Rank #1: Episode 130: "Did Tariffs Really Cause the American Civil War?"
Several people emailed me a link to an article on Mises.org over the Thanksgiving week concerning tariffs and the "civil war" [sic]. The author of the article, Chris Calton, does a nice job with his podcast and is a thoughtful fellow, but he gets several things wrong, most importantly the real reason the North and South were at odds for nearly eighty years before the War in 1861. I correct his mistakes and give you the bigger picture in this episode of The Brion McClanahan Show.
Rank #2: Episode 183: Citizenship and the 14th Amendment
Donald Trump is the most important political figure of the early 21st century. No one else has been able to turn the political discussion on a dime like Trump, and that discussion quickly turned to immigration and the 14th Amendment on October 30, just days after everyone was talking about political violence. Not anymore. But can Trump end birthright citizenship with an executive order, and is birthright citizenship codified by the 14th Amendment? No and no, and I discuss both issues in this episode of The Brion McClanahan Show.
Rank #3: Episode 102: Robert E. Lee
Several people have asked me to respond to an Atlantic article about Robert E. Lee. I already did, over two years ago. Episode 102 republishes a talk I gave on Lee and the terrible book, Reading the Man by Elizabeth Brown Pryor, in January 2015, fully six months before the current pogrom on all things Southern began. Enjoy!
Rank #4: Episode 65: Korea
Why in the heck do Americans care about Korea? Kim Jong Un has recently rattled Americans by promising to nuke the United States, and the Trump administration has suggested that all options are on the table. I provide the background for this "crisis" and how it has impacted the powers of the presidency and American foreign policy. Korea was in many ways the start of everything bad about the imperial presidency. Find out why.
Rank #5: Episode 135: The Long War, 1789-Present
Historians like to keep things neat and tidy and thus often compartmentalize different periods in Western Civilization. The profession's infatuation with monographs has led to a climate where the "longue duree" is often overlooked. That is unfortunate because it misses the conjunction between political, military, economic, and social history. As we reflect on American involvement in World War I, it is important to see that conflict in the "longue duree."
Rank #6: Episode 49: We are Rome
Larry Reed at FEE asked a couple of years ago, are we Rome? He pointed to a number of troubling similarities between the Roman Empire and the modern United States. I answer yes for several reasons, not the least of which is political corruption. Americans should study not only U.S. and British history, but also classical civilizations like Greece and Rome. This provides perspective on our current moral, economic, and political plight. You want blood? We got it.
Rank #7: Episode 131: Does Original Intent Prove Seccesion is Illegal?
Over my vacation last week I received an email chain debating secession. One participant claimed that not only did the Constitution explicitly forbid secession, the founding generation thought it was illegal as well. For evidence, he cited a couple of lines from the Federalist and an incorrectly cited quote from George Washington's letter to the Congress dated September 17, 1787. As they say, the devil is in the details. Both pieces of evidence were taken out of context, and while it could be argued that Hamilton was against secession, his duplicity invalidates almost anything he said on any topic. I wrote an entire book on that. My course on secession at the McClanahan Academy covers much of the arguments against secession, but I thought it would be useful to cover two of the quotes that this individual believes "prove" secession was and is illegal.
Rank #8: Episode 63: The Anti-Federalists
Why are the Anti-Federalists important? William Watkins has written a marvelous book on the subject, "Crossroads for Liberty," that explores what the Anti-Federalists had to say about the Constitution and why they matter today. I discuss his book, the antis, the Constitution, and the issues in Episode 63 of The Brion McClanahan Show.
Rank #9: Episode 253: Little Jemmy and the Gerrymander
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Rank #10: Episode 86: Andrew Jackson
Now Take 'em Down NOLA wants to remove the statue of Andrew Jackson. This was predictable. Jackson seems to be an easy target. After all, he will be removed from the $20 Federal Reserve Note and millennials think he hunted American Indians for sport. That is simply not true. Jackson was a mixed bag. He was a real American hero but as President he abused power. I thought it would be a good time to talk about Jackson and explain both sides of the story.
Rank #11: Episode 158: Should Cities Be States?
The city of Birmingham thinks it should be a State and is suing in FEDERAL court to determine if it can ignore State law. This would be a disaster for federalism and would produce all kinds of problems. I explain why in this episode of The Brion McClanahan Show.
Rank #12: Episode 133: Should We Be "Fearful?"
The ContraKrugman Podcast hosted by Tom Woods and Bob Murphy should be on your podcast rotation. If not, you are missing out. That said, they covered the Thanksgiving column by Paul Krugman on a recent episode that piqued my interest. Krugman, it seems, is a highly fearful man, but not over things that rational people would fear. No. Krugman is afraid of getting his feelings hurt or hurting someone else's feelings. Krugman's "fearful" list would be a laughing stock for most people in the history of the world. I talk about why in this Episode of The Brion McClanahan Show.
Rank #13: Episode 194: Heavy Metal and Western Civilization
Heavy metal music was invented by Western Civilization. I know to some people this might be sacrilege, but it's true. It could not have been made without it, and it embodies urban white working class society. It also was a hearty reaction to the Cold War and the prospect of mutual assured destruction. I discuss these issues and more in this episode of The Brion McClanahan Show.
Rank #14: Episode 55: A Nation of Immigrants?
Is the United States a "nation of immigrants?" No. This is an ingenious narrative crafted in the last fifty years to undermine traditional American political institutions. I discuss Trump's actions on immigration, debunk the "American nation" thesis, and the founding perspective on immigration on Episode 55 of The Brion McClanahan Show.
Rank #15: Episode 64: Grover the Good
Donald Trump has outlined "his" legislative agenda. The public goes wild. All is right in the world. The legislator in chief has spoken. Of course, this was never supposed to happen, and there have been several presidents opposed to this type of pseudo-monarchy, Grover Cleveland foremost among them. I discuss Trump, Obama, Cleveland, the Gilded Age and a host of other goodies in Episode 64 of The Brion McClanahan Show.
Rank #16: Episode 87: The Flip
A listener asked me to discuss the supposed "flip" of the major American political parties. The narrative is that the Republicans used to be the Democrats and the Democrats used to be the Republicans. This is simply untrue. I discuss both parties and the myth of the "flip" on Episode 87 of The Brion McClanahan Show.
Rank #17: Episode 39: John C. Calhoun
Rank #18: Episode 99: The Confederate States Constitution
You've probably heard this before from a half-witted modern academic: "The only difference between the CSA Constitution and the USA Constitution was slavery." Right. No one thought about anything else, except they did. I discuss the Confederate Constitution and the difference between the two documents as part of the American constitutional tradition in this episode of The Brion McClanahan Show.
Rank #19: Episode 53: Incorporation? What Incorporation?
A listener asked me to respond to several questions posted at the Jason Stapleton program referencing the incorporation of the Bill of Rights. My answer: Incorporation? What incorporation? I explain myself in Episode 53 of The Brion McClanahan Show. Every American needs to hear this podcast.