Episódios

  • The introduction to Jia Tolentino’s Trick Mirror: Reflections on Self-Delusion, hit me hard. In her investigation of how American politics and culture had collapsed into “an unbearable supernova of perpetually escalating conflict,” she became obsessed with five intersecting problems: “First, how the internet is built to distend our sense of identity; second, how it encourages us to overvalue our opinions; third, how it maximizes our sense of opposition; fourth, how it cheapens our understanding of solidarity; and, finally, how it destroys our sense of scale."

    Yeah, me too.

    My conversation with Tolentino was one of my favorites of last year -- and it has become all the more relevant in the midst of a pandemic that has collapsed most human communication into Zoom calls, Twitter feeds, and Instagram stories. This is a conversation about what happens when technology combines with the most powerful forces of human psychology to transform the nature of human interaction itself. It’s about how we construct and express our core sense of self, and what that’s doing to who we really are.

    References:
    The art of attention (with Jenny Odell)
    Book Recommendations:
    On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong
    Random Family: Love, Drugs, Trouble, and Coming of Age in the Bronx by Adrian Nicole LeBlanc
    Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City by Matthew Desmond



    Please consider making a contribution to Vox to support this show: bit.ly/givepodcasts Your support will help us keep having ambitious conversations about big ideas.
    New to the show? Want to check out Ezra’s favorite episodes? Check out the Ezra Klein Show beginner’s guide (http://bit.ly/EKSbeginhere)

    Credits:
    Producer/Editor - Jeff Geld
    Researcher in chief - Roge Karma
    Want to contact the show? Reach out at ezrakleinshow@vox.com
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  • Mike Birbiglia is one of my favorite comedians. He’s behind the specials. “Thank God for Jokes” and “My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend,” the movies “Sleepwalk With Me” and “Don’t Think Twice,” and now the book The New One.

    The New One is on a subject close to my heart: Fatherhood. Birbiglia didn’t intend to be a father. He didn’t want to be a father. But he became one. And it was hard — on him, on his wife, on his marriage. The New One is a memoir of that time — funny, but brutally honest, and touching on some of the hardest truths of parenthood. It’s the kind of book that you can’t quite believes anyone would write. I mean, who would admit that? Or that? And did you read the part where…?

    So this is a conversation with a very funny person about some very tender subjects. Something Birbiglia and I both found becoming fathers is that there’s a lot less discussion of the emotional and relational dimensions of fatherhood than you might think. Our experiences were different. But these are topics that should be discussed more, whether you’re a parent or not.

    Book recommendations:
    Nobody Will Tell You This But Me by Bess Kalb
    Feel Free by Zadie Smith



    Want to contact the show? Reach out at ezrakleinshow@vox.com
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  • In this special crossover episode of Vox's Future Perfect series, The Way Through, Co-host Sean Illing talks to David Wolpe, senior rabbi at Sinai Temple in Los Angeles, about God and how to make sense of suffering in human life.

    Relevant resources: 
    Making Loss Matter : Creating Meaning in Difficult Times by Rabbi David Wolpe
    Religion without God: Alain de Botton on "atheism 2.0." by Sean Iling

    Featuring:
    David Wolpe (@RabbiWolpe), senior rabbi at Sinai Temple in Los Angeles

    Host:
    Sean Illing (@Seanilling), senior interviews writer, Vox

    More to explore:
    Subscribe to Vox’s Future Perfect newsletter, which breaks down the big, complicated problems the world faces and the most efficient ways to solve them.

    About Vox:
    Vox is a news network that helps you cut through the noise and understand what's really driving the events in the headlines.
    Please consider making a contribution to Vox to support this show: bit.ly/givepodcasts. Your support will help us keep having ambitious conversations about big ideas.
    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • There’s been a lot of discussion lately — including on this show — of the problems facing national news. Cries of fake news, illiberalism in the administration, fractured audiences, the cancel culture debate, shaky business models, and more. But the truest crisis in news isn’t in national news. It’s in local news. 

    American newspapers cut 45 percent of newsroom staff between 2008 and 2017. From 2004 to 2015, the U.S. newspaper industry lost over 1,800 print outlets to closures and mergers. And it’s only gotten worse since then. This is truest crisis in American news media: That so many places are losing the institutions that gather the news, that bind the community together, that hold public officials accountable ands bring public concerns visibility. Vast swaths of the country are now news deserts — and it’s happening at the same time that the average news consumer feels like they’re drowning in more information than ever before.

    Margaret Sullivan was the award-winning chief editor of the Buffalo News, then the public editor of the New York Times, and now the media columnist for the Washington Post. She’s also the author of Ghosting The News: Local Journalism and the Crisis of Democracy. This is a conversation about the economic, technological, and political forces that led to the devastation of local news; what happens to communities in the absence of health local news institutions; and, just as importantly, what we can do to save and revitalize local journalism.

    Book recommendations:
    Democracy’s Detectives by James T. Hamilton
    Still Here by Alexandra Jacobs 
    Minor Characters: A Beat Memoir by Joyce Johnson

    Want to contact the show? Reach out at ezrakleinshow@vox.com
    Please consider making a contribution to Vox to support this show: bit.ly/givepodcasts Your support will help us keep having ambitious conversations about big ideas.
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    Credits:
    Producer/Editor - Jeff Geld
    Researcher in chief - Roge Karma
    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • What would it take for America to heal? To be the country it claims to be?

    This is the question that animates Bryan Stevenson’s career. Stevenson is the founder and executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative, a clinical professor at the New York University School of Law, a MacArthur genius, and the author of the remarkable book Just Mercy — which was recently turned into a feature film, where Stevenson was played by Michael B. Jordan. 

    I admire Stevenson tremendously. He has lived a life dedicated to justice. Justice for individuals — some of whom he has rescued from death row — and justice for the society he lives in. He’s one of the fairly few people I’ve found with vision for how America could find justice on the far shore of our own history. That vision is particularly needed now and so I asked him to return to the show to share it. To my delight, he agreed.

    This conversation is about truth and reconciliation in America — and about whether truth would actually lead to reconciliation in America. It’s about what the process of reckoning with our past sins and present wounds would look and feel and sound like. It’s about what we can learn from countries like Germany and South Africa, that have walked further down this path than we have. And it’s about the country and community that could lie on the other side of that confrontation. 

    Book recommendations:
    The Souls of Black Folks by W.E.B Du Bois 
    The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson 
    From Slavery to Freedom by John Hope Franklin Evelyn Higginbotham 
    The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky
    Gilead by Marilyne Robinson 

    Want to contact the show? Reach out at ezrakleinshow@vox.com
    Please consider making a contribution to Vox to support this show: bit.ly/givepodcasts Your support will help us keep having ambitious conversations about big ideas.
    New to the show? Want to check out Ezra’s favorite episodes? Check out the Ezra Klein Show beginner’s guide (http://bit.ly/EKSbeginhere)

    Credits:
    Producer/Editer - Jeff Geld
    Researcher - Roge Karma
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  • Five years ago, Oren Cass sat at the center of the Republican Party. Cass is a former management consultant who served as the domestic policy director for the Mitt Romney campaign and then as a senior fellow at the conservative Manhattan Institute. But then he launched an insurgency. 

    Today, Cass is the founder and executive director of American Compass, a new think tank created to challenge the right-wing economic orthodoxy. Cass thinks conservatism has lost its way, becoming obsessed with low tax rates and a quasi-religious veneration of markets. What conservatives need, he thinks, are clear social goals that can structure a radically new economic agenda: a vision that puts families first, eschews economic growth as the be-all-end-all of policymaking, and recognizes the inescapability of government intervention in the economy. Trump is likely — though not certain — to lose in 2020. And then, Cass thinks, Republicans will face a choice: to return to a “pre-Trump” consensus, or to build a “post-Trump future” — one that, he hopes, will prevent more Trump-like politicians from rising. 

    In this conversation, Cass and I discuss how current economic indicators fail, the relationship between economics and culture, why Cass believes production — not consumption — should be the central focus of public policy, the problems with how our society assigns status to different professions, the role that power plays in determining market outcomes, the conservative case against market fundamentalism, why Cass supports labor unions and industrial policy but not a job guarantee or publicly funded childcare, what the future of the Republican Party after Donald Trump looks like, whether Cass’s policies are big enough to solve the problems he identifies, and more.

    References:
    The Once and Future Worker by Oren Cass
    "Removing the Blinders from Economic Policy" by Oren Cass
    Book recommendations:
    The Closing of the American Mind by Allan Bloom 
    The Value of Everything by Mariana Mazzucato 
    Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy 


    Want to contact the show? Reach out at ezrakleinshow@vox.com
    Please consider making a contribution to Vox to support this show: bit.ly/givepodcasts Your support will help us keep having ambitious conversations about big ideas.
    New to the show? Want to check out Ezra’s favorite episodes? Check out the Ezra Klein Show beginner’s guide (http://bit.ly/EKSbeginhere)

    Credits:
    Producer/Editer - Jeff Geld
    Researcher - Roge Karma
    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Last week, Harper’s published an open letter arguing that “the free exchange of information and ideas, the lifeblood of a liberal society, is daily becoming more constricted.” The letter had a long list of signatories, and triggered an instant controversy, not so much for what it said as a text as for how it was being used as a political document. This is a hot debate on both sides because it traces the issue most central not just to journalists’ hearts, but to our jobs: Can we speak the truth, as best we understand it? And who, even, is “we”?

    I believe in the free exchange of information and ideas. I’ve committed my life to it. But I also worry those values are sometimes deployed as political positioning rather than democratic practice. The term "free speech" is often used here, but we're not dealing with laws regulating speech. We're dealing with media platforms that make editorial decisions as a matter of course. No one has the right to a New York Times op-ed column, or a warm reception on social media. But fear of losing your job, or your status, can chill speech — as, of course, can fear of physical or legislative harm. As such, I've come to think the core of this debate isn't freedom, but safety. The word has become polarizing, but the yearning for it is ubiquitous. To speak freely, you must feel safe, or at least safe enough. That’s what the letter’s signatories are asking for. That’s also what its critics are asking for.

    Yascha Mounk is a political scientist at Johns Hopkins University, a columnist at the Atlantic, the host of the Good Fight podcast, and now the founder of a new journal, Persuasion, dedicated to pushing back on the illiberalism he sees infecting the discourse. Yascha and I agree on most issues, and I think hold similar values, but often find ourselves arguing over this topic. So I asked him on the show to see if we could figure out why. We discuss liberalism and illiberalism, what to do with speech that restricts others from speaking, the component parts of what gets called “cancel culture,” whether the zone of debate has widened or narrowed over the past 20 years, the differing cultures of Twitter and Reddit, The NYT's Tom Cotton controversy, whether safety and free speech are truly in tension, what the word “unsafe” means to people who have daily reason to fear for their freedom and futures, and much more. 


    Want to contact the show? Reach out at ezrakleinshow@vox.com
    Please consider making a contribution to Vox to support this show: bit.ly/givepodcasts Your support will help us keep having ambitious conversations about big ideas.
    New to the show? Want to check out Ezra’s favorite episodes? Check out the Ezra Klein Show beginner’s guide (http://bit.ly/EKSbeginhere)

    Credits:
    Producer/Editer - Jeff Geld
    Researcher - Roge Karma
    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Masha Gessen grew up in the Soviet Union and spent two decades covering the resurgence of totalitarianism in Russia, before being driven from the country by policies targeting LGBT people. Watching Donald Trump win in 2016, Gessen felt like they had seen this movie before. Within forty-eight hours of Trump’s victory, Gessen’s essay “Autocracy: Rules for Survival” had gone viral, including lessons that in hindsight read as prophetic: Believe the autocrat. Do not be taken in by small signs of normality. Institutions will not save you.

    Now, Gessen is back with a new book, Surviving Autocracy, that is a collection of ideas they have been building over the course of the Trump presidency. We discuss the inherent fragility of American political institutions, Donald Trump’s autocratic aesthetic, how the language of liberal democracy paradoxically undermines genuine liberal democracy, what lessons Gessen learned from covering the rise of Vladamir Putin, why Gessen believes the US is currently in the first stage of the three part descent to autocracy, whether George W. Bush was a more damaging president than Donald Trump, the counterintuitive roots of Trumpian post-truthism, and much more.

    Book recommendation:
    The Post-Communist Mafia State by Balint Magyar


    Want to contact the show? Reach out at ezrakleinshow@vox.com
    Please consider making a contribution to Vox to support this show: bit.ly/givepodcasts Your support will help us keep having ambitious conversations about big ideas.
    New to the show? Want to check out Ezra’s favorite episodes? Check out the Ezra Klein Show beginner’s guide (http://bit.ly/EKSbeginhere)

    Credits:
    Producer/Editer/ Audio Master Jeff Geld
    Researcher - Roge Karma
    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • When we talk about AI, we’re often talking about a very particular, narrow form of intelligence — the sort of analytical competence that can win you games of GO or solve complex math equations. That type of intelligence is important, but it’s incomplete. Human affairs don’t operate on reason and logic alone. They sometimes don't operate on reason and logic at all.

    In 1995, computer scientist Rosalind Picard wrote a paper and subsequent book making the case that the fields of computer science and AI should take emotion seriously, and providing a framework for how machines could come to understand, express and monitor emotion. That project launched the field of “Affective Computing” and today Picard is the founder and director of the Affective Computing Research Group at MIT, and a leading inventor and entrepreneur in affective computing. 

    In this conversation, Picard and I discuss the importance of emotional cognition to human decision-making, how emotion-tracking technology is being used to help disadvantaged populations (but could also be used to bring about dystopian results), how affective computing deals with the subjective expressions of human emotions, what studying affective computing taught her about interacting with other humans, why Picard believes the goal of AI technology should be to “empower the weak”and “reduce inequality,” and much more.

    Book recommendations:
    The Bible (stick around for the reasoning behind this one)


    Want to contact the show? Reach out at ezrakleinshow@vox.com
    Please consider making a contribution to Vox to support this show: bit.ly/givepodcasts Your support will help us keep having ambitious conversations about big ideas.
    New to the show? Want to check out Ezra’s favorite episodes? Check out the Ezra Klein Show beginner’s guide (http://bit.ly/EKSbeginhere)

    Credits:
    Producer/Editer/ Jack-of-all-audio-trades Jeff Geld
    Researcher - Roge Karma
    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • My first conversation with Harvard political theorist Danielle Allen in fall 2019 was one of my all-time favorites. I didn’t expect to have Allen on again so soon, but her work is unusually relevant to our current moment.

    She’s written an entire book about the deeper argument of the Declaration of Independence and the way our superficial reading and folk history of the document obscures its radicalism. (It’ll make you look at July Fourth in a whole new way). Her most recent book, Cuz, is a searing indictment of the American criminal justice system, driven by watching her cousin go through it and motivated by the murder that ended his life. Harvard’s Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics, which Allen directs, has released the most comprehensive, operational road map for mobilizing and reopening the US economy amidst the Covid-19 crisis. And to top it all off, a two-year bipartisan commission of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, which Allen co-chaired, recently released a report with more than 30 recommendations on how to reform American democracy — and they’re very, very good.

    This is a wide-ranging conversation for a wide-ranging moment. Allen and I discuss what “all men are created equal” really means, why the myth of Thomas Jefferson’s sole authorship of the Declaration of Independence muddies its message, the role of police brutality in the American revolution, democracy reforms such as ranked-choice voting, DC statehood, mandatory voting, how to deal with a Republican Party that opposes expanding democracy, the case for prison abolition, the various pandemic response paths before us, the failure of political leadership in this moment, and much more.

    References:
    My first conversation with Danielle Allen
    Harvard’s Edmond J. Safra Center's Covid-19 work
    "Our Common Purpose" report on reinventing democracy for the 21st century

    Book recommendations:
    To Shape a New World by Brandon Terry and Tommie Shelby 
    Solitary by Alfred Woodfox 
    The Torture Letters by Laurence Ralph


    Want to contact the show? Reach out at ezrakleinshow@vox.com
    Please consider making a contribution to Vox to support this show: bit.ly/givepodcasts Your support will help us keep having ambitious conversations about big ideas.
    New to the show? Want to check out Ezra’s favorite episodes? Check out the Ezra Klein Show beginner’s guide (http://bit.ly/EKSbeginhere)

    Credits:
    Producer/Editer/ Jack-of-all-audio-trades Jeff Geld
    Researcher - Roge Karma
    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Land of the Giants is a podcast from our friends at Recode and the Vox Media Podcast Network that examines the most powerful tech companies of our time.
     
    The second season is called The Netflix Effect, and it’s hosted by Recode editors Rani Molla and Peter Kafka.
     
    The Netflix Effect explores how a company that began as a small DVD-by-mail service ultimately upended Hollywood and completely changed the way we watch TV.
     
    It’s a fascinating look at what really goes on behind the scenes at Netflix, one of the few companies that’s actually growing during the pandemic, and how they’re continuing to transform entertainment for you and me.  
     
    New episodes are released every Tuesday morning. 
    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • In 1964, the Canadian philosopher Marshall McLuhan wrote his opus Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man. In it, he writes, “In the long run, a medium's content matters less than the medium itself in influencing how we think and act." Or, put more simply: "Media work their magic, or their mischief, on the nervous system itself."

    This idea — that the media technologies we rely on reshape us on a fundamental, cognitive level — sits at the center of Nicholas Carr's 2010 book The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains. A world defined by oral traditions is more social, unstructured, and multi-sensory; a world defined by the written written word is more individualistic, disciplined, and hyper-visual. A world defined by texting, scrolling and social feedback is addicted to stimulus, constantly forming and affirming expressions of identity, accustomed to waves of information.

    Back in 2010, Carr argued that the internet was changing how we thought, and not necessarily for the better. “"My brain, I realized, wasn't just drifting,” he wrote. “It was hungry. It was demanding to be fed the same way the net fed it — and the more it was fed, the hungrier it became.” His book was a finalist for the Pulitzer that year, but dismissed by many, including me. Ten years on, I regret that dismissal. Reading it now, it is outrageously prescient, offering a framework and language for ideas and experiences I’ve been struggling to define for a decade. 

    Carr saw where we were going, and now I wanted to ask him where we are. In this conversation, Carr and I discuss how speaking, reading, and now the Internet have each changed our brains in different ways, why "paying attention" doesn't come naturally to us, why we’re still reading Marshall McLuhan, how human memory actually works, why having your phone in sight makes you less creative, what separates "deep reading” from simply reading, why deep reading is getting harder, why building connections is more important than absorbing information, the benefits to collapsing the world into a connected digital community, and much more.

    The point of this conversation is not that the internet is bad, nor that it is good. It’s that it is changing us, just as every medium before it has. We need to see those changes clearly in order to take control of them ourselves. 

    Book recommendations:
    The Control Revolution by James R. Beniger
    The Four-Dimensional Human by Laurence Scott
    A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan

    Want to contact the show? Reach out at ezrakleinshow@vox.com
    Please consider making a contribution to Vox to support this show: bit.ly/givepodcasts Your support will help us keep having ambitious conversations about big ideas.
    New to the show? Want to check out Ezra’s favorite episodes? Check out the Ezra Klein Show beginner’s guide (http://bit.ly/EKSbeginhere)

    Credits:
    Producer/Editer - Jeff Geld
    Research Czar - Roge Karma
    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Believe it or not, we’re already halfway through 2020. What a great year so far, huh? Just a delight. That means it’s time for an AMA. Among the questions you asked:

    If Joe Biden is elected president, what should his administration's first legislative priority be? 

    What were the best critiques of Why We’re Polarized? 

    How much of today's political conflict comes down to the Boomer/Millennial divide?

    What’s your reading process?

    What does preparation for EK Show episodes look like?

    If you were only intellectually accountable to beauty and not truth, what religion would you choose? 

    What’s your favorite non-Vox podcast?

    What’s your biggest takeaway from year 1 of being a dad?

    East coast or west coast? 

    What are the episodes that you have the most fun doing? 

    What’s an important identity of yours that doesn’t usually come out on the show? 

    Roge Karma joins me for this one.

    References:
    "In praise of polarization" by Ezra Klein
    "Imagining the nonviolent state" by Ezra Klein

    Ezra's book recommendations:
    The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
    Beyond Ideology by Francis Lee
    What It Takes by Richard Ben Cramer 

    Most fun EK Shows:
    I build a world with fantasy master N.K. Jemisin
    The art of attention, with Jenny Odell
    Tracy K. Smith changed how I read poetry
    How Hasan Minhaj is reinventing political comedy

    Want to contact the show? Reach out at ezrakleinshow@vox.com
    Please consider making a contribution to Vox to support this show: bit.ly/givepodcasts Your support will help us keep having ambitious conversations about big ideas.
    New to the show? Want to check out Ezra’s favorite episodes? Check out the Ezra Klein Show beginner’s guide (http://bit.ly/EKSbeginhere)

    Credits:
    Producer/Editer/Audio Wizard - Jeff Geld
    Researcher/Guest host - Roge Karma
    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • I got my start as a blogger. But more specifically, I got my start as a health policy blogger. My first piece of writing I remember people really caring about was a series called “The Health of Nations,” in which I checked out books from college library, downloaded international reports, and profiled the world’s leading health systems. It was crude stuff, but it taught me a lot. The way we do health care isn’t the only way to do health care. It’s not the best way, or the second best, or the third.

    Ezekiel Emanuel is a bioethicist, oncologist, and co-director of the University of Pennsylvania’s Health Transformation Institute. He was a top health policy advisor in the Obama administration, he’s a senior fellow at the Center for American progress, he makes his own artisanal chocolate, and he’s got a new book — Which Country Has the World’s Best Healthcare? — where he goes into more detail than I ever did, or could, to profile other health systems and rank them against our own.

    So, yes, this is a conversation about which country has the world’s best health system. But it’s also about how innovation in health care actually works, whether there’s any evidence private insurers add actual value, whether health care is the best investment to make in improving health (spoiler: no), how do you improve a health system when half of the political system will fight like hell against those improvements, and much more. Emanuel has also been doing a lot of work on coronavirus policy, and so we spend some time there, discussing the question that’ tormenting me now: Are we simply giving up that fight? And is there even a politically viable option to giving up, given how much time the government has wasted and how exhausted the public is?

    Book recommendations:
    Master of the Senate by Robert Caro
    The Last Place on Earth by Roland Huntford
    On His Own Terms: A Life of Nelson Rockefeller by Richard Norton Smith


    Want to contact the show? Reach out at ezrakleinshow@vox.com
    Please consider making a contribution to Vox to support this show: bit.ly/givepodcasts Your support will help us keep having ambitious conversations about big ideas.
    New to the show? Want to check out Ezra’s favorite episodes? Check out the Ezra Klein Show beginner’s guide (http://bit.ly/EKSbeginhere)

    Credits:
    Producer/Editer/Audio Wizard - Jeff Geld
    Researcher - Roge Karma
    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • The criminal justice system asks three questions: What law was broken? Who broke it? And what should the punishment be? Upon that edifice — and channeled through old bigotries and fears — we have built the largest system of human incarceration on earth. America accounts for 5 percent of the world’s population and 25 percent of its imprisoned population. 

    Restorative justice asks different questions: Who was harmed? What do they need? And whose obligation is it to meet those needs? It is a radically different model, with profoundly different results both for victims and perpetrators. Studies show restorative justice programs leave survivors more satisfied, cut recidivism rates, and cost less. If we’re thinking about rebuilding the criminal justice program, restorative justice should be central to that conversation. 

    sujatha baliga is the director of the Restorative Justice Project at Impact Justice. She won a MacArthur “genius” grant in 2019. She’s a survivor of abuse herself. Her work points toward a new paradigm for criminal justice: one focused on repairing breaches, not exacting retribution. And it carries lessons for how our politics might function, how our society could heal some of its oldest wounds, and how we live our own precious lives. 

    References:
    "Imagining the nonviolent state" by Ezra Klein
    Healing Resistance: A Radically Different Response to Harm by Kazu Haga
    Book recommendations:
    For the Benefit of All Beings by the Dalai Lama 
    The Structure of Scientific Revolutions by Thomas Kuhn
    The Sunflower: On the Possibilities and Limits of Forgiveness by Simon Wiesenthal

    Want to contact the show? Reach out at ezrakleinshow@vox.com
    Please consider making a contribution to Vox to support this show: bit.ly/givepodcasts Your support will help us keep having ambitious conversations about big ideas.
    New to the show? Want to check out Ezra’s favorite episodes? Check out the Ezra Klein Show beginner’s guide (http://bit.ly/EKSbeginhere)

    Credits:
    Producer/Editor - Jeff Geld
    Researcher extraordinaire - Roge Karma
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  • In his new book, The Decadent Society, New York Times columnist Ross Douthat diagnoses America’s core problems as decadence: “a situation in which repetition is more the norm than innovation; in which sclerosis afflicts public institution and private enterprises alike; in which intellectual life seems to go in circles; in which new developments in science, new exploratory projects, underdeliver compared with what people recently expected.”

    Douthat argues that there is a kind of ideological exhaustion, a spiritual malaise, at the center of the American project. We are a victim of our own successes, undone by our own achievements, and unable to break free from our oldest debates. But is he right?

    Ross and I cover a lot of ground in this conversation. We discuss why conservative Catholics talk so much more about sex than poverty, the dangers of the expansionary impulse, whether psychedelic culture is an antidote to decadence, the importance of utopian ambition, the moral foundations of effective altruism, the problem with contemporary science fiction, whether political liberalism is dependent on Christian metaphysics, why America can’t build, whether war is necessary for existential meaning, how the New York Times op-ed page has changed over the past decade, and much more.

    Book recommendations:
    From Dawn to Decadence by Jacques Barzun
    The Illusion of the End by Jean Baudrillard
    The End of History and the Last Man by Francis Fukuyama
    The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
    The Children of Men by PD James



    Want to contact the show? Reach out at ezrakleinshow@vox.com
    Please consider making a contribution to Vox to support this show: bit.ly/givepodcasts Your support will help us keep having ambitious conversations about big ideas.
    New to the show? Want to check out Ezra’s favorite episodes? Check out the Ezra Klein Show beginner’s guide (http://bit.ly/EKSbeginhere)

    Credits:
    Producer/Editor - Jeff Geld
    Researcher - Roge Karma
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  • You may have been following — I hope you are following — the New York Times's recent UFO reporting. Videos that the Navy confirms are real show pilots seeing and marveling over craft they can't explain. And as former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid put it, those videos “only scratch the surface” of the Pentagon's UFO research.

    UFOs are one of those topics that it’s hard to take seriously because they’re covered in kitsch and conspiracy. But there are those who take them seriously, which means approaching the question with humility. The history, frequency, and consistency of these events point toward something that merits study. But the explanations we force onto them — from religious visitations to aliens — confuse us further. We’re working backward from beliefs we already have, not forward from phenomena we don’t understand. 

    Diana Walsh Pasulka is a professor of religious studies at the University of North Carolina Wilmington and chair of the Department of Philosophy and Religion. In 2019, she published a fascinating book called American Cosmic: UFOs, Religion, Technology, in which she embeds in the world of UFO research and tries to understand it using the tools of religious scholarship. The results are revelatory in terms of theory but also in terms of the things she sees, learns, and is forced to confront.

    Sometimes it's healthy — and, to be honest, fun — to train our attention on what we can't explain, not just what we can. In this episode, we do just that.

    Book recommendations:
    Passport to Magonia by Jacques Vallee
    Authors of the Impossible by Jeffrey J. Kripal
    UFOs: Generals, Pilots, and Government Officials Go on the Record by Leslie Kean


    Want to contact the show? Reach out at ezrakleinshow@vox.com
    Please consider making a contribution to Vox to support this show: bit.ly/givepodcasts Your support will help us keep having ambitious conversations about big ideas.
    New to the show? Want to check out Ezra’s favorite episodes? Check out the Ezra Klein Show beginner’s guide (http://bit.ly/EKSbeginhere)

    Credits:
    Producer/Editor - Jeff Geld
    Researcher - Roge Karma
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  • In 2017, Paul Butler published the book Chokehold: Policing Black Men. For Butler the chokehold is much more than a barbaric police tactic; it is also a powerful powerful metaphor for understanding how racial oppression functions in the US criminal justice system. 

    Butler describes a chokehold as “a process of coercing submission that is self-reinforcing. A chokehold justifies additional pressure on the body because a body does not come into compliance, but a body cannot come into compliance because of the vice grip that is on it.” That, he says, is the black experience in the United States. 

    Butler knows that experience all too well. He began his legal career as a criminal prosecutor, a job that he describes in this conversation as “basically just locking up black men.” Then, the tables turned and Butler found himself falsely accused of a misdemeanor assault. "After that experience I didn’t want to be a prosecutor any more," he writes. "I don’t think every cop lies in court but I know for sure that one did." 

    That experience put Butler on a journey very different than the one he began. Butler, now a Georgetown Law professor, has come to believe that the criminal justice system is not merely broken and in need of repair; rather, it is working exactly as it was designed, and thus needs to be completely reimagined.

    Book recommendations:
    Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison
    Sula by Toni Morrison

    Want to contact the show? Reach out at ezrakleinshow@vox.com
    Please consider making a contribution to Vox to support this show: bit.ly/givepodcasts Your support will help us keep having ambitious conversations about big ideas.
    New to the show? Want to check out Ezra’s favorite episodes? Check out the Ezra Klein Show beginner’s guide (http://bit.ly/EKSbeginhere)
    Credits:
    Editor - Jackson Bierfeldt
    Researcher - Roge Karma
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  • The first question I asked Ta-Nehisi Coates, in this episode, was broad: What does he see right now, as he looks out at the country? “I can't believe I'm gonna say this,” he replied, “but I see hope. I see progress right now.”

    Coates is the author of the National Book Award-winner Between the World and Me and The Water Dancer, among others. We discuss how this moment differs from 1968, the tension between “law” and “order,” the contested legacy of MLK, Trump's view of the presidency, police abolition, why we need to renegotiate the idea of “the public,” how the consensus on criminal justice has shifted, what Joe Biden represents, the proper role of the state, the poetry Coates recommends, and much more. 

    But there’s one thread of this conversation, in particular, that I haven’t been able to put down: There is now, as there always is amidst protests, a loud call for the protesters to follow the principles of nonviolence. And that call, as Coates says, comes from people who neither practice nor heed nonviolence in their own lives. But what if we turned that conversation around: What would it mean to build the state around principles of nonviolence, rather than reserving that exacting standard for those harmed by the state?

    Book recommendations:
    Punishment and Inequality in America by Bruce Western
    Marked: Race, Crime, and Finding Work in an Era of Mass Incarceration by Devah Pager
    The Country Between Us by Carolyn Forche

    Want to contact the show? Reach out at ezrakleinshow@vox.com
    Please consider making a contribution to Vox to support this show: bit.ly/givepodcasts Your support will help us keep having ambitious conversations about big ideas.
    New to the show? Want to check out Ezra’s favorite episodes? Check out the Ezra Klein Show beginner’s guide (http://bit.ly/EKSbeginhere)
    Credits:
    Editor - Jackson Bierfeldt
    Researcher - Roge Karma
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  • Dutch historian and De Correspondent writer Rutger Bregman got famous for the lashings he gave Tucker Carlson and the assembled plutocrats of Davos. But his work is far more utopian than polemical. The conversation we had on this show almost a year ago on his previous book Utopia for Realists is still one of my favorites.

    Bregman's new book, Humankind: A Hopeful History, is even more ambitious: it's an effort to establish that human beings, human nature, is kinder, friendlier, more decent, than we are given credit for. And that a new world could be built atop that understanding.

    I'm not convinced by everything in this book, to be honest. But that tension makes this conversation unusually generative. We discuss the deeply social, egalitarian lives of hunter-gatherers, whether the advent of human civilization was a huge mistake, and how our views toward religious faith have changed radically since our early 20s; and we debate whether humans have a nature at all, the implications of the Holocaust, whether we can build a society without CEOs, politicians, and bureaucrats, and more

    By the end, I'm still not sure I believe there is one human nature. But, I do think that if we believed Bregman's view of our nature, rather than, say, Donald Trump's view of our nature, maybe we could build something much more beautiful.

    Book recommendations:
    Affluence without Abundance by James Suzman
    Behind the Shock Machine by Gina Perry
    The Lost Boys by Gina Perry
    How to Tame a Fox (and Build a Dog) by Lee Alan Dugatkin and Lyudmila Trut

    Want to contact the show? Reach out at ezrakleinshow@vox.com
    Please consider making a contribution to Vox to support this show: bit.ly/givepodcasts Your support will help us keep having ambitious conversations about big ideas.
    New to the show? Want to check out Ezra’s favorite episodes? Check out the Ezra Klein Show beginner’s guide (http://bit.ly/EKSbeginhere)
    Credits:
    Producer/Editor - Jeff Geld
    Researcher - Roge Karma
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