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Robert Wright and guests talk about politics and other matters, on

Robert Wright and guests talk about politics and other matters, on
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Robert Wright and guests talk about politics and other matters, on




Trump’s Plan for Regime Change in Venezuela (Robert Wright & Max Blumenthal)

Max’s on-the-ground observations at political rallies in Caracas ... A brief history of Venezuelan politics, from Chavez to now ... Who’s responsible for the suffering of the Venezuelan people? ... Why didn’t AOC defend her colleague Ilhan Omar against charges of anti-Semitism? ... How Obama’s sanctions paved the way for Trump’s broader economic assault on Venezuela ... Max explains why Maduro turned down a US offer of food aid ... How Juan Guaidó was selected to lead the opposition, and...


Is There a Progressive Foreign Policy? (Robert Wright & Heather Hurlburt)

Competing conceptions of a progressive foreign policy ... The shift from formal to informal international law ... Was bombing Kosovo a good idea? ... Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Syria—why do we treat their leaders so differently? ... The foreign policy visions of Warren and Sanders ... Heather's progressive foreign policy starts at home ... Venezuela and American hypocrisy ...


Team Human (Robert Wright & Douglas Rushkoff)

Douglas's new book, Team Human ... Remembering when people behaved better online than IRL ... Douglas was optimistic about the Internet. Then came capitalism. ... Imagining a better Facebook ... Douglas: "Being human is a team sport" ... Tribalism and the Internet ... The false promise of "disruption" ... How capitalism complicates Douglas’s life ...


The Center Can Hold (Robert Wright & Will Wilkinson)

The much-discussed report Will co-authored, “The Center Can Hold” ... Why Will likes Elizabeth Warren ... The criminal justice system is even worse than you think ... Why Will is skeptical of Kamala Harris ... What population density tells us about America’s political divide ... Why do some people, and not others, move to the city? ... Personality differences between rural and urban dwellers ... Has gerrymandering run its course in Republican strategy? ...


Questioning Materialism (Robert Wright & Gideon Rosen)

What's the philosophical status of materialism? ... Gideon’s views about math lead him to reject materialism ... Does the existence of consciousness disprove materialism? ... Taking the simulation hypothesis seriously ... How lucky are we to be alive right now? ... Teleology and moral realism ...


Socialism Enters the Mainstream (Robert Wright & Nathan Robinson)

Why Nathan’s magazine, Current Affairs, is based in New Orleans ... Why is socialism suddenly cool? And what exactly does it mean? ... Why Nathan identifies as a libertarian socialist ... Is “Social Justice Warrior” a straw man? ... Nathan: “Cultural appropriation” is about power disparity, not cultural purity ... Glenn Greenwald joins the “microaggressions” argument ... Nathan: Empathy can be an antidote to tribalistic politics ... The future of leftist foreign policy ...


Russiagate Skepticism (Robert Wright & Michael Tracey)

Bob’s take on the Roger Stone indictment ... Why Michael is still a Russiagate skeptic ... A broken Trump is right twice a day ... Michael: We should've been immediately skeptical of Buzzfeed's story on Cohen's perjury ... Why Bob thinks the BuzzFeed story is at least partly right ... Bob and Michael debate the chances that Russiagate is a big deal ... Are Tulsi Gabbard’s foreign policy views alarmingly weird? ... How Michael navigated the Covington imbroglio on Twitter ...


The Psychology of Great Movies (Robert Wright & Lindsay Doran)

Lindsay, a Golden Globe–winning movie producer, discusses the Academy Awards ... Lindsay's experience working on This Is Spinal Tap ... The psychology of a great film ending ... Why there's no sequel to When Harry Met Sally ... Art vs. craft in screenwriting ... Should movies be moral? ... Is a male conscience different from a female conscience? ... A film that sounds like it's great vs. one that actually is ...


Return of the Neocons (Robert Wright & Stephen Wertheim)

Why are neoconservatives still influential (and influencing Trump) after the Iraq fiasco? ... Democrats welcome anti-Trump neocons into the fold ... Trump and the neocons find a common enemy in Iran ... Who has Trump’s ear on foreign policy? ... Did America ever really support a "rules-based international order"? ... Why American exceptionalism is key to understanding the modern right ...


The Future of Israel and Palestine (Robert Wright & Lisa Goldman)

What does the BDS movement seek to accomplish? ... Why 26 American states have anti-BDS laws ... Desperate living in Gaza ... Lisa explains why Netanyahu has no long-term plan for the West Bank ... Signs of hope among Palestinian citizens of Israel ... Should the BDS movement narrow its message? ... How Lisa’s perspective evolved after years in Tel Aviv ... The uncertain future of Palestinian leadership ...

Postmodernism and Religion (Robert Wright & John D. Caputo)

John, a theologian and philosopher, explains postmodern Christianity ... Why postmodernism is not "linguistic idealism" ... Religion's tendency to literalize ... What Paul Tillich and Jacques Derrida thought about "the unconditional" ... John: The Scriptures present a poetic, topsy-turvy vision of life ... Where do our aspirations come from (if anywhere)? ... Have art, literature, and social activism replaced religion? ... Is there a link between the unconditional and Buddhism's...


A Feminist Critiques Feminism (Robert Wright & Christina Hoff Sommers )

Bob denies Christina's charge of "benevolent sexism" ... Christina's critique of mainstream feminist philosophy ... Christina: The Intellectual Dark Web is about fighting cultural authoritarianism ... Bob: The Intellectual Dark Web is a tribe ... Is mainstream feminism opposed to the liberal tradition? ... The political valence of gender differences ... Christina on "fainting couch feminism" ... Is the SJW battle mostly a generational thing? ... Bob says the IDW’s embrace of Ben Shapiro is...


Could Evolution Be Conscious? (Robert Wright & Massimo Pigliucci)

Could evolution be conscious? ... Teleology vs. teleonomy ... A purposeful universe is possible, sure—but is it likely? ... The trouble with Stephen Jay Gould’s views on the evolution of complexity ... It’s “like something” to be an individual human. Could it be like something to be a society? ... The news from epigenetics: Heredity works in weirder ways than we knew ...


The Year in Trump (Robert Wright & Mickey Kaus)

Mickey: The best thing Trump's done is limit illegal immigration ... Bob: The best thing Trump’s done is steer NAFTA to the left ... The worst things Trump did this year ... The best and worst Trump appointments ... The best and worst pro- and anti-Trump columnists ... The year in just and unjust firings ... A close reading of Trump's Santa phone call ...


Self-actualization and the "Dark Triad" (Robert Wright & Scott Barry Kaufman)

What is the “G” factor in human intelligence? ... Fortunately for Scott and Bob, intelligence is about more than mentally rotating 3D objects ... What Psych 101 classes get wrong about Abraham Maslow’s “self-actualization” ... Is there a right way to self-actualize? ... What is personality? ... How self-actualized is Bob? He took Scott’s test to find out. ... The “Dark Triad” (and why we need a little darkness) ... Gender differences in narcissism ...


The Empty Throne (Robert Wright & Ivo Daalder)

Ivo's new book, The Empty Throne ... Trump's foreign policy: zero-sum and transactional ... What is NATO for these days, anyway? ... The hubris of Clinton and Bush vs. the caution of Obama ... Bob: It's not like the US was playing by the rules pre-Trump ... Did the US go beyond the UN mandate in Libya? ... Did Syria lead to Trump? ... The wrong way to deal with China's rise ...


Blitzscaling (Robert Wright & Reid Hoffman)

Reid's new book, Blitzscaling ... How Reid created LinkedIn ... Why some companies must grow fast or die ... Is success in Silicon Valley more about talent or luck? ... Reid recalls the early days of PayPal ... When and how to fire employees ... Reid's unusual journey to Silicon Valley ... What does a conscientious corporation look like? ...


A Trump-Russia Quid Pro Quo? (Robert Wright & Marcy Wheeler)

Was last week’s batch of court filings good news for Trump? (Hint: No.) ... Marcy: Discussions over a Moscow Trump Tower lasted a suspiciously long time ... What if the Trump Organization is indicted? What would that mean for Trump? ... Possible dimensions of a Trump-Russia quid pro quo ... The Trump campaign, Cambridge Analytica, the DNC hacks, and other dots to connect ... Will forthcoming evidence implicate Trump himself? ... What lies ahead for Julian Assange? ... Is a big Mueller reveal...


Spirituality East and West (Robert Wright & Michael Holleran)

Father Michael's 22 years as a Carthusian Monk ... The contemplative tradition in Christianity ... How Zen captivated Father Michael ... Do Buddhist and Hindu mystics experience the same thing? ... Zen's influence on Father Michael’s theology ... God, creation, and evolution ... What insights does Christianity add to Buddhism? ... Pierre Teilhard de Chardin's influence on Father Michael ...


Evolutionary Psychology and #MeToo (Robert Wright & Diana Fleischman)

What evolutionary psychology says about men and women ... Bob: Evolutionary psychology isn’t inherently right wing ... The Kavanaugh hearings ... Diana's critique of #MeToo ... When men misread women’s social signals ... Have some evolutionary psychologists moved to the right? ... Diana: Women should be taught the art of rebuffing men ...