Washington, D.C. – The Democrises podcast was launched Thursday from studios in Washington DC. Its mission is to find and broadcast solutions to our world’s great challenges…before it’s too late. The host is Dr. Rob Cohen, an Army veteran, physician, research scientist, former John McCain campaign staffer and “McCain Maverick.”
Democrises takes a sweeping look at society’s mounting challenges, including demographic causes, economic inequality, and environmental destruction, examining them with thorough research and expert commentary. Season 1 will focus on our world’s crises of democracy, demography, and demoralization. Most importantly, all the content will focus on solutions.
“We’re staking out a space in the middle of current political discourse—a place where people turn for valid evidence and helpful assessment of the great challenges of our time and we tell compelling stories along the way,” said Cohen. “I want the Democrises podcast to help our world implement the necessary solutions, instead of just standing by as the more selfish among us turn it into a truly awful place.”
Dr. Cohen, a Harvard grad who specialized at Columbia medical school in preventive medicine and public health, leaves this month for the Congo to aid in containing the dangerous Ebola outbreak there. In the US Army, he served in both Iraq and Kuwait, as well as worked to help eradicate exotic diseases in Africa and treated wounded soldiers at Walter Reed.
Democrises is available for download Apple iTunes and other platforms.
At launch, they released 5 episodes of the Democrises podcast, with weekly releases to follow:
1. Empires Rise, Empires Fall…but Why? — A message from China.
Civilizations die by suicide, not murder. That’s what almost every historian who has studied the topic has concluded. The paths of societal decline often include poor governance decisions, overpopulation, and breakdown of societal trust. Today, these factors afflict both America and the world, and we call them Democrises: Democracy, Demography, and Demoralization. This episode begins with the fall of Qing Dynasty in China in the 19th Century and proceeds to examine many other civilizations that followed or are following the same path.
2. A conversation with Dr. Peter Turchin, University of Connecticut, Author of War and Peace and War
Dr. Turchin is one of the world’s foremost researchers on the question of why empires rise and fall. He has authored five books and hundreds of scientific articles on the subject, including a 2010 prediction that the United States was on a dangerous path to widespread political violence by 2020. We discuss his fascinating and important research, including the 10% of historical cases where societies recognized their danger and woke up in time, and how that could happen today. He’s got some actionable solutions.
3. Democracy, Idiocracy, Kakistocracy, Oh My!
Churchill said, “Democracy is the worst form of government except for all those other forms.” Is he right? This episode begins with the rise of Athenian Democracy, and what became of it when demagogues started to arise. Other great philosophers, such as Plato, Kant, and Hamilton, weigh in on whether current American democracy is the best we can do. We examine the great variation in “democracies” today, from Russia to America to Venezuela, and discover that it is the details of democracy that make all the difference.
4. A conversation with Dr. Jason Brennan, Georgetown University, Author of Against Democracy
Dr. Jay Brennan bravely proposed in August of 2016 – before the election – that our democracy was failing us because of fundamental flaws. While a fan of democracy, he’s also a critic and wants to find ways to fix what’s broken in our system while keeping what’s good. We discuss his theory as well as his proposal, called epistocracy.
5. A conversation with Christine Woodhouse, Director of One Vote
Every vote tells a story about the person who cast it, and about his or her country. In the past and in the present, people keep having to overcome obstacles in order to participate in democracy. In a world growing skeptical, what does one vote mean to the people who cast it? Attorney Christine Woodhouse, director of the movie One Vote, discusses her film and what it taught her about the many intrinsic values in the vote.
About Rob Cohen, MD
“I don’t want to live through a societal meltdown.” —Rob Cohen.
Rob Cohen is a 34-year-old Harvard and Columbia grad, Army veteran in Iraq and Kuwait and physician who served a residency at Walter Reed Medical Center caring for his fellow soldiers.Dr. Cohen is also the creator and host of the new Democrises podcast, available now at the Apple iTunes store and www.democrises.com. This fall, he will be battling to eradicate the Ebola outbreak in the Congo. Rob is also a man with passion on a mission.
In his words, “We are making all the mistakes of previous civilizations—from economic inequality to environmental destruction to poor leadership.”
Between Harvard and Columbia medical school, Cohen served on the campaign trail for a man he greatly admired running for president in 2008, Senator John McCain. He even had an article published in the Wall Street Journal in admiration of Senator McCain. In 2018, Cohen was asked to work on McCain’s funeral arrangements, and considers himself one of the “McCain Mavericks.”McCain, along with intellectual heroes Jeff Sachs, Jared Diamond, and David Petreaus, inspire his podcast and his public service.