René Girard and the Right (w/ John Ganz)
Know Your Enemy
by sam adler-bell, john ganz, matthew sitman
4d ago
The late René Girard, former Stanford professor of literature and mentor to Peter Thiel, is having something of a moment on the right these days—as Sam Kriss recently put it in a Harper's essay, Girard's name is being "dropped on podcasts and shoved into reading lists," and "Girardianism has become a secret doctrine of a strange new frontier in reactionary thought." Why might that be the case? To unpack this question, Matt and Sam welcomed back John Ganz, whose four-part series on Girard is one of the best primers available. What does Girard have to say about who we are as human beings, why we ..read more
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Building a "Better" Trump Administration
Know Your Enemy
by Sam Adler-Bell, Matthew Sitman
1M ago
As listeners might have noticed, 2024 is a presidential election year, and already the prospect of Donald Trump returning to power is looming over the campaign and the media's coverage of it. In a second term, Trump has promised to weaponize the Justice Department to punish his enemies, deconstruct major portions of the administrative state, and mobilize the largest deportation force in US history — to cleanse the nation of immigrants who, as Trump says, "are poisoning the blood of our country."  The key to achieving these goals, conservatives believe, is ensuring that this time — unlike ..read more
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[TEASER] The Politics of Seinfeld (w/ Gabe Winant and Jesse Brenneman)
Know Your Enemy
by gabe winant, jesse brenneman, matthew sitman
1M ago
Subscribe to Know Your Enemy on Patreon to listen to this premium episode, and all of our bonus content: https://www.patreon.com/knowyourenemy Journeyman actor Peter Crombie, who appeared in films such as Seven, Born on the Fourth of July, and Natural Born Killers, died earlier this month, on January 10, 2024, at the age of 71. But his most famous, or at least memorable, role probably was his five-episode arc in season four of Seinfeld as "Crazy" Joe Davola, a struggling writer who becomes obsessed with Elaine and believes Jerry is sabotaging his career. The "Crazy" Joe Davola episodes come at ..read more
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The History of the History of the Right (w/ Kim Phillips-Fein)
Know Your Enemy
by Kim Phillips-Fein, Matthew Sitman, Sam Adler-Bell
1M ago
When did the American conservative movement begin? Who were its chief protagonists? What were their main motivations? Is the conservative movement a social movement, like any other, or is it something different? Should scholars have "sympathy" for their conservative subjects in order to study them? And are there important distinctions to be drawn between "conservative," "the right," and "the far right?"  These are the sorts of questions historians ask each other and themselves. The changing ways they answer them — and the reasons their answers  change — is the subject of today's epis ..read more
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Tom Wolfe (w/ Osita Nwanevu) [TEASER]
Know Your Enemy
by Sam Adler-Bell, Matthew Sitman, Osita Nwanevu
2M ago
Subscribe to Know Your Enemy on Patreon to listen to this premium episode, and all of our bonus content: https://www.patreon.com/knowyourenemy Writer Osita Nwanevu joins for a rip-roaring conversation about legendary prose stylist, "new journalist," and novelist Tom Wolfe. Reviewing a new documentary about Wolfe ("Radical Wolfe" on Netflix), Osita writes, "Behind the ellipses and exclamation points and between the lines of his prose, a lively though often lazy conservative mind was at work, making sense of the half-century that birthed our garish and dismal present, Trump and all." Answered he ..read more
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Bomb Power (w/ Erik Baker)
Know Your Enemy
by Erik Baker, Sam Adler-Bell, Matt Sitman
2M ago
For our final main episode of 2023, we're dipping back into the Wills well to discuss Garry's under-appreciated 2010 book, Bomb Power: The Modern Presidency and the National Security State.  Joining us is our great friend Erik Baker, lecturer in the History of Science Department at Harvard University and an editor at The Drift magazine.  In Bomb Power, Garry Wills elegantly demonstrates how the imperatives of secretly conceiving, building, and deploying the nuclear bomb fundamentally changed American democracy — massively empowering the presidency, disempowering Congress, and setting ..read more
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Milton Friedman and the Making of Our Times (w/ Jennifer Burns)
Know Your Enemy
by jennifer burns, matthew sitman, sam adler-bell
3M ago
In this episode, Matt and Sam are joined by Stanford historian Jennifer Burns to discuss her new biography of Milton Friedman, the Nobel Prize-winning economist whose influence would reach far beyond the academy when, during his last decades, he became one of the most effective popularizers of libertarian ideas—in books, columns, and even a ten-part PBS program, Free to Choose. How did the son of Jewish immigrants in New Jersey come to hold the often radical ideas that made him famous? How does Friedman's variety of libertarianism differ from, say, that of Mises or Hayek? What made Friedman, u ..read more
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Anarcho-Capitalism in Argentina? (w/ David Adler) [TEASER]
Know Your Enemy
by David Adler, Sam Adler-Bell, Matthew Sitman
3M ago
Subscribe to Know Your Enemy on Patreon to listen to this premium episode, and all of our bonus content: https://www.patreon.com/knowyourenemy Know Your Enemy Latin America correspondent David Adler returns to breakdown the (terrible) election results from Argentina, where Javier Milei, a deranged disciple of Murray Rothbard, Milton Friedman, and Austrian economics, who consults his cloned dogs for political advice and promises to tear down the Peronist state with a chainsaw, has won the presidency. David is the General Coordinator of the Progressive International, and despite what he tells pe ..read more
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The Kennedy Imprisonment (w/ Jeet Heer)
Know Your Enemy
by jeet heer, sam adler-bell, matthew sitman
3M ago
In this episode, Matt and Sam welcome the Nation's Jeet Heer to the podcast to continue their journey into the work of Garry Wills—in particular, Wills's under-appreciated 1982 masterpiece, The Kennedy Imprisonment: A Meditation on Power. The book might be thought of as a sequel to his earlier Nixon Agonistes (1970). As Wills puts it in his introduction to the most recent edition of The Kennedy Imprisonment, "I had written a book about Nixon, and it was not a biography, but an attempt to see what could be learned about America from the way Nixon attracted or repelled his fellow countrymen. Why ..read more
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More Questions, More Answers [Teaser]
Know Your Enemy
by Matthew Sitman
4M ago
Subscribe to Know Your Enemy on Patreon to listen to this premium episode, and all of our bonus content: https://www.patreon.com/knowyourenemy In which we answer more of your excellent questions, including: the right-wing panic over children; how to leave grad school; Tillich, Niebuhr, and Dorothy Day; why 21st century Bob Dylan is the best Bob Dylan; how to teach a course on post-war conservatism; and more! Sources cited: Matthew Sitman, "Anti-Social Conservatives," Gawker, July 25, 2022. — "Whither the Religious Left?" The New Republic, April 15, 2021. Jules Gill-Peterson, Histories of the T ..read more
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