Every week Chris Hayes asks the big questions that keep him up at night. How do we make sense of this unprecedented moment in world history? Why is this (all) happening?
This podcast starts to answer these questions. Writers, experts, and thinkers who are also trying to get to the bottom of them join Chris to break it all down and help him get a better night’s rest. “Why is this Happening?” is presented by MSNBC and NBCNews Think.
‘Why People Are Acting So Weird’ with Olga Khazan
More incidents of road rage. People are now smoking on the subway. Early 2021 saw the highest number of “unruly passenger” incidents in airline history, according to the FAA. It seems people are acting stranger than ever. But what’s behind all of this? Olga Khazan, a staff writer at The Atlantic, wrote about this very topic. She joins WITHpod to discuss the role that the pandemic has played in increased disruptive behavior, why mental health issues aren’t the only factor to blame, and more.
“Stolen: Surviving St. Michael’s” with Connie Walker
Trigger warning: This episode contains mentions of sexual and physical abuse.
For nearly the past year, Canadian journalist Connie Walker has been working on an investigation into her father's experience at St. Michael's Indian Residential School in Canada. The story is told as part of “Stolen: Surviving St. Michael’s,” a series available exclusively on Spotify. Her investigation began when she heard a story about her late father who was a police officer in the 70s. He pulled over a car that was swerving, and when he got to the window, he recognized the driver as a priest who he believed had abused him at residential school. He pulled the priest out of the car and beat him up on the side of the road. Over the years, thousands of students have come forward about their experiences at residential schools. Walker joins WITHpod to discuss the process of telling this deeply personal story of intergenerational trauma, her motivation for bringing issues affecting indigenous people to light and how this dark part of Canada’s past hasn’t been completely reconciled. The Canadian government has apologized and set aside millions in reparations, along with a new child education and welfare system in response to abuse.
‘How the Powerful Took Over Identity Politics’ with Olúfẹ́mi Táíwò
“Identity politics” polarizes discourse about virtually every aspect of contemporary political life. But what exactly is it, and what role does “elite capture” play in how it has come to be understood? Olúfẹ́mi Táíwò is a philosopher, assistant professor at Georgetown University and author of several books, including “Elite Capture: How the Powerful Took Over Identity Politics (And Everything Else)” and “Reconsidering Reparations,” both of which were published in 2022. He joins WITHpod to discuss the origins of identity politics, the problems with what he calls deference politics, and how elites have co-opted the language of social justice to their own ends.
A gun industry insider perspective with Ryan Busse
There are more guns than cars in the United States. And studies show that gun sales go up following mass shootings. We had a different episode planned for this week, but given the marked rise in gun violence, we pivoted. This week’s guest spent 30 years as a leader at one of America’s most popular gun companies. Ryan Busse is a former firearms executive at Kimber America and is author of “Gunfight: My Battle Against the Industry that Radicalized America,” in which he talks about how America’s multibillion-dollar gun industry has profited from and fueled cultural divisions. Busse joins WITHpod to discuss how we got to this point, why he chose to leave the industry, what he observed behind closed doors at NRA meetings, how political division fuels extremism and what the failure to enact stricter legislation means for the future of our democracy.
'Liberalism and Its Discontents’ with Francis Fukuyama
Freedom House’s annual Freedom in the World survey notes that liberalism has rapidly declined each year for the last 16 years. And its precipitous downturn is more evident now than ever amid waning respect for individual rights, increased growth of autocracies and most recently in the seismic Russian invasion of Ukraine. Decades ago, political scientist and professor Francis Fukuyama was one of the preeminent scholars to predict the marked impending fall of liberal societies. He serves as a senior fellow at Stanford’s Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies and is a bestselling author of numerous books, including one published in March 2022 aptly titled, “Liberalism and Its Discontents.” He joins WITHpod to discuss why liberalism doesn’t always live up to its own principles, challenges from the right and the left and why our democracy will be under continued threat without a revitalized approach to its core tenets.
‘A Genetic History of the Americas’ with Jennifer Raff
Who were the first people to migrate to the Americas? When did they arrive, and how? For centuries, those questions have been shrouded in mystery. No written records and very little archaeological evidence exists to provide clarity. In recent years, however, the examination of genetic data has revolutionized researchers’ ability to find answers. A recent family trip to the Grand Canyon furthered Chris’ interest in talking with one of the most celebrated scholars in the field. Dr. Jennifer Raff is an anthropological geneticist and associate professor at the University of Kansas. She’s also author of the New York Times best-selling book, “Origin: A Genetic History of the Americas.” Raff joins to discuss how the first people migrated to the Americas nearly 20,000 years ago, how genomes showcase the very close relatedness of humans across the globe and the impact of genetic discoveries on narratives.
Really enjoyed the discussion with Olúfẹ́mi Táíwò, like so many of the episodes, interesting, thoughtful, philosophically framed, and relevant.
Feel free to philosophize.
It’s a pleasure to listen to well thought out positions discussed at length by highly articulate spokes people. The show has all that.
Amazing episode with doctor from the South Side. Wow! Excellent.
Loving this podcast, Chris. LOVE how you are amplifying voices and perspectives of color. I see you, and am grateful. Keep it up. Your platform matters, never underestimate that. Ever.