ReConsider, by Xander and Erik, is a twice per month podcast in which we take on, in-depth, one pressing political issue facing western Democracies with a fresh, researched, and challenging perspective. We help listeners see the full context behind the issue and make up their own minds.
Politics gets emotional. However the emotional part of our brain was designed not for rational thought, but for knee-jerk survival mechanisms. How can we train our brain to think more clearly about politics in our daily lives?
In this episode, Erik and Xander talk Stoicism, a philosophy and thought strategy that has been used for thousands of years by everyone from salves to emperors to get a grip on the turbulent world around them. You'll learn why Stoicism is so powerful, and you can apply it in your life and conversations today.
The US and the world seem like they're in a really odd, perhaps dangerous place right now. Are we in a major departure from history?
We're joined by Mark Schauss to give us a whirlwind tour of Russian history. Mark is the host of the Russian Rulers History Podcast: http://russianrulers.podhoster.com/
We walk through how Russia has dealt with its neighbors and the world, through the Mongols, the Great Northern War, the Napoleonic War, the later 1800s, WWI, WWII, the Cold War, and post-Cold War. It's a ton of fun.
Or, "How'd punching Nazis work out last time?"
People in the United States are starting to talk about using political violence in response to perceived dangerous political extremism and violent rhetoric. We look through history to see how the use of violence had worked or not worked to suppress unwelcome political ideologies.
We look purely at the results and consequences of the violence, rather than discussing the morality or ethics of it.
If we want to learn a little bit more about Trump's path to the Presidency, we can look to recent history. It's not actually totally unprecedented.
Spain, going through its own very tough economic times, has vaulted the populist-left Podemos to the fore, out of nowhere at all. Podemos is a bunch of political outsiders with a Marxist approach to campaigning--and they adopted this style very deliberately. They have a lot to teach us about what might become the new politics of the 21st century.
We're joined by author, campaign adviser, and VisualPolitik director Fonseca Porras to learn more about Podemos and discuss the parallels with Trump in this particularly exciting episode!
There's a play called Sir Thomas More that is _not_ Shakespeare... but scholars have agreed that its most awe-inspiring monologue was indeed written by Shakespeare himself. In Sir Ian McKellen's words: "you'll know when you hear it."
Xander delivers a special episode today: he reads the famous monologue from the play, on refugees. He does it first in modern English so you can understand it well, and then follows up with the Original Pronunciation, which was the English used in Shakespeare's time. the OP dramatically improves the rhyme and rhythm of the reading.
People of another religion are showing up, and not all of them are friendly--some are even kinda terrorists. The economic situation is pretty tough and people are worried about jobs being lost to new arrivals.
Sound familiar? It's 1555 in England. We've been through this before; how did England deal? What can we learn about today?
The role of the US in the world since WWII has been unprecedented in history. It has established a complex liberal world order with itself at the top, unchallenged.
Is it time to change that role? What challenges is the current international order facing, and how can the US face those? How can it adjust its strategy in the face of these challenges and changes?
In this episode we interview the esteemed Michael Mazarr, of RAND, at the lead of one of their most ambitious projects yet, "Building a Sustainable International Order."
But seriously, why on earth do we have the Electoral College? Something about having to travel in carriages?
It's a question a lot of people are asking after an election with a pretty big gap between the popular vote and the outcome.
So why on earth does it exist? What's the point? Is it fulfilling its purpose? What alternatives are there, and how would we get to them?
Learn all this and more, including why you don't kill your admirals, on today's episode!
"I'm gonna drain the swamp."
Love him or hate him, Donald Trump's rise and agenda are a political revolution.
But revolutions are hard, even after you win. Most have failed miserably. What will it take for Trump to fulfill his vision, rather than fall apart?
English King Richard III was a bad bad dude, right? If you're a fan of Shakespeare, you know this is true.
But what if there's more to the story? Today we take a look at a guy that's gotten no love of history.
How do you judge your potential judges? If you want to be a responsible citizen, you gotta give this one a listen.
You may have lived through a moment that almost ended the world. Get the true story here in our Halloween special!
Free speech protests have popped up in campuses across the United States over the past few years, and everyone is getting their word about it in, even President Obama. You may or may not yet feel strongly about this. No matter where you stand, now's the time to get yourself some context. What is "harm," and what kinds of speech should still be protected even if they are harmful? Time to ReConsider.
"Speak softly and carry a big stick." Or, "speak loudly and carry an even bigger stick!" There are different kinds of power and different ways to wield them... and it's not always clear what's our best kind of power to bring to bear in a given situation. In this "toolbox talk," we team up with Kelsey, who runs the Women in Diplomacy podcast, to work through the meanings of hard, soft, and smart power, and their benefits and drawbacks.
There are tiny little rocks in the South China sea that have become a pretty big deal. China has claimed them as its own, putting air bases, missile batteries, and harbors on the islands to stake its claim. It's become a huge, but quiet, international struggle. Why are they suddenly so important, and what is the historical context behind it all? In this two-part episode, we let you in on it.
You might be worried that in the US and Western Europe, there are some pretty scary folks that are getting pretty popular. Those folks--who appeal to our fears and hatred to get power--are called demagogues.
We've seen them throughout history, from the very first Democracy--Athens--up through today. Xander and Erik give a brief history of demagogues throughout history to show that we've seen this story before... and then we have a good conversation about what to do when we see demagoguery creeping in.