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Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Snarkiness

Author: libertysnark

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An interdisciplinary team of millennials discuss politics and pop culture, all without taking themselves too seriously! From psychology to history to political philosophy to movie reviews, tune in every Tuesday for a snarky overview of what's going on in the world!
128 Episodes
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Aaron and Jason continue their “Great Leaders You Should Know” discussion, this time examining Saladin, the famed opponent of Richard the Lionheart during the Crusades. Along the way, they discuss the background of the Crusades themselves, how looking to ancient figures can inform our attitudes and behaviors in the modern socio-political arena, and what a Kurdish sultan has to teach us today. Theme-song information: Music from YouTube Audio Library [Aka YAL] Music provided by RFM: https://youtu.be/hMLSa6-cXT0 --- Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/libertysnark/message
A long episode for a big topic! As one of the newly-inaugurated President Biden’s first acts was to abolish and retract the report from the 1776 commission, we figured we should revisit the 1776 commission not only because of its fundamental undermining of good teaching of history, but also because of what their published report represents more broadly. Rachel Yerke, a museum curator, joins Aaron to discuss the 1776 Commission Report, including what it represents societally, specific problems with what it reports as “history,” and why it is so dangerous to the study of history more broadly. A link to the actual 1776 Commission Report, now hosted by the Heritage Foundation: https://thf_media.s3.amazonaws.com/2021/The-Presidents-Advisory-1776-Commission.pdf Victor Davis Hanson on the 1776 report: https://www.abqjournal.com/2196748/thoughts-on-the-nowcanceled-1776-commission-report.html Mike Gonzalez on why President Biden’s revocation of the 1776 project is a “war on history”: https://www.heritage.org/american-founders/commentary/bidens-disbanding-1776-commission-shows-lefts-war-us-history?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=thf-fb&fbclid=IwAR3ekBURrGtHFcB3GJFxdgLoEWrrVt2LlRuu3Iy7mSZAmmwC7jLGuq5oaWA Former Oxford Historian Richard Carwardine on the 1619 Project: https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2019/12/31/carw-d31.html Stanford Historian Clayborne Carson on the 1619 Project:https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2020/01/15/clay-j15.html Clarence Page on the 1776 Unites project - a non-nationalist, rigorously researched alternative to former President Trump’s efforts: https://www.chicagotribune.com/columns/clarence-page/ct-column-trump-1776-report-history-slavery-page-20210122-gabpnpb2vrfoxhzn3u636jiree-story.html Theme-song information: Music from YouTube Audio Library [Aka YAL] Music provided by RFM: https://youtu.be/hMLSa6-cXT0 --- Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/libertysnark/message
As we wait with baited breath to see what next act of stupidity/treason might or might not occur in the wake of the election, Aaron and Jason decide to take a step back into history to see what we can learn from great leaders beyond America. In the first of this ongoing series, the hosts discuss precisely why we should study such leaders, the criteria for how we’ll be engaging with and evaluating these figures, and finally, our first great leader you should know, King Alfred the Great of Wessex. Theme-song information: Music from YouTube Audio Library [Aka YAL] Music provided by RFM: https://youtu.be/hMLSa6-cXT0 --- Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/libertysnark/message
Continuing our discussion of last week’s coup attempt, Aaron, Austin, and David discuss Trump’s pathetic attempts at “condemning” the violence, the whattaboutism comparisons between the coup and the BLM rallies over the summer, the right-wing argument that the capitol “belongs to all of us” and thus the coup was acceptable, the slippery slopes presented by the banning of Trump from Twitter in consequence of the coup, and why Aaron thinks the Capitol rotunda should be turned into a bouncy ball pit. The actual video of Trump’s “rebuke” : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p8PHImxb8Po International military allies on their view that Trump shares responsibility for the coup: https://www.businessinsider.com/trump-attempted-coup-federal-law-enforcement-capitol-police-2021-1?fbclid=IwAR0HhJSYzGYGwVChGda9Qm2bI2Ldqr-W0wmgbhjBbFK-gfDwm9R33TaQlCQ An interview with Professor Loretta Ross: https://www.wbur.org/onpoint/2020/12/03/feminist-scholar-loretta-ross-is-calling-out-cancel-culture Theme-song information: Music from YouTube Audio Library [Aka YAL] Music provided by RFM: https://youtu.be/hMLSa6-cXT0 --- Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/libertysnark/message
The events of last week’s riots in DC are too much for one episode, so we’re using it as an opportunity to catch up on the episodes we missed over the holidays! In Part 1 of this two-part discussion, Aaron, Austin, and David discuss the causes of the riots, including whether or not they count as a coup, whether or not Donald Trump is responsible for them, and Also brought up are Vegans and Sausages, “A-Women,” American Christianity’s refusal to acknowledge Hebrew, and David and Austin having a cross-denominational discussion of the history of Christianity in America. Rod Dreher’s coverage of the Jericho March: https://www.theamericanconservative.com/dreher/what-i-saw-at-the-jericho-march/ Rod Dreher’s further thoughts on the Jericho March: https://www.theamericanconservative.com/dreher/defense-of-jericho-march-criticism/ Videos of the “Sausage Roll” incident First, the stampede that Aaron mentioned: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xt3WAQ2nOuo Next, the chanting: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zP4mf-O-tkM --- Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/libertysnark/message
Tomorrow is Festivus, meaning that it’s time to air our grievances, and this week, Austin and Aaron air a lot of grievances with Trump’s legal team and election result challenges. Austin talks about why everything about this affair offends him as a lawyer, from the actors within it to the legal claims made to the rhetoric used outside the courtroom. Aaron brings up the dangers of the rhetoric used by Trump’s legal team, especially in their press briefings, and why this should worry all of us, regardless of our political affiliation. Also, “Big words, your honor” needs to become a meme and we are calling out to you to help us make this happen. AP Article with a list of the election challenges and results: https://apnews.com/article/judge-throws-out-trump-suit-pennsylvania-87eaf4df86d5f6ccc343c3385c9ba86c The NYT on Trump’s Legal Team: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/12/03/us/politics/jenna-ellis-trump.html An amusing tale about the actual military of Lichtenstein that we think actually implies that Trump might have been better off actually trying to hire the Lichtenstein navy. Even though the actual country of Lichtenstein has no military, their imaginary fighting forces would be well suited to fight Trump’s imaginary foes: https://www.wearethemighty.com/mighty-history/liechtenstein-army-81-men-returned/ Theme-song information: Music from YouTube Audio Library [Aka YAL] Music provided by RFM: https://youtu.be/hMLSa6-cXT0 --- Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/libertysnark/message
In the spirit of the philosophy that “there is no bad time to talk about Good things,” Aaron and Jason decide to do a post-Thanksgiving autopsy of the Pilgrims and their legacy in America for the issues of self-government and religious freedom. The Lawrence Reed article quoted by Aaron: https://fee.org/articles/the-mayflower-compact-as-an-idea-america-began-in-1620-not-1776/ An overview of King Philip’s War, one of the major reasons that Aaron takes issue with the Pilgrims’ legacy: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uNXDplgft_g Theme-song information: Music from YouTube Audio Library [Aka YAL] Music provided by RFM: https://youtu.be/hMLSa6-cXT0 --- Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/libertysnark/message
After our two-week Thanksgiving break, Aaron and our Costco-brand Neuhaus discuss the recent comments from Evangelical intellectual Eric Metaxas, who claims that Trump won the election in a landslide and that Jesus is on Trump’s side. Aaron and David discuss the harmful nature of Metaxas’s comments, how his comments reflect on Christianity and Evangelicalism, and what David thinks should be the Christian response to the election results. An overview of Eric Metaxas’s statements: https://religionnews.com/2020/11/30/eric-metaxas-christian-radio-host-offers-to-lay-down-his-life-for-trump-election-triumph/ Dr. Joe Pierre on what distinguishes conspiracy theories from worldview such as religion: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/psych-unseen/202001/understanding-the-psychology-conspiracy-theories-part-1 Theme-song information: Music from YouTube Audio Library [Aka YAL] Music provided by RFM: https://youtu.be/hMLSa6-cXT0 --- Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/libertysnark/message
One of the more-ignored occurrences of our previous election day was the vast number of criminal justice reform referendums that passed. Aaron and Austin review several state questions, propositions, and other efforts aimed at reform, evaluating their practicality, effectiveness, and overall usefulness for the cause. Opinions are also given about gin, Cheetos, and Autocorrect. Time Magazine’s overview of how Criminal Justice Reform did on Election Day: https://time.com/5907794/2020-election-criminal-justice/ The ACLU’s post-mortem of the election’s criminal-justice-reform-related outcomes: https://www.aclu.org/news/smart-justice/criminal-justice-reform-takes-another-big-messy-step-forward-in-2020-elections/ An explanation for why Aaron said the word “Drugs!” the way he did that also serves as an important explanation of millennial culture: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=05CXzjS8HX4 Theme-song information: Music from YouTube Audio Library [Aka YAL] Music provided by RFM: https://youtu.be/hMLSa6-cXT0 --- Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/libertysnark/message
In honor of Armistice/Veteran’s Day this week, Aaron and Jason discuss the political antecedents to the oft-ignored (in American contexts) First World War. The hosts discuss how the century before the war influenced the war’s start, how the war became about Britain and Germany even though neither had anything to do with the events that sparked the conflict, and what lessons we can learn from WWI in the modern day. Theme-song information: Music from YouTube Audio Library [Aka YAL] Music provided by RFM: https://youtu.be/hMLSa6-cXT0 --- Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/libertysnark/message
The various and sundry hosts of the podcast come together on election day to discuss the least political topic they know, and the only one that helps them keep it together: alcohol. From college mistakes to myths about tequila to discussions of cheap beer, everything BUT the election is discussed. Theme-song information: Music from YouTube Audio Library [Aka YAL] Music provided by RFM: https://youtu.be/hMLSa6-cXT0 --- Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/libertysnark/message
While not giving their opinions on Justice Barrett specifically, Austin and Aaron tackle the topic of Originalism, Justice Barrett’s judicial philosophy, around which a number of critiques of her have centered. Austin gets actually outraged for the first time when addressing numerous critiques of originalism, while Aaron talks about the importance of taking statements and beliefs and theories in context. NOTE: Aaron’s microphone broke literally ten minutes before recording. He’ll have a new microphone soon! The Washington Post on Originalism: https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2020/10/17/originalism-diverse-america-how-does-amy-coney-barretts-judicial-philosophy-square-with-who-was-left-out-constitution/ Jamelle Bouie for the NYT on Originalism and the “Reinvention” of the Constitution in 1865: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/10/16/opinion/amy-coney-barrett-originalism.html Dahlia Lithwick for MSN on Originalism: https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/opinion/the-heartlessness-of-amy-coney-barrett-s-judicial-philosophy/ar-BB1a1t1s --- Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/libertysnark/message
In the wake of Indigenous Peoples’ day, as well as Donald Trump’s call for “patriotic” education, his Columbus day proclamation against those who seek to “destroy our history” by pointing out that Columbus was a terrible, terrible person, and his executive orders regarding the 1619 project, Aaron and Jason discuss philosophy of history. Jason brings up his belief that pedagogy should teach students how to think, not what to think, while Aaron brings up the problem of constructivism and how, since our perception is inherently subjective, our interpretations of history will be as well. Jason and Aaron also discuss their mutual teaching philosophies for their subjects of history and psychology. Theme-song information: Music from YouTube Audio Library [Aka YAL] Music provided by RFM: https://youtu.be/hMLSa6-cXT0 --- Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/libertysnark/message
Aaron and Austin continue their discussion of needed criminal justice reform. This week, they set their sights on prosecutors, and from the get-go, Aaron struggles against (and nearly breaks) the no-swearing rule. Aaron talks about why he thinks prosecutors are, in many ways, the “ultimate evil” of the justice system, why they are psychologically set up to become tyrannical, and how they serve as a perfect example of why systemic, “from the ground up” efforts are needed for criminal justice reform. Austin gives specific examples of prosecutorial misconduct that illustrates the fact that prosecutors have too much power and not enough accountability. Judge Frederic Block on the need for Prosecutorial Reform: https://www.themarshallproject.org/2018/03/13/let-s-put-an-end-to-prosecutorial-immunity?fbclid=IwAR0BEQYShMhH3wNq0RJGayuhUTuGmq-3dHlsJh_JEtNpzmNchW7gw7NnHXo An overview of Russell Faria’s case: https://www.law.umich.edu/special/exoneration/pages/casedetail.aspx?caseid=4792 Theme-song information: Music from YouTube Audio Library [Aka YAL] Music provided by RFM: https://youtu.be/hMLSa6-cXT0 --- Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/libertysnark/message
Recorded before President Trump’s nomination of Amy Coney Barrett, Aaron and Austin reflect on the legacy of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, looking beyond the Right-Wing talking points of Abortion and Gun Rights to see RBG’s legacy as a defender of individual rights and an advocate of the Fourth Amendment. While not agreeing with everything RBG did or stood for, both Aaron and Austin believe that she represents an unfortunately bygone era both for the Supreme Court itself and for politics at large in this country. The CATO Institute on RBG’s defense of the Fourth Amendment: https://www.cato.org/publications/commentary/us-supreme-court-8-1-suspends-fourth-amendment?fbclid=IwAR3Ae44Rz-RgsWZEfaJHZnaNy-CTLbito5ax8ZRR4Tykzre_7Tlkjmg-hWg Justices Ruth Bader Ginsberg and Antonin Scalia appearing together on the Kalb Report: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z0utJAu_iG4 Theme-song information: Music from YouTube Audio Library [Aka YAL] Music provided by RFM: https://youtu.be/hMLSa6-cXT0 --- Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/libertysnark/message
Continuing their discussion of needed criminal justice reform beyond stopping police shootings, Austin and Aaron discuss the news out of Florida where a Sheriff’s “intelligence-based policing” is basically “minority report for idiots.” In an episode that tests the podcast’s “no swearing rule” more than any that has come before it, Aaron and Austin discuss why this example serves as a case study for why the police need to have more guidelines for and limitations on their behavior, as well as discussing how the police already try to work around the limits they already have, such as Miranda Rights. Austin brings up how the court system, especially the Supreme Court, is complicit, and has been for years, in this sort of police abuse of power, especially with the issue of qualified immunity. Aaron brings up that people who think that they have nothing to fear from police officers’ refusal to abide by Miranda or Fourth Amendment Rights are not only wrong, but are also coming from a place of extreme privilege. They also talk about why Austin’s views on defendants’ rights place him in a minority in his field, and Aaron breaks Godwin’s law for the umpteenth time. The Tampa Times Article discussed in this episode: https://projects.tampabay.com/projects/2020/investigations/police-pasco-sheriff-targeted/intelligence-led-policing/?fbclid=IwAR1u37TZ8q4UuF6OmsgBpnxTlbWOvZdxHAaeiw8CTIjI4q8dAIHerytcwus Theme-song information: Music from YouTube Audio Library [Aka YAL] Music provided by RFM: https://youtu.be/hMLSa6-cXT0 --- Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/libertysnark/message
Given the recent societal interest in criminal justice reform, and in the wake of the exoneration of Mr. Curtis Flowers after 6 trials and 24 years of wrongful imprisonment, Aaron and Austin begin a series of conversations about issues surrounding the criminal justice system. While it’s a good thing that so many calls for criminal justice reform have begun with the issue of police brutality, there are so many other widespread issues, many of which impact every single person who interacts with the justice system, that must also be addressed in order to see tangible change and beneficial outcomes for criminal justice reform, which will be the subjects of numerous upcoming episodes, starting with this one. In this first conversation, they talk about the issue of coerced false confessions, how the American justice system is set up in such a way as to uniquely disadvantage innocent people when they are under interrogation, and how interrogation strategies make false confessions much more likely. Both Austin and Aaron talk about how coerced false confessions disadvantage people at every level of the justice system, from police to prosecutors to judges to juries, and discuss what tangible criminal justice reform in this area will look like. Dr. Saul Kassin on the issue of coerced false confessions: https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2019/06/psychologist-explains-why-people-confess-crimes-they-didn-t-commit A brief overview of the case of Juan Rivera: https://www.innocenceproject.org/cases/juan-rivera/ Theme-song information: Music from YouTube Audio Library [Aka YAL] Music provided by RFM: https://youtu.be/hMLSa6-cXT0 --- Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/libertysnark/message
A still-recovering-from-COVID Aaron (hence the excessively scratchy voice) is joined by fellow OU Alum, psychologist, and grad student Marie Altgilbers, whose research focuses on the study of conspiracy theories. Aaron and Marie discuss the QAnon conspiracy theory, as well as related conspiracy theories like Pizzagate, and discuss their broad-reaching influence, the harms that emerge from that influence within present American political discourse, and of course, their connection to President Trump. Along the way, Aaron and Marie discuss conspiracy theories more broadly, including topics like why people believe in conspiracy theories, what makes conspiracy theories harmful, and how we can “fix” conspiracy theories in our political society. The QAnon-related incident at the Hoover Dam that Marie references: https://www.azcentral.com/story/news/local/arizona/2020/02/11/man-who-blocked-hoover-dam-part-qanon-beliefs-takes-guilty-plea/4724161002/ More about QAnon’s links to terrorism (just a note, the comments section of this is a great example of how QAnon people respond to being called conspiracy theorists, even in the face of evidence showing them to be): https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2019/aug/1/fbi-says-qanon-conspiracy-theories-domestic-terror/ Even Fox News condemning QAnon and the president’s recent embracing of QAnon: https://www.foxnews.com/politics/trump-qanon-conspiracy-theory-first-time Theme-song information: Music from YouTube Audio Library [Aka YAL] Music provided by RFM: https://youtu.be/hMLSa6-cXT0 --- Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/libertysnark/message
As Pastor John McArthur takes on the state of California, Aaron is joined once again by Pastor David Keating to talk about the religious response to COVID, including the government public health regulations designed to prevent it, as well as discussion why it is that so many within organized Christianity seem to resist these public health measures. BioLogos’s Statement: https://statement.biologos.org/ Theme-song information: Music from YouTube Audio Library [Aka YAL] Music provided by RFM: https://youtu.be/hMLSa6-cXT0 --- Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/libertysnark/message
In the light of the upcoming miniseries “The Good Lord Bird,” Aaron and Jason are joined by Connor Gleason to discuss the circumstances, actions, and legacy of John Brown. They discuss the national circumstances surrounding slavery, including the Missouri Compromise, the Dred Scott case, and the caning of Charles Sumner, as well as how those events culminated in Bleeding Kansas, where John Brown made his name. Also discussed are raid on Harper’s Ferry, the legacy of John Brown in his own day, and what lessons, if any, we can learn from John Brown in the current day. Youtube historian Atun-Shei Films on the issue of even common Confederate soldiers explicitly fighting for slavery (language warning): https://youtu.be/nQTJgWkHAwI Theme-song information: Music from YouTube Audio Library [Aka YAL] Music provided by RFM: https://youtu.be/hMLSa6-cXT0 --- Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/libertysnark/message
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