Keeping It Civil

Keeping It Civil

Keeping It Civil is hosted by Henry Thomson and co-produced by the School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership and Arizona PBS. The podcast seeks answers to key questions about the future of American life with fast-paced interviews with scholars and intellectuals.

Episodes

November 10, 2022 39 min

Jane Kamensky talks about American identity in colonial time and at the time of the Revolution and whether we're equipping ourselves and our students with an understanding of the revolutionary era. Henry also discusses with Kamensky the binary of competing narratives of U.S. history and why we need to challenge it

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Henry speaks to Eric Kaufmann about political demography, nationalism and a mixed-race population as a future majority in America. Kaufmann discusses the dangers of suppressing opposition to immigration and why repressive tolerance is a bad idea.

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This episode covers an attack on Salman Rushdie as a “visceral and physical expression” of attempts to suppress free speech. Threats to free speech come not only from the right but the left also, McArdle argues; she calls it a distressing pullback from the values that are necessary to a liberal society. 

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Kmele Foster is a media entrepreneur and a co-founder of Freethink. Henry spoke to him about the trajectory of human innovation and what the mainstream media gets wrong about progress. They also discussed freedom of speech in higher education and Kmele Foster's critique of Black Lives Matter movement. 

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September 8, 2022 58 min

This week, Josh speaks with John Tomasi of the Heterodox Academy. They discuss John’s background studying philosophy at the University of Arizona, his conception of the university as an environment for free-thinking and the teaching of leadership, the goals of the Heterodox Academy, the philosophy articulated in his book, “Free Market Fairness,” and his forthcoming book on libertarianism.

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August 25, 2022 43 min

In this conversation with the writer and public policy analyst Michael Lind, Josh and Henry discuss his book, “The New Class War: Saving Democracy From the Managerial Elite,” how elites consolidated power in the late twentieth-century, the weakness of modern political parties, the need for “countervailing power,” his argument against sending more students to colleges and universities, and prevailing economic and legal obstacles to ...

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Heather Wilson, the current President of the University of Texas-El Paso, and former Secretary of the Air Force, has had a distinguished life in public service. In this conversation, Josh and Henry discuss her childhood desire to be a pilot, military service, experience in Congress, and the lessons she’s learned from working in higher education.

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In this conversation with Brown University economist Glenn Loury, Josh and Henry discuss his intellectual journey, the strengths of neoclassical economics, his opposition to affirmative action in higher education, and how he thinks about persistent racial disparities.

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Steven Smith is a political philosopher at Yale. His most recent book, “Reclaiming Patriotism in an Age of Extremes,” makes the case that patriotism should be restored as a guiding civic value. In discussing his book, Josh and Henry cover his notion of “enlightened patriotism,” the necessity of teaching patriotism in schools, and the challenge of balancing patriotism and cosmopolitanism. They also discuss the crucial distinction Sm...

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The relationship between race and crime is a central part of the American story. In this week’s episode, Josh and Henry talk with Khalil Muhammad, the Ford Foundation Professor of History, Race, and Public Policy at Harvard’s Kennedy School. They discuss the contemporary uses of history in public discourse, his award-winning book, “The Condemnation of Blackness,” the uses and misuses of crime statistics, and the need for prosocial ...

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Andrew Sullivan has been a fixture in American intellectual life for over thirty years. Josh and Henry covered several topics with him, including the role of the essayist, his journey from traditional print journalism to Substack, his thoughts on the foundations of a liberal society, the potential consequences of the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade, his fear of intellectual orthodoxy in society, and more.

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Josh and Henry have a wide-ranging conversation with Lara Bazelon, the Director of the Criminal & Juvenile Justice and Racial Justice Clinics at the University of San Francisco School of Law. We discuss her thoughts on systemic racism, her work representing indigent clients, “progressive prosecutors,” and her new book on motherhood, “Ambitious Like a Mother: Why Prioritizing Your Career is Good for Your Kids.”

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Former Russian journalist Regina Revazova is the fabulous producer of the “Keeping It Civil” podcast. In this personal conversation with Josh and Henry, she describes the illiberalism of life under Putin’s regime, her decision to leave Russia and seek political asylum in the United States, the state of free media in Russia today, and how the war in Ukraine has surfaced difficult memories. 

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H.R. McMaster is a retired United States Army Lieutenant General who served for over thirty years, including as National Security Advisor from 2017 to 2018. Henry and Josh begin their conversation with him by discussing his background, his recent book, “Battlegrounds,” and his argument against what he calls “strategic narcissism” on the part of U.S. military and political leadership. They then discuss some of his experiences in Ira...

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America’s free and self-governed society was founded on a written constitution, but as Jonathan Rauch argues – following James Madison – the United States relies on an “unwritten constitution,” a body of norms, customs, and traditions, the habits of a self-governing people. For Rauch, a liberal democratic society depends also on the common dedication to pursuing knowledge through free speech, as well as the discipline of searching ...

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We speak about the relaunch and the importance of the free and open exchange of ideas inherent in the blend of liberal arts and civic leadership education that students can find if they study at ASU with the School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership. This exchange of ideas serves as the foundation for the Keeping it Civil podcast.

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March 24, 2022 52 sec

In each episode, hosts Henry Thomson and Josh Sellers interview public intellectuals, scholars and authors with diverging views on pressing issues in America today. Topics range from questions around intellectual orthodoxy to racism, to individual liberty and free speech. This podcast is a partnership between the School of Civic and Economic Thought and leadership and Arizona PBS at Arizona State University.

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Walter Russell Mead and Duncan Moench greatly disagree on whether the First World War was a murky battle between two equally imperfect and imperialist forces. They follow up this discussion with a prescient conversation that anticipates the attempted revolt in January, the enormous need for telecommuting to ease the country's housing crisis — and the extent to which American education can be remade in a more democratic manner. ...

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Why did American culture build strong community ties in the second quarter of the 20th century only to have it all unravel in the mid-1960s —  did immigration restriction play a role? Dr. Moench and acclaimed Harvard sociologist debate the thesis of his latest book The Upswing.

 

This interview was recorded in June, 2020.

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Two scholars of political thought with highly contrasting perspectives (and totally different backgrounds) explore what promise the rise of populism may - or may not - hold. Dr. Moench and Prof. Mounk do their best to disagree amicably on the meaning of populism and the political future.

(Please note: this interview was recorded on February 28, 2020)

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