A Reckoning for Western Liberalism

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uh the the thesis of the book we were
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asking
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why is it that democratization produced
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a politics of grievance and resistance
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and resentment and one the simplest
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answer
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is that uh democratization was imitation
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and imitation
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uh uh is associated with the confession
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that the other is superior you’re
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inferior
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and of course that produces resentment
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but more
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particularly if i could give you just
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one i think uh
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very revealing example
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of how this uh how this developed let’s
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take hungary as an example
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the hungarians took standard model
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thatcherite
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privatization which uh uh developed in
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the west
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they tried they applied it in a society
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with no private capital
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the consequence of this was in a way we
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should have seen it ahead of time
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was that managers took the assets of
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their enterprises
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and uh used that to buy the enterprises
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for themselves
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creating their own private wealth and uh
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this was the beginning of the
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development of an appalling inequalities
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in these uh in east european societies
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post-communist societies unjustifiable
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inequalities which were resented but not
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only that
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the the language of liberalism which is
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the language of human rights individual
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rights
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was not able to capture or to articulate
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the grievance uh experienced by those
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who watched the public patrimony of
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their country
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put into the pockets of individuals who
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were insiders
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so the privatization of polypatrimony
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was a uh was was experienced as an abuse
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as a
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as a as a crime but it couldn’t be
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articulated in the language
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of individual rights of liberalism and
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indeed
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the language of liberalism particularly
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the language of private property rights
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be uh beca banned blessed or justified
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this process which was widely viewed as
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illegitimate and unjustifiable and and
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of course
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personally painful if you are your best
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friend
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you have two friends uh uh they’re very
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equal one day
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in a couple years one of them is riding
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around in limousines
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the other can’t afford a bus ticket one
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is eating at fish restaurants every
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night the other
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can’t afford a piece of fresh fruit that
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produces resentment so the
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the the westernization process created
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traumas in these societies which we
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didn’t foresee and didn’t predict
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but that was the seedbed for this
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populist revolt against the liberal
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order
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now for those of us who grew up during
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the cold war this is going to sound
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passing strange but there are many on
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the right
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in eastern and central europe that
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consider the european union to be the
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new
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soviet union how can that be
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yeah this is a very strange development
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interesting and kind of
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complicated so the first thing is that
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reform elites
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in eastern europe were very eager to uh
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to join in the accession process to the
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european union
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and therefore accepted the post-national
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rhetoric
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of the european union that if you
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remember was really developed to help
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germany
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overcome its nationalistic past so it
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was a very post-national language
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and that um meant that this these reform
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elites
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were leaving behind in their own country
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national symbols
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national traditions they kind of didn’t
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speak about them
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and therefore when resentment uh or when
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when the west entered into crisis
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particularly in 2008
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and the western model seemed to be less
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than it was cracked up to be
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and to present problems um a counter
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elite emerged
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in eastern europe in central eastern
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europe mostly of provincial origins
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who blamed everything that went wrong
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on the fact that they the reform elite
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had abandoned the nation
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had abandoned national traditions so
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this was a uh
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the the accession process was a viewed
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as a
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betrayal of national authenticity
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uh in in addition there’s another very
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interesting factor which is that the
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european union was
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asking all in and hungary become
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democratic
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you must learn how to become democracies
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like we in the west
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at the same time brussels was saying we
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are going to write all of your laws
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so while you’re becoming democratic
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actually your laws are going to be
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written in brussels
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this produced also resentment and a
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feeling that there is something
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uh perverse or uh arrogant about
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brussels obviously brussels is not
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moscow it doesn’t have a boot
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on their throats but it did it does did
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convey
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a sense of uh superiority judgmentalism
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and then i i need to uh emphasize that
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although
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the west did not impose democracy and
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liberalization
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it did judge the progress of
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democratization and liberalization
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and in a way westerners when they
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visited eastern europe i saw this a lot
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i worked there of course in the 90s
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uh it was as if it’s in the way tourists
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visit a zoo you know
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you go to the zoo you look at the
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primates you say well
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uh they’re like us but they’re lit
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missing something they don’t have an
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opposable thumb
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or they don’t have the rule of law so
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you’re kind of saying you’re you’re kind
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of a copy of us but you’re not a very
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good copy
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and probably you’ll never be much good
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so there was a feeling of
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being looked down upon uh which also
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stirred resentment uh and let me just
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say one other thing about
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i think authenticity the sense these
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populists are claiming that they
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are those in touch with the authentic
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tradition which has been
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lost by westernization and
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democratization so
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in 1989 uh it’s clear that the
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nationalists were allied with the
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liberals in the revolt against moscow’s
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empire
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so in poland there was a lot of
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basically trying to get away from russia
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was a very important motivation now they
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didn’t
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speak the language of nationalism at the
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time probably because it was not a
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language welcome in brussels
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but also because this was the period of
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milosevic you know the bloody side of
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nationalism and milosevic was a
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communist communist so a man like
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kaczynski would never
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echo milosevic so there was the language
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of nationalism was subdued
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and when after 2008 2014 the immigration
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crisis
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these populist knees near felt freed
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from having to
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to cover their nationalism with the
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language of liberalism so
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it it it had felt like a kind of cage
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in which they were trapped and they
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broke out of it
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and returned to this kind of nativist uh
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way of feeling which had always been
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there but had been muffled so it was
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that’s part of the why populism seems
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authentic to them
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well let’s extend your metaphor a little
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further if we want to talk about the
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number one primate in the zoo boy this
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is a terrible analogy
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uh should we ask about russia here why
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didn’t i i mean
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the the many of the central and eastern
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european countries did sort of flirt
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with
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liberal democracy for a while before
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adopting illiberal democracy that they
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have today but russia never did
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why why did russia never try it well i
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mean first of all you have to remember
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that in the soviet union
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elites have been have found it very easy
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to
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fake democracy have fake elections
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because they’ve been faking communism
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for at least two decades before
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uh they were sort of dressed up this way
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let’s pretend we’re having to
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have elections these are all rigged of
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course uh
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and uh we know he’s going to win and
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there’s not really any competition
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that was very easy for them to do they
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also in russia by the way
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they they had a communist training told
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them that democracy is just
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a trick by which elites uh deceive their
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publics
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and hold on to power capitalism is just
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really an elite project to
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exploit the working classes and so on so
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they were
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very comfortable with that idea of
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capitalist democracy
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but in the end basically uh russia
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was so injured i mean the main thing to
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understand about the russian
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situation is they lost huge part of
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their territory
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uh a huge number of their population
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they lost their superpower status it was
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a
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it was a huge injury to the self-image
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of russians which was not true in
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eastern europe that they didn’t
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eastern europeans didn’t have this
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imperial swagger this imperial
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claims that they were you know on the
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top of the world
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uh and actually exporting their own
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model
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elsewhere so that was a very strong and
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i think the so the russians for
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a couple decades were pretty happy with
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just faking democracy and
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but in the end as putin came to power
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the resentment of being treated as
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second-class
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citizens as being looked down upon as
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being taught lessons
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by the west boiled over and uh the
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russians
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went from this like faking a democracy
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to a what we call aggressive imitation
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uh that is
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imitation of the west which is designed
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to humiliate the west
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uh which is designed to show that the
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west is hypocritical so for example
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in the speech he gave putin gave
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justifying the annexation of
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crimea he basically imitated word for
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word
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uh western speeches about the
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independence of kosovo
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human rights national self-determination
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and so forth but this was
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very much a kind of imitation meant to
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expose the west’s
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hypocrisy and uh yes i think that’s
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i think that’s a good uh way to
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understand the putin regime which is not
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people often uh act as if putin is a
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great strategist and it is true that
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he’s played
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beforehand well but he’s not a great
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strategist his
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his main aim which is not strategic and
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is not
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helping russia redevelop itself is to
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expose the west as hypocritical that’s
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his
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obsession uh and i think that’s a
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blind alley that’s a dead end maybe a
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blind alley but most days of the week
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it’s not that hard to do
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whoops there’s my little editorial
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comment uh let me try this
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do we have to come to the unhappy
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conclusion therefore
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that liberalism as we understand it is
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really not exportable
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to cultures that are if i can put it
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this way wired differently
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from those of us in the west i think
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one of the big lessons of the 2003 war
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in iraq
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is that uh trying to impose a
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democratic system after a six-week
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military campaign
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in a country where three-quarters of the
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population married their first cousin
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and so
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it’s a completely different social world
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you can’t just you know uh
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impose something like this and that that
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was such a lesson even though
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our uh uh international internationalist
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humanitarian internationals uh went over
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there
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with the uh crude and i think uh
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defenseless uh idea that the only
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legitimate authority with whom we are
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going to deal are going to be authority
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that’s elected
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i think it’s very good to help so the
19:38
listeners to contrast what
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how we behaved in afghanistan and how
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the americans behaved in afghanistan and
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how they behaved
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in iraq and afghanistan we had been
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there for decades we
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knew all the warlords we didn’t say to
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the warlords you must be elected
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before we negotiate with you but in iraq
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the religious leaders the tribal shakes
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were set aside we had this
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fake ideological belief that we have to
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create authority by elections which of
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course is a
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is a uh it is based on historical
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ignorance
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democracy is a tiny spot in human
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history
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it has cute enormously complicated
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preconditions
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it doesn’t we we’re confusing the
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absence of obstacles with the presence
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of preconditions we thought if you get
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rid of saddam
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you’re going to have democracy just like
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if you get rid of communist elite you’re
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going to have democracy
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and this was an illusion it’s a
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democratic ideology that
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idea was uh is is is it
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uh uh ex exposes a kind of disgraceful
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historical ignorance which was uh at the
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basis of much of american foreign policy
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in the post-cold war era we’ve got about
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five minutes to go here so let me try a
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couple more questions with you
20:49
your book now suggests that we’ve
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entered an age of illiberal
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imitation how do you see that
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well it’s a strange uh fact that uh
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president trump seems to be uh uh
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accepting putin’s uh a strategic goal of
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dismantling the european union
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of destroying all of the international
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organizations created by the united
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states after world war
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ii uh and he’s at war not only with the
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wto the who in
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all the world america made seems to be
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uh uh
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the liberal world order seems to be
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something that trump himself
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is uh attacking so that is a a kind of
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imitation of and he’s using the rhetoric
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nationalist rhetoric anti-immigrant
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rhetoric
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of orban and kaczynski uh and the
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anti-western
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uh language and also by the way
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uh he’s the first american president who
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has not said we deserve to rule the
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world because we’re morally superior
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i mean that’s a kind of not a very
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likable uh uh position to take but every
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american president has taken that
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basically
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trump says no no we’re just like
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everyone else uh
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well what i was personally don’t you
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think
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is that again be a tough case for him
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personally to make it
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imitate him personally yes i would say
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but he of course
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his basic uh thing is he resents
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this is sort of the trump world view is
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he resents terribly
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the countries that imitate our uh
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economic productivity
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or or are horning in on our market share
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and so on so
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he’s a person who has claimed i think
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the first american president ever
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to say that america is the greatest
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victim of the americanization
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of the world so that’s part of it but i
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wouldn’t like uh to say a word about
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uh the current crisis we’re in and i’m
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i’ve been asking myself and my colleague
22:45
yvonne krustev
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we’ve been speaking about this as well
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what does the was the current pandemic
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tell us about the trauma of liberalism
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and the the competition between
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liberalism and populism
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uh because in a way uh the
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the previous crises of liberalism 19
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uh the uh 2001 in which it turned out
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that
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defending human rights the whole uh idea
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of defending human rights as the primary
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value
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seemed to give way to the battle against
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terrorism in which rights were viewed as
23:17
a trojan horse for our enemies
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2008 which really showed that our
23:22
economic elite
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i didn’t know what it was doing so that
23:25
also uh really hurt our prestige to uh
23:28
2014
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in which the migrant crisis uh made
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people feel like open borders
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were a threat to western civilization
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and so on all these things have
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combined and and we’re under a
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uh we’re living in a time where those
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three crises have seemed to be
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accumulating in the present one
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and weakening the liberal commitment to
23:50
globalization and so forth
23:51
openness uh at the same time
23:54
every political order has its own
23:57
disorders and populism
23:59
is producing its own discontents and
24:01
these populist leaders
24:02
bolsonaro trump authoritarians like
24:05
putin
24:06
strangely enough they are very afraid of
24:09
this crisis
24:10
they are not you know taking hold of it
24:12
and using it
24:13
to uh to uh uh to their benefit
24:16
uh there’s a way in which this kind of
24:19
crisis has
24:20
uh had is is challenging any kind of
24:23
regime
24:24
the archaeon regimes we saw that in
24:25
china where they’re hiding evidence
24:27
we see it in the west some some
24:29
democratic societies have done well some
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authoritarian societies have done okay
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it doesn’t seem to fit well into our
24:36
ideological
24:37
uh polarities so i think that’s and the
24:39
way i would put this in the end the
24:40
question open to us
24:42
is now in the future is is the pandemic
24:45
going to
24:46
increase our reliance on science and
24:49
rationality
24:50
belief in fact consciousness or is it
24:53
going to
24:54
uh create a uh is the panic
24:57
of and fear going to lead to more
25:00
conspiracy theories
25:01
uh and more xenophobia uh uh
25:04
migrant bashing uh so we’re on a knife’s
25:08
edge
25:08
i think and the the fate of the liberal
25:11
model and the liberal commitment to
25:13
rational decision making
25:14
uh and uh the uh uh
25:17
and its competition with these populist
25:21
myth makers
25:22
sloganeers who are always trying to sell
25:24
something has not been decided
25:26
i definitely do not think the populists
25:29
have the upper hand
25:30
i think the populists are also
25:32
struggling and they’re
25:33
not finding this an easy crisis to deal
25:36
with
25:36
so although i don’t believe that the
25:39
west is covering itself with glory
25:41
either
25:42
uh the whale and liberal regimes are
25:44
also struggling because
25:46
uh the the disease is hard to understand
25:49
and it’s hard to master
25:50
i i definitely don’t believe that uh the
25:54
current crisis is going to
25:56
really decide the question in favor of
26:00
of the populists well why don’t i
26:02
freelance then and just uh re-title your
26:05
book the light that’s failed
26:07
so far and we’ll leave it there uh
26:10
i want to thank you very much professor
26:11
holmes for joining us on tvo tonight
26:13
congratulations again on your gelber
26:15
prize
26:15
uh for anybody who wants to pick it up
26:17
yvonne krastieff and stephen holmes
26:18
collaborated on the light
26:20
that failed are reckoning take good care
26:22
and thanks for joining us on tvo tonight
26:25
thank you steve
26:30
the agenda with steve pakin is brought
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26:49
thank you

What explains elite contempt for Joe Rogan? – System Update with Glenn Greenwald

35:27
great you know there’s just tremendous
35:29
homogeneity now in in american culture
35:32
right
35:32
uh it’s the idea that these are the
35:34
types of people
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who should be both in charge
35:39
of talking about liberal left
35:42
politics and who should really be in
35:44
charge of the country in general there
35:45
are people who right now have cultural
35:46
hegemony in this country
35:48
right um and it’s the idea that these
35:51
people
35:52
are sort of the these are the people who
35:55
embody
35:56
what should be american morality right
35:58
now right these are the people who
36:00
embody what that is and
36:01
should hold the cultural level levers of
36:04
power in the country and who
36:05
should have the power to be speaking on
36:09
uh the important topics of the day
36:12
so that’s sort of what i mean by that
36:14
what is joe what does joe rogan
36:16
lack on that list of
36:20
attributes that people think define
36:22
those who should be
36:23
exerting influence and power over our
36:25
discourse in politics
36:27
well i think what he lacks is i mean
36:30
the most important thing he lacks is
36:33
the um willingness to exclude everyone
36:36
else from the debate who isn’t a part of
36:39
that culture i mean i think that’s
36:40
probably the primary thing that enrages
36:43
them
36:43
is that he i mean one of the reasons why
36:47
his show is so popular is that it’s a
36:49
really powerful cross-pollination
36:51
of ideas of different fields of
36:53
different
36:54
industries people from all these
36:56
different walks of life
36:58
um it’s you know it’s it’s a great
37:00
reflection of internet culture you know
37:01
one of the reasons why the show is so
37:03
popular is that it kind of operates on
37:04
internet time
37:06
right as opposed to you know cable news
37:08
that
37:09
is kind of really slow to pick up on
37:11
things probably because of its older
37:12
demographic whereas
37:14
joe rogan is able to seize on something
37:16
that appeared on a message board
37:17
yesterday right and i mean even if you
37:19
watch his show
37:20
um they’re able to fact that fat check
37:23
themselves in real time right he’s got
37:25
his sidekick there jamie who
37:27
pulls something up to verify whether
37:29
what joe
37:30
what joe just said is totally full of
37:32
i mean that’s not something you’re
37:33
going to see chris hayes do
37:35
or sean hannity do right like that’s
37:37
just not the way it works
37:38
everyone’s online today i mean the
37:41
entire country is essentially getting
37:42
email
37:43
and facebook and all that jazz like why
37:45
bother
37:46
doing it in this particular medium that
37:49
has an inherent time constraint
37:51
well you’re right i mean the internet
37:53
has revolutionized
37:55
politics and in many ways good ways we
37:58
use
37:59
our social media our email list which is
38:01
very large
38:02
we every day we’re sending out stuff and
38:04
other candidates are doing it the same
38:05
way
38:05
but television still has a very
38:07
important role to be playing um and so
38:09
probably it’s it’s partly that uh and
38:12
it’s
38:12
and it’s partly you know his his
38:15
willingness
38:16
to transgress on issues that are
38:19
considered
38:20
sacred right not necessarily obviously
38:23
the big one nowadays is the trans issue
38:25
the transgenderism issue
38:26
he’s willing to talk about that and he’s
38:28
willing to bring in
38:30
um perspectives on it that right now
38:33
liberals are just have
38:34
zero zero tolerance for um and so
38:38
so let me let me let’s stop there for a
38:40
second so
38:42
you know i’m i’m i’m i to kind of
38:46
present what i think would be the
38:49
best or strongest case that a liberal
38:52
would make for why joe rogan ought to be
38:54
regarded
38:56
certainly not as an ally and even as an
38:58
enemy
38:59
and one is the one that you just put
39:01
your finger on so this week there was a
39:03
report in vice
39:05
that employees of sportify which is the
39:08
platform that essentially just paid joe
39:10
rogan
39:11
in excess of 100 million dollars for his
39:14
show exclusively to appear there
39:16
are upset um and it came from
39:20
how they what they described themselves
39:22
as being lgbtq
39:24
a i plus employees
39:28
and allies so not just the lgbtqai plus
39:33
employees but also their allies are
39:36
upset because
39:38
in particular he has had on his show
39:41
number one an author who has argued
39:45
that there are times when young people
39:49
are influenced to believe
39:53
that they have gender dysphoria and to
39:55
even begin
39:56
irreversible transitions when in fact
40:00
they don’t have gender dysphoria because
40:02
of the culture that is encouraging them
40:05
to think that to what
40:06
in other words questioning whether young
40:08
people are being misdiagnosed
40:10
with gender dysphoria who don’t in fact
40:12
have it and there are definitely people
40:14
who
40:14
have said that they have been that
40:16
they’ve gone through that process only
40:17
to realize that
40:19
that wasn’t their issue so that was one
40:22
of the problems is just
40:23
airing an author who did research and
40:26
science
40:27
who said that to some extent people are
40:30
being misdiagnosed
40:31
and then i guess the other one was him
40:33
being an mma fan
40:35
a fighting fan as you alluded to earlier
40:38
questioning whether it’s fair
40:40
to allow uh trans women who
40:44
live their lives uh as biological men
40:47
who went through puberty as biological
40:49
men who developed muscle mass and
40:50
hormones and
40:52
um the entire physiology of a man to
40:55
then
40:56
transition and compete with cis women
41:00
something that people like martina
41:01
navratilova who’s been a long time
41:04
advocate for trans people have asked as
41:06
well and that
41:07
essentially this demonstrates his
41:09
willingness not just to air these
41:11
views but to even kind of wonder them
41:13
himself
41:14
suggests that he’s transphobic which is
41:16
a form of bigotry
41:18
and we ought not to have any kind of
41:21
alliance with
41:22
or support for people who are bigots
41:25
that’s one of the
41:27
cases that is made against joe oregon
41:29
why isn’t that valid
41:30
so i mean it goes to the point that i
41:32
that the question you just asked
41:34
me and the point that i made which is
41:36
that you know
41:38
what makes what makes it what makes joe
41:41
rogan
41:41
seen as not an ally and you know
41:45
what makes him come across as not an
41:47
ally is that he is not
41:48
actively engaged in the culture war
41:50
right i mean what’s so crucial to people
41:53
who are actually
41:54
actively engaged in liberal culture war
41:56
is that you have to be
41:58
actively seen as saying you know this is
42:00
our line and anyone who does not
42:03
um hew to this line is the enemy right
42:06
and if you’re not
42:06
a part if you’re not a part of the
42:08
solution you’re a part of the problem
42:09
essentially
42:10
and so when joe rogan someone like joe
42:12
rogan comes along and says hey there are
42:14
some interesting issues here hey
42:16
let’s talk about this hey there are some
42:18
certain scientific studies
42:19
that immediately raises all the alarms
42:22
in people’s heads
42:24
saying that uh oh this is not one of us
42:26
this is not one of the allies right like
42:28
this isn’t someone who is going
42:30
to be doing the work that we define
42:32
ourselves by
42:33
the work of advancing the culture war
42:37
right and if you’re not advancing the
42:39
culture war
42:40
then you’re as good as the enemy if not
42:42
the enemy is ironic right because like
42:44
george george bush’s
42:45
911 formulation that liberals
42:48
incessantly not just mock but we’re
42:51
very alarmed by was that you know
42:54
every country has a choice you’re with
42:56
us or you’re with the terrorists it’s
42:58
one or the other there’s no middle
43:00
ground if you’re not
43:02
actively supporting what we’re doing
43:03
we’re going to regard you as an
43:05
ally of the terrorists or even one of
43:08
the terrorists and that means that
43:10
for example in the culture war you
43:13
become the enemy not merely by
43:16
advocating against trans rights but
43:20
questioning the premises the science
43:23
behind the implications of these very
43:25
profound social changes
43:27
that a lot of people are advocating
43:29
right and and that’s what you saw from
43:30
this vice article right
43:32
um it was actually a perfect case study
43:35
i mean first of all the headline said
43:37
joe rogan’s transphobic episode or
43:40
something like that or
43:41
transphobic joe rogan you know it
43:43
clearly editorialized before you even
43:45
you didn’t i mean you didn’t even have
43:47
to read the article right like you you
43:48
just read the headline and you know
43:50
exactly what the article is saying
43:52
but beyond that it also completely
43:55
sidestepped the debate as we’re just
43:56
saying now right
43:58
this episode that they’re talking about
43:59
that that’s causing all the drama
44:01
internally and spotify if you watch it
44:04
there’s
44:04
two important things to know about it
44:06
first of all before
44:08
anything happened and again the reason
44:10
why this stuff works so well is because
44:12
no one actually listens to the episodes
44:13
who care involved in this
44:15
in this war right in these battles
44:16
because or they see
44:18
like one minute chosen snippets
44:20
deliberately selected to
44:22
cast it in the responsible light right
44:26
right exactly but so he starts off right
44:28
off the bat and he’s
44:29
and he says this episode is not about
44:31
adults right
44:32
this is not about trans adults we
44:34
completely believe in trans adult rights
44:37
we believe in their identities
44:38
we are completely supportive of them um
44:41
i joe rogan and completely a supporter
44:45
of trans adults right so that’s
44:46
important to set aside
44:48
um because right off the bat you know
44:50
that he’s not talking about
44:52
tran the idea of transgenderism in
44:54
general obviously right
44:56
you can’t i’ve heard him say before i’ve
44:58
heard him say before
45:00
not only do i fully support the complete
45:04
range and panoply of
45:07
robust equal legal rights for trans
45:09
people
45:10
and not only do i believe that they have
45:12
the absolute right to live their lives
45:14
with full and complete dignity and
45:15
liberty
45:16
which is consistent with his overall
45:18
philosophy i’ve heard him say
45:20
i have nothing but love in my heart for
45:22
trans people in fact
45:23
admiration for people who are willing to
45:27
defy societal convention to be
45:29
who they are so it’s almost like even on
45:32
the question of trans issues
45:34
from a liberal perspective he’s way
45:38
ahead of
45:39
the vast majority of where the
45:40
population is in terms of how he talks
45:42
about it
45:43
um so you’re right he he carves out this
45:47
kind of
45:48
you know um territory that he’s saying
45:51
i’m not
45:52
questioning the rights fully of trans
45:55
adults to live a complete and full
45:57
life filled with dignity and love um
46:01
so what is it that that became
46:02
problematic
46:04
so what became problematic is that you
46:06
know the rest of the show
46:08
is devoted to the issue of children
46:11
who you know children teenagers
46:15
people going through adolescence who
46:18
come across the idea of transgenderism
46:21
and think that maybe transgenderism has
46:24
some kind of answers
46:26
for what may be the natural kind of
46:29
patterns and challenges that children go
46:32
through in young age
46:33
um you know normally and also you know
46:36
in these days
46:37
we’re suffering through a mental health
46:38
crisis right one that probably
46:40
even preceded um coded but has just been
46:44
amped up
46:44
greatly during covid right but generally
46:47
the
46:47
the idea and the author of the book who
46:49
i will say you know the the author of
46:51
the book the title
46:52
was a little bit sensationalist and i
46:54
think that’s probably driving a
46:56
little bit you know it’s something like
46:57
they’re coming for our daughters or
46:58
something like that which you know
47:00
listen i if i was advising someone to
47:02
write a book that you want well received
47:03
broadly
47:04
you might do a better job with the title
47:06
but and that’s not and that’s not a book
47:09
written by joe it’s not a book written
47:10
by joe rogan it’s a book written
47:14
not always favorably right he
47:16
interrogated that person on
47:17
a lot of those premises exactly and he
47:20
did and he did do a good job of actually
47:22
kind of talking about the cover and
47:23
saying well why did you go with this
47:24
cover
47:25
and i mean it was he did this job on
47:27
that end actually right
47:28
um but more importantly this entire
47:32
episode was talking about
47:33
whether there’s an issue with kids
47:37
that you know kind of exploring
47:39
transgenderism and actually
47:41
moving forward with it when maybe it’s
47:43
not it maybe it’s
47:44
sort of a product of just a tumultuous
47:47
adolescence and maybe
47:49
allowing children to do this and engage
47:51
in this is maybe not the right move
47:53
essentially saying
47:54
maybe these children who think they’re
47:55
trans aren’t actually trans and maybe we
47:58
should be
47:58
engaging the science engaging um
48:02
engaging the experts on this issue to
48:04
kind of sort this out so that
48:06
you know we’re not we’re not kind of
48:09
sending people
48:10
on this path that will sort of you know
48:12
uproot their lives and
48:14
things that they’ll have to undo later
48:16
on and just causing more trauma into
48:18
adulthood right
48:19
it’s a way to argue against that which
48:20
is to say well no we’ve talked to the
48:22
experts and the experts say this isn’t a
48:24
widespread
48:25
issue or when we interrogate these
48:27
children who think they might be trans
48:29
there are real reasons why they think
48:31
they are or you know look into that
48:33
literature
48:33
bring it up bring the experts in and
48:35
actually engage this debate but of
48:37
course that’s not what they’re in for
48:38
right like this that’s not what this is
48:40
about
48:40
this is about immediately kind of
48:43
shutting down the debate
48:44
and saying okay you’re on the you’re not
48:47
you’re not advancing
48:49
the the cause the trans cause and the
48:51
broader culture cause so you’re clearly
48:52
part of the problem you’re not being an
48:54
ally right and that’s why
48:56
this word ally is has become so
48:58
important and this broader kind of
49:00
critical theory culture war
49:02
um dynamic is because this idea of ally
49:07
it’s not just it’s not a it’s not just
49:09
an affirmational
49:11
kind of identity of being an ally but
49:12
it’s a negational identity right what
49:14
it’s saying is that
49:15
if you’re an ally it means you’re
49:17
actually part of this
49:19
right you’re not you’re not someone who
49:21
is just letting it happen or working
49:23
against us if you’re not an ally
49:25
it’s not just that you’re being lazy
49:26
they’re not trying to you know when they
49:28
say you’re not an ally what they’re
49:29
saying is that you’re the enemy
49:31
right yeah you know there’s several
49:32
there’s there’s a couple things really
49:34
interesting to me about that which is
49:36
obviously part of my formative
49:38
experience in
49:39
being politically engaged was being part
49:43
of the gay rights movement
49:44
in the late 80s or even the mid 80s to
49:48
late 80s when i kind of came of age as
49:51
a gay teenager in the reagan years there
49:53
was obviously just like there is against
49:56
trans people now it sustained an
49:57
organized demonization campaign
49:59
right obviously the people who were just
50:02
you know
50:03
close-minded malicious bigots
50:06
were not people that you regarded as
50:08
allies those are people you were willing
50:09
to kind of demonize and scorn but the
50:11
reason why
50:13
that debate ended up being won by
50:16
advocates of
50:17
gay equality was because we were
50:19
constantly searching for ways to
50:22
engage people and to change their minds
50:24
and
50:25
encouraging those questions to be asked
50:27
based on the recognition
50:29
that if you want to usher in very
50:31
profound
50:32
changes to how society functions
50:35
and do so in a way that requires a
50:38
majority to support you
50:40
even though the majority is not um part
50:43
of the group who’s
50:45
on be on whose behalf you’re advocating
50:48
dialogue
50:48
and engagement is crucial and so people
50:51
who want to
50:52
engage and ask questions are are things
50:54
that you’re happy about not people that
50:56
you want to denounce
50:57
the other thing i find so um
51:00
kind of baffling and confounding about
51:03
this
51:04
taboo on asking in particular
51:07
whether or not children or teenagers are
51:11
being
51:12
uh misdiagnosed with gender dysphoria
51:15
for cultural reasons or social reasons
51:17
or because the
51:18
the understanding of it is so
51:19
preliminary um
51:21
aside from the fact that just in general
51:23
you want medicine and science and
51:26
mental health uh professionals always
51:29
asking
51:30
whether misdiagnoses are taking place
51:32
but
51:33
there’s this kind of morality now as i
51:35
know all too well and as people have
51:37
been seeing
51:38
you know it’s kind of made its
51:40
appearance in the alex morse
51:41
scandal where there’s this now
51:44
growing uh orthodoxy among
51:49
in left global politics that if you’re a
51:51
young adult
51:53
23 21 20 you lack the capacity to make
51:58
decisions for yourself that are truly
52:00
consensual about who you want to date
52:02
who you want to have sex with
52:03
frequently people cite neurological
52:06
research that says your brain isn’t
52:07
fully formed
52:09
and that therefore if someone is 28 or
52:11
30 like alex morse was
52:13
he shouldn’t be dating or having sex
52:14
with 21 or 22 year olds even if they say
52:17
they want to
52:18
because 21 and 22 year olds aren’t
52:20
capable of making
52:21
a much a pretty limited choice do i want
52:23
to have sex with this person on this
52:25
particular night or date them and yet
52:27
those same people who say that 21 year
52:30
olds or 20 year olds
52:31
aren’t capable of deciding for
52:33
themselves whether to date an older
52:35
person or whether to have sex with an
52:36
older person
52:37
want to put it off limits whether a 14
52:41
year old or a 15 year old
52:43
is sufficiently mature and has the
52:46
emotional sophistication
52:48
to make permanent life-altering
52:50
decisions about
52:51
what their gender is to the point of
52:53
having surgeries or
52:55
hormonal treatments that will alter
52:57
themselves
52:59
forever um and you know i think that
53:03
um one of the
53:07
kind of uh phenomenon that we’re seeing
53:10
in liberal
53:10
culture increasingly that’s reflected in
53:13
this treatment of joe robin
53:15
rogan as a homophobe not for saying
53:17
anything disparaging
53:19
about trans people or advocating against
53:21
equal rights quite the contrary
53:23
he he he doesn’t do that he advocates
53:26
for rights
53:27
is the idea that simply asking questions
53:29
even in response to things that probably
53:31
ought to be interrogated
53:33
is considered itself almost as bad as
53:37
malice and bigotry itself they’re kind
53:40
of equated
53:41
in a way that just will inherently repel
53:44
people from a political movement that
53:46
says
53:47
that if you have questions you have no
53:49
right to ask them and simply asking them
53:51
makes you a bad person
53:53
right and and the the i think the uh the
53:56
tying
53:56
kind of thread there is that this is
53:59
again it’s it’s about this delineation
54:02
that we have to make between liberal
54:04
politics and liberal culture
54:05
and the culture war um this is very much
54:08
about
54:09
a culture that has de-prioritized
54:12
political outcomes right
54:14
uh we see that with your example that
54:16
you just made
54:17
um with the gay rights movement we also
54:19
saw that with the alex morse campaign
54:20
right
54:21
we saw people who were much more focused
54:24
on maintaining
54:25
the integrity and the purity of the
54:28
battle they’re engaged in culturally
54:30
even at the expense of achieving real
54:33
political outcomes
54:34
right and as you just said you know
54:36
engaging debates is
54:38
is how you actually you know having that
54:41
cross-pollination of ideas
54:42
and and actually persuading people
54:44
actually engaging in persuasion
54:47
um rather than just kind of identifying
54:49
who’s on in my tribe who’s in your tribe
54:51
that’s how you achieve political
54:53
outcomes it was the same with the alex
54:54
morse right where it was
54:56
an allegation was made and we
54:58
immediately have to believe the
54:59
allegation
55:00
not investigate it because if you are a
55:03
you know if you’re a denier or if you
55:05
even hesitate to believe
55:07
what’s happening then you are not
55:09
promoting this broader idea
55:12
that there are victims in the world and
55:14
we’re not
55:15
kind of invested further investing in
55:16
the idea of victimization right
55:19
um victimization is this really core
55:21
concept to this culture where right like
55:23
we have to believe that there are
55:24
victims and we have to always support
55:27
the creation of new categories of
55:28
victimhood and if we don’t and if we’re
55:31
not engaged in that struggle
55:33
then we’re not pushing the culture war
55:34
and again it just shows
55:36
that maintaining the integrity of this
55:38
culture war is far
55:39
more important than even the political
55:41
outcomes and i think there may be some
55:43
very tangible reasons for that i think
55:45
a lot of the people that are engaged in
55:46
this stuff are people who do derive
55:49
power from cult power powerful cultural
55:51
centers right they work in academia
55:54
they work in the media and that’s how
55:55
they exert their power
55:57
over politics and over society because
55:59
again culture is how
56:01
we talk about ideas culture is how
56:04
we mold political ideas and say which
56:07
ideas can connect together which people
56:09
can connect together who can
56:10
hang out with who how cool you know
56:13
culture builds coalitions right
56:16
it builds political coalitions so um
56:19
i think there’s a very real reason why
56:22
people
56:22
are very concerned about maintaining the
56:25
integrity of this liberal culture
56:28
it’s because that’s where they derive
56:30
their power and in fact
56:32
you know they’re i mean it’s not a
56:34
surprise to see especially
56:35
now seeing cultural elites feel so
56:38
disempowered democratically right they
56:40
feel so politically disempowered
56:43
um that they would kind of throw
56:45
themselves completely into this culture
56:47
war because that’s the only place where
56:48
they can exert their power now right
56:50
and that’s why we see these insane sorts
56:53
of um
56:55
kind of concessions to even corporate
56:57
culture where they’re
56:59
so excited to allow corporations to
57:01
censor
57:02
free speech they’re so excited to allow
57:04
hr departments to and you know
57:06
indoctrinate people and run
57:08
programs on people and force people in
57:09
these programs where the people are
57:11
literally denouncing themselves because
57:13
of the way they’re born
57:14
it’s exerting power through culture
57:16
because you can’t do it politically
57:18
anymore politically it’s a lot harder
57:20
you have to get the people on your side
57:21
why would you want to get the people on
57:23
your side that’s a pain in the ass
57:24
so yeah exactly um so
57:28
and and i do think it’s interesting as
57:30
well that
57:31
that this whole concept of whether you
57:33
care about power or not because
57:35
you know i watched i mentioned martina
57:37
navratilova earlier who um
57:40
you know is obviously a person who i pay
57:42
attention to i’ve talked about before
57:44
and written about before how she was my
57:45
childhood hero
57:46
i was working on a film about her and it
57:48
was amazing to watch
57:49
that this person who is like one of the
57:52
main 20th century pioneers
57:54
of feminism she did as much to create
57:58
space for the ability of female athletes
58:01
to compete on equal terms with male
58:03
athletes in terms of money and
58:04
sponsorships and
58:05
corporations is probably anybody except
58:08
for billie jean king
58:09
she had a trans coach in 1883 and was
58:11
defending
58:13
not just lgbts and was one of the few
58:14
openly gay celebrities or athletes of
58:17
that era
58:18
you know all she kind of did was say hey
58:21
i’m kind of confused
58:23
is all you is the only thing you have to
58:25
do to enter
58:26
female professional sports and win all
58:29
the cash
58:30
awards and and prizes and trophies is
58:34
declare yourself a woman or are there
58:35
protocols
58:36
she was really asking earnestly and
58:39
in response she was just mauled um
58:42
with no generosity no kind of
58:46
you know uh consideration for her whole
58:48
history she was just instantly declared
58:50
a bigot the more she tried to defend
58:52
herself
58:53
the worse it got and then eventually
58:55
very soon thereafter she converted
58:57
into a real enemy she emerged two months
58:59
later and wrote this
59:01
article aggressively condemning the idea
59:04
that trans women should be able to
59:06
compete in female athletic and female
59:10
athletics because it the the the kind of
59:13
intolerance for her even asking
59:17
converted her it alienated her converted
59:19
her into an enemy and
59:20
it seems like people who don’t care
59:22
about outcomes are about winning
59:24
really don’t get bothered by that but
59:27
let me just ask you about one
59:28
the kind of the last um
59:32
kind of prong of the case of the liberal
59:34
case against joe rogan i find this one
59:36
really interesting
59:37
too which is you know people say
59:41
okay fine he he liked bernie like tulsi
59:45
um and yet i believe in 2016 if i’m not
59:48
mistaken
59:50
he said that he was voting for trump
59:51
over hillary
59:53
and i’m certain that after saying that
59:56
he
59:56
thought bernie was the best candidate
59:58
and really like tulsi
59:59
he’s now saying i can’t vote for biden i
60:02
probably would vote for trump over biden
60:05
which would is leading ripples to say to
60:07
people like you
60:09
why would we possibly why should we
60:12
possibly regard somebody
60:14
as an ally who is
60:18
saying twice now that they’re going to
60:19
vote for donald trump and i guess like
60:21
an
60:21
ancillary part of that question is you
60:24
know there is this phenomenon of people
60:26
who twice voted
60:27
for barack obama and then voted for
60:29
donald trump in 2016
60:31
not a small number a large number and
60:33
here in brazil
60:34
same thing you know a lot of people who
60:35
voted for bolsonaro in 2018
60:38
were people who voted for the workers
60:40
party four consecutive
60:42
elections so if you’re kind of a
60:44
political junkie who relies on the
60:46
polarization of choose between rachel
60:48
maddow and sean hanovey
60:50
it doesn’t make any sense that somebody
60:52
could do that to say i like bernie
60:54
but i’m gonna vote for trump because you
60:56
have to pick an ideological box
60:58
and joe rogan clearly is a person
61:01
who doesn’t think that way and i think
61:03
there’s like this liberal sense that
61:05
that makes him bizarre when in fact
61:07
i think it makes him pretty common it’s
61:09
one of the reasons why people like him
61:11
because he’s not in one of those boxes
61:13
but what do you say to liberals who
61:15
would make that argument that how can we
61:17
consider somebody supporting
61:19
this authoritarian racist for president
61:22
to be an ally
61:25
well i mean there are two things that
61:26
you you have to kind of
61:29
kind of set the record straight on first
61:31
is that i i’m pretty sure in 2016 he
61:33
voted for gary johnson so he voted for a
61:35
libertarian i don’t think he voted for
61:37
trump in 2016.
61:39
um and in 2020 again he first you know
61:42
supported tulsi
61:43
then he supported bernie um and then
61:46
most recently if you really
61:48
look at his comments it’s not that he’s
61:49
saying he’s endorsing trump but he’s
61:51
saying that
61:52
he would he would vote for trump um
61:55
as a result of the party choosing biden
61:57
because he just doesn’t think biden can
61:59
do the job
62:00
just from a kind of mental age
62:04
decline standpoint so it’s not like the
62:06
most heartfelt support of trump but yeah
62:08
i mean
62:08
let’s set that aside and just say okay
62:10
like he’s willing to vote for trump
62:12
right
62:12
um i mean the idea that you wouldn’t
62:15
want to engage
62:16
someone who is willing to go from the
62:19
most
62:20
liberal the most left candidate in the
62:23
democratic primary and willing to then
62:26
switch over to trump
62:27
i mean you know it’s the argument that
62:29
the left’s been making
62:30
for you know for years now right that
62:33
like
62:33
these this is the is the guy to be
62:36
studying right he’s the one that we can
62:38
kind of crack the code on
62:40
um as for you know why that’s the case
62:43
i think it’s real again it’s really
62:45
threatening i don’t think
62:46
you know i think the democratic
62:48
establishment what i tend to tell people
62:49
is that the democratic establishment
62:52
their main priority is not really to
62:54
actually even win elections
62:56
it’s to keep control of the democratic
62:58
party right like that’s where most of
63:00
their power comes from it’s certainly
63:01
where
63:02
their most reliable source of power
63:04
comes from it’s keeping control of the
63:05
party because as long as you can
63:07
keep control of the party and you keep
63:08
control of the cultural
63:10
um levers of power in the country
63:13
you’re always going to be able to
63:15
command 50
63:16
of the political system you’re always
63:18
going to be able to command
63:20
um you know the entire media apparatus
63:23
that’s devoted to politics right you’re
63:25
good
63:25
or at least half of it right you’re
63:27
going to in control the liberal half
63:29
and so i think it’s i i mean i it’s
63:32
i’m sorry to say but i think it’s a
63:34
really cynical calculation
63:36
that cultural elites and democratic
63:39
party elites are making when they make
63:41
these decisions because when when you
63:43
engage joe rogan
63:45
and you engage his viewers you’re being
63:47
bringing in
63:48
a ton of people who you can’t
63:50
necessarily rely on to keep these clean
63:52
lines of political and cultural
63:54
engagement you’re
63:55
you’re completely blowing up the
63:57
political system you’re you’re blowing
63:59
up the racket
64:00
right and why would you want to do that
64:02
because at the end of the day
64:04
hell trump could get reelected and
64:05
they’d still control the party they can
64:07
still control the other half they’d be
64:10
raising hundreds of millions of dollars
64:12
for their think tanks and therefore you
64:14
know the media institutions and so
64:16
it’s a great racket why would you risk
64:18
that just for
64:19
winning you know the presidency for
64:21
maybe four years eight years
64:22
don’t get me wrong obviously they’d like
64:24
to win that too
64:26
but i don’t think that’s the real game i
64:27
don’t think that’s ever been the real
64:28
game
64:30
we saw that in the uk right where the
64:33
centrists and playwrights and moderates
64:36
who controlled the labor party
64:38
levers of power forever whether they
64:40
were in power out of power
64:42
when they lost control of their own
64:44
party to jeremy corbyn
64:46
they it was very obvious if you’re just
64:48
paying minimal attention but we now know
64:50
from documents that have been leaked and
64:51
reports that have been issued
64:53
they were actively working against the
64:56
labor party they preferred
64:58
to destroy corbyn and retake control
65:01
of the party even if it meant empowering
65:04
the tories and making boris johnson
65:06
prime minister because as you say
65:09
their top priority is ensuring that they
65:11
maintain
65:12
control of their party and secondary
65:15
or even more distantly is actually
65:18
winning elections
65:19
um and you know i think that you know
65:22
it’s like when people ask me why i go on
65:23
tucker carlson i
65:24
can barely even understand the question
65:26
because it’s such an obvious answer
65:28
which is
65:29
because there are four million people
65:30
watching and whatever percentage it is
65:33
that i can reach in any way not
65:34
necessarily change their minds instantly
65:37
but just kind of make them a little more
65:38
open
65:39
to hearing from different people maybe
65:41
get them kind of unsettled about
65:44
who they should be paying attention to
65:46
or introducing some ideas that maybe
65:48
maybe it’s ten percent maybe it’s five
65:50
percent maybe it’s fifteen percent
65:52
why would i ignore that if i actually
65:54
care about outcomes
65:55
to watch you know i i it kind of shocked
65:58
me edward snowden
65:59
uh appeared on rogan’s show for the
66:02
second time this week and so i went back
66:03
to look at what the audience was the
66:05
first time he appeared which is
66:06
about 10 months ago and even though
66:09
edward snowden being edward snowden kind
66:11
of spoke in like a monologue form for
66:13
about
66:14
three hours you know and he was
66:16
obviously remote because he couldn’t
66:18
go to the studio since he’s trapped in
66:19
russia the audience for that
66:22
appearance from edward snowden just on
66:25
youtube never mind all the other
66:26
platforms
66:27
was 15 million people 15 million
66:31
um which is you know four or five times
66:34
the size
66:35
of a primetime cable host even on their
66:37
best night
66:38
and obviously by virtue the fact that
66:40
you watch it that people
66:42
listen to it and can hear him say i
66:44
support tulsi or i support
66:46
bernie obviously there’s huge numbers of
66:48
those
66:49
that audience that are very reachable
66:51
from a liberal perspective
66:53
anybody who says i don’t want to have
66:56
anything to do
66:57
with a show that reaches 15 million
66:59
people
67:00
is somebody to me who’s saying
67:04
i look at politics as about everything
67:06
other than
67:07
winning wielding power and changing the
67:10
world
67:11
right right and they shrouded in moral
67:13
language right they shrouded
67:15
in how could you associate with someone
67:17
like that how could you you’ll be
67:18
tainted by someone like that
67:20
um they shrouded in those things but at
67:22
the end of the day it’s a much more
67:24
cynical calculation it’s
67:25
it’s put forth as some kind of moral
67:28
decr
67:29
declaration but it’s really a cynical
67:31
calculation
67:32
calculation in terms of controlling the
67:33
party in terms of controlling cultural
67:36
power centers
67:37
why would we want to upset that this is
67:40
a great setup
67:41
um and yeah that’s why you see 15
67:43
million people tuning in to edward
67:45
snowden because it completely cult
67:47
cuts across all of these cultural lines
67:50
i mean there aren’t
67:51
you know being interested in edward
67:53
snowden just his story and what he did
67:55
and the cultural and political impact he
67:57
had
67:58
that’s not a liberal or conservative
68:00
idea that’s
68:01
that’s reaching millions of people um
68:03
but that’s just not interesting to
68:05
um what informs the you know the the
68:08
careers and the lifestyles of the people
68:10
that
68:11
sort of hold these both the political
68:13
and cultural
68:14
levers of power in the country yeah so
68:16
yeah so thanks very much for
68:18
for taking the time i i think is a
68:20
really important topic not just
68:22
because it’s important to understand the
68:24
phenomenon of joe rogan although that
68:25
is important there are very few people
68:28
having the kind of cultural
68:30
and political impact that he’s having
68:34
um in a reaching a group of people who
68:38
often tune out politics or who aren’t
68:40
engaged in the traditional ways which
68:42
makes him
68:44
even more important than just the
68:45
numbers alone but i do think too
68:47
the reaction to him tells us a lot about
68:50
how media figures view their position
68:52
how liberals view what their political
68:54
project uh is and so
68:56
um i i think your your analysis on
69:00
twitter and the discussion that we just
69:02
had
69:02
um has really clarified those issues in
69:05
in a really helpful way so thank you so
69:07
much for
69:08
taking the time to talk to me um and i
69:10
hope people will tune into your
69:13
back channel youtube program where
69:14
you’re doing a lot of these kind of
69:15
header docs
69:17
uh discussions with people across a wide
69:20
range of
69:21
ideological and cultural uh belief
69:24
systems so
69:24
thanks very much sean yeah thank you so
69:27
much i enjoyed it
69:36
you

The Failure of Liberal Politics

“The rise of right wing populism represents the failure of liberal and progressive politics,” says Harvard political philosopher Michael Sandel. He joins The Agenda to diagnose the failure of liberal politics, the decline of civic life, and what liberals need to know in the age of anger and populism.

In Defense of Liberalism

Staff writer for The New Yorker, Adam Gopnik, also author of A Thousand Small Sanities: The Moral Adventure of Liberalism Basic Books (Basic Books, 2019) argues that “liberalism” is not a political ideology, but a way of life.

9:30 In France, Emmanuel Macron attempted a Green New Deal with gasoline price hikes and faced revolts.

Liberal Hypocrisy in College Admissions?

The legacy system is affirmative action for the privileged.

We progressives hail opportunity, egalitarianism and diversity. Yet here’s our dirty little secret: Some of our most liberal bastions in America rely on a system of inherited privilege that benefits rich whites at the expense of almost everyone else.

I’m talking about “legacy preferences” that elite universities give to children of graduates. These universities constitute some of the world’s greatest public goods, but they rig admissions to favor applicants who already have had every privilege in life.

.. Most of the best universities in America systematically discriminate in favor of affluent, privileged alumni children. If that isn’t enough to get your kids accepted, donate $5 million to the university, and they’ll get a second look.

.. Reeves noted the irony that in Europe and most of the rest of the world, there is no such explicit system of legacy preferences, yet in supposedly egalitarian America it is formal and systematic.

.. Isn’t it a bit hypocritical that institutions so associated with liberalism should embrace a hereditary aristocratic structure? Ah, never underestimate the power of self-interest to shape people’s views. As Reeves put it dryly: “American liberalism tends to diminish as the issues get closer to home.”

.. having a parent graduate increased the chance of admission at 30 top colleges by 45 percentage points. For example, a candidate who otherwise had a 20 percent shot became a 65 percent prospect with a parent who had graduated from that school.

.. Earlier, a 2004 Princeton study estimated that legacy at top schools was worth an additional 160 points on an SAT, out of 1600 points.

Legacy preferences apparently were introduced in America in the early 1900s as a way to keep out Jewish students. To their credit, some American universities, including M.I.T. — not to mention Oxford and Cambridge in Britain — don’t give a legacy preference.

The top universities say that legacy preferences help create a multigenerational community of alumni, and that’s a legitimate argument. They also note that rewarding donors helps encourage donations that can be used to finance scholarships for needy kids.

Yet on balance, I’m troubled that some of America’s greatest institutions grant a transformative opportunity disproportionately to kids already steeped in advantage, from violin lessons to chess tournaments to SAT coaching. On top of that, letting wealthy families pay for extra consideration feels, to use a technical term, yucky.

Liberals object to the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision allowing tycoons to buy political influence, so why allow tycoons to buy influence in college admissions?

Viktor Orbán Is Europe’s Future

I have formulated five tenets for the project of building up Central Europe. The first is

  1. that every European country has the right to defend its Christian culture, and the right to reject the ideology of multiculturalism. Our second tenet is that
  2. every country has the right to defend the traditional family model, and is entitled to assert that every child has the right to a mother and a father. The third Central European tenet is that
  3. every Central European country has the right to defend the nationally strategic economic sectors and markets which are of crucial importance to it.
  4. The fourth tenet is that every country has the right to defend its borders, and it has the right to reject immigration. And the fifth tenet is that
  5. every European country has the right to insist on the principle of one nation, one vote on the most important issues, and that this right must not be denied in the European Union. In other words, we Central Europeans claim that there is life beyond globalism, which is not the only path. Central Europe’s path is the path of an alliance of free nations.

 

..  a pattern in which matters in Europe have effectively been decided by competition between two camps: on one side, communities based on the continuing foundations of Christian tradition – let us call them Christian democratic parties; and, on the other side, the organisations of communities which question and reject tradition – let us call them left-wing liberal parties.

..  a situation can arise in one country or another whereby ten per cent or more of the total population is Muslim. We can be sure that they will never vote for a Christian party. And when we add to this Muslim population those of European origin who are abandoning their Christian traditions, then it will no longer be possible to win elections on the basis of Christian foundations.

Those groups preserving Christian traditions will be forced out of politics, and decisions about the future of Europe will be made without them. This, Ladies and Gentlemen, is the situation, this is the goal, and this is how close we are to seeing it happen.

.. we must demonstrate that there is an alternative to liberal democracy: it is called Christian democracy. And we must show that the liberal elite can be replaced with a Christian democratic elite.

.. Christian democracy is not about defending religious articles of faith – in this case Christian religious articles of faith. Neither states nor governments have competence on questions of damnation or salvation. Christian democratic politics means that the ways of life springing from Christian culture must be protected. Our duty is not to defend the articles of faith, but the forms of being that have grown from them. These include

  1. human dignity,
  2. the family and
  3. the nation

– because Christianity does not seek to attain universality through the abolition of nations, but through the preservation of nations

.. The bait for this trap is hanging right in front of our noses: it is the claim that Christian democracy can also, in fact, be liberal. I suggest we stay calm and avoid being caught on that hook, because if we accept this argument, then the battle, the struggle we have fought so far will lose its meaning, and we will have toiled in vain. Let us confidently declare that Christian democracy is not liberal. Liberal democracy is liberal, while Christian democracy is, by definition, not liberal: it is, if you like, illiberal.

  1. .. And we can specifically say this in connection with a few important issues – say, three great issues. Liberal democracy is in favour of multiculturalism, while Christian democracy gives priority to Christian culture; this is an illiberal concept.
  2. Liberal democracy is pro-immigration, while Christian democracy is anti-immigration; this is again a genuinely illiberal concept.
  3. And liberal democracy sides with adaptable family models, while Christian democracy rests on the foundations of the Christian family model; once more, this is an illiberal concept.

.. Liberalism, he says, has become a system and a way of looking at the world that destroys nations and traditions, especially the Christian tradition. He’s right about that: it’s not a bug of liberalism, but a feature. It’s something that’s very hard for Americans to see, because we were founded as a liberal nation, and unlike contemporary Europe, we have not yet faced mass migration from non-Christian civilizations. For traditional Europeans, this is not an abstract discussion. They are fighting to save their civilization. If that requires illiberal democracy, fine.

.. they recognize that the kryptonite they’ve been able to use so effectively for so long to paralyze opposition no longer works on people like Orbán.

.. Americans rarely stop to ask if the people there actually want liberalism, at the expense of the things that make them a people.

.. Who is a more trustworthy contemporary steward of European faith and culture:

Viktor Orbán, or bishops who preach more immigration and more gay pride parades?

The Fall of the German Empire

But if the test of Europe’s unity feels like a test for liberal democracy, it’s a mistake to see it only in those terms. It is also a struggle of nations against empire, of the Continent’s smaller countries against German mastery and Northern European interests, in which populist parties are being elected to resist policies the center sought to impose upon the periphery without a vote. And the liberal aspect of the European system wouldn’t be under such strain if the imperial aspect hadn’t been exploited unwisely by leaders in the empire’s German core.

This disastrous imperial dynamic was first manifest in the fiscal policy imposed on Southern Europe in the wake of the Great Recession — a policy that manifestly made more sense for Germany’s economy than for Italy’s or Spain’s or Greece’s, even as it was confidently presented by German bankers as a hardheaded necessity that no merely national government could be permitted to reject.

Then the same dynamic repeated itself on immigration, when Angela Merkel took it upon herself to make migration policy for the Continent, in atonement for Germany’s racist past and in the hopes of revitalizing its aging society. The resistance from other Europeans to her open door to refugees and migrants, the refusal to let the German chancellor and her admirers determine immigration policy, is one reason among many that populists won the Brexit referendum and find themselves on the cusp of power in Italy — and it’s the major reason that populist parties rule today in Budapest and Warsaw.