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The Ezra Klein Show

The Ezra Klein Show

*** Named a best podcast of 2021 by Time, Vulture, Esquire and The Atlantic. *** Each Tuesday and Friday, Ezra Klein invites you into a conversation on something that matters. How do we address climate change if the political system fails to act? Has the logic of markets infiltrated too many aspects of our lives? What is the future of the Republican Party? What do psychedelics teach us about consciousness? What does sci-fi understand about our present that we miss? Can our food system be just to humans and animals alike?

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Episodes

The Office is Dying. It?s Time to Rethink How We Work.

Over the past year, many places have returned to something approximating a prepandemic normal. Restaurants are filling up again. Airports and hotels are packed. Even movie theaters have made a comeback. But that hasn?t been the case for the office. Only about a third of office workers are back in the office full time. And that isn?t likely to change dramatically any time soon: Recent surveys asked executives about the share of their workers who would be back in the office five days a week in the future. In 2021 the response was 50 percent; now it?s down to 20 percent.

But the alternatives ? remote and hybrid work ? come with their own problems. In many cases, remote work has become synonymous with meeting fatigue, the collapse of work-life balance, overwhelming amounts of email and Slack messages and awkward attempts at social connection. And hybrid work setups often represent what some have called the worst of both work worlds: long commutes to half-empty offices, just to sit on Zoom calls all day.

That leaves office workers in what feels like a work purgatory: The office is dying, but a new, viable model of work has yet to be born. And that liminal space raises all sorts of new questions: What is the office actually for? What will the postoffice future of work look like? And if the future of work means working from home in some capacity, how do we make that future better for everyone involved?

Those questions are at the center of Anne Helen Petersen and Charlie Warzel?s book, ?Out of Office: The Big Problem and Bigger Promise of Working From Home.? Petersen is a longtime culture writer who writes the newsletter Culture Study; Warzel is a veteran technology reporter who writes the newsletter Galaxy Brain for The Atlantic. In ?Out of Office? they argue that the core problem with current remote and hybrid work setups is this: Workers have left the physical office, but they have taken the broken culture of the office with them. The result is widespread dysfunction but also immense opportunity: If we take this moment to rethink not only where we work but also how we work, then the possibilities are endless. 

Mentioned:

?The Case Against Loving Your Job? by The Ezra Klein Show

?Stop. Breathe. We Can?t Keep Working Like This? by The Ezra Klein Show

?Think Bigger About Remote Work? by Adam Ozimek

?I?m Worried About Chicago? by Matthew Yglesias

"The Nowhere Office" by Julia Hobsbawm

Book Recommendations:

In the Age of the Smart Machine by Shoshana Zuboff

The Myth of the Paperless Office by Abigail J. Sellen and Richard H. R. Harper

Liquidated by Karen Ho

Essential Labor by Angela Garbes

This episode is guest hosted by Rogé Karma, the senior editor for ?The Ezra Klein Show.? Rogé has been with the show since July 2019, when it was based at Vox. He works closely with Ezra on everything related to the show, from editing to interview prep to guest selection. At Vox, he also wrote articles and conducted interviews on topics ranging from policing and racial justice to democracy reform and the coronavirus.

Thoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at [email protected]

You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of ?The Ezra Klein Show? at nytimes.com/ezra-klein-podcast, and you can find Ezra on Twitter @ezraklein. Book recommendations from all our guests are listed at https://www.nytimes.com/article/ezra-klein-show-book-recs.

???The Ezra Klein Show? is produced by Annie Galvin and Rogé Karma; fact-checking by Michelle Harris, Mary Marge Locker and Kate Sinclair; original music by Isaac Jones; mixing by Sonia Herrero and Isaac Jones; audience strategy by Shannon Busta. Special thanks to Kristin Lin, Kristina Samulewski, Nicholas Bloom, Adam Ozimek, Julia Hobsbawm and Sheela Subramanian.

2022-08-16
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How Do We Face Loss With Dignity?

In his latest work, ?The Last White Man,? the award-winning writer Mohsin Hamid imagines a world that is very like our own, with one major exception: On various days, white people wake up to discover that their skin is no longer white. It?s a heavy premise, but one of Hamid?s unique talents as a novelist is his ability to take on the most difficult of topics ? racism, migration, loss ? with a remarkably light touch.

?How do you begin to have these conversations in a way that allows everybody a way in?? Hamid asks at one point in our conversation. ?How do you talk about these things in a way that?s open to everyone?? What sets Hamid apart is his capacity to do just that ? both in his fiction and in our conversation. We discuss:

How Hamid experienced what it was like to lose his whiteness after 9/11What happens to a society when suddenly we can?t sort ourselves by raceThe origins of modern humans? fear of death ? and how to overcome itWhy Hamid thinks future humans will look back at the idea of borders with moral horrorWhy Hamid believes that pessimistic realism is a ?deeply conservative? worldviewHamid?s process for imagining optimistic futuresWhy Hamid believes that the very notion of the self is a fictionWhy we turn to activities like sex, drugs and meditation when we get overwhelmedHow America?s policies toward immigrants and refugees should challenge our ?heroic? sense of national identityWhat Toni Morrison taught Hamid about how to read and write

And more.

Mentioned:

"The Metamorphosis" by Franz Kafka

Exit West by Mohsin Hamid

Book Recommendations:

Beloved by Toni Morrison

Ficciones by Jorge Luis Borges

The Epic of Gilgamesh, translated by Andrew George

Thoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at [email protected]

You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of ?The Ezra Klein Show? at nytimes.com/ezra-klein-podcast, and you can find Ezra on Twitter @ezraklein. Book recommendations from all our guests are listed at https://www.nytimes.com/article/ezra-klein-show-book-recs.

?The Ezra Klein Show? is produced by Annie Galvin and Rogé Karma; fact-checking by Michelle Harris, Mary Marge Locker and Kate Sinclair; original music by Isaac Jones; mixing by Sonia Herrero and Isaac Jones; audience strategy by Shannon Busta. Special thanks to Kristin Lin and Kristina Samulewski.

2022-08-12
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Three Sentences That Could Change the World ? and Your Life

Today?s show is built around three simple sentences: ?Future people count. There could be a lot of them. And we can make their lives better.? Those sentences form the foundation of an ethical framework known as ?longtermism.? They might sound obvious, but to take them seriously is a truly radical endeavor ? one with the power to change the world and even your life.

That second sentence is where things start to get wild. It?s possible that there could be tens of trillions of future people, that future people could outnumber current people by a ratio of something like a million to one. And if that?s the case, then suddenly most of the things we spend most of our time arguing about shrink in importance compared with the things that will affect humanity?s long-term future.

William MacAskill is a professor of philosophy at Oxford University, the director of the Forethought Foundation for Global Priorities Research and the author of the forthcoming book, ?What We Owe the Future,? which is the best distillation of the longtermist worldview I?ve read. So this is a conversation about what it means to take the moral weight of the future seriously and the way that everything ? from our political priorities to career choices to definitions of heroism ? changes when you do.

We also cover the host of questions that longtermism raises: How should we weigh the concerns of future generations against those of living people? What are we doing today that future generations will view in the same way we look back on moral atrocities like slavery? Who are the ?moral weirdos? of our time we should be paying more attention to? What are the areas we should focus on, the policies we should push, the careers we should choose if we want to guarantee a better future for our posterity?

And much more.

Mentioned:

"Is A.I. the Problem? Or Are We?" by The Ezra Klein Show 

"How to Do The Most Good" by The Ezra Klein Show 

"This Conversation With Richard Powers Is a Gift" by The Ezra Klein Show

Book Recommendations:

?Moral Capital? by Christopher Leslie Brown

?The Precipice? by Toby Ord

?The Scout Mindset? by Julia Galef

Thoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at [email protected]

You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of ?The Ezra Klein Show? at nytimes.com/ezra-klein-podcast, and you can find Ezra on Twitter @ezraklein. Book recommendations from all our guests are listed at https://www.nytimes.com/article/ezra-klein-show-book-recs.

???The Ezra Klein Show? is produced by Annie Galvin and Rogé Karma; fact-checking by Michelle Harris, Mary Marge Locker and Kate Sinclair; original music by Isaac Jones; mixing by Sonia Herrero and Isaac Jones; audience strategy by Shannon Busta. Special thanks to Kristin Lin and Kristina Samulewski.

2022-08-09
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Gender Is Complicated for All of Us. Let?s Talk About It.

It?s hard to think of anything changing more quickly in our society right now than our understanding of gender. There?s an explosion of young people identifying as gender nonconforming in some way or another, and others are coming out as transgender or nonbinary throughout their lives, from childhood to old age. But this sea change has brought with it an enormous amount of confusion and resistance. As of July, lawmakers in 21 states had introduced bills that focus on restricting gender-affirming medical care for transgender youth, such as hormone blockers, and 29 states had introduced bills banning transgender youth from sports. But we also know that the degree of support a young person receives when coming out ? or doesn?t ? can have profound consequences for their mental health.

How should we process and understand this moment in gender? Kathryn Bond Stockton is a distinguished professor of English focusing on gender studies at the University of Utah and the author of the book ?Gender(s).? She is incredibly skilled at explaining the fundamentals ? and complexities ? of what gender means and how people, including Stockton herself, have wrestled with it. In this conversation, we discuss:

Why and how Stockton has always felt out of place as a womanHow her entry to the evangelical church actually advanced her acceptance of her genderWhy gender is ?queer? for all of us, regardless of how we identify or how much we think about itThe ways that we perform our genders without even knowing we?re doing itHow the choices parents make concerning things as seemingly banal as clothing and toys shape children?s gender identitiesHow an expanded sense of gender can bring pain as well as pleasure and playfulnessWhat Stockton has learned from discussions about gender roles with Mormon students in her Utah classroomsWhat we would gain ? and possibly lose ? if we were to loosen social categories of genderWhy Pride celebrations can be so utopian

And much more.

Mentioned:

Detransition, Baby by Torrey Peters

Butch Queens Up in Pumps by Marlon M. Bailey

Book Recommendations:

Histories of the Transgender Child by Jules Gill-Peterson

Brilliant Imperfection by Eli Clare

Asegi Stories by Qwo-Li Driskill

Thoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at [email protected]

You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of ?The Ezra Klein Show? at nytimes.com/ezra-klein-podcast, and you can find Ezra on Twitter @ezraklein. Book recommendations from all our guests are listed at https://www.nytimes.com/article/ezra-klein-show-book-recs.

?The Ezra Klein Show? is produced by Annie Galvin and Rogé Karma; fact-checking by Michelle Harris and Kate Sinclair; original music by Isaac Jones; mixing by Sonia Herrero and Isaac Jones; audience strategy by Shannon Busta. Special thanks to Kristin Lin, Kristina Samulewski and Rollin Hu.

2022-08-05
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The Argument: Who Can Write About What?

Today we're bringing you an episode from our friends at The Argument, about cultural appropriation in creative work. In recent years, book written by white authors like ?American Dirt? and ?The Help" have been criticized for their portrayals of characters of color. Artists? job is to imagine and create, but what do we do when they get it wrong?

To discuss, Jane Coaston is joined by the Opinion writers Roxane Gay and Jay Caspian Kang. In their work, both have thought deeply about the thorny issues of writing across identities ? including what makes work authentic, the pressure of representation for writers of color and the roles social media and the publishing industry play in literary criticism. ?I don?t think it?s that complicated,? Roxane says. ?It?s not that we divorce identity from the conversation. It?s that we treat it as inherent because we can?t separate out parts of ourselves.?

Mentioned:

?White Fever Dreams? by Roxane Gay in Gay Magazine

?The Pity of the Elites? by Jay Caspian Kang

Thoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at [email protected] 

You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of ?The Ezra Klein Show? at nytimes.com/ezra-klein-podcast, and you can find Ezra on Twitter @ezraklein. Book recommendations from all our guests are listed at https://www.nytimes.com/article/ezra-klein-show-book-recs.

?The Ezra Klein Show? is produced by Annie Galvin and Rogé Karma; fact-checking by Michelle Harris, Rollin Hu, Mary Marge Locker and Kate Sinclair; original music by Isaac Jones and Pat McCusker; mixing by Pat McCusker; audience strategy by Shannon Busta. Special thanks to Kristin Lin and Kristina Samulewski. 

2022-08-02
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Best Of: Ruth Ozeki?s Enchanted Relationship to Minds and Possessions

Today we're taking a short break and re-releasing one of our favorite episodes from 2022, a conversation with the novelist and Buddhist priest Ruth Ozeki. We'll be back with new episodes next week!

The world has gotten louder, even when we?re alone. A day spent in isolation can still mean a day buffeted by the voices on social media and the news, on podcasts, in emails and text messages. Objects have also gotten louder: through the advertisements that follow us around the web, the endless scroll of merchandise available on internet shopping sites and in the plentiful aisles of superstores. What happens when you really start listening to all these voices? What happens when you can?t stop hearing them?

Ruth Ozeki is a Zen Buddhist priest and the author of novels including ?A Tale for the Time Being,? which was shortlisted for the Booker Prize, and ?The Book of Form and Emptiness,? which I read over paternity leave and loved. ?The Book of Form and Emptiness? is about Benny, a teenager who starts hearing objects speak to him right after his father?s death, and it?s about his mother, Annabelle, who can?t let go of anything she owns, and can?t seem to help her son or herself. And then it?s about so much more than that: mental illnesses and materialism and consumerism and creative inspiration and information overload and the power of stories and the role of libraries and unshared mental experiences and on and on. It?s a book thick with ideas but written with a deceptively light, gentle pen.

Our conversation begins by exploring what it means to hear voices in our minds, and whether it?s really so rare. We talk about how Ozeki?s novels begin she hears a character speaking in her mind, how meditation can teach you to detach from own internal monologue, why Marie Kondo?s almost animist philosophy of tidying became so popular across the globe, whether objects want things, whether practicing Zen has helped her want less and, my personal favorite part, the dilemmas posed by an empty box with the words ?empty box? written on it.

Mentioned:

The Great Shift by James L. Kugel

Book recommendations:

When You Greet Me I Bow by Norman Fischer

The Aleph and Other Stories by Jorge Luis Borges

Vibrant Matter by Jane Bennett

This episode contains a brief mention of suicidal ideation. If you are having thoughts of suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 (TALK). A list of additional resources is available at SpeakingOfSuicide.com/resources.

Thoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at [email protected]

You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of ?The Ezra Klein Show? at nytimes.com/ezra-klein-podcast, and you can find Ezra on Twitter @ezraklein. Book recommendations from all our guests are listed at https://www.nytimes.com/article/ezra-klein-show-book-recs.

This episode of ?The Ezra Klein Show? was produced by Annie Galvin, Jeff Geld and Rogé Karma; fact-checking by Michelle Harris; original music by Isaac Jones; mixing by Jeff Geld; audience strategy by Shannon Busta. Special thanks to Kristin Lin and Kristina Samulewski.

2022-07-29
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The Mid-Century Media Theorists Who Saw What Was Coming

?At the very heart of democracy is a contradiction that cannot be resolved, one that has affected free societies from ancient Greece to contemporary America,? write Zac Gershberg and Sean Illing in their new book, ?The Paradox of Democracy.? In order to live up to its name, democracy must be open to free communication and expression; yet that very feature opens democracies up to the forces of chaos, fragmentation and demagoguery that undermine them. Historically, this paradox becomes particularly profound during transitions between different communication technologies. ?We see this time and again,? Gershberg and Illing write, ?media continually evolve faster than politics, resulting in recurring patterns of democratic instability.?

For that reason, Gershberg and Illing refer to media ecology ? a field dedicated to studying the complex interplay between media, humans and their broader social environments ? as ?the master political science.? You can?t understand a society?s politics without understanding the mediums through which its people communicate. Radio and TV and Twitter and TikTok each profoundly shape the way we think, the qualities we look for in our politicians, the way we absorb news, the kind of political discourse we engage in and so much more.

Illing?s career, in many ways, represents the intersection of these two worlds: He?s trained as a political theorist but eventually switched careers to become a journalist; he?s currently the interviews writer at Vox, where he hosts the podcast ?Vox Conversations? and often writes about the nexus of media and politics. So I invited Illing on the show to talk about his new book alongside some of his other work. We discuss: 

Why mid-century media theorists like Marshall McLuhan and Neil Postman are essential for understanding our current political momentHow the mediums through which we communicate ? TV, social media, print news ? shape us even more deeply than the content we absorb from themThe surprising dangers of ?Sesame Street?Why Abraham Lincoln probably never would have won the presidency in the TV eraHow revolutions in media technology from the printing press to Facebook have destabilized political systemsHow Twitter reshapes the thinking of those who use itWhy Illing believes that democracy is fundamentally a ?communicative culture? and not a set of rules and institutionsWhat Donald Trump understood about our media age that the media itself didn?tWhy Steve Bannon?s ?flood the zone? media strategy has been so successfulWhether it?s possible to achieve a healthier version of political discourse given our current technologies

And much more

This episode contains strong language.

Mentioned:

??Flood the zone with shit?: How misinformation overwhelmed our democracy? by Sean Illing

?Quantifying partisan news diets in Web and TV audiences? by Daniel Muise, Homa Hosseinmardi, Baird Howland, Markus Mobius, David Rothschild and Duncan J. Watts

Book Recommendations:

Amusing Ourselves to Death by Neil Postman

Public Opinion by Walter Lippmann

Mediated by Thomas de Zengotita

Thoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at [email protected]

You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of ?The Ezra Klein Show? at nytimes.com/ezra-klein-podcast, and you can find Ezra on Twitter @ezraklein. Book recommendations from all our guests are listed at https://www.nytimes.com/article/ezra-klein-show-book-recs.

?The Ezra Klein Show? is produced by Annie Galvin and Rogé Karma; fact-checking by Michelle Harris, Rollin Hu, Mary Marge Locker and Kate Sinclair; original music by Isaac Jones; mixing by Sonia Herrero, Carole Sabouraud and Isaac Jones; audience strategy by Shannon Busta. Special thanks to Kristin Lin and Kristina Samulewski.

2022-07-26
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A Top Mental Health Expert on Where America Went Wrong

There?s a paradox that sits at the center of our mental health conversation in America. On the one hand, our treatments for mental illness have gotten better and better in recent decades. Psychopharmaceuticals have improved considerably; new, more effective methods of psychotherapy have been developed; and we?ve reached a better understanding of what kinds of social support are most helpful for those experiencing mental health crises.

But at the same time, mental health outcomes have moved in exactly the wrong direction. In the United States, there is a death by suicide about every 11 minutes, and about half of those who die by that method have not received mental health care. Rates of anxiety, depression and eating disorders have skyrocketed among young people in recent years. From 2009 to 2015, rates of emergency room visits for self-harm more than doubled for girls ages 10 to 14.

Thomas Insel understands the contours of this disconnect as well as anyone. A psychiatrist and researcher, he was the director of the National Institute of Mental Health for 13 years, and has served as a special adviser on mental health care to California?s governor, Gavin Newsom. But in his new book, ?Healing: Our Path from Mental Illness to Mental Health,? he admits that even the herculean efforts made by the mental health community have fallen short. The book explores how badly we?re failing at mental health care, and how much more we could do with what we have already discovered, and what we already know. ?Put simply, the mental health problem is medical,? he writes, ?but the solutions are not just medical ? they are social, environmental, and political.?

In this conversation, we discuss why our current medical system is so inadequate at helping people with mental illnesses of all stripes, why psychiatric research and patient outcomes are so wildly out of step, the story of how the U.S. government systematically divested from mental health care in the 1980s, and the fragmented system of care that those decisions created. We also touch on why it?s so difficult to find the right therapist; which treatments we know work really well ? and why we so often fail to implement them; why mental health is not just a medical problem, but also an economic and social one; what public policy can, and importantly can?t, do to solve our mental health crisis; the relationship between loneliness and mental illness; how the loosening of family and social ties is impacting our collective mental health and more.

Mentions:

?Wealth-Care Reform? by Ezra Klein

?Together? by Vivek Murthy

?Vivek Murthy on America?s Loneliness Epidemic? episode from Vox Conversations

Book Recommendations:

Nobody?s Normal by Roy Richard Grinker

American Psychosis by E. Fuller Torrey

Crazy by Pete Earley

Thoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at [email protected]

You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of ?The Ezra Klein Show? at nytimes.com/ezra-klein-podcast, and you can find Ezra on Twitter @ezraklein. Book recommendations from all our guests are listed at https://www.nytimes.com/article/ezra-klein-show-book-recs.

?The Ezra Klein Show? is produced by Annie Galvin and Rogé Karma; fact-checking by Michelle Harris, Mary Marge Locker and Kate Sinclair; mixing by Sonia Herrero, Carole Sabouraud and Isaac Jones; original music by Isaac Jones; audience strategy by Shannon Busta. Special thanks to Kristin Lin and Kristina Samulewski.

2022-07-22
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Why Housing Is So Expensive ? Particularly in Blue States

America is experiencing a housing crisis ? or, more accurately, multiple housing crises. A massive housing shortage in major cities has resulted in skyrocketing rents. Low- and middle-income individuals find themselves priced out of the places with the most opportunity. Homelessness is rampant in cities across the country. Developers often face the steepest obstacles to building in the places where new housing is needed most. And young people are increasingly viewing homeownership, once a vital part of the American dream, as hopelessly out of reach.

These outcomes weren?t inevitable. Plenty of other countries supply their populations with high-quality housing at lower prices. And the solutions here are incredibly simple: Build more housing in places where it?s needed, build cheaper forms of housing, build housing alongside public transit, provide more housing vouchers. So why don?t we act on them?

Jenny Schuetz is a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and the author of the new book ?Fixer Upper: How to Repair America?s Broken Housing Systems,? which is perhaps the best, clearest overview of America?s housing problems to date. We discuss why the states with the highest homelessness rates are all governed by Democrats, the roots of America?s homelessness crisis, why economists believe the U.S. gross domestic product could be over a third ? a third! ? higher today if American cities had built more housing, why it?s so hard to build housing where it?s needed most, the actual (and often misunderstood) causes of gentrification, why public housing has such a bad reputation in the U.S.; how progressives? commitment to local democracy and community voice surprisingly lies at the heart of America?s housing crises, why homeownership is still the primary vehicle of wealth accumulation in America (and the toxic impact that has on our politics), what the U.S. can learn from the housing policies of countries like Germany and France, what it would take to build a better politics of housing and much more.

Mentioned:

?The Left-NIMBY canon? by Noah Smith

The Homevoter Hypothesis by William A. Fischel

The Paradox of Democracy by Zac Gershberg and Sean Illing

Recommendations:

Crabgrass Frontier by Kenneth T. Jackson

Neighborhood Defenders by Katherine Levine Einstein, David M. Glick and Maxwell Palmer

Maid (Netflix series)

Thoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at [email protected]

You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of ?The Ezra Klein Show? at nytimes.com/ezra-klein-podcast, and you can find Ezra on Twitter @ezraklein. Book recommendations from all our guests are listed at https://www.nytimes.com/article/ezra-klein-show-book-recs.

?The Ezra Klein Show? is produced by Annie Galvin and Rogé Karma; fact-checking by Michelle Harris, Mary Marge Locker, Kate Sinclair and Rollin Hu; mixing by Sonia Herrero and Isaac Jones; original music by Isaac Jones; audience strategy by Shannon Busta. Special thanks to Kristin Lin and Kristina Samulewski.

2022-07-19
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A Weird, Wonderful Conversation With Kim Stanley Robinson

Kim Stanley Robinson is one of the great living science fiction writers and one of the most astute observers of how planets look, feel and work. His Mars Trilogy imagined what it might be like for humans to settle on the red planet. His best-selling novel ?The Ministry for the Future? is a masterful effort at envisioning what might happen to Earth in a future of unchecked climate change. Robinson has a rare command of both science and human nature, and his writing crystallizes how the two must work together if we are to rescue our collective planetary future from possible ruin.

In his most recent book, a rare turn to nonfiction called ?The High Sierra: A Love Story,? Robinson trains his attention on the planet we inhabit in the here and now, particularly on one of his favorite places on Earth: the Sierra Nevada mountain range in California and Nevada. The new book is part memoir, part guidebook, part meditation on how time, space and even politics take shape in a wondrous geological landscape.

We discuss why Robinson decided to start writing outdoors, what it was like to experience the Sierras on psychedelics in his youth, what ?actor-network theory? is and how it helps us understand our relationship to the planet and to our own bodies, why we should think of climate change more like we do plane crashes, what hiking backpacks say about American consumerism, how we should change our relationship to technology in order to be happier, why the politics of wanting are so confusing yet important, why Robinson is so excited about ideas like a wage ratio and rewilding schemes, how the ?structure of feeling? around climate has changed, why Robinson is feeling more hopeful about Earth?s future these days and more.

Mentioned:

?The Most Important Book I?ve Read This Year? by Vox Conversations

?Your Kids Are Not Doomed? by Ezra Klein

?Design for the Real World? by Victor Papanek

?Thomas Piketty?s Case for ?Participatory Socialism?? by The Ezra Klein Show

Book Recommendations:

A Brief History of Equality by Thomas Piketty

The Dawn of Everything by David Graeber and David Wengrow

The Echo Maker by Richard Powers

Thoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at [email protected]

You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of ?The Ezra Klein Show? at nytimes.com/ezra-klein-podcast, and you can find Ezra on Twitter @ezraklein. Book recommendations from all our guests are listed at https://www.nytimes.com/article/ezra-klein-show-book-recs.

?The Ezra Klein Show? is produced by Annie Galvin and Rogé Karma; fact-checking by Michelle Harris, Mary Marge Locker and Kate Sinclair; original music by Isaac Jones; mixing by Isaac Jones and Sonia Herrero; audience strategy by Shannon Busta. Our executive producer is Irene Noguchi. Special thanks to Kristin Lin and Kristina Samulewski.

2022-07-15
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First Person: To Fight for Ukraine?s Freedom, He Went Back Into the Closet

Today, we're bringing you an episode from the recently launched New York Times Opinion podcast, ?First Person,? hosted by Lulu Garcia-Navarro. In each episode, Lulu sits down with people living through the headlines for intimate and surprising conversations that help us make sense of our complicated world. This particular episode is about one gay Ukranian soldier?s experience fighting against Russia. 

Since the beginning of the war, Ukrainians of all backgrounds have come together to fight their common enemy, Russia. But for some Ukrainians, that enemy holds particular terror. In Russia, gay people are routinely targeted for their identity ? arrested without cause and even tortured. That?s what motivated Oleksandr Zhuhan to join the volunteer Territorial Defense Forces, despite experiencing homophobia in Ukraine. In the months since, Zhuhan has been fighting two battles: one for his country and one for his identity.

You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more information for all episodes at nytimes.com/column/first-person

?First Person? is produced by Derek Arthur, Christina Djossa, Jason Pagano, Cristal Duhaime, Olivia Natt and Courtney Stein. The show is edited by Kaari Pitkin, Stephanie Joyce and Lisa Tobin. Scoring by Isaac Jones, Pat McCusker and Carole Sabouraud. Mixing by Isaac Jones. Fact-checking by Mary Marge Locker. Audience strategy by Shannon Busta, with editorial support from Kristina Samulewski. The executive producer of Opinion audio is Irene Noguchi, and the director of New York Times audio is Paula Szuchman. Special thanks to Jeffrey Miranda, Kate Sinclair, Patrick Healy and Katie Kingsbury.

2022-07-12
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Michelle Goldberg Grapples With Feminism After Roe

?It?s true: We?re in trouble,? writes Michelle Goldberg of the modern feminist movement. ?One thing backlashes do is transform a culture?s common sense and horizons of possibility. A backlash isn?t just a political formation. It?s also a new structure of feeling that makes utopian social projects seem ridiculous.?

It wouldn?t be fair to blame the Supreme Court decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women?s Health Organization and the ensuing wave of draconian abortion laws sweeping the nation on a failure of persuasion, or on a failure of the women?s movement. But signs of anti-feminist backlash are permeating American culture: Girlbosses have become figures of ridicule, Amber Heard?s testimony drew a fire hose of misogyny, and recent polling finds that younger generations ? both men and women ? are feeling ambivalent about whether feminism has helped or hurt women. A movement that has won so many victories in law, politics and public opinion is now defending its very existence.

Goldberg is a columnist for Times Opinion who focuses on gender and politics. In recent weeks, she has written a series of columns grappling with the overturning of Roe v. Wade, but also considering the broader atmosphere that created so much despair on the left. What can feminists ? and Democrats more broadly ? learn from anti-abortion organizers? How has the women?s movement changed in the half-century since Roe, and where can the movement go after this loss? Has feminism moved too far away from its early focus on organizing and into the turbulent waters of online discourse? Has it become a victim of its own success?

We discuss a ?flabbergasting? poll about the way young people ? both men and women ? feel about feminism, why so many young people have become pessimistic about heterosexual relationships, how the widespread embrace of feminism defanged its politics, why the anti-abortion movement is so good at recruiting and retaining activists ? and what the left can learn from them, how today?s backlash against women compares to that of the Reagan years, why nonprofits on the left are in such extreme turmoil, why a social movement?s obsession with ?cringe? can be its downfall, how ?safe spaces? on the left started to feel unsafe, why feminism doesn?t always serve poor women, whether the #MeToo movement was overly dismissive of ?due process? and how progressives could improve the way they talk about the family and more.

Mentioned:

?The Future Isn?t Female Anymore? by Michelle Goldberg

?Amber Heard and the Death of #MeToo? by Michelle Goldberg

Rethinking Sex by Christine Emba

The Case Against the Sexual Revolution by Louise Perry

Bad Sex by Nona Willis Aronowitz

?Elephant in the Zoom? by Ryan Grim

?The Tyranny of Structurelessness? by Jo Freeman

?Lessons From the Terrible Triumph of the Anti-Abortion Movement? by Michelle Goldberg

The Making of Pro-Life Activists by Ziad W. Munson

Steered by the Reactionary: What To Do About Feminism by The Drift

Book Recommendations:

Backlash by Susan Faludi

No More Nice Girls by Ellen Willis

Status and Culture by W. David Marx

Thoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at [email protected]

You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of ?The Ezra Klein Show? at nytimes.com/ezra-klein-podcast, and you can find Ezra on Twitter @ezraklein. Book recommendations from all our guests are listed at https://www.nytimes.com/article/ezra-klein-show-book-recs.

?The Ezra Klein Show? is produced by Annie Galvin and Rogé Karma; fact-checking by Michelle Harris and Kate Sinclair; original music by Isaac Jones; mixing by Sonia Herrero and Isaac Jones; audience strategy by Shannon Busta. Our executive producer is Irene Noguchi. Special thanks to Kristin Lin and Kristina Samulewski.

2022-07-08
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Liberals Need a Clearer Vision of the Constitution. Here?s What It Could Look Like.

For decades now, the conservative legal movement has been on a mission to remake this nation?s laws from the bench. And it?s working. On Friday we released an episode with the legal scholar Kate Shaw that walked through case after case showing how conservative Supreme Court majorities have lurched this country?s laws to the right on guns, voting, gerrymandering, regulatory authority, unions, campaign finance and more in the past 20 years. And if the Dobbs majority is any indication, this rightward shift is just getting started.

But this conservative legal revolution is only half of the story. The other half is just as important: the collapse of liberal constitutional thinking. Liberals have ?lost anything that would animate a positive theory of what the Constitution should be,? says the legal scholar Larry Kramer. ?And so they?ve been left with a kind of potpourri of leftover things from the periods when liberals were ascendant in the ?60s and ?70s.?

Kramer is a former dean of Stanford Law School, the current president of the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and the author of?The People Themselves: Popular Constitutionalism and Judicial Review.? And according to him, it hasn?t always been this way. For most of American history, politicians, from Jefferson to Lincoln to Franklin Roosevelt, believed that constitutional interpretation was inextricable from politics. And they put forward distinct visions of what the Constitution meant and the kind of country it was written to build. But then, in response to the progressive victories of the Warren court, liberals began to embrace the doctrine of judicial supremacy: the view that the final authority on the Constitution rests with the courts. This has resulted in both the conservative legal victories of the past few decades and liberals? muddled, weak response.

So this is a conversation about the collapse of liberal constitutional politics: why it happened, what we can learn from it and what a renewed, progressive vision of the Constitution could look like. We also discuss why the founders weren?t actually originalists at all, whether liberal constitutional thinking has been captured by the legal profession, what a liberal alternative to originalism could consist of, why changing the size of the court (despite its controversies) has been an important tool for staving off constitutional crisis, the case for an ?anti-oligarchy Constitution,? the merits of imposing supermajority requirements on court decisions and nominations, why Kramer views Roosevelt?s infamous court-packing effort as a major success and more.

Mentioned:

Larry Kramer?s testimony at the Presidential Commission on the Supreme Court of the United States

?Judicial Supremacy and the End of Judicial Restraint? by Larry D. Kramer

?Marbury and the Retreat from Judicial Supremacy? by Larry D. Kramer

?The Judicial Tug of War? by Adam Bonica and Maya Sen

Book recommendations:

The Anti-Oligarchy Constitution by Joseph Fishkin and William E. Forbath

The Second Creation by Jonathan Gienapp

When We Cease to Understand the World by Benjamín Labatut

We?re hiring a researcher! You can apply here or by visiting nytimes.wd5.myworkdayjobs.com/News

Thoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at [email protected]

You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of ?The Ezra Klein Show? at nytimes.com/ezra-klein-podcast, and you can find Ezra on Twitter @ezraklein. Book recommendations from all our guests are listed at https://www.nytimes.com/article/ezra-klein-show-book-recs.

?The Ezra Klein Show? is produced by Annie Galvin and Rogé Karma; fact-checking by Michelle Harris, Mary Marge Locker, Kate Sinclair and Irene Noguchi; original music and mixing by Isaac Jones; audience strategy by Shannon Busta. Our executive producer is Irene Noguchi. Special thanks to Kristin Lin and Kristina Samulewski.

2022-07-05
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A Guide to the Supreme Court's Rightward Shift

In the past few weeks alone, the Supreme Court has delivered a firestorm of conservative legal victories. States now have far less leeway to restrict gun permits. The right to abortion is no longer constitutionally protected. The Environmental Protection Agency has been kneecapped in its ability to regulate carbon emissions, and by extension, all executive branch agencies will see their power significantly diminished.

But to focus only on this particular Supreme Court term is to miss the bigger picture: In the past few decades, conservative court majorities have dragged this country?s laws to the right on almost every issue imaginable. Shelby County v. Holder gutted the Voting Rights Act and opened the door for states to pass restrictive voting laws. Rucho v. Common Cause limited the court?s ability to curb partisan gerrymandering. Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission unleashed a torrent of campaign spending. Janus v. AFSCME Council 31 weakened unions. A whole slew of cases, including some decided on the shadow docket during the Covid-19 pandemic, undercut federal agencies? power to help govern in an era of congressional gridlock. And that?s only a partial list.

Kate Shaw is a law professor at Cardozo School of Law, a co-host of the legal podcast Strict Scrutiny and a former clerk for Justice John Paul Stevens. In this episode, she walks me through the most significant Supreme Court cases over the past 20 years, from the court?s decision to hand George W. Bush the presidency in 2000, to the dismantling of the Voting Rights Act, to the assertion of an individual?s right to bear arms.

Along the way, we discuss the right?s decades-long effort to transform American law from the bench, how Republican-appointed judges have consistently entrenched Republican political power, the interpretive bankruptcy of constitutional originalism, how the Warren Court radicalized the conservative legal movement, what might happen to decisions like Obergefell v. Hodges now that the court majority seems to be so comfortable throwing out precedent, what cases to watch in the Roberts Court?s next term, and more.

Mentioned:

?After Citizens United: How Outside Spending Shapes American Democracy? by Nour Abdul-Razzak, Carlo Prato and Stephane Wolton

?The Most Important Study in the Abortion Debate? by Annie Lowrey

Book recommendations:

The Turnaway Study by Diana Greene Foster

Torn Apart by Dorothy Roberts

Who Decides? by Jeffrey S. Sutton

51 Imperfect Solutions by Jeffrey S. Sutton

Thoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at [email protected]

You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of ?The Ezra Klein Show? at nytimes.com/ezra-klein-podcast, and you can find Ezra on Twitter @ezraklein. Book recommendations from all our guests are listed at https://www.nytimes.com/article/ezra-klein-show-book-recs.

?The Ezra Klein Show? is produced by Annie Galvin and Rogé Karma; fact-checking by Michelle Harris, Rollin Hu, Mary Marge Locker and Kate Sinclair; original music by Isaac Jones; mixing by Isaac Jones; audience strategy by Shannon Busta. Our executive producer is Irene Noguchi. Special thanks to Kristin Lin, Kristina Samulewski, David A. Kaplan, Ian Millhiser, Aziz Rana and Kate Redburn.

2022-07-01
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The Supreme Court Went Off the Rails Long Before Dobbs

On Friday, a Supreme Court majority voted to overturn Roe v. Wade. On Sunday, we released an episode with Dahlia Lithwick that goes through the court?s decision in detail, and we will continue to come out with new episodes on the ruling ? and its vast implications ? in the days and weeks to come. 

Today, we?re re-airing an episode that we originally released in February of this year with Columbia Law professor Jamal Greene ? a conversation that is even more relevant now than it was when we originally released it. The Dobbs ruling may be the most poignant example of how extreme the U.S. Supreme Court has become in recent years, but it?s certainly not the only one. 

?Getting race wrong early has led courts to get everything else wrong since,? writes Greene in his book ?How Rights Went Wrong.? But he probably doesn?t mean what you think he means.

?How Rights Went Wrong? is filled with examples of just how bizarre American Supreme Court outcomes have become. An information processing company claims the right to sell its patients? data to drug companies ? it wins. A group of San Antonio parents whose children attend a school with no air-conditioning, uncertified teachers and a falling apart school building sue for the right to an equal education ? they lose. A man from Long Island claims the right to use his homemade nunchucks to teach the ?Shafan Ha Lavan? karate style, which he made up, to his children ? he wins.

Greene?s argument is that in America, for specific reasons rooted in our ugly past, the way we think about rights has gone terribly awry. We don?t do constitutional law the way other countries do it. Rather, we recognize too few rights, and we protect them too strongly. That?s created a race to get everything ruled as a right, because once it?s a right, it?s unassailable. And that?s made the stakes of our constitutional conflicts too high. ?If only one side can win, it might as well be mine,? Greene writes. ?Conflict over rights can encourage us to take aim at our political opponents instead of speaking to them. And we shoot to kill.?

It?s a grim diagnosis. But, for Greene, it?s a hopeful one, too. Because it doesn?t have to be this way. Supreme Court decisions don?t have to feel so existential. Rights like food and shelter and education need not be wholly ignored by the courts. Other countries do things differently, and so can we. 

We also discuss the reason we have courts in the first place, why Greene thinks Germany?s approach to abortion rights could be a model for America, Greene?s case for appointing nearly 200 justices to the U.S. Supreme Court and much more. 

Mentioned: 

?The Dobbs Decision Isn?t Just About Abortion. It?s About Power.? by ?The Ezra Klein Show?

Book Recommendations:

Rights Talk by Mary Ann Glendon

Law and Disagreement by Jeremy Waldron

Cult of the Constitution by Mary Anne Franks 

We?re hiring a researcher! You can apply here or by visiting nytimes.wd5.myworkdayjobs.com/News

Thoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at [email protected]

?The Ezra Klein Show? is produced by Annie Galvin and Rogé Karma; fact-checking by Michelle Harris and Kristina Samulewski; original music by Isaac Jones; mixing by Jeff Geld and Isaac Jones; audience strategy by Shannon Busta. Our executive producer is Irene Noguchi. Special thanks to Kristin Lin and Kristina Samulewski.

2022-06-28
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The Dobbs Decision Isn?t Just About Abortion. It?s About Power.

On Friday, a Supreme Court majority voted to overturn Roe v. Wade. Nearly all abortions are already banned in at least nine states, home to 7.2 million women of reproductive age. And it is likely that other bans and restrictions will follow. As the court?s three liberal justices put it in their dissenting opinion, ?One result of today?s decision is certain: the curtailment of women?s rights, and of their status as free and equal citizens.?

But this decision doesn?t just represent the end of abortion as a constitutional right; what we?re also witnessing, before our eyes, is a legal regime change ? one with striking implications for the future of the court and the country. In their majority opinion on the case, Dobbs v. Jackson Women?s Health Organization, the justices cast aside precedent, the court?s historical norms and evidence-based concerns about how this ruling will disrupt people?s lives. Even Chief Justice John Roberts, a fellow conservative, argued in a concurring opinion that the decision went too far, writing, ?The court?s opinion is thoughtful and thorough, but those virtues cannot compensate for the fact that its dramatic and consequential ruling is unnecessary to decide the case before us.?

The Dobbs ruling, in other words, isn?t just about abortion; it?s a conservative court majority flexing its newly unrestrained power.

Dahlia Lithwick is a reporter covering the Supreme Court for Slate, the host of the podcast ?Amicus? and someone I turn to whenever I need to understand the court. We discuss what Roe did and what Dobbs changes; why the rights to abortion, contraception and same-sex marriage have a much firmer constitutional basis than conservatives argue; how the majority opinion implicitly threatens those latter two rights, even while claiming to uphold them; why the most revealing opinion in the case is Roberts?s scathing concurrence; why the majority?s absolute disregard for precedent is so terrifying for defenders of the court; the way Justice Samuel Alito?s constitutional originalism freezes past injustices into present law; what the current composition of the court means for the future of liberal governance in America; and more.

Mentioned: 

?Dobbs v. Jackson Women?s Health Organization?

?There?s a Way to Outmaneuver the Supreme Court, and Maine Has Found It? by Aaron Tang

Book recommendations:

Hope in the Dark by Rebecca Solnit

Man?s Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl

You Can?t Be Neutral on a Moving Train by Howard Zinn

We?re hiring a researcher! You can apply here or by visiting nytimes.wd5.myworkdayjobs.com/News

Thoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at [email protected]

You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of ?The Ezra Klein Show? at nytimes.com/ezra-klein-podcast, and you can find Ezra on Twitter @ezraklein. Book recommendations from all our guests are listed at https://www.nytimes.com/article/ezra-klein-show-book-recs.

?The Ezra Klein Show? is produced by Annie Galvin and Rogé Karma; fact-checking by Michelle Harris, Rollin Hu, Mary Marge Locker and Kate Sinclair; mixing and original music by Isaac Jones; additional engineering by Pat McCusker; audience strategy by Shannon Busta. Our executive producer is Irene Noguchi. Special thanks to Kristin Lin and Kristina Samulewski.

2022-06-26
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The Case for Prosecuting Trump

The Jan. 6 hearings have made it clear that Donald Trump led a concerted, monthslong effort to overturn a democratic election. The extensive interviews ? over 1,000 ? that the House select committee conducted prove that Trump was told there was no evidence of election fraud, but he pressed his anti-democratic case regardless. And it appears that the hearings may be making an impact on public opinion: An ABC News/Ipsos survey released Sunday found that 58 percent of respondents believe Trump should be charged with a crime for his role in the Jan. 6 attack, up from 52 percent in April.

But after all the evidence comes to light, will he actually face legal consequences? If the answer is no, then what might future presidents ? including, perhaps, Trump himself ? be emboldened to do? And what would that mean for the future of the American political system?

Jamelle Bouie is a Times Opinion columnist and co-host of the podcast ?Unclear and Present Danger.? Bouie brings a remarkable historical depth to his writing about American politics. His columns about Jan. 6 ? and the troubling idiosyncrasies of Trump?s presidency before it ? have shown how the former president?s illiberal actions have threatened the constitutional foundation of American government. So I asked him on the show to help me process the Jan. 6 hearings with an eye to America?s past, and also to its uncertain future.

We discuss why Jan. 6 may be not just an insurrection but ?a kind of revolution or, at least, the very beginning of one?; how the anti-democratic nature of the American Constitution makes our system vulnerable to demagogues like Trump; the most important takeaways from the hearings so far; what could happen in 2024 if Trump is allowed to walk free; what Trump allies are already doing to gain power over elections; why refusing to prosecute Trump would itself be a ?radical act?; why Republicans have grown increasingly suspicious of ? and hostile to ? representative democracy; why Bouie thinks prosecuting Trump would be worth the political fallout it would cause; and more.

Mentioned:

?Trump Had a Mob. He Also Had a Plan.? by Jamelle Bouie

?America Punishes Only a Certain Kind of Rebel? by Jamelle Bouie

?Prosecute Trump? Put Yourself in Merrick Garland?s Shoes.? by Jack Goldsmith

Book recommendations:

Free Soil, Free Labor, Free Men by Eric Foner

Salmon P. Chase by Walter Stahr

What It Took to Win by Michael Kazin

We're hiring a researcher! You can apply here or by visiting nytimes.wd5.myworkdayjobs.com/News

Thoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at [email protected]

You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of ?The Ezra Klein Show? at nytimes.com/ezra-klein-podcast, and you can find Ezra on Twitter @ezraklein. Book recommendations from all our guests are listed at https://www.nytimes.com/article/ezra-klein-show-book-recs.

?The Ezra Klein Show? is produced by Annie Galvin and Rogé Karma; fact-checking by Michelle Harris, Rollin Hu, Mary Marge Locker and Kate Sinclair; mixing and original music by Isaac Jones; audience strategy by Shannon Busta. Our executive producer is Irene Noguchi. Special thanks to Kristin Lin and Kristina Samulewski.

2022-06-24
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Two Years Later, We Still Don?t Understand Long Covid. Why?

Depending on the data you look at, between 10 and 40 percent of people who get Covid will still have symptoms months later. For some, those symptoms will be modest. A cough, some fatigue. For others, they?ll be life-altering: Debilitating brain fog. Exhaustion. Cardiovascular problems. Blood clotting.

This is what we call long Covid. It?s one term for a vast range of experiences, symptoms, outcomes. It?s one term that may be hiding a vast range of maladies and causes. So what do we actually know about long Covid? What don?t we know? And why don?t we know more than we do?

Dr. Lekshmi Santhosh is an assistant professor at UCSF Medical Center, and the founder and medical director of UCSF?s long Covid and post-ICU clinic. Her clinic opened in May 2020 and was one of the first to focus on treating long Covid patients specifically. We discuss the wildly broad range of symptoms that can qualify as long Covid; the confusing overlaps between Covid symptoms and other diseases; whether age, race, sex and pre-existing conditions affect a person?s chances of contracting long Covid; why it?s so difficult to answer a seemingly simple question like, ?How many people have gotten long Covid??; what to make of a recent study that seemingly undermines the biological existence of long Covid; how worried we should be about correlations between Covid and medical disasters like heart attacks, strokes and abnormal blood clotting; and more.

Mentioned:

?Post?COVID Conditions Among Adult COVID-19 Survivors Aged 18?64 and ?65 Years ? United States, March 2020?November 2021? by Lara Bull-Otterson, Sarah Baca1, Sharon Saydah, Tegan K. Boehmer, Stacey Adjei, Simone Gray and Aaron M. Harris

?Long COVID after breakthrough SARS-CoV-2 infection? by Ziyad Al-Aly, Benjamin Bowe and Yan Xie

?A Longitudinal Study of COVID-19 Sequelae and Immunity: Baseline Findings? by Michael C. Sneller, C. Jason Liang, Adriana R. Marques, et al.

?Positive Epstein?Barr virus detection in coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) patients? by Ting Chen, Jiayi Song, Hongli Liu, Hongmei Zheng and Changzheng Chen

?Risk factors and disease profile of post-vaccination SARS-CoV-2 infection in UK users of the COVID Symptom Study app? by Michela Antonelli, Rose S. Penfold, Jordi Merino, Carole H. Sudre, Erika Molteni, Sarah Berry, et al.

?Understanding and Improving Recovery From COVID-19? by Aluko A. Hope

?Markers of Immune Activation and Inflammation in Individuals With Postacute Sequelae of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 Infection? by Michael J. Peluso, Scott Lu, Alex F. Tang, Matthew S. Durstenfeld, et al.

Book Recommendations:

In Shock by Dr. Rana Awdish

Every Deep-Drawn Breath by Wes Ely

Mountains Beyond Mountains by Tracy Kidder

We're hiring a researcher! You can apply here or by visiting nytimes.wd5.myworkdayjobs.com/News

Thoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at [email protected]

You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of ?The Ezra Klein Show? at nytimes.com/ezra-klein-podcast, and you can find Ezra on Twitter @ezraklein. Book recommendations from all our guests are listed at https://www.nytimes.com/article/ezra-klein-show-book-recs.

?The Ezra Klein Show? is produced by Annie Galvin, Jeff Geld and Rogé Karma; fact-checking by Haylee Millikan and Michelle Harris; original music by Isaac Jones; mixing by Jeff Geld; audience strategy by Shannon Busta. Our executive producer is Irene Noguchi. Special thanks to Kristin Lin, Kristina Samulewski, Dr. Ziyad Al-Aly and Lauren Nichols.

2022-06-21
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The End of 'The Everything Bubble'

This week, the S&P 500 entered what analysts refer to as a bear market. The index has plunged around 22 percent from its most recent peak in January. Many growth stocks and crypto assets have crashed double or triple that amount.

New home sales declined 17 percent in April, causing some analysts to argue that the housing market has peaked. And, in response to rising inflation, the Federal Reserve just approved its largest interest rate increase since 1994, meaning asset prices could dip even lower.

To understand what?s happening in the stock market right now, you have to understand the era that preceded it. Rana Foroohar is a columnist at The Financial Times, and the author of several books on the economy including ?Makers and Takers? and ?Don?t Be Evil.? Her view is that a decade-plus of loose monetary policy has been the economic equivalent of a ?sugar high,? which kept the prices of stocks, housing and other assets going up and up and up, even as the fundamentals of the economy have been eroding. This ?everything bubble,? as she calls it, was bound to burst ? and that?s exactly what she thinks is happening right now.

So I wanted to have her on the show to discuss the economic choices ? and lack thereof ? that led to this point. We also discuss why the increasing power of the financial sector hasn?t resulted a stronger economy, whether the housing market has indeed hit its peak, the massive missed opportunity for public investment while interest rates were low, why policymakers treat asset price inflation so differently from other types of inflation, the true costs of the meat we eat and clothes we wear, why crypto represents the apotheosis of hyper-financialized capitalism, why I?m skeptical of the argument that we?re moving rapidly toward a less globalized world and more.

Book recommendations:

All That She Carried by Tiya Miles

Beautiful Country by Qian Julie Wang

The Rise and Fall of the Neoliberal Order by Gary Gerstle

We're hiring a researcher! You can apply here or by visiting nytimes.wd5.myworkdayjobs.com/News

Thoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at [email protected]

You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of ?The Ezra Klein Show? at nytimes.com/ezra-klein-podcast, and you can find Ezra on Twitter @ezraklein. Book recommendations from all our guests are listed at https://www.nytimes.com/article/ezra-klein-show-book-recs.

?The Ezra Klein Show? is produced by Annie Galvin, Jeff Geld and Rogé Karma; fact-checking by Michelle Harris and Andrea López Cruzado; original music by Isaac Jones; mixing by Jeff Geld; audience strategy by Shannon Busta. Our executive producer is Irene Noguchi. Special thanks to Kristin Lin and Kristina Samulewski.

2022-06-17
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Is Climate Change a Reason to Avoid Having Children? and Other Listener Questions Answered

It?s that time of year, when we invite listeners to send in questions, and I answer them on the air. And as usual, you delivered. I?m joined by my producer Annie Galvin, who asks me some of the most intriguing questions of the many we received: Is climate change a reason to forgo having kids? What would happen if Trump were allowed to return to Twitter, in the event of an Elon Musk acquisition? Should Biden run again in 2024? Is wokeness killing the Democratic Party?

We also discuss the recent congressional hearing about U.F.O. sightings; whether it?s a good thing that so many talented young people are going to work in consulting, finance and corporate law; the worrisome anti-institutional direction of the Republican Party; why government is failing to deliver on liberals? policies and promises ? and how to start fixing that problem; whether Americans? distrust in institutions is warranted; why I could use some recommendations for a good reading chair; and more.

Mentioned:

We're hiring a researcher! You can apply here or by visiting nytimes.wd5.myworkdayjobs.com/News

?Your Kids Are Not Doomed? by Ezra Klein

?Empirically Grounded Technology Forecasts and the Energy Transition? by Rupert Way, Matthew Ives, Penny Mealy and J. Doyne Farmer

?Ibram X. Kendi on What Conservatives ? and Liberals ? Get Wrong About Antiracism? by The Ezra Klein Show

?A Different Way of Thinking About Cancel Culture? by Ezra Klein

Public Citizens by Paul Sabin

?This Is Why Your Holiday Travel Is Awful? by Marc J. Dunkelman

?Are We More Polarized? Or Just Weirder?? by The Ezra Klein Show

?Donald Trump Didn?t Hijack the G.O.P. He Understood It.? by The Ezra Klein Show

?Robert Sapolsky on the Toxic Intersection of Poverty and Stress? by Vox Conversations

Book Recommendations:

Amusing Ourselves to Death by Neil Postman

The Invention of Nature by Andrea Wulf

Beautiful World, Where Are You by Sally Rooney

Music Recommendations:

?Spring 1? by Max Richter

Christian Löffler

Thoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at [email protected]

You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of ?The Ezra Klein Show? at nytimes.com/ezra-klein-podcast, and you can find Ezra on Twitter @ezraklein. Book recommendations from all our guests are listed at https://www.nytimes.com/article/ezra-klein-show-book-recs.

?The Ezra Klein Show? is produced by Annie Galvin, Jeff Geld and Rogé Karma; fact-checking by Michelle Harris; original music by Isaac Jones; mixing by Jeff Geld; audience strategy by Shannon Busta. Our executive producer is Irene Noguchi. Special thanks to Kristin Lin and Kristina Samulewski.

2022-06-14
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Socialism Is Supposed to Be a Working-Class Movement. Why Isn?t It?

American socialists today find themselves in a tenuous position. Over the past decade, the left has become a powerful force in American politics. Bernie Sanders seriously contested two presidential primaries. Democratic socialists have won local, state and congressional races. Organizations like Democratic Socialists of America and socialist publications like Jacobin have become part of the political conversation.

But the progressive left?s successes have been largely concentrated in well-educated, heavily blue districts, and the movement that claims to represent the interests of workers consistently fails to make meaningful inroads with working-class voters. As a result, socialists have struggled to build broad, lasting political power at any level of government.

?We might feel more confident about the prospects for the left if, rather than a momentary shift leftward in liberal economic priorities or the rhetoric of certain parts of the mainstream media, there had been deeper inroads made among workers,? writes Bhaskar Sunkara. ?There have been rare exceptions, but on the whole, it would be delusional to say that our ideological left has made a decade of progress merging with a wider social base.?

Sunkara is the founding editor of Jacobin and the president of The Nation, two of the leading publications on the American left. He recently published an issue of Jacobin titled ?The Left in Purgatory,? which attempts to grapple with the left?s failures, interrogate its political strategies and chart a path for American socialists to win over more working-class voters. So I invited him on the show to lay out where the left is now, and where he thinks it needs to go next.

We discuss whether the left learned the wrong lessons from the Sanders 2016 campaign, why working-class voters across the world have increasingly abandoned left-wing parties, the fundamental error in Sanders?s theory of the 2020 electorate, why winning over working-class voters is just as much about a candidate?s aesthetic as it is about policy, why Sunkara is pessimistic that the socialists who came after Bernie will be able to match his widespread appeal, the ?end of the A.O.C. honeymoon? on the left, what a ?supply-side socialism? could look like, the tension between the left?s desire for government to do big things and its skepticism of concentrated power, why it costs so much to build in America, why Sunkara is worried about America?s ?thin associative democracy? and more.

Mentioned:

?Brahmin Left versus Merchant Right: Changing Political Cleavages in 21 Western Democracies, 1948-2020? by Amory Gethin, Clara Martínez-Toledano and Thomas Piketty

Infrastructure issue from Jacobin

"The End of the A.O.C. Honeymoon" by Natalie Shure

Book recommendations:

Socialism: Past and Future by Michael Harrington

The Age of Extremes by Eric Hobsbawm

The South by Adolph L. Reed, Jr.

Thoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at [email protected]

You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of ?The Ezra Klein Show? at nytimes.com/ezra-klein-podcast, and you can find Ezra on Twitter @ezraklein. Book recommendations from all our guests are listed at https://www.nytimes.com/article/ezra-klein-show-book-recs.

?The Ezra Klein Show? is produced by Annie Galvin, Jeff Geld and Rogé Karma; fact-checking by Michelle Harris, Rollin Hu and Kate Sinclair; original music by Isaac Jones; mixing by Jeff Geld; audience strategy by Shannon Busta. Our executive producer is Irene Noguchi. Special thanks to Kristin Lin and Kristina Samulewski.

2022-06-10
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Thomas Piketty?s Case For ?Participatory Socialism?

The French economist Thomas Piketty is arguably the world?s greatest chronicler of economic inequality. For decades now, he has collected huge data sets documenting the share of income and wealth that has flowed to the top 1 percent. And the culmination of much of that work, his 2013 book ?Capital in the Twenty-First Century,? quickly became one of the most widely read and cited economic texts in recent history.

Piketty?s new book, ?A Brief History of Equality,? is perhaps his most optimistic work. In it, he chronicles the immense social progress that the U.S. and Europe have achieved over the past few centuries in the form of rising educational attainment, life expectancy and incomes. Of course, those societies still contain huge inequalities of wealth. But in Piketty?s view, this outcome isn?t an inevitability; it?s the product of policy choices that we collectively make ? and could choose to make differently. And to that end, Piketty proposes a truly radical policy agenda ? a universal minimum inheritance of around $150,000 per person, worker control over the boards of corporations and ?confiscatory? levels of wealth and income taxation ? that he calls ?participatory socialism.?

So this conversation isn?t just about the current state of inequality; it?s about the kind of policies ? and politics ? it would take to solve that inequality. We discuss why wealth is a far more accurate indicator of social power than income, the quality of the historical data that Piketty?s work relies on, why Piketty believes the welfare state ? not capitalism itself ? is the most important driver of human progress, why representative democracy hasn?t led to more economic redistribution, whether equality is really the best metric to measure human progress in the first place, how Piketty would pay for his universal inheritance proposal, whether the levels of taxation he is proposing would stifle innovation and wreck the economy, why he believes it would be better for societies ? and economic productivity ? for workers to have a much larger say in how companies are governed, how Piketty thinks about the prospect of inflation and more.

Mentioned:

The Great Leveler by Walter Scheidel

?Anne Applebaum on What Liberals Misunderstand About Authoritarianism? by The Ezra Klein Show

Book Recommendations:

The Great Demarcation by Rafe Blaufarb

The Emergence of Globalism by Or Rosenboim

The Origins of Totalitarianism by Hannah Arendt

We're hiring a researcher! You can apply here or by visiting nytimes.wd5.myworkdayjobs.com/News

Thoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at ezrakleinsh[email protected]

You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of ?The Ezra Klein Show? at nytimes.com/ezra-klein-podcast, and you can find Ezra on Twitter @ezraklein. Book recommendations from all our guests are listed at https://www.nytimes.com/article/ezra-klein-show-book-recs.

?The Ezra Klein Show? is produced by Annie Galvin, Jeff Geld and Rogé Karma; fact-checking by Michelle Harris; original music by Isaac Jones; mixing by Jeff Geld; audience strategy by Shannon Busta. Our executive producer is Irene Noguchi. Special thanks to Kristin Lin and Kristina Samulewski.

2022-06-07
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A Conservative's View on Democrats' Biggest Weakness

?There is definitely a contest for the future of the center right,? says Reihan Salam, the president of the Manhattan Institute, a conservative think tank. In his telling, one side in this contest is ?deeply pessimistic about the prospect of a diversifying America, explicitly anti-urban and increasingly willing to embrace redistribution and centralized power,? more so than conservatism before Donald Trump. This populist right has received a lot of attention since Trump?s election, and we?ve done other shows to try to understand it.

But Salam is advancing a very different set of ideas with a very different theory of the electorate. He?s identified what he sees as a core fissure between the progressive elites who run the Democratic Party and the working-class voters of color who make up a large part of its base ? particularly on issues of race and gender. And he believes that by putting forward an ?urban conservative? agenda centered on education, housing and public safety, Republicans can exploit those internal cleavages and begin to win over demographics that have been central to the Democratic coalition.

So for the final episode in our ?The Rising Right? series, I wanted to use Salam?s thoughts to explore this alternate path for the American right. We discuss why the Republican Party has turned against major cities, whether antiracism is the right framework for addressing racial inequality, why he believes that children of Latino and Asian immigrants could become a core G.O.P. constituency, the difference between antiracism and ?antiracialism,? the tactics of the anti-critical-race-theory movement, why he thinks there?s been an ?overcorrection? on the right in favor of state power and redistribution, what a supply-side conservatism beyond just tax cuts could look like, why he believes we could be entering an era of ?fiscal constraints? that could radically reshape policymaking on both the left and right and more.

Mentioned:

?The Anti-C.R.T. Movement and a Vision For a New Right Wing? by Jay Caspian Kang

?America Needs Anti-Racialism? by Reihan Salam

?Ibram X. Kendi on What Conservatives ? and Liberals ? Get Wrong About Antiracism? by The Ezra Klein Show

?Prison-Gang Politics? by Christopher F. Rufo

Book recommendations:

Classified by David E. Bernstein

Criminal (In)Justice by Rafael A. Mangual

Sir Vidia?s Shadow by Paul Theroux

The Strategy of Denial by Elbridge A. Colby

Thoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at [email protected]

You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of ?The Ezra Klein Show? at nytimes.com/ezra-klein-podcast, and you can find Ezra on Twitter @ezraklein. Book recommendations from all our guests are listed at https://www.nytimes.com/article/ezra-klein-show-book-recs.

?The Ezra Klein Show? is produced by Annie Galvin, Jeff Geld and Rogé Karma; fact-checking by Michelle Harris, Rollin Hu and Mary Marge Locker; original music by Isaac Jones; mixing and engineering by Jeff Geld; audience strategy by Shannon Busta. Our executive producer is Irene Noguchi. Special thanks to Kristin Lin and Kristina Samulewski.

2022-06-03
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Sex, Abortion and Feminism, as Seen From the Right

For decades, the conservative position on abortion has been simple: Appoint justices who will overturn Roe V. Wade. That aspiration is now likely to become reality. The question of abortion rights will re-enter the realm of electoral politics in a way it hasn?t for 50 years. And that means Republicans will need to develop a new politics of abortion ? a politics that may appeal not only to their anti-abortion base but to some of the many Americans who believe Roe should stand.

One place those Republicans may look for inspiration is to the work of the legal scholar Erika Bachiochi. She is a fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, director of the Wollstonecraft Project at the Abigail Adams Institute and the author of ?The Rights of Women: Reclaiming a Lost Vision,? where she argues for a ?dignitarian feminism.? Bachiochi embraces women?s gains in professional and civic life but holds that techno-pharmacological birth control, the sexual revolution and the legalization of abortion have created a sexual and family culture that has ultimately been devastating to women?s well-being.

In hopes of improving that status quo, Bachiochi puts forward a policy agenda that could very well become the post-Roe playbook for some Republicans: tighter abortion restrictions combined with a robust slate of family policies ? some of which would be even bolder than the Biden administration?s proposals to date. Hers is not an argument I agree with, but it?s one that I imagine will become increasingly salient in a post-Roe America.

In the third episode of our series ?The Rising Right,? we discuss Bachiochi?s views on why the ?gender revolution? has stalled; her belief that market logic has come to dominate our understandings of family, parenting, sex and feminism; her critique of modern ?hookup? culture; and her pro-family economic agenda. And we debate whether it?s realistic to encourage the use of natural fertility regulation over hormonal contraception, how abortion relates to single motherhood and poverty, whether stricter abortion laws might benefit or hurt poor women, what role the law should play in teaching moral behavior, whether progressives have become too ?Lockean? in their understanding of bodily autonomy, whether the sexual revolution gave people too much choice and more.

Mentioned:

Defenders of the Unborn by Daniel K. Williams

Generation Unbound by Isabel V. Sawhill

?Equal Rights, Equal Wrongs? by Christopher Kaczor

Book recommendations:

Rights Talk by Mary Ann Glendon

Feminism Without Illusions by Elizabeth Fox-Genovese

Public Man, Private Woman by Jean Bethke Elshtain

Thoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at [email protected]

You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of ?The Ezra Klein Show? at nytimes.com/ezra-klein-podcast, and you can find Ezra on Twitter @ezraklein. Book recommendations from all our guests are listed at https://www.nytimes.com/article/ezra-klein-show-book-recs.

?The Ezra Klein Show? is produced by Annie Galvin, Jeff Geld and Rogé Karma; fact-checking by Kate Sinclair, Mary Marge Locker and Michelle Harris; original music by Isaac Jones; mixing and engineering by Jeff Geld; audience strategy by Shannon Busta. Our executive producer is Irene Noguchi. Special thanks to Kristin Lin and Kristina Samulewski.

2022-05-31
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Best Of: Nikole Hannah-Jones and Ta-Nehisi Coates on the Fight Over U.S. History

What does it mean to reckon with the violence, the tragedy, and the numerous contradictions of America? 

That is the focus of this conversation ? originally aired in July of 2021 ? with Nikole Hannah-Jones and Ta- Nehisi Coates. On one level, the conversation is a reflection on the fights over teaching critical race theory and the 1619 Project. But it is really focused on the deeper meaning behind those skirmishes: The ongoing fight over the story we tell about America and why that fight has so gripped our national discourse. What changes when a country?s sense of its own history changes? What changes when who gets to tell that story changes? What are the stakes here, and why now?

My guests for this conversation need little introduction. Nikole Hannah-Jones is an investigative journalist for the New York Times Magazine where she led the 1619 Project, and, before that, did incredible work on racial inequality in the American education system. Ta-Nehisi Coates is the author of books including ?Between the World and Me? and ?The Water Dancer,? essays including ?The Case for Reparations,? and, for Marvel Comics, ?Captain America? and ?Black Panther.? Each of them has won more prestigious awards for their work than I could possibly list here, and both will be taking faculty positions at Howard University.

We discuss the 1619 Project, whether patriotism can coexist with shame and regret, the political power of American exceptionalism, the cracked foundations of American democracy, how journalism is and should be taught, our relationships to Twitter, what journalists can learn from children and much more. It's a conversation that feels just as relevant today as when it first aired. 

Nikole Hannah-Jones book recommendations:

Black Reconstruction in America, 1860-1880 by W.E.B Du Bois

The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson

Ta-Nehisi Coates book recommendations:

Postwar by Tony Judt

Avengers of the New World by Laurent Dubois

You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of "The Ezra Klein Show" at nytimes.com/ezra-klein-podcast, and you can find Ezra on Twitter @ezraklein.

Thoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at [email protected]

?The Ezra Klein Show? is produced by Annie Galvin, Jeff Geld and Rogé Karma; fact-checking by Michelle Harris; original music by Isaac Jones; mixing by Jeff Geld; audience strategy by Shannon Busta. Special thanks to Kristin Lin and Kristina Samulewski.

2022-05-27
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A Conversation With Ada Limón, in Six Poems

???One of the biggest things about poetry is that it holds all of humanity,? the poet Ada Limón tells me. ?It holds the huge and enormous and tumbling sphere of human emotions.?

When the news feels sodden with violence and division, it can be hard to know where to put the difficult emotions it provokes. Poetry may seem an unlikely destination for those emotions, especially to those who don?t read it regularly. But Limón?s poems are unique for the deep attention they pay to both the world?s wounds and its redemptive beauty. In otherwise dark times, they have the power to open us up to the wonder and awe that the world still inspires.

Limón?s books of poetry ? like her 2018 collection, ?The Carrying,? which won the National Book Critics Circle Award, and her 2015 collection, ?Bright Dead Things? ? are filled with meditations on grief and infertility, as well as striking moments of insight about friendship, lust and our fellowship with animals. Her most recent book, ?The Hurting Kind,? explores what it means to share the planet with nonhuman beings like birds and trees. Limón describes the marvels of Kentucky?s rural landscape and the dusky beauty of a New York City bar with equal care. Her writing is highly acclaimed by fellow poets and also delightfully accessible to those who have never before picked up a book of poetry.

Limón is a lively reader of her own poetry, so to structure this conversation, I asked her to read a varied selection of her work. We use those readings to discuss what poetry gives us that the news doesn?t, the importance of slowing down in a world that demands speed, how the grief of infertility differs from that of losing a loved one, how to be ?in community? with ancestors and animals in lonely times, why Limón loves ?chatty? and humorous poems as much as serious ones, why we often have our best thoughts in cars and on planes, how Instagram and Twitter affect our relationship to the world, why Limón meditates every day, how our relationship to excitement changes as we age and more.

Book Recommendations:

Stones by Kevin Young

Frank: Sonnets by Diane Seuss

Postcolonial Love Poem by Natalie Diaz

Thoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at [email protected]

You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of ?The Ezra Klein Show? at nytimes.com/ezra-klein-podcast, and you can find Ezra on Twitter @ezraklein. Book recommendations from all our guests are listed at https://www.nytimes.com/article/ezra-klein-show-book-recs.

?The Ezra Klein Show? is produced by Annie Galvin, Jeff Geld and Rogé Karma; fact-checking by Haylee Millikan; original music by Isaac Jones and Jeff Geld; mixing by Jeff Geld; audience strategy by Shannon Busta. Our executive producer is Irene Noguchi. Special thanks to Kristin Lin, Kristina Samulewski, Rebecca Elise Foote and Jahan Ramazani.

2022-05-24
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The Ethics of Abortion

When Justice Samuel Alito?s draft opinion on Dobbs v. Jackson Women?s Health Organization leaked a few weeks ago, it signaled that Roe v. Wade appears likely to be overturned in a matter of weeks. If Roe falls, questions about the right to abortion will re-enter the realm of electoral politics in a way they haven?t for 50 years. States will be solely in charge of determining whether abortion is permitted, under what conditions it should be permitted, and what the appropriate thresholds are for making those decisions.

That means ordinary voters and their representatives will be forced to grapple with the moral ? even metaphysical ? quandaries at the heart of the abortion debate. What does it mean to belong to the human species, and when does that belonging begin? Is there a bright line at which an egg, a blastula, or a fetus attains the status of ?person?? And how do we weigh the competing interests of mothers, families, and fetuses against one another? Those questions are the foundation on top of which abortion law and policy is built.

Kate Greasley is a law professor at the University of Oxford in the U.K., where she studies, among other things, the legal and moral philosophy of abortion. She?s the author of ?Arguments About Abortion: Personhood, Morality, and Law,? and co-author of ?Abortion Rights: For and Against? alongside Christopher Kaczor, a philosopher who opposes abortion. While Greasley ultimately believes in the right to choose, she does a remarkably comprehensive job of carefully and fairly considering all the arguments, contradictions and nuances of this issue.

We discuss why both progressives and conservatives should be open to questioning their preconceptions about abortion, what the Bible does ? and doesn?t ? suggest about abortion, why the status of fetal life is the central question at the heart of abortion ethics, whether life begins at conception or emerges later in fetal development, how the complex, messy moral intuitions that most of us have around questions of life and death don?t lend themselves neatly to either an abortion rights or anti-abortion camp, why late-term abortions pose particularly challenging moral questions, how the pregnant person?s bodily autonomy weighs against the fetus?s and more.

Mentioned:

?Can Fetuses Feel Pain?? by Stuart Derbyshire

Book recommendations:

Beyond Roe by David Boonin

Abortion: Three Perspectives by Michael Tooley, Celia Wolf-Devine, Philip E. Devine and Alison M. Jaggar

About Abortion by Carol Sanger

Thoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at [email protected]

You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of ?The Ezra Klein Show? at nytimes.com/ezra-klein-podcast, and you can find Ezra on Twitter @ezraklein. Book recommendations from all our guests are listed at https://www.nytimes.com/article/ezra-klein-show-book-recs.

?The Ezra Klein Show? is produced by Annie Galvin, Jeff Geld and Rogé Karma; fact-checking by Michelle Harris, Rollin Hu and Kate Sinclair; original music by Isaac Jones; mixing and engineering by Jeff Geld; audience strategy by Shannon Busta. Our executive producer is Irene Noguchi. Special thanks to Kristin Lin and Kristina Samulewski.

2022-05-20
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Anne Applebaum on What Liberals Misunderstand About Authoritarianism

The experience of reading Hannah Arendt?s 1951 classic ?The Origins of Totalitarianism? in the year 2022 is a disorienting one. Although Arendt is writing primarily about Nazi Germany and Stalinist Russia, her descriptions often capture aspects of our present moment more clearly than those of us living through it can ever hope to.

Arendt writes of entire populations who ?had reached the point where they would, at the same time, believe everything and nothing, think that everything was possible and that nothing was true.? She describes ?the masses? escape from reality? as ?a verdict against the world in which they are forced to live and in which they cannot exist.? She points out that in societies riddled with elite hypocrisy, ?it seemed revolutionary to admit cruelty, disregard of human values, and general amorality, because this at least destroyed the duplicity upon which the existing society seemed to rest.?

It?s hard to read statements like these without immediately conjuring up images of Vladimir Putin?s Russia or Donald Trump?s presidency or the QAnon faithful. But that?s exactly the point: The reason Arendt is so relevant today is that her diagnosis doesn?t apply just to the Nazi or Soviet regimes she was writing about. It is more fundamentally about the characteristics of liberal societies that make them vulnerable to distinctly illiberal and authoritarian forces ? weaknesses that, in many ways, have only become more pronounced in the 70 years since ?The Origins of Totalitarianism? was first released.

Anne Applebaum is a staff writer for The Atlantic and a Pulitzer Prize-winning historian. Her writing ? including her most recent book, ?Twilight of Democracy: The Seductive Lure of Authoritarianism? ? is focused on the resurgence of autocratic movements and governments around the world, and why members of Western societies have abandoned liberal democratic ideals in favor of strongman leaders, conspiratorial movements and authoritarian regimes. And in the introduction she wrote to a new edition of ?The Origins of Totalitarianism,? Applebaum argues that Arendt?s insights are more relevant now than ever.

So this is a conversation that uses Arendt?s analysis as a window into our present. Applebaum and I discuss how ?radical loneliness? lays the groundwork for authoritarianism, what Putin and Trump understand about human nature that most liberals miss, the seductive allure of groups like QAnon, the way that modern propaganda feeds off a combination of gullibility and cynicism, whether liberalism?s own logic is making societies vulnerable to totalitarian impulses, why efforts by populist politicians to upend conventional morality have held such appeal in Western liberal democracies, how the ideology of ?economism? blinds Western liberals to their own societies? deepest vulnerabilities, what liberals need to do differently to counteract the rise of global autocracy and more.

Mentioned:

?Review of Adolph Hitler?s ?Mein Kampf?? by George Orwell

Book Recommendations:

Cuba by Ada Ferrer

The Lincoln Highway by Amor Towles

The Origins of Totalitarianism by Hannah Arendt

Thoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at [email protected]

You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of ?The Ezra Klein Show? at nytimes.com/ezra-klein-podcast, and you can find Ezra on Twitter @ezraklein. Book recommendations from all our guests are listed at https://www.nytimes.com/article/ezra-klein-show-book-recs.

?The Ezra Klein Show? is produced by Annie Galvin, Jeff Geld and Rogé Karma; fact-checking by Michelle Harris, Rollin Hu, Mary Marge Locker and Kate Sinclair; original music by Isaac Jones; mixing by Jeff Geld; audience strategy by Shannon Busta. Our executive producer is Irene Noguchi. Special thanks to Kristin Lin and Kristina Samulewski.

2022-05-17
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What Does the ?Post-Liberal Right? Actually Want?

?It begun to dawn on many conservatives that in spite of apparent electoral victories that have occurred regularly since the Reagan years, they have consistently lost, and lost overwhelmingly to progressive forces,? Patrick Deneen writes in a recent essay titled ?Abandoning Defensive Crouch Conservatism.? He goes on to argue that conservatives need to reject liberal values like free speech, religious liberty and pluralism, abandon their defensive posturing and use the power of the state to actively fight back against what he calls ?liberal totalitarianism.?

To progressive ears, these kinds of statements can be baffling; after all, Republicans currently control a majority of state legislatures, governorships and the Supreme Court, and they are poised to make gains in the midterm elections this fall. But even so, there?s a pervasive feeling among conservatives that progressives are using their unprecedented institutional power ? in universities, in Hollywood, in the mainstream media, in the C-suites of tech companies ? to wage war on traditional ways of life. And many of them have come to believe that the only viable response is to fight back against these advances at all costs. It?s impossible to understand the policies, leaders, rhetoric and tactics of the populist right without first trying to inhabit this worldview.

That is why, for this second conversation in our series ?The Rising Right,? I wanted to speak with Deneen. He is a professor of political science at the University of Notre Dame, and his 2018 book, ?Why Liberalism Failed,? has become a touchstone within the conservative intelligentsia and was even fairly well received by liberals. But since then, Deneen?s writing has come to express something closer to total political war. And with three other professors, he recently started a Substack newsletter, ?The Postliberal Order,? to build the kind of intellectual and political project needed to fight that war.

This is a conversation about what Deneen?s ?postliberal? political project looks like ? and the tensions and contradictions it reveals about the modern populist right. We discuss (and debate) Deneen?s view that conservatives keep losing, why he believes the left is hostile to the family, whether America needs stricter divorce laws, what the post-liberal right would actually do with power, the virtues and vices of policy analysis, whether post-liberals have built their core arguments around an invented straw man liberalism, Joe Biden?s agenda for families and much more.

Mentioned:

?A Good That Is Common? by Patrick Deneen

?Replace the Elite? by Patrick Deneen

?Abandoning Defensive Crouch Conservatism? by Patrick Deneen

Book recommendations:

The New Class War by Michael Lind

Dominion by Tom Holland

The Art of Loading Brush by Wendell Berry

Thoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at [email protected]

You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of ?The Ezra Klein Show? at nytimes.com/ezra-klein-podcast, and you can find Ezra on Twitter @ezraklein. Book recommendations from all our guests are listed at https://www.nytimes.com/article/ezra-klein-show-book-recs.

?The Ezra Klein Show? is produced by Annie Galvin, Jeff Geld and Rogé Karma; fact-checking by Michelle Harris and Rollin Hu; original music by Isaac Jones and Jeff Geld; mixing by Jeff Geld; audience strategy by Shannon Busta. Our executive producer is Irene Noguchi. Special thanks to Kristin Lin and Kristina Samulewski.

2022-05-13
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Sway: 'Fear and Panic Are Bedfellows' in Ukraine

Today we're bringing you an episode from our friends at Sway about the war in Ukraine and the challenges of conflict-zone reporting. 

Clarissa Ward has had, as she puts it, a ?long and very complicated relationship? with Russia. The chief international correspondent for CNN, she has had stints in Moscow since the beginning of her career, and has struggled to get a Russian visa since she investigated the 2020 poisoning of the Russian opposition leader Aleksei Navalny.

But that hasn?t stopped her from reporting on the region, and in particular on Russia?s invasion of Ukraine. Yet after months of war, it can be an uphill battle to keep the viewers? attention on the front line. ?Our job is to keep finding ways to make sure that we don?t become numb and desensitized to the horrors of war, because that is exactly how wars continue and grind on,? Ward says.

In this conversation, taped last week, Kara talks to Ward about her time reporting in Ukraine, what it?s like to ?let fear sit in the passenger seat? when reporting from the front and how the hangover of war can leave correspondents detached from the ?bourgeois and banal? normalcy of home.

You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more information for all episodes at nytimes.com/sway, and you can find Kara on Twitter @karaswisher.

?The Ezra Klein Show? is produced by Annie Galvin, Jeff Geld and Rogé Karma; fact-checking by Michelle Harris; original music by Isaac Jones; mixing by Jeff Geld; audience strategy by Shannon Busta. Our executive producer is Irene Noguchi. Special thanks to Kristin Lin and Kristina Samulewski.

2022-05-10
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Donald Trump Didn?t Hijack the G.O.P. He Understood It.

Right now, Republicans of all stripes ? Ron DeSantis, J.D. Vance, Mike Pence, Glenn Youngkin ? are trying to figure out how to channel the populist energies of Donald Trump into a winning political message. The struggle to achieve such a synthesis is the defining project on the American right today. Its outcome will determine the future of the Republican Party ? and American politics.

To understand what the post-Trump future of the G.O.P. will look like, it helps to have a clearer understanding of the party?s past ? particularly the chapters that many conservatives prefer to forget. Traditional histories of American conservatism view Donald Trump?s election as an aberration in the lineage of the American right ? an unprecedented populist rejection of the conservatism of Ronald Reagan and William F. Buckley Jr.

But Matthew Continetti?s new book ?The Right: The Hundred-Year War for American Conservatism? flips that conventional history on its head. In Continetti?s view, the ?populist? energies that Trump harnessed in 2016 aren?t anything new for the American right ? they have always been central to it. The American right has always been defined by a back-and-forth struggle ? and at times a synthesis ? between its populist grass roots and its elites.

I wanted to bring Continetti on the show because this history is crucial to understanding where the Republican Party could go next. And also because this is the first episode in a new series we are producing called ?The Rising Right.? Over the next few weeks, ?The Ezra Klein Show? will feature conversations with conservative writers, scholars and thinkers who are trying to harness the forces that Trump unleashed and build a superstructure of ideas, institutions and policy around them. But to see where that movement is going, you have to take seriously where it came from.

Mentioned:
?Can Reaganism Rise Again?? by Ross Douthat

Book Recommendations:
Let Us Talk of Many Things by William F. Buckley Jr.
Making It by Norman Podhoretz
The Prince of Darkness by Robert D. Novak

Thoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at [email protected]

You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of ?The Ezra Klein Show? at nytimes.com/ezra-klein-podcast, and you can find Ezra on Twitter @ezraklein. Book recommendations from all our guests are listed at https://www.nytimes.com/article/ezra-klein-show-book-recs.

?The Ezra Klein Show? is produced by Annie Galvin, Jeff Geld and Rogé Karma; fact-checking by Michelle Harris, Mary Marge Locker and Jenny Casas; original music by Isaac Jones; mixing by Jeff Geld; audience strategy by Shannon Busta. Our executive producer is Irene Noguchi. Special thanks to Kristin Lin and Kristina Samulewski.

2022-05-06
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The Argument: Why the G.O.P. Can't Stop Saying 'Gay'

Today we're bringing you an episode from our friends at The Argument about Florida's ?Don't Say Gay? bill and the broader wave of anti-L.G.B.T.Q. legislation, spurred by the political right, that is spreading across the country. According to the Human Rights Campaign, this year alone, more than 300 anti-L.G.B.T.Q. bills have been introduced in state legislatures. 

Why has this issue become a major focus of the Republican Party? And how is the way society treats individuals who identify as L.G.B.T.Q. changing? Jane Coaston speaks to her Times Opinion colleagues Ross Douthat and Michelle Goldberg about these questions and brings a deeply personal perspective to the table.

Mentioned:

?How to Make Sense of the New L.G.B.T.Q. Culture War? by Ross Douthat in The New York Times

?Gender Unicorn? from Trans Student Educational Resources

Thoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at [email protected]

You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of ?The Ezra Klein Show? at nytimes.com/ezra-klein-podcast, and you can find Ezra on Twitter @ezraklein. Book recommendations from all our guests are listed at https://www.nytimes.com/article/ezra-klein-show-book-recs.

?The Ezra Klein Show? is produced by Annie Galvin, Jeff Geld and Rogé Karma; fact-checking by Michelle Harris; original music by Isaac Jones; mixing by Jeff Geld; audience strategy by Shannon Busta. Our executive producer is Irene Noguchi. Special thanks to Kristin Lin and Kristina Samulewski.

2022-05-03
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Elon Musk Might Break Twitter. Maybe That's a Good Thing.

If Elon Musk?s bid to purchase Twitter comes to fruition, the world?s richest person will own one of its most important communications platforms. Twitter might have a smaller user base than Facebook, Instagram and even Snapchat, but it shapes the dominant narratives in key industries like politics, media, finance and technology more than any other platform. Attention ? particularly that of elite leaders in these industries ? is a valuable resource, one that Twitter manages and trades in.

Musk understands Twitter?s attention economy better than anyone. On numerous occasions, his tweets have sent a company?s stock or a cryptocurrency?s value skyrocketing (or plummeting). So what would it mean for Musk to own Twitter? How would that change the platform? How might he use Twitter to change, well, everything else?

Felix Salmon is the chief economics correspondent at Axios, a co-host of the Slate Money podcast and someone who has spent a lot of time thinking about the economics of attention, the way modern financial markets work and how money impacts the technologies we use. We discuss Musk?s possible motivations for owning Twitter, how Musk?s distinct brand of tweeting has reaped financial windfalls, what Musk understands about finance and attention that many others don?t, why Twitter is so powerful as a storytelling machine, why journalists are turning away from it, what a decentralized Twitter might look like, how Web3 resembles the 1960s ?back to the land? movement, how Musk could break Twitter ? but why that might end up saving Twitter ? and more.

Mentioned:

?Elon Musk Got Twitter Because He Gets Twitter? by Ezra Klein

"A Crypto Optimist Meets a Crypto Skeptic? on The Ezra Klein Show

?A Viral Case Against Crypto, Explored? on The Ezra Klein Show

?The Way the Senate Melted Down Over Crypto Is Very Revealing? by Ezra Klein

Book Recommendations:

The Bond King by Mary Childs

Typeset in the Future by Dave Addey

The Surprise of Cremona by Edith Templeton

Thoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at [email protected]

You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of ?The Ezra Klein Show? at nytimes.com/ezra-klein-podcast, and you can find Ezra on Twitter @ezraklein. Book recommendations from all our guests are listed at https://www.nytimes.com/article/ezra-klein-show-book-recs.

?The Ezra Klein Show? is produced by Annie Galvin, Jeff Geld and Rogé Karma; fact-checking by Jenny Casas, Michelle Harris, Rollin Hu and Kate Sinclair; original music by Isaac Jones and Carole Sabouraud; mixing by Jeff Geld; audience strategy by Shannon Busta. Our executive producer is Irene Noguchi. Special thanks to Kristin Lin and Kristina Samulewski.

2022-04-29
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Putin May Not Like How He?s Changed Europe

Vladimir Putin?s invasion of Ukraine has transformed Europe within a matter of weeks. A continent once fractured by the refugee crisis is now taking in millions of refugees. Countries such as Germany have made considerable pledges to increase military spending. The European Union said it would cut off Russian oil and gas ?well before 2030? ? a once unthinkable prospect. The European project seems more confident in itself than at any other time in recent history.

But some European countries are also seeing trends in the opposite direction. This month in Hungary, Prime Minister Viktor Orban?s nationalist government won re-election easily. The far-right leader Marine Le Pen lost this past weekend?s French presidential election to the incumbent, Emmanuel Macron, but secured a significant 41.5 percent of the vote, up from 33.9 percent in 2017. And nationalist movements ? Brexit in Britain, the Five Star Movement in Italy and others ? have become potent political forces in recent years.

So what?s next for Europe? Will Putin?s invasion reinvigorate the collective European project? Or will the continent revert to its preinvasion path of fracture, division and nationalism?

Ivan Krastev is the chairman of the Center for Liberal Strategies in Sofia, Bulgaria and the author of numerous books, including ?After Europe? and, with Stephen Holmes, ?The Light That Failed: Why the West Is Losing the Fight for Democracy.? He?s also one of my favorite people to talk to on the subject of Europe, liberalism, democracy and the tensions therein.

We discuss how European identity went from revolving around war to being centered on economic trade, why Europe has treated the Ukrainian refugee crisis so differently from previous refugee crises, how the West?s overly economic understanding of human motivation blinded it to Putin?s plans, what the relative success of politicians like Le Pen and Orban means for the future of Europe, how fears of demographic change can help explain phenomena as different as Putin?s invasion and Donald Trump?s election, whether Putin?s invasion can reawaken an exhausted European liberalism and much more.

Mentioned:

?The End of History?? by Francis Fukuyama

The End of History and the Last Man by Francis Fukuyama

?We Are All Living in Vladimir Putin?s World Now? by Ivan Krastev

?The Crisis of American Power: How Europeans See Biden?s America? by Ivan Krastev

?The Power of the Past: How Nostalgia Shapes European Public Opinion? by Catherine E. de Vries and Isabell Hoffmann from Bertelsmann Stiftung

Book Recommendations:

Free by Lea Ypi

The Age of Unpeace by Mark Leonard

Time Shelter by Georgi Gospodinov

Thoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at [email protected]

You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of ?The Ezra Klein Show? at nytimes.com/ezra-klein-podcast, and you can find Ezra on Twitter @ezraklein. Book recommendations from all our guests are listed at https://www.nytimes.com/article/ezra-klein-show-book-recs.

?The Ezra Klein Show? is produced by Annie Galvin, Jeff Geld and Rogé Karma; fact-checking by Michelle Harris; original music by Isaac Jones; mixing by Jeff Geld; audience strategy by Shannon Busta. Our executive producer is Irene Noguchi. Special thanks to Kristin Lin and Kristina Samulewski.

2022-04-26
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Emily St. John Mandel on Time Travel, Parenting and the Apocalypse

?Station Eleven? by Emily St. John Mandel was published in 2014. That book imagined the world after a pandemic had wiped out, well, almost everyone. It?s a gorgeous novel with a particular emotional power: it helps you grieve a life you still have. But then came a real pandemic, not as lethal as the one Mandel imagined, but a shock nonetheless. And ?Station Eleven? ? already a beloved international best seller ? found a second life. Mandel became known as a pandemic prophet. ?Station Eleven? became an acclaimed HBO Max series.

?Sea of Tranquility? by Mandel is written from within the hothouse of that strange kind of celebrity. The author put a version of herself in there, struggling with fame and parenthood and quarantine and too much travel. But there are also moon colonies, and time travel, and hints that we live in a computer simulation. If ?Station Eleven? explores how calamity could change the world, ?Sea of Tranquility? wonders what happens if it doesn?t.

This conversation begins in the weirdness of the simulation hypothesis, but winds its way to much more fundamental questions of being human right now. There is so much we could lose, so much we already have lost; why is it so hard to live with the gratitude our lives should inspire, or the seriousness the moment demands?

Mentioned:

?The Power of Patience? by Jennifer L. Roberts

This Time Tomorrow by Emma Straub

?Are We Living in a Computer Simulation?? by Nick Bostrom

Book recommendations:

Scary Monsters by Michelle de Kretser

Ill Will by Dan Chaon

Suite Française by Irène Némirovsky

Thoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at [email protected]

You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of ?The Ezra Klein Show? at nytimes.com/ezra-klein-podcast, and you can find Ezra on Twitter @ezraklein. Book recommendations from all our guests are listed at https://www.nytimes.com/article/ezra-klein-show-book-recs.

?The Ezra Klein Show? is produced by Annie Galvin, Jeff Geld and Rogé Karma; fact-checking by Michelle Harris; original music by Isaac Jones; mixing by Jeff Geld; audience strategy by Shannon Busta. Our executive producer is Irene Noguchi. Special thanks to Kristin Lin and Kristina Samulewski.

2022-04-22
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Can Democrats Turn Their 2022 Around?

With the midterms just over six months away, the electoral prospects for Democrats are looking bleak. President Biden?s approval rating is at 42 percent, around where Donald Trump?s was at this point in his presidency. Recent polls asking whether Americans want Republicans or Democrats in Congress found that Republicans are leading by about 2 percentage points. And with inflation spiking to its highest point in decades, Covid cases rising and Russia?s invasion of Ukraine continuing to send economic and humanitarian shock waves across the globe, things don?t look as if they are going to get better anytime soon.

What will it take for Democrats to turn things around? What fights should they be picking with Republicans, and how should they be making the case that they deserve another chance at leading the country?

Sean McElwee is a co-founder and the executive director of Data for Progress, a research organization that gathers polling data to strategize on behalf of progressive causes and policies. Anat Shenker-Osorio is a principal at ASO Communications, a political communications firm that conducts analytic and empirical research to help progressive political campaigns. She also hosts the ?Words to Win By? podcast. McElwee and Shenker-Osorio have deeply influenced my thinking on how words work in American politics: how campaigns can meaningfully address what voters want and how they can persuade swing voters and motivate the party?s base.

In this conversation, McElwee and Shenker-Osorio help me understand where Democrats stand with the electorate and what, if anything, they can do to improve their chances in 2022. We discuss why Biden?s approval rating is so low, given the popularity of his policies, why governing parties so often lose midterm elections, whether Democrats should focus more on persuading swing voters or on mobilizing their base, why it?s important for Democrats to get their base to sing from the same songbook, what Democrats can learn from Trump about winning voters? attention, how Republicans are running politics on easy mode, whether it was wise politically for Biden to double down on the message to fund the police, what political fights Democrats should pick in the lead-up to the midterms, how the party should handle spiking inflation and more.

Mentioned:

"Democrats, Here's How to Lose in 2022. And Deserve It." by Ezra Klein

Book recommendations:

Anat Shenker-Osorio

A Theory of System Justification by John T. Jost

Memorial by Bryan Washington

These Precious Days by Ann Patchett

Sean McElwee

The Course by Ed Miller

The Precipice by Toby Ord

The Climate War by Eric Pooley

Thoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at [email protected]

You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of ?The Ezra Klein Show? at nytimes.com/ezra-klein-podcast, and you can find Ezra on Twitter @ezraklein. Book recommendations from all our guests are listed at https://www.nytimes.com/article/ezra-klein-show-book-recs.

?The Ezra Klein Show? is produced by Annie Galvin, Jeff Geld and Rogé Karma; fact-checking by Michelle Harris and Kate Sinclair; original music by Isaac Jones; mixing by Jeff Geld; audience strategy by Shannon Busta. Our executive producer is Irene Noguchi. Special thanks to Kristin Lin and Kristina Samulewski.

2022-04-19
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Best Of: This Conversation Will Change How You Think About Trauma

?Trauma is much more than a story about something that happened long ago,? writes Dr. Bessel van der Kolk. ?The emotions and physical sensations that were imprinted during the trauma are experienced not as memories but as disruptive physical reactions in the present.?

Van der Kolk, a psychiatrist by training, has been a pioneer in trauma research for decades now and leads the Trauma Research Foundation. His 2014 book ?The Body Keeps the Score,? quickly became a touchstone on the topic. And although the book was first released over seven years ago, it now sits at No. 1 on the New York Times best-seller list, a testament to the state of our national psyche.

The core argument of the book is that traumatic experiences ? everything from sexual assault and incest to emotional and physical abuse ? become embedded in the older, more primal parts of our brain that don?t have access to conscious awareness. And that means two things simultaneously. First, that trauma lodges in the body. We carry a physical imprint of our psychic wounds. The body keeps the score. But ? and I found this more revelatory ? the mind hides the score. It obscures the memories, or convinces us our victimization was our fault, or covers the event in shame so we don?t discuss it.

There?s a lot in this conversation. We discuss the lived experience of trauma, the relationship between the mind and the body, the differences between our ?experiencing? and ?autobiographical? selves, why van der Kolk believes human language is both a ?miracle? and a ?tyranny,? unconventional treatments for trauma from E.M.D.R. and yoga to psychedelics and theater, how societies can manage collective trauma like 9/11 and Covid-19, the shortcomings of America?s ?post-alcoholic? approach to dealing with psychic suffering, how to navigate the often complex relationships with the traumatized people we know and love, and much more.

Mentioned: 

?The Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) Study? by Vince Felitti et al.

Study on efficacy of EMDR

?REBUS and the Anarchic Brain: Toward a Unified Model of the Brain Action of Psychedelics? by Robin Carhart-Harris et al. 

Book Recommendations:

The Apology by V 

Love in Goon Park by Deborah Blum

The Narrow Road to the Deep North by Richard Flanagan 

You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of "The Ezra Klein Show" at nytimes.com/ezra-klein-podcast, and you can find Ezra on Twitter @ezraklein.

Thoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at [email protected]

?The Ezra Klein Show? is produced by Annie Galvin, Jeff Geld and Rogé Karma; fact-checking by Michelle Harris; original music by Isaac Jones; mixing and engineering by Jeff Geld, audience strategy by Shannon Busta. Special thanks to Kristin Lin and Kristina Samulewski

2022-04-15
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A Ukrainian Philosopher on What Putin Never Understood About Ukraine

Russia?s invasion of Ukraine is only getting more brutal: We?ve seen the bodies of civilians strewn in the streets in Bucha, the city of Mariupol almost leveled and, just a few days ago, a Russian missile attack on a crowded train station in Kramatorsk killing at least 50 people. The United Nations has confirmed 1,793 civilian deaths in Ukraine, though the actual number is thought to be far higher.

Russia?s viciousness in this campaign makes Ukraine?s resilience all the more remarkable. Ukrainians have defied expectations in staving off Russia?s far larger army and holding cities like Kyiv that some believed might fall within days of an invasion. Much of the commentary in recent weeks has revolved around what this war has revealed about Russia: its myths, its military, its leadership, its threat. What?s no less important, though, is what this war has revealed about Ukraine.

Ukrainians have modeled a deep commitment to self-determination and shown how far they would go to protect it. The Ukrainian philosopher and editor Volodymyr Yermolenko has written that ?freedom is the key trait of Ukraine?s identity as a political nation,? and Ukraine?s resistance testifies to how deep that trait runs.

Yermolenko is a philosopher, the editor in chief of UkraineWorld and the editor of the essay collection ?Ukraine in Histories and Stories.? I invited Yermolenko onto the show to help me understand how Ukraine has defined itself in relation to the political behemoths to its east and west: Russia and Europe. Our conversation also explores what it has felt like to be in Kyiv as Russian troops have shelled the city, how definitions of time and home change during war, what has ? and hasn?t ? surprised Yermolenko about the Ukrainian resistance, what people in the West may not understand about the cultural differences between Ukraine and Russia, why Ukraine?s political structure makes it so difficult to conquer, how Ukraine is reminding the West why its republican and humanistic values matter, what Yermolenko would say to President Biden if he could and more.

Mentioned:

?Volodymyr Yermolenko, a Ukrainian philosopher, considers his national identity? by Volodymyr Yermolenko

?Dreams of Europe? by Volodymyr Yermolenko

Book Recommendations:

?Ukraine in Histories and Stories? by Volodymyr Yermolenko

?The Gates of Europe? by Serhii Plokhy

?Lost Kingdom? by Serhii Plokhy

?Chernobyl? by Serhii Plokhy

?Blood of Others? by Rory Finnin

Thoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at [email protected]

You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of ?The Ezra Klein Show? at nytimes.com/ezra-klein-podcast, and you can find Ezra on Twitter @ezraklein. Book recommendations from all our guests are listed at https://www.nytimes.com/article/ezra-klein-show-book-recs.

?The Ezra Klein Show? is produced by Annie Galvin, Jeff Geld and Rogé Karma; fact-checking by Michelle Harris, Kate Sinclair and Mary Marge Locker; original music by Isaac Jones; mixing by Jeff Geld; audience strategy by Shannon Busta. Our executive producer is Irene Noguchi. Special thanks to Kristin Lin and Kristina Samulewski.

2022-04-12
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Fiona Hill on Whether Ukraine Can Win ? and What Happens if Russia Loses

The Russia-Ukraine war has changed considerably in recent weeks. Vladimir Putin is no longer talking explicitly about regime change in Ukraine. The Russian military has shifted its focus away from taking Kyiv and toward making territorial gains in Ukraine?s east. The prospect of an outright Ukrainian victory is no longer out of the question. And negotiations between the parties over a possible settlement appear to be making some progress.

There?s been a darker turn as well: Over the weekend, images surfaced of atrocities committed by the Russian military against Ukrainian civilians. And Western leaders are considering expanding military aid to Ukraine, initiating war crimes investigations and placing harsher sanctions on Russia in response.

Fiona Hill served as deputy assistant to the president and senior director for European and Russian affairs on the National Security Council under Donald Trump and as a national intelligence officer for Russia and Eurasia under Barack Obama and George W. Bush. I had her on the show a few weeks ago to help me make sense of the Russia-Ukraine conflict as it was developing at the time, and it was one of the most illuminating perspectives I?d heard on the topic. So I invited her back to discuss how the situation has changed, where we are now and what the conflict could look like.

We discuss why Hill has become pessimistic about the possibility of a peace deal, how the carnage in Bucha could alter the course of the conflict, why Russia has been so much weaker on the battlefield than expected, whether Ukraine can achieve an outright victory, why this war is making Putin more popular in Russia (not less), what else the West could be doing to support Ukraine, why Hill thinks we?re entering a ?much darker? phase of the conflict, what role China could play in bringing about a negotiated settlement, what a renewed framework for European security could look like and more.

Book Recommendations:

The Art of War by Sun Tzu

Thoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at [email protected]

You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of ?The Ezra Klein Show? at nytimes.com/ezra-klein-podcast, and you can find Ezra on Twitter @ezraklein. Book recommendations from all our guests are listed at https://www.nytimes.com/article/ezra-klein-show-book-recs.

?The Ezra Klein Show? is produced by Annie Galvin, Jeff Geld and Rogé Karma; fact-checking by Michelle Harris, Kate Sinclair and Mary Marge Locker; original music by Isaac Jones; mixing by Jeff Geld; audience strategy by Shannon Busta. Our executive producer is Irene Noguchi. Special thanks to Kristin Lin and Kristina Samulewski.

2022-04-08
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The Most Thorough Case Against Crypto I've Heard

The hype around cryptocurrencies has reached a fever pitch. There are Super Bowl ads for crypto companies featuring celebrities like Matt Damon and Larry David. The Staples Center in Los Angeles is now the Crypto.com Arena. And behind that hype is a distinct vision: a more decentralized economy where individuals have more autonomy over their finances, a grass-roots internet free of the not-so-invisible hand of Big Tech, and a cultural ecosystem where artists and musicians can fairly monetize their work.

But what if that vision is deeply flawed? What if the technology undergirding cryptocurrencies isn?t what it?s cracked up to be? Or what if the technology does work, yet the world it creates isn?t a decentralized utopia but a hyper-financialized dystopia?

Dan Olson is the creator of a two-hour-YouTube video, ?Line Goes Up,? that has now been viewed nearly seven million times. ?Line Goes Up? is the single most comprehensive critique of crypto that I?ve ever heard. And that?s because Olson isn?t just focused on cryptocurrencies as a technology or an asset class, but on the crypto universe as a distinct culture underpinned by a powerful ideology. It?s easy to think about the lingo, the acronyms and the myths associated with the crypto world as incidental to the value of cryptocurrencies and NFTs as assets. But for Olson, the culture and the currency are inextricably linked. And once you?ve made that connection, suddenly a lot of the problems, warning signs and potential dangers of crypto become visible in a new way.

Mentioned:

?A Crypto Optimist Meets a Crypto Skeptic? from ?The Ezra Klein Show?

?How NFTs Create Value? by Steve Kaczynski and Scott Duke Kominers

You Are Not a Gadget by Jaron Lanier

?Web3 Is Going Just Great? by Molly White

The Gift by Lewis Hyde

Book recommendations:

The Power Broker by Robert A. Caro

The Tombs of Atuan by Ursula K. Le Guin

Persuasive Games by Ian Bogost

Thoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at [email protected]

You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of ?The Ezra Klein Show? at nytimes.com/ezra-klein-podcast, and you can find Ezra on Twitter @ezraklein. Book recommendations from all our guests are listed at https://www.nytimes.com/article/ezra-klein-show-book-recs.

?The Ezra Klein Show? is produced by Annie Galvin, Jeff Geld and Rogé Karma; fact-checking by Michelle Harris, Mary Marge Locker and Kate Sinclair; original music by Isaac Jones; mixing by Jeff Geld and Isaac Jones; audience strategy by Shannon Busta. Our executive producer is Irene Noguchi. Special thanks to Kristin Lin and Kristina Samulewski.

2022-04-05
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Sanctioning Russia Is a Form of War. We Need to Treat It Like One.

The Russian political scientist Ilya Matveev recently described the impact of the West?s sanctions on his country as ?30 years of economic development thrown into the bin.? He?s not exaggerating. Economists expect the Russian economy to contract by at least 15 percent of G.D.P. this year. Inflation is spiking. An exodus of Russian professionals is underway. Stories of shortages and long lines for basic consumer goods abound.

The U.S. and its allies have turned to sanctions as a way of taking action against Russia?s atrocities without direct military intervention. But to describe these sanctions as anything short of all-out economic warfare is euphemistic. Measures like these might be cloaked in the technocratic language of finance and economics, but the immiseration they cause is anything but abstract.

Nicholas Mulder is a historian at Cornell University and the author of the terrifyingly relevant new book ?The Economic Weapon: The Rise of Sanctions as a Tool of Modern War.? In it, Mulder focuses on the last time economic warfare was waged at the scale we?re witnessing today, the period between World War I and World War II. And the book?s central lesson is this: We ultimately don?t know what?s going to happen when sanctions of this magnitude collide with the ideologies, myths and political dynamics of a given country. They could persuade the targeted country to back down. But they could also make it so desperate that it becomes more aggressive or lashes out ? as Germany and Japan did on the eve of World War II.

So this is a discussion about what kind of weapon sanctions are, whether they actually achieve their goals and how they might shape the future of the Russia-Ukraine conflict ? and the world. We also explore how sanctions ?weaponize inflation,? whether they could lead to Vladimir Putin?s downfall in Russia, the toll they have taken on the Russian economy, how the West can leverage its sanctions to help bring about an end to the war in Ukraine, whether a European energy embargo could backfire, how this economic war is destabilizing countries around the world, the humanitarian crisis U.S. sanctions are helping create in Afghanistan, and what a foreign policy that didn?t rely so heavily on sanctions could look like.

This episode is guest hosted by Rogé Karma, the staff editor for ?The Ezra Klein Show.? Rogé has been with the show since July 2019, when it was based at Vox. He works closely with Ezra on everything related to the show, from editing to interview prep to guest selection. At Vox, he also wrote articles and conducted interviews on topics ranging from policing and racial justice to democracy reform and the coronavirus.

Mentioned:

?The Inflation Weapon: How American Sanctions Harm Iranian Households? by Esfandyar Batmanghelidj 

?Iran, Sanctions and Inflation as a Weapon of Mass Destruction? by Spencer Ackerman 

Oligarchy by Jeffrey A. Winters

?If Joe Biden Doesn?t Change Course, This Will Be His Worst Failure? by Ezra Klein 

Book recommendations:

Collapse by Vladislav M. Zubok

The Perfect Fascist by Victoria de Grazia

My Century by Aleksander Wat

Thoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at [email protected]

You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of ?The Ezra Klein Show? at nytimes.com/ezra-klein-podcast, and you can find Ezra on Twitter @ezraklein. Book recommendations from all our guests are listed at https://www.nytimes.com/article/ezra-klein-show-book-recs.

?The Ezra Klein Show? is produced by Annie Galvin, Jeff Geld and Rogé Karma; fact-checking by Michelle Harris, Kate Sinclair and Mary Marge Locker; original music by Isaac Jones; mixing by Jeff Geld; audience strategy by Shannon Busta. Our executive producer is Irene Noguchi. Special thanks to Kristin Lin and Kristina Samulewski.

2022-04-01
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I Keep Hoping Larry Summers Is Wrong. What if He?s Not?

?There is a chance that macroeconomic stimulus on a scale closer to World War II levels than normal recession levels will set off inflationary pressures of a kind we have not seen in a generation,? wrote Larry Summers in February 2021. A year later, the debate still rages over the first part of that sentence ? the extent to which the American Rescue Plan is responsible for rising prices. But the rest of it is no longer in question: We?re currently experiencing the worst inflationary crisis in decades.

Annual inflation was already at its highest rate in decades in January of this year. But there was still a hopeful story you could tell about 2022: As the Covid pandemic eased, spending patterns would normalize, supply chains would strengthen, the labor market would stabilize, and inflation would ease. Then the Russian invasion of Ukraine sent global commodity markets into a tailspin and energy prices to record highs. An Omicron wave hit China, leading to huge lockdowns affecting global supply chains. And while the Fed has responded with the first of many planned interest rate hikes, it looks as though the inflation picture is only going to get worse in the immediate future.

For over a year now, Summers ? a former U.S. Treasury secretary and current Harvard economist ? has been warning about the economy that we appear to be entering. So I invited him to the show to make his case and paint a picture of what he thinks comes next. We discuss why he thinks we?re almost certainly headed toward a recession, why he believes the Fed is engaged in ?wishful and delusional thinking,? whether corporations are using this inflationary period as an excuse to goose profit margins, how to avoid a 1970s-style stagflation crisis, whether interest rates are the right tool to be addressing inflation in the first place, why he thinks much more immigration is one of the best tools we have to bring down prices in the long term and much more.

Mentioned:

Larry Summers?s Mar. 17 Op-Ed in The Washington Post

Book Recommendations:

The Best and The Brightest by David Halberstam

The Price of Peace by Zachary D. Carter

Slouching Towards Utopia by J. Bradford DeLong

Thoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at [email protected]

You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of ?The Ezra Klein Show? at nytimes.com/ezra-klein-podcast, and you can find Ezra on Twitter @ezraklein. Book recommendations from all our guests are listed at https://www.nytimes.com/article/ezra-klein-show-book-recs.

?The Ezra Klein Show? is produced by Annie Galvin, Jeff Geld and Rogé Karma; fact-checking by Andrea López-Cruzado; original music by Isaac Jones; mixing by Jeff Geld; audience strategy by Shannon Busta. Our executive producer is Irene Noguchi. Special thanks to Kristin Lin and Kristina Samulewski.

2022-03-29
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Margaret Atwood on Stories, Deception and the Bible

A good rule of thumb is that whatever Margaret Atwood is worried about now is likely what the rest of us will be worried about a decade from now. The rise of authoritarianism. A backlash against women?s social progress. The seductions and dangers of genetic engineering. Climate change leading to social unrest. Advertising culture permeating more and more of our lives. Atwood ? the author of the Booker Prize-winning novels ?The Blind Assassin? and ?The Testaments,? as well as ?The Handmaid?s Tale,? ?Oryx and Crake? and, most recently, the essay collection ?Burning Questions? ? was writing about these topics decades ago, forecasting the unsettling world that we inhabit now. Pick up any one of her 17 published novels, and you will likely come across a theme or a quality of the setting that rings eerily true in the present day.

This is especially true of Atwood?s magnum opus, ?The Handmaid?s Tale,? which takes place in a future America where climate change, droughts, a decaying economy and falling birthrates lead to the rise of a theocracy in which women called Handmaids are conscripted into childbirth. The repressive regime she created in that novel, Gilead, has been endlessly referred to and reinterpreted over the years because of the wisdom it contains about why people cooperate with ? and resist ? political movements that destroy the freedom of others. And as recent weeks have shown, we?re far from the day when that wisdom becomes irrelevant to present circumstances.

We discuss the deep human craving for stories, why Atwood believes we are engaged in ?an arm wrestle for the soul of America,? what makes the stories of the Bible so compelling, the dangerous allure of totalitarian movements, how the shift from coal to oil helped to fuel the rise of modern consumerism, why she thinks climate change will cause even more harm by increasing the likelihood of war than it will by increasing the likelihood of extreme weather, how our society lost its capacity to imagine new utopias, why progressives need to incorporate more fun into their politics, why we should ?keep our eye on the mushroom,? Atwood?s take on recent U.F.O. sightings and more. She even sings a bit of a song from the 1950s about the Iron Curtain.

Mentioned:

Art & Energy by Barry Lord

Book recommendations:

War by Margaret MacMillan

Biased by Jennifer L. Eberhardt

Secrets of the Sprakkar by Eliza Reid

Charlotte?s Web by E. B. White

Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien

Thoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at [email protected]

You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of ?The Ezra Klein Show? at nytimes.com/ezra-klein-podcast, and you can find Ezra on Twitter @ezraklein. Book recommendations from all our guests are listed at https://www.nytimes.com/article/ezra-klein-show-book-recs.

?The Ezra Klein Show? is produced by Annie Galvin, Jeff Geld and Rogé Karma; fact-checking by Michelle Harris, Kate Sinclair and Mary Marge Locker; original music by Isaac Jones; mixing by Jeff Geld; audience strategy by Shannon Busta. Our executive producer is Irene Noguchi. Special thanks to Kristin Lin, Kristina Samulewski, Coral Ann Howells and Brooks Bouson.

2022-03-25
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How Energy Markets Are Shaping Putin?s Invasion ? and the World

Nearly every dimension of the Ukraine-Russia conflict has been shaped by energy markets.

Russia?s oil and gas exports have long been the foundation of its economy and geopolitical strength. Vladimir Putin?s decision to invade Ukraine ? like his annexation of Crimea in 2014 ? coincided with high energy prices. While Western sanctions have dealt a major blow to Russia?s financial system, European carve-outs for Russian oil and gas have kept hundreds of millions of dollars flowing to Moscow every day.

As a result, energy policy has become foreign policy. European countries are doubling down on their commitments to decarbonize in order to reduce their dependence on Russian energy as quickly as possible. The United States has banned Russian oil and gas imports, and in the wake of spiking gasoline prices, the Biden administration is looking for any opportunity to increase the world?s oil supply, including the possibility of normalizing trade relations with previously blacklisted countries like Venezuela and Iran.

But the intersection of energy and geopolitics extends far beyond this conflict. Energy is the bedrock of nations? economic prosperity, military strength and geopolitical power. Which means energy markets are constantly shaping and reshaping global dynamics. You can?t understand the way the world operates today if you don?t understand the global flow of energy.

There are few people who have studied energy markets as closely as Daniel Yergin has. He is an economic historian and writer who has been called ?America?s most influential energy pundit? in The New York Times. And he?s the author of numerous books on the intersection of energy and geopolitics, including the Pulitzer Prize-winning ?The Prize: The Epic Quest for Oil, Money, and Power? and, most recently, the best-selling ?The New Map: Energy, Climate, and the Clash of Nations.?

We discuss how Putin?s invasion halfway across the world caused gasoline prices to rise in California; what would happen to European economies if they decided to cut off Russian gas; how the U.S. shale revolution has transformed the global political landscape; why, when it comes to China and Russia, Yergin believes that ?a relationship that was once based on Marx and Lenin is now grounded in oil and gas?; whether Donald Trump was right to be skeptical of Nord Stream 2; why decarbonization is not only beneficial for the climate but also crucial for national security; whether the Biden administration?s response to spiking energy prices is putting its climate agenda in jeopardy; why Yergin thinks hydrogen power could become central to combating climate change; and much more.

Book recommendations:

Putin?s World by Angela Stent

The Power of Law by Sebastian Mallaby

The Cloud Revolution by Mark P. Mills

Thoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at [email protected]

You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of ?The Ezra Klein Show? at nytimes.com/ezra-klein-podcast, and you can find Ezra on Twitter @ezraklein. Book recommendations from all our guests are listed at https://www.nytimes.com/article/ezra-klein-show-book-recs.

?The Ezra Klein Show? is produced by Annie Galvin, Jeff Geld and Rogé Karma; fact-checking by Andrea López-Cruzado; original music by Isaac Jones; mixing by Jeff Geld; audience strategy by Shannon Busta. Our executive producer is Irene Noguchi. Special thanks to Kristin Lin and Kristina Samulewski.

2022-03-22
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A Realist Take on How the Russia-Ukraine War Could End

As we enter the fourth week of Russia?s invasion of Ukraine, many of the possible pathways this conflict could take are terrifying. A military quagmire that leads to protracted death and suffering. A Russian takeover of Kyiv and installation of a puppet government. An accidental strike on Polish or Romanian territory that draws America and the rest of NATO into war. Or, perhaps worst of all, a series of escalations that culminates in nuclear exchange.

But one possibility carries a glimmer of hope. This week, Ukrainian and Russian negotiators began talks on a tentative peace plan ? one that would involve Ukraine abandoning its attempts to join NATO and promising not to host foreign military bases or weaponry, in exchange for Western security guarantees and a Russian troop withdrawal. We?re still far from any kind of definitive settlement ? and there are legitimate concerns over whether Putin would accept any kind of deal at this point ? but it?s a start.

Emma Ashford is a senior fellow with the New American Engagement Initiative at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security, and a member of the school of foreign policy thinking known as ?realism.? Realists view international relations as a contest between states for power and security; they tend to focus less on the psychologies and ideologies of individual leaders and more on the strategic self-interest of the parties involved. It?s an imperfect framework but a useful one ? especially when it comes to analyzing what it would take to achieve a successful negotiation or settlement.

So I invited Ashford on the show to help me think through the different trajectories the conflict could take ? and what the West can do to make de-escalation more likely. We also discuss John Mearsheimer?s argument that the West?s effort to expand NATO bears responsibility for Putin?s invasion, why Ashford isn?t particularly worried about the possibility of Russian cyberattacks on the West, how Western sanctions blur the line between war and peace, whether NATO?s efforts to supply Ukraine with weapons might backfire, why sanctions might not hurt Russian elites as much as Western leaders hope and how this conflict is changing the geopolitical calculus of countries like Germany, China and India.

Book recommendations:

The Economic Weapon by Nicholas Mulder

Not One Inch by M.E. Sarotte

The Sleepwalkers by Christopher Clark

Thoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at [email protected]

You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of ?The Ezra Klein Show? at nytimes.com/ezra-klein-podcast, and you can find Ezra on Twitter @ezraklein. Book recommendations from all our guests are listed at https://www.nytimes.com/article/ezra-klein-show-book-recs.

?The Ezra Klein Show? is produced by Annie Galvin, Jeff Geld and Rogé Karma; fact-checking by Michelle Harris, Mary Marge Locker and Kate Sinclair; original music by Isaac Jones; mixing by Jeff Geld; audience strategy by Shannon Busta. Our executive producer is Irene Noguchi. Special thanks to Kristin Lin and Kristina Samulewski.

2022-03-18
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Timothy Snyder on the Myths That Blinded the West to Putin?s Plans

?Americans and Europeans were guided through the new century by a tale about ?the end of history,? by what I will call the politics of inevitability, a sense that the future is just more of the present, that the laws of progress are known, that there are no alternatives, and therefore nothing really to be done,? writes the Yale historian Timothy Snyder in his 2018 book, ?The Road to Unfreedom.?

The central thesis of ?The Road to Unfreedom? is that different understandings of the past, its myths, histories and memories create radically different politics. Snyder wrote the book as a way of understanding Vladimir Putin?s 2014 invasion of Crimea and the West?s response, but its argument has become only more salient in recent weeks. You can?t understand Putin?s recent invasion of Ukraine without understanding his metaphysical attachment to the era of empire, his mythological telling of Russian-Ukrainian history, and his semi-mystical construction of what constitutes the Russian nation.

But Snyder?s more radical argument is that the West is also operating under its own mythological understanding of time ? one that is so deeply ingrained in our collective psyche that it masquerades as common sense. And that understanding the influence of the ?politics of inevitability? is essential to make sense of everything from the West?s misreading of Putin?s motivations to the internal fracturing of the European Union to the decline of liberal democracy across the globe.

So that?s where we start: with the central myths at the heart of the modern Western project ? and the blind spots they have created. But Snyder is also a renowned historian of European great-power conflict who has written six books entirely or partly about Ukraine. So we also discuss the chasm between the radicalness of European integration and the tedium of European governance, why Snyder thinks Putin?s invasion is fundamentally the product of a Russian identity crisis, Ukraine?s unique history as a battleground for a great-power war, how Ukrainian identity transcends ethnicity and language, why Western leaders and analysts consistently fail to decipher Putin?s intentions, the huge difference between a Russian nation premised on myth and a Ukrainian nation forged by collective action, how Ukrainian resistance could inspire a Western vision for the future and more.

Mentioned:

Bloodlands by Timothy Snyder

"On the History Unity of Russians and Ukrainians? by Vladimir Putin

Book recommendations:

Nothing Is True and Everything Is Possible by Peter Pomerantsev

The Origins of Totalitarianism by Hannah Arendt

The Gates of Europe by Serhii Plokhy

Thoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at [email protected]

You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of ?The Ezra Klein Show? at nytimes.com/ezra-klein-podcast, and you can find Ezra on Twitter @ezraklein. Book recommendations from all our guests are listed at https://www.nytimes.com/article/ezra-klein-show-book-recs.

?The Ezra Klein Show? is produced by Annie Galvin, Jeff Geld and Rogé Karma; fact-checking by Michelle Harris; original music by Isaac Jones; mixing by Jeff Geld; audience strategy by Shannon Busta. Our executive producer is Irene Noguchi. Special thanks to Kristin Lin and Kristina Samulewski.

2022-03-15
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Masha Gessen on Putin?s 'Profoundly Anti-Modern? Worldview

For Western audiences, the past few weeks have been a torrent of information about what?s happening in Russia and Ukraine. Daily updates of Russian military advances. Horrifying videos of buildings exploding and innocent civilians being killed. Announcements of increasingly severe economic sanctions and major corporate pullouts. Charts showing the collapse of the ruble. Story after story about the hardships facing the Russian economy.

Most Russians, however, are living in an alternate reality. This week, the Russian government made it a crime for journalists to spread what it considers false information about the ?special military operation? in Ukraine ? information that would include calling the war a war. As a result, many Western news organizations, including The Times, have pulled their employees out of Russia. The Kremlin has made it nearly impossible for people in Russia to access independent or international news sources. Russian state media coverage of the conflict has been, in the words of my guest today, ?bland and bloodless.?

That raises some important questions: What do ordinary Russians know about the war being waged by their government? How are they interpreting the collapse of their currency and impending financial crisis? What are they being told to believe? And is the propaganda machine working?

Masha Gessen is a staff writer at The New Yorker and the author of many books on Russian history, politics and culture, including ?The Man Without a Face: The Unlikely Rise of Vladimir Putin? and the National Book Award-winning ?The Future Is History: How Totalitarianism Reclaimed Russia.? And, perhaps most important, Gessen has been on the ground in Russia in recent weeks trying to understand how ordinary Russians are seeing and interpreting the world around them.

This is a conversation that starts in Moscow, as Gessen describes what it was like to be there during the first days of the invasion. We talk about the eerie sense of normalcy in the city as the ruble crashed and the odd sense of calm in Pushkin Square as policemen in combat gear dragged protesters into a police bus. We then take a wider view on how Russians responded to economic sanctions in the past, how totalitarian societies make it impossible for people to form opinions, where Putin sees himself in a lineage of ?brutal, expansionist dictators? like Ivan the Terrible and Joseph Stalin, why Putin governs Russia as if it were a 19th-century empire, what we learn when we listen closely to Putin?s speeches and how this latest act of aggression is likely to play out.

Disclaimer: This episode contains explicit language.

Mentioned:

The Origins of Totalitarianism by Hannah Arendt

?How Putin Wants Russians to See the War in Ukraine? by Masha Gessen in The New Yorker

The Future Is History by Masha Gessen

First Person by Vladimir Putin, Nataliya Gevorkyan, Natalya Timakova, and Andrei Kolesnikov

Book recommendations:

The Last Empire by Serhii Plokhy

Manual for Survival by Kate Brown

Babi Yar by Anatoly Kuznetsov

Thoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at [email protected]

You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of ?The Ezra Klein Show? at nytimes.com/ezra-klein-podcast, and you can find Ezra on Twitter @ezraklein. Book recommendations from all our guests are listed at https://www.nytimes.com/article/ezra-klein-show-book-recs.

?The Ezra Klein Show? is produced by Annie Galvin, Jeff Geld and Rogé Karma; fact-checking by Michelle Harris, Mary Marge Locker and Kate Sinclair; original music and mixing by Isaac Jones; audience strategy by Shannon Busta. Our executive producer is Irene Noguchi. Special thanks to Kristin Lin, Kristina Samulewski and Joanna Szostek.

2022-03-11
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Fiona Hill on the War Putin Is Really Fighting

Vladimir Putin was looking for a swift invasion that would halt Ukraine?s drift toward the West, reveal NATO?s fractures and weaknesses and solidify Russia as a global power. In response, the West threatened moderate sanctions, but ultimately showed little interest in stepping between Russia and Ukraine.

Then came the war, and everything changed. Russia?s invasion met with valiant Ukrainian resistance. President Volodymyr Zelensky became an international hero. NATO countries unified behind a truly punishing sanctions regime and significant military support. Russia?s attack strengthened Ukraine?s national identity ? and its desire to join the European Union. A conflict that the U.S. and Europe were treating as purely strategic is now a conflict about the West?s most fundamental values.

Much of this has felt hopeful, even inspiring, to those watching from the comfort of home. But it has the potential to unleash a truly terrifying spiral of escalation. Putin, feeling backed into a corner, has raised the stakes. Last week, he called the West?s sanctions akin to an act of war and has put Russia?s nuclear arsenal on alert. And the global wave of support for Ukraine has made it increasingly difficult for Western leaders to de-escalate. In the fog of war, it isn?t hard to imagine an accident or miscommunication that triggers a World War III-like scenario.

So what does a settlement here look like? What does Putin want? What would Zelensky accept? What will Europe and the U.S. sign onto? Is there any deal that could work for all the players?

There are few people better positioned to answer those questions than Fiona Hill. Hill is a senior fellow in the Center on the United States and Europe at the Brookings Institution. She served as deputy assistant to the president and senior director for European and Russian affairs on the National Security Council under Donald Trump and as a national intelligence officer for Russia and Eurasian affairs under Barack Obama and George W. Bush. And she is the co-author of the influential Putin biography ?Mr. Putin: Operative in the Kremlin.?

We discuss how Putin?s motivations and ambitions have changed dramatically in the last decade, why Ukrainian identity is absolutely central to understanding this conflict, whether NATO expansionism is responsible for the current conflict, the different pathways the war could take, how political incentives have created a spiral of escalation for Russia, Ukraine and the West, whether the economic pain of the sanctions can incentivize regime change in Moscow, the possibility of China playing a mediating role in resolving the conflict, the dangers of backing Putin into a corner, whether Putin is willing to use nuclear weapons, what de-escalation could look like at this point, and much more.

Book recommendations: 

Bloodlands by Timothy Snyder

Not One Inch by M.E. Sarotte

The Limits of Partnership by Angela Stent

Putin?s World by Angela Stent

Russia Under the Old Regime by Richard Pipes

The Formation of the Soviet Union by Richard Pipes

Thoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at [email protected]

You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of ?The Ezra Klein Show? at nytimes.com/ezra-klein-podcast, and you can find Ezra on Twitter @ezraklein. Book recommendations from all our guests are listed at https://www.nytimes.com/article/ezra-klein-show-book-recs.

?The Ezra Klein Show? is produced by Annie Galvin, Jeff Geld and Rogé Karma; fact-checking by Michelle Harris; original music by Isaac Jones; mixing by Jeff Geld; audience strategy by Shannon Busta. Our executive producer is Irene Noguchi. Special thanks to Kristin Lin and Kristina Samulewski.

2022-03-08
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Fareed Zakaria Has a Better Way to Handle Russia ? and China

?Russia?s utterly unprovoked, unjustifiable, immoral invasion of Ukraine would seem to mark the end of an era,? writes Fareed Zakaria, ?one that began with the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989.?

Many of us, myself included, grew up in that era. We came of age in a unipolar world, dominated by a single country whose military, economic, even cultural, hegemony remained largely uncontested. That world was by no means free of violence. But the great power conflict that had defined the lived experiences of previous generations seemed like an ancient relic.

Recently, it?s the post-Cold War era of the last 30 years that has begun to feel outdated. China has become an economic and military powerhouse ? its economy is now larger than the third, fourth, fifth and sixth biggest world economies combined. Russia has become geopolitically assertive, annexing Crimea in 2014, undermining U.S. elections , and now invading Ukraine.

Over the past few weeks, questions that once came off as alarmist have become urgent: Are we witnessing the return of great power conflict? And if so, what does that mean for America ? and the rest of the world?

Fareed Zakaria is the host of CNN?s ?Fareed Zakaria GPS,? a columnist for The Washington Post and one of the most brilliant analysts of this emerging era. His 2003 book ?The Future of Freedom: Illiberal Democracy at Home and Abroad? and his 2008 book ?The Post American World? were well ahead of their times. And his more recent work on Russia?s aggression, China?s rise and the crucial distinctions between those nations is crucial for understanding this moment.

We discuss the decline of the so-called ?Pax-Americana,? why Zakaria believes Russia poses a much more existential threat to the liberal world order than China, what the West would be doing if it wanted to seriously punish Russia for its actions, whether Putin?s attempt to break the liberal world order has actually reinvigorated it, why Zakaria thinks it?s a mistake to think of the world as divided into ?democratic? and ?neo-authoritarian? blocs, how America?s expansionism and hypocrisy undermines its reputation abroad, whether Donald Trump was ultimately right about the need for greater European defense spending, what a diplomatic solution to the current Russia-Ukraine war could look like, how America?s thinking about the world needs to radically change in a global great power competition and more. Disclaimer: this episode contains explicit language. 

Mentioned:

?The Internationalists: How a Radical Plan to Outlaw War Remade the World? by Oona A. Hathaway and Scott J. Shapiro

Fareed Zakaria GPS episode, ?Fareed?s take: Putin?s War on Liberal Democracy.? (CNN)

?The Return to Great-Power Rivalry Was Inevitable? by Thomas Wright (The Atlantic)

?Why Ukrainians Believe They Can Win? by Michelle Goldberg in The New York Times.

Book recommendations:

Man, the State, and War: A Theoretical Analysis by Kenneth N. Waltz

A World Safe for Democracy by G. John Ikenberry

Memoirs 1925-1950 by George F. Kennan

Thoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at [email protected]

You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of ?The Ezra Klein Show? at nytimes.com/ezra-klein-podcast, and you can find Ezra on Twitter @ezraklein. Book recommendations from all our guests are listed at https://www.nytimes.com/article/ezra-klein-show-book-recs.

?The Ezra Klein Show? is produced by Annie Galvin, Jeff Geld and Rogé Karma; fact-checking by Michelle Harris; original music by Isaac Jones; mixing by Jeff Geld; audience strategy by Shannon Busta. Our executive producer is Irene Noguchi. Special thanks to Kristin Lin and Kristina Samulewski.

2022-03-04
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Can the West Stop Russia by Strangling its Economy?

There?s the Russia-Ukraine war that?s easy to follow in the news right now. We can watch Russian bombs falling on Ukraine, see Russian tanks smoking on the side of the road, hear from Ukrainian resistance fighters livestreaming their desperate defense.

But there?s another theater to this war that?s harder to see, but may well decide the outcome: the economic war that West is waging on Russia. Europe and the United States initially responded with a limited set of sanctions but then expanded them into a counterattack capable of crushing the Russian economy. Vladimir Putin, for one, understands the danger: As the force of the West?s measures multiplied, he readied his nuclear forces in a bid to warn Europe and the United States off. This is terrifying territory.

So I asked Adam Tooze ? a brilliant economic historian, the director of the European Institute at Columbia, and the author of the indispensable ?Chartbook? newsletter ? to explain how the war in the financial markets is shaping the war in streets of Ukraine. What he gave me was a whole new way to see how Putin had readied his country for conflict, the leverage that Russia?s energy exports gave it, how the dreams of the globalizers had cracked, and what the West both was and wasn?t doing in response.

But this is two conversations, not one. On Friday, Tooze and I recorded just as the war began. That was a conversation about the economics of the war as both Russia and the West understood it when the bombing began. But on Monday, we spoke again, because so much had changed. Rather than splice the two discussions into an artificial omniscience, I?ve linked them, because I think they reveal more in sequence: They show how fast this war is reshaping the politics around it, how quickly the escalation is coming, how rapidly the plans are crumbling.

So we discuss the sanctions that the West has deployed against Russia, how Europe?s dependence on Russian energy exports undermined the West?s response, what Putin understood about the dark side of economic interdependence, how Ukraine?s remarkable resistance ? and the remarkable leadership of its president, Volodymyr Zelensky ? reshaped the politics and policies in the West, how this war could alter the geopolitical calculus of China and Taiwan, the new economic order that is emerging, and more.

Mentioned:

?Putin?s Challenge to Western hegemony - the 2022 edition? by Adam Tooze (Chartbook)

?The economic consequences of the war in Ukraine? (The Economist)

Book Recommendations:

The Economic Weapon by Nicholas Mulder

The End of the End of History by Alex Hochuli, George Hoare and Philip Cunliffe

The Future of Money by Eswar S. Prasad

Thoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at [email protected]

You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of ?The Ezra Klein Show? at nytimes.com/ezra-klein-podcast, and you can find Ezra on Twitter @ezraklein. Book recommendations from all our guests are listed at https://www.nytimes.com/article/ezra-klein-show-book-recs.

?The Ezra Klein Show? is produced by Annie Galvin, Jeff Geld and Rogé Karma; fact-checking by Michelle Harris; original music by Isaac Jones; mixing by Jeff Geld; audience strategy by Shannon Busta. Our executive producer is Irene Noguchi. Special thanks to Kristin Lin and Kristina Samulewski.

2022-03-01
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