Podcasts

 

Episode 10: Interview with Ed Luce, Author and Financial Times Columnist

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Financial Times columnist Ed Luce wrote in 2012 that the hollowing out of the American middle class meant that America’s trajectory was worse than it looked. He recognized “America First” in the Tea Party. Now, he notes that the “Latin-Americanization” of the American economy (widening inequality) has led to the election of a Latin-American style populist. We examine reasons that things have gotten so much harder in the last 30 years in America, and invoke lessons from Britain, France, and Germany.


Episode 9: Solving Tribalism with Shakespeare, Game Theory, and Counterinsurgency

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Tribalism has mortally afflicted humanity since tribes evolved eons ago, and today it threatens to tear down many nations.  We know why we’re tribal, but how do we solve it, aside from civil war? William Shakespeare offers one solution. John Nash offers another.  General Petraeus offered a third. Let’s put them all into one theory.


Episode 8: The Rise and Fall of Political Ideologies Over Political Time

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Why was Ronald Reagan as successful as FDR, Lincoln, and Andrew Jackson? Why was George W Bush such a divider like James K Polk, Lyndon B Johnson, and John Adams? How is Trump like Carter, Hoover, Pierce, and Quincy Adams? This episode traces the famous theory of Yale Professor Stephen Skowronek, about how political ideologies have risen and collapsed in American political history. Skowronek’s theory, first published in 1992, predicted many of the challenges experienced by all Presidents since then: Clinton’s impeachment, Bush’s “dubious wars,” Obama’s Tea Party Backlash and Trump’s absurdity. The theory also predicts what comes next.


Episode 7: Of Mavericks and Muckrakers

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Teddy Roosevelt and John McCain were both war heroes, beloved by media elites, named after their father, and of the same military rank. Each maverick abhorred the Democrats’ growing fondness for socialism, and revered the Republican giants of old. However, he found he not only had to fight bad ideas from Democrats; a majority of his own party was also inflexibly infatuated with outdated ideologies. What can the parallel insurgencies of Teddy Roosevelt and John McCain against their GOP establishments teach us about standing up to bad Republicans today?


Episode 6: Midterm Results

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Rob discusses the results of the special election, and what it means that the Democrats gained seats in the House but lost seats in the Senate in the context of the James Madison’s visions for the two bodies.  He shows how the Senate is actually in crisis, and proposes actionable solutions to make it functional again.


Episode 5: Interview with Christine Woodhouse, Director of One Vote

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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 participate in democracy.  In a world growing skeptical, what does one vote mean to the people who cast it?  Lawyer Christine Woodhouse, director of the movie One Vote, discusses her film and what it taught her about the many intrinsic values in the vote.


Episode 4: Interview with Dr. Jason Brennan, Georgetown University, Author of Against Democracy

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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: epistocracy.


Episode 3: Democracy, Idiocracy, Kakistocracy, Oh My!

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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.


Episode 00-Trailer: Democrises

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We will determine our global future. Civilizations rise and fall because they either solve their existential challenges…or they don’t. How do we choose wisely? Listen as physician, researcher and Army veteran Dr. Rob Cohen and other cutting-edge thinkers help illuminate a path out of our crises of democracy, demography, and demoralization. Mavericks are needed now: heed the call with Democrises. It’s either darkest before the dawn…or before it’s totally black.


Episode 2: Interview with Dr. Peter Turchin, University of Connecticut, Author of War and Peace and War

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Dr. Turchin is one of the world’s foremost researchers on the question of why empires rise and fall.  We featured some of his research in episode 1.  He has authored 5 books and hundreds of scientific articles on the subject, including a prediction in 2010 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 to do that today.  He’s got some actionable solutions.


Episode 1: Empires Rise, Empires Fall…but Why?  — A message from China.

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Civilizations die by suicide, not murder.  That’s what almost every historian who has studied the topic has concluded.  The paths of societal decline are often similar, including 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 China in the 19th century, and proceeds to examine many other civilizations that followed or are following the same path…