Detailed
Compact
Art
Reverse
July 2, 2020
My first conversation with Harvard political theorist Danielle Allen in fall 2019 was one of my all-time favorites. I didn’t expect to have Allen on again so soon, but her work is unusually relevant to our current moment. She’s written an entire book about the deeper argument of the Declaration of Independence and the way our superficial reading and folk history of the document obscures its radicalism. (It’ll make you look at July Fourth in a whole new way). Her most recent book, Cuz, is a searing indictment of the American criminal justice system, driven by watching her cousin go through it and motivated by the murder that ended his life. Harvard’s Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics, which Allen directs, has released the most comprehensive, operational road map for mobilizing and reopening the US economy amidst the Covid-19 crisis. And to top it all off, a two-year bipartisan commission of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, which Allen co-chaired, recently released a report with more than 30 recommendations on how to reform American democracy — and they’re very, very good. This is a wide-ranging conversation for a wide-ranging moment. Allen and I discuss what “all men are created equal” really means, why the myth of Thomas Jefferson’s sole authorship of the Declaration of Independence muddies its message, the role of police brutality in the American revolution, democracy reforms such as ranked-choice voting, DC statehood, mandatory voting, how to deal with a Republican Party that opposes expanding democracy, the case for prison abolition, the various pandemic response paths before us, the failure of political leadership in this moment, and much more. References: My first conversation with Danielle Allen Harvard’s Edmond J. Safra Center's Covid-19 work Book recommendations: To Shape a New World by Brandon Terry and Tommie Shelby  Solitary by Alfred Woodfox  The Torture Letters by Laurence Ralph Want to contact the show? Reach out at ezrakleinshow@vox.com Please 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/Editer/ Jack-of-all-audio-trades Jeff Geld Researcher - Roge Karma Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
July 1, 2020
Land of the Giants is a podcast from our friends at Recode and the Vox Media Podcast Network that examines the most powerful tech companies of our time.   The second season is called The Netflix Effect, and it’s hosted by Recode editors Rani Molla and Peter Kafka.   The Netflix Effect explores how a company that began as a small DVD-by-mail service ultimately upended Hollywood and completely changed the way we watch TV.   It’s a fascinating look at what really goes on behind the scenes at Netflix, one of the few companies that’s actually growing during the pandemic, and how they’re continuing to transform entertainment for you and me.     New episodes are released every Tuesday morning.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
June 29, 2020
In 1964, the Canadian philosopher Marshall McLuhan wrote his opus Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man. In it, he writes, “In the long run, a medium's content matters less than the medium itself in influencing how we think and act." Or, put more simply: "Media work their magic, or their mischief, on the nervous system itself." This idea — that the media technologies we rely on reshape us on a fundamental, cognitive level — sits at the center of Nicholas Carr's 2010 book The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains. A world defined by oral traditions is more social, unstructured, and multi-sensory; a world defined by the written written word is more individualistic, disciplined, and hyper-visual. A world defined by texting, scrolling and social feedback is addicted to stimulus, constantly forming and affirming expressions of identity, accustomed to waves of information. Back in 2010, Carr argued that the internet was changing how we thought, and not necessarily for the better. “"My brain, I realized, wasn't just drifting,” he wrote. “It was hungry. It was demanding to be fed the same way the net fed it — and the more it was fed, the hungrier it became.” His book was a finalist for the Pulitzer that year, but dismissed by many, including me. Ten years on, I regret that dismissal. Reading it now, it is outrageously prescient, offering a framework and language for ideas and experiences I’ve been struggling to define for a decade.  Carr saw where we were going, and now I wanted to ask him where we are. In this conversation, Carr and I discuss how speaking, reading, and now the Internet have each changed our brains in different ways, why "paying attention" doesn't come naturally to us, why we’re still reading Marshall McLuhan, how human memory actually works, why having your phone in sight makes you less creative, what separates "deep reading” from simply reading, why deep reading is getting harder, why building connections is more important than absorbing information, the benefits to collapsing the world into a connected digital community, and much more. The point of this conversation is not that the internet is bad, nor that it is good. It’s that it is changing us, just as every medium before it has. We need to see those changes clearly in order to take control of them ourselves.  Book recommendations: The Control Revolution by James R. Beniger The Four-Dimensional Human by Laurence Scott A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan Want to contact the show? Reach out at ezrakleinshow@vox.com Please 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/Editer - Jeff Geld Research Czar - Roge Karma Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
June 25, 2020
Believe it or not, we’re already halfway through 2020. What a great year so far, huh? Just a delight. That means it’s time for an AMA. Among the questions you asked: If Joe Biden is elected president, what should his administration's first legislative priority be?  What were the best critiques of Why We’re Polarized?  How much of today's political conflict comes down to the Boomer/Millennial divide? What’s your reading process? What does preparation for EK Show episodes look like? If you were only intellectually accountable to beauty and not truth, what religion would you choose?  What’s your favorite non-Vox podcast? What’s your biggest takeaway from year 1 of being a dad? East coast or west coast?  What are the episodes that you have the most fun doing?  What’s an important identity of yours that doesn’t usually come out on the show?  Roge Karma joins me for this one. References: "In praise of polarization" by Ezra Klein "Imagining the nonviolent state" by Ezra Klein Ezra's book recommendations: The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck Beyond Ideology by Francis Lee What It Takes by Richard Ben Cramer  Most fun EK Shows: I build a world with fantasy master N.K. Jemisin The art of attention, with Jenny Odell Tracy K. Smith changed how I read poetry How Hasan Minhaj is reinventing political comedy Want to contact the show? Reach out at ezrakleinshow@vox.com Please 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/Editer/Audio Wizard - Jeff Geld Researcher/Guest host - Roge Karma Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
June 22, 2020
I got my start as a blogger. But more specifically, I got my start as a health policy blogger. My first piece of writing I remember people really caring about was a series called “The Health of Nations,” in which I checked out books from college library, downloaded international reports, and profiled the world’s leading health systems. It was crude stuff, but it taught me a lot. The way we do health care isn’t the only way to do health care. It’s not the best way, or the second best, or the third. Ezekiel Emanuel is a bioethicist, oncologist, and co-director of the University of Pennsylvania’s Health Transformation Institute. He was a top health policy advisor in the Obama administration, he’s a senior fellow at the Center for American progress, he makes his own artisanal chocolate, and he’s got a new book — Which Country Has the World’s Best Healthcare? — where he goes into more detail than I ever did, or could, to profile other health systems and rank them against our own. So, yes, this is a conversation about which country has the world’s best health system. But it’s also about how innovation in health care actually works, whether there’s any evidence private insurers add actual value, whether health care is the best investment to make in improving health (spoiler: no), how do you improve a health system when half of the political system will fight like hell against those improvements, and much more. Emanuel has also been doing a lot of work on coronavirus policy, and so we spend some time there, discussing the question that’ tormenting me now: Are we simply giving up that fight? And is there even a politically viable option to giving up, given how much time the government has wasted and how exhausted the public is? Book recommendations: Master of the Senate by Robert Caro The Last Place on Earth by Roland Huntford On His Own Terms: A Life of Nelson Rockefeller by Richard Norton Smith Want to contact the show? Reach out at ezrakleinshow@vox.com Please 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/Editer/Audio Wizard - Jeff Geld Researcher - Roge Karma Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
June 18, 2020
The criminal justice system asks three questions: What law was broken? Who broke it? And what should the punishment be? Upon that edifice — and channeled through old bigotries and fears — we have built the largest system of human incarceration on earth. America accounts for 5 percent of the world’s population and 25 percent of its imprisoned population.  Restorative justice asks different questions: Who was harmed? What do they need? And whose obligation is it to meet those needs? It is a radically different model, with profoundly different results both for victims and perpetrators. Studies show restorative justice programs leave survivors more satisfied, cut recidivism rates, and cost less. If we’re thinking about rebuilding the criminal justice program, restorative justice should be central to that conversation.  sujatha baliga is the director of the Restorative Justice Project at Impact Justice. She won a MacArthur “genius” grant in 2019. She’s a survivor of abuse herself. Her work points toward a new paradigm for criminal justice: one focused on repairing breaches, not exacting retribution. And it carries lessons for how our politics might function, how our society could heal some of its oldest wounds, and how we live our own precious lives.  References: "Imagining the nonviolent state" by Ezra Klein Healing Resistance: A Radically Different Response to Harm by Kazu Haga Book recommendations: For the Benefit of All Beings by the Dalai Lama  The Structure of Scientific Revolutions by Thomas Kuhn The Sunflower: On the Possibilities and Limits of Forgiveness by Simon Wiesenthal Want to contact the show? Reach out at ezrakleinshow@vox.com Please 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 Geld Researcher extraordinaire - Roge Karma Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
June 15, 2020
In his new book, The Decadent Society, New York Times columnist Ross Douthat diagnoses America’s core problems as decadence: “a situation in which repetition is more the norm than innovation; in which sclerosis afflicts public institution and private enterprises alike; in which intellectual life seems to go in circles; in which new developments in science, new exploratory projects, underdeliver compared with what people recently expected.” Douthat argues that there is a kind of ideological exhaustion, a spiritual malaise, at the center of the American project. We are a victim of our own successes, undone by our own achievements, and unable to break free from our oldest debates. But is he right? Ross and I cover a lot of ground in this conversation. We discuss why conservative Catholics talk so much more about sex than poverty, the dangers of the expansionary impulse, whether psychedelic culture is an antidote to decadence, the importance of utopian ambition, the moral foundations of effective altruism, the problem with contemporary science fiction, whether political liberalism is dependent on Christian metaphysics, why America can’t build, whether war is necessary for existential meaning, how the New York Times op-ed page has changed over the past decade, and much more. Book recommendations: From Dawn to Decadence by Jacques Barzun The Illusion of the End by Jean Baudrillard The End of History and the Last Man by Francis Fukuyama The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood The Children of Men by PD James Want to contact the show? Reach out at ezrakleinshow@vox.com Please 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 Geld Researcher - Roge Karma Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
June 11, 2020
You may have been following — I hope you are following — the New York Times's recent UFO reporting. Videos that the Navy confirms are real show pilots seeing and marveling over craft they can't explain. And as former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid put it, those videos “only scratch the surface” of the Pentagon's UFO research. UFOs are one of those topics that it’s hard to take seriously because they’re covered in kitsch and conspiracy. But there are those who take them seriously, which means approaching the question with humility. The history, frequency, and consistency of these events point toward something that merits study. But the explanations we force onto them — from religious visitations to aliens — confuse us further. We’re working backward from beliefs we already have, not forward from phenomena we don’t understand.  Diana Walsh Pasulka is a professor of religious studies at the University of North Carolina Wilmington and chair of the Department of Philosophy and Religion. In 2019, she published a fascinating book called American Cosmic: UFOs, Religion, Technology, in which she embeds in the world of UFO research and tries to understand it using the tools of religious scholarship. The results are revelatory in terms of theory but also in terms of the things she sees, learns, and is forced to confront. Sometimes it's healthy — and, to be honest, fun — to train our attention on what we can't explain, not just what we can. In this episode, we do just that. Book recommendations: Passport to Magonia by Jacques Vallee Authors of the Impossible by Jeffrey J. Kripal UFOs: Generals, Pilots, and Government Officials Go on the Record by Leslie Kean Want to contact the show? Reach out at ezrakleinshow@vox.com Please 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 Geld Researcher - Roge Karma Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
June 8, 2020
In 2017, Paul Butler published the book Chokehold: Policing Black Men. For Butler the chokehold is much more than a barbaric police tactic; it is also a powerful powerful metaphor for understanding how racial oppression functions in the US criminal justice system.  Butler describes a chokehold as “a process of coercing submission that is self-reinforcing. A chokehold justifies additional pressure on the body because a body does not come into compliance, but a body cannot come into compliance because of the vice grip that is on it.” That, he says, is the black experience in the United States.  Butler knows that experience all too well. He began his legal career as a criminal prosecutor, a job that he describes in this conversation as “basically just locking up black men.” Then, the tables turned and Butler found himself falsely accused of a misdemeanor assault. "After that experience I didn’t want to be a prosecutor any more," he writes. "I don’t think every cop lies in court but I know for sure that one did."  That experience put Butler on a journey very different than the one he began. Butler, now a Georgetown Law professor, has come to believe that the criminal justice system is not merely broken and in need of repair; rather, it is working exactly as it was designed, and thus needs to be completely reimagined. Book recommendations: Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison Sula by Toni Morrison Want to contact the show? Reach out at ezrakleinshow@vox.com Please 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: Editor - Jackson Bierfeldt Researcher - Roge Karma Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
June 4, 2020
The first question I asked Ta-Nehisi Coates, in this episode, was broad: What does he see right now, as he looks out at the country? “I can't believe I'm gonna say this,” he replied, “but I see hope. I see progress right now.” Coates is the author of the National Book Award-winner Between the World and Me and The Water Dancer, among others. We discuss how this moment differs from 1968, the tension between “law” and “order,” the contested legacy of MLK, Trump's view of the presidency, police abolition, why we need to renegotiate the idea of “the public,” how the consensus on criminal justice has shifted, what Joe Biden represents, the proper role of the state, the poetry Coates recommends, and much more.  But there’s one thread of this conversation, in particular, that I haven’t been able to put down: There is now, as there always is amidst protests, a loud call for the protesters to follow the principles of nonviolence. And that call, as Coates says, comes from people who neither practice nor heed nonviolence in their own lives. But what if we turned that conversation around: What would it mean to build the state around principles of nonviolence, rather than reserving that exacting standard for those harmed by the state? Book recommendations: Punishment and Inequality in America by Bruce Western Marked: Race, Crime, and Finding Work in an Era of Mass Incarceration by Devah Pager The Country Between Us by Carolyn Forche Want to contact the show? Reach out at ezrakleinshow@vox.com Please 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: Editor - Jackson Bierfeldt Researcher - Roge Karma Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
June 1, 2020
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 more By 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 Suzman Behind the Shock Machine by Gina Perry The Lost Boys by Gina Perry How to Tame a Fox (and Build a Dog) by Lee Alan Dugatkin and Lyudmila Trut Want to contact the show? Reach out at ezrakleinshow@vox.com Please 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 Geld Researcher - Roge Karma Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
May 28, 2020
I first met Cyrus Habib at a conference a few years ago. You don't forget him. He's a Rhodes scholar. Iranian-America. As lieutenant governor of Washington state, he was the youngest Democrat elected to statewide office in the country. And he's blind. Then, a couple of weeks ago, I read a piece in the New York Times that I didn't expect: Habib, who had a clear shot to be the next governor of Washington, is leaving politics to become a Jesuit. He is going to take a vow of obedience, of poverty, of chastity. He is going to give up his phone for years. And most fascinating of all, he doesn’t think of it as an act of sacrifice. “I don’t see it as a shrinking of my world,” he told the Times. "I see it as a shrinking of my self.” That is not something you read every day. So I asked Habib if he would come on the podcast and talk to me about this decision. The result is a remarkable conversation about Habib’s intertwining faith and political journeys, what you can and can’t achieve through political service, whether religion is the modern counterculture, how the forces of meritocracy and achievement ensnare even their winners, what it means to lead a life of joy, whether freedom comes through choice or constraint, the Jesuit theory of social change, whether a decision like this is selfish or selfless, and so much more. This conversation takes a bit of a winding path. But where it goes is really, really worth it. Book recommendations: The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything by James Martin Tattoos on the Heart by Greg Boyle Far from the Tree by Andrew Solomon Laudato Si' by Pope Francis Want to contact the show? Reach out at ezrakleinshow@vox.com Please 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 Geld Researcher - Roge Karma Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
May 25, 2020
I’ve known Cornell economist Robert Frank for almost 15 years. And for as long as I’ve known him, Frank has been trying to convince his fellow economists of an idea that’s simple to state, but radical in its implications: social pressure is a fundamental economic force. We are not rational, individual economic agents; we are social animals trying to mimic, and best each other — oftentimes without even knowing it. The failure of the economics profession to see this is, in Frank's view, a crime against public policy. Frank’s new book, Under the Influence: Putting Peer Pressure to Work, came out shortly before coronavirus reshaped daily life. But it is, for that very reason, extraordinarily timed: it’s an effort to show that the economics of social contagion could reshape the world, solving our hardest problems — from climate change to income inequality — and offering new ways to think about the power we have as individuals. Absent coronavirus, its argument might’ve seemed abstract, optimistic. But now we've seen it happen. We are watching a version of Frank’s thesis play out right now, in real time. In the wake of coronavirus, social pressure has driven perhaps the single fastest behavioral transformation in human history. It is the example and pressure we face from each other that has made social distancing so effective, so fast. And if social pressure can do that — what else can it do? What Frank offers here is a theory of how public policy can shape peer pressure for good and for bad. Some of the ideas in this podcast — "expenditure cascades," "positional goods" — are hard to unsee once you see them. Others — like his proposal to rebuild the tax system around a progressive consumption tax meant to curb the intra-wealthy competitions that drive inequality — would radically reshape vast swaths of the tax code. Book recommendations: The Uninhabitable Earth by David Wallace-Wells Micromotives and Macrobehavior by Thomas Schelling "How to solve climate change and make life more awesome" with Saul Griffith (podcast) Want to contact the show? Reach out at ezrakleinshow@vox.com Please 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 Geld Researcher - Roge Karma Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
May 21, 2020
Grocery store clerks. Fast food cashiers. Hospice care workers. Bus drivers. Farm workers. Along with doctors and nurses, these are the people who are putting their own lives at risk to keep our society functioning day in and out amid the worst crisis of our lifetimes. We call them heroes, we label them “essential,” and we clap for their brave efforts -- even though none of them signed up for this monumental task, and many of them lack basic healthcare, paid sick leave, a living wage, cultural respect and dignified working conditions.  How did things get this way? Why did we end up with an economy that treats our most essential workers as disposable? And what does an alternative future of work look like?  Mary Kay Henry is the president of the Service Employees International Union, a 2 million person organization that represents a huge segment of America’s essential workers. If you ask a traditional economist why essential workers are paid so little, they’ll talk about marginal productivity and returns to education; ask Kay Henry and she’ll talk about something very different: power. Book recommendations: White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo Lead from the Outside by Stacey Abrams The Dowry by Lorraine Paolucci Macchello Want to contact the show? Reach out at ezrakleinshow@vox.com Please 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 Geld Researcher - Roge Karma Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
May 18, 2020
The Times of London called Mariana Mazzucato “the world’s scariest economist.” Quartz describes her as “on a mission to save capitalism from itself.” Wired says she has “a plan to fix capitalism,” and warns that “it’s time we all listened. ”Mazuccato is an economist at University College London and Founder and Director of UCL's Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose. She’s the author of The Entrepreneurial State and The Value of Everything — two books that, together, critique some of the most fundamental economic assumptions of our time, and try and chart a different path forward. This is a moment that demands critique. The workers who are being called “essential” now were treated as disposable before — paid low wages, offered little respect. The difference between states with innovative, capable public sectors and states where government agencies have been dismissed and defunded is on terrible display.  The debates Mazzucato has been trying to open for years are now unavoidable. So let’s have them. Book recommendations: Memoirs of Hadrian by Marguerite Yourcenar  The Deficit Myth by Stephanie Kelton War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy Want to contact the show? Reach out at ezrakleinshow@vox.com Please 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 Geld Researcher - Roge Karma Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
May 14, 2020
While you read these words, the universe is splitting into countless copies. New realities, all with a version of you, exactly like you are now, but journeying off into their own branch of the multiverse. Maybe. Sean Carroll is a theoretical physicist at CalTech, the host of the Mindscape podcast, and author of, among other books, Something Deeply Hidden, which blew my mind a bit. He is also a believer in, and defender of, the “many-worlds” interpretation of quantum mechanics, which has to be one of the five most fun things in the world to think about. Science! This is a conversation where I get to do something I’ve always wanted to do: Ask a real quantum physicist all of my questions about quantum physics. And then ask again, when I don’t understand the answer, which I usually don’t. And then again, when I sort of understand, but there’s still a part tripping me up. Carroll is wonderfully patient and beautifully clear, and the result is a conversation I haven’t stopped telling friends about since I had it. This world sucks right now. Let’s think about some other ones. References: The Biggest Ideas in the Universe! YouTube series Book recommendations: How Physics Makes Us Free by J. T. Ismael How the Universe Got Its Spots by Janna Levin The Calculus Diaries by Jennifer Ouellette Want to contact the show? Reach out at ezrakleinshow@vox.com Please 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 Geld Researcher - Roge Karma Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
May 11, 2020
In Michigan, African Americans represent 14 percent of the population, 33 percent of infections, and 40 percent of deaths. In Mississippi they represent 38 percent of the population, 56 percent of infections, and 66 percent of deaths. In Georgia they represent 16 percent of the population, 31 percent of infections, and just over 50 percent of deaths. The list goes on and on: Across the board, African Americans are more likely to be infected by Covid-19 and far more likely to die from it. This doesn’t reflect a property of the virus. It reflects a property of our society. Understanding why the coronavirus is brutalizing black America means understanding the health inequalities that predate it. For the last 25 years, David R. Williams, a professor of public health and chair of the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, has been studying those inequalities. He was named one of the top 10 most-cited social scientists in the world from 1995 to 2005, and Reuters ranked him as one of the “World’s Most Influential Scientific Minds” in 2014. At the center of Williams’s work is an attempt to grapple with some of the most difficult and sensitive questions in public: Why do black Americans have higher rates of chronic illness, disease, and mortality than white Americans? Why do those disparities remain even when you control for variables like income and education? Consider this: The life expectancy gap between a white high school dropout and a black high school dropout? 3½ years. Between a white college graduate and a black college graduate? 4.2 years. In this conversation, Williams doesn’t just give the clearest account I’ve heard of the coronavirus’s unequal toll. He also gives the clearest account of how America’s institutional and social structures have led to the most profound and consequential inequality of all. References: "Are Ghettos Good or Bad" by David Cutler and Edward Glaeser David Williams's Ted Talk on racism and health Book recommendations: American Apartheid by Douglas S. Massey and Nancy A. Denton The Highest Stage of White Supremacy by John Whitson Cell The Color of Law by Richard Rothstein Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates Want to contact the show? Reach out at ezrakleinshow@vox.com Please 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 Geld Researcher - Roge Karma Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
May 7, 2020
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, Vox The Genius of Birds by Jennifer Ackerman Book recommendations: Give People Money by Annie Lowrey Lurking: How a Person Became a User by Joanne McNeil What It's Like to Be a Bird by David Allen Sibley Want to contact the show? Reach out at ezrakleinshow@vox.com Please 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-webby 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 Geld Researcher - Roge Karma Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
May 4, 2020
Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) is the co-chair of the 95-member House Progressive Caucus. That means, in the aftermath of Sen. Bernie Sanders’s presidential campaign, she leads the most influential bloc of progressive power in the federal government. And one thing that separates Jayapal from other elected officials: She’s actually willing to talk about it. I know some of you skip over episodes with politicians because they’re interviews, not conversations. This one is a conversation, and it’s broadly about two things. First, how do we prevent a Great Depression? In particular, Jayapal has a bill — the Paycheck Guarantee Act — that would replace payroll up to incomes of $100,000 for businesses slammed by Covid-19. And if it sounds wishful to you, recalibrate: It’s been endorsed by Nobel prize-winning economists, a former Federal Reserve chair, and more. And there’s even Republican support for the broad idea.  Second, how does the left wield power? Are Democrats getting rolled by Republicans on stimulus? Why doesn’t the House Progressive Caucus act more like the Freedom Caucus? What leverage do Democrats or progressives have, and why don’t they seem willing to use it in the way Republicans do? I wasn’t sure if Jayapal would actually answer my questions here — most politicians don’t — but she did, and the result is an unusually frank discussion about how the left does, and doesn’t, wield power in Congress. Book recommendations: The Book of Joy by Desmond Tutu, the Dalai Lama and Douglas Carlton Abrams The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen  The Rumi Collection by Kabir Helminski Want to contact the show? Reach out at ezrakleinshow@vox.com Please 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-webby 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 Geld Researcher - Roge Karma Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
April 30, 2020
The coronavirus is “a nightmare scenario” for media, wrote New York Times columnist Charlie Warzel. “It is stealthy, resilient and confounding to experts. It moves far faster than scientists can study it. What seems to be true today may be wrong tomorrow.” Warzel is right. We’ve talked a lot in recent years about fake news. But combatting information we know is false is a straightforward problem compared to covering a story where we don’t know what’s true, and where yesterday’s expert consensus becomes tomorrow’s derided falsehoods. In these cases, the normal tools of journalism begin to fail, and trust is easily lost. There’s been a lot of criticism of what the media missed in the run-up to coronavirus. Some of it has been unfair. But some of it demands attention, reflection, and change. There’s also a lot the media got right, and those successes need to be celebrated and learned from. The questions raised here are hard, and go to one of the trickiest issues in journalism: how does a profession that prides itself on reporting truth cover the world probabilistically? What do we do when we simply can't know what's true, and when some of what we think we know might become untrue? Warzel covers the way technology, information, and media interact with and change each other. He’s one of the people I turn to first when I’m churning over these questions, which is…not infrequent. And so what you’re going to hear in this podcast is a bit different than the normal fare: this is less an interview-with-an-expert, and more the kind of conversation that I — and others in the media — am having a lot of right now, and that I think we at least need to try and have in public.  References: What went wrong with the media’s coronavirus coverage? by Peter Kafka, Recode What we pretend to know about the coronavirus could kill us, by Charlie Warzel, NYT Book recommendations: The Uninhabitable Earth by David Wallace-Wells Nothing to See Here by Kevin Wilson Uncanny Valley by Anna Wiener If you enjoyed this episode, check out: Is the media amplifying Trump's racism? (with Whitney Phillips) Want to contact the show? Reach out at ezrakleinshow@vox.com Please 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-webby 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 Geld Researcher - Roge Karma Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
April 27, 2020
In 2015, I asked Bill Gates a simple question: What are you most afraid of?  He replied by telling me about the death chart of the 20th century. There’s the spike for World War I. The spike for World War II. But between them sat a spike as big as World War II. That, he said, was the Spanish Flu, which killed an estimated 65 million people. Gates’s greatest fear was a flu like that, ripping through our hyperglobalized world.  Gates saw this coming, and he tried to warn the world. But the virus came, and we weren’t ready. Now, we all live in his nightmare.  Gates has reoriented his foundation and committed hundreds of millions of dollars to the world’s fight against coronavirus. He recently published a long essay detailing what we know and don’t know about the disease, and what we need to invent and deploy to safely return to normalcy. I spoke with Gates to explore those questions, plus a few more. What does it feel like to be at the center of so many coronavirus conspiracy theories? What happens if we reopen too soon? Why are different cities seeing such different outcomes? Do rich and poor countries need different responses? What are the true chances of a vaccine in 18 months? But above all, I wanted to ask him the inverse of the question I asked him in 2015: what does he hope for? What is his vision for life after coronavirus? Want to contact the show? Reach out at ezrakleinshow@vox.com Please 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-webby 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 Geld Researcher - Roge Karma Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
April 23, 2020
It’s been a while since I’ve been able to introduce a conversation on this show as fun. But this one was. I needed it. Maybe you do, too. Madeline Miller has written some of my favorite novels of the past few years. Her books — the Orange Prize-winning The Song of Achilles and the New York Times No. 1 bestseller Circe, soon to be an HBO series — are brilliant reimaginings of some of the most revered texts in the Western canon. Miller’s also a trained classicist, a Shakespeare director, a Latin teacher, and a Greek mythology obsessive.  This is a conversation about story and myth, about how our conceptions of godliness and human nature have changed, about the difficulty of translation and the resonance of superheroes. We debate whether Achilles is the worst and agree that anyone who loves language should read Sandra Boynton. Miller reveals how to train yourself to write a beautiful sentence and how to steel yourself to tell the stories you burn to see but that the canon has wiped out. And we discuss what character from the Greek canon most resembles President Donald Trump. This one was a tonic for me. Hopefully, it will be for you, too. Book recommendations:  The Odyssey by Homer (translated by Emily Wilson) Mythos by Stephen Fry Heroes by Stephen Fry  If Not, Winter: Fragments of Sappho by Anne Carson Autobiography of Red by Anne Carson Mythology by Edith Hamilton  Want to contact the show? Reach out at ezrakleinshow@vox.com Please 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-webby 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 Geld Researcher - Roge Karma Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
April 20, 2020
We have something a bit different today. Two episodes from our extraordinary colleagues at Today, Explained, both of them close to my heart.  The first is an episode that I worked with them on, and appear in: The Loneliness Pandemic. It’s about the social consequences of social distancing, and the toll that isolation and loneliness takes on our health. It's about how the people most vulnerable to isolation are being told to quarantine, and what that will do to their lives. And it's about what the rest of us can do to help. The second is simply one of the best, most important podcast episodes I’ve heard in ages: It’s about how we’re treating the same workers we call “essential” as disposable, endangering them and their families, and calling them heroes even as we refuse to give them raises. And it's about the possibility — and historical precedent — for labor action in this moment, to make sure essential workers are treated as essential. Do not miss it. And if you’re lucky enough to be working from home, think about what you can do to stand in solidarity with those making your safety possible.  You can, and should, subscribe to "Today, Explained," wherever you get your podcasts.  Want to contact the show? Reach out at ezrakleinshow@vox.com Please 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-webby 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) Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
April 16, 2020
The Democratic presidential primary is over. Joe Biden is the presumptive nominee heading into the fall. And this week, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren endorsed their former competitor. On the left, the question is: What went wrong? How did Sanders lose to Biden? Why didn’t Warren catch fire? But too few of these postmortems have had sufficient data to build out their theories. And too many of them explain away strategic and tactical failures as media or establishment conspiracies. Sean McElwee has a different perspective. McElwee is the co-founder and executive director of Data for Progress, an organization that utilizes cutting-edge polling and data-analysis techniques to support progressive causes. His aim is to fashion an agenda that is both progressive and popular. But he also sits atop mountains of data that let him test hypotheses with a lot more rigor than most armchair pundits. As a result, McElwee has a fascinating, heterodox view of the 2020 primary, the Sanders and Warren campaigns, and what it will take for progressives to build power. We discuss the critical mistakes both major progressive candidates made, which progressive ideas are most popular with the American people, how the left’s theory of class politics interferes with its most obvious path to electoral victory, why maximalist policy agendas fail even when they look like they’re succeeding, what good (and bad) Overton Window politics look like, how progressives can shape Biden’s presidency, and much, much more. References: How Joe Biden won over Bernie Sanders — and the Democratic Party by Ezra Klein Book Recommendations: Deep Roots: How Slavery Still Shapes Southern Politics by Maya Sen Want to contact the show? Reach out at ezrakleinshow@vox.com Please 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-webby 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 Geld Researcher - Roge Karma Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
April 13, 2020
When will social distancing end? When will life return to “normal”? And what will it take to get there?  Scott Gottlieb is a physician and public health expert who served as Donald Trump’s first FDA commissioner, where he was the rare Trump appointee to win plaudits from both the left and the right. Now he’s a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute where he’s emerged as a leading voice on the coronavirus response.  Gottlieb is one of the lead authors of a comprehensive roadmap for what it would take to end social distancing and reopen the American economy. The report divides coronavirus response into four distinct phases (we are currently in phase one, which requires the strictest social distancing measures) and documents key “triggers” that states need to meet if they want to advance to a phase with less intense social distancing and a somewhat normal economy. It’s exactly what we need right now: a specific proposal for what comes next that we can actually analyze and debate.  Two themes drive this conversation. First, what are the challenges to simply getting out of lockdown? Why don’t we have enough tests yet? What’s stopping us from making more? And second, what does the world look like out of lockdown but before we get to a vaccine? What’s being imagined here isn’t a return to normal, either socially or economically, but a kind of limbo that it’s not clear we have the political will to sustain and that has few answers for the most vulnerable among us.  For more on this topic, I looked at not just the AEI plan but three others for this piece. I thought immersing myself in the plans to reopen the economy would be some comfort. Boy, was I wrong.  Resources: "A road map to re-opening" by Scott Gottlieb, Caitlin Rivers, Mark McClellan, Lauren Silvis, and Crystal Watson, AEI "I’ve read the plans to reopen the economy. They’re scary." by Ezra Klein, Vox The Weeds - How does this end? Want to contact the show? Reach out at ezrakleinshow@vox.com Please 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-webby 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 Geld Researcher - Roge Karma Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
April 9, 2020
Oxford philosopher Toby Ord spent the early part of his career spearheading the effective altruism movement, founding Giving What We Can, and focusing his attention primarily on issue areas like global public health and extreme poverty. Ord’s new book The Precipice is about something entirely different: the biggest existential risks to the future of humanity. In it, he predicts that humanity has approximately a 1 in 6 chance of going completely extinct by the end of the 21st century. Wait! Stay with me! The coronavirus pandemic is a reminder that tail risk is real. We always knew a zoological respiratory virus could become a global pandemic. But, collectively, we didn’t want to think about it, and so we didn’t. The result is the reality we live in now.  But for all the current moment’s horror, there are worse risks than coronavirus out there. One silver lining of the current crisis might be that it gets us to take them seriously, and avert them before they become unstoppable. That’s what Ord’s book is about, and it is, in a strange way, a comfort.  This, then, is a conversation about the risks that threaten humanity’s future, and what we can do about them. It’s a conversation about thinking in probabilities, about the ethics of taking future human lives seriously, about how we weigh the risks we don’t yet understand. And it’s a conversation, too, about something I’ve been dwelling on watching President Trump choose to ratchet up tensions with China amidst a pandemic: Is Trump himself an existential risk, or at least an existential risk factor? Book recommendations: Reasons and Persons by Derek Parfit Doing Good Better by William MacAskill Maps of Time by David Christian and William H. McNeill Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
April 6, 2020
In January, Sen. Elizabeth Warren was the first presidential candidate to release a plan for combatting coronavirus. In March, she released a second plan. Days later, with the scale of economic damage increasing, she released a third. Warren’s proposals track the spread of the virus: from a problem happening elsewhere and demanding a surge in global health resources to a pandemic happening here, demanding not just a public health response, but an all-out effort to save the US economy. Warren’s penchant for planning stands in particular stark contrast to this administration, which still has not released a clear coronavirus plan. There is no document you can download, no web site you can visit, that details our national strategy to slow the disease and rebuild the economy.  So I asked Warren to return to the show to explain what the plan should be, given the cold reality we face. We discussed what, specifically, the federal government should do; the roots of the testing debacle; her idea for mobilizing the economy around building affordable housing; why she thinks that this is exactly the right time to cancel student loan debt; why America spends so much money preparing for war and so little defending itself against pandemics and climate change; whether she thinks the Democratic primary focused on the wrong issues; and how this crisis is making a grim mockery of Ronald Reagan’s old saw about “the scariest words in the English language.” Want to contact the show? Reach out at ezrakleinshow@vox.com Please 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-webby 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 Geld Researcher - Roge Karma Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
April 2, 2020
There is no doubt that social distancing is the best way to slow the spread of the coronavirus. But the efficacy of social distancing (or really any other public health measure) relies on something much deeper and harder to measure: social solidarity.  “Solidarity,” writes Eric Klinenberg, “motivates us to promote public health, not just our own personal security. It keeps us from hoarding medicine, toughing out a cold in the workplace or sending a sick child to school. It compels us to let a ship of stranded people dock in our safe harbors, to knock on our older neighbor’s door.” Klinenberg, a sociologist by trade, is the director of the Institute for Public Knowledge at New York University. His first book, Heat Wave, found that social connection was, at times, literally the difference between life and death during Chicago's 1995 heat wave. Since then, he’s spent his career studying trends in American social life, from the rise of adults living alone to the importance of “social infrastructure” in holding together our civic bonds.  This conversation is about what happens when a country mired in a mythos of individualism collides with a pandemic that demands social solidarity and collective sacrifice. It’s about preventing an epidemic of loneliness and social isolation from overwhelming the most vulnerable among us. We discuss the underlying social trends that predated coronavirus, what kind of leadership it takes to actually bring people together, the irony of asking young people and essential workers to sacrifice for the rest of us, whether there’s an opportunity to build a different kind of society in the aftermath of Covid-19, and much more. References  Going Solo: The Extraordinary Rise and Surprising Appeal of Living Alone by Eric Klinenberg  Palaces for the People: How Social Infrastructure Can Help Fight Inequality, Polarization, and the Decline of Civic Life by Eric Klinenberg  “We Need Social Solidarity, Not Just Social Distancing” by Eric Klinenberg “Marriage has become a trophy” by Andrew Cherlin  Book recommendations:  Infections and Inequalities by Paul Farmer  Strangers in Their Own Land by Arlie Hochschild  A Paradise Built in Hell by Rebecca Solnit  The Division of Labor in Society by Emile Dukheim  Confused about coronavirus? Here’s a list of the articles, papers, and podcasts we’ve found most useful. 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 Geld Researcher - Roge Karma Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
March 30, 2020
The COVID-19 pandemic is a grim reminder that the worst really can happen. Tail risk is real risk. Political leaders fumble, miscalculate, and bluster into avoidable disaster. And even as we try to deal with this catastrophe, the seeds of another are sprouting. The US-China relationship will define geopolitics in the 21st century. If we collapse into rivalry, conflict, and politically opportunistic nationalism, the results could be hellish. And we are, right now, collapsing into rivalry, conflict, and politically opportunistic nationalism.  The Trump administration, and key congressional Republicans, are calling COVID-19 “the Chinese virus,” and trying to gin up tensions to distract from their domestic failures. Chinese government officials, beset by their own domestic problems, are claiming the US military brought the virus to China. The US-China relationship was in a bad way six months ago, but this is a new level of threat. Evan Osnos covers the US-China relationship for the New Yorker, and is author of the National Book Award winner, The Age of Ambition: Chasing Fortune, Truth and Faith in the New China. In this conversation, we discuss the past, present and future of the US-China relationship. What are the chances of armed conflict? What might deescalation look like? And we know what the US wants — what, in truth, does China want? Book recommendations: Wish Lanterns: Young Lives in New China by Alec Ash The Beautiful Country and the Middle Kingdom by John Pomfret Confused about coronavirus? Here’s a list of the articles, papers, and podcasts we’ve found most useful. 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 Geld Researcher - Roge Karma Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
March 26, 2020
"We cannot let the cure be worse than the problem itself!" That was President Donald Trump, this week, explaining why he was thinking about lifting coronavirus guidelines earlier than public-health experts recommended. The "cure," in this case, is social distancing, and the mass economic stoppage it forces. The problem, of course, is COVID-19, and the millions of deaths it could cause. This is a debate that needs to be taken seriously. Slowing coronavirus will impose real costs, and immense suffering, on society. Are those costs worth it? This is the most important public policy question right now. And if the discussion isn't had well, then it will be had, as we're already seeing, poorly, and dangerously. I wanted to take up this question from two different angles. The first dimension is economic: Are we actually facing a choice between lives and economic growth? If we ceased social distancing, could we sustain a normal economy amidst a raging virus? Jason Furman, professor of the practice of economic policy at Harvard’s Kennedy School and President Obama's former chief economist, joins me for that discussion. But the economy isn't everything. What is a moral framework we can us when faced with this kind of question? So, in the second half of this show, I talk to Dr. Ruth Faden, the founder of the Berman Institute for Bioethics at Johns Hopkins. And then, at the end, I offer some thoughts on my own on the frightening moment we're living through, and the kind of political and social leadership it demands. Confused about coronavirus? Here’s a list of the articles, papers, and podcasts we’ve found most useful. 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 Geld Researcher - Roge Karma Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
March 23, 2020
“What is happening,” writes Annie Lowrey, “is a shock to the American economy more sudden and severe than anyone alive has ever experienced.”   It’s also different from what anyone alive has ever experienced. For many of us, the Great Recession is the closest analogue — but it’s not analogous at all. There, the economy’s potential was unchanged, but financial markets were in crisis. Here, we are purposefully freezing economic activity in order to slow a public health crisis. Early data suggests the economic crisis is going to far exceed any single week or quarter of the financial crisis. Multiple economists have told me that the nearest analogy to what we’re going through is the economy during World War II. I have a secret advantage when trying to understand moments of economic upheaval. I’m married to Annie Lowrey. I can give you the bio — staff writer at the Atlantic, author of Give People Money (which is proving particularly prophetic and influential right now) — but suffice to say she’s one of the clearest and most brilliant economic thinkers I know. Her viral piece on the affordability crisis is crucial for understanding what the economy really looked like before Covid-19, and she’s been doing some of the best work on the way Covid-19 will worsen the economic problems we had and create a slew of new ones. But this isn’t just a conversation about crisis. It’s also a conversation about how to respond. I wouldn’t call it hopeful — we’re not there yet. But constructive. References: "The Great Affordability Crisis Breaking America" by Annie Lowrey If you enjoyed this episode, check out: "Fix recessions by giving people money," The Weeds Book recommendations: Severance by Ling Ma Midnight in Chernobyl by Adam Higginbotham Crashed by Adam Tooze Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
March 19, 2020
Ron Klain served as the chief of staff to vice presidents Al Gore and Joe Biden. In 2014, President Barack Obama tapped him to lead the administration’s response to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa. He successfully oversaw a hellishly complex effort preparing domestically for an outbreak and surging health resources onto another continent to contain the disease.  But Klain is quick to say that the coronavirus is a harder challenge even than Ebola. The economy is in free fall. Entire cities have been told to shelter in place. And there’s no telling how long any of this will last. In this conversation, Klain answers my questions about the disease and how to respond to it, as well as questions many of you submitted. We discuss: How to change the virus’s reproduction and fatality rates Why you need to work backward from health system capacity What it means to “flatten the curve” Why social distancing will be with us for a long time to come The difference between “social distancing” and “self-quarantine” What the Trump administration needed to do earlier, and what they still can do now The testing debacle The economic policy necessary to make social distancing possible Why we need to remember not everyone can work at home What it would take to surge health care capacity in the US — and how fast we could potentially do it  The strengths and weaknesses of America’s particular health care system in responding to a pandemic like this one Whether the coronavirus is showing authoritarian systems perform better than liberal(ish) democracies What Joe Biden is like in a crisis  And much more. I’ve been covering the coronavirus nonstop, and this is one of the clearest, most useful conversations I’ve had. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, the clarity of Klain’s analysis will help.  Also: We want to know what kinds of coronavirus conversations you want to hear right now. Email us at ezrakleinshow@vox.com with suggestions for guests, or just angles. This is going to be a hard time, and we want this podcast to be as much a help as possible. Book recommendations: Deadliest Enemy: Our War Against Killer Germs by Michael Osterholm The Great Influenza by John Barry Confused about coronavirus? Here’s a list of the articles, papers, and podcasts we’ve found most useful. 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 Geld Researcher - Roge Karma Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
March 16, 2020
The Bernie Sanders campaign is an organizing tour-de-force relative to the Joe Biden campaign; yet the latter has won primary after primary — with even higher turnouts than 2016. So does organizing even work? And, if so, what went wrong? Jane McAlevey has organized hundreds of thousands of workers on the frontlines of America’s labor movement. She is also a Senior Policy Fellow at UC Berkeley’s Labor Center and the author of three books on organizing, including, most recently, A Collective Bargain: Unions, Organizing, and the Fight for Democracy. McAlevey doesn’t pull her punches. She thinks the left builds political power all wrong. She thinks people are constantly mistaking “mobilizing” for “organizing,” and that social media has taught a generation of young activists the worst possible lessons. She thinks organized labor’s push for “card check” was a mistake, but that there really is a viable path back to a strong labor movement. And since McAlevey is, above all, a teacher and an organizer, she offers what amounts to a master class in organizing — one relevant not just to building political power, but to building anything. To McAlevey, organizing, at its core, is about something very simple, and very close to the heart of this show: how do you talk to people who may not agree with you such that you can truly hear them, and they can truly hear you? This conversation ran long, but it ran long because it was damn good. References: No Shortcuts by Jane McAlevey Raising Expectations and Raising Hell by Jane McAlevey Book recommendations: Democracy May Not Exist But We'll Miss it When its Gone by Astra Taylor I've Got the Light of Freedom Charles M. Payne On Tyranny by Timothy Snyder 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 Credits: Engineer - Cynthia Gil Producer/Editor - Jeff Geld Researcher - Roge Karma Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
March 14, 2020
This week, President Donald Trump and Democratic presidential contenders Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders each gave separate speeches in response to a rapidly escalating coronavirus outbreak in the United States. What did they say? How do their responses differ? And what do those speeches tell us about how their future (or current) administrations? Vox’s Ezra Klein and Matt Yglesias discuss on this week’s 2020 election edition of The Weeds. Then, how will coronavirus impact the general election in November? Matt and Ezra run through the political science research on how economic growth correlates with electoral success, how analogous situations (like severe weather events) have impacted past elections and more. Hint: things don’t look so great for Donald Trump. For more conversations like this one, subscribe to The Weeds on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, or wherever you get your podcasts! Resources: President Trump's oval office address Joe Biden's coronavirus address Bernie Sanders' coronavirus address Hosts: Matthew Yglesias (@mattyglesias), Senior correspondent, Vox Ezra Klein (@ezraklein), Editor-at-large, Vox About Vox Vox is a news network that helps you cut through the noise and understand what's really driving the events in the headlines. Follow Us: Vox.com Facebook group: The Weeds Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
March 12, 2020
Before becoming the co-host of Pod Save America, Dan Pfeiffer spent most of his adult life in Democratic Party politics, which included serving as White House communications director for President Barack Obama. But in his new book Un-Trumping America, the former operative levels some sharp criticism toward the party he came of political age in.  Contrary to the rhetoric of the leading Democratic presidential candidate, Pfeiffer doesn’t think of Donald Trump as the source of our current social and political ills, and he doesn’t believe that beating Trump will bring about a return to “normalcy.” For Pfeiffer, Trump is a symptom of much deeper forces in our politics — forces that will continue to proliferate unless Democrats get serious about, among other things, genuine structural reform. Among the things we discuss:  - Pfeiffer’s view that Donald Trump is the favorite in 2020 - Why the core divide in the Democratic Party isn’t progressive vs. moderate - The flaws in both Sanders and Biden’s theories of institutional change  - The way Obama looms over the Democratic primary — perhaps even more than Trump does  - The case for, and against, filibuster reform - Pfeiffer’s biggest regret from inside the Obama administration - What working with Joe Biden is like - Why the Obama White House didn’t rally around Biden in 2016 - The damage the political consultant class does to Democrats - What the left got wrong about the Democratic Party - Why Democrats need to prioritize democracy itself References: Ezra's profile of Joe Biden Book recommendations: Nixonland by Rick Perlstein The Known World by Edward P. Jones No Ordinary Time by Doris Kearns Goodwin 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.com Credits: Engineer - Cynthia Gil Producer/Editor - Jeff Geld Researcher - Roge Karma Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
March 9, 2020
Obsessively following the daily political news feels like an act of politics, or at least an act of civics. But what if, for many of us, it’s a replacement for politics — and one that’s actually hurting the country? That is the argument made by Tufts University political scientist Eitan Hersh. In his incisive new book Politics is for Power, Hersh draws a sharp distinction between what he calls “political hobbyism” — following politics as a kind of entertainment and expression of self-identity — and the actual work of politics. His data shows that a lot of people who believe they are doing politics are passively following it, and the way they’re following it has played a key role in making the political system worse. But this isn’t just a critique. Hersh’s argument builds to an alternative way of engaging in politics: as a form of service to our institutions and communities. And that alternative approach leads to some dramatically different ideas about how to marry an interest in politics with a commitment to building a better world. It also speaks to some of what we lost in rejecting the political machines and transactional politics of yesteryear — a personal obsession of mine, and a more important hinge point in American political history than I think we realize. We are, as you may have noticed, deep into election season, and that’s when it’s easiest to mistake the drama of national politics for the doing of actual politics. So there’s no better time for this conversation. Book recommendations: Hobbies by Steven Gelber Concrete Demands Rhonda E. WIlliams Here All Along by Sarah Hurwitz 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.com Credits: Engineer - Cynthia Gil Producer/Editor - Jeff Geld Researcher - Roge Karma Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
March 5, 2020
Super Tuesday winnowed the 2020 Democratic primary race down to two candidates: Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders. So how would their presidencies actually differ? Who would staff their administrations? How would they handle Congress? How would they handle key foreign policy decisions? What are their likely points of failure? How would they change the Democratic Party? I asked my friend, colleague, and Weeds co-host Matt Yglesias to join me for this conversation, and it was a good one. We’ve both covered Biden and Sanders for a long time, but come away with somewhat different impressions of each. The points where we differ here were, for me, even more helpful than the points where we agreed. I'll be interested, as always, to hear your thoughts: ezrakleinshow@vox.com. References: Matt Yglesias' case for Bernie Sanders Ezra's piece on what Bernie needs to learn from Biden 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.com Credits: Engineer - Cynthia Gil Producer/Editor - Jeff Geld Researcher - Roge Karma Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
March 2, 2020
Rebecca Solnit is one of the great activist-essayists of our age. Her books and writing cover a vast amount of human existence, but a common thread in her work — and a focus of her upcoming memoir, Recollections of My Nonexistence — is what it means to be voiceless, ignored, and treated as a unreliable witness to the events of your own life.  “We always say nobody knows, and that means that everyone who knows was nobody,” Solnit says. “Everyone who was nobody knew about Harvey Weinstein.” This conversation is, in part, about what it means to be a nobody and what we’d learn if we listened to the voices on the margins of society. But it goes wide from there, covering the psychic toll of sexual violence, the Weinstein ruling, how visual art infuses Solnit’s journalism, the changing cultural role of San Francisco, what climate change will do to social relations, the different narratives of violence that men and women grow up with, and much more. A quick warning: We spoke just after the Weinstein ruling, and we discuss sexual violence both in terms of specific cases and larger cultural questions. It’s an important conversation, and Solnit’s thinking here is essential and humane, but listeners should be prepared for it. Book recommendations: On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong In the Dream House by Carmen Maria Machado There There by Tommy Orange 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.com Credits: Engineer - Cynthia Gil Producer/Editor - Jeff Geld Researcher - Roge Karma Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
February 29, 2020
Welcome to Weeds 2020! Every other Saturday Ezra and Matt will be exploring a wide range of topics related to the 2020 race.  Since the Nevada caucuses, Bernie Sanders has become the clear frontrunner in the 2020 Democratic primary, spurring lots of debate over whether he could win in the general election. We discuss where the electability conversation often goes off-the-rails, why discussing electability in 2020 is so different than 1964 or 1972, the case for and against Bernie’s electability prospects, and the strongest attacks that Trump could make against Sanders and Joe Biden.  Then, we discuss Ezra’s favorite topic of all time: the filibuster. Ezra gives a brief history of this weird procedural tool, and we discuss why so many current Senators are against eliminating it. Resources: "Bernie Sanders can unify Democrats and beat Trump in 2020" by Matthew Yglesias, Vox "The case for Elizabeth Warren" by Ezra Klein, Vox "How the filibuster broke the US Senate" by Alvin Chang, Vox "Running Bernie Sanders Against Trump Would Be an Act of Insanity" by Jonathan Chait, Intelligencer "The Sixty Trillion Dollar Man" by Ronald brownstein, Atlantic "The Day One Agenda" by David Dayen, American Prospect "Bernie Sanders looks electable in surveys — but it could be a mirage" by David Broockman and Joshua Kalla, Vox Hosts: Matthew Yglesias (@mattyglesias), Senior correspondent, Vox Ezra Klein (@ezraklein), Editor-at-large, Vox 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.com About Vox Vox is a news network that helps you cut through the noise and understand what's really driving the events in the headlines. Follow Us: Vox.com Facebook group: The Weeds New to the show? Check out the Ezra Klein Show beginner's guide Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
February 27, 2020
It’s the rare podcast conversation where, as it’s happening, I’m making notes to go back and listen again so I can fully absorb what I heard. But this is that kind of episode. Tracy K. Smith is the chair of the Lewis Center for the Arts at Princeton University, a Pulitzer-Prize winning poet, and a two-time poet laureate of the United States (2017-19). But I’ll be honest: She was an intimidating interview for me. I often find myself frustrated by poetry, yearning for it to simply tell me what it wants to say and feeling aggravated that I can’t seem to crack its code. Preparing for this conversation and (even more so) talking to Smith was a revelation. Poetry, she argues, is about expressing “the feelings that defy language.” The struggle is part of the point: You’re going where language stumbles, where literalism fails. Developing a comfort and ease in those spaces isn’t something we’re taught to do, but it’s something we need to do. And so, on one level, this conversation is simply about poetry: what it is, what it does, how to read it. But on another level, this conversation is also about the ideas and tensions that Smith uses poetry to capture: what it means to be a descendent of slaves, a human in love, a nation divided. Laced throughout our conversation are readings of poems from her most recent book, Wade in the Water, and discussions of some of the hardest questions in the American, and even human, canon. Hearing Smith read her erasure poem, “Declaration,” is, without a doubt, one of the most powerful moments I’ve had on the podcast. There is more to this conversation than I can capture here, but simply put: This isn’t one to miss. And that’s particularly true if, like me, you’re intimidated by poetry. References:  Smith’s lecture before the Library of Congress  Smith’s commencement speech at Wellesley College  Book recommendations:  Notes from the Field by Anna Deavere Smith  Quilting by Lucille Clifton  Bodega by Su Hwang  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: Engineer - Cynthia Gil Producer/Editor - Jeff Geld Researcher - Roge Karma Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
February 24, 2020
In the late 90s Barbara Ehrenreich went undercover as a waitress to discover how people with minimum wage full-time jobs were making ends meet. It turned out, they weren’t. Ehrenreich’s book Nickled and Dimed revealed just how dire the economic conditions of everyday working people were at a time when the economy was supposedly booming. It was a wake up call for many Americans at the time, including me who picked up the book as a curious college student.  Since then Ehrenreich, a journalist by trade, has written on a vast range of topics from the precarity of middle-class existence to the psychological and sociological roots of collective joy to human mortality to her own attempt, as an atheist, to grapple with mystical experiences. Needless to say, this is a widely ranging conversation. References: Living with a Wild God by Barbara Ehrenreich Natural Causes by Barbara Ehrenreich Dancing in the Streets by Barbara Ehrenreich Nicked and Dimed by Barbara Ehrenreich Fear of Falling by Barbara Ehrenreich Had I Known by Barbara Ehrenreich New to the show? Want to listen to Ezra's favorite episodes? Check out The Ezra Klein Show beginner's guide. 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.com Credits: Engineer - Cynthia Gil Producer/Editor - Jeff Geld Researcher - Roge Karma Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
February 20, 2020
Hello! I’m Jane Coaston, filling in for Ezra. My guest today is Tim Carney, a commentary editor at the Washington Examiner and a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute.  In the wake of the 2016 election, Carney began traveling across the country and poring through county-level data in an attempt to understand the forces that led to Donald Trump’s victory. The culprit, he argues, is not racism or economic anxiety, it's the breakdown of social institutions. In his new book Alienated America: Why Some Places Thrive While Others Collapse, Carney posits that for centuries religious (and other private) institutions formed a much-needed social glue that kept communities together. That social glue, however, has decayed in recent decades, creating a void of despair, alienation, and frustration in so-called “Middle America." Donald Trump did not offer a compelling way to solve these problems, but he was the only candidate willing to name them — and in 2016 that was enough. In this conversation, we discuss Carney's thesis at length, but we also talk about why white evangelicals love Trump so much, how communities of color have responded differently to institutional loss than white communities, the appeal of Bernie Sanders, how Trump's reelection strategy will differ from his 2016 campaign, and much more. I hope this conversation is as interesting for you to listen to as it was for me to have. Book recommendations: Dignity: Seeking Respect in Back Row America by Chris Arnade My Father Left Me Ireland by Michael Brendan Dougherty  The Bible 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.com Credits: Producer/Editor - Jeff Geld Researcher - Roge Karma Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
February 17, 2020
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.com Credits: Producer/Editor - Jeff Geld Researcher - Roge Karma Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
February 13, 2020
Hello! I’m Sean Illing, Vox’s interviews writer filling in for Ezra while he’s on book tour. My guest today is Martin Hägglund, a philosopher at Yale and the author of This Life: Secular Faith and Spiritual Freedom, which I consider to be one of the most ambitious and important books in the last several years. We begin by discussing what it means to live a free and purposeful life without regret or illusion. For Hägglund, this life is all we have. There is no heaven, no afterlife, no eternal beyond. We live and we die and that means that the most important question any of us can possibly ask is, “What should we do with our time?”  We end by talking about the limits of capitalism, namely why it doesn’t really allow us to own our time in the way we ought to. And thus why, for Hägglund, democratic socialism is the only political project that takes the human condition seriously.  This is an unusual conversation, but, I have to say, I loved it. I appreciate and admire Hägglund’s willingness to tackle the biggest questions any us can ever ask, and I think by the end of it you will, too. Book recommendations: Fellow Creatures: Our Obligations to the other animals by Christine Korsgaard On the Soul (De Anima) by Aristotle  Phenomenology of Spirit by G.W.F Hegel  Follow Sean Illing at Vox or on Twitter @seanilling New to the show? Want to listen to Ezra's favorite episodes? Check out The Ezra Klein Show beginner's guide. Ezra's book is available at www.EzraKlein.com. 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.com Credits: Guest host - Sean Illing Producer - Jeff Geld Researcher - Roge Karma Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
February 10, 2020
I’ve been a fan of Tim Urban and his site Wait But Why for a long time. Urban uses whimsical illustrations, infographics, and friendly, nontechnical language to explain everything from AI to space exploration to the Fermi Paradox.  Urban's most recent project is an explainer series called “The Story of Us." It began as an attempt to understand what is going on in American politics today, and quickly turned into a deep exploration into humanity's past: how we evolved, the history of civilization, and the way our psychologies have come to interact with the world around us.  My initial theory of this conversation was that Urban’s work has interesting points of convergence and divergence with my book. But once we got to talking, something more interesting emerged: Based on his reading of human history, psychology, and technological advancement, Urban has come to believe we are at an existential fork-in-the-road as a species. A hundred years from now, Urban thinks, our species will either advance so significantly that we will no longer be recognizable as human beings, or we will so lose control of our progress that the human story will end in a destructive apocalypse. I’m less convinced, but open to the idea that I’m wrong. So this, then, isn’t just a conversation about politics and polarization in the present. It’s more fully a conversation about whether the politics of the present are distracting us from the forces that are, even as we speak, deciding our future. References:  Dave Robert’s piece on Tim Urban’s aversion to politics  My conversation with Andrew Yang Book recommendations:  A Little History of the World by E.H. Gombrich  The Three-Body Problem by Cixin Liu  Atomic Habits by James Clear New to the show? Want to listen to Ezra's favorite episodes? Check out The Ezra Klein Show beginner's guide. My book is available at www.EzraKlein.com. The “Why We’re Polarized” tour continues, with events in Portland, Seattle, Austin, Nashville, Chicago, and Greenville. Go to WhyWerePolarized.com for the full schedule! Want to contact the show? Reach out at ezrakleinshow@vox.com Credits: Producer - Jeff Geld Researcher - Roge Karma Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
February 6, 2020
Jill Lepore is a Harvard historian, a New Yorker contributor, the author of These Truths, and one of my favorite past guests on this show. But in this episode, the tables are turned: I’m in the hot seat, and Lepore has some questions. Hard ones. This is, easily, the toughest interview on my book so far. Lepore isn’t quibbling over my solutions or pointing out a contrary study — what she challenges are the premises, epistemology, and meta-structure that form the foundation of my book, and much of my work. Her question, in short, is: What if social science itself is too crude to be a useful way of understanding the political world? But that’s what makes this conversation great. We discuss whether all political science research on polarization might be completely wrong, why (and whether) my book is devoid of individual or institutional “villains,” and whether I am morally obliged to delete my Twitter account, in addition to the missing party in American politics, why I mistrust historical narratives, media polarization, and much more. This is, on one level, a conversation about Why We’re Polarized. But on a deeper level, it’s about different modes of knowledge and whether we can trust them. New to the show? Want to listen to Ezra's favorite episodes? Check out The Ezra Klein Show beginner's guide. My book is available at www.EzraKlein.com. The “Why We’re Polarized” tour continues, with events in Portland, Seattle, Austin, Nashville, Chicago, and Greenville. Go to WhyWerePolarized.com for the full schedule! Want to contact the show? Reach out at ezrakleinshow@vox.com Credits: Producer - Jeff Geld Researcher - Roge Karma Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
February 3, 2020
Tom Steyer has worked for Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley. He made his billions running a hedge fund for decades before moving into progressive activism on causes like democratization, climate change, and impeaching Donald Trump. Now, he is running for president of the United States.  Steyer’s primary message on the campaign trial is that we need to get money, lobbyists and corporate influence out of politics. At the same time, he is the living embodiment of much of what he thinks is broken about our system. He used his wealth as a shortcut onto the presidential debate stage and, in doing so, essentially wrote the playbook for any future billionaire who decides they want a shot at winning the highest office in the land.  So, is Steyer the solution to our dysfunctional politics -- or is he part of the problem? That question is a lot bigger than Steyer himself. It is about the kinds of people we think will best represent the interests of non-billionaires. It is about the sort of influence we think wealth should have in our society. It is about whether, in our current political moment, we want to trust the arsonists to put out the fires they helped create. I’ll let you decide the answer. Book recommendations: The Holy Bible War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston The Good Assassin by Paul Vidich New to the show? Want to listen to Ezra's favorite episodes? Check out The Ezra Klein Show beginner's guide. My book is available at www.EzraKlein.com. Also, we’ve announced more tour dates! Go to WhyWerePolarized.com for all the details. Want to contact the show? Reach out at ezrakleinshow@vox.com Credits: Engineer - Cynthia Gil Producer - Jeff Geld Researcher - Roge Karma Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
January 30, 2020
The Why We’re Polarized book tour kicked off this week with a wonderful event at Sixth and I in Washington, DC. My conversation partner for this one was New York Times columnist Jamelle Bouie. Our interview was great, and then the audience questions were so good we had to keep them in as well. We discuss:   • Why things were far worse in the “golden age” of the 1950s and ’60s than they are today • Why the key question isn’t so much “why are we polarized?” as “why weren’t we polarized?” • Why “moderate” Republicans end up losing to conservatives • Why demographic change is the core cleavage of American politics today • How polarization makes bipartisanship irrational and political dysfunction the norm • Why Donald Trump and Mitch McConnell are not the causes of polarization but rather the most clear manifestations of it • That more information doesn’t rescue politics • Why America today is not functionally a democracy (and why I hate when people claim it is a “republic” to justify our current system) • Why the most underrated divide in American politics is not that between left and right but between the informed and the uninformed • Why we can’t reverse polarization and instead need to reform our political system so that it can function amid polarization New to the show? Want to listen to Ezra's favorite episodes? Check out The Ezra Klein Show beginner's guide. Also, we’ve announced more tour dates! Go to WhyWerePolarized.com for all the details. My book is available at www.EzraKlein.com. Want to contact the show? Reach out at ezrakleinshow@vox.com You can subscribe to Ezra's new podcast Impeachment, explained on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Overcast, Pocket Casts, or your favorite podcast app. Credits: Editor - Jeff Geld Researcher - Roge Karma Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
January 27, 2020
“The bad days are back” wrote Batya Ungar-Sargon in the Forward in December, “Orthodox Jews are living through a new age of pogroms. This week, as we celebrated the Festival of Lights, there were no fewer than 10 anti-Semitic attacks in the New York area alone.”  Antisemitism is occasionally called “the oldest hatred.” It thrums across continents and eras, finding new targets for old prejudices. But where, exactly, does it come from? Why is it such a hardy weed? And why does this era feel so thick with it?  Deborah Lipstadt, a professor of Modern Jewish History and Holocaust Studies at Emory University, is the author of Antisemitism: Here and Now. We discuss the earliest forms, tropes, and rationales for antisemitism, and the cultural reasons for their persistence. Lipstadt explains the way right- and left-wing antisemitism differ, and examines the charges of antisemitism levied against some modern politicians, like Donald Trump and Jeremy Corbyn. We talk about antisemitism in the age of social media and rising party polarization. And we talk about the convergence and divergence of antisemitism and anti-Zionism: what distinguishes a legitimate critique of Israel from an antisemitic slur towards it? This episode airs on International Holocaust Remembrance Day. It’s a reminder that the very worst days lie in living memory, in an age more similar our own than we like to admit.  References:  “Why No One Can Talk About The Attacks Against Orthodox Jews” by Batya Ungar-Sargon Book recommendations:  If This is Man by Primo Levi  Still Alive by Ruth Kluger  The Unwanted by Michael Dobbs New to the show? Want to listen to Ezra's favorite episodes? Check out The Ezra Klein Show beginner's guide. (http://bit.ly/EKSbeginhere) 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.com You 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 Geld Engineer- Cynthia Gil Researcher - Roge Karma Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
January 23, 2020
This is a podcast episode literally years in the making. It’s an excerpt — the first anywhere — from my book Why We’re Polarized. A core argument of the book is that identity is the central driver of political polarization. But to see how it works, we need a better theory of how identities form, what happens when they activate, and where they fit into our conflicts. We’ve been taught to only see identity politics in others. We need to see it in ourselves. If you’re a longtime listener, this excerpt — like the broader book — will tie a lot of threads on this show together. If you’re a new listener, it’ll give you, I hope, a clearer way to understand a powerful driver of our politics and our lives.  Why We’re Polarized comes out on January 28. You can order it, both in text and audiobook forms, at WhyWerePolarized.com. Find the audio book on Audible.com New to the show? Want to listen to Ezra's favorite episodes? Check out The Ezra Klein Show beginner's guide. Want to contact the show? Reach out at ezrakleinshow@vox.com You can subscribe to Ezra's podcast Impeachment, explained on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Overcast, Pocket Casts, or your favorite podcast app. Credits: Producer and Editor - Jeff Geld Researcher - Roge Karma Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
January 20, 2020
With “reeducation" camps in China, religious disenfranchisement in India, ethnic cleansing in Myanmar, street violence in Sri Lanka, mass shootings in New Zealand, the flourishing of far-right parties across Europe, and the mainstreaming of Islamophobia in America, there’s been a global surge in anti-Muslim bigotry — often supported by the full power and might of the state. It’s one of the most frightening and undercovered political stories of our time. Mehdi Hasan is a senior writer for the Intercept, the host of the Deconstructed podcast, and the anchor of Al Jazeera’s Up Front. He’s done some of the best reporting on anti-Muslim prejudice and persecutions worldwide, covering everything from Narendra Modi’s rise in India to the treatment of Uighurs in China to the role that social media plays in amplifying anti-Muslim sentiment. We discuss all of that in this conversation, but we also try to answer some deeper questions: Why Muslims? Why now? What is the ideology that drives and justifies anti-Muslim bigotry? What are the political incentives that foster it? Not everything in this conversation is easy to hear. But understanding the scope and scale of the war on Muslims is central to understanding the world we live in, the Orwellian nature of the Islamophobic narrative, and the resentments and traumas we’re inflicting on the future.  Book recommendations: The Fear of Islam by Todd H. Green  The Enemy Within by Sayeeda Warsi  The Autobiography of Malcolm X by Alex Haley 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.com You 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 Geld Engineer- Cynthia Gil Researcher - Roge Karma Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
January 16, 2020
Vox's Matt Yglesias and I unpack the debate that did, and didn't, happen. Related reading: "Joe Biden will never give up on the system" by Ezra Klein "4 winners and 3 losers from the January Democratic debate" Vox Staff "The case for Elizabeth Warren" by Ezra Klein "Bernie Sanders can unify Democrats and beat Trump in 2020" by Matthew Yglesias "Joe Biden skates by again" by Matt Yglesias "Elizabeth Warren’s new plan to reform bankruptcy law, explained" by Matt Yglesias "The Third Rail of Calling ‘Sexism’ Warren tried not to talk about it." by Rebecca Traister 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.com You can subscribe to Ezra's new podcast Impeachment, explained on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Overcast, Pocket Casts, or your favorite podcast app. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
January 13, 2020
There is a moral radicalism to the way Cory Booker lives out his politics. He lived for years in a housing project. He leads hunger strikes. He challenges political machines. He’s a vegan. He has a more ambitious policy vision than is often discussed. But beneath that is a far more radical ethical vision than he gets credit for. I think there’s a reason for that. When Booker turns his politics turn outward, they lose clarity. He shies away from drawing bright lines, his answers double back to blur out potential offense. As a result, his arguments for a politics of radical love end up emphasizing his love in ways that obscure his radicalism. As admiring as I am of what Booker demands of himself, I often can’t tell what he’s asking of me. In this conversation, I wanted Booker to risk my discomfort, not just his own. And in his answers, I think you can hear both the remarkable promise and power of Booker’s politics, and some of the challenges that ultimately led him to suspend his campaign. References/Book recommendations: Tightrope by Nicholas Kristof  “Who Killed the Knapp Family” by Nicholas Kristof  The Violence Inside Us by Chris Murphy  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.com You 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 Geld Engineer- Cynthia Gil Researcher - Roge Karma Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
January 9, 2020
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 democracy 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.com You 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 Geld Engineer- Cynthia Gil Researcher - Roge Karma Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
January 8, 2020
Introducing season 3 of The Impact! The 2020 candidates have some bold ideas to tackle some of our country's biggest problems, like climate change, the opioid crisis, and unaffordable health care. A lot of their proposals have been tried before, so, in a sense, the results are in.  This season, The Impact has those stories: how the big ideas from 2020 candidates succeeded — or failed — in other places, or at other times. What can Sen. Elizabeth Warren's proposal to fight the opioid crisis learn from what the US did to fight the AIDS epidemic? How did Germany — an industrial powerhouse that invented the automobile — manage to implement a Green New Deal? How did public health insurance change Taiwan? Subscribe to The Impact on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or your favorite podcast app to automatically get new episodes of the latest season each week. On this special preview: Sen. Elizabeth Warren is running for president with a plan to fight the opioid epidemic. Her legislation would dramatically expand access to addiction treatment and overdose prevention, and it would cost $100 billion over 10 years. Addiction experts agree that this is the kind of money the United States needs to fight the opioid crisis. But it’s a really expensive idea, to help a deeply stigmatized population. How would a President Warren get this through Congress?  It’s been done before, with the legislation Warren is using as a blueprint for her proposal. In 1990, Congress passed the Ryan White Care Act, the first national coordinated response to the AIDS crisis. In the decades since, the federal government has dedicated billions of dollars to the fight against AIDS, and it’s revolutionized care for people with this once-deadly disease.  But by the time President George H.W. Bush signed the bill into law, hundreds of thousands of people in the US already had HIV/AIDS, and tens of thousands had died.  In this episode, Vox's Jillian Weinberger explores how an epidemic begins, and how it ends. We look at what it took to get the federal government to finally act on AIDS, and what that means for Warren’s plan to fight the opioid crisis, today.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
January 6, 2020
“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 Chomsky The 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 care Why my politics are bad with Bhaskar Sunkara New 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.com You 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 Geld Engineer- Cynthia Gil Researcher - Roge Karma Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
January 2, 2020
The 2010s witnessed a sharp uptick in nonviolent resistance movements all across the globe. Over the course of the last decade we’ve seen record numbers of popular protests, grassroots campaigns, and civic demonstrations advancing causes that range from toppling dictatorial regimes to ending factory farming to advancing a Green New Deal.   So, I thought it would be fitting to kick off 2020 by bringing on Erica Chenoweth, a political scientist at Harvard specializing in nonviolent resistance. At the beginning of this decade Chenoweth co-authored Why Civil Resistance Works, a landmark study showing that nonviolent movements are twice as effective as violent ones. Since then, she has written dozens of papers on what factors make successful movements successful, why global protests are becoming more and more common, how social media has affected resistance movements and much more.  But Chenoweth doesn’t only study nonviolent movements from an academic perspective; she also advises nonviolent movement leaders around the world (including former EK Show guests Varshini Prakash of the Sunrise Movement and Wayne Hsiung of Direct Action Everywhere) to help them be as effective and strategic as possible in carrying out their goals. This on-the-ground experience combined with a big-picture, academic view of nonviolent resistance makes her perspective essential for understanding one of the most important phenomena of the last decade -- and, in all likelihood, the next one. References: "How social media helps dictators" by Erica Chenoweth "Drop Your Weapons: When and Why Civil Resistance Works" by Erica Chenoweth Book recommendations: These Truths by Jill Lepore Nonviolence: The History of a Dangerous Idea by Mark Kurlansky From #BlackLivesMatter to Black Liberation by Keenga-Yamahtta Taylor If you enjoyed this podcast, you may also like: Varshini Prakash on the Sunrise Movement's plan to save humanity When doing the right thing makes you a criminal (with Wayne Hsiung) 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.com You 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 Geld Engineer- Cynthia Gil Researcher - Roge Karma Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
December 30, 2019
It’s here. The final AMA of 2019. Among the questions you asked: - If you believe that changing someone's mind about a topic, any topic is difficult, how do you function as a journalist? - What’s your opinion on capitalism? - What have you learned about yourself since being a dad that has surprised you the most? - You talk a lot about polarization. But it seems your audience leans liberal. So how do you reconcile that? - Do you believe in free will? - What’s your take on the left/liberal divide? - Red wine or white wine? - We know 2020 will come down to a small collection of swing states. Shouldn’t the Democrats just run whichever candidate will be strongest in those states? - What’s with Vox and NBER papers? - What would get journalists to leave Twitter? - What happens if Trump loses the election but refuses to leave office? All this, plus you get to hear from the mysterious Jeff Geld… 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.com You can subscribe to Ezra's new podcast Impeachment, explained on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Overcast, Pocket Casts, or your favorite podcast app. Credits: Producer, Editor, Guest Interviewer - Jeff Geld Researcher - Roge Karma Engineer - Cynthia Gil Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
December 26, 2019
Here, at the end of the year, I wanted to share one of my favorite episodes of 2019 with you. Earlier this year, 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 had 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 Millennials by Malcolm Harris White: Essays on Race and Culture by Richard Dyer The Vertigo Years: Europe, 1900-1914 by Philipp Blom A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan New 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.com You 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 Geld Engineers - Cynthia Gil Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
December 23, 2019
Dave Roberts is an energy and climate writer at Vox and a senior fellow at the Kleinman Center for Energy Policy at the University of Pennsylvania. He started as his career covering climate science and clean energy technology, but -- for reasons we discuss here -- he now writes just as much about political psychology, media ecosystems, political institutions, and how they intersect with climate change. We cover a lot in this conversation, including: “Tribal epistemology,” and why it’s crucial to climate paralysis  How the GOP went from the party of cap-and-trade to the party of climate denial  Why the right and left-wing media ecosystem’s diverged so dramatically What today’s climate activists get right about our politics that their predecessors got wrong The carbon tax dead-end How nuclear energy became so divisive The conflicting moral and social visions at the heart of the climate movement  Why it is impossible to separate technological innovation from the policy ecosystem that shapes it  Whether climate change really is an “existential” threat  What climate change will mean for the world’s poor References: Dave Roberts on America's "epistemic crisis." Book recommendations: Caught Stealing by Charlie Huston "State of the Species" by Charles C. Mann My book is available for pre-order! You can find it at www.EzraKlein.com. Submit questions for our upcoming "Ask Me Anything" at ezrakleinshow@vox.com You 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 Geld Researcher - Roge Karma Engineers - Cynthia Gil Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
December 19, 2019
Most analyses of how to “solve” climate change start from a single, crucial assumption: that carbon emissions and global warming are inextricably linked. Geoengineering is a set of technologies and ideas with the potential to shatter that link.  Can we use them? Should we? Could they be used in concert with other solutions, or would simply opening the door drain support from those ideas? Even if we did want to deploy geoengineering, who would govern its use? And is mucking with the earth at this level more dangerous than climate change itself — which may, ultimately, be the choice we face? Jane Flegal is a geoengineering expert at Arizona State University and a program officer at the Bernard and Anne Spitzer Charitable Trust. She’s able to parse this debate with an unusual level of clarity, fairness, and rigor. This isn’t an argument for or against geoengineering. It’s a way to think about it, and that turns out to be a way to think about the climate change problem as a whole. Book recommendations: The Planet Remade by Oliver Morton Experiment Earth by Jack Stilgoe Frontiers of Illusion by Daniel Sarewitz  My book is available for pre-order! You can find it at www.EzraKlein.com. Submit questions for our upcoming "Ask Me Anything" at ezrakleinshow@vox.com You 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 Geld Researcher - Roge Karma Engineers - Cynthia Gil & Ed Cuervo Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
December 16, 2019
The climate series is back! The reason for the delay is that I wanted to make sure that this episode was next up in the series. Once you start listening, you’ll understand why.  So far, we’ve spent the series talking about the problem we're facing and what the world will ultimately look like if we fail. Today’s conversation is different: It is about what it will take to solve climate change and what kind of world we can build if we succeed.  Saul Griffith is an inventor, a MacArthur genius fellow, and the founder and CEO of Otherlab, a high-tech research and development company on the frontlines of trying to imagine our clean energy future. Griffith and his team were contracted by the Department of Energy to track and visualize the entirety of America’s energy flows — and as a result, he knows the US energy system better than just about anyone on this planet. Griffith is also clearer than anyone else I’ve found on the paths to decarbonization, and how to navigate them. Most conversations about climate change are pretty depressing. This conversation is not. We have the tools we need to decarbonize. What’s more, decarbonizing doesn’t mean accepting a future of less — it can mean a more awesome, humane, technologically rich, and socially inspiring future for us all. This conversation is about a vision of decarbonization that is genuinely awesome, and how we can actually get there. References: Otherlab's diagram of US energy flows Griffith's piece on paths to decarbonization Book recommendations: Debt: The First 5,000 Years by David Graeber Freedom's Forge by Arthur Herman The Extinction Rebellion Handbook Silent Spring by Rachel Carson My book is available for pre-order! You can find it at www.EzraKlein.com. The first batch of stops for my book tour is up! Get tickets at http://www.whywerepolarized.com Submit questions for our upcoming "Ask Me Anything" at ezrakleinshow@vox.com You 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 Geld Researcher - Roge Karma Engineer - Cynthia Gil Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
December 12, 2019
It’s cliché to call podcasts wide-ranging. But this conversation, with Nobel-prize winning economist and NY Times columnist Paul Krugman, really is. A sample of what we discuss: - How economists mucked up the climate debate - What a Democratic president should pass first - The politics and policy of Medicare-for-all - Krugman’s three-part test to determine whether a program needs to be paid for (don’t miss this!) - Why Pete Buttigieg is wrong on tuition-free college  - Why Andrew Yang is wrong on automation - What the Obama administration got wrong, and right, in the financial crisis - The means-testing vs. universal program debate is a false dichotomy  - What it would take to revitalize the economies of middle and rural America - The productivity puzzle - The antitrust problem - Geographic inequality - Whether elite or mass opinion is the key constraint on policy ambition - Path dependence in social welfare states - Whether private insurers should exist  And much more. Don’t miss this one. References: Krugman's upcoming book, Arguing with Zombies Book recommendations: An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding by David Hume  Plagues and Peoples by William McNeil  Collected essays of George Orwell My book is available for pre-order! You can find it at www.EzraKlein.com. Submit questions for our upcoming "Ask Me Anything" at ezrakleinshow@vox.com You 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 Geld Researcher - Roge Karma Engineer - Cynthia Gil Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
December 9, 2019
After creating and running Parks and Recreation and writing for The Office, Michael Schur decided he wanted to create a sitcom about one of the most fundamental questions of human existence: What does it mean to be a good person? That’s how The Good Place was born. Soon into the show’s writing, Schur realized he was in way over his head. The question of human morality is one of the most complicated and hotly contested subjects of all time. He needed someone to help him out. So, he recruited Pamela Hieronymi, a professor at UCLA specializing in the subjects of moral responsibility, psychology, and free will, to join the show as a “consulting philosopher” — surely a first in sitcom history. I wanted to bring Shur and Hieronymi onto the show because The Good Place should not exist. Moral philosophy is traditionally the stuff of obscure academic journals and undergraduate seminars, not popular television. Yet, three-and-a-half seasons on, The Good Place is not only one of the funniest sitcoms on TV, it has popularized academic philosophy in an unprecedented fashion and put forward its own highly sophisticated moral vision. This is a conversation about how and why The Good Place exists and what it reflects about The Odd Place in which we actually live. Unlike a lot of conversations about moral philosophy, this one is a lot of fun. References: Dylan Matthews' brilliant profile on The Good Place Dylan Matthews on why he donated his kidney Book recommendations: Michael Schur: Ordinary Vices by Judith N. Shklar The Spy Who Came in from the Cold by John le Carré  Beloved by Toni Morrison Pamela Hieronymi: What We Owe to Each Other by T.M. Scanlon Being and Nothingness by Jean-Paul Sartre Mortal Questions by Thomas Nagel New 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. Submit questions for our upcoming "Ask Me Anything" at ezrakleinshow@vox.com You 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 Geld Researcher - Roge Karma Engineer - Cynthia Gil Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
December 5, 2019
For most of his life, Wayne Hsiung was a typical overachiever. He attended the University of Chicago, started his PhD in Economics, became a law professor at Northwestern, was mentored by Cass Sunstein. But then, something snapped. In the midst of a deep, overwhelming depression, Hsiung visited a slaughterhouse and was radicalized by the immense suffering he saw. He now faces decades in prison for rescuing sick, injured animals from slaughterhouses. Hsiung is the founder of Direct Action Everywhere, an organization best known for conducting public, open rescues of animals too sick for slaughter. These rescues are, in many cases, illegal, and Hsiung and his fellow activists are risking years of imprisonment. But the sacrifice is the point: Hsiung and his colleagues are trying to highlight the sickness of a society that criminalizes doing what any child would recognize as the right thing to do. In our conversation, I wanted to understand a simple question: How did he get here? What leads someone with a safe, comfortable life to risk everything for a cause? What does society look like to him now, knowing what he faces? And the big question: Is Hsiung the weird one? Or is it all of us — who see so much suffering and injustice and simply go about our lives — who have lost our way? References: New York Times story on a DxE rescue mission Video of the mission to save Lily the piglet Book recommendations: Everything is Obvious by Duncan J. Watts  The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky Grit by Angela Duckworth 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.com You 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 Geld Researcher - Roge Karma Engineer - Jeremy Dalmas Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
December 2, 2019
Imagine you’re walking to work. You see a child drowning in a lake. You’re about to jump in and save her when you realize you’re wearing your best suit, and the rescue will end up costing hundreds in dry cleaning bills. Should you still save the child? Of course you should. But this simple thought experiment, taken seriously, has radical implications for how you live your life. It comes from Peter Singer’s The Life You Can Save, one of the most influential modern works of ethical philosophy. Singer is perhaps the most influential public intellectual of my lifetime. His book Animal Liberation helped build America’s animal rights movement. His work helped create the effective altruism movement. In Singer’s hands, the questions that motivate a moral life are startlingly simple. But if you take them seriously, living morally is very, very hard. And the way most of us are living, right now — well, we’re letting a lot of children drown. What happens if we force ourselves to recognize that fact? What does it demand of us? That’s the topic of my conversation with Singer. We also discuss the differences between ethical philosophy and religion, why moral reasoning is a social act, the ethics of caring most about those closest to you, The Good Place, AI risk, open borders, where our obligations to others end, why Singer wouldn’t have become a philosopher if he’d been an effective altruist in his youth, and much more. Book recommendations: On Liberty by John Stuart Mill The Better Angels of Our Nature by Steven Pinker On What Matters by Derek Parfit Reasons and Persons by Derek Parfit To read Peter SInger's book please visit www.thelifeyoucansave.org To learn more about effective altruism, visit Vox's Future Perfect 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.com You 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 Geld Researcher - Roge Karma Engineers - Cynthia Gil Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
November 28, 2019
Happy Thanksgiving! Please enjoy a re-air episode from April 2018 with Lilliana Mason. Yes, identity politics is breaking our country. But it’s not identity politics as we’re used to thinking about it. In Uncivil Agreement: How Politics Became Our Identity, Lilliana Mason traces the construction of our partisan “mega-identities”: identities that fuse party affiliation to ideology, race, religion, gender, sexuality, geography, and more. These mega-identities didn’t exist 50 or even 30 years ago, but now that they’re here, they change the way we see each other, the way we engage in politics, and the way politics absorbs other — previously non-political —spheres of our culture. In making her case, Mason offers one of the best primers I’ve read on how little it takes to activate a sense of group identity in human beings, and how far-reaching the cognitive and social implications are once that group identity takes hold. I don’t want to spoil our discussion here, but suffice to say that her recounting of the “minimal group paradigm” experiments is not to be missed. This is the kind of research that will change not just how you think about the world, but how you think about yourself. Mason’s book is, I think, one of the most important published this year, and this conversation gave me a lens on our political discord that I haven’t stopped thinking about since. If you want to understand the kind of identity politics that’s driving America in 2018, you should listen in. Books recommendations: Ideology in America by Christopher Ellis and James Stimson  Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi  The Power by Naomi Alderman 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.com You can subscribe to Ezra's new podcast Impeachment, explained on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Overcast, Pocket Casts, or your favorite podcast app. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
November 25, 2019
Gretchen McCulloch is a self-described “internet linguist,” host of the podcast Lingthusiasm, and author of the recent book Because Internet: Understanding the New Rules of Language. In it, she demonstrates that the way we've come to speak on the internet -- from emojis to exclamation points -- is not random or arbitrary, but part of a broader attempt to make our written communication more vibrant, meaningful, and, genuinely human. Far from ‘ruining’ the written English language, internet-speak, McCulloch argues, is revolutionizing language in unprecedented, and ultimately positive, ways. We discuss why I feel bad if I don't use enough exclamation points (or use too many), why postcards are the pre-internet predecessors to Instagram, how emojis act as written equivalents of our body language, why sarcasm is like a “linguistic trust fall,” the meaning of “Ok boomer” and much more. Book recommendations: It’s Complicated:The Social Lives of Networked Teens by danah boyd  You Look Like a Thing and I Love You by Janelle Shane This Is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone If you enjoyed this episode, you may also like: danah boyd on why fake news is so easy to believe You will love this conversation with Jaron Lanier, but I can’t describe it 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.com You 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 Geld Researcher - Roge Karma Engineers - Cynthia Gil Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
November 21, 2019
Yancey Strickler is the co-founder and former CEO of Kickstarter, and he’s just released a new book, This Could Be Our Future: A Manifesto for a More Generous World. In Strickler’s telling, our society has been so thoroughly captured by the value-system of financial maximization, that we don’t even view it as such. Kickstarter was an affront to that value-system, a way that groups could fund ideas outside of the realm of profit. And this new book is trying to dig deeper into that worldview, unveil its fallibility, and offer an alternative way of imagining our society. So, in this conversation we talk about profit and the economy, but also about climate change, the founding story of Kickstarter, what makes great fiction so great, Alan Moore’s notion of the “idea space,” the bizarre way that Strickler went about writing his book, and much more. Book recommendations: Time Loops by Eric Wargo  Value and Ethics in Economics by Elizabeth Anderson  Dune by Frank Herbert  If you enjoyed this episode, you may also like: A mind-bending, reality-warping conversation with John Higgs Edward Norton’s theory of mind, movies, and power 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.com You 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 Geld Researcher - Roge Karma Engineers - Cynthia Gil & Chris Shurtleff Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
November 18, 2019
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 Wharton If you enjoyed this episode, you may like: You will love this conversation with Jaron Lanier, but I can’t describe it Cal Newport on doing Deep Work and escaping social media 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.com You 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 Geld Researcher - Roge Karma Engineer - Cynthia Gil Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
November 14, 2019
If you're anything like me, this episode will make you think about the way you shop, learn, eat, parent, and exercise in a whole new way. My guest today is Elizabeth Currid-Halkett, a professor of public policy at the University of Southern California whose most recent book The Sum of Small Things: A Theory of the Aspirational Class documents the rise of a new, unprecedented elite class in the United States. Previously, the elite classes differentiated themselves from the rest by purchasing expensive material goods like flashy clothes and expensive cars. But, for reasons we get into, today’s elite is different: We signify our class position by reading the New Yorker, acquiring elite college degrees, buying organic food, breastfeeding our children, and, of course, listening to podcasts like this one. These activities may seem completely innocent — perhaps even enlightened. Yet, as we discuss here, they simultaneously shore up inequality, erode social mobility, and create an ever-more stratified society — all without most of us even noticing. This is a conversation that implicates us all, and, for that very reason, it is well worth grappling with. Book recommendations: Just Kids by Patti Smith  Art Worlds by Howard S. Becker The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt If you enjoyed this episode, you may also like: When meritocracy wins, everybody loses Work as identity, burnout as lifestyle What a smarter Trumpism would sound like 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.com You 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 Geld Researcher - Roge Karma Engineer - Jeff Geld Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
November 11, 2019
Andrew Marantz is a writer at the New Yorker who, for years, has been deeply immersed in the world of conservative trolls, alt-right social media personalities, and online conspiracy theorists. His most recent book Antisocial has been viewed as a brilliant ethnography of the bizarre universe that is the alt-right.  But I’m interested in it for a different reason: Somehow, these folks have figured out how to manipulate the social media ecosystem that frames our political discourse. Thus, they represent an important window into understanding how that ecosystem functions, who it advantages, and where it dramatically falls short. We discuss: - Why Mark Zuckerberg’s defenses of Facebook so obviously fail - Where the conversation about “free speech” in America went completely off the rails - How alt-right personality Mike Cernovich cracked social media algorithms to influence the 2016 news cycle - What Marantz calls the “primary laws of social media mechanics” and how they can be manipulated to bring out the worst in human nature - Why conflict has become the primary way to garner attention and influence online while more constructive social interactions remain in obscurity - How a kid from a progressive, upper-middle-class family became one of the nation’s leading neo-Nazis - The role the social justice left plays in fomenting online extremism And much more. Book recommendations: Contingency, Irony and Solidarity by Richard Rorty  The Captive Mind by Czesław Miłosz Uncanny Valley by Anna Wiener 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.com You 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 Geld Researcher - Roge Karma Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
November 8, 2019
Due to a technical glitch this interview with Edward Norton did not find it’s way into most people’s feeds. If you were able to download the first one this is indeed the exact same interview, but if you missed it please give a listen and enjoy - we had a lot of fun with this one. You’ve heard of Edward Norton. He’s starred in critically acclaimed films like American History X, Fight Club, and Birdman, been nominated for multiple Academy Awards, and, most recently, wrote, directed, and starred in Motherless Brooklyn, a film about a detective with Tourette’s syndrome who ends up taking on the most corrupt and powerful forces in New York City politics. Motherless Brooklyn, as it happens, is one of my all-time favorite books. And so this conversation was an unexpected pleasure. In addition to a joint love of Motherless Brooklyn, Norton and I share an unusual number of interests: Meditation, the uncontrollable nature of the mind, the difficulty of solving problems by thinking about them, the psychology of power, media analytics, cultural ideas of heroism, thwarted masculinity in politics, Ralph Nader, and more. It’s rare that I think a conversation could’ve gone for hours more. But it’s true for this one. References: Motherless Brooklyn by Jonathan Lethem This Could Be Our Future by Yancey Strickler Catching the Big Fish by David Lynch   *The world according to Ralph Nader* Book recommendations: Barbarian Days by William Finnegan  Wind, Sand, and Stars by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry Buddhism without Beliefs by Stephen Batchelor If you like this episode, check out: What Buddhism got right about the human brain You will love this conversation with Jaron Lanier, but I can’t describe it 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.com You 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 Geld Researcher - Roge Karma Engineer - Jeff Geld Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
November 8, 2019
Thanks for listening to Reset from Recode and the Vox Media Podcast Network. Today's episodes were Can A.I. Tech You To Write Better and Quantum Supremacy, WTF. If you enjoyed these episodes, subscribe to Reset for free on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Overcast, Pocket Casts, or your favorite podcast app to get new episodes every week. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
November 7, 2019
Michael Lind is a visiting professor at the University of Texas at Austin, the co-founder of the New America Foundation, and an important contributor to American Affairs, a journal originally created to imagine a more Trumpist conservatism. Lind is by no means a supporter of Trump. But, for decades now, he has been developing a coherent intellectual worldview around many of the same issues that Trump intuited, however crudely, during his campaign. He’s one of the intellectuals that the nationalist conservatives trying to imagine a Trumpism after Trump tell me they read most closely. There are three big pieces of Lind’s thought that I think help to illuminate this era. One is his idea of the “new class war,” which builds a deep cultural component into class identity and maps much better onto populist resentment. The next is his approach to China, which has long been skeptical of Washington’s optimistic consensus. And the third is his insistence that political conflicts — be they class wars or partisan ones — don’t end in victories, they end in “settlements.” References: "The New Class War" by Michael Lind "The Return of Geoeconomics" by Michael Lind "Classless Utopia versus Class Compromise" by Michael Lind "Donald Trump, the Perfect Populist" by Michael Lind Book recommendations: The Machiavellian Defender’s of Freedom by James Burnham  Foundation by Isaac Asimov The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers by Paul Kennedy 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.com You 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 Geld Researcher - Roge Karma Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
November 4, 2019
Welcome to episode 2 of our climate cluster. The more I prepared for this series, the more I realize there was a big blue gap in my understanding of climate change. Oceans cover 70% of the earth, absorb 93% of the heat from the sun, and capture 30% of the carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Forty percent of the world’s population lives within 60 miles of the coast, and half a billion people rely on oceans as their primary food source. As go the oceans, so goes humanity. Dr. Ayana Elizabeth Johnson is the founder of the Urban Ocean Lab and the Ocean Collectiv, she’s held positions at the NOAA and the EPA, and was named by Outside Magazine as the most influential marine biologist of our time. And she’s able to do something a lot of people aren’t: communicate not just the science of climate change from the ocean perspective, but the role oceans play in the human story. This is not a dry, complex disquisition on climate science. This is a vivid tour of the way oceans shape our lives, and the costs and consequences of reshaping them. Book Recommendations: Eat like a Fish by Bren Smith  Water in Plain Sight by Judith D. Schwartz Emergent Strategy by adrienne maree brown 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.com You 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 Geld Researcher - Roge Karma Engineer - Ernie Erdat Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
October 31, 2019
You’ve heard of Edward Norton. He’s starred in critically acclaimed films like American History X, Fight Club, and Birdman, been nominated for multiple Academy Awards, and, most recently, wrote, directed, and starred in Motherless Brooklyn, a film about a detective with Tourette’s syndrome who ends up taking on the most corrupt and powerful forces in New York City politics. Motherless Brooklyn, as it happens, is one of my all-time favorite books. And so this conversation was an unexpected pleasure. In addition to a joint love of Motherless Brooklyn, Norton and I share an unusual number of interests: Meditation, the uncontrollable nature of the mind, the difficulty of solving problems by thinking about them, the psychology of power, media analytics, cultural ideas of heroism, thwarted masculinity in politics, Ralph Nader, and more. It’s rare that I think a conversation could’ve gone for hours more. But it’s true for this one. References: Motherless Brooklyn by Jonathan Lethem This Could Be Our Future by Yancey Strickler Catching the Big Fish by David Lynch   *The world according to Ralph Nader* Book recommendations: Barbarian Days by William Finnegan  Wind, Sand, and Stars by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry Buddhism without Beliefs by Stephen Batchelor If you like this episode, check out: What Buddhism got right about the human brain You will love this conversation with Jaron Lanier, but I can’t describe it 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.com You 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 Geld Researcher - Roge Karma Engineer - Jeff Geld Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
October 28, 2019
Welcome to the first episode of our climate cluster. This isn’t a series about whether “the science is real” on climate change. This is a series about what the science says — and what it means for our lives, our politics, and our future. I suspect I’m like a lot of people in that I accept that climate change is bad. What I struggle with is how bad. Is it an existential threat that eclipses all else? One of many serious problems politics must somehow address? I wanted to kick off the series with someone who knows the science cold. Kate Marvel is a research scientist at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies and a professor at Columbia University’s Department of Applied Physics and Mathematics. But Marvel isn’t just a leading climate scientist. She’s also unique in her focus on the stories we tell each other, and ourselves, about climate change, and how they end up structuring our decisions. We discuss: - How a climate model actually works - Why this is the good place - Why there is so much variation in climate scientists’ predictions about global temperature increases - Why global warming is only one piece of the much larger problem of climate change - Why a hotter planet is more conducive to natural disasters - The frightening differences between a world that experiences a 2°C temperature increase as opposed to a 5°C temperature increase - Whether the threat of climate change requires solutions that break the boundaries of conventional politics - The underlying stories that animate much of the climate debate - Whether the planet can sustain continued economic growth - What it means to “live morally” amid climate change And much more... Book recommendations: Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler Parable of the Talents by Octavia Butler Annihilation by Jeff Vendermeer 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.com You 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 Geld Researcher - Roge Karma Engineer - Ernie Erdat Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
October 24, 2019
“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 limits Book recommendations: How Asia Works by Joe Studwell Law Without Future by Jack Jackson Democracy in Chains by Nancy McLean 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.com You 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 Geld Researcher - Roge Karma Engineer - Topher Routh Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
October 21, 2019
Hey EK Show listeners! Something different today. The first episode of my new podcast: Impeachment, Explained. This was the week of confessions. Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney admitted to a Trump administration quid quo pro with Ukraine, with cameras rolling. EU Ambassador Gordon Sondland confirmed that President Trump made Rudy Giuliani the hinge of America’s Ukraine policy. And then the administration announced that the location for the upcoming G7 summit: Trump’s own resort in Doral, Florida. We break down the three stories that mattered most in impeachment this week. And then we dig into the four words that will shape the entire impeachment fight: “High Crimes and Misdemeanors.” What did they mean when they were added to the Constitution? How have they been interpreted through American history? And do Trump’s acts qualify? Listen to the first episode here, and subscribe to Impeachment, Explained, on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Overcast, Pocket Casts, or your favorite podcast app to get stay updated on this story every week. References: "Indispensable Remedy: The Broad Scope of the Constitution’s Impeachment Power" by Gene Healy "The case for normalizing impeachment" by Ezra Klein Want to contact the show? Reach out at ezrakleinshow@vox.com Credits: Producer and Editor - Jeff Geld Researcher - Roge Karma Engineers - Malachi Broadus & Jeremey Dalmas Theme music composed by Jon Natchez Special thanks to Liz Nelson Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
October 17, 2019
How do you feel right now? Excited to listen to your favorite podcast? Anxious about the state of American politics? Annoyed by my use of rhetorical questions? These questions seem pretty straightforward. But as my guest today, psychologist Lisa Feldman Barrett, points out there is a lot more to emotion than meets the mind. Barrett is a superstar in her field. She’s a professor of psychology at Northeastern University, holds appointments at Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital, and has received various prestigious awards for her pioneering research on emotion. Her most recent book How Emotions Are Made: The Secret Life of the Brain argues that emotions are not biologically hardwired into our brains but constructed by our minds. In other words, we don’t merely feel emotions — we actively create them. Barrett’s work has potentially radical implications. If we take her theory seriously, it follows that the ways we think about our daily emotional states, diagnose illnesses, interact with friends, raise our children, and experience reality all need some serious adjusting, if not complete rethinking. If you enjoyed this episode, you should check out: A mind-expanding conversation with Michael Pollan The cognitive cost of poverty (with Sendhil Mullainathan) Will Storr on why you are not yourself  A mind-bending, reality-warping conversation with John Higgs Book recommendations:  Naming the Mind by Kurt Danzinger  The Island of Knowledge by Marcelo Gleiser  The Accidental Species by Henry Gee Sense and Nonsense by Kevin L. Laland Want to contact the show? Reach out at ezrakleinshow@vox.com Subscribe to Impeachment, Explained on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Overcast, Pocket Casts, or your favorite podcast app to get stay updated on this story every week. Credits: Producer and Editor - Jeff Geld Researcher - Roge Karma Recording engineer - Cynthia Gil Field engineer - Joseph Fridman The Ezra Klein Show is a production of the Vox Media Podcast Network Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
October 14, 2019
In his brilliant 2014 book Nothing is True and Everything is Possible, Soviet-born TV producer turned journalist Peter Pomerantsev described 21st-century Russia as a political anomaly. He wrote about “a new type of authoritarianism” that waged war on reality by peddling conspiracy theories, disregarding the notion of truth, and framing all political opposition as the enemy of the people. Sound familiar? Upon leaving Russia, Pomerantsev found that the world around him had been infected with the same post-truth disease he had diagnosed in Moscow. The war against reality had spread across the globe, from London and Washington, DC, to Mexico City and Manila, Philippines. All over the place, the same values that had once defined liberal democracy — free speech, pluralism, the open exchange of ideas — were now being used to undermine it. This development became the centerpiece of his dizzying new book This is Not Propaganda, and it is the focal point of our conversation. We discuss: - How information went from being the tool of dissidents to the tool of authoritarians - Why Russia developed modern, post-truth politics first - The tactics that spin doctors and troll farms use to warp our sense of reality - How the end of the Cold War triggered a global descent into relativist chaos - How liberal democratic values like free speech and pluralism are being used to undermine liberal democracy - Why “all politics is now about creating identity” - Whether it is possible to organize the internet democratically - Why the informational chaos of digital politics is much worse outside the US - The worst butchering of a guest’s name in the show’s history And much more. Taking a step back from our current moment, American politics is now dominated by the internal machinations of the post-Soviet political systems Pomerantsev specializes in understanding. To see our politics clearly requires seeing their politics clearly. References: For a Left Populism by Chantal Mouffe On Populist Reason by Ernest Laclau Book recommendations: The Asthenic Syndrome by Kira Muratova (film) History becomes Form by Boris Groys If you enjoyed this conversation, you may also like: Jia Tolentino on what happens when life is an endless performance Want to contact the show? Reach out at ezrakleinshow@vox.com News comes at you fast. Join us at the end of your day to understand it. Subscribe to Today, Explained Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
October 10, 2019
As US surgeon general from 2014 to 2017, Vivek Murthy visited communities across the United States to talk about issues like addiction, obesity, and mental illness. But he found that what Americans wanted to talk to him about the most was loneliness. Loneliness isn’t simply painful, it’s lethal. Several meta-studies have found the mortality risk associated with loneliness is higher than that of obesity and equivalent to smoking 15 cigarettes per day. So, Murthy decided to label loneliness a public health “epidemic,” a term that medical professionals don’t throw around lightly. Murthy’s advocacy has changed the national discourse around loneliness. However, this isn’t a conversation simply about loneliness as a public health problem: It is about loneliness as a deeply painful lived experience — one that both Murthy and I are all too familiar with. There’s a lot in this conversation. Murthy’s explanation of how loneliness acts on the body is worth the time, all on its own. It’ll change how you see the relationship between social experience and physical health. But the broader message here is deeper: You are not alone in your loneliness. None of us are. And the best thing we can do is, often, helping someone else out of the very pit we’re in. References: Ezra's conversation with Johann Hari on the causes of depression Murthy's article that called loneliness an "epidemic" KFF/Economist poll of loneliness in US, UK and Japan Book recommendations: Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albolm Conversations with God by Neale Donald Walsch Dear Madam President by Jennifer Palmieri Want to contact the show? Reach out at ezrakleinshow@vox.com News comes at you fast. Join us at the end of your day to understand it. Subscribe to Today, Explained Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
October 7, 2019
Racism is one of the most morally charged words in the English language. It is typically understood as a form of deep inner prejudice — something that people actively feel and consciously express. My guest today, Ibram X. Kendi, wants to redefine racism. He defines the idea simply: support for policies that widen racial inequality. Kendi is a professor of African-American Studies and director of the Antiracist Policy Center at American University. His National Book Award-winning Stamped From the Beginning argued that racist policies beget racist ideas, not the other way around. His new book, How to Be an Antiracist, is a continuation of that project. It focuses on racism as a structural ecosystem that black people face, not a prejudice that white people feel. The implications of this redefinition are far-reaching. Are you a racist if you loathe people who aren’t of your race but don’t want to pass policy on it? Are you a racist if you tried to narrow racial inequality but your program backfired? In this conversation, we map the boundaries of Kendi’s definition and its implications. We discuss his admission that he “used to be racist most of the time,” his argument against racial integration, whether it’s giving too much power to policy to blame it for all racial inequality, whether the word “racist” is too charged for the more nuanced conversations we need to have, the meta-philosophy behind African-American studies, and much more. Book recommendations: Autobiography of Malcolm X (as told to Alex Haley) The Souls of Black Folk by W.E.B. DuBois Fatal Invention by Dorothy Roberts Want to contact the show? Reach out at ezrakleinshow@vox.com News comes at you fast. Join us at the end of your day to understand it. Subscribe to Today, Explained 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 Register to attend the live Ezra Klein Show taping in SF Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
October 3, 2019
Malcolm Gladwell’s work is nothing short of an intellectual adventure. Sometimes, as in his podcast Revisionist History, he takes something small and mundane — a hockey statistic, a semicolon, a verbal tic — and draws a broad, sweeping conclusion that shatters your worldview. Other times, as in his new book Talking to Strangers, he takes something big and contentious — the death of Sandra Bland, the wrongful conviction of Amanda Knox, the ponzi scheme of Bernie Madoff — and produces insights that challenge conventional wisdom, leaving you wondering how you missed what he saw all along. In either case, once you’ve experienced what Gladwell has to say, you can never see things in quite the same way again. This conversation is an adventure of its own. We cover everything from the secrets behind Gladwell’s creative process to the basic social ingredient that undergirds all of modern society to the story of how an entire field office of the CIA got infiltrated by Cuban spies — and what that teaches us about human nature. So, tune in and be a part of this adventure with us. Books recommendations: Exit, Voice, and Loyalty by Albert Hirschman The Journalist and the Murderer by Janet Malcolm The Fall of Heaven: The Pahlavis and the Final Days of Imperial Iran by Andrew Scott Cooper Want to contact the show? Reach out at ezrakleinshow@vox.com News comes at you fast. Join us at the end of your day to understand it. Subscribe to Today, Explained 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 Register to attend the live Ezra Klein Show taping in SF Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
September 30, 2019
Danielle Allen directs Harvard’s Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics. She’s a political theorist, and a philosopher, and the principal investigator of the Democratic Knowledge Project. I talk about democracy a lot on this show, but it’s her life’s work. I've tried a bunch of different descriptions here, but they fail the conversation. I loved this one. Don’t make me cheapen it by describing it. Just download it. References: Talking to Strangers by Danielle Allen "Building a Good Jobs Economy" by Dani Rodrik and Charles Sabel Book recommendations: "Politics and the English Language" by George Orwell "What America Would Be Like Without Blacks" by Ralph Ellison Men in Dark Times by Hannah Arendt Want to contact the show? Reach out at ezrakleinshow@vox.com News comes at you fast. Join us at the end of your day to understand it. Subscribe to Today, Explained 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 Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
September 26, 2019
Samantha Power reported from the killing fields of Bosnia. She watched a genocide that could’ve been stopped years earlier grind on amidst international indifference. What she saw there led to A Problem From Hell, her Pulitzer-prize winning exploration of why the world permits genocide to happen. She emerged as a fierce critic of America’s morally lax foreign policy, a position that led to a friendship with Barack Obama, and then a series of top jobs in his administration, culminating in ambassador to the UN. Power’s new book, The Education of an Idealist, is a memoir of this journey. It is rare that an outspoken critic of the foreign policy establishment becomes so powerful within it. But that’s what makes Power’s career, and the lessons she learned, so interesting. In this conversation we discuss: - What causes ordinary people to participate in genocide - Why policymakers so often fail to respond to genocide before it is too late - Whether foreign policy decisions are too restrained by the overreaches and mistakes of the previous generation - Power’s reflections on Libya, Syria, South Sudan, and more - How the US’s inconsistent moral stances undermine its strategic interests - The blurry line between morality and strategy in foreign policy - How the next administration should handle US relationships with China and Russia. - The case for being “unreasonable,” even as a policymaker And much more. This conversation is weedsy at times, but in a way that I think is telling: It’s a window into the agonizing complexity and impossible choices that define foreign policymaking. Book recommendations: Switch by the Heath Brothers The Abandonment of the Jews by David S. Wyman A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf Want to contact the show? Reach out at ezrakleinshow@vox.com News comes at you fast. Join us at the end of your day to understand it. Subscribe to Today, Explained 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 Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
September 23, 2019
In The Meritocracy Trap, Daniel Markovits argues that meritocracy — a system set-up to expand opportunity, reduce inequality and end aristocracy — has become exactly what it was set up to combat: a mechanism for intergenerational wealth transfer that leaves everyone worse off in the process. Markovits isn’t only challenging a system; he is challenging the system that I (and probably most of you) have been part of for our entire lives. For better or worse, Meritocracy is the water we swim in. We implicitly accept its values, practices, arguments, and assumptions because they govern our everyday lives. This interview was a chance for me to exit the water. Maybe it will be for you as well. Book recommendations: The Rise of the Meritocracy by Michael Young The Race between Education and Technology by Claudia Goldin and Lawrence F. Katz "Technical Change, Inequality, and The Labor Market" (article) by Daron Acemoglu Want to contact the show? Reach out at ezrakleinshow@vox.com News comes at you fast. Join us at the end of your day to understand it. Subscribe to Today, Explained 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 Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
September 19, 2019
“The truth is that as much democracy as this nation has today” writes Nikole Hannah-Jones “it has been borne on the backs of black resistance.” Hannah-Jones is an investigative journalist at the New York Times Magazine, the winner of MacArthur Genius Grant (among countless other awards), and, most recently, the creator of the New York Times’ 1619 project, which explores the ways slavery shaped America. As Hannah-Jones points out, no group in American history has more to teach us about what it means to live out the practice of democracy, in its most difficult and graceful form, than African-Americans. We also discuss: - The economics of slavery, and the role of the cotton gin - Why it took a civil war to end slavery in America, but not elsewhere - What it means to love a country that doesn’t love you back - Whether busing worked - Why Southern schools are the most racially integrated in the US - The long-term effects of school integration - Whether class-based policies can solve racial inequity - What America can learn from Cuba - Whether racism blocked social democracy in America - Whether any presidential candidates has a serious school integration plan - Why housing and education segregation are so rarely discussed by politicians - Why Hannah-Jones dislikes “gifted and talented” programs in school And much more. References: Hannah-Jones' opening essay of the 1619 project Hannah-Jones' essay on choosing a school for her daughter Book recommendations: Black Reconstruction in America 1860-1880 W.E.B. DuBois The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson The Race Beat by Gene Roberts and Hank Klibanoff Want to contact the show? Reach out at ezrakleinshow@vox.com News comes at you fast. Join us at the end of your day to understand it. Subscribe to Today, Explained 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: www.voxmedia.com/podsurvey.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
September 16, 2019
I’m not usually a fanboy on this podcast, but this episode is the exception. I love the web-comic XKCD. I’ve had prints of it hanging in my house for years. It’s nerdy and humane, curious and kind. And every so often, it’s explosively, crazily creative, in ways that leave me floored. Like the Hugo-award winning “Time,” a 3,099 frame animation that unspooled every hour for over four months. Or the book Thing Explainer, which used only the 1,000 most common words in the English language to explain some of the hardest ideas in the world. XKCD is the work of one person, Randall Munroe, and I’ve wanted to talk with him for years. Now he’s out with a new book, How To: Absurd Scientific Advice for Common Real-World Problems, and I got my chance. The episode covers: - The simple places Munroe draws inspiration for his ideas - The fact that scientists still don’t know how lightning works or why ice is slippery - How pedantry kills creativity - Why aliens probably build suspension bridges like we do - The superpower of refusing to be embarrassed by what you don’t know - How to retain a sense of wonder as you age - Whether the water of Niagra Falls can fit through a straw - How to dig a hole - How a priest in 1590 intuited dozens of scientific discoveries centuries before they were officially discovered - And, most importantly, the best book recommendations I think I’ve ever heard on the show This one was a pleasure. References: Jimmy Carter's Voyager letter Book recommendations: Natural and Moral History of the Indies by José de Acosta Because Internet by Gretchen McCulloch Murmurs of Earth: The Voyager Interstellar Record by Carl Sagan (and others) Want to contact the show? Reach out at ezrakleinshow@vox.com News comes at you fast. Join us at the end of your day to understand it. Subscribe to Today, Explained Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
September 12, 2019
I’m careful about inviting politicians onto this podcast. Too often, questions go unanswered, and frustrated emails flood my inbox. So I only bring on candidates now if there’s a conversation directly related to themes of this show. In this case, there is. There’s a quiet moral radicalism powering Julián Castro’s presidential campaign. Laced through his policy agenda are proposals to decriminalize the movements of undocumented immigrants, to involve the homeless in housing policy, to establish American obligations to those displaced by climate change, to protect animals from human cruelty. This is an agenda to expand the moral circle. To redefine who counts in the “we” of American politics. I asked Castro if this wasn’t all a step too far, if Democrats didn’t need to play it safer to eject Trump from office in 2020. This broader moral vision, he replied, “is not just trying to backfill the negative. It gives people a positive purpose that they can reach for. That’s what I’m trying to do.” This is a candidate interview worth hearing. Book recommendations: Influence by Robert Cialdini The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros Roots: The Saga of an American Family by Alex Haley Read the transcript of this interview here Want to contact the show? Reach out at ezrakleinshow@vox.com News comes at you fast. Join us at the end of your day to understand it. Subscribe to Today, Explained Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
September 9, 2019
Imagine, for a moment, what it’s like to be an animal rights activist. Tens of billions of animals are being tortured and slaughtered every year. It is, to you, a rolling horror. But to the people you love, the world you live in — it’s normal. You’re the weird one. So what do you do? How do you engage, politically and personally, when so few see what you see? Leah Garcés is the Executive President of Mercy for Animals and the author of Grilled: Turning Adversaries into Allies to Change the Chicken Industry ,which documents her journey to reduce the suffering of chickens by building coalitions with none other than well… industrial chicken farmers. I wanted Garcés on the show because her story is about more than animal suffering. It’s about the core question of politics: the choice we face, every day, between condemnation and compromise. Whether your issue is health care or climate or civil rights or abortion or taxes or foreign policy, you’re faced daily with people working for a world you find repellent. What do you do when they’re the majority and you’re the minority? How do you maintain your own morality when the system itself is sick? When do you draw bright lines, and when do you erase the lines you’ve spent your life drawing? This conversation gets uncomfortable at times — the realities of factory farming are not easy to face. But, trust me, you will want to stick with it. Garcés offers an extraordinary lesson in the daily practice of politics, one worth hearing even if it’s not ultimately your path. Book recommendations: Meat Racket by Christopher Leonard Big Chicken by Maryn McKenna Illumination in the Flatwoods: A Season with the Wild Turkey by Joe Hutto    Read the transcript of this interview here If you enjoyed this podcast, you may also like: The Green Pill Bruce Friedrich on how technology will reduce animal suffering Want to contact the show? Reach out at ezrakleinshow@vox.com News comes at you fast. Join us at the end of your day to understand it. Subscribe to Today, Explained Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
September 5, 2019
Hello everyone. I'm Jane Coaston, senior politics reporter at Vox with a focus on conservatism (Ezra will be back from vacation next week). "Antiracism… is now a new and increasingly dominant religion” writes John McWhorter, “it is what we worship, as sincerely and fervently as many worship God and Jesus.” McWhorter is a Professor of English at Columbia University, a contributing editor to The Atlantic, and an outspoken critic of what he calls “third-wave antiracism.” He believes that our increasingly religious national discourse around race -- with its focus on “safe spaces,” “wokeness” and “white privilege” -- is not only wrongheaded, but even dangerous. But McWhorter isn't that easy to pin down. He acknowledges racism’s pernicious effects on communities of color, but believes that while we are busy calling out individual racism, we are ignoring the issues that most impact black lives: an endless War on Drugs, an unequal education system, and attacks on reproductive and voting rights. In this conversation, we explore what terms like “woke” and “diversity” actually mean, the types of issues that really do impact black communities, the legacy of the #BlackLivesMatter movement, the potential virtues of virtue signaling, why The Phantom Menace was (objectively) a terrible movie and much more. I hope y’all have as much fun with this conversation as I did. References: John's essay "The Virtue Signalers Won’t Change the World" Book recommendations: A Death in the Rainforest: How a Language and a Way of Life Came to an End in Papua New Guinea by Don Kulick American Pastoral by Philip Roth Furious Hours: Murder, Fraud, and the Last Trial of Harper Lee by Casey Cep Follow Jane on Twitter @cjane87 Want to contact the show? Reach out at ezrakleinshow@vox.com News comes at you fast. Join us at the end of your day to understand it. Subscribe to Today, Explained Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
September 2, 2019
Hello, everybody! I'm Jane Coaston, senior politics reporter at Vox with a focus on conservatism. Today, I'm speaking with Conor Friedersdorf, a staff writer for the Atlantic, who has been navigating the fractious divides within the conservative movement since long before 2016. Friedersdorf is extremely hard to pin down. His intellectual hero is Friedrich Hayek and he believes the Supreme Court “ought to thwart the will of democratic and legislative majorities.” He’s also staunchly anti-war, an outspoken critic of police brutality, and has even occasionally praised Bernie Sanders. This is what makes Friedersdorf so interesting to talk to: He doesn't fall neatly along partisan lines. We discuss a lot here: the importance of police reform; the way the term “racism” is used and misused in American politics; the future of the GOP; and what it means to be politically homeless in Trump's America. References: "A question for conservatives: what if the left was right on race?" by Jane Coaston, Vox "What Ails the Right Isn’t (Just) Racism" by Conor Friedersdorf, the Atlantic Book recommendations: The Authoritarian Dynamic by Karen Stenner Kindly Inquisitors by Jonathan Rauch The Constitution of Liberty by Friedrich A. Hayek Want to contact the show? Reach out at ezrakleinshow@vox.com News comes at you fast. Join us at the end of your day to understand it. Subscribe toToday, Explained Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
August 29, 2019
I don’t usually begin interviews with the question “who the hell are you?” But, then again, not every guest is John Higgs. I fell into Higgs’s work by accident. An offhand recommendation of his book on the KLF, a British band that burnt a million pounds but couldn’t explain why they did it. What’s unusual is that I’ve not quite been able to climb back out of it. Higgs’s work is reality-warping. Once you put on his lenses, it’s hard to take them back off. At the center of Higgs’s strange, brilliant books — his heterodox history of the 20th century, his biography of Timothy Leary, his tour of “metamodernism” — is a single, urgent question: How do we understand the world around us even as advances in physics, psychology, art, pharmacology, and philosophy shatter our frames of reference? This conversation takes some wild turns, but trying to describe it would do it a disservice. Just trust me on this one. It’s good to mess with your reality every once in awhile. References: John Higgs’s conversation with Alan Moore What the Dormouse Said: How the Sixties Counterculture Shaped the Personal Computer Industry by John Markoff Book Recommendations: The Patterning Instinct by Jeremy Lent Cosmic Trigger I by Robert Anton Wilson From Hell by Alan Moore Want to contact the show? Reach out at ezrakleinshow@vox.com News comes at you fast. Join us at the end of your day to understand it. Subscribe to Today, Explained Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
August 26, 2019
The introduction to Jia Tolentino’s Trick Mirror: Reflections on Self-Delusion, hit me hard. In her investigation of how American politics and culture had collapsed into “an unbearable supernova of perpetually escalating conflict,” she became obsessed with five intersecting problems: “First, how the internet is built to distend our sense of identity; second, how it encourages us to overvalue our opinions; third, how it maximizes our sense of opposition; fourth, how it cheapens our understanding of solidarity; and, finally, how it destroys our sense of scale." Yeah, me too. What sets Tolentino’s work apart, though, is that it’s not about the internet — it’s about how people are living their real, everyday lives in the age of the internet. This is a conversation about what happens when technology combines with the most powerful forces of human psychology to transform the nature of human interaction itself. It’s about how we construct and express our core sense of self, and what that’s doing to who we really are. References: The art of attention (with Jenny Odell) Book Recommendations: On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong Random Family: Love, Drugs, Trouble, and Coming of Age in the Bronx by Adrian Nicole LeBlanc Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City by Matthew Desmond Want to contact the show? Reach out at ezrakleinshow@vox.com News comes at you fast. Join us at the end of your day to understand it. Subscribe to Today, Explained Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
August 22, 2019
Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor is an associate professor of African-American Studies at Princeton University and the author of multiple books, including most recently How We Get Free: Black Feminism and the Combahee River Collective, which traces the origins of the term “identity politics” back to its very first use. “Since 1977,” she writes, “that term has been used, abused, and reconfigured into something foreign to its creators.” Taylor’s intellectual history is driven by more than curiosity: it’s part of a larger vision that views racism and our contemporary economic system as inextricably linked. This is a conversation full of tough questions. What constitutes identity politics? When is it inclusive, and when is it exclusive? Is racism a function of capitalism or is it constant across economic systems? How did Barack Obama’s presidency lead to Donald Trump’s? What can stop future Democrats from running into the very same institutional strongholds that plagued Obama? Book recommendations: Black Reconstruction by W.E.B DuBois Selected poems of John Wieners Women, Race and Class by Angela Davis ******************************************************* Want to contact the show? Reach out at ezrakleinshow@vox.com News comes at you fast. Join us at the end of your day to understand it. Subscribe to Today, Explained: http://bit.ly/todayexplained Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
August 19, 2019
Imagine a society whose rulers suppress free speech, free association, even bathroom breaks. Where the government owns the means of production. Where the leader is self-appointed or hand-selected by a group of wealthy oligarchs. Where exile or emigration can have severe, even life-threatening, consequences. My guest today, University of Michigan Philosopher Elizabeth Anderson, writes that workplaces are “communist dictatorships in our midst.” Her book Private Government: How Employers Rule our Lives (and Why We Don’t Talk About It) draws an extended analogy between firms and tyrannical governments, each of which she believes hold extended, unaccountable power over people’s lives. Anderson is one for the most influential philosophers alive today, and her aim isn’t just to be provocative. It’s to argue that the ideals of representation, rights, and legitimacy that we apply to public governments should extend to private governments, too. And beyond that, it is to pose a question about the lenses through which we peer out at the world: “Why do we not recognize such a pervasive part of our social landscape for what it is?” I don’t agree with Anderson on every point, but she’s offering a gift: another framework for understanding the world in which we live. This is the kind of conversation that sticks with you, that leaves everything looking just a little bit different. References: "What is the point of equality?" by Elizabeth Anderson Book recommendations: What is Populism? by Jan Werner-Muller Communicating Moral Concern by Elise Springer The Racial Contract by Charles Mills Want to contact the show? Reach out at ezrakleinshow@vox.com Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
August 15, 2019
“The Constitution must be adapted to the problems of each generation,” writes Erwin Chemerisnky, “we are not living in the world of 1787 and should not pretend that the choices for that time can guide ours today.” Does that sentence read to you as obvious or offensive? Either way, it’s at the core of the constitutional debate between the left and the right — a debate the left all too often cedes to the right through disinterest. Chemerinsky is trying to change that. He’s the dean of UC Berkeley’s School of Law, a decorated constitutional scholar and lawyer, and the author of We the People: A Progressive Reading of the Constitution for the Twenty-First Century. At the core of Chemerinsky’s vision is the idea that the Constitution must be interpreted through the lens of the preamble: a crucial statement of intent, and one that establishes the US Constitution as one of the most adaptive and glitteringly progressive founding documents in the world. This is a conversation about both direct questions of constitutional interpretation and the meta-questions of constitutional debate in a polarized age. What, for instance, does it mean that so much turned on Mitch McConnell’s blockade against Merrick Garland? Is this just a legal debating club disguising the exercise of raw power? What should progressive constitutionalists make of proposals to expand the Supreme Court? What would be different today if Hillary Clinton had filled Scalia’s seat? Book recommendations: Simple Justice by Richard Kluger (1975) American Constitutional Law by Larry Tribe The Federalist Papers by James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, and John Jay The Boys of Summer by Roger Kahn The Chosen by Chaim Potok Want to contact the show? Reach out at ezrakleinshow@vox.com Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
August 12, 2019
The Democratic primary has been unexpectedly dominated by a single question: Will you abolish private health insurance? Wrapped in that question are dozens more. Why, if private health insurance is such a mess, do polls show most Americans want to keep it? What lessons should we take from the failure of past efforts at health reform? What does it mean to say “if you like your health insurance plan, you can keep it?” Matt Bruenig, the founder of the People’s Policy Project, is firmly in support of true single-payer. No compromise, no chaser. He’s frustrated by those, like me, who try to work around the public’s resistance to disruptive change, who treat past failures and current polls as predictions about the future. And, in turn, I’m often frustrated by Matt’s tendency, mirrored by many on the left, to treat people with similar goals but different theories of reform as villains and shills. In this podcast, Matt and I hash it out. The questions here are deep ones. When are political constraints real, and when are they invented by the people asserting their existence? If you already believe the political system is broken and corrupt, how can you entrust it to take over American health care? Can you cleave policy from politics? What would the ideal health care system look like, and why? Book recommendations: A Theory of Justice  by John Rawls What Is Property?  by P. J. Proudhon The Progressive Assault on Laissez Fair   by Barbara H. Fried Ezra’s recommended reading: One Nation, Uninsured  by Jill Quadagno Remedy and Reaction by Paul Starr It's the Institutions, Stupid! by Sven Steinmo, Jon Watts Want to contact the show? Reach out at ezrakleinshow@vox.com  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Loading earlier episodes...
    15
    15
      0:00:00 / 0:00:00