Episode 267 · 1 week ago
Empathizing Past the Graveyard
ABOUT THIS EPISODE
This weekend’s Ruminant sees Jonah starting off in some classic Remnant Bingo™, but peppered in with a healthy dose of interesting new information on those topics – in this case, anti-Enlightenment nationalism, and the establishment of fair rules under classically liberal societies. This comes along in addition to a rundown of the ham-fisted efforts by many outlets to pretend that “originalism” is actually something much more radical and antediluvian than it really is. Then, Jonah moves on to a topic that our culture could desperately use some clarification on: “Justice” and “social justice” are two different things – and “bending the will of every institution towards social justice … is how you end up with a kind of soft totalitarianism.” And, in this particularly relaxed-fit episode, we even get some rank punditry on the tail end on subjects like the censored New York Post story and much more.
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Episode 263 · 2 weeks ago
Remnant first-timer Jonathan Adler joins Jonah today, not to watch Cheech and Chong over a bag of Doritos, but to talk about the politics of marijuana. Earlier in the year (right around the time that the world was ending, actually), Adler edited a volume entitled Marijuana Federalism, which explored the legal contradictions within the laws regarding cannabis in the U.S.; the situation is somewhat unprecedented, in that we now have a substance that is a federal crime to possess, while many states have had such an overwhelming turn in public opinion that this same substance has now become perfectly legal within their own jurisdiction. How do individual states get away with this without the feds swooping in? The amusing answer is something like: Eh, turns out that the feds are pretty understaffed.
Jonah then moves on to his role - well-known among the Remnant fan base - as Inquisitor of Libertarians, figuring out how Adler feels about total drug legalization. He gives one of the most grounded and logical responses to this inquisition we’ve ever heard on the program, continually emphasizing the fundamental fact of American federalism: “The freedom to live how you want to live also includes the freedom to live conservatively.” This brings the two gents down the avenues of nationalism, post-liberalism, and the hope for a return to localism, all wrapped up with a bow of “420” puns that Jonah just can’t help but put to good use.
Episode 262 · 3 weeks ago
Since the first six days of October 2020 have felt like 87 years, who’s better to sift through everything that has happened than one of The Dispatch’s own quadrumvirate of podcasters, Steve Hayes? Here to give Jonah the inside scoop on some of the background reporting he’s done for The Morning Dispatch, Steve has some ideas about how Trump’s overly-cinematic return to the White House could’ve been handled better, why there was a communication breakdown between Trump’s medical staff and his PR people, and, most mysteriously, what on God’s green earth Mark Meadows has been trying to do for the past few days.
Beyond these more Machiavellian machinations, they also delve into some of the downright silliness that’s gone on – such as the new pessimism that anything can even be done to stop COVID, since it’s a contagious disease (the stamping out of which has characterized (“Uh… literally the entire history of human civilization,” in Jonah’s words). They also give an update on the State of The Dispatch, and ponder what their place in the conservative media landscape may look like in a post-Trump era – whether that’s sooner or later.
Episode 261 · 3 weeks ago
This weekend’s Ruminant features Jonah running through a set of possible scenarios that might play out given President Trump’s COVID diagnosis – if we do say so ourselves, it’s a positively David French-like methodology given the approach to David’s new book (!). Will Trump be able to do a Zoom debate? Will Mike Pence have the opportunity to do more than he currently does (which, as of now, seems to be standing completely still in a pensive silence like a sculpture of a Roman general)?
Then, Jonah discusses the current partisan tendency for “both the right and the left [to] weaponized norms,” chastising opponents for hypocrisy while refusing to adopt responsibility for their own flubs that damage the constitutional order. He explores the ways in which this manifests in both the nationalism debates as well as the current SCOTUS mess, and how the more intellectually serious proponents of nationalism can’t seem to decide whether they actually like to play by the rules or make things up as they go. All of this is followed up by a veritable potpourri of quick hits: Inside baseball on how syndicated column publishing works, how dumb the tax code is, steaks, dogma, and more.
Episode 260 · 3 weeks ago
In true Remnant fashion, Jonah speaks to Seth Masket – a political scientist at the University of Denver – in an attempt to understand why so few people in American life actually get what they want out of their vote. In Seth’s new book, Learning from Loss, he traces the Democratic Party’s inability to come up with a coherent “autopsy” post-2016 as Republicans did post-2012 (which is not to say that the GOP actually followed its own advice; we wouldn’t have Trump if it did). There’s some debate punditry at the beginning, before Seth and Jonah swiftly move into the explanations that Democratic organizers and activists have developed for why Clinton lost to Trump. The primary explanations often focus on a contentious topic: identity politics. As Seth says, “Doing this research helped to remind me that all identity claims are essentially a construction,” but for something so artificial, they have a very outsized effect on our politics. While Seth and Jonah effectively take opposite sides on this issue, they generate much more light than heat, while also arriving at an answer to the fundamentally important question in 2020: For a party so concerned with diversity, how is it that the Dems ended up nominating a septuagenarian white guy?