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The Ezra Klein Show

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The Ezra Klein Show

The Ezra Klein Show

Vox

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Followers
5.7K
Plays
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About Us

Ezra Klein brings you far-reaching conversations about hard problems, big ideas, illuminating theories, and cutting-edge research. Want to know how Stacey Abrams feels about identity politics? How Hasan Minhaj is reinventing political comedy? The plans behind Elizabeth Warren’s plans? How Michael Lewis reads minds? This is the podcast for you. Produced by Vox and the Vox Media Podcast Network.

Latest Episodes

Ta-Nehisi Coates on my “cold, atheist book”

This one was a pleasure. Ta-Nehisi Coates joined me in Brooklyn for part of the “Why We’re Polarized” tour. His description of the book may be my favorite yet. It is, he says, “a cold, atheist book.” We talk about what that means, and from there, go into some of the harder questions raised not so much by the book, but by American history itself. Then Coates asked me a question I never expected to hear from him: Is there anything I could say to leave him with some hope? Don’t miss this one. New to the show? Want to listen to Ezra's favorite episodes? Check out The Ezra Klein Show beginner's guide. Ezra's book is available at www.EzraKlein.com. The “Why We’re Polarized” tour continues, with events in Austin, Nashville, Chicago, and Greenville. Go to WhyWerePolarized.com for the full schedule! Want to contact the show? Reach out at ezrakleinshow@vox.com Credits: Producer/Editor - Jeff Geld Researcher - Roge Karma Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

75 MIN1 d ago
Comments
Ta-Nehisi Coates on my “cold, atheist book”

If God is dead, then … socialism?

Hello! I’m Sean Illing, Vox’s interviews writer filling in for Ezra while he’s on book tour.My guest today is Martin Hägglund, a philosopher at Yale and the author of This Life: Secular Faith and Spiritual Freedom, which I consider to be one of the most ambitious and important books in the last several years. We begin by discussing what it means to live a free and purposeful life without regret or illusion. For Hägglund, this life is all we have. There is no heaven, no afterlife, no eternal beyond. We live and we die and that means that the most important question any of us can possibly ask is, “What should we do with our time?” We end by talking about the limits of capitalism, namely why it doesn’t really allow us to own our time in the way we ought to. And thus why, for Hägglund, democratic socialism is the only political project that takes the human condition seriously. This is an unusual conversation, but, I have to say, I loved it. I appreciate and admire Hägglund’s willingness to tackle the biggest questions any us can ever ask, and I think by the end of it you will, too. Book recommendations: Fellow Creatures: Our Obligations to the other animals by Christine Korsgaard On the Soul (De Anima) by Aristotle Phenomenology of Spirit by G.W.F Hegel Follow Sean Illing at Vox or on Twitter @seanilling New to the show? Want to listen to Ezra's favorite episodes? Check out The Ezra Klein Show beginner's guide. Ezra's book is available at www.EzraKlein.com. The “Why We’re Polarized” tour continues, with events in Austin, Nashville, Chicago, and Greenville. Go to WhyWerePolarized.com for the full schedule! Want to contact the show? Reach out at ezrakleinshow@vox.com Credits: Guest host - Sean Illing Producer - Jeff Geld Researcher - Roge Karma Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

65 MIN4 d ago
Comments
If God is dead, then … socialism?

Tim Urban on humanity’s wild future

I’ve been a fan of Tim Urban and his site Wait But Why for a long time. Urban uses whimsical illustrations, infographics, and friendly, nontechnical language to explain everything from AI to space exploration to the Fermi Paradox. Urban's most recent project is an explainer series called “The Story of Us." It began as an attempt to understand what is going on in American politics today, and quickly turned into a deep exploration into humanity's past: how we evolved, the history of civilization, and the way our psychologies have come to interact with the world around us. My initial theory of this conversation was that Urban’s work has interesting points of convergence and divergence with my book. But once we got to talking, something more interesting emerged: Based on his reading of human history, psychology, and technological advancement, Urban has come to believe we are at an existential fork-in-the-road as a species. A hundred years from now, Urban thinks, our species will eith...

90 MIN1 w ago
Comments
Tim Urban on humanity’s wild future

Jill Lepore on what I get wrong

Jill Lepore is a Harvard historian, a New Yorker contributor, the author of These Truths, and one of my favorite past guests on this show. But in this episode, the tables are turned: I’m in the hot seat, and Lepore has some questions. Hard ones. This is, easily, the toughest interview on my book so far. Lepore isn’t quibbling over my solutions or pointing out a contrary study — what she challenges are the premises, epistemology, and meta-structure that form the foundation of my book, and much of my work. Her question, in short, is: What if social science itself is too crude to be a useful way of understanding the political world? But that’s what makes this conversation great. We discuss whether all political science research on polarization might be completely wrong, why (and whether) my book is devoid of individual or institutional “villains,” and whether I am morally obliged to delete my Twitter account, in addition to the missing party in American politics, why I mistrust historical narratives, media polarization, and much more. This is, on one level, a conversation about Why We’re Polarized. But on a deeper level, it’s about different modes of knowledge and whether we can trust them. New to the show? Want to listen to Ezra's favorite episodes? Check out The Ezra Klein Show beginner's guide. My book is available at www.EzraKlein.com. The “Why We’re Polarized” tour continues, with events in Portland, Seattle, Austin, Nashville, Chicago, and Greenville. Go to WhyWerePolarized.com for the full schedule! Want to contact the show? Reach out at ezrakleinshow@vox.com Credits: Producer - Jeff Geld Researcher - Roge Karma Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

85 MIN1 w ago
Comments
Jill Lepore on what I get wrong

Is Tom Steyer the solution to our dysfunctional politics?

Tom Steyer has worked for Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley. He made his billions running a hedge fund for decades before moving into progressive activism on causes like democratization, climate change, and impeaching Donald Trump. Now, he is running for president of the United States. Steyer’s primary message on the campaign trial is that we need to get money, lobbyists and corporate influence out of politics. At the same time, he is the living embodiment of much of what he thinks is broken about our system. He used his wealth as a shortcut onto the presidential debate stage and, in doing so, essentially wrote the playbook for any future billionaire who decides they want a shot at winning the highest office in the land. So, is Steyer the solution to our dysfunctional politics -- or is he part of the problem? That question is a lot bigger than Steyer himself. It is about the kinds of people we think will best represent the interests of non-billionaires. It is about the sort of influ...

66 MIN2 w ago
Comments
Is Tom Steyer the solution to our dysfunctional politics?

Why We're Polarized, with Jamelle Bouie (live!)

The Why We’re Polarized book tour kicked off this week with a wonderful event at Sixth and I in Washington, DC. My conversation partner for this one was New York Times columnist Jamelle Bouie. Our interview was great, and then the audience questions were so good we had to keep them in as well. We discuss: • Why things were far worse in the “golden age” of the 1950s and ’60s than they are today • Why the key question isn’t so much “why are we polarized?” as “why weren’t we polarized?” • Why “moderate” Republicans end up losing to conservatives • Why demographic change is the core cleavage of American politics today • How polarization makes bipartisanship irrational and political dysfunction the norm • Why Donald Trump and Mitch McConnell are not the causes of polarization but rather the most clear manifestations of it • That more information doesn’t rescue politics • Why America today is not functionally a democracy (and why I hate when people claim it is a “rep...

76 MIN2 w ago
Comments
Why We're Polarized, with Jamelle Bouie (live!)

Antisemitism now, antisemitism then

“The bad days are back” wrote Batya Ungar-Sargon in the Forward in December, “Orthodox Jews are living through a new age of pogroms. This week, as we celebrated the Festival of Lights, there were no fewer than 10 anti-Semitic attacks in the New York area alone.” Antisemitism is occasionally called “the oldest hatred.” It thrums across continents and eras, finding new targets for old prejudices. But where, exactly, does it come from? Why is it such a hardy weed? And why does this era feel so thick with it? Deborah Lipstadt, a professor of Modern Jewish History and Holocaust Studies at Emory University, is the author ofAntisemitism: Here and Now. We discuss the earliest forms, tropes, and rationales for antisemitism, and the cultural reasons for their persistence. Lipstadt explains the way right- and left-wing antisemitism differ, and examines the charges of antisemitism levied against some modern politicians, like Donald Trump and Jeremy Corbyn. We talk about antisemitism in th...

91 MIN3 w ago
Comments
Antisemitism now, antisemitism then

Book excerpt: A better theory of identity politics

This is a podcast episode literally years in the making. It’s an excerpt — the first anywhere — from my book Why We’re Polarized. A core argument of the book is that identity is the central driver of political polarization. But to see how it works, we need a better theory of how identities form, what happens when they activate, and where they fit into our conflicts. We’ve been taught to only see identity politics in others. We need to see it in ourselves. If you’re a longtime listener, this excerpt — like the broader book — will tie a lot of threads on this show together. If you’re a new listener, it’ll give you, I hope, a clearer way to understand a powerful driver of our politics and our lives. Why We’re Polarized comes out on January 28. You can order it, both in text and audiobook forms, at WhyWerePolarized.com. Find the audio book on Audible.com New to the show? Want to listen to Ezra's favorite episodes? Check out The Ezra Klein Show beginner's guide. Want to contac...

64 MIN3 w ago
Comments
Book excerpt: A better theory of identity politics

The war on Muslims (with Mehdi Hasan)

With “reeducation" camps in China, religious disenfranchisement in India, ethnic cleansing in Myanmar, street violence in Sri Lanka, mass shootings in New Zealand, the flourishing of far-right parties across Europe, and the mainstreaming of Islamophobia in America, there’s been a global surge in anti-Muslim bigotry — often supported by the full power and might of the state. It’s one of the most frightening and undercovered political stories of our time. Mehdi Hasan is a senior writer for the Intercept, the host of the Deconstructed podcast, and the anchor of Al Jazeera’s Up Front. He’s done some of the best reporting on anti-Muslim prejudice and persecutions worldwide, covering everything from Narendra Modi’s rise in India to the treatment of Uighurs in China to the role that social media plays in amplifying anti-Muslim sentiment. We discuss all of that in this conversation, but we also try to answer some deeper questions: Why Muslims? Why now? What is the ideology that drive...

90 MINJAN 20
Comments
The war on Muslims (with Mehdi Hasan)

Post-debate special!

Vox's Matt Yglesias and I unpack the debate that did, and didn't, happen. Related reading: "Joe Biden will never give up on the system" by Ezra Klein "4 winners and 3 losers from the January Democratic debate" Vox Staff "The case for Elizabeth Warren" by Ezra Klein "Bernie Sanders can unify Democrats and beat Trump in 2020" by Matthew Yglesias "Joe Biden skates by again" by Matt Yglesias "Elizabeth Warren’s new plan to reform bankruptcy law, explained" by Matt Yglesias "The Third Rail of Calling ‘Sexism’ Warren tried not to talk about it." by Rebecca Traister My book is available for pre-order! You can find it at www.EzraKlein.com. Want to contact the show? Reach out at ezrakleinshow@vox.com You can subscribe to Ezra's new podcast Impeachment, explained on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Overcast, Pocket Casts, or your favorite podcast app. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

60 MINJAN 16
Comments
Post-debate special!

Latest Episodes

Ta-Nehisi Coates on my “cold, atheist book”

This one was a pleasure. Ta-Nehisi Coates joined me in Brooklyn for part of the “Why We’re Polarized” tour. His description of the book may be my favorite yet. It is, he says, “a cold, atheist book.” We talk about what that means, and from there, go into some of the harder questions raised not so much by the book, but by American history itself. Then Coates asked me a question I never expected to hear from him: Is there anything I could say to leave him with some hope? Don’t miss this one. New to the show? Want to listen to Ezra's favorite episodes? Check out The Ezra Klein Show beginner's guide. Ezra's book is available at www.EzraKlein.com. The “Why We’re Polarized” tour continues, with events in Austin, Nashville, Chicago, and Greenville. Go to WhyWerePolarized.com for the full schedule! Want to contact the show? Reach out at ezrakleinshow@vox.com Credits: Producer/Editor - Jeff Geld Researcher - Roge Karma Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

75 MIN1 d ago
Comments
Ta-Nehisi Coates on my “cold, atheist book”

If God is dead, then … socialism?

Hello! I’m Sean Illing, Vox’s interviews writer filling in for Ezra while he’s on book tour.My guest today is Martin Hägglund, a philosopher at Yale and the author of This Life: Secular Faith and Spiritual Freedom, which I consider to be one of the most ambitious and important books in the last several years. We begin by discussing what it means to live a free and purposeful life without regret or illusion. For Hägglund, this life is all we have. There is no heaven, no afterlife, no eternal beyond. We live and we die and that means that the most important question any of us can possibly ask is, “What should we do with our time?” We end by talking about the limits of capitalism, namely why it doesn’t really allow us to own our time in the way we ought to. And thus why, for Hägglund, democratic socialism is the only political project that takes the human condition seriously. This is an unusual conversation, but, I have to say, I loved it. I appreciate and admire Hägglund’s willingness to tackle the biggest questions any us can ever ask, and I think by the end of it you will, too. Book recommendations: Fellow Creatures: Our Obligations to the other animals by Christine Korsgaard On the Soul (De Anima) by Aristotle Phenomenology of Spirit by G.W.F Hegel Follow Sean Illing at Vox or on Twitter @seanilling New to the show? Want to listen to Ezra's favorite episodes? Check out The Ezra Klein Show beginner's guide. Ezra's book is available at www.EzraKlein.com. The “Why We’re Polarized” tour continues, with events in Austin, Nashville, Chicago, and Greenville. Go to WhyWerePolarized.com for the full schedule! Want to contact the show? Reach out at ezrakleinshow@vox.com Credits: Guest host - Sean Illing Producer - Jeff Geld Researcher - Roge Karma Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

65 MIN4 d ago
Comments
If God is dead, then … socialism?

Tim Urban on humanity’s wild future

I’ve been a fan of Tim Urban and his site Wait But Why for a long time. Urban uses whimsical illustrations, infographics, and friendly, nontechnical language to explain everything from AI to space exploration to the Fermi Paradox. Urban's most recent project is an explainer series called “The Story of Us." It began as an attempt to understand what is going on in American politics today, and quickly turned into a deep exploration into humanity's past: how we evolved, the history of civilization, and the way our psychologies have come to interact with the world around us. My initial theory of this conversation was that Urban’s work has interesting points of convergence and divergence with my book. But once we got to talking, something more interesting emerged: Based on his reading of human history, psychology, and technological advancement, Urban has come to believe we are at an existential fork-in-the-road as a species. A hundred years from now, Urban thinks, our species will eith...

90 MIN1 w ago
Comments
Tim Urban on humanity’s wild future

Jill Lepore on what I get wrong

Jill Lepore is a Harvard historian, a New Yorker contributor, the author of These Truths, and one of my favorite past guests on this show. But in this episode, the tables are turned: I’m in the hot seat, and Lepore has some questions. Hard ones. This is, easily, the toughest interview on my book so far. Lepore isn’t quibbling over my solutions or pointing out a contrary study — what she challenges are the premises, epistemology, and meta-structure that form the foundation of my book, and much of my work. Her question, in short, is: What if social science itself is too crude to be a useful way of understanding the political world? But that’s what makes this conversation great. We discuss whether all political science research on polarization might be completely wrong, why (and whether) my book is devoid of individual or institutional “villains,” and whether I am morally obliged to delete my Twitter account, in addition to the missing party in American politics, why I mistrust historical narratives, media polarization, and much more. This is, on one level, a conversation about Why We’re Polarized. But on a deeper level, it’s about different modes of knowledge and whether we can trust them. New to the show? Want to listen to Ezra's favorite episodes? Check out The Ezra Klein Show beginner's guide. My book is available at www.EzraKlein.com. The “Why We’re Polarized” tour continues, with events in Portland, Seattle, Austin, Nashville, Chicago, and Greenville. Go to WhyWerePolarized.com for the full schedule! Want to contact the show? Reach out at ezrakleinshow@vox.com Credits: Producer - Jeff Geld Researcher - Roge Karma Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

85 MIN1 w ago
Comments
Jill Lepore on what I get wrong

Is Tom Steyer the solution to our dysfunctional politics?

Tom Steyer has worked for Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley. He made his billions running a hedge fund for decades before moving into progressive activism on causes like democratization, climate change, and impeaching Donald Trump. Now, he is running for president of the United States. Steyer’s primary message on the campaign trial is that we need to get money, lobbyists and corporate influence out of politics. At the same time, he is the living embodiment of much of what he thinks is broken about our system. He used his wealth as a shortcut onto the presidential debate stage and, in doing so, essentially wrote the playbook for any future billionaire who decides they want a shot at winning the highest office in the land. So, is Steyer the solution to our dysfunctional politics -- or is he part of the problem? That question is a lot bigger than Steyer himself. It is about the kinds of people we think will best represent the interests of non-billionaires. It is about the sort of influ...

66 MIN2 w ago
Comments
Is Tom Steyer the solution to our dysfunctional politics?

Why We're Polarized, with Jamelle Bouie (live!)

The Why We’re Polarized book tour kicked off this week with a wonderful event at Sixth and I in Washington, DC. My conversation partner for this one was New York Times columnist Jamelle Bouie. Our interview was great, and then the audience questions were so good we had to keep them in as well. We discuss: • Why things were far worse in the “golden age” of the 1950s and ’60s than they are today • Why the key question isn’t so much “why are we polarized?” as “why weren’t we polarized?” • Why “moderate” Republicans end up losing to conservatives • Why demographic change is the core cleavage of American politics today • How polarization makes bipartisanship irrational and political dysfunction the norm • Why Donald Trump and Mitch McConnell are not the causes of polarization but rather the most clear manifestations of it • That more information doesn’t rescue politics • Why America today is not functionally a democracy (and why I hate when people claim it is a “rep...

76 MIN2 w ago
Comments
Why We're Polarized, with Jamelle Bouie (live!)

Antisemitism now, antisemitism then

“The bad days are back” wrote Batya Ungar-Sargon in the Forward in December, “Orthodox Jews are living through a new age of pogroms. This week, as we celebrated the Festival of Lights, there were no fewer than 10 anti-Semitic attacks in the New York area alone.” Antisemitism is occasionally called “the oldest hatred.” It thrums across continents and eras, finding new targets for old prejudices. But where, exactly, does it come from? Why is it such a hardy weed? And why does this era feel so thick with it? Deborah Lipstadt, a professor of Modern Jewish History and Holocaust Studies at Emory University, is the author ofAntisemitism: Here and Now. We discuss the earliest forms, tropes, and rationales for antisemitism, and the cultural reasons for their persistence. Lipstadt explains the way right- and left-wing antisemitism differ, and examines the charges of antisemitism levied against some modern politicians, like Donald Trump and Jeremy Corbyn. We talk about antisemitism in th...

91 MIN3 w ago
Comments
Antisemitism now, antisemitism then

Book excerpt: A better theory of identity politics

This is a podcast episode literally years in the making. It’s an excerpt — the first anywhere — from my book Why We’re Polarized. A core argument of the book is that identity is the central driver of political polarization. But to see how it works, we need a better theory of how identities form, what happens when they activate, and where they fit into our conflicts. We’ve been taught to only see identity politics in others. We need to see it in ourselves. If you’re a longtime listener, this excerpt — like the broader book — will tie a lot of threads on this show together. If you’re a new listener, it’ll give you, I hope, a clearer way to understand a powerful driver of our politics and our lives. Why We’re Polarized comes out on January 28. You can order it, both in text and audiobook forms, at WhyWerePolarized.com. Find the audio book on Audible.com New to the show? Want to listen to Ezra's favorite episodes? Check out The Ezra Klein Show beginner's guide. Want to contac...

64 MIN3 w ago
Comments
Book excerpt: A better theory of identity politics

The war on Muslims (with Mehdi Hasan)

With “reeducation" camps in China, religious disenfranchisement in India, ethnic cleansing in Myanmar, street violence in Sri Lanka, mass shootings in New Zealand, the flourishing of far-right parties across Europe, and the mainstreaming of Islamophobia in America, there’s been a global surge in anti-Muslim bigotry — often supported by the full power and might of the state. It’s one of the most frightening and undercovered political stories of our time. Mehdi Hasan is a senior writer for the Intercept, the host of the Deconstructed podcast, and the anchor of Al Jazeera’s Up Front. He’s done some of the best reporting on anti-Muslim prejudice and persecutions worldwide, covering everything from Narendra Modi’s rise in India to the treatment of Uighurs in China to the role that social media plays in amplifying anti-Muslim sentiment. We discuss all of that in this conversation, but we also try to answer some deeper questions: Why Muslims? Why now? What is the ideology that drive...

90 MINJAN 20
Comments
The war on Muslims (with Mehdi Hasan)

Post-debate special!

Vox's Matt Yglesias and I unpack the debate that did, and didn't, happen. Related reading: "Joe Biden will never give up on the system" by Ezra Klein "4 winners and 3 losers from the January Democratic debate" Vox Staff "The case for Elizabeth Warren" by Ezra Klein "Bernie Sanders can unify Democrats and beat Trump in 2020" by Matthew Yglesias "Joe Biden skates by again" by Matt Yglesias "Elizabeth Warren’s new plan to reform bankruptcy law, explained" by Matt Yglesias "The Third Rail of Calling ‘Sexism’ Warren tried not to talk about it." by Rebecca Traister My book is available for pre-order! You can find it at www.EzraKlein.com. Want to contact the show? Reach out at ezrakleinshow@vox.com You can subscribe to Ezra's new podcast Impeachment, explained on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Overcast, Pocket Casts, or your favorite podcast app. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

60 MINJAN 16
Comments
Post-debate special!

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