In The Age of Acrimony, the author says that during the Gilded Age "Americans joined mass political parties for protection and community," but in the Progressive Era, "where mass culture was a daily reality, individualism seemed to promise safety" from populist politics feared by muckrakers and social reformers. You guys often refer to us as living in the 1890s, which I've thought of as meaning following a similar trajectory. But taking your 'Binary Moment' argument, American political trends since the end of WWII, and the recent rise of regional power politics into account, doesn't it seem we are just as likely moving in the opposite direction? (Making it intentionally broad, something like going from a Progressive Era into a Gilded Age, with imperialism still in the mix). When breaking the tendency to read American history as one progression after the other, how can you use historical timeframes to inform the present moment? How can politicians craft useful narratives out of a what feels like a regression for us, to what Grinspan calls "democratic variability"? Is this what Ross Douthat's Decadent Society (which I hadn't been totally convinced by) is trying to get at?
You've talked a lot about binary cultural issues within politics, but to what extent do you agree with the really big picture arguments that things like how capitalism or liberalism are structured inevitably lead to the political problems we're experiencing.? And it so, is it possible to address those issues and where would you start? Does self-government require particular practices or habits of mind that we've lost, as some (like Tanner Greer and Patrick Deneen) claim? To put it another way, to what extent are we Americans part of the problems we complain about in politics and how would we need to change to fix them? It seems like so much of realpolitik analysis is about "is" over "ought" which makes talking about people just being better citizens sound outdated, despite civic virtue being very much on the minds of past generations back to the Founders (what with the famous John Adams quote about whales and nets).
Really love the show and your book recommendations. I absolutely support your Bookshop and I think it is a great way to get eyes on the books your guests write and a great way to recommend books you have read. Have you two ever considered opening a Good Reads account? It syncs directly up to your Amazon credentials and it is a great way to not only track your reading, it is also a great platform for community engagement and share what you are all reading in real time.
Good evening M&S, Great stuff as always. My question is whether it is possible to create a transcript of each episode for citing purposes for papers, studies, etc? For example, I am working on a project in which much of what Thomas Ricks had to say would be useful. Best, TR