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Wisdom of Crowds
55 minutes | 2 days ago
Episode 58: Will We Ever Be The Same?
68 minutes | 12 days ago
Episode 57: Can Islam Be Liberal?
The liberal idea arose partly as a response to the religious wars of 17th-century Europe. Could something similar occur in the Islamic world today? Mustafa Akyol thinks so—and his new book Reopening Muslim Minds offers a fascinating and forthright case for reinterpreting Islamic history and revisiting Islamic law. Mustafa joined Shadi and Damir to talk about what inspired the book, starting with his arrest by Malaysia's "religion police." They go on to debate Islam's proper role in public life, how to interpret sharia in a modern context, the promise (and dangers) of "rationalism," and what makes Islam attractive in the first place. Part two of the conversation with Mustafa is available only for subscribers. If the first hour catches your interest, join us as we wade deeper into various controversies. The discussion turns to whether Islam will follow a similar trajectory as Christianity, apostasy laws, the case of Turkey, whether democracy is a means or an end, and what all of this means for American foreign policy. Required Reading: Reopening Muslim Minds: A Return to Reason, Freedom, and Tolerance, by Mustafa Akyol (Amazon) "Where Islam and Reason Meet," by Mustafa Akyol (The Wall Street Journal) Sharia: Theory, Practice, Transformations, by Wael B. Hallaq (Amazon) Mustafa's New York Times archive
71 minutes | 20 days ago
Episode 56: What's the Matter With Europe?
63 minutes | a month ago
Episode 55: The World According to Glenn Greenwald
The journalist, author, and firebrand Glenn Greenwald joins Shadi and Damir for a two-part episode ranging from Glenn's investigative work in Brazil to his increasingly contentious relationship with the liberal establishment in America. In part one, Glenn talks about the corruption case at the center of his new book, why respectable middle-class people supported an authoritarian bigot, and how living in Brazil has shaped his views on American politics—including the January 6 riots at the Capitol. Part two of their conversation, for subscribers only, is available here. The conversation gets more personal, with Glenn discussing if he considers himself a man of the left, why he is disliked by American liberals, what he has against wokeness, and whether he would have considered serving under a Bernie Sanders administration. His answers might surprise you. Required Reading: Securing Democracy: My Fight for Press Freedom and Justice in Bolsonaro's Brazil, by Glenn Greenwald (Amazon) Glenn's Substack Glenn's Twitter
54 minutes | a month ago
Episode 54: America's Exceptional Resilience
Damir and Shadi pull back the curtain on the thought process behind Damir's latest essay. The central question: If Europe's social democracies offer far more support to their citizens, why has America weathered both the Great Recession and Covid-19 pandemic better than the European Union? Required Reading: "Selfishness and American Resilience," by Damir Marusic (Wisdom of Crowds) "Janet Yellen and Mario Draghi Have One Last Job," by Adam Tooze (Foreign Policy)
57 minutes | a month ago
Episode 53: Losing Our Religion
66 minutes | 2 months ago
Episode 52: Who Counts As "The People"?
On today's show, Jason Willick of the Wall Street Journal's Editorial Page stops by to discuss all things representation: Does the filibuster still serve a beneficial purpose? How can we balance both rural and urban interests? Should representatives mirror their voters' preferences or rely on their personal judgment? And how does the rise of Big Tech factor into all this? Required Reading: The Politics of Size: Representation in the United States, 1776–1850, by Rosemarie Zagarri (Amazon) Why Cities Lose: The Deep Roots of the Urban-Rural Political Divide, by Jonathan A. Rodden (Amazon) Inventing the People: The Rise of Popular Sovereignty in England and America, by Edmund S. Morgan (Amazon) Representation in the American Revolution, by Gordon S. Wood (Amazon) Representation, by Monica Brito Vieira and David Runciman (Amazon) The Concept of Representation, by Hanna F. Pitkin (Amazon) Political Representation (Cultural Memory in the Present), by F. R. Ankersmit (Amazon) The Democracy Essays (Wisdom of Crowds) "Civility and Consensus Are Overrated," with Osita Nwanevu and Samuel Kimbriel (Wisdom of Crowds)
79 minutes | 2 months ago
Episode 50: Civility and Consensus Are Overrated
52 minutes | 2 months ago
Episode 50: Islam, Keto, and the Problem of Evil
In another sprawling episode, Shadi and Damir talk about Germany's decision to surveil one of its leading political parties and what this says about modern liberalism. They also discuss Shadi's Islam-as-Keto metaphor, the EU's legitimacy problem, and how theodicy relates to democracy. Required Reading: “Germany Places Far-Right AfD Party Under Surveillance for Extremism,” by Katrin Bennhold (New York Times) “German Court Suspends Right to Surveil Far-Right AfD Party,” by Melissa Eddy (New York Times) “Goodbye to Europe,” by Luuk van Middelaar (London Review of Books) “Keto is basically ‘the Islam of diets,’ which probably explains why it’s so effective,” by Shadi Hamid (Twitter)
72 minutes | 3 months ago
Ep. 49: Was Trump's Foreign Policy As Bad As We Think?
64 minutes | 3 months ago
Ep. 48: Who Are the Real Realists?
Was Barack Obama America's last "realist" president? Was he even a realist at all? Emma Ashford of the Atlantic Council joins Shadi and Damir to answer these questions and more. They also discuss democracy promotion, whether to confront China, and why Shadi supported Bernie's candidacy even though Shadi is an interventionist. Required Reading: "Reality Check #1: Build cooperation cycles, not security spirals," by Emma Ashford (Atlantic Council)
58 minutes | 3 months ago
Episode 47: The Sources of Our Discontent
What is driving our current political upheaval? Shadi and Damir discuss a few different theories including the decline of religion, the absence of an aristocracy, and, crucially, modern America's obsession with dogs. Required Reading: "The Weimarization of the American Republic," by Aaron Sibarium (American Purpose) "Reflections on What's to Come," by Shadi Hamid (Wisdom of Crowds) "The Death of Our Most Cherished Pieties," by Damir Marusic (Wisdom of Crowds)
75 minutes | 3 months ago
Episode 46: How Big is the White Supremacist Threat?
New York Times justice reporter Katie Benner joins the show to talk about January 6, the FBI and DOJ response, the limits of 9/11 comparisons, and if the threat posed by right-wing militias is overstated.
63 minutes | 4 months ago
Episode 45: The Game Stops Now
Shadi regrets not investing in GameStop. Damir thinks that once you say democracy must be saved from the masses, protecting Wall Street from the retail-investing crowds is the next logical step. Finally, does Shadi still consider himself a progressive? Required Reading: The Tolerance Dilemma Joker and Our Leaderless Future Locke's essay on toleration
74 minutes | 4 months ago
Episode 44: Fantasy and Reality in Biden's America
Hours into the Biden administration, Shadi and Damir sit down with author Bruno Maçães to talk about Trump, January 6, the future of world order, and the sources of American exceptionalism. Reading List: Bruno on Substack. History Has Begun: The Birth of a New America, by Bruno Maçães (Oxford University Press) "The Roleplaying Coup," by Bruno Maçães (City Journal)
101 minutes | 4 months ago
Episode 43: Mending What's Torn
Is 1/6 our new 9/11? Are we in danger of making decisions in the heat of the moment that we will come to regret? Is the United States splitting apart fatally? And what will there after COVID be like? Megan McArdle, the person most responsible for the invention of Wisdom of Crowds, joins Shadi and Damir to chew over our post-insurrection reality. Reading List: "Why we should be frightened by tech companies’ censoring of conservatives," Megan McArdle (Washington Post) "Trump fed off the establishment’s moral outrage. So did his followers," Megan McArdle (Washington Post) "Trump's Exit," Heather MacDonald (City Journal)
63 minutes | 4 months ago
Episode 42: The Darkness and the Light
Ben Judah joins Shadi and Damir for a first attempt at digesting what happened this week in Washington. Was it a coup attempt? Are we at a moment of catharsis where the country can start to rebuild? Or are we in for even more darkness? Reading List: "Japanese Lessons for the American Coup," by Noah Smith "The Weimarization of the American Republic," by Aaron Sibarium
56 minutes | 5 months ago
Episode 41: Falling Down the Rabbit Hole
A day or so after Damir's birthday, Shadi discusses his longest bout of self-isolation ever, while Damir talks about Teddy Roosevelt and how enlightened views on slavery were completely compatible with that old-timey colonial racism. Reading List: A tweet by (Captain) David Ryan. Shadi on Riada Akyol's podcast. Damir on Michael Weiss' podcast.
101 minutes | 5 months ago
Episode 40: The Death of Liberal Democracy Won't Be Televised
Andrew Sullivan joins Shadi and Damir to try to put the last four years of Trump into some kind of perspective. Was he stopped or did he succeed? Is he a symptom or a source of decay—or both? Is our republic doomed, or will things just go back to normal? And what's the proper role of a writer and intellectual in troubled times: to analyze or be engaged?
55 minutes | 5 months ago
Episode 39: The Cultural Roots of Coping with COVID (Live)
On Friday, December 4, 2020, Shadi and Damir went live on Periscope—Damir from Croatia, Shadi from DC. On their minds: how different cultures react, deal with, and adapt to COVID, how even vaccination is becoming a partisan issue in the United States, and how to think about the state of exception in democratic societies. Check out the video on YouTube: https://youtu.be/l8elM2Bq7TM
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