104 episodes

Is it possible for a democracy to govern undemocratically? Can the people elect an undemocratic leader? Is it possible for democracy to bring about authoritarianism? And if so, what does this say about democracy? ​​My name is Justin Kempf. Every week I talk to the brightest minds on subjects like international relations, political theory, and history to explore democracy from every conceivable angle. Topics like civil resistance, authoritarian successor parties, and the autocratic middle class challenge our ideas about democracy. Join me as we unravel new topics every week.

Democracy Paradox Justin Kempf

    • Government
    • 4.9 • 37 Ratings

Is it possible for a democracy to govern undemocratically? Can the people elect an undemocratic leader? Is it possible for democracy to bring about authoritarianism? And if so, what does this say about democracy? ​​My name is Justin Kempf. Every week I talk to the brightest minds on subjects like international relations, political theory, and history to explore democracy from every conceivable angle. Topics like civil resistance, authoritarian successor parties, and the autocratic middle class challenge our ideas about democracy. Join me as we unravel new topics every week.

    Kathryn Stoner on How Putin's War has Ruined Russia

    Kathryn Stoner on How Putin's War has Ruined Russia

    Boeing is pulling out, DuPont, Erickson, Analog Devices, Bombardier. Eventually all of these things are going to cause supply and production chain issues and unemployment in Russia. So, Mr. Putin doesn't have an infinite amount of time before havoc is wrought.
    Kathryn Stoner

    Support Democracy Paradox on Patreon for bonus episodes and exclusive updates and information. 

    A full transcript is available at www.democracyparadox.com.

    Kathryn Stoner is the Mosbacher Director at the Center on Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law, a professor of political science at Stanford University, and a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution. She is also the author of the book Russia Resurrected: Its Power and Purpose in a New Global Order. Her article “How Putin’s War Has Ruined Russia” was recently published online at journalofdemocracy.org.

    Key Highlights
    How has Russia's invasion of Ukraine affected perceptions of Russia's militaryHow has it affected its economy both short-term and long-termHow has it affected Russia's international standingThe affects on Russia's citizensWhat does Putin's unpredictability mean for peace in Ukraine
    Key Links
    "How Putin’s War in Ukraine Has Ruined Russia" by Kathryn Stoner in Journal of Democracy
    Russia Resurrected: Its Power and Purpose in a New Global Order by Kathryn Stoner
    Follow Kathryn Stoner on Twitter @kath_stoner

    Democracy Paradox Podcast
    Moisés Naím on the New Dynamics of Political Power
    Kathryn Stoner on Russia’s Economy, Politics, and Foreign Policy
    More Episodes from the Podcast

    More Information
    Democracy Group
    Apes of the State created all Music
    Email the show at jkempf@democracyparadox.com
    Follow on Twitter @DemParadox
    100 Books on Democracy
    Support the show

    • 39 min
    Scott Radnitz on Why Conspiracy Theories Thrive in Both Democracies and Autocracies

    Scott Radnitz on Why Conspiracy Theories Thrive in Both Democracies and Autocracies

    There's something natural and organic about perceiving that the people in power are out to advance their own interests. It's in part because it’s often true. Governments actually do keep secrets from the public. Politicians engage in scandals. There often is corruption at high levels. So, we don't want citizens in a democracy to be too trusting of their politicians. It's healthy to be skeptical of the state and its real abuses and tendencies towards secrecy. The danger is when this distrust gets redirected, not toward the state, but targets innocent people who are not actually responsible for people's problems.
    Scott Radnitz

    Support Democracy Paradox on Patreon for bonus episodes and exclusive updates and information.

    A full transcript is available at www.democracyparadox.com.

    *Please note during the interview the host says "conspiracy" rather than "conspiracy theory." The transcript has been corrected.*

    Scott Radnitz is an associate professor of Russian and Eurasian Studies at the University of Washington and the director of the Ellison Center for Russian, Eastern European, and Central Asian Studies. He is the author of Revealing Schemes: The Politics of Conspiracy in Russia and the Post-Soviet Region and coeditor with Harris Mylonas of the forthcoming book Enemies Within: The Global Politics of Fifth Columns. His article “Why Democracy Fuels Conspiracy Theories” was recently published in the Journal of Democracy.

    Key Highlights
    Conspiracy theories Russia uses to justify their invasion of UkraineWhy Russia relies on conspiracy theories in its political rhetoricThe use of conspiracy theories in democracies and autocraciesThe recent proliferation of conspiracy theories in the United StatesHow to mitigate the harmful effects of conspiracy theories in politics
    Key Links
    "Why Democracy Fuels Conspiracy Theories" by Scott Radnitz in Journal of Democracy
    Revealing Schemes: The Politics of Conspiracy in Russia and the Post-Soviet Region by Scott Radnitz
    Enemies Within: The Global Politics of Fifth Columns edited by Harris Mylonas and Scott Radnitz

    Democracy Paradox Podcast
    Ronald Deibert from Citizen Lab on Cyber Surveillance, Digital Subversion, and Transnational Repression
    Moisés Naím on the New Dynamics of Political Power
    More Episodes from the Podcast

    More Information
    Democracy Group
    Apes of the State created all Music
    Email the show at jkempf@democracyparadox.com
    Follow on Twitter @DemParadox
    100 Books on Democracy
    Support the show

    • 50 min
    Dan Banik is In Pursuit of Development

    Dan Banik is In Pursuit of Development

    This bonus episode is part of a series of interviews available for monthly supporters of Democracy Paradox at Patreon. Other interviews feature guests like Julia Azari, Mila Atmos, and Bob Shrum. But more importantly you'll help the podcast cover important expenses and continue to grow. Please consider becoming a monthly supporter by clicking on the link here.

    If you want to help the podcast in other ways, please email the host, Justin Kempf, at jkempf@democracyparadox.com.

    Dan Banik is a professor of political science at the University of Oslo and Director of the Oslo SDG Initiative. He also hosts the podcast In Pursuit of Development. His podcast is among the most insightful on topics of democracy, modernization, and sustainability. Past guests have included Francis Fukuyama and Daron Acemoglu. But it's Dan's ability to help listeners understand complex ideas and subjects that sets his podcast apart.

    In Pursuit of Development 
    Follow on Twitter @GlobalDevPod 
    Follow Dan on Twitter @danbanik 
    Support the show

    • 35 min
    Ronald Deibert from Citizen Lab on Cyber Surveillance, Digital Subversion, and Transnational Repression

    Ronald Deibert from Citizen Lab on Cyber Surveillance, Digital Subversion, and Transnational Repression

    So, if your aim is to get inside someone's device without their permission and gather up information, you could do that using a very sophisticated commercial spyware technology like Pegasus. The latest iteration of it employs zero click technology meaning that it can target and insert itself on any device without the owner of that device even knowing or being tricked into clicking on a link. That's very powerful, because there is no defense against it.
    Ronald Deibert

    A full transcript is available at www.democracyparadox.com.

    Ronald Deibert is a professor of political science at the Munk School of Global Affairs at the University of Toronto and the Director of the Citizen Lab. He recently gave the 18th annual Seymour Martin Lipset Lecture at the National Endowment for Democracy. Its title was “Digital Subversion: The Threat to Democracy.” His article, “Subversion Inc: The Age of Private Espionage” in the most recent Journal of Democracy is based on this lecture.

    Support Democracy Paradox on Patreon for bonus episodes and exclusive updates and information. 

    Key Highlights
    How Black Cube tried to infiltrate Citizen LabHow autocrats continue to repress political dissidents overseasThe privatization of espionage and spycraftThe link between surveillance capitalism and private espionageWhat liberal democracies can do to defend civil society
    Key Links
    Citizen Lab
    Seymour Martin Lipset Lecture "Digital Subversion: The Threat to Democracy" by Ronald Deibert
    "Subversion Inc: The Age of Private Espionage" by Ronald Deibert in Journal of Democracy
    Democracy Paradox Podcast
    Can Democracy Survive the Internet? Nate Persily and Josh Tucker on Social Media and Democracy
    Winston Mano on Social Media and Politics in Africa… And what America can Learn from Africa about Democracy
    More Episodes from the Podcast
    More Information
    Democracy Group
    Apes of the State created all Music
    Email the show at jkempf@democracyparadox.com
    Follow on Twitter @DemParadox
    100 Books on Democracy
    Support the show

    • 50 min
    Thomas Piketty on Equality

    Thomas Piketty on Equality

    Pure economic factors or technological factors or the level of economic development or level of technological development cannot explain the diversity of levels of inequality and structure of inequality that we observe throughout history.
    Thomas Piketty

    A full transcript is available at www.democracyparadox.com.

    Thomas Piketty is Professor at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (EHESS) and the Paris School of Economics and Codirector of the World Inequality Lab. He is also the author of A Brief History of Equality.

    Support Democracy Paradox on Patreon for bonus episodes and exclusive updates and information.

    Key Highlights
    The Case for Reparations for HaitiAn Account of the Historical Movement Toward Greater EqualityEconomic Inequality as a Political ConstructionShould Economic Equality be the Goal of the State?Is Thomas Piketty Optimistic for the Future?
    Key Links
    A Brief History of Equality by Thomas Piketty
    Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty
    Follow Thomas Piketty on Twitter @PikettyLeMonde

    Democracy Paradox Podcast
    Joseph Fishkin on the Constitution, American History, and Economic Inequality
    Jacob Hacker and Paul Pierson on the Plutocratic Populism of the Republican Party
    More Episodes from the Podcast

    More Information
    Democracy Group
    Apes of the State created all Music
    Email the show at jkempf@democracyparadox.com
    Follow on Twitter @DemParadox
    100 Books on Democracy
    Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/demparadox)

    • 30 min
    Marta Dyczok and Andriy Kulykov on the Media, Information Warriors, and the Future of Ukraine

    Marta Dyczok and Andriy Kulykov on the Media, Information Warriors, and the Future of Ukraine

    I heard a verified story of a person who made his way with his family from an occupied town listening to our broadcast, because we were telling them where it was dangerous for them to go and where it was more or less safe to go. So, radio actually saves lives. I probably cannot save lives otherwise. But I can with the help of radio.
    Andriy Kulykov

    Recorded on April 19th, 2022.

    A full transcript is available at www.democracyparadox.com.

    Marta Dyczok is an Associate Professor at the Departments of History and Political Science, Western University, Canada. She was the host of the podcast Ukraine Calling. Andriy Kulykov is co-founder and Chairperson of Hromadske Radio.

    Support Democracy Paradox on Patreon for bonus episodes and exclusive updates and information.

    Key Highlights
    A Short History of Hromadske RadioDo Journalists in Ukraine Consider Themselves Information WarriorsThe Importance of Media Literacy in a WarHow Radio Can Saved Lives in UkraineAndriy's Thoughts on Ukrainian Identity
    Key Links
    Ukraine Calling: A Kaleidoscope from Hromadske Radio 2016–2019 edited by Marta Dyczok
    Listen to the Ukraine Calling Podcast
    Learn more about Hromadske Radio

    Democracy Paradox Podcast
    Between Russia and China: Anja Mihr on Central Asia
    Joshua Yaffa on Truth, Ambition, and Compromise in Putin’s Russia
    More Episodes from the Podcast

    More Information
    Democracy Group
    Apes of the State created all Music
    Email the show at jkempf@democracyparadox.com
    Follow on Twitter @DemParadox
    100 Books on Democracy
    Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/demparadox)

    • 53 min

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5
37 Ratings

37 Ratings

Idiolect43 ,

Worth listening!

I am going to continue checking this out based on the episode I heard. I am baffled by the choices humans make. Need all the smart help I can get.

Democracy Nerd ,

Essential Listening

At a current moment that is seeing the backsliding of global democracy, 'Democracy Paradox' is essential listening. Host Justin Kempf and his guests provide real value in advancing the fissures and theeats to democracy, and not merely assuming common understanding and commitment. This podcast should be listened by everyone committed to building a pro-democracy consensus.

puckl ,

Extremely informative

The host does an excellent job moving the conversation along and guiding the guests toward the most important and interesting parts of their research. He also does a good job explaining or getting the guests to explain some of their academic jargon which might go over the heads of the average listeners. Overall, it’s an extremely informative and engaging podcast. A real gem that I’m glad I found.

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