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The Ezra Klein Show

Vox

489
Followers
2.3K
Plays
The Ezra Klein Show
The Ezra Klein Show

The Ezra Klein Show

Vox

489
Followers
2.3K
Plays
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About Us

Ezra Klein brings you far-reaching conversations about hard problems, big ideas, illuminating theories, and cutting-edge research. Want to know how Stacey Abrams feels about identity politics? How Hasan Minhaj is reinventing political comedy? The plans behind Elizabeth Warren’s plans? How Michael Lewis reads minds? This is the podcast for you. Produced by Vox and the Vox Media Podcast Network.

Latest Episodes

Randall Munroe, the genius behind XKCD

I’m not usually a fanboy on this podcast, but this episode is the exception.I love the web-comic XKCD. I’ve had prints of it hanging in my house for years. It’s nerdy and humane, curious and kind. And every so often, it’s explosively, crazily creative, in ways that leave me floored. Like the Hugo-award winning “Time,” a 3,099 frame animation that unspooled every hour for over four months. Or the book Thing Explainer, which used only the 1,000 most common words in the English language to explain some of the hardest ideas in the world.XKCD is the work of one person, Randall Munroe, and I’ve wanted to talk with him for years. Now he’s out with a new book, How To: Absurd Scientific Advice for Common Real-World Problems, and I got my chance. The episode covers:- The simple places Munroe draws inspiration for his ideas- The fact that scientists still don’t know how lightning works or why ice is slippery- How pedantry kills creativity- Why aliens probably build suspension bridges like we do- The superpower of refusing to be embarrassed by what you don’t know- How to retain a sense of wonder as you age- Whether the water of Niagra Falls can fit through a straw- How to dig a hole- How a priest in 1590 intuited dozens of scientific discoveries centuries before they were officially discovered- And, most importantly, the best book recommendations I think I’ve ever heard on the showThis one was a pleasure.References: Jimmy Carter's Voyager letter Book recommendations: Natural and Moral History of the Indies by José de AcostaBecause Internet by Gretchen McCulloch Murmurs of Earth: The Voyager Interstellar Recordby Carl Sagan (and others)Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

87 MIN1 days ago
Comments
Randall Munroe, the genius behind XKCD

Julián Castro's quiet moral radicalism

I’m careful about inviting politicians onto this podcast. Too often, questions go unanswered, and frustrated emails flood my inbox. So I only bring on candidates now if there’s a conversation directly related to themes of this show.In this case, there is.There’s a quiet moral radicalism powering Julián Castro’s presidential campaign. Laced through his policy agenda are proposals to decriminalize the movements of undocumented immigrants, to involve the homeless in housing policy, to establish American obligations to those displaced by climate change, to protect animals from human cruelty.This is an agenda to expand the moral circle. To redefine who counts in the “we” of American politics.I asked Castro if this wasn’t all a step too far, if Democrats didn’t need to play it safer to eject Trump from office in 2020. This broader moral vision, he replied, “is not just trying to backfill the negative. It gives people a positive purpose that they can reach for. That’s what I’m ...

67 MIN5 days ago
Comments
Julián Castro's quiet moral radicalism

Political animals (with Leah Garcés)

Imagine, for a moment, what it’s like to be an animal rights activist. Tens of billions of animals are being tortured and slaughtered every year. It is, to you, a rolling horror. But to the people you love, the world you live in — it’s normal. You’re the weird one.So what do you do? How do you engage, politically and personally, when so few see what you see?Leah Garcés is the Executive President of Mercy for Animals and the author of Grilled: Turning Adversaries into Allies to Change the Chicken Industry ,which documents her journey to reduce the suffering of chickens by building coalitions with none other than well… industrial chicken farmers.I wanted Garcés on the show because her story is about more than animal suffering. It’s about the core question of politics: the choice we face, every day, between condemnation and compromise. Whether your issue is health care or climate or civil rights or abortion or taxes or foreign policy, you’re faced daily with people working for...

92 MIN1 weeks ago
Comments
Political animals (with Leah Garcés)

John McWhorter thinks we're getting racism wrong

Hello everyone. I'm Jane Coaston, senior politics reporter at Vox with a focus on conservatism (Ezra will be back from vacation next week). "Antiracism… is now a new and increasingly dominant religion” writes John McWhorter, “it is what we worship, as sincerely and fervently as many worship God and Jesus.”McWhorter is a Professor of English at Columbia University, a contributing editor to The Atlantic, and an outspoken critic of what he calls “third-wave antiracism.” He believes that our increasingly religious national discourse around race -- with its focus on “safe spaces,” “wokeness” and “white privilege” -- is not only wrongheaded, but even dangerous.But McWhorter isn't that easy to pin down. He acknowledges racism’s pernicious effects on communities of color, but believes that while we are busy calling out individual racism, we are ignoring the issues that most impact black lives: an endless War on Drugs, an unequal education system, and attacks on reproductive and...

69 MIN1 weeks ago
Comments
John McWhorter thinks we're getting racism wrong

The rocky marriage between libertarians and conservatives

Hello, everybody! I'm Jane Coaston, senior politics reporter at Vox with a focus on conservatism.Today, I'm speaking with Conor Friedersdorf, a staff writer for the Atlantic, who has been navigating the fractious divides within the conservative movement since long before 2016.Friedersdorf is extremely hard to pin down. His intellectual hero is Friedrich Hayek and he believes the Supreme Court “ought to thwart the will of democratic and legislative majorities.” He’s also staunchly anti-war, an outspoken critic of police brutality, and has even occasionally praised Bernie Sanders.This is what makes Friedersdorf so interesting to talk to: He doesn't fall neatly along partisan lines. We discuss a lot here: the importance of police reform; the way the term “racism” is used and misused in American politics; the future of the GOP; and what it means to be politically homeless in Trump's America.References:"A question for conservatives: what if the left was right on race?" by Jane Coast...

88 MIN2 weeks ago
Comments
The rocky marriage between libertarians and conservatives

A mind-bending, reality-warping conversation with John Higgs

I don’t usually begin interviews with the question “who the hell are you?” But, then again, not every guest is John Higgs.I fell into Higgs’s work by accident. An offhand recommendation of his book on the KLF, a British band that burnt a million pounds but couldn’t explain why they did it. What’s unusual is that I’ve not quite been able to climb back out of it. Higgs’s work is reality-warping. Once you put on his lenses, it’s hard to take them back off.At the center of Higgs’s strange, brilliant books — his heterodox history of the 20th century, his biography of Timothy Leary, his tour of “metamodernism” — is a single, urgent question: How do we understand the world around us even as advances in physics, psychology, art, pharmacology, and philosophy shatter our frames of reference?This conversation takes some wild turns, but trying to describe it would do it a disservice. Just trust me on this one. It’s good to mess with your reality every once in awhile.References: J...

91 MIN2 weeks ago
Comments
A mind-bending, reality-warping conversation with John Higgs

Jia Tolentino on what happens when life is an endless performance

The introduction to Jia Tolentino’s Trick Mirror: Reflections on Self-Delusion, hit me hard. In her investigation of how American politics and culture had collapsed into “an unbearable supernova of perpetually escalating conflict,” she became obsessed with five intersecting problems: “First, how the internet is built to distend our sense of identity; second, how it encourages us to overvalue our opinions; third, how it maximizes our sense of opposition; fourth, how it cheapens our understanding of solidarity; and, finally, how it destroys our sense of scale." Yeah, me too.What sets Tolentino’s work apart, though, is that it’s not about the internet — it’s about how people are living their real, everyday lives in the age of the internet. This is a conversation about what happens when technology combines with the most powerful forces of human psychology to transform the nature of human interaction itself. It’s about how we construct and express our core sense of self, and wha...

104 MIN3 weeks ago
Comments
Jia Tolentino on what happens when life is an endless performance

The original meaning of “identity politics” (with Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor)

Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor is an associate professor of African-American Studies at Princeton University and the author of multiple books, including most recently How We Get Free: Black Feminism and the Combahee River Collective, which traces the origins of the term “identity politics” back to its very first use.“Since 1977,” she writes, “that term has been used, abused, and reconfigured into something foreign to its creators.” Taylor’s intellectual history is driven by more than curiosity: it’s part of a larger vision that views racism and our contemporary economic system as inextricably linked.This is a conversation full of tough questions. What constitutes identity politics? When is it inclusive, and when is it exclusive? Is racism a function of capitalism or is it constant across economic systems? How did Barack Obama’s presidency lead to Donald Trump’s? What can stop future Democrats from running into the very same institutional strongholds that plagued Obama?Book recomm...

84 MIN3 weeks ago
Comments
The original meaning of “identity politics” (with Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor)

Are bosses dictators? (with Elizabeth Anderson)

Imagine a society whose rulers suppress free speech, free association, even bathroom breaks. Where the government owns the means of production. Where the leader is self-appointed or hand-selected by a group of wealthy oligarchs. Where exile or emigration can have severe, even life-threatening, consequences.My guest today, University of Michigan Philosopher Elizabeth Anderson, writes that workplaces are “communist dictatorships in our midst.” Her book Private Government: How Employers Rule our Lives (and Why We Don’t Talk About It) draws an extended analogy between firms and tyrannical governments, each of which she believes hold extended, unaccountable power over people’s lives.Anderson is one for the most influential philosophers alive today, and her aim isn’t just to be provocative. It’s to argue that the ideals of representation, rights, and legitimacy that we apply to public governments should extend to private governments, too. And beyond that, it is to pose a question ab...

90 MINAUG 19
Comments
Are bosses dictators? (with Elizabeth Anderson)

The Constitution is a progressive document

“The Constitution must be adapted to the problems of each generation,” writes Erwin Chemerisnky, “we are not living in the world of 1787 and should not pretend that the choices for that time can guide ours today.”Does that sentence read to you as obvious or offensive? Either way, it’s at the core of the constitutional debate between the left and the right — a debate the left all too often cedes to the right through disinterest.Chemerinsky is trying to change that. He’s the dean of UC Berkeley’s School of Law, a decorated constitutional scholar and lawyer, and the author of We the People: A Progressive Reading of the Constitution for the Twenty-First Century. At the core of Chemerinsky’s vision is the idea that the Constitution must be interpreted through the lens of the preamble: a crucial statement of intent, and one that establishes the US Constitution as one of the most adaptive and glitteringly progressive founding documents in the world.This is a conversation about bot...

62 MINAUG 15
Comments
The Constitution is a progressive document

Latest Episodes

Randall Munroe, the genius behind XKCD

I’m not usually a fanboy on this podcast, but this episode is the exception.I love the web-comic XKCD. I’ve had prints of it hanging in my house for years. It’s nerdy and humane, curious and kind. And every so often, it’s explosively, crazily creative, in ways that leave me floored. Like the Hugo-award winning “Time,” a 3,099 frame animation that unspooled every hour for over four months. Or the book Thing Explainer, which used only the 1,000 most common words in the English language to explain some of the hardest ideas in the world.XKCD is the work of one person, Randall Munroe, and I’ve wanted to talk with him for years. Now he’s out with a new book, How To: Absurd Scientific Advice for Common Real-World Problems, and I got my chance. The episode covers:- The simple places Munroe draws inspiration for his ideas- The fact that scientists still don’t know how lightning works or why ice is slippery- How pedantry kills creativity- Why aliens probably build suspension bridges like we do- The superpower of refusing to be embarrassed by what you don’t know- How to retain a sense of wonder as you age- Whether the water of Niagra Falls can fit through a straw- How to dig a hole- How a priest in 1590 intuited dozens of scientific discoveries centuries before they were officially discovered- And, most importantly, the best book recommendations I think I’ve ever heard on the showThis one was a pleasure.References: Jimmy Carter's Voyager letter Book recommendations: Natural and Moral History of the Indies by José de AcostaBecause Internet by Gretchen McCulloch Murmurs of Earth: The Voyager Interstellar Recordby Carl Sagan (and others)Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

87 MIN1 days ago
Comments
Randall Munroe, the genius behind XKCD

Julián Castro's quiet moral radicalism

I’m careful about inviting politicians onto this podcast. Too often, questions go unanswered, and frustrated emails flood my inbox. So I only bring on candidates now if there’s a conversation directly related to themes of this show.In this case, there is.There’s a quiet moral radicalism powering Julián Castro’s presidential campaign. Laced through his policy agenda are proposals to decriminalize the movements of undocumented immigrants, to involve the homeless in housing policy, to establish American obligations to those displaced by climate change, to protect animals from human cruelty.This is an agenda to expand the moral circle. To redefine who counts in the “we” of American politics.I asked Castro if this wasn’t all a step too far, if Democrats didn’t need to play it safer to eject Trump from office in 2020. This broader moral vision, he replied, “is not just trying to backfill the negative. It gives people a positive purpose that they can reach for. That’s what I’m ...

67 MIN5 days ago
Comments
Julián Castro's quiet moral radicalism

Political animals (with Leah Garcés)

Imagine, for a moment, what it’s like to be an animal rights activist. Tens of billions of animals are being tortured and slaughtered every year. It is, to you, a rolling horror. But to the people you love, the world you live in — it’s normal. You’re the weird one.So what do you do? How do you engage, politically and personally, when so few see what you see?Leah Garcés is the Executive President of Mercy for Animals and the author of Grilled: Turning Adversaries into Allies to Change the Chicken Industry ,which documents her journey to reduce the suffering of chickens by building coalitions with none other than well… industrial chicken farmers.I wanted Garcés on the show because her story is about more than animal suffering. It’s about the core question of politics: the choice we face, every day, between condemnation and compromise. Whether your issue is health care or climate or civil rights or abortion or taxes or foreign policy, you’re faced daily with people working for...

92 MIN1 weeks ago
Comments
Political animals (with Leah Garcés)

John McWhorter thinks we're getting racism wrong

Hello everyone. I'm Jane Coaston, senior politics reporter at Vox with a focus on conservatism (Ezra will be back from vacation next week). "Antiracism… is now a new and increasingly dominant religion” writes John McWhorter, “it is what we worship, as sincerely and fervently as many worship God and Jesus.”McWhorter is a Professor of English at Columbia University, a contributing editor to The Atlantic, and an outspoken critic of what he calls “third-wave antiracism.” He believes that our increasingly religious national discourse around race -- with its focus on “safe spaces,” “wokeness” and “white privilege” -- is not only wrongheaded, but even dangerous.But McWhorter isn't that easy to pin down. He acknowledges racism’s pernicious effects on communities of color, but believes that while we are busy calling out individual racism, we are ignoring the issues that most impact black lives: an endless War on Drugs, an unequal education system, and attacks on reproductive and...

69 MIN1 weeks ago
Comments
John McWhorter thinks we're getting racism wrong

The rocky marriage between libertarians and conservatives

Hello, everybody! I'm Jane Coaston, senior politics reporter at Vox with a focus on conservatism.Today, I'm speaking with Conor Friedersdorf, a staff writer for the Atlantic, who has been navigating the fractious divides within the conservative movement since long before 2016.Friedersdorf is extremely hard to pin down. His intellectual hero is Friedrich Hayek and he believes the Supreme Court “ought to thwart the will of democratic and legislative majorities.” He’s also staunchly anti-war, an outspoken critic of police brutality, and has even occasionally praised Bernie Sanders.This is what makes Friedersdorf so interesting to talk to: He doesn't fall neatly along partisan lines. We discuss a lot here: the importance of police reform; the way the term “racism” is used and misused in American politics; the future of the GOP; and what it means to be politically homeless in Trump's America.References:"A question for conservatives: what if the left was right on race?" by Jane Coast...

88 MIN2 weeks ago
Comments
The rocky marriage between libertarians and conservatives

A mind-bending, reality-warping conversation with John Higgs

I don’t usually begin interviews with the question “who the hell are you?” But, then again, not every guest is John Higgs.I fell into Higgs’s work by accident. An offhand recommendation of his book on the KLF, a British band that burnt a million pounds but couldn’t explain why they did it. What’s unusual is that I’ve not quite been able to climb back out of it. Higgs’s work is reality-warping. Once you put on his lenses, it’s hard to take them back off.At the center of Higgs’s strange, brilliant books — his heterodox history of the 20th century, his biography of Timothy Leary, his tour of “metamodernism” — is a single, urgent question: How do we understand the world around us even as advances in physics, psychology, art, pharmacology, and philosophy shatter our frames of reference?This conversation takes some wild turns, but trying to describe it would do it a disservice. Just trust me on this one. It’s good to mess with your reality every once in awhile.References: J...

91 MIN2 weeks ago
Comments
A mind-bending, reality-warping conversation with John Higgs

Jia Tolentino on what happens when life is an endless performance

The introduction to Jia Tolentino’s Trick Mirror: Reflections on Self-Delusion, hit me hard. In her investigation of how American politics and culture had collapsed into “an unbearable supernova of perpetually escalating conflict,” she became obsessed with five intersecting problems: “First, how the internet is built to distend our sense of identity; second, how it encourages us to overvalue our opinions; third, how it maximizes our sense of opposition; fourth, how it cheapens our understanding of solidarity; and, finally, how it destroys our sense of scale." Yeah, me too.What sets Tolentino’s work apart, though, is that it’s not about the internet — it’s about how people are living their real, everyday lives in the age of the internet. This is a conversation about what happens when technology combines with the most powerful forces of human psychology to transform the nature of human interaction itself. It’s about how we construct and express our core sense of self, and wha...

104 MIN3 weeks ago
Comments
Jia Tolentino on what happens when life is an endless performance

The original meaning of “identity politics” (with Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor)

Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor is an associate professor of African-American Studies at Princeton University and the author of multiple books, including most recently How We Get Free: Black Feminism and the Combahee River Collective, which traces the origins of the term “identity politics” back to its very first use.“Since 1977,” she writes, “that term has been used, abused, and reconfigured into something foreign to its creators.” Taylor’s intellectual history is driven by more than curiosity: it’s part of a larger vision that views racism and our contemporary economic system as inextricably linked.This is a conversation full of tough questions. What constitutes identity politics? When is it inclusive, and when is it exclusive? Is racism a function of capitalism or is it constant across economic systems? How did Barack Obama’s presidency lead to Donald Trump’s? What can stop future Democrats from running into the very same institutional strongholds that plagued Obama?Book recomm...

84 MIN3 weeks ago
Comments
The original meaning of “identity politics” (with Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor)

Are bosses dictators? (with Elizabeth Anderson)

Imagine a society whose rulers suppress free speech, free association, even bathroom breaks. Where the government owns the means of production. Where the leader is self-appointed or hand-selected by a group of wealthy oligarchs. Where exile or emigration can have severe, even life-threatening, consequences.My guest today, University of Michigan Philosopher Elizabeth Anderson, writes that workplaces are “communist dictatorships in our midst.” Her book Private Government: How Employers Rule our Lives (and Why We Don’t Talk About It) draws an extended analogy between firms and tyrannical governments, each of which she believes hold extended, unaccountable power over people’s lives.Anderson is one for the most influential philosophers alive today, and her aim isn’t just to be provocative. It’s to argue that the ideals of representation, rights, and legitimacy that we apply to public governments should extend to private governments, too. And beyond that, it is to pose a question ab...

90 MINAUG 19
Comments
Are bosses dictators? (with Elizabeth Anderson)

The Constitution is a progressive document

“The Constitution must be adapted to the problems of each generation,” writes Erwin Chemerisnky, “we are not living in the world of 1787 and should not pretend that the choices for that time can guide ours today.”Does that sentence read to you as obvious or offensive? Either way, it’s at the core of the constitutional debate between the left and the right — a debate the left all too often cedes to the right through disinterest.Chemerinsky is trying to change that. He’s the dean of UC Berkeley’s School of Law, a decorated constitutional scholar and lawyer, and the author of We the People: A Progressive Reading of the Constitution for the Twenty-First Century. At the core of Chemerinsky’s vision is the idea that the Constitution must be interpreted through the lens of the preamble: a crucial statement of intent, and one that establishes the US Constitution as one of the most adaptive and glitteringly progressive founding documents in the world.This is a conversation about bot...

62 MINAUG 15
Comments
The Constitution is a progressive document

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