99 episodes

Village SquareCast is the podcast your mother warned you about. We talk politics, religion and race — across color, creed and ideology — and we do it like the partners in democracy that we really ought to be.

At The Village Square, we've had hundreds of conversations with tens of thousands of people — and now we bring you our favorites of these conversations via podcast. We talk in bars, we talk in churches, we talk across a hundred continuous tables in the middle of a street downtown. And through all this talking, we've discovered something truly remarkable — people are hard to hate close up.

Oh, and we really think civics ought not to be boring. We hope you'll join us.

Village SquareCast The Village Square

    • Society & Culture
    • 4.6 • 16 Ratings

Village SquareCast is the podcast your mother warned you about. We talk politics, religion and race — across color, creed and ideology — and we do it like the partners in democracy that we really ought to be.

At The Village Square, we've had hundreds of conversations with tens of thousands of people — and now we bring you our favorites of these conversations via podcast. We talk in bars, we talk in churches, we talk across a hundred continuous tables in the middle of a street downtown. And through all this talking, we've discovered something truly remarkable — people are hard to hate close up.

Oh, and we really think civics ought not to be boring. We hope you'll join us.

    God Squad: Seeking High Ground in the School Wars

    God Squad: Seeking High Ground in the School Wars

    In a culturally, religiously and racially diverse society like ours — with a single public school system designed to educate America’s children — maybe we shouldn’t be surprised that the culture wars have Officially Hit Our Schools. When you clear away the noise, at the core of the struggle is this: what should our schools teach our children—and who decides? 
    Joining us for this conversation are special guests school board member Dr. Marcus Nicolas and Lea Marshall, a beloved high school theatre teacher.
    God Squad joining us: Father Tim Holeda of St. Thomas More Co-Cathedral, Joseph Davis Jr. of Truth Gatherers Community Church, and Betsy Ouellette Zierden former Pastor at Good Samaritan UMC, Gary Shultz of First Baptist Church, Latricia Scriven of Saint Paul’s United Methodist Church, and Stefanie Posner of Temple Israel.
    The Village Square is a proud member of The Democracy Group, a network of podcasts that examines what's broken in our democracy and how we can work together to fix it.
    Funding for this podcast was provided through a grant from Florida Humanities with funds from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Any views, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this program do not necessarily represent those of Florida Humanities or the National Endowment for the Humanities.
    This program is part of a larger project "Healing Starts Here" funded by New Pluralists. Learn more about our project, and other inspiring grantees here.

    • 59 min
    Jonathan Haidt: The Anxious Generation

    Jonathan Haidt: The Anxious Generation

    We were honored to hang out with our intellectual hero, Dr. Jonathan Haidt, a few weeks before the release of his recent book The Anxious Generation: How the Great Rewiring of Childhood is Causing an Epidemic of Mental Illness.
    Unsurprisingly, since its release, it became an instant #1 New York Times bestseller. If you have kids, if you know kids — heck, if you've ever seen a kid — you're just going to have to read this book. It gives us no less than a chance to rescue the coming generations from the devastating effects of an accidental social experiment run amok.
    Haidt argues we're overprotecting children in the real world — where they need to play, be exposed to challenge and freedom in order to learn to self-govern — and severely underprotect them in the digital world. He gives us concrete specific steps we can all take now to roll back the psychologically dangerous phone-based childhood.
    Don't miss this chance to hear from one of the foremost thought leaders of our time — one who has generously given his counsel to The Village Square, and countless efforts like ours — on this existential challenge of our time.  
    The Village Square is a proud member of The Democracy Group, a network of podcasts that examines what's broken in our democracy and how we can work together to fix it.
    Funding for this podcast was provided through a grant from Florida Humanities with funds from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Any views, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this program do not necessarily represent those of Florida Humanities or the National Endowment for the Humanities.
    This program is part of a larger project "Healing Starts Here" funded by New Pluralists. Learn more about our project, and other inspiring grantees here.

    • 52 min
    UNUM Series: The Soul of Civility

    UNUM Series: The Soul of Civility

    Find the program online here: https://tlh.villagesquare.us/event/soul-of-civility/
    While our special guest Alexandra O. Hudson, author of “The Soul of Civility: Timeless Principles to Heal Society and Ourselves,” finds the challenges to civility today dire, she thinks they’re not new — and they’re most definitely not about being more polite.
    Lexi brings a deep and fresh appreciation for the wisdom of the ages to the moment we’re in, from Socrates and Confucius to more contemporary thinkers such as Martin Luther King Jr., Gandhi, and Henry David Thoreau. She joins forces with these heavyweights, along with a practically encyclopedic knowledge of our understanding of civility through the ages. We hope you’ll join us for this inspiringly heartfelt and beautifully pitched argument that civility is not a luxury: it’s necessary for the survival and flourishing of our species.
    ALEXANDRA O. HUDSON is a writer, popular speaker, and the founder of Civic Renaissance, a publication and intellectual community dedicated to beauty, goodness and truth. She contributes to Fox News, CBS News, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, TIME Magazine, POLITICO Magazine, and Newsweek. She earned a master’s degree in public policy at the London School of Economics and is an adjunct professor at the Indiana University Lilly School of Philanthropy. Her first book, The Soul of Civility: Timeless Principles to Heal Society and Ourselves, was published in October 2023. She lives in Indianapolis, IN with her husband and children.
    ______________
    The Village Square is a proud member of The Democracy Group, a network of podcasts that examines what's broken in our democracy and how we can work together to fix it.
    Funding for this podcast was provided through a grant from Florida Humanities with funds from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Any views, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this program do not necessarily represent those of Florida Humanities or the National Endowment for the Humanities.
    This program is part of a larger project "Healing Starts Here" funded by New Pluralists. Learn more about our project, and other inspiring grantees here.

    • 1 hr 35 min
    Fragile Neighborhoods with Dr. Seth Kaplan

    Fragile Neighborhoods with Dr. Seth Kaplan

    “Fragile Neighborhoods is an essential and engaging read for everyone who wants to better understand the challenges facing our cities, towns and our nation at large.” Richard Florida – Bestselling Author of “The Rise of the Creative Class” Find the full program online here —  https://tlh.villagesquare.us/event/fragile-neighborhoods/
    As we continue our “Join or Die” year—exploring how we build lives of connection and belonging inside a polarized America—we’d be remiss if we didn’t turn our attention to the neighborhoods and the city where we live our lives.
    Too many of us live in neighborhoods plagued by rising crime, school violence, family disintegration, addiction, alienation, and despair. Even the wealthiest neighborhoods are not immune; while poverty exacerbates these challenges, they exist in zip codes rich and poor, rural and urban, and everything in between.
    Our special guest Seth D. Kaplan is an expert on fragile states across the world, consulting for the World Bank, U.S. State Department, U.S. Agency for International Development, as well as developing country governments and NGOs. His new book “Fragile Neighborhoods: Repairing American Society One Zip Code at a Time” brings  Seth’s experience overseas to our social decline in America—and Tallahassee— to revitalize our local institutions and the social ties that knit them together.
    Pick up a copy of Fragile Neighborhoods by swinging by Midtown Reader (or you can click here )
    Seth D. Kaplan is a leading expert on fragile states. He is a Professorial Lecturer in the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) at Johns Hopkins University, Senior Adviser for the Institute for Integrated Transitions (IFIT), and consultant to multilateral organizations around the world.
    The Village Square is a proud member of The Democracy Group, a network of podcasts that examines what's broken in our democracy and how we can work together to fix it.
    Funding for this podcast was provided through a grant from Florida Humanities with funds from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Any views, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this program do not necessarily represent those of Florida Humanities or the National Endowment for the Humanities.
    This program is part of a larger project "Healing Starts Here" funded by New Pluralists. Learn more about our project, and other inspiring grantees here.

    • 1 hr 24 min
    God Squad: Everyone is Canceled!

    God Squad: Everyone is Canceled!

    Find the full program online here — and meet The God Squad: https://tlh.villagesquare.us/event/canceled/. 
    We’re living in a time when a bad choice of words (much less a deeply held countercultural opinion) can tank your career, in a media environment where some are doing a near-professional job of elevating being offensive to an art form—almost begging to be “canceled” by those who care about maintaining at least a kindergarten-level decorum. Our culture wars have blinded us—gone are the deepest underpinnings of pluralism, where legitimately held beliefs are respected, even when they clash fiercely with our own. Never mind being canceled, this environment has many of us self-editing—choosing simply to not express ourselves so as to avoid risk altogether. So how’s a person to live free in a culture that’s this hostile and toxic to diverse opinion?
    We’re going to call on the better angels of our nature — and The God Squad — to see if we can get back to a generosity of spirit where we support each other’s right to live free by our conscience and beliefs — no matter how profoundly we disagree.
    Joining us for this God Squad are Father Tim Holeda of St. Thomas More Co-Cathedral, Latricia Scriven of Saint Paul’s United Methodist Church, Betsy Ouellette Zierden former Pastor at Good Samaritan UMC, Gary Shultz of First Baptist Church, and Rabbi Paul Sidlofsky of Temple Israel. Facilitated by Stefanie Posner of Temple Israel.
    The Village Square is a proud member of The Democracy Group, a network of podcasts that examines what's broken in our democracy and how we can work together to fix it.
    Funding for this podcast was provided through a grant from Florida Humanities with funds from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Any views, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this program do not necessarily represent those of Florida Humanities or the National Endowment for the Humanities.
    This program is part of a larger project "Healing Starts Here" funded by New Pluralists. Learn more about our project, and other inspiring grantees here.

    • 1 hr 7 min
    Dr. Jonathan Haidt | After Babel: "The Fragmentation of Everything"

    Dr. Jonathan Haidt | After Babel: "The Fragmentation of Everything"

    We wanted you wonderful SquareCast listeners to know that we didn't plan for this episode to drop on Leap Day and we didn't plan on it being (we kid you not) Episode 100. But both things just happened. At the very least, we think that's a sign that you really ought to listen. Were we "the universe has a plan" maximalists, though, we'd say it means you need to quit your day job and follow bridge builders like Jon Haidt and The Village Square around like Jack Kerouac groupies. 
    You pick. Here's our blurb to help inform your imminent life choice:
    What if, at a pinnacle of our civilization’s technological achievement, everything just broke — the institutions we’ve come to rely upon in navigating a modern complex world, the shared stories that hold a large and diverse democratic republic together, and even a common language through which to navigate the rising tide of crisis.  According to renowned social psychologist and author Jonathan Haidt, this describes our current reality, one that he calls “After Babel.” In this new normal, we are scattered by a digital environment into feuding tribes that are governed by mob dynamics and driven by a minority of ideological outliers, made stupid at warp speed by group think, and — thanks to social media — armed with billions of metaphorical “dart guns” with which to immediately wound “the enemy” in ways that are hardly only metaphorical. What could go wrong?
    Our very special guest, Dr. Jonathan Haidt, will delve into the profound impact of social media on democratic societies, dissecting the intricate web of challenges it poses to civic trust and civil discourse. Don’t miss this chance to hear from one of the foremost thought leaders of our time — one who has generously given his counsel to The Village Square, and countless efforts like ours — on this existential challenge of our time. Read Why the Past Ten Years of American Life Have Been Uniquely Stupid  in The Atlantic and learn more about Dr. Haidt by clicking the MORE button, below.
    The program includes a preview of Haidt’s highly anticipated upcoming book The Anxious Generation, available at the end of March. You’re not going to want to miss it.
    The Village Square is a proud member of The Democracy Group, a network of podcasts that examines what's broken in our democracy and how we can work together to fix it.
    Funding for this podcast was provided through a grant from Florida Humanities with funds from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Any views, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this program do not necessarily represent those of Florida Humanities or the National Endowment for the Humanities.
    This program is part of a larger project "Healing Starts Here" funded by New Pluralists. Learn more about our project, and other inspiring grantees here.

    • 1 hr 42 min

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5
16 Ratings

16 Ratings

Nopedone ,

First listen

This was first time listening. # 58 was smart funny and thought provoking. I have already forwarded it to family and friends.

DrDK2 ,

Join or Die

I began listening to this episode about the loss of “social capital” and unwinding of social networks with keen interest since it’s clear that social isolation has broad negative impacts on societal and personal health. But as I listened to their conclusion that everything was great until the 60’s when we have the Civil Rights and Feminist movements and then society fell apart, I was so appalled I had to stop listening. You can pretend it’s “just data” but it’s obviously a very regressive view. No thanks.

jspinelle ,

Real conversations about tough topics

I love the authenticity of this show. The team at The Village Square takes its work seriously but doesn’t take themselves too seriously, which is very refreshing in politics!

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