93 episodes

Aengus Anderson is a radio producer based in Tucson, Arizona. He has ridden his motorcycle nearly 30,000 miles around North America and interviewed hundreds of people about everything from their greatest sources of excitement to the hardest decisions they have ever made. His work has aired on public radio stations in numerous cities across the United States and has been featured by the Third Coast International Audio Festival. www.aengusanderson.com

Aengus Anderson Radio Aengus Anderson

    • Philosophy

Aengus Anderson is a radio producer based in Tucson, Arizona. He has ridden his motorcycle nearly 30,000 miles around North America and interviewed hundreds of people about everything from their greatest sources of excitement to the hardest decisions they have ever made. His work has aired on public radio stations in numerous cities across the United States and has been featured by the Third Coast International Audio Festival. www.aengusanderson.com

    The Conversation - 54 - Charles Bowden

    The Conversation - 54 - Charles Bowden

    If you've listened to The Conversation for a while, you know there are numerous reasons we invite guests to join the series. Sometimes we are interested in a new idea and its implications, or an old idea that's being revitalized. We gravitate toward people working on interesting projects that challenge or test the status quo. From time to time, we like discussing conversation itself, whether that's conversation as an art or conversation as a tool. We also think it's important to include guests who remind us that the status quo varies based upon where you live.

    Todays episode falls into this last category. Our parameters for guests often lead us to people who live comfortable and secure lives, far removed from violence and political instability—but what does the future look like when you spend your time writing about crime in one of Earth's most violent cities? Enter Charles Bowden.

    Charles is a journalist and author. His writing spans from savings and loan scandals to natural resources, but he is best known for his books about Ciudad Juarez, which include Murder City, Down by the River, and Juarez: The Laboratory of Our Future. Over here at The Conversation, we've also been intrigued by Some of the Dead Are Still Breathing: Living in the Future. In addition to writing long-form work, Charles is a contributor to Mother Jones and has published in Harper's, The Nation, GQ, and The New York Times Book Review.
    Charles and I spoke for over four hours and our conversation sprawled in more than a few directions. If you're looking for a concise, point-by-point diagnosis and solution for our woes, you won't find it here. Instead, you'll find a meditation that returns to the subjects of fear, human nature, and the environment. You'll hear about assassins and sandhill cranes, overpopulation and your place in history—which, Charles claims, is simultaneously important and irrelevant.

    • 52 min
    The Conversation - 53 - Carlos Perez de Alejo

    The Conversation - 53 - Carlos Perez de Alejo

    Carlos Perez de Alejo is a the co-founder and Executive Director of Cooperation Texas, an Austin-based nonprofit that helps organize and raise awareness of worker-owned cooperatives.

    Economics has been a regular theme in The Conversation but, from David Korten to John Fullerton, many of our discussions have focused on systemic issues and top-down reform. While we at The Conversation love big theories and grand visions, we're equally interested in projects. Worker-owned cooperatives fall in this latter category and, while they are hardly new, the changing economic landscape and success of Spain's Mondragon Corporation have raised their prominence considerably.

    In this episode, Carlos and I talk about how cooperatives critique our current economic paradigm, even as they function within it. That theme leads into a discussion of whether cooperatives will ever be able to grow large enough to meaningfully change the economic paradigm or if they will always be overshadowed by the competition of traditional corporations.

    In our concluding discussion of Walter Block, Neil suggested that conversation isn't always possible. Carlos agrees, but also points to situations where people abandon old ideologies without conversation. Micah and I kick these ideas around a bit more in our conclusion.

    • 38 min
    The Conversation - 52 - Walter Block

    The Conversation - 52 - Walter Block

    Libertarian ideas have been a major theme in The Conversation. They were introduced in our second episode by Max More and have since been elaborated upon by David Miller, Robert Zubrin, Tim Cannon, and Oliver Porter. But while libertarianism has been discussed frequently, it has always been a secondary theme within episodes about, say, transhumanism or space exploration. But libertarianism is too intriguing to discuss obliquely, so we're pulling it out of the background and exploring it in a full episode. We were especially interested in the logical conclusion of libertarian thought and, for that, we turned to Walter Block.

    Walter Block is a self-described anarcho-capitalist, chair of the Economics Department at Loyola University in New Orleans, Louisiana, and a Senior Fellow at the libertarian Mises Institute. Block is also the author of numerous articles and several books, including Defending the Undefendable and The Case for Discrimination.

    Connections to earlier episodes abound as Block calls John Zerzan crazy, suggests Gary Francione commit suicide, and lambastes the ideas of John Rawls that were advanced by Lawrence Torcello. Whatever you think of this episode, you'll certainly remember it.

    • 47 min
    The Conversation - 51 - Phyllis Tickle

    The Conversation - 51 - Phyllis Tickle

    Phyllis Tickle founded Publishers Weekly's Religion Department and has written numerous books about modern American Christianity, including "The Great Emergence: How Christianity is Changing and Why."

    Phyllis begins our conversation by describing 500-year social, cultural, and religious cycles in parts of the world influenced by Abrahamic faiths. Building upon that, she asserts that our current historical moment lies at the edge of two such cycles. The upshot of this is a breakdown in traditional understandings of authority and a period of chaotic exploration. Emergence Christianity, like other emergent faiths, is developing as a response to this period of transition.

    Though religion has been a regular theme in the background of The Conversation, this is our first episode dedicated entirely to it. As a result, we introduce a lot of new themes and you will hear fewer explicit connections to earlier episodes. Having said that, there are some interesting ties between Emergence Christianity and the income gap which harken back to Chuck Collins, Francione-like questions of purity versus pragmatism, and more Tim Cannon and Max More-style transhumanism than you'd ever expect.

    • 53 min
    The Conversation - 50 - The Future of The Conversation

    The Conversation - 50 - The Future of The Conversation

    We swoop in for our first interstitial episode in six months. Neil has the plague, but Micah and I talk about the future of The Conversation, our perpetual need to raise the project's visibility, and our naïve hope for funding another season of production. In light of James Bamford's conversation and my op-ed about digital liberties in Boing Boing, we talk about themes that aren't connected.

    • 19 min
    The Conversation - 49 - Scott Douglas

    The Conversation - 49 - Scott Douglas

    Scott Douglas, III, is the Executive Director of Greater Birmingham Ministries, an interfaith organization in Birmingham, Alabama. GBM provides poverty relief, lobbies to reform Alabama's state constitution, and has recently been active in opposing self-deportation laws.

    My conversation with Scott is a powerful reminder that status quo ideas vary deeply based on location and that equality—or equity, as Scott prefers—remains just as cutting-edge of an idea today as it did fifty years ago. Like Roberta Francis, Henry Louis Taylor, and Carolyn Raffensperger, Scott takes us into the legal structures undergirding our society to find discriminatory systems that are felt more often than seen. History plays a major role in this episode and Scott offers a great account of how people perceive historical moments in the present and in retrospect.

    You'll hear strong connections with Chuck Collins and Mark Mykleby about wealth and security. Elsewhere, listen for a John Fife-style spiritual critique of the individualism prized by thinkers like Oliver Porter, Richard Saul Wurman, and David Miller.

    • 47 min

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