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authoritarianism

Matt Johnson — How Hitchens Can Save the Left: Rediscovering Fearless Liberalism in an Age of Counter-Enlightenment

Shermer and Johnson discuss: Hitchens on free expression, identity politics, radicalism, interventionism, authoritarianism, patriotism, internationalism, America and Liberalism, reparations, religion, and death • identity politics • hostility to free speech • why Hitch did not become a neoconservative, warmonger, or imperialist • Enlightenment Liberalism • Trump and the division of the right • Hitchens on the precursors to Trump • Putin and Russian nationalism.

The Christian Nationalist Threat Gets Real

What are we to make of the fact that a number of far-right politicians and activists are now owning the label “Christian Nationalist”? Conversely, conservative Christian leaders are repudiating Christian nationalism by reframing it as a type of extremism relegated to the fringe or, oddly, a “virulent form of secularism”. According to the Family Research Council the term is part of a plot to suppress the votes of conservative Christians. This article explores these tensions in this rising threat to…

Why Nationalism Is Hostile to America

America is being torn apart. Amid growing strife, many people are experiencing angst concerning the future of this country, a country once renowned for its exuberant spirit of discovery, progress, liberty. From across the increasingly tribal political landscape, one can observe attacks on the ideas that fueled America’s spectacular rise: reason, individualism, and political freedom. From the illiberal left the “woke” phenomenon has emerged, rising to dominance in cultural institutions and calling for “canceling” those institutions, symbols, and even thoughts…

Steven Hassan — Combating Cult Mind Control, Freedom of Mind, and The Cult of Trump

Shermer and Hassan discuss: types of cults, their characteristics • cult leader profiles • the influence continuum • mind control • brainwashing • Project MK-ULTRA • Scientology • NXIVM • strip search hoax • social media mind control • neuroscience of mind control • authoritarian mindset • Trump’s mind-control techniques • breaking free of cults.

Daniel Akst on the Pacifists of the Greatest Generation Who Revolutionized Resistance

Shermer and Akst discuss: war • the left (old and new) • religious liberals • American Firsters and Isolationists • cluster of heterodoxy: anti-war/militarism, but also anti-racism, anti-capitalism, anti-colonialism, anti-apartheid, anti-power of the state, pro-labor, pro the rights of minorities, individual liberty on matters such as abortion and gender, anti-segregation • internment of 110,000 Japanese-Americans into concentration camps • civil disobedience (Thoreau, Garrison, Gandhi) • non-violent protests • moral equivalency • Just War Theory • Military Industrial Complex • moral…

Richard Dawkins — Flights of Fancy: Defying Gravity by Design and Evolution

Michael Shermer speaks with Richard Dawkins about his new book Flights of Fancy: Defying Gravity by Design and Evolution. They also discuss: nationalism; Russian revanchism; the recent rise of authoritarianism and autocracies; U.S. acceptance of the theory of evolution surpassing 50%; E. O. Wilson; and more…

John Mueller on Putin’s War: Russia, Ukraine, and NATO

Shermer speaks with renowned Ohio State University political scientist John Mueller about the ongoing crisis in Ukraine and what we might expect from Putin’s Russia in the coming weeks, months, and years, along with Dr. Mueller’s outline for how to end the current conflict and compromise with Putin.

Putin’s War—Russia, Ukraine, and NATO

Political scientist and war historian John Mueller argues that Putin’s war in Ukraine could have been avoided and can still be stopped through compromise since NATO was not going to accept Ukraine as a member for decades anyway, and Crimea will be returned to Ukraine about the time Texas is returned to Mexico.

eSkeptic for March 8, 2022

Shermer speaks with renowned Ohio State University political scientist John Mueller, author of The Stupidity of War, about the ongoing crisis in Ukraine and what we might expect from Putin’s Russia in the coming weeks, months, and years, along with Dr. Mueller’s outline for how to end the current conflict and compromise with Putin.

Brian Klass on power and corruption, based on his book Corruptible: Who Gets Power and How it Changes Us

Does power corrupt, or are corrupt people drawn to power? Are entrepreneurs who embezzle and cops who kill the result of poorly designed systems or are they simply bad people? What sort of people aspire to power anyway? Are there individuals among us who should never be given the title of president, or CEO, or PTA leader lest they build their own dictatorship?

eSkeptic for December 28, 2021

Michael Shermer speaks with Brian Klass about power and corruption, based on his book Corruptible: Who Gets Power and How it Changes Us. PLUS: In Memoriam: Edward O. Wilson (1929–2021) — entomologist, evolutionary theorist, and unifier of all knowledge. Read the interview from Skeptic 6.1 (1998).

eSkeptic for August 10, 2021

In episode 199, Michael Shermer and David Potter take a deep dive into disruptions. What are the conditions in which radical change happens? Is democracy in trouble? Not all radical groups are the same, and all the groups that the book explores take advantage of mistakes that have challenged belief in the competence of existing institutions to be effective.

David Potter — Disruption: Why Things Change

In episode 199, Michael Shermer and David Potter take a deep dive into disruptions. What are the conditions in which radical change happens? Is democracy in trouble? Not all radical groups are the same, and all the groups that the book explores take advantage of mistakes that have challenged belief in the competence of existing institutions to be effective.

Jordan Peterson & Michael Shermer on Science, Myth, Truth, and the Architecture of Archetypes

Michael Shermer and Jordan Peterson discuss: the balance between chaos and order • Maps of Meaning • truths: objective, subjective, historical, political, religious, and literary • why all countries aren’t democracies • the appeal of populist, authoritarian leaders • the danger of assessing according to race, sex, class and power • oppression-redemption myths • how Peterson’s dark dreams and mental health issues inform his worldview as tilting toward the darker side of humanity.

eSkeptic for April 20, 2021

In episode 174, join Michael Shermer and Jordan Peterson (bestselling author of 12 Rules for Life) for this extraordinary conversation based on Peterson’s new book Beyond Order. PLUS: Save 40% on new digital subscriptions to Skeptic Magazine via Pocketmags.com, now through April 27, 2021!

Helen Pluckrose — Cynical Theories: How Activist Scholarship Made Everything About Race, Gender, and Identity — and Why This Harms Everybody

In episode 163 of The Michael Shermer Show, Dr. Shermer speaks with Helen Pluckrose about her book (co-authored with James Lindsay) Cynical Theories: How Activist Scholarship Made Everything About Race, Gender, and Identity—and Why This Harms Everybody.

eSkeptic for March 9, 2021

Skeptic Magazine 26.1: Cosmic Beginning is Available Now! Instantly Download the Digital Edition or Pre-order the Print Edition Today. PLUS: In episode 163 of The Michael Shermer Show, Dr. Shermer speaks with Helen Pluckrose about her book (co-authored with James Lindsay) Cynical Theories: How Activist Scholarship Made Everything About Race, Gender, and Identity — and Why This Harms Everybody.

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