Impolitic gives the people want they want, which in this case meant watching the first episodes of The Leader, a Chinese Communist Party produced anime about the life of young Karl Marx, his love of Jenny Westphalen, and turgid philosophical one liners. Then Sean and Paul discuss Simon van Zuylen-Wood’s article (29:45) about socialist hipsters in fair Brooklyn before Paul describes (58:30) his idealized health insurance system in the magical land of Libertopia. Finally, the guys wish (1:32:05) Bill Weld well in his Presidential aspirations.
In this week’s episode, Paul and Sean discuss the national emergency that wasn’t; America’s dawning realization that Donald Trump is a feckless and impotent leader; Bernie Sanders’s prospect for winning the White House (and more importantly, winning his policy goals); “Davos Dude” Rutger Bregman; and the role of money in politics.
Musical Credits: Kool & the Gang, “Emergency”; DJ Steve Porter, “Bern It Up (Remix)”; Junior Parker, “Taxman.”
It’s another grab bag episode! This week, Paul and Sean discuss everything from the shortcomings of the 1980s and Donald Trump’s movie tastes to Paul’s penchant for chatting up rideshare drivers and Sean’s successful prediction about the outcome of the government shutdown. By episode’s end, however, they turn their focus to the dangers of a US intervention in Venezuela and the importance of seeing Venezuela as a real country with a real history rather than a mere litmus test for leftist policy.
This week, the guys discuss the increasingly crowded field of hopefuls for the Democratic nomination for President in 2020. Paul argues that both the size of the field and the growing ability of progressive candidates to raise funds outside of party control could lead to the kinds of collective action problems that bedeviled Republicans in 2016. Sean responds with the hottest of hot takes, the “probable” nomination of one Bernie “My Hair Don’t Care” Sanders. Then the guys talk about the federal government shutdown, what it exposes about the dysfunction in American politics, and a few hopeful silver linings.
Paul’s secluded himself in a cabin this weekend, so Sean is helming the show with two-time guest host Hélène Huet. Their topic: Hallmark Christmas movies. Reprising their previous political analysis of American pop culture (in their Ep. 38 break down of the Real Housewives franchises), Hélène and Sean break down the business side of Hallmark’s Christmas juggernaut and propose some theories about why these films have become such pop culture staples in the late-Obama and early-Trump years. Along the way, they propose some foolproof ideas for future Hallmark holiday films.
Musical Credits: Frank Sinatra, “Jingle Bells”; Stevie Wonder, “Living for the City”; Mariah Carey, “All I Want for Christmas Is You.”
Frederic Bastiat was a French classical liberal who sat in the National Assembly after the Revolution of 1848. But while today classical liberalism is largely associated with the political Right in American politics, in 19th century France Bastiat sat on the Left side of the Assembly with the socialists in opposition to the monarchists.
Bastiat, who came from a long line of merchants, was particularly frustrated with French mercantilism, the idea that domestic industry ought to be protected from cheaper foreign competition. It’s a bad idea that won’t die, but I suppose we have mercantilists to thank for inspiring this witty, little satire.
Here’s a link to Sean’s friend’s medical fundraising page.
Here’s a link to next episode’s reading from Lenin on imperialism.
Does the opening music sound like mediocre elevator music? Yes? Well, good, because it is an homage to the most mediocre of modern Presidents, the late George H.W. Bush, a man whose current legacy appears to be that he is roundly agreed by all to be a somewhat better human being than the present occupant of the Oval Office.
After a discussion of Père Bush’s legacy, Sean and Paul try to decide what the heck to make of the gilets jaunes or “yellow vest” protestors in France. Are they from the Right? From the Left? Nobody, least of all us, really knows, but they are exceedingly French.