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The Ezra Klein Show

The Ezra Klein Show

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Ezra Klein brings you far-reaching conversations about hard problems, big ideas, illuminating theories, and cutting-edge research. Want to know how Stacey Abrams feels about identity politics? How Hasan Minhaj is reinventing political comedy? The plans behind Elizabeth Warren’s plans? How Michael Lewis reads minds? This is the podcast for you. Produced by Vox and the Vox Media Podcast Network.
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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
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.” 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
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
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
"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
“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
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
A master class in organizing

A master class in organizing

2020-03-1602:01:1913

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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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Comments (152)

John Hills

a San Francisco libturds fake news podcast. delete.....

Mar 22nd
Reply (1)

John Hills

who the fuck taught these feminine men how to talk? theese vox gurls sound exactly like a 1980' valley girl squalking at the mall.

Mar 14th
Reply

John Hills

who actually listens to these millennial twats go on and on about orange man bad...??? Trump 2020! liberalism is a mental disorder.

Mar 14th
Reply

Philly Burbs

if I thought I would be listening to the Biden show I would have never started this podcast. After the rigged Super Tuesday event, I refuse to allow anyone to mention him name in my presence.

Mar 14th
Reply

larry shiver

Guys I'm an Uber driver and I Gotta be honest, while I think your podcast is entirely relevant and fact filled, it is incredibly hard to listen too. My riders, they always ask me to turn away from your podcast in particular and I get it. Informationally speaking your episodes address very insightful, however your conversations easily devolve into way way too long monologues spoken so fast that they unnecessarily tests the processing power of your listeners. All this begs the question, like solo Jazz musicians are you doing this Podcast so you folks can hear yourselves or so that we, your audience can learn something? (Real question btw) If the Podcast is for our benefit and you're interested in my opinion, that a discussion. However here is a starting place... monologues on major issues must be slowed down and become conversational for your audience to absorb. You folks are everything I love and hate about Jazz. Mostly, you folks seem prone to soloing way too long, to the point of creative masturbation actually. Focus less on making your IQ's so apparent and more on being concerned about whether your audience is successfully processing the segment. add real time 'contemplate what we're saying' music along with some minor sound design. provide a moment's musical interlude for the audience to absorb major points. Make segments shorter so the audience can get a point and take a break to absorb and refresh. Making a show like this listen obal involves way more then putting 2 mikes on the table and your proficiency at circular talking. Bottom line, add real production values that magnify message absorption and watch your viewership grow. More questions? gotgreatfriends@gmail.com PS At its core, this is an important podcast. Good luck folks!

Mar 2nd
Reply (1)

Jack Jennaway

Wow. I have read some Ta-Nehisi Coetes, but I've never heard him speak before. He's hilarious!

Feb 17th
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Matt Butters

Very telling that Hasan calls groups like Boko Haram and ISIS "quote unquote terrorist groups".

Feb 7th
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Philly Burbs

Unlike Bloomberg, Tom Snyder followed the rules. I like his ideas. I'm afraid he'd going to split the vote & help Trump win again. No matter how low his numbers are he continues.

Feb 6th
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Vernon Shoemaker

"Institution" is a numinous term and temperament is an approach to that. An older word that suggests institution is "covenant" and is contractual involving a legal framework. This empowers institutional members to accomplish certain tasks. If those tasks are not constructive, or unclear, those institutions will turn their business to conflict with other institutions or individual players outside of their group. This is an irresponsible distraction. An institution is not an absolute good. Where it has betrayed it's ideals or lost track of it's purpose, it should be questioned and reformed. It's members don't derive their identity from belonging, they belong to fulfill a common purpose. "The answer to irresponsibility is responsibility.". Wow!

Jan 25th
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Cheri Anderson Phillips

she talks too fast through most of this, making it difficult to process

Jan 1st
Reply (1)

Gregory Brokaw

1:06:58 Ecomodernism

Dec 25th
Reply (1)

Douglas Ashby

Mr Griffith has some pretty good ideas for converting grid tied energy consumers to alternative sources. But, I heard next to nothing about how to convert our transportation sector. How is he going to fuel the trains, planes and ships that move just about everything. How about the various mining industries that extract metals and other materials that are necessary for all our products. Then there's the agricultural sector that produces and moves our food. Near the end he mentioned that small planes can travel at highway speeds nearly as efficiently as cars. That comes nowhere near fulfilling the need for cargo and passenger planes that are vital to our economy. Also, how much fossil fuel will be burnt producing the alternative energy producers to power the grid? There just seems to be a lot of gaps in his plans.

Dec 22nd
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Peter DeBoer

Pockets of uninhabitable land is bad, but a lot better than a global climate catastrophe. It's as simple as that for me, even if we don't deal with nuclear waste properly.

Dec 17th
Reply (1)

Natalie Schreiber

Furthermore, have you even read the GND put out by Bernie Sanders? He does address this stuff but the media is intent on ignoring him. smh, smh.

Dec 16th
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Natalie Schreiber

my concern about nuclear power is the waste. I live near a nuclear waste site that will be uninhabitable for literally thousands of years. it's irresponsible. why did you not even address this?

Dec 16th
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Daniel Becce

Ezra claims that listeners can't be ethical if they aren't reviewing podcasts. Unless you spend your days behind a MacBook keyboard, this is a high bar. Try leaving a review from a PC, Android, or even an iPhone 6. The reviewing process is what is most broken about podcasting.

Dec 9th
Reply (1)

Gary Haase

Fans of the EPL intuitively get this. #COYS

Nov 29th
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Keyser soze

When your argument can be boiled down to " things were better in the dark ages, the early ones, not those highfalutin later ones," you may have a problem...

Nov 26th
Reply (1)

Grant Robbins

This was a great podcast.

Nov 19th
Reply (1)

Olga Musayev

Isn't Ezra Klein 35? That makes him technically a millennial, but definitely not a Boomer, regardless.

Nov 16th
Reply
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