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“Dictator on Day One”

December 8, 2023
Notes
Transcript
Democracy scholar Rachel Kleinfeld joins Beg to Differ to discuss polarization, violence, the GOP, the rule of law, Ivy League hypocrites, and more.

highlights / lowlights

Mona Charen: What Is Happening at the Columbia School of Social Work? by Pamela Paul

Damon Linker: A Trump dictatorship is increasingly inevitable. We should stop pretending. and The Trump dictatorship: How to stop it, both by Robert Kagan

Bill Galston: The troubling testimony of Ivy League professors before the House on anti-semitism on campus.

Linda Chavez: Why Dostoevsky Loved Humanity and Hated the Jews by Gary Saul Morson

This transcript was generated automatically and may contain errors and omissions. Ironically, the transcription service has particular problems with the word “bulwark,” so you may see it mangled as “Bullard,” “Boulart,” or even “bull word.” Enjoy!
  • Speaker 1
    0:00:00

    This podcast is sponsored by Better Help. Welcome to beg to differ, the Bulwark’ weekly roundtable discussion featuring civil conversation across the political spectrum. We range from center left to center right. I’m Mona Charen, indicated columnist and policy editor at the Bulwark, and I’m joined by our regulars, Will Saletan of the Brookings in institution in the Wall Street Journal. Damon Lincher, who writes the sub stacked newsletter, notes from the middle ground, and Linda Chavez, of the Niskannon Center.
  • Speaker 1
    0:00:39

    Our special guest this week is Rachel Kleinfeld. Rachel is a senior fellow in the Democracy Conflict and governance program at the Carnegie Endowment international peace. She focuses on issues like the rule of law, security, and governance in democracies experiencing polarization, violence, and other governance matters. Never thought I would say this or at least at least eight years ago, I never thought these words would come out of my lips, but Rachel, those things now afflict the United States, polarization, political violence, and other governance issues as we are staring down the possibility of a descent into possible dictatorship So as you look at this, you’ve done a tremendous amount of study and research on polarization, both internationally and in the United States. And one of the interesting things that was in a piece you did called, polarization democracy and political violence in the United States, what the research says, you point out that this problem of affective polarization, that is how much you hate the other side has really spiked in the United States, and it hasn’t so much in other OECD nations.
  • Speaker 1
    0:01:57

    Can you talk about that a little bit?
  • Speaker 2
    0:01:59

    Sure. Absolutely. First, it’s just a great pleasure to be on with you, and to to discuss these things with you. I think Americans really hate other Americans of different political parties. That’s what effective polarization is.
  • Speaker 2
    0:02:11

    And what we’ve seen is this tremendous spike over recent years. A lot of people are very worried about that, and there’s reason to be worried about that because it’s, as you said, not happening nearly, to the degree. It’s not moving as fast in a lot of other Germany, France, other countries that we think of as kind of peer countries. However, It is actually almost as high in a number of those countries. It’s just not rising as fast.
  • Speaker 2
    0:02:37

    And so the problems in America that a lot of people attribute to the fact that we don’t like other partisans. I think we’re being a little bit misattributed that it’s not just that we don’t like each other. It’s that our political system does search things to intensify that dislike and turn it into political action, that other countries that also have pretty high levels of, polarization don’t have that similar political system.
  • Speaker 1
    0:03:01

    And what are those things?
  • Speaker 2
    0:03:03

    Well, America’s in what my colleague from McCoy calls, period of pernicious polarization. And pernicious polarization is just as pernicious as it sounds. What it means is that our political structures, the way we vote, our primary system, our two party system, gives politicians and in incentive to polarize. So it’s not just that people don’t like each other. It’s that people are being intensely polarized on purpose because that’s how you win elections now.
  • Speaker 2
    0:03:30

    By getting out your base and by drawing a strong distinction with the other side, and by turning the other side into a group that is evil, not just a group that has different policy positions. That manichean oppositionary, dualism plus a political system that incentivizes winning by polarizing is the special sauce that is turning America into such a battleground.
  • Speaker 1
    0:03:54

    And why was this not the case in the nineteen eighties, the nineteen nineties, in the early two thousands. I mean, certainly there were incentives then too to encourage hatred of the other side.
  • Speaker 2
    0:04:06

    Well, it actually got going in the nineteen eight That was really when you start seeing it moving. I think what’s happened in more recent years is partially a snowball effect and partially different personalities because people do matter. We’ve had a primary system that since the early nineties has helped to just get people on your side to come out and vote, but the voting public had been more overlapping. You had a lot of, conservative Democrats and liberal Republicans. As the voting public has sorted itself more, so if you’re liberal, you’re a Democrat, and if you’re conservative, you’re a Republican, as we’ve sorted more, the primaries by which we make our choices have become more and more clear cut.
  • Speaker 2
    0:04:48

    The conservatives are picking conservatives. But it’s not just that the voters are doing that. It’s that the people running for office, seeing that, see that they don’t have a chance if they’re just a moderate because they’re going to be out flying by their right or left. We now have so many safe seats because of how we’ve settled, because of the polarized public simply moving to different places, that most seats over eighty five percent at the congressional level and sometimes even more at the state level are safe for a party. Well, that means that the people running become more polarized.
  • Speaker 2
    0:05:20

    And then the people picking those people running, your Republican County chairs and Democratic County chairs, are picking for people that will get their primary voters out and are more polarized. Although, that’s happening more on the right than the left. And has been for some time. So those forces, more polarized people running, more polarized people choosing more polarized people to run, and then more polarized voters picking their primary candidates and safe seats where those people go on to win the general because they really don’t have much of a challenge on the other side. Is all contributing over time starting in the eighties to a discourse that’s become just pretty toxic.
  • Speaker 1
    0:05:57

    So evaluate, if you will, the likelihood of political violence as you see it. I mean, obviously, we have seen it. January sixth, most prominently. How do you assess how much danger we’re in of real civil conflict?
  • Speaker 2
    0:06:11

    You know, Mona, I hope we get to some good news by the end. People don’t really bring me on for good news, but but I do wanna get towards some solution sets. Sadly, you know, the United States has a long history of political violence. It goes back to the know nothing party the anti immigrant anti Catholic party in the 1850s. And then, of course, our civil war, after our civil war, the, what was called the redemption period in which very violent white supremacist groups aligned with what was then the Democratic party, helps that party back into power in the eighteen seventies and eighties.
  • Speaker 2
    0:06:43

    Through election suppression, and then, of course, more recently with Brown versus board and white citizen council violence and so on even lynchings, we don’t think of lynchings as, tied to the electoral cycle. But if you look county by county from the eighteen nineties, through that period where Jim Crow really started to get established. What you see is that they spike right before elections, and it was kind of a way of binding voters to a certain outcome. So we have a long history, and what we have right now is an uptick again in that long history of using violence to solve political prob in our democracy. That’s never a good thing in a democracy.
  • Speaker 2
    0:07:19

    And when it gets normalized, when people say, I don’t really like violence, but I can see why someone does it, it gets particularly bad. And that’s what we’re seeing now. The last time we had a big spike in the sixties and seventies, it was then mostly on the left, And it was kept pretty, pretty far away from normal politics, the weathermen, the symbionese Liberation Army. These groups were active but they were, seen as fringe. They weren’t accepted in a normal political life.
  • Speaker 2
    0:07:46

    And what’s happening now is that You know, we’re seeing Proud Boys in Oregon who are becoming, county chairs of their party. We’re seeing oath keepers running for office. We just saw the shaman from January sixth file papers to run for Congress. And that’s because these people think they can get elected and sometimes do.
  • Speaker 1
    0:08:04

    And because they’ve been welcomed by the former president into the political process. Yes. Okay. So what is the good news?
  • Speaker 2
    0:08:13

    And the good news, there’s a number of points of good news. First of all, Bulwark all over the world. I just came from a meeting in which democracy activists, had been thrust into exile from all sorts of different countries, and I was working with them to see how we could help. So America is not that far down this cycle. When I speak to groups that are experiencing targeted political violence, election officials or minorities of one sort or another, they don’t like that statement.
  • Speaker 2
    0:08:39

    But when I look globally, you know, I’m at Nigeria and Russia and Ukraine and so on. We’re not very far down the cycle, and that means it’s possible to reverse it. We’ve also reversed it a number of times in the past. We have a long history of political violence. We also have a long history of it getting better.
  • Speaker 2
    0:08:56

    And it gets better through human agency, through people saying, That’s not the kind of country we want. We’re going to start shunning the people who use violence. We’re going to start running better people. You know, when Theodore Roosevelt ran for office as president, he would escape from his fancy Brownstone in New York City and sneak out of the house attend political meetings because at that point, politics was seen as so corrupt and so dirty that no one from Theodore Roosevelt background would be allowed, welcomed, or have any chance of winning. That changed.
  • Speaker 2
    0:09:27

    That changed in part through Theodore Roosevelt, another folks, they called themselves the progressives at the time, but they were Republicans and Democrats who wanted to change politics. So we have a history of doing this. We just need to come together and do it again.
  • Speaker 1
    0:09:40

    Okay. I’m gonna turn to you, Damon Linker, since you’re usually the eeyore on this podcast. What do you make of the idea that, you know, we’ve turned things around for, and we can again.
  • Speaker 3
    0:09:52

    Well, as he or, I also do impressions. Now, I agree with with everything, Rachel has said. I mean, I guess I’d like to hear, like, more, maybe concretely about, like, you’ve said that we can turn it around and that we’re early, relatively early and how bad it could get. But, like, in practical terms, say, over the next, I don’t know, eleven months on a couple of days. Like, I any any thoughts about, like, practically speaking, what what can or should we do or at least hope for?
  • Speaker 2
    0:10:30

    So I think that’s a great question. And there’s a lot things we can do. And some of them are being done right now. So for instance, the National Review, this morning, published an op ed by five Republican Secret Podcast state, Lieutenant governors, and so on, all saying, Hey, the election process actually works. It’s very strong.
  • Speaker 2
    0:10:46

    It’s actually very safe. It’s been getting better. You need to trust it, and we call on our fellow Republicans to enhance trust in that system. That’s extremely true. It’s also an important kind of statement.
  • Speaker 2
    0:10:58

    What we know from the research is that no one cares if you call out the other side. No one is very interested in Republican saying, that Democrats are bad or Democrats saying that Republicans are bad, but calling out your own side does get people’s attention. And so what you’d have to both call out and uphold the norms on our own side. And so that’s one way that Republicans are trying to do it by rebuilding trust in the system. Democrats, by the way, need to do that too.
  • Speaker 2
    0:11:24

    If Trump wins, and he might very well win a legitimate fair election, Ron DeSantis are gonna have a problem and they need to start rebuilding that trust in the system as well. So that’s one thing. Another thing is we need a a real all hands on deck moment of civic leaders, business leaders, just saying no to public violence and public threats of violence. This shouldn’t be a real big ask, frankly. If you look at how violence has gone up, criminal violence in retail stores, just anti social behavior, people just doing things in public that they shouldn’t do, throwing chipotle in the face of a Chipotle, a retail worker, what have you?
  • Speaker 2
    0:12:01

    All of this kind of antisocial normalization of behavior enhances the ability for that to happen in the political sphere. And so starting now with folks saying this is just not acceptable and we’re not going to accept it, we want to reset civic norms. We’re gonna reset civic norms on our own side. Democrats calling out Democrats Republicans calling out Republicans calling out Republicans, and everyone calling out regular criminality is really important now to to bring these levels down and to reassert what Jane Jacobs’s one of my favorite intellectual heroes who wrote about the death and life of great American cities, talked about the eyes on the street, the kind of social cohesion that brings down bad behavior.
  • Speaker 1
    0:12:41

    Just FYI a few years ago, I think I’ve gotten to the point where I I’ve given up, but a few years back. I remember there was a guy dropping f bombs on the street in front of a business, and I called him out. And I said, we don’t use that kind of language here. And, he was stunned. But, you know, I think I wouldn’t do that now.
  • Speaker 1
    0:13:00

    Isn’t that terrible?
  • Speaker 2
    0:13:01

    I do it all the time, Mona. I sort of, you know, I’m a mom. I’ve got two little kids. And I just take that mom role into all sorts of places where I think that people need a strong mama bear to say, you know, this is just not acceptable in the public sphere. And it’s hard when people are armed.
  • Speaker 2
    0:13:17

    I live in a in a state with a lot of open carry. But we need a lot more of it. So that so that it’s less, incumbent on any pe one person or a group of people.
  • Speaker 1
    0:13:28

    Will Saletan, do you have thoughts on how far down the road we might be or not be vis a vis political violence and, other kinds of anti social behavior?
  • Speaker 4
    0:13:39

    Well, clearly in the non political realm, things are getting worse. And I think they’re getting worse building on a point that Rachel made because various kinds of disorder are on the rise, and not much is being done about it. Give you a couple of examples. Shoplifting in supermarkets, drugstores. Another example, in a lot of suburban jurisdictions, including my own in Montgomery County, Maryland, things like car break ins and carjackings.
  • Speaker 4
    0:14:15

    Are sharply on the increase, and I can tell you from personal experience that people in these neighborhoods are connected via the internet, and they are sharing impressions of rising social disorder. Whether this will spill over into violence in the political realm, I don’t know. But there is a sense that things are sort of out of control. There’s a real experience of loss of control that can be documented through survey research. And that worries me because the sense of loss of control frequently leads to a desire for a strong leader.
  • Speaker 4
    0:15:00

    Who can get things back under control? And I think we know where that’s going to go. Having said that, I actually think that this time around, the biggest threat to democracy will not be the electoral process itself leading up to the meeting of the electoral college to select the next president. I think the biggest threat may come after the election is over. The winner has been confirmed and a new president takes office.
  • Speaker 4
    0:15:31

    If the name of that new president is Donald Trump. And I say this in part because Congress and a rare fit of common sense, bipartisanship made important changes to the electoral account act. Which I think has substantially diminished the range of indeterminacy that was in the previous version. And secondly, and this has already been mentioned because actions at the state level, I think, have helped to bolster election administration, and have reduced the opportunities for election mischief of one sort or another. I’m very encouraged for example, the number of states have moved to accelerate the count of the ballot because as we’ve seen, the gap between the casting of ballots and the counting of ballots is an opportunity for mischief.
  • Speaker 4
    0:16:28

    Including the circulation of delegitimizing rumors about the conduct of the election. I’m going to leave the actual statistic of and predictions about political violence to to Rachel where, you know, I think she has no peer To summarize, I am worried that the impression of rising social disorder, sort of broken windows on steroids could produce mischievous results both in our society and in our politics.
  • Speaker 1
    0:17:01

    Linda, as a conservative, like you, I’m always a bit skeptical about broad sweeping liberal plans to transform this or that aspect of society. Nevertheless, when it comes to something like social disorder and petty crime, that we have had experience with, and we do know that when you crack down on that through the criminal justice system, through the police, you can make a dramatic difference This we have learned. Isn’t that true?
  • Speaker 5
    0:17:32

    Yes. It is true. Unfortunately, I think a lot has changed, for example, since the early nineteen nineties when we had much higher crime when there were these kind of efforts to reform policing and some of the people like James Q Wilson and others, you know, who who wrote about, crime. And I absolutely agree with Bill. That when you have a sense among the population that there is social disorder and that You, yourself, your family could become a crime victim, it does change things and I’m sure others are part of various social networks that send you information about your neighborhood, what kinds of crime, are occurring.
  • Speaker 5
    0:18:22

    The proliferation and the access to that kind of information, in some ways, I think magnifies the sense of what’s going on beyond the actual facts. Yes. I I agree that, you know, we have social disorder, and certainly in some of our big cities, you look at cities like San Francisco, you know, you go into a CVS or a Walgreens even in my neighborhood in suburban Sarah Longwell, and you find you can’t get the toothpaste because it’s under lock and key. All of that, is a result of of a real phenomenon. But the worry is that when this translates into people’s yearning for the strong man who’s gonna come in, who’s gonna fix things.
  • Speaker 5
    0:19:07

    And and that’s what we have to worry about with Donald Trump, and he’s already told us what he’s going to do. He’s going to engage in dramatic, I believe, illegal methods, that are going to be aimed at controlling dissent, controlling, people, rounding up, for example, up to fifteen million people, two thirds of them who’ve lived in this country more than a decade who are undocumented. He’s going to prosecute and prosecute, people who’ve disagreed with him. And I think bill’s warning that what we have to worry about is what happens after the election. If in fact Donald Trump is elected next time.
  • Speaker 5
    0:19:54

    We’re going to see, something I think unlike anything we’ve seen in American history, and it’s not clear to me and I wish Rachel would reassure me on this that we’re not headed to a a period in the aftermath of such an election that is truly violent. And if Trump doesn’t win, that that violence isn’t perpetrated by people who once think the election was stolen.
  • Speaker 1
    0:20:20

    Rachel, before you respond to that, let me add something. For decades, The issue of crime and civil disorder worked to the advantage of Republicans and to the disadvantage of Democrats. Arguably, that all changed with the presidency of Bill Clinton, who very cleverly made the issue his own. He passed a big crime bill that included, I think, a hundred thousand, if I remember correctly, hiring one hundred thousand cops, some money for that. And other measures, and that worked very much to his political benefit.
  • Speaker 1
    0:20:58

    Arguably, there isn’t the same latitude on the part of Democrats right now, or maybe there is. What do you think? Can Democrats use this to their advantage or not?
  • Speaker 2
    0:21:09

    That’s a great set of many questions. And I, I wanna get to Bill and Linda’s points as well as yours, Monas. And maybe I’m gonna start with violence from the state, and then I’ll move on to Bill Clinton and policing issues. I think we’ve gotten used to thinking in America since twenty twenty that political violence is mostly mob violence, vigilante violence, individuals doing bad things. And certainly in America that has been one of the major ways that political violence has worked out historically.
  • Speaker 2
    0:21:37

    However, globally, most political violence comes from the government. Demicide states killing their own people has killed far more people over history than all the wars put together, including civil wars. So, the idea that we might be seeing another era of state use of, of major violence is not crazy, and it is much more scary than even the, you know, biggest level of another January sixth or, riots in the street like what we saw in the 60s or what have you We’ve already heard that Trump has said he wants to use the Insurrection Act on day one. We’ve already seen him misused DHS agents in Portland back when he was president, and, scope for a president to use the National Guard in Washington, DC, or customs and border patrol in ways that act within our within our country. Customs and border patrol and ice have a hundred mile latitude within our border, and most American cities, the vast majority of our population exist within the hundred mile border.
  • Speaker 2
    0:22:38

    So there’s a lot of room for state misuse of violence, and it is not something we should pass by lightly. I mean, when you think about real major uses of state violence in our country, like Japanese internment during World War two, or the trail of tears, we might see something like that, in a, in a future Trump administration. And I think we should all be pretty damn worried. That is not to say that the outcome of the election will be nonviolent. I think, frankly, whoever wins, we’re likely to see some mob action in the streets.
  • Speaker 2
    0:23:07

    And I think it would be really useful for the states that aren’t able to call elections on the night of election because of their laws regarding absentee vote counting and stuff to move those laws because the sooner we get certainty, the more able people will be to control that violence, that period of uncertainty after an election is gonna be a real problem. And then turning to crime and disorder. So I’m extremely worried as Bill is about not just the actual crime, as Linda’s saying, a lot of it is perceptions of crime. We had a big spike in twenty twenty of, of real crime that was unprecedented globally. No other country had that.
  • Speaker 2
    0:23:44

    But it went down in most places. It went down. All the violent crime went down. What we’re seeing is that spike has continued in certain places near me here in New Mexico, Washington, DC, a handful of others, and, San Francisco, and those places are really appearing a lot in the media in ways that are scaring dickens out of Americans and leading to a desire for order and control. What we know about order control is that broken windows theory was very true for social disorder, but not for other crimes.
  • Speaker 2
    0:24:14

    So the idea that if you have sure swift sentences for people urinating on the street or using graffiti or things that scare people and bother people. It actually does a lot to control social order, it doesn’t do a lot to control violent crime. New York and other cities put in a lot of other things that controlled violent crime, including, as you said, Bill Clinton’s police. He put one hundred thousand police on the streets. And awful lot of those police are retiring now.
  • Speaker 2
    0:24:39

    And they’re retiring in part because their time is up and in part because life for a police officer has gotten pretty nasty, as one might imagine. It’s not been a great time to try to do that job. And what we know from pulling and surveying is that lots of regular people want them to do that job, including communities of color, they just want them to do that job better. They want them to do that job with dignity and with trust and community input rather than in a way that is denigrating or derogatory. But more police officers are actually one of the keys to both bringing down disorder, but also having better policing.
  • Speaker 2
    0:25:19

    And that’s counterintuitive, and not what either side really is is talking about. One side doesn’t wanna talk about dignity and one side doesn’t wanna talk about cops.
  • Speaker 1
    0:25:29

    Alright. Well, we will leave it there for now and turn to our next topic as soon as we hear a word about betterhelp. Well, the holidays are upon us, and though it’s a happy time of year, it can also be stressful and downright painful for some. So let’s talk about a gift that you can give yourself. We all deal with stress in ways.
  • Speaker 1
    0:25:51

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  • Speaker 1
    0:26:20

    Therapy helps us to figure out how our own minds may be holding us back. Ruminating about your worries and conflicts or the many balls we’re trying to keep in the air doesn’t help. It just contributes to the stress. And self medicating with booze or drugs is a dead end. Therapy can help unwind your worries and let you be a calmer, happier version of yourself.
  • Speaker 1
    0:26:43

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  • Speaker 1
    0:27:07

    Make your brain your friend with betterhelp. Visit betterhelp dot com slash Beg to Differ today and get ten percent off your first month. That’s betterhelp h e l p dot com slash beg to differ. Alright. I’d like to next talk about the, GOP, which has been in the news in a number of respects over the past week.
  • Speaker 1
    0:27:33

    Starting with a debate, the undercard, all of the, challengers to Donald Trump. Obviously, Trump not attending as he has declined to attend any of the debates. Damon, I know you think that they don’t matter and that it’s a foregone conclusion, what’s going to happen, but it’s still possible that there could be an act of god, or there could be criminal conviction or other things could intervene. And so it kind of matters. Who’s number two?
  • Speaker 1
    0:28:05

    Did you have any impression of, who the number two is likely to be. Haley’s been on the rise.
  • Speaker 3
    0:28:12

    Well, I Beg to Differ over. The extent to which, Haley is really rising all that much. I don’t really see much of it. And I did watch the debate it was basically a circular firing squad. I mean, it was Vivic Ramaswamy being as execrable as he could possibly be from the first words out of his mouth to the end attacking both mostly Haley and Chris Christie.
  • Speaker 3
    0:28:42

    And then you had Chris Christie attacking Ramaswamy back Ron DeSantis, and then I around Robin of of, like, usually group one person attacking two or two people attacking two or one. And I didn’t think anyone came out of it looking particularly good or appealing or better than they ever have before. I mean, my own view is that Christie has no chance whatsoever and really should get out of there and and wholeheartedly and enthusiastically endorse Haley. So that she can probably hopefully leap frog over to Santas. And then once she can can do that and consolidate it, both in the polls and then in the the first few primaries.
  • Speaker 3
    0:29:29

    Hopefully, DeSantis ends up losing so much support from donors and such that he, drops out. That scenario unfolding in the way I just described it. I do think would leave Haley in in a kind of solid, but still quite low second. And I do think that’s good. I do believe with Humona here, we don’t differ, I think, all that much, that if we’re talking about acts of god, the primary act of god, in my view, really, the only act of god that is gonna change things is that something happens to the person of Donald Trump in the form of a medical problem.
  • Speaker 3
    0:30:08

    I don’t see anything else intervening, but, you know, he is in his late seventies and doesn’t seem all that healthy. And so it’s possible. And if that were to happen, the number two person is is obviously the person most likely to benefit from it. And I think Haley would make a a very fine alternative The problem though is that there just aren’t that many Republicans who’d like what Nikki Haley is selling at this point. And so even if Trump became incapacitated, I don’t think it’s in any way, a certain that are his votes would overwhelmingly flow to the single other person who is still running, namely Haley.
  • Speaker 3
    0:30:52

    And I don’t know what happens in that case, then you might end up having a kind of open convention with a kind of scrum or a free for all of people trying to prove that they are the best populist, right populist alternative to Trump. And, you know, who knows? Maybe then DeSantis would make another play to somehow fill that role. I don’t know about Ramaswamy. Again, he’s so loathsome that I he has a kind of anti charisma that leads me to think that, like, if every Republican in existence disappeared, and he was the only one standing, he would still lose somehow.
  • Speaker 3
    0:31:30

    I do very much think that looking at all the numbers and, you know, my prediction is Trump is gonna win every primary by double digits pretty much. I mean, I think that’s pretty much sewn up by this point.
  • Speaker 1
    0:31:42

    Okay. So the very fact that We have now winnowed the field down to four remaining candidates, and the qualifications to be in the debates have gotten steeper and steeper. With each succeeding debate. Nevertheless, one of the four is this character Vivec Ramaswamy, who, on Wednesday night, went full queueing on. And let’s just play his decree about how brave he is for telling the truth.
  • Speaker 1
    0:32:14

    Let’s just let’s just hear this.
  • Speaker 6
    0:32:16

    If you want somebody who’s gonna speak truth to power, then vote for somebody who’s gonna speak the truth to you. Why am I the only person on this stage at least who can say that January six now does look like it was an inside job? That the government lied to us for twenty years about Saudi Arabia’s involvement in nine eleven, that the great replacement theory is not some Grand White Wing conspiracy theory. But a basic statement of the democratic party’s platform that the twenty twenty election was indeed stolen by big tech that the twenty sixteen election, the one that Trump won for sure, was also one that was stolen from him by the National Security establishment.
  • Speaker 5
    0:32:55

    Okay. Thank you.
  • Speaker 6
    0:32:56

    Trump Russia collusion notes that they knew was false.
  • Speaker 1
    0:33:01

    So Linda Chavez, look, he is definitely fading. And there was a lot of hostility to him certainly in the audience. But to pick up on Damon’s question, you know, there really is an appetite in the GOP electorate, in the in the primary electorate.
  • Speaker 5
    0:33:19

    Well, I would happen to agree with you, Mona, And in fact, if lightning were to strike, Donald Trump on the, golf course, and he was removed from the scene. By an act of god. I think a lot of his people would go to Ramaswamy because Ramaswamy has exactly the same kind of bombastic temperament. He’s perfectly willing to lie. He doesn’t stand for anything or believe in anything.
  • Speaker 5
    0:33:45

    I mean, the man really, as far as I know, has no real ideological roots. He’s not somebody who’s thought deeply about, much of anything during his lifetime. But what I found offensive, look, that he qualifies for the debate. So he gets enough donations and enough support in the polls that he qualifies to be on the debate stage. But following the debates, the networks go and they interviewed him, and I watch Dana Bash interview him on CNN, last night after the debate.
  • Speaker 5
    0:34:18

    And I was just appalled because he’d just basically would not stop talking. He made, the kinds of assertions about January six being an inside job. And that kind of amplification of his message, I think, is very dangerous. But it isn’t just Ramaswami. I mean, you’ve got Mike Johnson, speaker of the house, who’s out there releasing tapes.
  • Speaker 5
    0:34:45

    And supposedly, the purpose of releasing all of the uncut footage of what happened on January six is to try to push the narrative that, in fact, some of the Capitol Hill cops left the protesters in that it was really mostly just a peaceful walk through the halls of Congress. And that we shouldn’t believe our lying eyes what we watched as, windows were were batted in as police officers were bludgeoned, pepper sprayed, attacked with flag poles bearing the American flag and I think the confederate flag as well. And this is what’s so dangerous. These people have an audience. And that audience, I mean, it goes back to what we were talking about at the beginning with Rachel.
  • Speaker 5
    0:35:32

    It isn’t just the leaders who are the problem. It is that there seems to be an appetite in a segment of America for these kinds of characters, and that to me is the most frightening.
  • Speaker 1
    0:35:45

    The speaker of the house, Mike Johnson didn’t just say that he was releasing all of this, footage. But he said it had taken some time because they needed to blur the faces of the rioters to shield them from prosecution by the Department of Justice, which is remarkable. They are on the side of the rioters and against the Department of Justice, which is just remarkable. Oh, by the way, the Department of Justice has all the uncut video anyway. So it was stupid.
  • Speaker 1
    0:36:15

    In addition to everything else, but it was also just unbelievably irresponsible. Topic change, Will Saletan, we’ve talked about The declining support for arming Ukraine by the GOP. A November Gallup poll found that sixty two percent of Republican voters now believe the US is doing too much to help Ukraine. And so this week, there was a vote, and the Republicans actually blocked this proposal for a hundred and ten billion dollars that aid would have gone to Ukraine, Israel, Taiwan, and a few other things. And the border, So it’s deplorable that people are holding up aid for our allies, but but as a political matter asking you, Bill, isn’t this an example of where the Republicans really do have the better of the argument vis a vis the American people, namely that Biden should give in on this on the border security because it’ll be better for him in the end anyway.
  • Speaker 4
    0:37:13

    You didn’t read my mind, Mona, because you’ve heard me say this. And, you know, and the answer is somewhere between yes and hell yes.
  • Speaker 2
    0:37:21

    Okay. Interestingly,
  • Speaker 4
    0:37:22

    John Fedterman just came out you know, saying in effect, you know, pushing back against other Democrats and saying that these discussions are reasonable. Biden made a statement just yesterday suggesting that he is coming around to the reality that if he wants this aid package to go through which he desperately does, that he’s going to go have to go farther on the immigration issue. Than he understood even a few weeks ago. And, this is his time for choosing. The days are dwindling to a precious few.
  • Speaker 4
    0:38:01

    And at some point, and I think that point may be this weekend. Or early next week, He is going to have to send a really clear signal to the bipartisan Sarah Longwell negotiators. That he is prepared to accept not only a toughening of the standards. On asylum claims, but also limitations on the parole powers that he’s now exercising through executive order. Some substantial change in how asylum seekers are actually dealt with and where they are dealt with.
  • Speaker 4
    0:38:42

    And a number of other changes that I think, he regarded as unthinkable, just a few weeks ago. And, I don’t think that he has the luxury of allowing these negotiations to fail nor do I think speaking politically that it would be a bad thing for him if he could make the argument after doing the right thing that he was forced to do it.
  • Speaker 1
    0:39:10

    Yeah. Exactly. Thank you for that. Rachel. Trump gave an interview with, Sean Hannity.
  • Speaker 1
    0:39:16

    Sean Hannity attempted to tee up one of his, typical softballs saying, people are saying you wanna be a dictator. That’s not true. Is it? There’s absolutely no way that you would be a dictator. And of course, Trump, being Trump, he had fun with it.
  • Speaker 1
    0:39:31

    He made it into a joke, and he said, no, no, I won’t be. Except on day one, I will, and he start, yeah, I’ll I’ll I’ll close the border. I’ll do that, and so on. I’m gonna drill. I’m gonna, you know, etcetera.
  • Speaker 1
    0:39:41

    And the audience chuckled, and everybody thought that everybody had a wonderful time. Obviously, some of us take his threats to being a dictator very seriously. And, in my view, and I’d be curious to hear yours, I think a lot of voters have him focus on it yet, and they will eventually. But I wanna ask you whether you take any, satisfaction in some of the other things that happened this week, such as, The Wisconsin fake electors from twenty twenty settled a lawsuit where they accepted responsibility, an admitted fault for their attempt to change the votes in Wisconsin. And the fake electors in Nevada were charged criminally.
  • Speaker 1
    0:40:23

    We’ve also had Liz Cheney come out, on her book tour, and she is as clear and clarion as possible about the, danger ahead. So what’s your view of that.
  • Speaker 2
    0:40:37

    That is a lot, Jonah. I I would say that look, America’s an incredibly strong consolidated democracy. We’re the oldest see in the world. And it’s good, though it shouldn’t be surprising that our institutions are holding people accountable for breaking the law and doing things that are anti democratic, like submitting fake slates of electors. I’m glad they’re doing it.
  • Speaker 2
    0:40:58

    I’m not complacent about it, but this is what should happen in a strong consolidated democracy and it is what’s happening. So that’s very good. We’re also, like every country, we have our Achilles heel, and The Achilles Hill in America is that we have an incredibly strong president. And it’s a presidency that’s gotten stronger over the last twenty, thirty, forty years. We’ve got this, president that has vastly more power than the founders intended.
  • Speaker 2
    0:41:24

    And that’s partially because Congress has been so feckless And it’s partially because as problems have gotten more and more complicated, our bureaucracy has gotten bigger and our government’s gotten bigger. But for various reasons, neither side has actually wanna to to cut back the power of our president. And as a result, while we’ve got a very strong set of institutions, the president has a lot of latitude to cut into them very quickly on day one as he said. And so I think, we’ve had lots of presidents do dictatorial things before. Abraham Lincoln famously suspended habeas corpus John Adams passed the, treason and Sedition Act.
  • Speaker 2
    0:42:01

    So it’s not as if we haven’t seen this movie a number times. We just tend to forget it because, you know, Americans have memories like Goldfish. So it’s easy to see how various activities could be extraordinarily harmful to our democracy. I think what’s harder for Americans to really believe is that we wouldn’t get to vote the guy out. And I think that that is something of a possibility, and I can’t live forever.
  • Speaker 2
    0:42:25

    But, you know, a couple of years ago, I had a Venezuelan family, over at my house, whose son had been a mayor of a part of Caracas, kind of the mayor of the Brooklyn of Caracas, he’d been in opposition to Chavez. There had still been room be political opposition and so on for a while. But eventually, the threats came for him. He’d been doing actually amazing things on crime reform, which is why I knew him. And he had to flee, and he fled to America, and his parents came to meet him, and they rendezvoused at my house for dinner.
  • Speaker 2
    0:42:53

    And nobody knew if they would ever see each other again. And I don’t think Americans can wrap our heads around the fact that that that could happen to a strong democracy, but Venezuela was actually quite a strong democracy that was modeled structurally after the United States. So we need to enhance our imaginations a little bit about what could happen. Not against everyone, but certainly against some people and recognize that if it can happen here, we need a much stronger defense of those strong institutions.
  • Speaker 1
    0:43:22

    Well, thank you for that, Rachel, and thank you so much for joining us today. I know you have another appointment, so we’re gonna let you go, but was really great hearing from you.
  • Speaker 2
    0:43:31

    Thank you, Mara.
  • Speaker 1
    0:43:32

    Okay. Take care. Well, the war between Israel and Hamas continues and it has provoked smaller brush fires all around the world and including even in the United States where it has caused tremendous controversy at universities in streets of Philadelphia where a mob, was protesting outside the restaurant owned by a Jewish owner who was born in Israel. And we have seen this tremendous internal strife about this. There was an article in the New York Times this week.
  • Speaker 1
    0:44:12

    About the rifts that are even happening in Jewish families, which I can testify to. I know this is happening a lot. I propose to ask you all whether what we are seeing in the calls for a ceasefire. And in the chance from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free and so on. Are we seeing the triumph of the Hamas strategy?
  • Speaker 1
    0:44:36

    Let’s start with you, Bill. The hot strategy by my lights is you attack Israeli civilians. You commit horrendous war crimes with the understanding that you will provoke a ferocious reaction that will cause many innocent Palestinians to suffer, which is what you want. You embed purpose among Palestinian civilians, in kindergartens, in hospitals, and in boys and girls schools, etcetera, all very much documented by the IDF as it’s gone through Gaza. But you force Israelis to kill Palestinian civilians and then you reap the world’s sympathy, and Israel is never allowed to win because Israel is forced to curtail its military operations in in response to international pressure.
  • Speaker 1
    0:45:32

    Game set match. What do you say?
  • Speaker 4
    0:45:35

    I think we’ve get we’ve seen game and set, not yet match because the success of that strategy depends on whether Israel is in fact forced to stop because if it isn’t, then the Hamas leadership eventually is going to be either rounded up or killed. And I spend a lot of time reading the Israeli press, you know, talking to Israelis or to people who talk to Israelis. And it is not clear to me Israel is in a mood to listen to the rest of the world at this point. There is a near unanimity of you in Israel that living side by side with a Hamas governed entity is no longer tolerable. And, I think only the United States publicly breaking with Israel.
  • Speaker 4
    0:46:31

    Could conceivably force Israel to stop short of achieving its objectives to the extent that those objectives are achievable? So, yes, I think the first stages of the Hamas political strategy have worked out exactly as they intended. But whether it’s going to have the end game result that the Hamas leaders are counting on is a different matter altogether.
  • Speaker 1
    0:46:58

    Linda, the name of the restaurant in Philadelphia was Goldy. It’s a vegan restaurant, sir, falafel. The mob that stopped traffic, and prevented people from going in and out of the restaurant. What they were chanting was goldy, goldy, you can’t hide. We charge you with genocide.
  • Speaker 1
    0:47:13

    K? Just because the restaurant owner was Jewish. Okay. So John Federman, who has turned out to be the happiest surprise of the twenty twenty two elections, I have to say, tweeted they could be protesting Hamas. They could be demanding that Hamas release the hostages.
  • Speaker 1
    0:47:32

    Well said, but I wonder if you would say a few words about another thing that happened this week, which was after two months, finally, under great pressure from the likes of Cheryl Sandberg and others, The UN organization charged with speaking up for women around the world finally made at, you know, sort of grudgingly made a statement condemning Hamas for the mass rapes that took place on October seventh. Before this, absolute silence.
  • Speaker 5
    0:48:05

    Yeah. Silence. Absolutely. Nothing. Mona, you probably don’t know this, but I, served at the UN the US expert to the Human Rights Sub Commission.
  • Speaker 5
    0:48:13

    And during my period there from nineteen ninety three to nineteen ninety six, I was actually the special rapporteur for the United Nations on the use of sexual slavery and violence during war time. And did extensive interviews of women, mostly Chinese, Koreans, Filipinos, and others who were forced into prostitution, by the Japanese So, you know, the UN has a long history of being interested in rape, as a tool of war. And they have, you know, appointed rapportors and done studies and and issued, recommendations and reports. And yet, Not a word about the rapes that occurred on October seventh. The UN is sort of hopeless.
  • Speaker 5
    0:49:04

    But what about the feminists in the United States? What about, you know, all of the young women in colleges around America who during the the whole Me too era and the era of debate over Title nine regulations were concerned about harassment, of women. Not being willing to state what was obvious, which was that Hamas engaged in unbelievable cruelty. The kinds of rapes that occurred were I I don’t wanna go into the description because it’s it’s porno violence, and and I don’t wanna engage in that. But it was so disgusting.
  • Speaker 5
    0:49:45

    Body parts lopped off. Yes. In training history. You know, women women shot and killed and continuing to be raped even after they’re dead. Just horrible things.
  • Speaker 5
    0:49:56

    But what bothers me? Is that, you know, we pointed Hamas and Hamas did this, but you remember early in the very early, hours. After October seventh after the raid into Israel. We saw footage that was taken by Hamas itself. Showing young women who were taken from that music festival brought back into Gaza, stripped.
  • Speaker 5
    0:50:23

    Most of them half naked. They’re they’re crotches bloodied,
  • Speaker 1
    0:50:28

    paraded.
  • Speaker 5
    0:50:28

    And paraded. And it wasn’t just to us. There were civilian Gaza residents who were cheering Hamas on. So I’m I’m a little tired of of all of the sympathy. Well, you know, Gazans are not responsible for Hamas.
  • Speaker 5
    0:50:46

    Know many of the gazans are responsible, for Hamas, not just because they voted them in initially, but because they support the kind of extremist fundamentalist Islam that Hamas represents. And and we don’t hear about that.
  • Speaker 1
    0:51:05

    Damon, in light of what Rachel was talking about about credit, you know, calling out one’s own side, honorary mentions should go to a number of feminists who have spoken up, even in the face of silence from many feminist organizations, but There was a piece that was co written by Joyce Sance, Mimi Roca, Dahlia Lithwick, and others that denounced, of course, the the horrific rapes, but also the silence in the west about it. Hillary Clinton has been very forward, on this matter as has, as I mentioned earlier, Cheryl Sandberg. So They deserve credit for doing that, but it is a moment that reveals a bitter reality that for some people, rape is only a problem if you like the person who was raped. If you don’t like the person who was raped or you think they’re white colonialists, then they had it coming.
  • Speaker 3
    0:51:59

    Know, one of the things that critics of of Donald Trump and what he represents that things people say critically, I think very rightly about him is that he represents a kind of resurgence of a kind of high cynicism in human relations where it’s asserted that There really is no objective, moral truth about anything. It’s just tribalism. You’re either with me or you’re against me or either loyal or disloyal, and and that is is the only standard. And then that gets mapped onto every moral claim. Well, the fact is that the far left, the anti liberal left operates in exactly the same way while, and this is especially calling for me.
  • Speaker 3
    0:52:46

    Thinking that this is kind of a sign of their own moral purity that they’re actually better than everybody else. And what do I mean by this? Well, it means that they have decided that Israel is indefensible, that it’s the settler colonial atrocious morally offensive entity in the region and that doesn’t belong there. And so, therefore, anything that anybody does against it, including the monsters of the, theocratic Islamist Thomas Organization, that, like, yeah, you know, the enemy of my enemy is my friend. And so, like, they’re now allied with Hamas, which is completely outrageous and appalling, but but it is the kind of inverse left wing version of trumpian cynicism.
  • Speaker 3
    0:53:38

    Them. And I know the left hates to hear it described like that because again, they think they’re pure than everybody else. They’re the only ones who will take the noble stand against the colonial oppressors in the region. But Hamas I mean, even aside from its use of rape and other forms of sexual violence that Hamas is simply indistinguishable in every ideological sense from ISIS. Correct.
  • Speaker 3
    0:54:07

    They want Israel and all the Jews wiped from the region, either by extermination or by being driven out and they want to create an Islamist caliphate in place of the state of Israel. That is that is among the most appalling ideological projects in the world today. And I don’t care how much you’re critical of Netanyahu and his Coalition partners and the project of settlement in the West Bank, and I’m quite critical of all of those things.
  • Speaker 1
    0:54:43

    Me too.
  • Speaker 3
    0:54:43

    But it is categorically different than saying, and therefore, I’m gonna ally myself with these homicidal maniacs who invaded Israel and did all of that on October seventh and continues to lob missiles at Israel all along, broke the ceasefire that the left was calling for and that we had for a week, but it it is truly appalling. And again, at my main point, I want to be the one about the the kind of inverse negative image version of Trumpism on the far left. This kind of total tribalistic, allying with morally appalling people simply because they hate the right people. That that isn’t how you think about these things if you’re a decent human being.
  • Speaker 1
    0:55:33

    Yeah. Well said, in my column this week, I noted that there has been this very notable horseshoe effect, the last several weeks where we see far left and far right demonstrators joining, so some of the people who were at Charlottesville, the neo Nazis are joining together with some of the far left to protest, Israel, and Chiran Hamas. Alright. That brings us to the end of this discussion and to our final segment, the highlight or low light of the week, and we will start with Will Saletan.
  • Speaker 4
    0:56:08

    There were so many low lights this week that it was a really tough choice. But after some deliberation, I settled on the testimony of the three university presidents before Congress, the presidents of Harvard, the University of Pennsylvania, and MIT, who magically rediscovered the principle of campus free speech, when the issue of genocidal statements about Jews and Israel became the topic, the focus of that speech. And the university presidents, I think, were forced into a position that is simply untenable because they couldn’t even bring themselves in their personal capacities in testifying before Congress to issue a full throated criticism of and rejection of campus groups that are calling nakedly. For the destruction of the state of Israel, and also the killing of the inhabitants of the state of Israel. I was dumbfounded But more to the point, major major contributors to these universities were dumbfounded and are now calling for the heads of the president’s who couldn’t even summon up verbal clarity, let alone moral clarity.
  • Speaker 4
    0:57:31

    This is a deeply troubling moment in my opinion for higher education. In the United States. If the presidents really believe so strongly in the principle of free speech, Then let’s apply it across the board. Let’s let people who are advocating genocide against Native Americans or African Americans or what have you? Let them speak freely on campus.
  • Speaker 4
    0:57:59

    Let people who are writing articles about the inferiority of certain racial groups speak freely on campus. If you mean it, apply the same standard to everybody. But if you don’t, then do not suddenly discover the virtues of silence. When the targets of these threats are Jews.
  • Speaker 1
    0:58:26

    Yes. I’ll just note that in the bulwark this week, in a piece by Greg Herwitz, titled any other group, He wrote, let us imagine the question rephrased. Does calling for the genocide of blacks constitute bullying and harassment? Does calling for the wholesale flatter of gays constitute bullying and harassment? Does calling for the genocide of Mexicans, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera, and becomes perfectly clear.
  • Speaker 1
    0:58:52

    And, you know, just to underline Bill’s point, the three presidents kept saying it would depend on context. Okay. Linda Chavez.
  • Speaker 5
    0:59:00

    Well, continuing along this cherry theme, that we’ve had from the beginning of the show. One of the things that has been very clear to me in the last couple of months is how important antisemitism is to warning us of a kind of coming autocracy that antisemitism acts like the canary in the mind shaft. That when you see an increase in antisemitism, it may start with the Jews, but it rarely, ends with the Jews. So I don’t know whether to call this a highlight or a low light, but I came across an article this week in my inbox from the magazine Mosaic. As listeners in the podcast know, my first love is not politics, but literature.
  • Speaker 5
    0:59:52

    And my very favorite, writer is Theodore Dostoevsky. And this article was entitled why Dostoevsky loved humanity and hated the Jews. It was a long, very erudite discussion, by Gary Saul Morrison, who is professor of the arts and humanities at Moore Western University and has written a number of books on Dostoevsky. And the reason I’m pointing it out is I think that you know, when we think of anti semites, you know, you you think of Hitler, you think of fascist, anti semites, but anti semitism is something that has infected the culture world broadly. And there are certainly a number of anti Semitic, writers who’ve been lauded for their literature.
  • Speaker 5
    1:00:46

    I have to say I had not thought of Dostoevsky as one of those writers because in fact his works themselves do not contain the kind of, antisemitism that was pretty prevalent in the nineteenth century certainly in Russia. But this article details the way in which he was obsessed with the Jews the way in which he thought that the Jews represented the Antichrist and the challenge to the, Russian Orthodox church. And for anybody who is an admirer of Dostoevsky and loves literature, I highly commend this article, from Mosaic.
  • Speaker 1
    1:01:27

    Linda, I cannot resist adding that I’ve read a book about six months ago where, it detailed the change of heart that Charles Dickens had Yes.
  • Speaker 2
    1:01:36

    Vis
  • Speaker 1
    1:01:36

    a vis the Jews. Right. Because of course, one of the most famous characters in literature. It was fagan. Yep.
  • Speaker 1
    1:01:43

    And, and later in his life, Dickens was buying a house from a lady who turned out to be Jewish and who took the opportunity of their correspondence to object to the, portrayal of Jews in, Oliver Twist. And he was taken aback. And he said, no, no, I have bad characters who are Christians also. And she said, yes, but you also have good characters who are Christians. You don’t have any good characters who are Jews.
  • Speaker 1
    1:02:06

    And they went back and forth. And sure enough, she opened his eyes, and he saw the error of his ways and wanted to make amends. And so, apparently, in his book, our mutual friend, which I
  • Speaker 5
    1:02:20

    haven’t yet read. He has a great character in there. That’s right. He’s got a wonderful Jewish character in one of my favorite books.
  • Speaker 1
    1:02:26

    So it’s a really interesting story of how, you know, an encounter with one other human being Could change someone. Really interesting. Okay. Damon Lincoln.
  • Speaker 3
    1:02:38

    Well, my selection will be another downer on four it late, but it was, you know, one of those weeks. And this is actually a pair of essays, one of which appeared last week, the second of which appeared this week, by, the seem to writer Robert Kagan in the Washington Post, the first was titled, Trump dictatorship is increasingly inevitable. We should stop pretending. There’s a light title. And then the second one that’s more recent, a follow-up is titled the Trump dictatorship, how to stop it.
  • Speaker 3
    1:03:10

    Both of these are really excellent. The first one, especially, is this great synoptic tour of where we have been and where we are and could be bringing in, all kinds of information, historical and analytical about the threat that Trump poses, how he’s gotten worse, the things that he’s promising or threatening to do, if he wins again, And also, the the advantages that he holds in running this time compared to twenty sixteen and twenty twenty, The second piece, you know, as usual, I I’m I’m so dark that I I have a pretty severe, critical bias against kind of easy pet solutions. And I do, disagree with some of what Kagan has to say in the second piece. But there are some very good suggestions in there among them, among the best being the importance of thinking in terms of division and conquering. And the fact that right now, the Democrats are quite divided, among other things over, the Israel Hamas war, but but other issues as well.
  • Speaker 3
    1:04:20

    But that there is hope that Democrats will come together over the next eleven months. And there are areas where Democrats can try aggressively to divide the Republicans in a way that they have not been very much lately. And he has some suggestions about how they might do that. So when it comes just to kind of electoral tactics, they’re they’re good suggestions there that are worth pondering and thinking about how each of us can make our own small contributions to that. So, again, very strong recommendation for both essays, by Robert Kagan into the Washington Post.
  • Speaker 1
    1:04:56

    Well, I would like to comment on something to do with the Ivy League, as, Bill mentioned. It hasn’t been a great week for them, the Ivy League presidents testifying before Congress and embarrassing themselves, getting into trouble with their with their donors, but I want to highlight a piece by Pamela Paul, columnist for the New York Times, who is indispensable reading. She has a piece this week. It’s called what is happening at the Columbia School of Social Bulwark. Full disclosure.
  • Speaker 1
    1:05:27

    I attended this school as an undergrad, not the social work school. I attended Barnard College, which was, at the time, the Women’s College at Columbia, And I have to say it has been my impression that Columbia University has been responsible for some of the worst ideas that have infected American life especially regarding education. The education school, the teacher’s college is just appalling and has afflicted, generation of American kids with reading troubles because of things like stupid fads, like whole language instead of teaching phonics. Will Saletan come now to the School of Social Bulwark. And, by the way, this is not She’s picking on Columbia, but apparently, it’s kind of widespread in schools of Social Bulwark.
  • Speaker 1
    1:06:11

    She says when students arrive for orientation, they are given a glossary of terms that will be helpful to them. So among the A’s is agent and target of oppression. Members of the dominant social groups privileged by birth or acquisition who consciously or un consciously abused power against the members or targets of oppressed groups. And then, Ashkinonormativity, A system of oppression that favors white Jewish folks f o l x based on the assumption that all Jewish f o l x are Ashcanazi or from Western Europe, the seas, define capitalism as a system of economic oppression, based on class, private property competition, and individual profit, see also carceral system, class, inequality, racism, colonization is a system of oppression based on invasion and control that results in institutionalized and equality between the colonizer and the colonized see also Eurocentric genocide, indigeneity, and oppression. And it goes on this way.
  • Speaker 1
    1:07:20

    As Paul points out, the school has transformed itself into truly something out of the onion or something out of the fevered imagination of, Christopher Ruffo, you know, that this is a school based on terminating people to become social justice warriors, not so much, to provide a desperately needed service Social workers are are wonderful. It’s a wonderful institution, and social workers at their best provide wonderful service for people who desperately need it. But, but it seems the Columbia has taken its eye off the ball to put it mildly. So congratulations to Pamela Paul for calling this out. In the pages of the New York Times, and we hope something can be done about it.
  • Speaker 1
    1:08:07

    Alright. With that, I want to thank our guests Rachel Kleinfeld and our regular panel, of course. Also, our producer, Jim Swift, and our sound engineer, Jonathan Last, And I want to thank, of course, our wonderful listeners, and we will return next week as every week.
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