journalists as a culture-Why podcasting is different from writing for the page/screen-Why talking about numbers can be difficult in audio-How the internet will one day seem like an experiment gone completely awry-Why you shouldn’t have satellite radio in your car-Whether more individualized education is a a good idea-The importance of people who are above average though not exceptionalThis is a fun conversation, but it's also a useful one. It's hard to look at something that is believed to be understood and realize it's been misunderstood. Hell, it's hard to look at something that is believed to be understood and take seriously the idea that it might have been misunderstood. This is Gladwell's great skill — it is the product of both a process and an outlook, and it's worth hearing how he does it. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

1hr 35mins

23 Aug 2016

Rank #9

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Where Jonathan Haidt thinks the American mind went wrong

Jonathan Haidt is a psychologist at New York University and the co-founder of Heterodox University. His book The Righteous Mind, which describes the different moral frameworks that animate the left and the right, was a key influence on my work. But these days, Haidt is worried about something new. "Teen anxiety, depression, and suicide rates have risen sharply in the last few years," he writes in The Coddling of the American Mind, co-authored with Greg Lukianoff. "The culture on many college campuses has become more ideologically uniform, compromising the ability of scholars to seek truth, and of students to learn from a broad range of thinkers." The kids, in other words, aren't all right. Haidt sees a generation warped by overparenting and smartphones and flirting with illiberalism. He worries over a culture of "safetyism" that confuses disagreement with violence. He sees political correctness on campus as a threat not just to speakers' incomes, but to students' psyches. I often find myself a skeptic in this conversation. The panic over campus activism seems overblown to me. It's suffused with bad-faith efforts to nationalize isolated examples of college kids behaving badly in order to discredit serious critiques of social injustice. But that's why I wanted to have Haidt on the show: If anyone could convince me I'm wrong about this, it'd be him. Recommended Books: Meditations by Marcus Aurelius How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie The Authoritarian Dynamic by Karen Stenner Notes from our sponsors:LEGO: In today's show you heard advertising content from The LEGO Store. With LEGO, every gift has a story. Start your story today at https://LEGO.build/EKS-Pop Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

1hr 53mins

26 Nov 2018

Rank #10

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Work as identity, burnout as lifestyle

In the past few months, two essays on America’s changing relationship to work caught my eye. The first was Anne Helen Petersen’s viral BuzzFeed piece defining, and describing, “millennial burnout.” The second was Derek Thompson’s Atlantic article on “workism.”The two pieces speak to each other in interesting ways, and to some questions I’ve been reflecting on as my own relationship to work changes. So I asked the authors to join me for a conversation about what happens when work becomes an identity, capitalism becomes a religion, and productivity becomes the way we measure human value. The conversation exceeded even the high hopes I had for it. Enjoy this one.Book recommendations:Kids These Days: Human Capital and the Making of Millennialsby Malcolm HarrisWhite: Essays on Race and Cultureby Richard DyerThe Vertigo Years: Europe, 1900-1914by Philipp BlomA Visit from the Goon Squadby Jennifer EganIf you’ll be in Washington, DC, on Thursday, April 25, join us for a morning of live podcasts in celebration of our fifth birthday. RSVP here: http://voxmediaevents.com/vox5 Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

1hr 24mins

22 Apr 2019

Rank #11

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Having a bad day? Dave Eggers can help.

I’ve wanted to have Dave Eggers on the show for a while now. Eggers has not only written a vast range of books (a deeply ironic personal memoir, a heartwarming novel about a Sudanese refugee, a futuristic story about a tech dystopia) but he's also founded the national tutoring nonprofit 826 Valencia, started the literary magazine McSweeney’s, co-authored the screenplay of Where the Wild Things Are, and much more. I’m fascinated by people who are able to do a variety of wildly different things, all successfully. Dave Eggers is one of those people. So, we start this conversation by discussing Eggers’s life’s work, his recent book The Captain and the Glory, and Donald Trump. But then — somewhere around the halfway point — the conversation transforms into something I can only describe as, well, therapeutic. Eggers doesn’t own a smartphone or have wifi in his house, and hearing the way he talks about the internet, social media, and our relationship to them put me in a sort of quasi-meditation state that I can’t describe adequately with words.This one is a little strange, but it may just make your day. It certainly made mine.Book recommendations: The Custom of the Country by Edith Wharton The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton The House of Mirth by Edith WhartonIf you enjoyed this episode, you may like: You will love this conversation with Jaron Lanier, but I can’t describe itCal Newport on doing Deep Work and escaping social mediaMy book is available for pre-order! You can find it at www.EzraKlein.com.Want to contact the show? Reach out at ezrakleinshow@vox.comYou can subscribe to Ezra's new podcast Impeachment, explained on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Overcast, Pocket Casts, or your favorite podcast app. Credits:Producer and Editor - Jeff GeldResearcher - Roge KarmaEngineer - Cynthia Gil Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

1hr 25mins

18 Nov 2019

Rank #12

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The conservative mind of Yuval Levin

Something I’ve been thinking a lot about recently is the way we often conflate two very distinct things when we assign political labels. The first is ideology, which describes our vision of a just society. The second is something less discussed but equally important: temperament. It describes how we approach social problems, how fast we think society can change, and how we understand the constraints upon us. Yuval Levin is the director of Social, Cultural, and Constitutional Studies at the American Enterprise Institute, the editor-in-chief of the public policy journal National Affairs, and the author of the upcoming book A Time to Build. Levin is one of the most thoughtful articulators of both conservative temperament and ideology. And, perhaps for that reason, his is one of the most important criticisms of what the conservative movement has become today.There’s a lot in this conversation, in part because Levin’s book speaks to mine in interesting ways, but among the topics we discuss are:  The conservative view of human nature Why the conservative temperament is increasingly diverging from the conservative movement What theories of American politics get wrong about the reality of American life The case Levin makes to socialists How economic debates are often moral debates in disguise Levin’s rebuttal to my book  The crucial difference between “formative” and “performative” social institutions Why the most fundamental problems in American life are cultural, not economic Why Levin thinks the New York Times should not allow its journalists to be on Twitter Whether we can restore trust in our institutions without changing the incentives and systems that surround them There’s a lot Levin and I disagree on, but there are few people I learn as much from in disagreement as I learn from him.Book recommendations: Democracy in America by Alexis De Tocqueville The Quest for Community by Robert Nisbet Statecraft as Soulcraft by George Will If you enjoyed this episode, you may also like: David French on “The Great White Culture War"George Will makes the conservative case against democracyMy book is available for pre-order! You can find it at www.EzraKlein.com.Want to contact the show? Reach out at ezrakleinshow@vox.comYou can subscribe to Ezra's new podcast Impeachment, explained on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Overcast, Pocket Casts, or your favorite podcast app. Credits:Producer and Editor - Jeff GeldEngineer- Cynthia GilResearcher - Roge Karma Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

1hr 21mins

9 Jan 2020

Rank #13

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Nathan Robinson’s case for socialism

“Socialism” is simultaneously one of the most commonly used and most confusing terms in American politics. Does being a socialist mean advocating for the complete abolition of capitalism, markets, and private property? Does it mean supporting a higher tax rate, Medicare-for-all, and Sen. Bernie Sanders? Or does it simply mean a deep hatred of systemic injustice and the institutions that perpetuate it? In his new book Why You Should be a Socialist Nathan J Robinson, the founder and editor-in-chief of the Current Affairs magazine, attempts to shed light on these questions. In his writing, Robinson distinguishes between a “socialist economy” (think collective ownership, worker cooperatives, single-payer health care) and what he calls a “socialist ethic": a deep sense of moral outrage that animates agents of radical change. This distinction may sound like a dodge, but I think Robinson gets at something here that — while hard to understand from the outside — is crucial to understanding today's left politics. We also discuss: - The central role of democracy to the socialist worldview- What it means to be a “libertarian socialist”- What Robinson's socialist utopia would look like - Why so many socialists have turned on Sen. Elizabeth Warren in favor of Sen. Bernie Sanders - Robinson’s special loathing for South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg- What he believes Sanders’s “political revolution” would look like- The lessons of Jeremy Corbyn- Whether the deep difference between liberals and socialists is temperament - Why “public vs. private” is often a false choice- The challenge of economic growth And much more. Book recommendations: Understanding Power by Noam ChomskyThe Anarchist FAQ by Ian McKay The Dispossessed by Ursula K. Le Guin If you enjoyed this episode, you may also like:Leftists vs. Liberals with Elizabeth Bruenig Matt Bruenig’s case for single-payer health careWhy my politics are bad with Bhaskar SunkaraNew to the show? Want to listen to Ezra's favorite episodes? Check out The Ezra Klein Show beginner's guide. My book is available for pre-order! You can find it at www.EzraKlein.com.Want to contact the show? Reach out at ezrakleinshow@vox.comYou can subscribe to Ezra's new podcast Impeachment, explained on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Overcast, Pocket Casts, or your favorite podcast app. Credits:Producer and Editor - Jeff GeldEngineer- Cynthia GilResearcher - Roge Karma Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

1hr 43mins

6 Jan 2020

Rank #14

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Bill Gates on stopping climate change, building robots, and the best books he's read

Bill Gates is one of those people for whom "needs no introduction" is actually true. The polymathic Microsoft founder now leads the world's largest and most important private foundation, and he's predicting that we're on the cusp of the energy breakthrough that's going to save the world. He also talks about the controversial idea that technological innovation is slowing down, assesses how close we are to true artificial intelligence, and explains why you really want to save being sick for 20 years from now.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

44mins

23 Feb 2016

Rank #15

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Are humans fundamentally good? (with Rutger Bregman)

Dutch historian and De Correspondent writer Rutger Bregman got famous for the lashings he gave Tucker Carlson and the assembled plutocrats of Davos. But his work is far more utopian than polemical. The conversation we had on this show almost a year ago on his previous book Utopia for Realists is still one of my favorites.Bregman's new book, Humankind: A Hopeful History, is even more ambitious: it's an effort to establish that human beings, human nature, is kinder, friendlier, more decent, than we are given credit for. And that a new world could be built atop that understanding.I'm not convinced by everything in this book, to be honest. But that tension makes this conversation unusually generative. We discuss the deeply social, egalitarian lives of hunter-gatherers, whether the advent of human civilization was a huge mistake, and how our views toward religious faith have changed radically since our early 20s; and we debate whether humans have a nature at all, the implications of the Holocaust, whether we can build a society without CEOs, politicians, and bureaucrats, and moreBy the end, I'm still not sure I believe there is one human nature. But, I do think that if we believed Bregman's view of our nature, rather than, say, Donald Trump's view of our nature, maybe we could build something much more beautiful.Book recommendations:Affluence without Abundance by James SuzmanBehind the Shock Machine by Gina PerryThe Lost Boys by Gina PerryHow to Tame a Fox (and Build a Dog) by Lee Alan Dugatkin and Lyudmila TrutWant to contact the show? Reach out at ezrakleinshow@vox.comPlease consider making a contribution to Vox to support this show: bit.ly/givepodcasts Your support will help us keep having ambitious conversations about big ideas.New to the show? Want to check out Ezra’s favorite episodes? Check out the Ezra Klein Show beginner’s guide (http://bit.ly/EKSbeginhere)Credits:Producer/Editor - Jeff GeldResearcher - Roge Karma Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

1hr 39mins

1 Jun 2020

Rank #16

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Taking Trump’s corruption seriously

The question of whether President Trump colluded with Russia during the 2016 election has consumed Washington since the Justice Department appointed Robert Mueller special counsel in March 2017. But there's another question worth considering: the financial corruption swirling around Trump’s businesses, and now his administration. In any other White House, this would be the ongoing, constant story — the site of endless investigations and inquiries. And it still might be. We know Mueller is looking into the web of financial ties between Trump’s businesses and the post-Soviet bloc, and we know that part of the Mueller investigation gets Trump particularly outraged. Plus, we still don’t know what’s on Trump’s tax returns, or what could be discovered if Democrats take back a chamber of Congress and get subpoena power. Here’s my bet: If there is some scandal lurking that’s going to derail the Trump administration, I think it’s going to be found by following the money, not by following the Russian bots. Adam Davidson has been investigating this since Trump's election. If you're an avid podcast listener, you probably know Adam from his days at Planet Money. He's now at the New Yorker, doing some of the best investigative work on the Trump Organization. You’ll want to hear what he’s found.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

1hr 7mins

2 Aug 2018

Rank #17

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Pete Buttigieg’s theory of political change

First off. Hello! I’m back from paternity leave. And this is a helluva podcast to restart with.Pete Buttigieg is a Rhodes scholar, a Navy veteran, and the mayor of South Bend, Indiana. He’s a married gay man, a churchgoing Episcopalian, and a proud millennial. He’s also, according to CNN, “the hottest candidate in the 2020 race right now.”There’s been plenty of discussion of Buttigieg’s biography, and of whether a midsize-city mayorship is appropriate experience for the presidency. But I wanted to talk to him about something else: his theory of political change. How, in a broken system, would he get done even a fraction of what he’s promising? To my surprise, he actually had an answer.Before I did this podcast, I was surprised to see Buttigieg catching fire. Now that I’ve had this conversation, I’m not.Book recommendations:Ulysses by James JoyceArmageddon Averted: The Soviet Collapse, 1970-2000 by Stephen Kotkin We are conducting an audience survey to better serve you. It takes no more than five minutes, and it really helps out the show. Please take our survey here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/3X6WMNF Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

1hr 2mins

1 Apr 2019

Rank #18

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David French on “The Great White Culture War"

David French is a senior writer for National Review and one of the conservatives I read most closely. About a month ago, he published an interesting column responding to some things I had said, and to the broader currents cutting through our politics. “Conservative white Americans look at urban multicultural liberalism and notice an important fact,” he wrote. "Its white elite remains, and continues to enjoy staggering amounts of power and privilege. So when that same white elite applauds the decline of 'white America,' what conservatives often hear isn’t a cheer for racial justice but another salvo in our ongoing cultural grudge match, with the victors seeking to elevate black and brown voices while remaining on top themselves." I asked French to come on the podcast to discuss this idea — and the controversies that motivated it — more deeply, and he quickly accepted. The result is a tricky conversation about very sensitive territory in our politics. It’s about how we talk about race and class and status and gender and sexuality and religion, how we understand and misunderstand each other, how our political identities turn conflicts about one thing into conflicts about all things, why groups that are objectively powerful feel so powerless, and much more. I always appreciate the grace, openness, and intelligence French brings to his writing, and all of that is on full display here too. Recommended books: The Coddling of the American Mind by Greg Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt Coming Apart by Charles Murray The Expanse series by James S.A. Corey Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

1hr 35mins

10 Sep 2018

Rank #19

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Neoliberalism and its discontents

“Neoliberalism” is one of the most confusing phrases in political discourse today. The term is often used to describe the market fundamentalism of thinkers like Milton Friedman and Frederich Hayek or politicians like Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher. At the same time, critics often place more progressive figures like Bill Clinton, Barack Obama, and even Elizabeth Warren under the neoliberal banner. This raises an important question: what the hell is neoliberalism?I decided to bring on two guests today to help us answer that question. Wendy Brown is a professor of political theory at UC Berkeley, author of Undoing the Demos and In the Ruins of Neoliberalism, and one of the foremost critics of neoliberalism, not only as a set of economic policies but a “governing rationality” that infects almost all aspects of our existence. Noah Smith is an economist, a columnist at Bloomberg, and is known for his robust defenses of some (though not all) neoliberal positions, which earned him the prestigious title of Chief Neoliberal Shill of 2018. We discuss:- The differences between neoliberal theory and “actually existing neoliberalism”- Neoliberalism as not only a set of economic policies but a form of “public reason” that influences our very conception of what it means to be human- How neoliberal thought came to dominate almost every aspect of our lives- Whether neoliberalism is an inherently anti-democratic project- The relationship between neoliberal economic policies and traditional morality- The differences between New Deal liberalism and Obama-era neoliberalism- Whether a growth-driven economic model is compatible with our planet's ecological limitsBook recommendations: How Asia Works by Joe StudwellLaw Without Future by Jack JacksonDemocracy in Chains by Nancy McLeanMy book is available for pre-order! You can find it at www.EzraKlein.com.Want to contact the show? Reach out at ezrakleinshow@vox.comYou can subscribe to Ezra's new podcast Impeachment, explained on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Overcast, Pocket Casts, or your favorite podcast app. Credits:Producer and Editor - Jeff GeldResearcher - Roge KarmaEngineer - Topher Routh Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

1hr 34mins

24 Oct 2019

Rank #20