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The Wright Show


Conversations with a series of people who have nothing in common except that program host Robert Wright is curious about what they’re thinking.

Conversations with a series of people who have nothing in common except that program host Robert Wright is curious about what they’re thinking.


United States




Conversations with a series of people who have nothing in common except that program host Robert Wright is curious about what they’re thinking.




Ten Keys to Reality (Robert Wright & Frank Wilczek)

What got Frank his Nobel Prize ... Frank's new book, Fundamentals: Ten Keys to Reality ... Solving the mystery of dark matter ... Can quantum physics make sense? ... Frank: Mind emerges from matter, not the other way around ... Can you love an automaton? ... Complementarity as scientific concept and everyday attitude ... How Frank's Catholic upbringing influenced his scientific thinking ... Is reality an algorithm? ... The limits of human intelligence ...


Endgame for the Pandemic? (Robert Wright & Mickey Kaus)

Mickey’s critique of the Romney Family Plan ... Bob declares victory over the coronavirus ... Does Ted Cruz’s Cancun blunder bode ill for a future presidential run? ... How Rush tanked Trump’s 2020 campaign ... A somewhat dubious (but very salacious) Jeffrey Epstein update ... Distinguishing Biden’s bullshit from Trump’s bullshit ... Was January 6 a “riot” or an “insurrection”? ... Parrot Room preview: Woody and Mia, Ben Smith on Donald McNeil, Bob on Iran deal, etc. ...


Decoding Slate Star Codex (Robert Wright & Will Wilkinson)

How one of Will’s tweets went awry ... Who are the Rationalists? ... Explaining the Slate Star Codex/New York Times controversy ... Journalism’s epistemological challenges ... Open debate and its discontents ... Will: SSC has been exploited by people with dangerous ideas ... The (over)reaction to the Times’ SSC piece ... Why homogenous groups overestimate their objectivity ...


The Once and Future Trump (Robert Wright & Mickey Kaus)

Mickey snags a vaccination appointment ... Bob speculates wildly about coronavirus mutations ... What’s missing from the Democrats’ case against Trump ... How Mickey (almost) launched Bruce Springsteen’s career ... Who will inherit the Republican Party? ... Dueling scandals at the New York Times and the Lincoln Project ... Bob and Mickey find common cause in Venezuela ... Parrot Room preview: Marty Peretz disses Rob Malley, the week in cancellation, and the next vast right wing conspiracy....


How Fear Drives US Foreign Policy (Robert Wright & Neta Crawford)

The human costs of America’s post-9/11 wars ... Defining foreign policy ‘realism’ ... Neta: Realism is rooted in fear ... How militarism distorts democracy ... The outsized potential of grassroots organizing ... The practical value of empathizing with the enemy ... A new era of nonviolent resistance ...


The Post-Trump Republican Reshuffling (Robert Wright & Mickey Kaus)

All roads lead to immigration ... Cause for hope on the pandemic front ... Perverse covid relief preferences on the left (and right) ... Two big potential add-ons to the covid bill ... Visiting post-presidential vengeance on Trump ... The impeachment trial as a pedagogical opportunity ... The greatness of Mike Kinsley ... The Republican civil war ... Parrot Room preview: Hating on Hitch, Electric Mustang, more dishonesty from the Washington Free Beacon, etc. ...


Can Substack Save the World? (Robert Wright & Matthew Yglesias)

Matt’s new newsletter, “Slow Boring” ... The advantages of having a smaller audience ... Why Matt left Vox ... Can Substack save us from tribal social media? ... Matt’s advice on getting a newsletter going ... Will Biden’s foreign policy be worse than Trump’s? ... Matt weighs in on the future of Substack ...


Selling Trump Short (Robert Wright & Mickey Kaus)

Encouraging news on the vaccine front ... Pros and cons of proceeding with impeachment ... Glimmers of hope for Biden’s foreign policy ... Israel’s unjust West Bank vaccine policy ... The strange bedfellows of the GameStop short squeeze ... Was deplatforming Trump the path of least resistance? ... Fauci’s fuzzy messaging on vaccination ... Parrot Room preview: Thunderdome-level Bob-Mickey showdown! ...


The Dharma of Bob 3: Cognitive Biases (Robert Wright & Josh Summers)

Continuing “the Dharma of Bob” ... The evolutionary logic of cognitive biases ... Attribution error, or why your enemies seem so damn evil ... Zero-sum biases in a non-zero-sum world ... Bob fixes social media ... How cognitive biases have shaped perceptions of the Capitol riot ... The psychology of tribalism and the BLM protests ...


Biden’s Opening Acts (Robert Wright & Mickey Kaus)

Biden’s not-quite unifying appeal for unity ... The uses of impeachment ... Steve Bannon’s conspiratorial take on the inauguration ... Is Mickey’s immigration amnesty nightmare coming true? ... Could the Senate actually convict Trump? ... Biden’s disappointingly unambitious vaccination plan ... Tony Blinken’s “ridiculous” stance toward Venezuela ... What explains the (slightly) improving Covid numbers? ... Parrot Room preview: Phil Spector, more Bannon, the plan to conquer Facebook, etc. ...


Feminist Foreign Policy (Robert Wright & Marissa Conway)

Defining feminist foreign policy ... A feminist take on economic sanctions ... How to deal with undemocratic institutions like the UN Security Council ... Do we need reparations on a global scale? ... Keeping human rights discourse safe from the hawks ... Marissa: Brexit is rooted in colonial nostalgia ...


The Never-Ending End of the Trump Presidency (Robert Wright & Mickey Kaus)

How late is too late to abandon Trump? ... Reconstructing the runup to Trump’s impeachable anti-Pence tweet ... Why an impeachment trial could be a mistake ... How do you actually get rid of Trump once he leaves office? ... Steve Bannon’s insidious adaptation to his YouTube deplatforming ... The future of Josh Hawley ... Mickey horrified by vaccine regime ... A sneak peek into the Parrot Room ...


Recovering from the Capitol Hill Riot (Robert Wright & Conor Friedersdorf)

Will impeachment and deplatforming backfire as weapons against Trump? ... Meta-deplatforming: the big-tech attack on Parler ... Bob: Twitter’s explanation for deplatforming Trump is pathetic ... Big tech’s overwhelming ability to regulate speech online ... Whataboutism and the Capitol Hill rioters ... Two competing justifications for impeachment ... Trump’s disloyalty to his followers ... The pandemic’s role in destabilizing American politics ...


Trump's Last Act? (Robert Wright & Mickey Kaus)

How culpable is Trump for the violent protests at the Capitol? ... Trump’s brazen incitement of rioters against Pence ... The mystery of the missing Capitol Hill cops ... Biden’s centrist new cabinet picks ... America’s political polarization continues apace ... The growing influence and uncertain fate of Steve Bannon ... Fumbling toward mass vaccination ... A Parrot Room preview ...


The Brave New World of Genetic Engineering (Robert Wright & Jamie Metzl)

Jamie’s book, Hacking Darwin: Genetic Engineering and the Future of Humanity ... Why Jamie thinks young adults should freeze their sperm or eggs now ... The state of genetic engineering today ... The specter of eugenics ... Will gene-splicing create a new kind of inequality? ... How to avoid a eugenics arms race among nations ... Jamie predicts what kinds of gene editing will be possible in 10 years ...


Bob and Mickey’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve (Robert Wright & Mickey Kaus)

The swankier side of Bob ... Could Pence derail Biden on January 6? ... Bob and Mickey try to capture 2020 in one sentence. Then try again. And again. ... Forecasting the pandemic’s end ... Should auld grievance be forgot ... Can Biden avert a new cold war? ... What Bob and Mickey got right and wrong about 2020 ... Mickey’s best and worst of 2020 ...


Can Journalism Survive? (Robert Wright & Eric Alterman)

Looking back at Eric’s 25-year reign as The Nation’s media columnist ... The virtues and vices of democratized media ... Bob: Why does mainstream media do the bidding of the Blob? ... Eric accuses Bob of shirking his gatekeeping responsibilities ... Eric’s free speech case against BDS ... Bob’s problem with #Resistance journalism ... The strange case of Elliot Abrams ... Eric tries to dissuade young people from going into journalism ...


What Black and White Narratives Get Wrong about Syria (Robert Wright & Aaron Maté)

Aaron: The new BBC podcast on the White Helmets is journalistic malpractice ... Aaron critiques the standard Western narrative on Syria ... Was the Syria intervention just a proxy war against Iran? ... How Aaron changed his views on Syria (featuring Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters) ... The controversy over the 2018 chemical attack in Douma ... How epithets like ‘Assad apologist’ short-circuit good journalism ... Aaron’s beef with Bellingcat ... How more transparency at OPCW would help the fight...


Biden Our Time (Robert Wright & Mickey Kaus)

Bob receives the Maroon 5 endorsement ... The New York Times piece on the Toobin Affair ... The endless attempt to overturn the election ... Could we double the rate of covid vaccination? ... Does Joe Biden have an ideology? ... Bob fails in his bid to troll the Blob ... Mickey’s embarrassing tweet takes off ... Twitter’s anti-egalitarian bent ...


Are We Headed for Another Civil War? (Robert Wright & Richard Hanania)

How political scientists think about civil war ... Richard: claims that we’re on the brink of civil war have a “pro-wrestling quality” ... Two theories of civil war: grievance vs. opportunity ... Should we worry about escalating civil conflict that falls short of civil war? ... Information ecosystems and civil conflict ... Richard’s critique of the “great powers” paradigm in international relations ...