Episodes

  • It’s been a year since Joe Biden was sworn in as the 46th president of the United States. And what a roller coaster of a year it’s been.

    The Biden administration blew past its Covid vaccination goal of 100 million shots in 100 days, only to run into the realities of vaccine skepticism, the Delta wave and now Omicron. The president oversaw an unprecedented economic recovery — including the sharpest one-year drop in unemployment in American history — but now faces the highest inflation in decades, supply chain crises and souring approval ratings. Congress passed the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan and the $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure law, but negotiations collapsed over the administration’s signature Build Back Better bill, and on Thursday the Senate failed to pass any voting rights legislation.

    Ron Klain is President Biden’s chief of staff and one of the most influential members of the current administration. We discuss what the United States can learn from Asian countries’ pandemic strategies, what went wrong with America’s testing regime, the administration’s plan for tackling inflation, what it will take to be prepared for the next variant, what Klain has learned about what private sector can — and can’t — accomplish on its own, the fate of Build Back Better, what can excite Democrats for the 2022 midterms, the status of relations between the White House and Joe Manchin, how the administration is thinking about the 6-to-3 conservative Supreme Court majority and more.

    Mentioned:

    The Ezra Klein Show is looking for a managing producer. Learn more.

    Book Recommendation:

    The Gatekeepers by Chris Whipple

    Thoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at ezrakleinshow@nytimes.com.

    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.

  • I remember thinking, as Covid ravaged the country in December 2020, that at least the holidays the next year would be better. There would be more vaccines, more treatments, more immunity. Instead, we got Omicron and a confusing new phase of the pandemic. What do you do with a variant that is both monstrously more infectious and somewhat milder? What do you say about another year when we didn’t have enough tests, enough ventilation or the best guidance on masks? And how do you handle the fracturing politics of a changing pandemic in an exhausted country?

    Zeynep Tufekci is a sociologist and New York Times Opinion columnist who does a better job than almost anyone at assessing the pandemic at a systems level. To solve a public-health crisis, it’s not enough to get the science right. There are also challenges with supply chains, infrastructure, research production, mass communication, political trust and institutional inertia. I’ve found Tufekci’s ability to balance the epidemiological data and the sociological realities uniquely helpful across the pandemic, and you can hear why in this conversation.

    We discuss how the Covid crisis has changed, as well as Tufekci’s sobering conclusion: that the virus, at this point, is feeding on our dysfunction. We look at what Omicron is and isn’t, where the Biden administration has succeeded and failed, the debate over closing schools, why so many Asian countries have so powerfully outperformed the West, how the role of vaccines has changed, what a pandemic-prepared society would actually look like, and what should be true of our pandemic policy in a year that isn’t now.

    Book recommendations:

    The Theory and Practice of Group Psychotherapy by Irvin D. Yalom and Molyn Leszcz

    Chaos by James Gleick

    The Dead Hand by David Hoffman

    Thoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at ezrakleinshow@nytimes.com.

    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.

  • Nothing like a newborn and paternity leave to leave you feeling a bit out of the loop. So for my first podcast back since October, I wanted to wander through the thickets of where we are politically and how we got here.

    Because where we are is strange: the Omicron wave and the breakdown of the liberal Covid consensus that preceded it; a hot economy with low unemployment, rising wages and high inflation; a Build Back Better bill for which the eventual compromise seems obvious even as the legislation is stalled; the anniversary of Jan. 6, which comes as both of the Democrats’ major democracy bills are languishing; and a Biden administration that has passed big, popular policies, only to watch its poll numbers fall.

    Chris Hayes is the host of MSNBC’s “All In” and the podcast “Why Is This Happening?” He’s also one of my favorite people to process politics with, so I asked him to help me track back through the past few months of the news and look into how 2022 could be better.

    Mentioned:

    “The Ronald Reagan Guide to Joe Biden’s Political Future” by Jamelle Bouie

    “How Michel Foucault Lost the Left and Won the Right” by Ross Douthat

    “Ten Million a Year” by David Wallace-Wells

    “On the Internet, We’re Always Famous” by Chris Hayes

    Book recommendations:

    The Braindead Megaphone by George Saunders

    The Three-Body Problem Series by Cixin Liu

    The Racial Contract by Charles W. Mills

    Thoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at ezrakleinshow@nytimes.com.

    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.

  • For decades, our society’s dominant metaphor for the mind has been a computer. A machine that operates the exact same way whether it’s in a dark room or next to a sunny window, whether it’s been working for 30 seconds or three hours, whether it’s near other computers or completely alone.

    But that’s wrong. Annie Murphy Paul’s “The Extended Mind” argues, convincingly, that the human mind is contextual. It works differently in different environments, with different tools, amid different bodily states, among other minds.

    Here’s the problem: Our schools, our workplaces, our society are built atop that bad metaphor. Activities and habits that we’ve been taught to associate with creativity and efficiency often stunt our thinking, and so much that we’ve been taught to dismiss — activities that look like leisure, play or rest — are crucial to thinking (and living!) well.

    Paul’s book, read correctly, is a radical critique of not just how we think about thinking, but how we’ve constructed much of our society. In this conversation, originally released in July 2021, we discuss how the body can pick up on patterns before the conscious mind knows what it’s seen, why forcing kids (and adults) to “sit still” makes it harder for them to think clearly, the connection between physical movement and creativity, why efficiency is often the enemy of productivity, the restorative power of exposure to the natural world, the dystopian implications of massive cognitive inequality, why open-plan offices were a terrible idea and much more.

    Mentioned:

    "The extended mind" by Andy Clark and David J. Chalmers

    Book recommendations:

    Supersizing the Mind by Andy Clark

    Mind in Motion by Barbara Tversky

    Thoughts Without a Thinker by Mark Epstein

    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 ezrakleinshow@nytimes.com.

    “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 Alison Bruzek.

  • For years, I’ve kept a list of dream guests for this show. And as long as that list has existed, Ted Chiang has been atop it.

    Chiang is a science fiction writer. But that undersells him. He has released two short story collections over 20 years — 2002’s “Stories of Your Life and Others” and 2019’s “Exhalation.” Those stories have won more awards than I can list, and one of them was turned into the film “Arrival.” They are remarkable pieces of work: Each is built around a profound scientific, philosophical or religious idea, and then the story or the story structure is shaped to represent that idea. They are wonders of precision and craft. But unlike a lot of science fiction, they are never cold. Chiang’s work is deeply, irrepressibly humane.

    I’ve always wondered about the mind that would create Chiang’s stories. And in this conversation, originally released in March 2021, I got to watch it in action. Chiang doesn’t like to talk about himself. But he does like to talk about ideas. And so we do: We discuss the difference between magic and technology, why superheroes fight crime but ignore injustice, what it would do to the human psyche if we knew the future is fixed, whether free will exists, whether we’d want to know the exact date of our deaths, why Chiang fears what humans will do to artificial intelligence more than what A.I. will do to humans, the way capitalism turns people against technology, and much more.

    The ideas Chiang offered in this conversation are still ringing in my head months later, and changing the way I see the world. It’s worth taking your time with this one.

    Recommendations:

    "Creation" by Steve Grand

    "On the Measure of Intelligence" by Francois Chollet

    "CivilWarLand in Bad Decline" by George Saunders

    "A Visit from the Goon Squad" by Jennifer Egan

    "Royal Space Force: The Wings of Honnêamise" (movie)

    "On Fragile Waves" by Lily Yu

    "Pilgrim at Tinker Creek" by Annie Dillard

    Control (video game)

    Return of the Obra Dinn (video game)

    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 ezrakleinshow@nytimes.com.

    “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 Alison Bruzek.

  • How do you introduce Noam Chomsky? Perhaps you start here: In 1979, The New York Times called him “arguably the most important intellectual alive today.” More than 40 years later, Chomsky, at 92, is still putting his dent in the world — writing books, giving interviews, changing minds.

    There are different sides to Chomsky. He’s a world-renowned linguist who revolutionized his field. He’s a political theorist who’s been a sharp critic of American foreign policy for decades. He’s an anarchist who believes in a radically different way of ordering society. He’s a pragmatist who pushed leftists to vote for Joe Biden in 2020 and has described himself as having a “rather conservative attitude towards social change.” He is, very much, himself.

    The problem in planning a conversation with Chomsky is how to get at all these different sides. So this one, from April 2021, covers a lot of ground. We discuss:

    — Why Chomsky is an anarchist, and how he defines anarchism

    — How his work on language informs his idea of what human beings want

    — The role of advertising in capitalism

    — Whether we should understand job contracts as the free market at work or a form of constant coercion

    — How Chomsky’s ideal vision of society differs from Nordic social democracy

    — How Chomsky’s class-based theory of politics holds up in an era where college-educated suburbanites are moving left on economics

    — Chomsky’s view of the climate crisis and why he thinks the “degrowth” movement is misguided

    — Whether job automation could actually be a good thing for human flourishing

    — Chomsky’s views on US-China policy, and why he doesn’t think China is a major geopolitical threat

    — The likelihood of nuclear war in the next decade

    And much more.

    Mentioned in this episode:

    On Anarchism by Noam Chomsky

    Climate Crisis and the Global Green New Deal by Noam Chomsky and Robert Pollin

    “Why the Amazon Workers Never Stood a Chance” by Erik Loomis

    “Trends in Income From 1975 to 2018” by Carter C. Price and Kathryn A. Edwards

    “This is What Minimum Wage Would Be If It Kept Pace with Productivity” by Dean Baker

    “There is no Plan B for dealing with the climate crisis” by Raymond Pierrehumbert

    Recommendations:

    "The Last of the Just" by Andre Schwarz-Bart

    "All God's Dangers: The Life of Nate Shaw" by Theodore Rosengarten

    Selected essays by Ahad Ha'am

    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 ezrakleinshow@nytimes.com.

  • “Today, we are supercompetent when it comes to efficiency, utility, speed, convenience, and getting ahead in the world; but we are at a loss concerning what it’s all for,” Leon Kass writes in his 2017 book “Leading a Worthy Life.” “This lack of cultural and moral confidence about what makes a life worth living is perhaps the deepest curse of living in our interesting time.”

    Kass spent more than 30 years as an award-winning teacher at the University of Chicago, where he gained a reputation among students for his commitment to the big questions of human existence and the study of classic texts. And he’s written books and essays on marriage, sports, ethics, friendship, romance, the philosophy of food, biblical wisdom and more. In many ways, Kass’s career represents a lifelong effort to grapple with the biggest question of all: What does it mean to live a meaningful life?

    This conversation, between Kass and the New York Times Opinion columnist David Brooks, is an attempt to answer that question. Along the way, they discuss the difference between choosing a career and discovering a vocation; the key ingredients of a successful romantic relationship; how to distinguish between superficial friendships and life-altering ones; why finding the right job is less about searching within ourselves and more about committing to something beyond ourselves; Kass’s view that the most distinctive thing about individuals isn’t their race, gender or class but “the ruling passions of their souls”; and what the biblical Exodus story can teach Americans about how to live together more harmoniously.

    Mentioned:

    Founding God’s Nation by Leon Kass

    The Second Mountain by David Brooks

    Book Recommendations:

    Nicomachean Ethics by Aristotle

    The Hebrew Bible, especially Genesis and Exodus

    Democracy in America by Alexis de Tocqueville

    Daniel Deronda by George Eliot

    This episode is guest-hosted by David Brooks, a New York Times columnist, whose work focuses on politics, culture and moral formation. He currently serves as chair of Weave: The Social Fabric Project at the Aspen Institute in Washington, D.C. and is the author of several books, including “The Second Mountain: The Quest for a Moral Life.” You can follow him on Twitter @nytdavidbrooks. (Learn more about the other guest hosts during Ezra’s parental leave here.)

    Thoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at ezrakleinshow@nytimes.com.

    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. Special thanks to Kristin Lin and Alison Bruzek.

  • Every day in the United States, more than 10,000 babies are born and 10,000 people turn 65. But America doesn’t have anything close to a comprehensive family policy. That means no guaranteed paid family leave, no universal child care or preschool and a patchwork system of elder and disability care that leaves millions without support.

    American families are drowning as a result. In some states, the average cost of a full-time child-care program is nearing $20,000 a year; the median yearly cost of a private room in a nursing home is over $100,000 — a figure that well exceeds the median household income in the United States. And workers in the child care and eldercare industries routinely make poverty wages.

    Ai-jen Poo is a co-founder and the executive director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance, a MacArthur “genius” grant winner and the author of “The Age of Dignity: Preparing for the Elder Boom in a Changing America.”

    Fixing America’s systems of care has been Poo’s life’s work. But for her, the current state of America’s care infrastructure is more than a looming crisis; it’s a huge opportunity — one that, if solved, could supercharge the American economy, ensure dignified care across our life spans and revolutionize the future of work. And Poo’s movement may be on the brink of a major victory: If signed into law, the Build Back Better Act would be the most transformative investment in children and caregiving in generations.

    This conversation is about how caring for the people we love became so atrociously unaffordable and unmanageable — and what it would take to change that. It also explores why Poo thinks we should view child care and eldercare as essential infrastructure for running our economy and society, the racialized history of why the United States lags behind most of its peers in developing comprehensive family policy, the cultural narratives that have caused America to undervalue care work for so long, how solving the care crisis would be a policy “win-win-win” for everyone, Poo’s view that “care is a problem the market cannot solve” and why Poo believes that the future of work is inextricably linked to the future of care.

    Mentioned:

    “Prep School for Poor Kids: The Long-Run Impacts of Head Start on Human Capital and Economic Self-Sufficiency” by Martha J. Bailey et al.

    Book recommendations:

    The Sum of Us by Heather McGhee

    Caste by Isabel Wilkerson

    Being Mortal by Atul Gawande

    This episode is guest-hosted by Heather McGhee, a public policy expert whose work focuses on the intersection of race, inequality, and social policy. She is the chairman of the board of directors of the racial justice organization Color of Change, the former president of the think tank Demos and author of “The Sum of Us: What Racism Costs Everyone and How We Can Prosper Together” and. You can follow her on Twitter @HMcGhee. (Learn more about the other guest hosts during Ezra’s parental leave here.)

    Thoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at ezrakleinshow@nytimes.com.

    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. Special thanks to Kristin Lin and Alison Bruzek.

  • Can we predict the future more accurately?

    It’s a question we humans have grappled with since the dawn of civilization — one that has massive implications for how we run our organizations, how we make policy decisions, and how we live our everyday lives.

    It’s also the question that Philip Tetlock, a psychologist at the University of Pennsylvania and a co-author of “Superforecasting: The Art and Science of Prediction,” has dedicated his career to answering. In 2011, he recruited and trained a team of ordinary citizens to compete in a forecasting tournament sponsored by the U.S. intelligence community. Participants were asked to place numerical probabilities from 0 to 100 percent on questions like “Will North Korea launch a new multistage missile in the next year” and “Is Greece going to leave the eurozone in the next six months?” Tetlock’s group of amateur forecasters would go head-to-head against teams of academics as well as career intelligence analysts, including those from the C.I.A., who had access to classified information that Tetlock’s team didn’t have.

    The results were shocking, even to Tetlock. His team won the competition by such a large margin that the government agency funding the competition decided to kick everyone else out, and just study Tetlock’s forecasters — the best of whom were dubbed “superforecasters” — to see what intelligence experts might learn from them.

    So this conversation is about why some people, like Tetlock’s “superforecasters,” are so much better at predicting the future than everyone else — and about the intellectual virtues, habits of mind, and ways of thinking that the rest of us can learn to become better forecasters ourselves. It also explores Tetlock’s famous finding that the average expert is roughly as accurate as “a dart-throwing chimpanzee” at predicting future events, the inverse correlation between a person’s fame and their ability to make accurate predictions, how superforecasters approach real-life questions like whether robots will replace white-collar workers, why government bureaucracies are often resistant to adopt the tools of superforecasting and more.

    Mentioned:

    Expert Political Judgment by Philip E. Tetlock

    “What do forecasting rationales reveal about thinking patterns of top geopolitical forecasters?” by Christopher W. Karvetski et al.

    Book recommendations:

    Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman

    Enlightenment Now by Steven Pinker

    Perception and Misperception in International Politics by Robert Jervis

    This episode is guest-hosted by Julia Galef, a co-founder of the Center for Applied Rationality, host of the “Rationally Speaking” podcast and author of “The Scout Mindset: Why Some People See Things Clearly and Others Don’t.” You can follow her on Twitter @JuliaGalef. (Learn more about the other guest hosts during Ezra’s parental leave here.)

    Thoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at ezrakleinshow@nytimes.com.

    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. Special thanks to Kristin Lin and Alison Bruzek.

  • Joe Biden’s economic agenda is centered on a basic premise: The United States needs to build. To build roads and bridges. To build child care facilities and car-charging stations. To build public transit and affordable housing. And in doing so, to build a better future for everyone.

    But there’s a twist of irony in that vision. Because right now, even in places where Democrats hold control over government, they are consistently failing to build cheaply, quickly and equitably. In recent decades, blue states and cities from Los Angeles to Boston to New York have become known for their outrageously expensive housing, massive homeless populations and infrastructure projects marred by major delays and cost overruns — all stemming from this fundamental inability to actually build.

    Jerusalem Demsas is a policy reporter at Vox who covers a range of issues from housing to transportation. And the central question her work asks is this: Why is the party that ostensibly supports big government doing ambitious things constantly failing to do just that, even in the places where it holds the most power?

    So this is a conversation about the policy areas where blue city and state governance is failing the most: housing, homelessness, infrastructure. But it is also about the larger problems that those failures reveal: The tension between big-government liberalism and anti-corporatist progressivism; the cognitive dissonance between what city-dwelling, college-educated liberals say they believe and their inequality-amplifying actions; how reforms intended to make government more accountable to the people have been wielded by special interests to stall or kill popular projects; and much more.

    This conversation originally took place in July 2021, but it has become even more relevant with the passage of the bipartisan infrastructure bill and the ongoing negotiations over the Build Back Better Act.


    Mentioned:

    “Why does it cost so much to build things in America?” by Jerusalem Demsas

    “Los Angeles’s quixotic quest to end homelessness” by Jerusalem Demsas

    “Housing Constraints and Spatial Misallocation” by Chang-Tai Hsieh and Enrico Moretti

    Public Citizens by Paul Sabin

    “Zoom Does Not Reduce Unequal Participation” by Katherine Levine Einstein, David Glick, Luisa Godinez Puig, and Maxwell Palmer

    “The Gavin Newsom Recall Is a Farce” by Ezra Klein

    “California Is Making Liberals Squirm” by Ezra Klein

    Book recommendations:

    Golden Gates by Conor Dougherty

    The Dispossessed by Ursula Le Guin

    Stories of Your Life and Others by Ted Chiang

    Thoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at ezrakleinshow@nytimes.com.

    You can find a transcript of this episode here 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. Special thanks to Kristin Lin and Alison Bruzek.

  • In 2020 the United States experienced a nearly 30 percent rise in homicides from 2019. That’s the single biggest one-year increase since we started keeping national records in 1960. And violence has continued to rise well into 2021.

    To deny or downplay the seriousness of this spike is neither morally justified nor politically wise. Violence takes lives, traumatizes children, instills fear, destroys community life and entrenches racial and economic inequality. Public opinion responds in kind: Polling indicates that Americans are increasingly worried about violent crime. And if November’s state and local campaigns were any indication, public safety will be a defining issue in upcoming election cycles.

    Liberals and progressives need an answer to the question of how to handle rising violence. But that answer doesn’t need to involve a return to the punitive, tough-on-crime approach that has devastated Black and brown communities for decades and led millions of people to take to the streets in protest last summer.

    Patrick Sharkey is a sociologist at Princeton University and the author of “Uneasy Peace: The Great Crime Decline, the Renewal of City Life, and the Next War on Violence.” The central claim of his work is this: Police are effective at reducing violence, but they aren’t the only actors capable of doing so. Sharkey has studied community-based models for addressing violence in places as varied as rural Australia and New York City. As a result, he has developed a compelling, evidence-backed vision of how cities and communities can tackle violent crime without relying heavily on police.

    So this conversation is about what an alternative approach to addressing the current homicide spike could look like and all the messy, difficult questions it raises. It also explores the causes of the homicide spike, why Sharkey thinks policing is ultimately an “unsustainable” solution to crime, how New York City managed to reduce gun violence by 50 percent while reducing arrests and prison populations, whether it’s possible to overcome the punitive politics of rising crime, why America has such abnormally high levels of violent crime in the first place and more.

    Mentioned:

    “Community and the Crime Decline: The Causal Effect of Local Nonprofits on Violent Crime” by Patrick Sharkey, Gerard Torrats-Espinosa and Delaram Takyar

    “Reducing Violence Without Police: A Review of Research Evidence”

    “Social Fabric: A New Model For Public Safety and Vital Neighborhoods” by Elizabeth Glazer and Patrick Sharkey

    “Can Precision Policing Reduce Gun Violence? Evidence from “Gang Takedowns in New York City” by Aaron Chalfin, Michael LaForest and Jacob Kaplan

    Book Recommendations:

    The Stickup Kids by Randol Contreras

    The Truly Disadvantaged by William Julius Wilson

    Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse

    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 stories and conducted interviews on topics ranging from policing and racial justice to democracy reform and the coronavirus.

    Thoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at ezrakleinshow@nytimes.com.

    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. Special thanks to Kristin Lin and Alison Bruzek.

  • The compulsion to be happy at work “is always a demand for emotional work from the worker,” writes Sarah Jaffe. “Work, after all, has no feelings. Capitalism cannot love. This new work ethic, in which work is expected to give us something like self-actualization, cannot help but fail.”

    Jaffe is a Type Media Center reporting fellow, a co-host of the podcast “Belabored” and the author of “Work Won’t Love You Back: How Devotion to Our Jobs Keeps Us Exploited, Exhausted and Alone.” Many of us, especially Gen Zers and millennials, have grown up with the idea that work should be more than just a way to make a living; it’s a vocation, a calling, a source of meaning and fulfillment. But for Jaffe, that idea is a scam, a con, a false promise. It prevents us from seeing work for what it really is: a power struggle over our time, our labor and our livelihoods.

    So this is a conversation about the dissonance between our expectations of what work can offer our lives and the reality of what our jobs and careers are capable of delivering; about whether work can ever really love us back. But there’s a bigger picture here, too. Workers are quitting their jobs in record numbers. Strikes are taking place across the country. In her role as a labor reporter, Jaffe has spent much of the past year interviewing workers across the country — spanning industries from retail to health care to tech — giving her insight into the shift in attitudes behind this uproar in the labor market. So that’s where we begin: Why are so many Americans radically rethinking work?

    We also discuss the rise of corporate virtue signaling, the threat that American consumerism poses for worker power, how the decline of religion could be contributing to the veneration of careers, why the term “burnout” doesn’t go far enough in describing the problems of modern work and how the logic of capitalism has shaped our notions of human value and self-worth.

    Mentioned:

    “Physicians aren’t ‘burning out.’ They’re suffering from moral injury” by Wendy Dean and Simon Talbot

    “Workism Is Making Americans Miserable” by Derek Thompson

    "Optimal Experience in Work and Leisure" by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi and Judith LeFevre

    Undoing The Demos by Wendy Brown

    Dirty Work by Eyal Press

    Book Recommendations:

    Lost in Work by Amelia Horgan

    Farewell to the Factory by Ruth Milkman

    Confessions of the Fox by Jordy Rosenberg

    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 stories and conducted interviews on topics ranging from policing and racial justice to democracy reform and the coronavirus.

    Thoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at ezrakleinshow@nytimes.com.

    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. Special thanks to Kristin Lin.

  • Over the course of Donald Trump’s presidency, the far-right fringe became a surprisingly visible and influential force in American politics. Eruptions of extremist violence — including the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Va., in 2017 and the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection — have made militant groups like the Proud Boys and conspiracy theories like QAnon into household names. On his popular cable news show, Tucker Carlson recently name-checked the “great replacement” conspiracy theory. And in a recent survey, nearly a third of Republicans agreed with the statement that “true American patriots may have to resort to violence in order to save our country.”

    The historian Kathleen Belew has spent her career studying political violence and the once-fringe ideas that now animate even right-of-center politics and news media. She is a co-editor of “A Field Guide to White Supremacy” and the author of “Bring the War Home: The White Power Movement and Paramilitary America,” which tells the story of how groups — including the Ku Klux Klan, neo-Nazis and Aryan Nations — coalesced into a radical white-power movement after the Vietnam War. These groups were united by a core set of beliefs about the threats of demographic change and governmental overreach, perceived hostility toward white Americans and the necessity of extra-political, often violent, action to achieve their aims.

    This is a conversation about how some of those ideas have seeped into mainstream Republican politics and what that could mean for the future of the party — and the country. It explores the radicalizing effects of Jan. 6, how irony and meme culture import far-right ideas into popular media, how warfare abroad can produce violence at home, why politics has started to feel apocalyptic across the spectrum, whether left-wing violence is as serious a threat as right-wing violence and more.

    Mentioned:

    Radical American Partisanship by Lilliana Mason and Nathan P. Kalmoe

    Messengers of the Right by Nicole Hemmer

    The Hispanic Republican by Geraldo Cadava

    Mothers of Massive Resistance by Elizabeth Gillespie McRae

    Book Recommendations:

    Fortress America by Elaine Tyler May

    Future Home of the Living God by Louise Erdrich

    Tiny You by Jennifer Holland

    This episode is guest-hosted by Nicole Hemmer, a historian whose work focuses on right-wing media and American politics. She is an associate research scholar with the Obama Presidency Oral History Project at Columbia University and author of “Messengers of the Right: Conservative Media and the Transformation of American Politics.” You can follow her on Twitter @PastPunditry. (Learn more about the other guest hosts during Ezra’s parental leave here.)

    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.

    Thoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at ezrakleinshow@nytimes.com.

    “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.

  • “Making it harder to vote, and harder to understand what the party is really about — these are two parts of the same project” for the Republican Party, Jay Rosen writes. “The conflict with honest journalism is structural. To be its dwindling self, the G.O.P. has to also be at war with the press, unless of course the press folds under pressure.”

    Rosen is a professor of journalism at N.Y.U., author of the blog “PressThink,” and one of America’s sharpest contemporary media critics. And his argument is a simple one: The media’s implicit model of American politics — of two coequal parties with competing governing philosophies — is fundamentally broken. Today, the most important axis of political conflict is not between left and right, but between pro- and anti-democracy forces.

    The way Rosen sees it, the American mainstream press must make a choice: Will it double down on its commitment to detached, nonpartisan neutrality? Or will it choose instead to boldly and aggressively defend truth and democracy?

    These days, Rosen’s view seems almost common-sensical. But he’s been critiquing “both sides” journalism — and the model of politics underlying it — for years now, long before such arguments came into vogue. As a result, he’s done some of the most original thinking about what an alternative model of journalism would look like, and wrestled with the inevitable political, social and economic tensions that come with it.

    So this conversation is about what pro-democracy journalism could look like in practice and the thorny questions that this approach to coverage raises. But it also touches on the drawbacks of the press’s focus on Senators Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema; how journalists should cover Donald Trump and Tucker Carlson; why Rosen believes “moderate” and “centrist” are “two of the most ideology-soaked terms” in political journalism; the consequences of an economy where political news has to compete for attention with Netflix, Xbox and TikTok; and why Substack and podcasting may hold one of the keys to restoring trust in the media.

    Mentioned:

    “Americans’ Trust in Media Dips to Second Lowest on Record” by Megan Brenan

    “The Coming Confrontation Between the American Press and the Republican Party” by Jay Rosen on PressThink

    “Battleship Newspaper” by Jay Rosen on PressThink

    “Election Coverage: The Road Not Taken” by Jay Rosen on PressThink

    CBS News poll on Build Back Better

    Book Recommendations:

    The Boys on the Bus by Timothy Crouse

    Making News by Gaye Tuchman

    Deciding What’s News by Herbert Gans

    This episode is guest-hosted by Nicole Hemmer, a historian whose work focuses on the right-wing media and American politics. She is an associate research scholar with the Obama Presidency Oral History Project at Columbia and author of “Messengers of the Right: Conservative Media and the Transformation of American Politics.” You can follow her on Twitter @PastPunditry. (There’s more about the other guest hosts during Ezra’s parental leave here.)

    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.

    Thoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at ezrakleinshow@nytimes.com.

    “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.

  • Many of the most contentious debates right now center on whether we, as individuals — and as a country — are willing to revise. To revise our understanding of history. To revise the kind of language we use. To revise the nature of our personal, and national, identities. To revise how we act in our everyday relationships.

    Revision like this is often necessary, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy. Making fundamental changes to the way we think, speak and act requires the kind of self-scrutiny, discomfort and sacrifice that many of us would rather avoid.

    There are few public figures who model revision — of one’s work and one’s life — as openly and honestly as Kiese Laymon. Laymon has written the prizewinning memoir “Heavy” as well as essays for The New York Times, ESPN and the Oxford American. His nonfiction tackles sports, popular culture, the politics of literary publishing and, above all, his home state of Mississippi. On every page, you’ll find wit, but also heart-stopping vulnerability and a reckoning with tough love: for himself, his kin, his community and the complicated places where he has spent his life.

    Laymon has mastered the art of revising his own words. But for him, revision is also a moral, even a spiritual, act — a crucial part of becoming a loving and responsible human being. He is the first to admit that he is a work in progress, that each period of his life is a draft that can be improved. In a way, Laymon thinks of his entire life as an act of revision. And he nurtures a radical hope that America can change for the better, too.

    This conversation focuses on how Laymon thinks about revision. But it also considers how he navigates a publishing world that often puts pressure on minority-group artists to suppress their full identities to appeal to white audiences, the way his writing pushes the boundaries of conventional genre and canon, why Americans have such a hard time reassessing ourselves and what we can gain from trying to change.

    Mentioned:

    "A Southern Gothic" by Adia Victoria

    Book Recommendations:

    South to America by Imani Perry

    Shoutin' in the Fire by Danté Stewart

    Abolition for the People by Colin Kaepernick

    This episode is guest-hosted by Tressie McMillan Cottom, a sociologist and writer whose work focuses on higher education policy, popular culture, race, beauty and more. She writes a weekly New York Times newsletter and is the author of “Thick and Other Essays,” which was a finalist for the National Book Award, and “Lower Ed: The Troubling Rise of For-Profit Colleges in the New Economy.” You can follow her on Twitter @TressieMcPhD. (Learn more about the other guest hosts during Ezra’s parental leave here.)

    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.

    Thoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at ezrakleinshow@nytimes.com.

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

  • I’ve been on an octopus kick for a little while now. In that, I don’t seem to be alone. Octopuses (it’s incorrect to say “octopi,” to my despair) are having a moment: There are award-winning books, documentaries and even science fiction about them. I suspect it’s the same hunger that leaves many of us yearning to know aliens: How do radically different minds work? What is it like to be a truly different being living in a similar world? The flying objects above remain unidentified. But the incomprehensible objects below do not. We are starting to be smart enough to ask the question: How smart are octopuses? And what are their lives like?

    Sy Montgomery is a naturalist and the author of dozens of books on animals. In 2015 she published the dazzling book “The Soul of an Octopus,” which became a finalist for the National Book Award in nonfiction. It’s an investigation not only into the lives and minds of octopuses but also into the relationships they can and do have with human beings.

    This was one of those conversations that are hard to describe, but it was a joy to have. Montgomery writes and speaks with an appropriate sense of wonder about the world around us and the other animals that inhabit it. This is a conversation about octopuses, of course, but it’s also about us: our minds, our relationship with the natural world, what we see and what we’ve learned to stop seeing. It will leave you looking at the water — and maybe at yourself — differently.

    Book recommendations:

    The Outermost House by Henry Beston

    The Old Way by Elizabeth Marshall Thomas

    King Solomon's Ring by Konrad Lorenz

    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.

    Thoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at ezrakleinshow@nytimes.com.

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

  • Public policy in the United States often overlooks wealth. We tend to design, debate and measure our economic policies with regard to income alone, which blinds us to the ways prosperity and precarity tangibly function in people’s lives. And that blind spot can ultimately prevent us from addressing social inequality at its roots.

    Take the debate over student loan cancellation. Cancellation is often framed as an economically regressive policy — an elite giveaway of sorts — with the majority of benefits going to individuals toward the top end of the income distribution. But that distributive picture flips when you look at wealth instead of income. One recent paper found that if the federal government decided to forgive up to $50,000 in student loan debt, the average person in the 20th to 40th percentiles for household assets would receive more than four times as much debt cancellation as the average person in the top 10 percent.

    Louise Seamster is a sociologist at the University of Iowa whose work focuses on the intersection of wealth, race, education and inequality. She’s one of the sharpest minds studying the way systems of wealth creation and depletion shape everything from the benefits of higher education to the barriers to racial equality to the nature of democratic citizenship. And her cutting-edge research on the student debt crisis and the racial wealth gap served as a major source of inspiration for Senator Elizabeth Warren’s $50,000 loan forgiveness plan.

    This conversation begins with a discussion of the student debt crisis in particular: what it’s like to live with crushing levels of debt, the debate over whether cancellation is fair to those who have paid off their loans, why you can’t truly understand the student debt crisis without understanding the wealth dynamics that undergird it, how loan forgiveness would alter the racial wealth gap, what an entirely different model for funding higher education would look like and more.

    But this discussion is also more broadly about what it means to think in terms of wealth — and its inverse, debt — and what a radically different picture that reveals about the American economy and society.

    Mentioned:

    “Racialized Debts: Racial Exclusion From Credit Tools and Information Networks” by Raphaël Charron-Chénier and Louise Seamster

    “An Administrative Path to Student Debt Cancellation” by Luke Herrine

    “Black Debt, White Debt” by Louise Seamster

    “Student Debt Cancellation IS Progressive: Correcting Empirical and Conceptual Errors” by Charlie Eaton, Adam Goldstein, Laura Hamilton and Frederick Wherry

    “Student Debt Forgiveness Options: Implications for Policy and Racial Equity” by Raphaël Charron-Chenier, Louise Seamster, Tom Shapiro and Laura Sullivan

    “Predatory Inclusion and Education Debt: Rethinking the Racial Wealth Gap” by Louise Seamster and Raphaël Charron-Chénier

    “Racial Disparities in Student Debt and the Reproduction of the Fragile Black Middle Class” by Jason N. Houle and Fenaba R. Addo

    Book Recommendations:

    The Color of Money by Mehrsa Baradaran

    A Pound of Flesh by Alexes Harris

    The Sum of Us by Heather McGhee

    This episode is guest-hosted by Tressie McMillan Cottom, a sociologist and writer whose work focuses on higher education policy, popular culture, race, beauty and more. She writes a weekly New York Times newsletter and is the author of “Thick and Other Essays,” which was a finalist for the National Book Award, and “Lower Ed: The Troubling Rise of For-Profit Colleges in the New Economy.” You can follow her on Twitter @TressieMcPhD. (Learn more about the other guest hosts during Ezra’s parental leave here.)

    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.

    Thoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at ezrakleinshow@nytimes.com.

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

  • “Progressives understand that culture war means discrediting their opponents and weakening or destroying their institutions. Conservatives should approach the culture war with a similar realism,” Sohrab Ahmari writes. “To recognize that enmity is real is its own kind of moral duty.”

    Five years ago, Ahmari was a self-described “secular mainstream conservative” working for The Wall Street Journal. Now a contributing editor at The American Conservative and the recently departed op-ed editor at The New York Post, Ahmari has become a fierce critic of the Republican Party as it existed before the rise of Donald Trump, a champion of right-wing populist leaders like Hungary’s Viktor Orban and a devout Catholic who believes social conservatives need to take a far more aggressive posture in the culture war.

    Ahmari may be singular, but he is not alone. His political evolution is a microcosm for the ways the American right as a whole has been radicalized in recent decades. Many conservatives today are animated by a profound sense of anxiety about the direction of the country: A feeling that something about the American project has gone deeply, terribly wrong. A visceral fear of a “woke” progressivism with seemingly unmatched cultural power and influence. And a willingness to endorse ideas and leaders once considered fringe.

    But Ahmari isn’t just a critic. He’s also one of the leading conservative intellectuals trying to chart a post-Trump future for the Republican Party. One that fuses Bernie Sanders-style economic populism with an aggressive social conservatism that isn’t afraid to use the power of the state to enforce its vision of the common good.

    So this conversation begins with Ahmari’s religious and political journey but also explores his heterodox political vision for the Republican Party, the surprising similarities in how radical feminists and religious traditionalists understand the legacy of the sexual revolution, his view that cultural and economic deregulation has decimated the American working class, the possibility of a left-right alliance around banning pornography, and why he views the cultural left and its corporate allies as a greater threat to American democracy than anything Donald Trump can offer.

    Mentioned:

    From Fire, by Water by Sohrab Ahmari

    The Unbroken Thread by Sohrab Ahmari

    Book Recommendations:

    The Adventures of Tintin by Hergé

    The Charterhouse of Parma by Stendhal

    The Gnostic Religion by Hans Jonas

    This episode is guest-hosted by Ross Douthat, a New York Times columnist whose work focuses on politics, conservatism, religion and, more recently, chronic illness. He is the author of “The Deep Places: A Memoir of Illness and Discovery” and “The Decadent Society.” You can read his work here and follow him on Twitter @DouthatNYT. (Learn more about the other guest hosts during Ezra’s parental leave here.)

    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.

    Thoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at ezrakleinshow@nytimes.com.

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

  • One of the most frightening, least understood aspects of the coronavirus pandemic is what’s come to be known as “long Covid.” Stories abound of young, healthy adults who experienced mild or asymptomatic coronavirus infections and recovered fairly quickly, only to experience an onset of debilitating symptoms weeks or even months later. One major study of almost two million Covid patients in the United States found that nearly a quarter sought medical treatment for new conditions one month or more after their initial infection.

    Scientists still don’t fully understand what’s causing long Covid or how to best treat it. But in that sense, long Covid isn’t all that novel. Today, millions of Americans suffer from chronic illnesses set off by the body’s response to infections. Many of these conditions routinely go undiagnosed or are misdiagnosed. And even those who find their conditions identified correctly often struggle to find treatments that work for them.

    “To have a poorly understood disease,” writes Meghan O’Rourke, “is to be brought up against every flaw in the U.S. health care system; to collide with the structural problems of a late-capitalist society that values productivity more than health; and to confront the philosophical problem of conveying an experience that lacks an accepted framework.”

    O’Rourke, an award-winning journalist and poet and the editor of The Yale Review, has spent more than a decade of her life struggling with chronic illness, a journey she documents in her forthcoming book, “The Invisible Kingdom: Reimagining Chronic Illness.” In it, O’Rourke uses her experience to illuminate the facets of American society that often remain invisible to the rest of us: the blind spots in our scientific and medical paradigms, the shortcomings of our individualistic ethos, the way economic inequalities show up in our bodies, our culture’s tendency to pathologize suffering.

    So this conversation begins with long Covid and the debates surrounding it, which O’Rourke has done excellent reporting and writing on. But it is also about what it’s like to experience America’s hidden chronic illness epidemic firsthand, and what that epidemic reveals about the society that too often pretends it doesn’t exist.

    Mentioned:

    “Long-Haulers Are Fighting for Their Future” by Ed Yong

    “Lyme Disease Is Baffling, Even to Experts” by Meghan O’Rourke

    “Unlocking the Mysteries of Long Covid” by Meghan O’Rourke

    The Deep Places: A Memoir of Illness and Discovery by Ross Douthat

    Book Recommendations:

    The Journal of a Disappointed Man by W.N.P. Barbellion

    On Immunity by Eula Biss

    The Cancer Journals by Audre Lorde

    This episode is guest-hosted by Ross Douthat, a New York Times columnist whose work focuses on politics, conservatism, religion and, more recently, chronic illness. He is also the author of numerous books, including “The Deep Places” and “The Decadent Society.” You can read his work here and follow him on Twitter @DouthatNYT (Learn more about the other guest hosts during Ezra’s parental leave here.)

    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.

    Thoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at ezrakleinshow@nytimes.com.

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

  • In the wake of the “Stop the Steal” campaign, the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol and the wave of voter suppression bills making their way through Republican legislatures across the country, the struggle for American democracy feels, for many, visceral and even existential. But for Martha S. Jones, a legal and cultural historian at Johns Hopkins University, the moment we find ourselves in is anything but an aberration.

    “I’m not someone who tells stories about a Whiggish arc in which we are always getting better, doing better, improving upon,” Jones says. “Much of American history is a story about contest, about conflict, about disagreement over fundamental ideas and fundamental precepts, fundamental principles, like citizenship and voting rights.”

    Jones has spent her career documenting the contestation over American democracy. Her 2018 book, “Birthright Citizens,” tells the story of how Black Americans in the 19th century fought to address the Constitution’s silence on the question of who counts as a citizen, ultimately securing the establishment of birthright citizenship through the 14th Amendment. And her 2020 book “Vanguard: How Black Women Broke Barriers, Won the Vote, and Insisted on Equality for All” is a sweeping account of Black women’s 200-year fight for equal suffrage.

    This conversation is about how the political struggles waged by marginalized groups have forged American democracy as we know it — and the virtues, habits and practices of democratic citizenship we can glean from those struggles. But it also explores the need to reimagine America’s true “founders,” how 19th- and 20th-century Black women were modeling intersectionality long before it became a buzzword, what current discussion around “Black women voters” gets wrong, how worried we should be about current threats to American democracy and much more.

    Mentioned:

    A Voice from the South by Anna J. Cooper

    Book recommendations:

    All That She Carried by Tiya Miles

    The Love Songs of W.E.B. Du Bois by Honorée Fanonne Jeffers

    Thick by Tressie McMillan Cottom

    This episode is guest-hosted by Jamelle Bouie, a New York Times columnist whose work focuses on the intersection of politics and history. Before joining The Times in 2019, he was the chief political correspondent for Slate magazine. You can read his work here and follow him on Twitter @jbouie. (Learn more about the other guest hosts during Ezra’s parental leave here.)

    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.

    Thoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at ezrakleinshow@nytimes.com.

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