This week, Paul and Sean accidentally stumble into a long-planned discussion of institutional and electoral reforms that might reinject life into the shambling body of US politics, from ranked-choice voting and packing the House to reapportioning Senate seats by population and instituting term limits for SCOTUS.
Look, it’s not really that hard to figure out what this episode is about from the title, but listen in and you’ll also find out the secret for why Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion can’t win the Great British Baking Show and suss out the difference between Prodigal Son George W. Bush and Fail Son _______ [insert various and sundry Trumps].
Paul and Sean grapple with the historical memory(hole) of 9/11; Sean asks what the Whig Party’s demise in the 1850s says about the future of the Dems and GOP; and Paul warns about a California pastor whose anti-mask campaign may tip the 2020 election.
Paul and Sean check in on school reopenings and Jerry Falwell Jr. Both are faring poorly. They then cast their eyes upon the bleak landscapes of the Democratic and Republican National Conventions, consider the mounting carnage of both police and paramilitary violence, and close by reflecting on the ideology of theme parks – a topic inspired by the HBO documentary Class Action Park about notorious New Jersey pleasure palace Action Park.
Sean and Paul discuss a little pandemic reading, including Elena Ferrante’s novels about post-WW2 Italy and the work of the recently deceased historian of American Revolution, Bernard Bailyn. That leads into a discussion of whether Bailyn’s liberal legacy will endure new/old challenges from the New York Times’s 1619 Project and other more radical histories. Oh, and the two rhapsodize about how great SimCity is and whether it is the most or least neo-liberal video game ever created.
After a several-week hiatus, Paul and Sean recap the events of the July, from school re-openings and COVID spikes throughout the Sunbelt to the appearance of secret police in American cities and liberals’ symbolic sops to BLM. Paul also discusses life as a newly-minted Mainer and Sean celebrates the return of (a cynically woke) Formula One.
Paul and Sean reflect on their respective brushes with Z-list celebrity: Paul as a result of The Radio Right’s forthcoming publication; and Sean as a consequence of his internationally-viral Twitter thread. Next, they consider the relative merits of reforming, defunding, and abolishing the police, with side reflections on fascism, military dictatorship, and public sector unionism. Finally, they share their thoughts on Seattle’s Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone and conclude with high praise for modern Nerf gun technology.
Paul and Sean discuss the protests and urban rebellions sweeping the US after George Floyd’s murder by police, with detours on 60s radicalism and reaction, social movement theory, and (inexplicably) the rise of the Soviet bureaucracy.
Paul and Sean discuss Bryan Caplan’s controversial take on college education as being primarily a form of social signaling, then Paul introduces Sean to the wonders of the Painter of Light himself, Thomas Kinkade, and what he symbolizes about the past, present, and future of evangelicalism.
After a brief farewell to Bernard Sanders, Paul and Sean discuss how the economy, labor, tech, and daily life have been transformed by the COVID-19 pandemic and which of those changes will persist even after the pandemic is over.