A discussion-based podcast on politics, ethics, and current affairs, featuring in-depth conversations with (extra)ordinary individuals.
What are some of the competing ethical considerations that have defined how we respond to the pandemic?Dr. Gry Wester is a Lecturer in Bioethics and Global Health Ethics at Kings College London. This year she was also a member of the Expert Group in Ethics and Priority Setting for Coronavirus Vaccination in Norway, essentially deciding the order in which people should get vaccinated.Gry’s training is in political philosophy, and her work focuses on using philosophy and ethics to address real-world policy challenges, especially on questions related to justice, equality, and public health.In this conversation, we talk about the different moral considerations that have defined both personal and policy choices during the pandemic, as well as broader questions about public health and social inequalities.Recommendations:Man's Search for Meaning, by Viktor FranklDisadvantage, by Jonathan Wolff
Today my guest is Christopher Tutor, the Chairman of the Republican Party in Shelby County, Tennessee. Chris has lived a life of public service, trying to develop what he calls the ‘common good’ in his hometown of Memphis, including faith-based service, improving race relations, and working on a variety of community issues. At a time when national politics are so highly divisive and polarized, I wanted to have Chris on the show to tell me more about what politics, and community in general, is like in Shelby County, and how his vision of the common good fits into that. This is a rich conversation that I really enjoyed, in which we talk about how local politics differs from the national level, what Democrats get wrong about Republicans and vice versa, the tensions and contradictions within both parties, plus race, religion, personal journeys, and much more.Book Recommendations:The Conservative Mind, by Russell KirkThe Island of the World, by Michael D. O'Brien
Exiting Violent Extremism
My guest today is Tony McAleer (@mcaleer), the author of the book, The Cure For Hate: A Former White Supremacist’s Journey From Violent Extremism To Radical Compassion. Tony spent 15 years in white supremacist and neo-nazi movements before eventually disengaging and co-founding the nonprofit organization, Life After Hate, which helps people leave hate groups. I wanted to have Tony on the show to share his own story and insights on why people join extremist organisations, what keeps them in, and why and how they leave. But I also wanted to hear Tony's thoughts on violent extremism in the US today, especially in the wake of the Capitol riot and the renewed focus on far-right violent extremist organisations in particular. Is what we are seeing today something new? What can we do about it? And what are we getting wrong? Book recommendations:The Cure For Hate: A Former White Supremacist’s Journey From Violent Extremism To Radical Compassion, by Tony McAleerThe KybalionFilms:Healing from HateAuschwitz
This is the second of two episodes in my doubleheader kickoff to Season 2, which is starting in the wake of the Capitol riot, the second impeachment of outgoing US President Donald Trump, and ongoing tensions in the US and elsewhere. This is a very timely conversation with Nathan Stock. Nathan is a Conflict Resolution Program Consultant at the Carter Center, a non-profit typically known for its work on peace-building and election monitoring overseas, especially in countries dealing with conflict or division.In the past year though, the Center started focusing on the US, on preventing violence during and after the November elections. Nathan has been working on that project, meeting with local community leaders to help recognise deepening divisions, defuse tensions, and build resilience to potential violence. We discuss the potential but also the challenges and limitations of those efforts, and the extent to which lessons from other divided societies might apply to the US today.Book recommendation: The Upswing, by Robert Putnam & Shaylyn Romney Garrett
I’m delighted to kick off this season with an incredibly timely conversation with Dr. Jeffrey Howard (@jeffhowarducl).Jeff is an Associate Professor of Political Theory at UCL’s Department of Political Science, where he works on political and legal philosophy, focusing on the moral challenges facing citizens and policymakers.Recently Jeff has been working on a project on “dangerous speech," exploring questions like, is there a right to incite? Is there a moral duty to refrain from dangerous speech? Is it right to restrict or punish dangerous speech?Given our current political climate, in which outgoing US President Donald Trump was impeached last week on the charge of incitement, and was banned from top social media platforms because of dangerous speech, I couldn’t think of a better person to ask on the show than Jeffrey Howard.Resources:Jeff's paper on Dangerous SpeechBook recommendation: On Liberty, by John Stuart Mill
To close out the season, I’m delighted to have Dr Cara Heuser (@caraheuser) back on the show. As some listeners may remember, Cara was my guest on the pilot episode of the JNS in the spring, when we spoke about stepping up in times of crisis. Cara is a medical doctor; she’s an obstetrician who works with patients having high-risk pregnancies, and she’s also my sister.I wanted to have Cara back on the show today to talk about two things. First, she is currently recovering from doing a live organ donation, in which she donated part of her liver to help an anonymous baby that she had never met. But, just like in our first episode, she doesn’t see this as particularly heroic; she just could, so she did.Second, Cara has an essay coming out soon in the Green Journal (aka Obstetrics & Gynecology) on trying to balance reason and emotion as a medical professional, and in life in general. It was prompted by a specific experience she had, and I was interested to talk more with her about this tension between logic and instinct that a lot of us grapple with, even subconsciously.Book RecommendationBeing Mortal, by Atul Gawande
Customer ReviewsSee All
Good perspective that should be heard in the United States.
Thanks for this conversation about good work done with sensitivity and joy. Great episode!