297 episodes

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.

The Ezra Klein Show Vox

    • Philosophy

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.

    Antisemitism now, antisemitism then

    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 of Antisemitism: 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 the age of social media and rising party polarization. And we talk about the convergence and divergence of antisemitism and anti-Zionism: what distinguishes a legitimate critique of Israel from an antisemitic slur towards it?
    This episode airs on International Holocaust Remembrance Day. It’s a reminder that the very worst days lie in living memory, in an age more similar our own than we like to admit. 
    References: 
    “Why No One Can Talk About The Attacks Against Orthodox Jews” by Batya Ungar-Sargon
    Book recommendations: 
    If This is Man by Primo Levi 
    Still Alive by Ruth Kluger 
    The Unwanted by Michael Dobbs

    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.
    Credits:
    Producer and Editor - Jeff Geld
    Engineer- Cynthia Gil
    Researcher - Roge Karma
    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

    • 1 hr 31 min
    Book excerpt: A better theory of identity politics

    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
    Want to contact the show? Reach out at ezrakleinshow@vox.com
    You can subscribe to Ezra's podcast Impeachment, explained on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Overcast, Pocket Casts, or your favorite podcast app.
    Credits:
    Producer and Editor - Jeff Geld
    Researcher - Roge Karma
    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

    • 1 hr 4 min
    The war on Muslims (with Mehdi Hasan)

    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 drives and justifies anti-Muslim bigotry? What are the political incentives that foster it?
    Not everything in this conversation is easy to hear. But understanding the scope and scale of the war on Muslims is central to understanding the world we live in, the Orwellian nature of the Islamophobic narrative, and the resentments and traumas we’re inflicting on the future. 
    Book recommendations:
    The Fear of Islam by Todd H. Green 
    The Enemy Within by Sayeeda Warsi 
    The Autobiography of Malcolm X by Alex Haley

    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.
    Credits:
    Producer and Editor - Jeff Geld
    Engineer- Cynthia Gil
    Researcher - Roge Karma
    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

    • 1 hr 30 min
    Post-debate special!

    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

    • 1 hr
    An “uncomfortable” conversation with Cory Booker

    An “uncomfortable” conversation with Cory Booker

    There is a moral radicalism to the way Cory Booker lives out his politics. He lived for years in a housing project. He leads hunger strikes. He challenges political machines. He’s a vegan. He has a more ambitious policy vision than is often discussed. But beneath that is a far more radical ethical vision than he gets credit for.
    I think there’s a reason for that. When Booker turns his politics turn outward, they lose clarity. He shies away from drawing bright lines, his answers double back to blur out potential offense. As a result, his arguments for a politics of radical love end up emphasizing his love in ways that obscure his radicalism. As admiring as I am of what Booker demands of himself, I often can’t tell what he’s asking of me.
    In this conversation, I wanted Booker to risk my discomfort, not just his own. And in his answers, I think you can hear both the remarkable promise and power of Booker’s politics, and some of the challenges that ultimately led him to suspend his campaign.
    References/Book recommendations:
    Tightrope by Nicholas Kristof 
    “Who Killed the Knapp Family” by Nicholas Kristof 
    The Violence Inside Us by Chris Murphy 

    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.
    Credits:
    Producer and Editor - Jeff Geld
    Engineer- Cynthia Gil
    Researcher - Roge Karma
    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

    • 1 hr 33 min
    The conservative mind of Yuval Levin

    The conservative mind of Yuval Levin

    Something I’ve been thinking a lot about recently is the way we often conflate two very distinct things when we assign political labels. The first is ideology, which describes our vision of a just society. The second is something less discussed but equally important: temperament. It describes how we approach social problems, how fast we think society can change, and how we understand the constraints upon us. 
    Yuval Levin is the director of Social, Cultural, and Constitutional Studies at the American Enterprise Institute, the editor-in-chief of the public policy journal National Affairs, and the author of the upcoming book A Time to Build. Levin is one of the most thoughtful articulators of both conservative temperament and ideology. And, perhaps for that reason, his is one of the most important criticisms of what the conservative movement has become today.
    There’s a lot in this conversation, in part because Levin’s book speaks to mine in interesting ways, but among the topics we discuss are: 

    The conservative view of human nature

    Why the conservative temperament is increasingly diverging from the conservative movement

    What theories of American politics get wrong about the reality of American life

    The case Levin makes to socialists

    How economic debates are often moral debates in disguise

    Levin’s rebuttal to my book 

    The crucial difference between “formative” and “performative” social institutions

    Why the most fundamental problems in American life are cultural, not economic

    Why Levin thinks the New York Times should not allow its journalists to be on Twitter

    Whether we can restore trust in our institutions without changing the incentives and systems that surround them

     
    There’s a lot Levin and I disagree on, but there are few people I learn as much from in disagreement as I learn from him.
    Book recommendations:
    Democracy in America by Alexis De Tocqueville 
    The Quest for Community by Robert Nisbet 
    Statecraft as Soulcraft by George Will 
    If you enjoyed this episode, you may also like:
    David French on “The Great White Culture War"
    George Will makes the conservative case against democracy

    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.
    Credits:
    Producer and Editor - Jeff Geld
    Engineer- Cynthia Gil
    Researcher - Roge Karma
    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

    • 1 hr 21 min

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