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democracy

Yoram Hazony on Traditional Conservatism vs. Enlightenment Liberalism

Political theorist Yoram Hazony argues that the best hope for Western democracy is a return to the empiricist, religious, and nationalist traditions of America and Britain. Shermer makes the case for Enlightenment liberalism, with its focus on science and reason, as the primary driver of moral progress over the centuries.

Batya Ungar-Sargon — Bad News: How Woke Media Is Undermining Democracy

Michael Shermer speaks with Batya Ungar-Sargon about her new book Bad News: How Woke Media Is Undermining Democracy in which she reveals how American journalism underwent a status revolution over the twentieth century — from a blue-collar trade to an elite profession.

eSkeptic for April 5, 2022

Is there vigilantism in science? Was the renowned Harvard biologist Edward O. Wilson wrongly convicted of racism and promoting race science in the court of public opinion? Yes, says his long-time collaborator and world-class scientist Bert Hölldobler. PLUS: Michael Shermer speaks with Batya Ungar-Sargon about her new book Bad News: How Woke Media Is Undermining Democracy in which she reveals how American journalism underwent a status revolution over the twentieth century — from a blue-collar trade to an elite profession.

Jennifer Sciubba on Putin, Russia, Ukraine, National & Global Security, and How Population Demographics Shape Our Future

Michael Shermer speaks with political demographer, former demographics consultant to the United States Department of Defense, and author of The Future Faces of War, Jennifer Sciubba, about her new 8 Billion and Counting.

Barbara F. Walter on How Civil Wars Start and How to Stop Them, including in the United States

Political violence rips apart several towns in southwest Texas. A far-right militia plots to kidnap the governor of Michigan and try her for treason. An armed mob of Trump supporters and conspiracy theorists storms the U.S. Capitol. Are these isolated incidents? Or is this the start of something bigger? Michael Shermer speaks with professor of political science, Barbara F. Walter, about her increasing worry about civil conflict in the United States.

eSkeptic for February 22, 2022

Michael Shermer speaks with Barbara F. Walter about how civil wars start and how to stop them, including in the United States.

Jacob Mchangama on Free Speech: A History from Socrates to Social Media

In this episode, based on the book Free Speech, Michael Shermer and Jacob Mchangama discuss the riveting legal, political, and cultural history of the principle, how much we have gained from it, and how much we stand to lose without it.

eSkeptic for February 8, 2022

In this episode, based on the book Free Speech, Michael Shermer and Jacob Mchangama discuss the riveting legal, political, and cultural history of the principle, how much we have gained from it, and how much we stand to lose without it.

Tom Nichols — Our Own Worst Enemy: The Assault From Within on Modern Democracy

Democracy is in trouble. Why? In episode 214, Michael Shermer speaks with Tom Nichols about his book Our Own Worst Enemy: The Assault From Within on Modern Democracy challenges the current depictions of the rise of illiberal and anti-democratic movements in the United States and elsewhere, placing on the people themselves, the growth of unchecked narcissism, rising standards of living, global peace, and a resistance to change.

eSkeptic for October 2, 2021

In episode 214, Michael Shermer speaks Tom Nichols about his book Our Own Worst Enemy: The Assault From Within on Modern Democracy. PLUS, don’t miss our digital subscription sale: $14.99 for 7 issues, until October 9, 2021!

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.

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.

Jonathan Rauch — The Constitution of Knowledge: A Defense of Truth

In episode 190, Michael Shermer speaks with Jonathan Rauch as he reaches back to the parallel eighteenth-century developments of liberal democracy and science to explain what he calls the “Constitution of Knowledge” — our social system for turning disagreement into truth.

eSkeptic for June 26, 2021

In episode 190, Michael Shermer speaks with Jonathan Rauch as he reaches back to the parallel eighteenth-century developments of liberal democracy and science to explain what he calls the “Constitution of Knowledge” — our social system for turning disagreement into truth.

John Mueller — The Stupidity of War: American Foreign Policy and the Case for Complacency

Political scientist John Mueller argues that American foreign policy since 1945 has been one long miscue; most international threats — including during the Cold War — have been substantially exaggerated. Dr. John Mueller is a political scientist at Ohio State University, Senior Fellow at the Cato Institute, and member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

eSkeptic for April 10, 2021

In episode 171 of Michael Shermer’s podcast he speaks with political scientist John Mueller about his new book The Stupidity of War: American Foreign Policy and the Case for Complacency.

Robert Pennock — An Instinct for Truth: Curiosity and the Moral Character of Science

In Science Salon # 98 Michael Shermer speaks with Robert Pennock about his new book An Instinct for Truth: Curiosity and the Moral Character of Science. Taking a virtue-theoretic perspective, Pennock explores curiosity, veracity, skepticism, humility to evidence, and other scientific virtues and vices.

eSkeptic for January 7, 2020

In Science Salon # 98 Michael Shermer speaks with Robert Pennock about his new book An Instinct for Truth: Curiosity and the Moral Character of Science. Taking a virtue-theoretic perspective, Pennock explores curiosity, veracity, skepticism, humility to evidence, and other scientific virtues and vices. PLUS, Sociologist and Certified Sex Therapist Marty Klein, Ph.D. reviews Estrogen Matters: Why Taking Hormones in Menopause Can Improve Women’s Well-Being and Lengthen Their Lives — Without Raising the Risk of Breast Cancer by Avrum Bluming, M.D. and Carol Tavris, Ph.D.

eSkeptic for August 20, 2019

In Science Salon # 79 Michael Shermer speaks with former dean of Yale Law School Anthony Kronman about his new book The Assault on American Excellence; PLUS psychologist John Glynn explores one of the most perplexing aspects of human behavior: why does anyone die by suicide?

Anthony Kronman — The Assault on American Excellence

The former dean of Yale Law School argues that the feverish egalitarianism gripping college campuses today is out of place at institutions whose job is to prepare citizens to live in a vibrant democracy. Where many see only the suppression of free speech, the babying of students, and the drive to bury the imperfect parts of our history, Kronman recognizes in these on-campus clashes a threat to our democracy.

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