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The Political Orphanage
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The Political Orphanage

Author: World's Smartest Podcast Network

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Politics minus bile plus jokes. Comedian and avowed independent Andrew Heaton interviews authors and thought leaders about policy and big thinky stuff. Then on Fridays he talks with degenerate comedian friends about funny headlines.
346 Episodes
How War Shapes Us

How War Shapes Us


Margaret MacMillan is a war historian, and the author of “War: How It Shaped Us.” She joins the show to discuss the nature of war, its history, what precipitates conflict, and how to avert it. Join the orphanage at: Tips: Venmo: andrew-heaton-1 PayPal:
Matt Ridley is a science writer and member of the House of Lords, and Alina Chan is a scientist and molecular biologist. They are the authors of the new book “Viral: The Search for the Origin of Covid-19.” They join the show to discuss the genesis of the pandemic, Chinese obfuscation, and how transparency is needed to forestall future plagues.
Andrew Yang Goes AWOL

Andrew Yang Goes AWOL


Andrew Yang just left the Democratic Party to form the Forward Party. He joins to discuss electoral reform, and his book “Forward: Notes on the Future of Our Democracy.” Justin Amash interview: Katherine Gehl interview: Pedde GoFundMe:
What Makes a Joke Offensive

What Makes a Joke Offensive


Dave Chappelle's new Netflix special "The Closer" unleashed a cultural firestorm over transgender comments. Is it offensive? What makes a joke offensive? Comedian Jeff Maurer joins to discuss. Friday Release Valve (comedy podcast) "I Might Be Wrong" (Jeff's newsletter)
John McWhorter joins the show to discuss the mindset of victimhood, and Wokeness as a new religion. His new book is “Woke Racism: How a New Religion Has Betrayed Black America” Support the Show: Buy the book:
Dr. Chuck Shipan is the author of “Why Bad Policies Spread (and Good Ones Don't)”. He is joined by Dr. Andrea Jones-Rooy, a comedian and political scientist, to discuss the forces and circumstances which lead to good and bad policy proliferation from state to state.
Perverse Incentives! Unintended Consequences! Today we explore how governments can screw things up by confusing incentives with dictating motivation or outcomes. Support the show: Tip me! Venmo: @andrew-heaton-1
George F. Will is a Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist, and the author of “American Happiness and Discontents: The Unruly Torrent, 2008-2020.” He joins the show to discuss the Culture War, failings of academia, jurisprudence, politics, and economics.  Find Mr. Will’s book at Previous George Will interview:
Robby Soave is a senior editor at Reason, and the author of "Tech Panic: Why We Shouldn't Fear Facebook and the Future." He comes to discuss politicians' misplaced anger with large tech companies, and why their fears are unfounded.   Find his book at:
Jason Feifer is the host of "Build for Tomorrow" (formerly "The Pessimist Archives") and joins the show to discuss why we needlessly react to new technologies with fear.   Did you know that society once balked at the dangerous technologies of radios, novels, and teddy bears? We get into all of them on today's show!   SUPPORT THE SHOW:
This week bonus episodes are going on the main feed, past the paywall! Here's a rerun from last year, about Napoleon Bonaparte, and the pitfalls of "liberating" other nations. To support the show, go to
How To Zero In On Reality

How To Zero In On Reality


The default position for politics is advocacy—promoting our team and opposing the other. Julia Galef proposes an alternate mindset, where we try to determine the reality of a situation even if it’s uncomfortable. She is the author of “The Scout Mindset: Why Some People See Things Clearly and Others Don’t.” Book at
The Khmer Rouge was a brutal communist regime that ruled Cambodia for only four years, but in that brief period entirely destroyed its economy, wiped out its intellectual class, and horribly murdered a quarter of its population. In this history episode we investigate one of the world's worst regimes, the depths of its depravity, and how it explains a specific type of terror present in other countries today. 
Joe Biden's Child Tax Credit sends direct money to families, no strings attached. Is it cutting down on wasteful bureaucracy and reducing hurdles to financial aid, or enabling a culture of joblessness? The World's Smartest Podcast Network rejoins to discuss, as well as: Rich People Island, the future of remote work, and Soviet Space dogs.
Friday Release Valve (where we kick around the best, underserved headlines of the week) is returning--but moving to its own podcast. New episodes will appear on the new show titled "Friday Release Valve," along with a backlog of old episodes, funny commercials, and sketches. To find the new show, go to or search for "Friday Release Valve" on your podcast player of choice.
Housing regulations have resulted in widespread urban sprawl, ethnic redlining, multi-generational poverty, and all manner of other ills.  Jeff Maurer of "I Might Be Wrong" on Substack and Jeremiah Johnson of The Neoliberal Podcast join to discuss how zoning laws have hurt America, and ways to rectify them. This episode is sponsored by Ground News - The world's first news comparison platform. Download Ground News for free here:
Winston Churchill dealt with evil by confrontation. What's his opposite? This is a bonus history episode from July of last year, in the context of the forthcoming 2020 election and the George Floyd protests.  Bonus episodes come out ever week on top of the regular show. To access them, head to
Could we have fixed things if we stayed? Kabul fell to the Taliban on Sunday, which is quickly reorganizing their regime after getting ousted twenty years ago by the United States.   Was nation building an incomplete but worthwhile pursuit, or a never-ending fools errand?   Jason Buttrill served as an intelligence analyst in the invasion of Afghanistan, and discusses the nature of the country and what will happen to it.
Andrew Sullivan is an author and blogger best-known for his substack The Weekly Dish.   His new book is "Out On a Limb: Selected Writing, 1989-2021" chronicling sexuality, politics, and religion from his position as a gay Catholic conservative.   Get "Out On a Limb" at
Affirmative Action is potentially one Supreme Court case away from going extinct. When is racial prioritizing constitutional? Is it ever a good policy idea? Anastasia Boden is a senior attorney at the Pacific Legal Foundation, and the co-host of "Dissed," a podcast focused on important Supreme Court dissents.
Comments (12)

Ryan Lynch

Legion of skanks aren't alt right. What an incredibly dumb statement.

May 26th

Ty Smith

"Horses are stupid?" You wait until Snuffy's hears about this!

Apr 12th

Denise Ashcraft

I appreciate your show

Sep 4th

pinuppeet bonedaddy

if you love something. privatize it

Aug 21st

Anthony Fratta

this one made me feal like an objectovist

Jul 1st

Anthony Fratta

I will be buying stock in Relentless Flowers international. I think this is a service the county needs.

May 6th

Marshall Scott Poland

spoiler. after his interview with Tapper on CNN I'm pretty sure he hasn't even read the LP platform.

May 6th

Brett Borden

Way too much peddling of the "big cities would control everything" myth in here. A straight popular vote would be terrible for the reasons stated otherwise but the math really isn't there for this one. Little reason to be considering how a state or a city would vote when it would be down to a question of individual votes of equal value.

Mar 28th

Brett Borden

If you're the Garfunkel of the group that means you're the one who can actually sing.

Sep 26th

John Butterfield

Two opposable thumbs way up. Thanks for all you've done, and will do.

Jun 12th

Philip-Alexander Jach

You should work with Tom Woods

Apr 14th

Jim Lipinski

I am enjoying your show. I love the mix of humor and intellectual discussions.

Dec 13th
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