Does Roy Cohn Rule The Oval Office From The Grave? | Conversations with Jim Zirin

Roy Cohn was an unscrupulous lawyer who knew how
to beat the system. As a lawyer, he lit up the town
representing mobsters, prelates and his poster child
client Donald Trump. For 15 years Cohn was Trump’s
lawyer, fixer and political mentor. Cohn’s cousin, journalist
David Marcus, knows everything knowable about him.
He compares and contrasts for Jim Zirin the many parallels
between Trump’s combative tactics in office and the Roy
Cohn he observed in action.

(Taped: 10/21/2019 )

Peter Thiel on “The Straussian Moment”

says well we’ve had all these years of
warfare over religion we’ll stop asking
important questions and all these
decades these centuries after the
Enlightenment here’s the world we’ve
reached this is the way I read you you
can correct my reading but let me finish
quoting you instead of violent wars
there could be violent video games
instead of heroic feats
there could be thrilling amusement park
rides instead of serious thought there
could be intrigues of all sorts
in a soap opera it is a world where
people spend their lives amusing
themselves to death close quote
now that is a devastating indictment of
much of contemporary America correct
well it is I mean I think this has been
06:59
the trend of modernity now it’s it’s
07:02
it’s not as though politics has
07:04
disappeared though it’s it’s often just
07:05
gets displaced in various ways but but
07:08
yes I think there is this this
07:10
incredible degree to which we’ve we’ve
07:14
we’ve substituted the realities of
07:18
politics for these sort of increasingly
07:20
fictionalized worlds and and it’s
07:23
probably uh that’s probably a very very
07:25
unhealthy thing there’s sort of a
07:27
slightly different frame that I’ve often
07:29
given on this is is that in in the last
07:33
40 or 50 years there’s been a shift from
07:36
exteriority which I which you know doing
07:41
things in the real world to the sort of
07:43
interior world which is sort of in a way
07:46
can be thought of this also the shift
07:47
from politics to entertainment or
07:50
something like that and and the the from
07:54
a dr. Phil a the powerful frame I give
07:57
is you know almost exactly 50 years ago
08:00
today and you know July of 1969 men
08:03
reached the moon and three weeks later
08:05
Woodstock began and with the benefit of
08:07
hindsight we can say that that’s when
08:10
you know progress ended and when the
08:12
hippies took over the country or
08:14
something like that and then we’ve had
08:16
we’ve had this incredible shift to
08:18
interior tea in the decades since then I
08:20
would include things like the drug
08:22
counterculture I would include
08:24
videogames you know maybe a lot of
08:27
entertainment more generally you know
08:30
there’s sort of parts of the internet
08:31
that can be scored both ways but but
08:34
certainly there all these things where
08:36
we’ve shifted towards the you know your
08:39
world of yoga meditation there’s a world
08:41
of interior culture that sort of and it
11:04
Rene Girard is in some ways the
addresses an aspect of human nature well
it’s it’s good it’s the very thing that
the Enlightenment says no no don’t even
think about such things right
yeah well the Enlightenment always
whitewashes violence it’s one of the
there are many things we can’t think
about an under Enlightenment reason but
one one is certainly violence itself and
and if you go to the anthropological
myth of the Enlightenment it’s the myth
of the social contract so what happens
when everybody is that everybody’s
else’s throat what the Enlightenment
says is everybody in the middle of the
crisis sits down and has a nice legal
chat and draws up a social contract and
that’s maybe maybe that’s the founding
myth the central lie of the
Enlightenment if you will and what
Gerrard says something very different
must have happened and when everybody’s
at everybody’s throat the violence
doesn’t just resolve itself and maybe it
gets channeled against a a specific
scapegoat where the war of all against
all becomes a war can of all against one
and then somehow gets resolved but in a
in a very violent way and so I think you
know what what Gerrard and Schmidt or
Machiavelli or you know the
12:18
judeo-christian inspiration all have in
12:20
common is this idea that human nature is
12:22
problematic its violent it’s um you know
12:25
it’s it’s it’s it’s it’s it’s not
12:27
straightforward at all what what you do

Martha Nussbaum, “The Monarchy of Fear”

Martha Nussbaum discusses her book, “The Monarchy of Fear” at Politics and Prose on 7/9/18.

One of the country’s leading moral philosophers, Nussbaum cuts through the acrimony of today’s political landscape to analyze the Trump era through one simple truth: that the political is always emotional. Starting there, she shows how globalization has produced feelings of powerlessness that have in turn fed resentment and blame. These have erupted into hostility against immigrants, women, Muslims, people of color, and cultural elites. Drawing on examples from ancient Greece to Hamilton, Nussbaum shows how anger and fear inflame people on both the left and right; by illuminating the powerful role these passions play in public life, she points to ways we can avoid getting caught up in the vitriol that sustains and perpetuates divisive politics.