Know Your Enemy

By Matthew Sitman

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 Jun 28, 2022

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 May 20, 2022


 Apr 14, 2022

disappointed.
 Feb 13, 2022
oof. horseshoe theory and whataboutism abounds in their convos with conservatives. please stop being fig leaves.

Description

A leftist's guide to the conservative movement, one podcast episode at a time, with co-hosts Matthew Sitman and Sam Adler-Bell.

Episode Date
How They Did It, Pt. 3: The End of the Beginning
01:47:37

In the third and final episode in their series on the overturning of Roe v. Wade—recorded on the day it happened—Matt and Sam pick up with 1990s, the George W. Bush administration, and eventually take listeners up to the present. They focus especially on way conservative, mostly Christian intellectuals, many of them connected to the religious journal First Things, brought Catholics and evangelicals together to fight against abortion rights, with figures like Fr. Richard John Neuhaus, Robert P. George, and Hadley Arkes providing language and arguments in a more elite idiom—a project that deeply influenced Bush's presidency and helped cement the anti-abortion movement's place not just in the religious right but the broader conservative movement and the GOP.

Sources:

"Killing Abortionists: A Symposium," First Things, December 1994

"Evangelicals and Catholics Together: The Christian Mission in the Third Millenium," First Things, May 1994

"The End of Democracy? The Judicial Usurpation of Politics," First Things, November 1996

Damon Linker, The Theocons: Secular America Under Siege (Doubleday, 2006)

Mary Ziegler, Dollars for Life: The Anti-Abortion Movement and the Fall of the Republican Establishment (Yale University Press, 2021)

Joshua Wilson, The Street Politics of Abortion: Speech, Violence, and America's Culture Wars, (Stanford University Press, 2013)

Richard John Neuhaus, The Naked Public Square: Religion and Democracy in America (Eerdmans, 1984)

Robert P. George, Making Men Moral: Civil Liberties and Public Morality (Oxford University Press, 1993)

Hadley Arkes, "The End of the Beginning of the End of Abortion," First Things, June 24, 2022

Matthew Sitman, "Reading Left to Right" (review of Richard John Neuhaus: A Life in the Public Square), Commonweal, August 24, 2015

Tara Isabella Burton, "The Biblical Story the Christian Right Uses to Defend Trump," Vox, March 5, 2018

Jun 30, 2022
The State of the American Right (w/ Daniel Denvir)
02:24:07

Today we're sharing a special "Dig Your Enemy" crossover event, as Daniel Denvir of Jacobin magazine's The Dig podcast puts Matt and Sam in the hot seat. We answer all of Dan's excellent questions about the state of the American right, including: the return of isolationism, the New Right, Peter Thiel, Curtis Yarvin, Blake Masters, Doug Mastriano, the prospects for a multi-racial conservative majority, the "groomer" panic, masculinity and gender politics, MAGA, authoritarianism, NYC's new reactionary "downtown scene," and the bad dialectic between racial liberalism and the anti-woke reactionaries. Enjoy! 

This episode was originally posted by The Dig; find the rest of their excellent podcasts here: https://thedigradio.com/ 

...and don't forget to subscribe to Know Your Enemy on Patreon for access to all of our bonus episodes! 

Jun 22, 2022
How They Did It, Pt. 2: The Christian Right and Roe
01:28:29

At long last, Matt and Sam dive into the origins of the Christian right—a complicated tale often flattened by contemporary debates. What was the history of Christian anti-abortion activism before Roe, and how soon after the landmark Supreme Court decision did conservative Christians coalesce around the abortion—and other issues—to become the political force we know today? What did it take to get Catholics and evangelicals to join forces, and what were the barriers to them coming together, especially given the history of anti-Catholicism in the United States? And how did all this help reshape the GOP into a vehicle for anti-abortion politics, given that such a scenario was not fated on the eve of Roe? Your hosts take up these questions and more, stopping in the early 1990s—when they'll pick up with the story in the third and final episode in the series.

Sources and Citations:

Randall Balmer, "The Religious Right and the Abortion Myth," Politico Magazine, May 10, 2022

Neil J. Young and Gillian Frank, "What Everyone Gets Wrong about Evangelicals and Abortion," Washington Post, May 16, 2022

Neil J. Young, We Gather Together: The Religious Right and the Problem of Interfaith Politics (Oxford University Press, 2015)

Kristen Luker, Abortion & the Politics of Motherhood, (University of California Press, 1985)

Mary Ziegler, After Roe: The Lost History of the Abortion Debate, (Harvard University Press, 2015)

Ilyse Hogue and Ellie Langford, The Lie That Binds (Strong Arm Press, 2020)

Rick Perlstein, Reaganland: America's Right Turn 1976-80 (Simon & Schuster, 2020)

Daniel K. Williams, Defenders of the Unborn: The Pro-Life Movement Before Roe v. Wade (Oxford University Press, 2016)

Joshua Wilson, The Street Politics of Abortion: Speech, Violence, and America's Culture Wars, (Stanford University Press, 2013)

David L. Chappell, A Stone of Hope: Prophetic Religion and the Death of Jim Crow (UNC Press, 2005)

"Killing Abortionists: A Symposium," First Things, December 1994

 

Jun 16, 2022
How They Did It: Overturning Roe, Pt. 1 (w/ the 5-4 podcast)
01:23:15

On May 5, Politico published a leaked draft of the majority opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health, written by Justice Samuel Alito, that would overturn Roe v. Wade. How did we get here? In the first of three episodes dedicated to answering that question, Matt and Sam talk to Peter, Rhiannon, and Michael of the 5-4 Podcast about the conservative legal movement's role and the right's use of the courts in achieving their aims. What were the main arguments in the leaded Dobbs decision, and where did these ideas come from? How important was opposition to abortion rights to the development of originalism and organizations like the Federalist Society? What function has the Federalist Society served in the conservative takeover of the Supreme Court? Also discussed in this episode: the relationship between radical, violent anti-abortion groups and the broader anti-abortion legal movement, the narrower victories the right won against abortion rights along the way, and what might come next from an emboldened conservative movement with the Supreme Court on their side.

Sources:

Josh Gerstein and Alexander Ward, "Supreme Court Has Voted to Overturn Abortion Rights, Draft Opinion Shows," Politico, May 5, 2022

5-4 Podcast, "Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health: The End of Roe," May 4, 2022

5-4 Podcast, "The Return of the Rise and Fall of Roe v. Wade, Pt. 1," January 4, 2022

                               "The Return of the Rise and Fall of Roe v. Wade, Pt. 2," January 4, 2022

Know Your Enemy (w/ 5-4's Rhiannon), "The Texas Bounty Hunter Bill," September 30, 2021

Amanda Hollis-Brusky, Ideas with Consequences: The Federalist Society and the Conservative Counterrevolution (Oxford University Press, 2019)

Ilyse Hogue and Ellie Langford, The Lie That Binds (Strong Arm Press, 2020)

Joshua C. Wilson, The Street Politics of Abortion: Speech, Violence, America's Culture Wars (Stanford University Press, 2013)

...and don't forget to subscribe to Know Your Enemy on Patreon to access to all of our bonus episodes!

May 28, 2022
UNLOCKED: A New Pink Tide? (w/ Thea Riofrancos & David Adler)
01:23:53

A conversation with David Adler and Thea Riofrancos about the return of the Latin American left — unlocked from Patreon in advance of hugely consequential elections in Colombia this weekend!! (Originally published May 15, 2022.)

Hope for the American left is at a fairly low ebb, at the moment, but our counterparts in Latin America are on the march and succeeding at beating back repressive right wing governments across the region. What can we learn from them? And given extremely volatile global conditions — and the continued role of the US in defending the interests of capital in the region — what can these new left-wing governments hope to accomplish?

Sam is joined by political scientist Thea Riofrancos and David Adler, the General Coordinator of the Progressive International, to discuss left populism in Chile, Colombia, Brazil, and elsewhere. 


Further Reading: 

Thea Riofrancos & David Adler, "Gabriel Boric and Latin America’s new pink tide," New Statesman, Mar 11, 2022.

Thea Riofrancos, "The rush to ‘go electric’ comes with a hidden cost: destructive lithium mining," Guardian, Jun 14, 2021.

— "The View from Latin America," Boston Review, Apr 27, 2020. 

— "Ecuador After Correa," n+1, Fall 2017.

John Bartlett, "Chilean journalist dies after being shot while covering Workers’ Day marches," Guardian, May 12, 2022

...and don't forget to subscribe to Know Your Enemy on Patreon for access to all of our bonus episodes!

May 25, 2022
TEASER: Yinzer Country
00:03:31

In this bonus episode, Matt takes Sam on a tour of his native state, Pennsylvania, where a number of key primaries were held this week. The results brought some hopeful news: Lt. Gov. John Fetterman handily defeated State Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta and (even better) Manchin-backed moderate Rep. Conor Lamb in the contest for the Democratic senate nomination. But it also revealed the madness that continues to grip the GOP: State Sen. Doug Mastriano, a January 6 marcher and election-fraud true believer, will be running for governor in November, and Dr. Oz, as of this writing, was clinging to a narrow lead in the race to take on Fetterman. Don't worry, though, it's not all punditry: the cuisines, strange regional dialects, and curious folkways of the virtuous commonwealth also are discussed. Then the episode turns to the fortunes of the Thiel tools: J.D. Vance and Blake Masters, both of whom are running for the Senate (Vance in Ohio and Masters in Arizona). The former won the Republican nod, and in come-from-behind fashion—how did he do it, especially after months of woke pundits dismissing his campaign? And what are Masters chances in August, when the Arizona GOP primary will be held?

Subscribe to Know Your Enemy on Patreon to listen to this bonus episode, and all of our bonus content: https://www.patreon.com/knowyourenemy

May 21, 2022
TEASER: A New Pink Tide? (w/ Thea Riofrancos & David Adler)
00:01:28

Hope for the American left is at a fairly low ebb, at the moment, but our counterparts in Latin America are on the march and succeeding at beating back repressive right wing governments across the region. What can we learn from them? And given extremely volatile global conditions — and the continued role of the US in defending the interests of capital in the region — what can these new left-wing governments hope to accomplish?

Sam is joined by political scientist Thea Riofrancos and David Adler, the General Coordinator of the Progressive International, to discuss left populism in Chile, Colombia, Brazil, and elsewhere. 

Subscribe to Know Your Enemy on Patreon to listen to this bonus episode, and all of our bonus content: https://www.patreon.com/knowyourenemy

May 15, 2022
The Conservative and the Convict (w/ Sarah Weinman)
01:27:49

Sarah Weinman's new book—Scoundrel: How a Convicted Murderer Persuaded the Women Who Loved Him, the Conservative Establishment, and the Courts to Set Him Free—is a gripping true crime story, and perhaps the tale of an ill-fated love triangle.  It also is a story about William F. Buckley, Jr., who defied expectations to show mercy to a death-row prisoner, Edgar Smith, after finding out that he supposedly read National Review. In this episode, Weinman joins Matt and Sam to talk about this fascinating, half-forgotten episode from a key period in Buckley's life and career—how Smith and Buckley met; what Buckley did for him; the role played by Sophie Wilkins, Smith's editor at Knopf, in what happened; and the sad ending toward which it all careened.

Sources:

Sarah Weinman, Scoundrel: How a Convicted Murderer Persuaded the Women Who Loved Him, the Conservative Establishment, and the Courts to Set Him Free (Ecco Press, February 2022)

Sam Adler-Bell, "The Conservative and the Murderer," New Republic, March 7, 2022

Christopher Buckley, Losing Mum and Pup: A Memoir (Twelve Books, May 2009)

Garry Wills, "Daredevil," Atlantic, July/August 2009

Sophie Wilkins, trans., The Man Without Qualities by Robert Musil (1930, 2017)

Alexander Chee, "Mr. and Mrs. B," Apology Magazine, Winter 2014

...and don't forget to subscribe to Know Your Enemy on Patreon for access to all of our bonus episodes!

May 09, 2022
The Right Kind of Worker (w/ Gabriel Winant)
01:31:29

Since Donald Trump was elected president — partially on the strength of white working class support in the Rust Belt — we've heard that the GOP is a working class party; that liberals sold out American labor to globalized capital; and that American workers are too socially and culturally conservative to remain within the increasingly progressive Democratic tent. According to the populist right, the culture war is itself a class war, waged on behalf of real workers against a secular, libertine professional elite who control the commanding heights of the economy, government, and media. 

What's wrong with this story? Labor historian and essayist Gabriel Winant joins Matt and Sam to answer that question. Using Gabe's award-winning book The Next Shift: The Fall of Industry and the Rise of Health Care in Rust Belt America as a guide, we tell a different story about working class formation in this country, about the forces that led to the decline of America's industrial base, and about the prospects for renewing labor's power relative to capital. Along the way, we take on figures of the newly labor-curious right — Oren Cass, Sohrab Ahmari, and others — explaining how their vision is based on ideologically motivated elisions that seek to resolve rather than energize class conflict.  It's a hot one, folks! 

Further Reading:

Gabriel Winant, "We Live in a Society," n+1, Dec 12, 2020

— "Professional-Managerial Chasm," n+1, Oct 10, 2019

— "Coronavirus and Chronopolitics" n+1, Spring 2020.

— "Strike Wave," New Left Review, Nov 25, 2021.

Sohrab Ahmari, "How America Kneecapped Its Unions," Compact, Mar 31, 2022.

Julius Krein, "The Real Class War," American Affairs, Nov 20, 2019.

Alexander Riley, "Labor Betrayed by the Progressive Left," Chronicles, Mar 2022. 

Landon R.Y. Storrs, The Second Red Scare and the Unmaking of the New Deal Left, Princeton U Press, 2012.

Melinda Cooper, Family Values: Between Neoliberalism and the New Social Conservatism Zone Books, 2017.

Alice Kessler-Harris, In Pursuit of Equity: Women, Men, and the Quest for Economic Citizenship in 20th-Century America, 2001. Oxford U Press. 2001.

Apr 30, 2022
Macron vs. Le Pen (w/ Cole Stangler)
00:02:10

Did this week's one-on-one debate between Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen change the race in any significant ways? Why is Le Pen drawing notably more support this time around than she did in 2017? How much is Macron's strategy of pivoting to the right on issues of culture and identity to blame for her rise? What about Jean-Luc Mélenchon, the leftwing politician who nearly made it to the runoff? And why did the far-right candidate Éric Zemmour fade? Listen for the answers to these questions—and more! You can do so by subscribing to Know Your Enemy at Patreon.

 

Apr 22, 2022
The Other Side of the Story (w/ Michael Kazin)
01:04:06

Matt and Sam are joined by Georgetown University historian and co-editor emeritus of Dissent, Michael Kazin, to discuss his new book, What It Took to Win: A History of the Democratic Party. They discuss the origins of the Democratic Party, the alliance between its urban North and segregationist South, the party's turn toward using government to help ordinary people, and the eventual crack-up of the New Deal coalition—and the rise of the right, and the Republican Party, that followed. Why did people whose relative comfort and prosperity had been made possible by policies championed by Democrats turn against them? How did Democrats respond to Ronald Reagan winning 49 states in 1984? Did it have to turn out the way it did? 

Sources:

Michael Kazin, What It Took To Win: A History of the Democratic Party (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2022)

                                   A Godly Hero: The Life of William Jennings Bryan (Anchor, 2007)

Michael Kazin, "Whatever Happened to Moral Capitalism?" New York Times, June 24, 2019

Nathaniel Hawthorne, "Earth's Holocaust" (1844)

Sam Rosenfeld, "What Defines the Democratic Party?" New Republic, February 15, 2022

Matthew Sitman, "Tribute to Michael Kazin," Dissent, October 6, 2020

...don't forget to subscribe to Know Your Enemy on Patreon for access to all of our bonus episodes!

Apr 13, 2022
TEASER: Compact with the Devil? (w/ John Ganz)
00:01:40

Matt and Sam are joined by KYE all-star John Ganz to discuss Compact: A Radical American Journal, a new publication founded by Sohrab Ahmari, Matthew Schmitz, and Edward Aponte. It's launch coincided with a profile in the New York Times—and a party that Sam attended. What are the ideas behind Compact? How should the left approach the perspective it offers? Your hosts answer these questions, and more, drawing on Ganz's excellent Substack post on these topics, "Compact Magazine's Unholy Alliance."

Subscribe to Know Your Enemy on Patreon to listen to this bonus episode, and all of our bonus content: https://www.patreon.com/knowyourenemy

Apr 09, 2022
Red Diaper Baby (w/ Ari Brostoff)
01:30:49

Matt and Sam are joined by Ari Brostoff, author of  Missing Time: Essays, to explore David Horowitz's 1996 memoir, Radical Son. Like a number of prominent conservatives, Horowitz is a convert from the left. But he's younger than most of the first neocons, and his journey to the right went through Berkeley and the New Left more than the alcoves of City College. Radical Son is his account of that journey—an evocative, angry, revealing text that takes the reader from his red-diaper baby childhood in Queens's Sunnyside neighborhood to his involvement with Huey Newton and the Black Panthers in Oakland to his break with the left and turn to the right. What does Horowitz's trajectory reveal about the rightwing politics today? 

Sources:

Ari Brostoff, Missing Time: Essays (n+1, 2022)

Vivian Gornick, The Romance of American Communism (1977, reprint Verso 2020)

David Horowitz, Radical Son: A Generational Odyssey (Simon & Schuster, 1996)

Fran Lebowitz, "Speaking of New York," Commonweal, February 7, 2019

Ronald Radosh and Sol Stern, "Our Friend, the Trump Propagandist," New Republic, May 5, 2021

Cole Stangler, "David Horowitz: 'Conservatives are So F**king Well-Mannered," In These Times, December 12, 2013

Reinhold Niebuhr, "Augustine's Political Realism," from The Essential Reinhold Niebuhr (Yale University Press, 1987)

..and don't forget to subscribe to Know Your Enemy on Patreon for access to all of our bonus episodes!

Mar 30, 2022
The Anti-Trans Agenda (w/ Gillian Branstetter)
01:25:29

Matt and Sam talk to Gillian Branstetter,  press secretary for the National Women’s Law Center, about the spate of anti-trans laws sweeping the country: What do these interventions do? Who is pushing them? And why? 

The American right has long been invested in policing gender boundaries, but its fixation on trans people — and trans children, in particular — has  become more acute in recent years. Over 100 anti-trans state-level measures have been passed this legislative session alone, including athletics bans, curriculum/book bans, religious refusal laws, and bans on access to health care. Perhaps most alarmingly, states like Texas are instituting policies that equate gender-affirming care with child abuse, terrorizing  trans kids and their families. With Gillian's help, we explore the conservative forces behind these bills and reveal the ideological fixations, misapprehensions, and contradictions driving this panic. It's a difficult but necessary conversation.

If you'd like to help fight the right's anti-trans onslaught,  consider donating to The Trans Justice Funding Project

 

Further Reading: 

J David Goodman, "How Medical Care for Trans Youth Became ‘Child Abuse’ In Texas," NY Times, March 11, 2022

Melissa Gira Grant, "The Groups Pushing Anti-Trans Laws Want to Divide the LGBTQ Movement," The New Republic, Feb 17, 2022. 

Jeremy W Peters, "A Conservative Push to Make Trans Kids and School Sports the Next Battleground," NY Times, Nov 3, 2019. 

Judith Butler, "Why Is the Idea of ‘Gender’ Provoking Backlash the World Over?" The Guardian, Oct 23, 2021.

Jules Gill-Peterson "The Anti-Trans Lobby’s Real Agenda," Jewish Currents, Apr 27, 2021.

Histories of the Transgender Child, UM Press 2018.

 

...and don't forget to subscribe to Know Your Enemy on Patreon to listen to all of our bonus episodes!

Mar 20, 2022
TEASER: Disinformation, Peter Thiel, and the Vibe Shift (w/ Joe Bernstein)
00:03:28

In the first half of this conversation with Buzzfeed’s Joe Bernstein, Sam asks: What is “disinformation?” Who gets to decide? And does it explain what's wrong with our politics? And in the second half: why is Trump’s favorite venture capitalist, Peter Thiel, funding New York City’s downtown arts scene? And what are the political stakes of "anti-woke" art? 

This was a fun conversation with one of our favorite journalists! Enjoy. 

Subscribe to Know Your Enemy on Patreon to listen to this bonus episode, and all of our bonus content: https://www.patreon.com/knowyourenemy 

Mar 11, 2022
A Second Civil War? (w/ Jamelle Bouie)
01:24:41

The past few months have seen much talk of a "second Civil War" in the United States or a "national divorce" between red states and blue states. New York Times columnist Jamelle Bouie joins Matt and Sam to discuss why the analogy to the Civil War fails, what such rhetoric does for those who deploy it, and what the challenges really are to a better politics in America.

Listening: Check out Jamelle's podcast, co-hosted with fellow KYE guest John Ganz, Unclear and Present Danger!

Reading:

Jamelle Bouie, "Why We Are Not Facing the Prospect of a Second Civil War," New York Times, Feb 15, 2022

Michelle Goldberg, "Are We Really Facing a Second Civil War?" New York Times, Jan 6, 2022

Nate Hochman, "Let's Stay Together," Spectator, January 2, 2022

Michael Anton, "Right Flight: The War Between the States," Claremont Review of Books, Summer 2021

Helen Andrews, "Reconstruction Revisionism," American Conservative, Dec 11, 2021

Harry Jaffa, Crisis of the House Divided (University of Chicago, 1959)

..and don't forget to subscribe to Know Your Enemy on Patreon for access to all of our bonus episodes!

Mar 07, 2022
Mothers of Conservatism (w/ Michelle Nickerson)
01:11:41

Matt and Sam talk to Michelle Nickerson about her brilliant book, Mothers of Conservatism, which explores the lives and political activism of conservative women in the Los Angeles area in the 1940s and 50s. Unlike many other conversations on the show, this one is less about intellectuals and ideas than social history—a description of how, as Nickerson puts it, housewife activists worked to "protect the nation from aliens, internationalism, and power-hungry bureaucrats in Washington." Topics include: the Great Depression and the rise of "housewife populism," conservative bookstores and "Americanism" centers run by women, the networks of activism that conservative women built and deployed, fierce battles over public education, the menace of psychiatry and the social sciences in shaping education policy, and more.

Sources:

Michelle Nickerson, Mothers of Conservatism (Princeton University Press, 2012)

                                              "Stefanik's Rise and Cheney's Fall Mark a New Role for GOP Women," Washington Post, May 13, 2021

Alan Brinkley, "The Problem of American Conservatism," American History Review, April 1994

Jean Bethke Elshtain, Jane Addams and the Dream of American Democracy (Basic Books, 2002)

...and don't forget to subscribe to Know Your Enemy on Patreon to listen to all of our bonus episodes!

Feb 27, 2022
TEASER: How To Be Normal (w/ Phil Christman)
00:02:23

Matt talks to writer Phil Christman about his new essay collection, How To Be Normal. They talk about the meaning of "normal" (especially in these pandemic times), religious fundamentalism, Christian conspiracy theories about rock music, Mark Fisher, love, and much more.

Sources:

Phil Christman, How To Be Normal (Belt Publishing, 2022)

                               "Turning Nothings Into Somethings," Commonweal, Dec 3, 2020

                               "What Is It Like To Be a Man?" Hedgehog Review, Summer 2018

Feb 17, 2022
School Wars (w/ Jennifer Berkshire)
01:01:29

It seems almost every  big culture-war battle of the moment—from "Critical Race Theory" to COVID mandates—is being fought in America's schools. Meanwhile, Democrats, anxious about a midterm rout driven by angry Republican parents, too often are conceding these battles to the right, adopting their rhetoric and their terms of debate, and have been for a long time—despite supposedly being the party of teachers' unions.  Does it have to be this way? 

We put that question, and many more, to our guest Jennifer Berkshire, the coauthor (with Jack Schneider) of A Wolf at the Schoolhouse Door and co-host of the education podcast Have You Heard.  Jennifer guides us through the recent history of conservatives' war on public education—fights over desegregation, the Reagan administration's A Nation at Risk, the "parents' rights" movement of the 1990s, Obama-era ed reform, and the CRT gag-orders sweeping the nation today. Along the way we tease out some illuminating contradictions in the right's nationalist coalition, which  seeks to cultivate a shared, sanitized story about American history while simultaneously dismantling the only system by which that narrative can be imposed. We also cast a critical eye on the triangulating, moderate Democrats who have utterly failed to provide a galvanizing, alternative message about the purpose of public education. As Jennifer makes brilliantly clear, the crisis of American education is real; the question is, who will be empowered to solve it? 

Further Reading:

Jennifer Berkshire and Jack Schneider, A Wolf at the Schoolhouse Door:  The Dismantling of Public Education and the Future of School (The New Press, November 2020)

Jennifer Berkshire, "The GOP Has Revived Its Obsession With Parents’ Rights," The New Republic, Dec 9, 2021

— "The GOP's Grievance Industrial Complex Invades the Classroom," The Nation, Oct 28, 2021

— "'Corporate Democrat Goes Down to Defeat in Virginia,'" The Nation, Nov 8, 2021

— "How Education Reform Ate the Democratic Party," The Baffler, Nov 17, 2017

Sam Adler-Bell, "Behind the Critical Race Theory Crackdown," The Forum, Jan 13, 2022

Sarah Jones, "We're Having the Wrong Conversation About Schools," New York Magazine, Jan 12, 2022

...and don't forget to subscribe on Patreon for access to all of Know Your Enemy's bonus episodes!

Jan 28, 2022
TEASER: Cancel Jay Caspian Kang (w/ Jay Caspian Kang)
00:01:59

Author, podcaster, and New York Times Magazine staff writer Jay Caspian Kang joins Matt and Sam for a spirited discussion of some treacherous topics: identity politics, critical race theory, and cancel culture (oh my!). Jay is our charming, intrepid guide to these touchy subjects, those that liberals and leftists are sometimes loath to engage, offering his idiosyncratic (though not contrarian!) takes on each — and inspiring some of our own.

Subscribe to Know Your Enemy on Patreon to listen to this bonus episode, and all of our bonus content: https://www.patreon.com/knowyourenemy 

Jan 21, 2022
Joan Didion, Conservative (w/ Sam Tanenhaus)
01:39:58

When Joan Didion died at the age of 87 in December, her early conservatism figured into a number of obituaries and commentaries, but was rarely discussed in detail. Matt and Sam turned to Sam Tanenhaus, William F. Buckley, Jr.'s biographer and knower of all things National Review, to discuss Didion's early writing for the magazine, her roots in California conservatism,  and how her politics changed—and didn't—over the course of her long career.  Along the way, they discuss why she loved Barry Goldwater and hated Ronald Reagan, why she finally stopped writing for National Review, and how she compares to other writers from that era—from Norman Mailer and Tom Wolfe to Gore Vidal and Garry Wills. 

Sources:

Joan Didion: 

"On Self-Respect,"  Vogue,  1961

I want to go ahead and do it,' (Review of Mailer), NYTimes, Oct 7, 1979

"The Lion King," (Review of Dinesh D'Souza), NYRB, Dec 18, 1997

"New York: Sentimental Journeys,"  NYRB, Jan 17, 1991. 

"John Wayne: A Love Song," Saturday Evening Post, 1965

Slouching Toward Bethlehem (1968)

The White Album  (1979)

Salvador (1983)

Political Fictions (2001)

Where I Was From  (2003)

A collection of Didion's National Review Writing 

Commentary on Joan Didion:

Ross Douthat, "Try Canceling Joan Didion," NYTimes, Jan 5, 2022

Parul Sehgal, "The Case Against the Trauma Plot," NYTimes, Dec 27,  2021

Louis Menand, “Out of Bethlehem,” New Yorker, Aug 17, 2015

Stephen Schryer, "Writers for Goldwater,"  Post45, Jan 20, 2020

Haley Mlotek, "It’s All in the Angles," The Nation, June 15, 2021

Caitlin Flanagan, "The Autumn of Joan Didion," The Atlantic, Feb 15, 2021

Jacob Bacharach, "Joan Didion Cast Off the Fictions of American Politics," The New Republic, Dec 27, 2021

...and don't forget to subscribe to Know Your Enemy on Patreon for access to all of our bonus episodes!

Jan 13, 2022
UNLOCKED: Freud and Politics (w/ Pat Blanchfield)
01:38:52

Unlocked by popular demand: Psychoanalytic writer and teacher Pat Blanchfield joins Sam for a discussion of Freud and politics. Together we ask: how can psychoanalytic tools help us make sense of our irrational political moment, our desires and attachments, as well as conservatism, liberalism, fascism, Donald Trump, and even Thanksgiving? 

If we've done our job right, you'll derive many blistering insights from this discussion whether or not you've read a single page of Sigmund Freud — or remotely buy into his theories of mind, culture, or clinical practice. (And hopefully we didn't talk too fast.) Because Freud would disapprove of any injunction to enjoyment, we'll simply say: "have a listen, if you please."

(Originally published on Patreon 12/01/2021.)

Further Reading/Listening:

KYE Episode 7: "Gun Power" (w/ Pat Blanchfield)

Pat Blanchfield, "Kyle Rittenhouse is an American," Gawker, Nov 16, 2021

Adam Phillips, Becoming Freud: The Making of a Psychoanalyst, Yale Press, Mar 22, 2016.

Peter Gay, Freud: A Life For Our Time (1988)

Jacqueline Rose, "To Die One's Own Death," LRB, Nov 19, 2020

...and don't forget to subscribe to Know Your Enemy on Patreon for access to all of our bonus episodes!

Jan 04, 2022
Hindsight is 2021
01:47:38

With another year of the podcast, the pandemic, and American decline in the rearview, we turn to Know Your Enemy's absurdly brilliant listeners for guidance and intellectual stimulation. That's right, folks, it's a mailbag episode! And thanks to you, our cups runneth over with fascinating questions. Along the way, we discuss the intellectual legacy of one-time National Review wunderkind Garry Wills; why Bill Buckley never wrote a great book; right-wing half-wit propagandists like Ben Shapiro and Charlie Kirk; conservative feminism; Richard Nixon's role in conservative history; Vatican II; Bob Dylan's artful incoherence; our favorite books; and our favorite bourbons. We also take a few minutes to discuss listener feedback from our last episode with Nate Hochman. We are truly blessed with the most curious, sophisticated, and intellectually voracious listeners in the podcast game. We love you freaks so very much. 

So strap in! Like the year 2021, it's a wild ride, with many twists, turns, and digressions. 

Further Reading:

Matthew Sitman, "There Will Be No Buckley Revival," Commonweal, Jul 28, 2015. 

Garry Wills, "Daredevil," Atlantic, Aug 2009. 

                            Bare Ruined Choirs (1979) 

                            Confessions of a Conservative (1979)

                            John Wayne's America  (1997) 

Sam Adler-Bell, "The Radical Young Intellectuals Who Want to Take Over the American Right," New Republic, Dec 2, 2021. 

Leonard Coen, Beautiful Losers (1966)

Kaya Oakes, The Defiant Middle (2021)

Christopher Isherwood, The Berlin Stories (1945)

Janet Malcolm, Psychoanalysis: The Impossible Profession (1982)

Dan Georgakas & Marvin Surkin, Detroit: I Do Mind Dying (1998)

Norman Rush, Mating (1991)

..and don't forget to subscribe to Know Your Enemy on Patreon for access to all of our bonus episodes!

Dec 22, 2021
Young, Radical, and on the Right (w/ Nate Hochman)
01:35:58

Finally, another enemy! This time Matt and Sam are joined by Nate Hochman, a rising star on the intellectual Right and one of the subjects of Sam's recent New Republic article about today's young, populist conservatives. They discuss Michael Oakeshott, friendship and politics, where the Right and Left might agree, and, especially, where they don't.

Further Reading:

Sam Adler-Bell, "The Radical Young Intellectuals Who Want to Take Over the American Right," New Republic, Dec 2, 2021

Nate Hochman, "Michael Oakeshott, 30 Years Later," National Review, Dec 18, 2020

Matthew Sitman, "Leaving Conservatism Behind," Dissent, Summer 2016

Michael Oakeshott, Rationalism in Politics and Other Essays (Liberty Fund, 1991)

                                            The Voice of Liberal Learning (Yale University Press, 1990)

..and don't forget to subscribe to Know Your Enemy on Patreon for access to all of our bonus episodes!

Dec 15, 2021
TEASER: Freud and Politics (w/ Pat Blanchfield)
00:01:35

Psychoanalytic writer and teacher Pat Blanchfield joins Sam for the long-awaited KYE "Freud Pod," in which we discuss how psychoanalytic tools can help us make sense of our irrational political moment, our desires and attachments, as well as conservatism, liberalism, fascism, Donald Trump, and even Thanksgiving.

Subscribe to Know Your Enemy on Patreon to listen to this bonus episode, and all of our bonus content: https://www.patreon.com/knowyourenemy

Dec 01, 2021
Retvrn of the National Conservatives
01:24:20

It's rare for nearly all the inhabitants of the KYE podcast universe to gather in one place, but it happened earlier this month in—as you might guess—Florida, where the National Conservatism 2 conference was held. The proceedings were littered with extraordinary claims of a "totalitarian cult" (liberals and the left) deliberately trying to destroy the United States, with the help of Big Tech, China, and...university professors. The conference seemed to mark the ascendency of national conservatism on the Right, and perhaps the Republican Party. Matt and Sam break it all down: what it means, what it portends, and why they're wrong.

Sources:

Watch all the National Conservatism conference videos (YouTube)

David Brooks, "The Terrifying Future of the American Right," Atlantic, November 18, 2021

J.G. Ballard, Super Cannes (Picador, 2000)

Murray Rothbard, Man, Economy, and State (David van Nostrand Company/William Volker Fund, 1962)

Background Listening:

Know Your Enemy, "The Definitely Not-Racist National Conservatives," July 30, 2019

                                            "The Rise of the Illiberal Right," July 12, 2019

                                             "Frank Meyer: Father of Fusionism," November 10, 2021

...and don't forget you can subscribe to Know Your Enemy on Patreon for access to all of our bonus episodes!

Nov 25, 2021
TEASER: I Am The GooseKing (w/ Ben Firke)
00:03:50

Matt talks with playwright Ben Firke about I Am The GooseKing, which just finished its debut run at The Tank theater in New York City. Here's a description of the play:

Jane Vazquez is a journalist on assignment for a tech blog. She travels to New Hampshire to interview a young conspiracy theorist and YouTuber named Phil, who has thousands of followers who embrace his elaborate "vegetable conspiracy," first outlined by the mysterious GooseKing. As Jane goes deeper and deeper into the rabbit hole of Phil's family, she finds herself in a mire of journalistic ethics.

To learn more, watch the I Am The Gooseking trailer or read an excerpt from the play. To contact Ben Firke, follow him on Twitter (@pasta_ben).

Subscribe to Know Your Enemy on Patreon to listen to this bonus episode, and all of our bonus content: https://www.patreon.com/knowyourenemy

Nov 15, 2021
Frank Meyer: Father of Fusionism
01:30:48

Matt and Sam dedicate an entire episode to an under appreciated but indispensable figure in the founding of post-war conservatism: Frank Meyer, the father of "fusionism."

Meyer was  a man of  contradictions: an ex-communist ideologue who longed for consensus; a cantankerous, unyielding debater who kept his friends and rivals close; a bohemian, individualist Jew who argued vociferously for freedom and against repressive orthodoxies, but who converted to Catholicism on his death bed. In this episode, we explore his life, work, and legacy — including a close reading of his most famous book, In Defense of Freedom: A Conservative Credo. Along the way, we ask some big questions: Why was it so important for Meyer to find a philosophical justification for fusing the traditional and libertarian strains of the conservative movement? How did he go about doing it? And did it work? 

Today, many — especially younger — conservatives consider fusionism to be a dead consensus, a marriage of erstwhile convenience in which one partner, economic libertarians, got everything they wanted, while the other, Christian traditionalists, have seen unfettered capitalism and licentious liberalism destroy the precious permanent things they had hoped to conserve: Church, family, and community.  As the seams of the fusionist alliance fray, we look back to the man who conceived it in the first place. 

This one is for the nerds. We hope you enjoy it! 

Further Reading: 

Frank S. Meyer, In Defense of Freedom: A Conservative Credo (Regnery, 1962)

George H. Nash, The Conservative Intellectual Movement in America Since 1945 (Basic Books, 1976)

Jeffrey Hart, The Making of the American Conservative Mind: National Review and Its Times (ISI Books, 2006)

Garry Wills, Confessions of a Conservative (Doubleday, 1979)

Kevin J. Smant, Principles and Heresies: Frank S. Meyer and  the Shaping of the American Conservative Movement (ISI Books, 2002)

Various, "Against the Dead Consensus," First Things, March 21, 2019

Frank S Meyer, "The Twisted Tree of Liberty," National Review  Jan 16, 1962

L. Brent Bozell Jr. "Freedom or Virtue," National Review, Sept 11, 1962

...and don't forget to subscribe on Patreon for access to all of our bonus episodes!

 

Nov 10, 2021
TEASER: Reporting for Duty (w/ Dave Weigel)
00:02:40

Subscribe to Know Your Enemy on Patreon to listen to this bonus episode, and all of our bonus content: https://www.patreon.com/knowyourenemy

 

Oct 29, 2021
The American Right's Hungary Hearts (w/ Lauren Stokes and John Ganz)
01:38:22

Matt and Sam are joined by historian Lauren Stokes and writer John Ganz to unpack the American Right's ongoing embrace of Viktor Orbán's Hungary, from Rod Dreher's springtime junket there  to Tucker Carlson broadcasting from the country to the adoring attention it receives from an assortment of "postliberal" intellectuals What gives? Your hosts and their esteemed guests break it down, including: what the American Right gets from Orbán, and what he gets from them; the 20th century history of Hungary that provides the backdrop to its current politics; the long history of U.S. conservatives of admiring authoritarians abroad; John's visit to a Nazi bookshop in Budapest; and more!

Sources and Further Reading:

Elisabeth Zerofsky, "How the American Right Fell in Love With Hungary," New York Times Magazine, Oct 19, 2021

Benjamin Wallace-Wells, "What American Conservatives See in Hungary's Leader," New Yorker, Sept 13, 2021

David Baer, translation/Twitter thread of Rod Dreher's interview with Klubradio, Aug 29, 2021

John Ganz, "Anti-Democratic Vistas, Part I: The Right Goes to Hungary," Unpopular Front, Aug 10, 2021

                           "Anti-Democratic Vistas, Part II: Reflections on the Revolutions in Hungary," Unpopular Front, Aug 13, 2021

...and don't forget to subscribe on Patreon.com for access to all of our bonus episodes.

Oct 25, 2021
God, Death, and the Pandemic (w/ Sarah Jones)
00:50:37

Matt is joined by Know Your Enemy favorite Sarah Jones to discuss her recent New York Magazine essay, "An Atheist Reconsiders God in the Pandemic." They discuss their shared religious upbringing and college years among fundamentalist and evangelical Christians, why Sarah became an atheist (and Matt didn't), and the reasons she reopened the question of God's existence during the pandemic—and what she did and didn't find along the way. Other topics include: C.S. Lewis, the nature of rituals, how we hold our beliefs, and more!

Sources:

Sarah Jones, "An Atheist Reconsiders God in the Pandemic," New York Magazine, October 11, 2021

Andre Dubus, "A Father's Story," from Selected Stories (Vintage)

T.S. Eliot, "Little Gidding," from Four Quartets (1943)

C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters (HarperOne)

...and don't forget to subscribe to Know Your Enemy on Patreon for access to all of our bonus episodes.

Oct 16, 2021
TEASER: The Texas Bounty Hunter Bill (w/ 5-4's Rhiannon)
00:01:46

Subscribe to Know Your Enemy on Patreon to listen to this bonus episode, and all of our bonus content: https://www.patreon.com/knowyourenemy

Sep 30, 2021
TEASER: Coup, Covid, Congress
00:02:21

Subscribe to Know Your Enemy on Patreon to listen to this bonus episode, and all of our bonus content: https://www.patreon.com/knowyourenemy

Sep 25, 2021
Twenty Years of Terror (w/ Spencer Ackerman)
01:38:48

It's impossible to comprehend the state of conservative politics — or American politics in general — without looking closely at the wars we've been waging for the past two decades. The story we've been telling about American conservatism has been incomplete without a deep-dive on the so-called Global War on Terror. Luckily, Spencer Ackerman has written the perfect book to occasion such a dialogue. In Reign of Terror: How the 9/11 Era Destabilized America and Produced Trump, Ackerman provides a richly detailed (and acutely frustrating) account of the perversions of justice, liberalism, humanity, and the constitution wrought by the forever wars. Our discussion with Ackerman goes from the Oklahoma City Bombing to the cancellation of Susan Sontag to the battles among neocons and paleocons to define the post-9/11 era. We also touch on the CIA's torture program, nation-building in Afghanistan, and the hypocrisies of the Trump-era Resistance. In typical KYE fashion, it's a complex and wide-ranging conversation you won't find elsewhere. 

Further Reading:

Susan Sontag et al. "Tuesday, and After: New Yorker writers respond to 9/11." The New Yorker, Sept 16, 2001.

Bernard Lewis, "The Revolt of Islam," The New Yorker, Nov 11, 2001.

Jake Tapper, "Pat Buchanan: America First," Salon, Dec 4, 2001.

Spencer Ackerman, "The CIA’s Outsourced Torture Is Lost To History," Forever Wars, Aug 6, 2021.

Sam Adler-Bell, "How the War on Terror Fuels Trump," Jacobin, Aug 13, 2016.

...and don't forget to subscribe on Patreon to hear all of our bonus episodes!

Sep 15, 2021
Living at the End of Our World (w/ Daniel Sherrell & Dorothy Fortenberry)
01:30:43

This is a slightly different kind of Know Your Enemy episode—a conversation about hope and despair as the effects of climate change bear down upon us. At the center of that conversation is a brilliant new book, Daniel Sherrell's Warmth: Coming of Age at the End of the World, that focuses not on the facts of climate change or how to stop it, but what it feels like to imagine and live into the future in the knowledge of its existence. Matt and Sam are joined by Sherrell and Dorothy Fortenberry, a playwright and television writer currently working on Extrapolations, an upcoming limited series for Apple TV+ that focuses on climate change. 

Sources and Further Reading:

Daniel Sherrell, Warmth: Coming of Age at the End of Our World (Penguin, 2021)

Pope Francis, Laudato si' ("On Care for Our Common Home"), May 2015

Dorothy Fortenberry, "Can't Fight This Feeling Anymore: What Donald Trump Understands about Politics Today," Commonweal, November 5, 2020

Sam Adler-Bell, "Beautiful Losers: The Left Should Resist the Comforts of Defeat," Commonweal, March 11, 2020

...and don't forget to subscribe to Know Your Enemy on Patreon for access to all of our bonus episodes!

Sep 02, 2021
TEASER: Where's the Rest of Him?
00:01:51

Subscribe to Know Your Enemy on Patreon to listen to this bonus episode, and all of our bonus content: https://www.patreon.com/knowyourenemy

Aug 30, 2021
Buckley for Mayor (w/ Sam Tanenhaus)
01:27:48

Finally, a deep-dive on William F. Buckley, Jr.! Matt and Sam are joined by Buckley's biographer, Sam Tanenhaus, to talk about WFB's 1965 campaign for mayor of New York City. Topics include: how Buckley's campaign made him the most famous conservative in America; the importance of his candidacy to the conservative movement's rise; the hardline positions he took on policing and his inflammatory views on race; and more. Along the way, Tanenhaus offers countless details that only Buckley's biographer would know, from WFB dropping LSD with James Burnham to the debate that changed Buckley forever.

Sources and Further Reading:

Sam Tanenhaus, Whittaker Chambers: A Biography (Random House, 1997)

Sam Tanenhaus, "The Buckley Effect," New York Times Magazine, October 2, 2005

Carl T. Bogus, Buckley: William F. Buckley Jr. and the Rise of American Conservatism (Bloomsbury, 2011)

Matthew Sitman, "There Will Be No Buckley Revival," Commonweal, July 28, 2015

...and don't forget to subscribe to Know Your Enemy on Patreon for access to all of our bonus episodes!

Aug 23, 2021
KYE Presents: 5-4 on Connick v. Thompson
00:59:33

For those who want to learn more about the 5-4 podcast, you can visit their website here!

Aug 07, 2021
TEASER: Woke Capital
00:04:07

Subscribe to Know Your Enemy on Patreon to listen to this bonus episode, and all of our bonus content: https://www.patreon.com/knowyourenemy

Jul 31, 2021
After Nationalism (w/ Samuel Goldman)
01:31:14

In this episode, Matt and Sam are joined by political theorist and conservative intellectual Samuel Goldman—a very sensible and polite "enemy"—to discuss his brilliant new book, After Nationalism. Topics include: Goldman's punk-rocker past; the influence of Leo Strauss on his thinking; historical attempts to provide Americans with a coherent, enduring symbol of national identity; why these symbols have failed; what all this means for debates about teaching U.S. history; and what alternatives to nationalism its critics can offer. 

 

Sources:

Samuel Goldman, After Nationalism: Being American in an Age of Division (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2021)

James Ceaser, Nature and History in American Political Development (Harvard University Press, 2008)

Jul 28, 2021
The Afterlife of January 6th
01:36:03

It's been over seven months since pro-Trump protestors breached the Capitol on January 6, 2021. The meaning of the event remains contested. Was it a genuine coup attempt by an extra-parliamentary faction of the Trump movement? Or was it a  disorganized and pathetic act of desperation by Fox News-poisoned rubes? Were the protestors inside the Capitol more like tourists or like terrorists? Was the siege an expression of dangerous anti-democratic forces? Or should we be more worried  about the security state's  overreaction to January 6th than about the event itself?  

Looking back with the benefit of hindsight, we try to contextualize the events of January 6th in terms of a longer trajectory of right-wing mobilization in 2020. Conservatives have variously downplayed, ignored, and defended the insurrectionists. Trump and others have begun to treat Ashli Babbitt — killed by a police officer during the riot — as a martyr for the cause. Meanwhile, Tucker Carlson  insists the siege was an inside job, planned and executed by the FBI — an implausible theory gaining popularity among conservatives hoping to absolve themselves of culpability.  Still other factions of the right (e.g. our old friends at the Claremont Institute) dream about a version of 1/6 that would actually have succeeded.

 

Further Reading: 

Video: Day of Rage: An In-Depth Look at How a Mob Stormed the Capitol, New York Times, June 30, 2021. 

Paige Williams, "Kyle Rittenhouse, American Vigilante" The New Yorker. June 28, 2021.

Ben Burgis & Daniel Bessner, "Trump Is a Threat to Democracy. But That Doesn’t Mean He’s Winning." Jacobin. Jan 15, 2021. 

Micah Loewinger, The Road to Insurrection, WNYC, July 2, 2021. 

Michael Anton & Curtis Yarvin, "The Stakes: The American Monarchy?," The American Mind. May 31, 2021.

Joshua Hochschild "Once Upon a Presidency," The American Mind. Feb 19, 2021.

Andrew Egger, "The New January 6 Scapegoats," The Dispatch, Jun 18, 2021.

John Ganz "Feb 6 1934/Jan 6 2021," Unpopular Front. Jul 15, 2021.

...and don't forget to subscribe to Know Your Enemy on Patreon for all of our bonus episodes!

 

Jul 19, 2021
UNLOCKED: Why the New Deal Matters (w/ Eric Rauchway)
01:04:09

In this unlocked bonus episode, Matt is joined by historian Eric Rauchway for a deep-dive into his new book, Why the New Deal Matters. It's Rauchway's latest effort to recover Franklin Delano Roosevelt as an anti-fascist political leader who sought to expand the meaning and practice of American democracy—that in a robust democracy, people don't just need enough to live on, but something to live for. Topics include: Herbert Hoover's and FDR's different responses to the Bonus Army's march on Washington; why Hoover is the true founding father of modern conservatism; how FDR understood the New Deal as more than just a pragmatic series of experiments; the importance to the New Deal of public art and projects like building libraries and theaters; why, despite its compromises with white supremacists in the Democratic Party, the New Deal continues to inspire; and more! 

Further Reading:

Eric Rauchway, Why the New Deal Matters (Yale University Press, 2021)

Eric Rauchway, Winter War: Hoover, Roosevelt, and the First Clash Over the New Deal (Basic  Books, 2018)

Jamelle Bouie, "F.D.R. Didn't Just Save the Economy," New York Times, April 16, 2021

...and don't forget to subscribe to Know Your Enemy on Patreon for access to all of our bonus episodes!

Jul 04, 2021
TEASER: How (Not) to Talk About Racism
00:03:24

Subscribe to Know Your Enemy on Patreon to listen to this bonus episode, and all of our bonus content: https://www.patreon.com/knowyourenemy

Matt and Sam are back in the same room — Matt's  study — enjoying brown liquor, each other's company, and a surprisingly coherent discussion of the right's latest fixations: our "rainbow regime" and "critical race theory." 

Listen to find out how Matt's mother feels about his porn-stache, if Sam feels bad about boosting the career of Robin DiAngelo, whether the term "white fragility" has any utility, and why queer community is a metaphysical conundrum for Christian post-liberals. It's fun!

Jun 30, 2021
Unraveling Allan Bloom and Saul Bellow
01:34:48

In this episode Matt and Sam discuss Ravelstein, Saul Bellow's roman à clef about the Straussian political philosopher Allan Bloom, who achieved late-in-life wealth and fame after publishing his controversial bestseller, The Closing of the American Mind. Along the way they consider the University of Chicago's Committee on Social Thought, eros and the intellectual life, love and friendship, Bellow and Bloom's shared Jewishness, and much, much more.

Sources and Further Reading:

Saul Bellow, Ravelstein (Penguin, 2000)

Allan Bloom, The Closing of the American Mind (Simon & Schuster, 1987)

                              Giants and Dwarfs (Simon & Schuster, 1990)

                              Love and Friendship (Simon & Schuster, 1993)

Michel de Montaigne, "Of Friendship," from The Complete Works (trans. Donald Frame)

D.T. Max, "With Friends Like Saul Bellow," New York Times Magazine, April 16, 2000

Christopher Hitchens, "The Egg-Head's Egger-On," London Review of Books, April 27, 2000

Patrick Deneen, "Who Closed the American Mind? Allan Bloom, Edmund Burke, & Multiculturalism," The Imaginative Conservative, May 29, 2013

PLUS: Subscribe to Know Your Enemy on Patreon for access to all of our bonus episodes!

Jun 21, 2021
TEASER: Hot and Bothered
00:03:46

Subscribe to Know Your Enemy on Patreon to listen to this bonus episode, and all of our bonus content: https://www.patreon.com/knowyourenemy

Every June it happens: conservatives get all hot and bothered by Pride celebrations, and this year has been no different. Why do banal corporate expressions of support for LGBTQ+ rights drive them so mad? How does religion factor into their opposition to basic protections for LGBTQ+ people? What part do these culture war flareups play in their broader political strategy? In this bonus episode, Matt and Sam offer a survey of hyperbolic rightwing reactions to the start of Pride month and break it all down. 

Jun 14, 2021
TEASER: Jaffa vs. Kendall
00:02:42

Subscribe to Know Your Enemy on Patreon to listen to this bonus episode, and all of our bonus content: https://www.patreon.com/knowyourenemy

What is the status of "equality" in the American political tradition? What place does it have in the inheritance that conservatives are trying to preserve? 

Matt and Sam pick up where they left off in their recent conversation with historian Joshua Tait, this time focusing on Harry Jaffa's devastating review of Willmoore Kendall and George Carey's The Basic Symbols of the American Political Tradition. In it, Jaffa defends Abraham Lincoln against Kendall and Carey's charge that he "derailed" our political tradition by putting the Declaration of Independence, natural rights, and the principle of equality at its center—a move, in their account, that opened the way to Ceasarism, the rights revolution, and more. 

Sources and Further Reading:

Willmoore Kendall & George W. Carey, Basic Symbols of the American Political Tradition (Louisiana State University Press, 1970; reprint, The Catholic University of American Press, 1995)

Willmoore Kendall, The Conservative Affirmation (Regnery Publishing, 1963)

Harry V. Jaffa, "Equality as a Conservative Principle," Loyola of Los Angeles Law Review, June 1, 1975

Joshua Tait, "Why Willmoore Kendall and James Burnham are the Prophets of Modern Conservatism," National Interest, April 30, 2021

Matthew Sitman, "Farewell to a Constitutional Conservative," The American Conservative, June 27, 2013

May 29, 2021
The Enemy Within (w/ Brandy Jensen)
01:11:48

For a slight change of pace, we invited our dear friend Brandy Jensen—author of the world's best advice column, Jezebel's Ask a Fuck-Up, and features editor at the new Gawker.com—to answer listener questions about reentering the world post-vaccine, dating, conservative relatives, whether the "Trad Caths" are right, and mourning the lives we did not live.  

As you'll see, we ended up addressing many classic Know Your Enemy themes—mercy, redemption, humility, etc.—and we had a great time doing it.  Thank you to everyone who wrote in with such intimate and profound questions. You're all very beautifully fucked-up. 

Further Reading:

Adam Philips, Missing Out: In Praise of the Unlived Life, Macmillan, 2013

Pope Francis, Fratelli Tutti, October 3, 2020

Brandy Jensen, "Ask a Fuck-Up on a Fucked-Up Year," Jezebel, December 31, 2020

May 24, 2021
The Long Farewell to Majority Rule? (w/ Joshua Tait)
01:26:04

In this follow-up episode to "Democracy and Its Discontents" (listen here), historian Joshua Tait joins Matt and Sam for a conversation about the intellectual origins of the American Right's hostility to democracy—from John C. Calhoun's invention of the filibuster in the nineteenth century to the writings of conservatives like Russell Kirk, James Burnham, Willmoore Kendall, and others, in the 1950s and '60s. 

Sources and Further Reading:

Adam Jentleson, Kill Switch: The Rise of the Modern Senate and the Crippling of American Democracy (Liveright Books, January 2021)

James Burnham, Congress and the American Tradition (Regnery, 1959)

Willmoore Kendall, The Conservative Affirmation (Regnery Publishing, 1963)

Willmoore Kendall & George W. Carey, Basic Symbols of the American Political Tradition (Louisiana State University Press, 1970; reprint, The Catholic University of American Press, 1995)

Saul Bellow, "Mosby's Memoirs," The New Yorker, Jul 12, 1968

John A. Murley & John E. Alvis, eds., Willmoore Kendall: Maverick of American Conservatives (Rowman & Littlefield, 2002)

Harry V. Jaffa, "Equality as a Conservative Principle," Loyola of Los Angeles Law Review, June 1, 1975

Joshua Tait, "Why Willmoore Kendall and James Burnham are the Prophets of Modern Conservatism," National Interest, April 30, 2021

Joshua Tait, "The Long History of Fighting Over the Term 'Conservative,'" The Bulwark, April 2, 2021

Matthew Sitman, "Farewell to a Constitutional Conservative," The American Conservative, June 27, 2013

...and don't forget to subscribe to Know Your Enemy on Patreon for all of our bonus episodes!

May 18, 2021
UNLOCKED: Democracy and Its Discontents
01:09:05

Note: This bonus episode was  first published on April 13. We're unlocking it now because  we're working on a companion episode that explores in greater detail the intellectual origins of, and justifications for, hostility toward democracy among the founders of the modern American conservative movement. 

***

In state legislatures across the country, Republicans are unleashing a fierce assault on voting rights. Hundreds of proposals aimed at restricting ballot access are being considered, and in a few states—most notably Georgia—have already become law. These obvious efforts at suppressing turnout have been justified by the deranged lie that Donald Trump had a landslide victory stole from him in November, along with the usual evidence-free worries about election integrity peddled by conservatives. Of course, the debates all this has generated have been remarkably unintelligent—just more fodder for the culture wars. 

Matt and Sam breakdown where voting-rights bill have been passed, what provisions they include, and how it all fits into both the GOP's current strategy of minority rule and the right's longstanding suspicion of mass democracy.

Sources Cited and Further Reading:

Brennan Center for Justice, "Voting Laws Roundup," April 1, 2021

Nick Corasaniti and Reid J. Epstein, "What Georgia's Voting Law Really Does," New York Times, April 2, 2021

Ari Berman, "Republicans Say the Georgia Law Wasn’t Designed to Suppress Voting. Don’t Believe Them," Mother Jones, April 8, 2021

Ari Berman, "361 Voter Suppression Bills Have Already Been Introduced This Year," Mother Jones, April 1, 2021

Daniel Dale, "Fact Check: Biden and Kemp Misleadingly Describe Parts of Georgia Elections Law," CNN, April 2, 2021

Daniel Dale, "Fact Check: Republicans Falsely Equate Georgia and Colorado Election Laws," CNN, April 7, 2021

Michael Wines, "In Statehouses, Stolen-Election Myth Fuels a G.O.P. Drive to Rewrite Rules," New York Times, February 27, 2021

Glenn Ellmers, "'Conservatism' Is No Longer Enough," The American Mind, March 24, 2021

William F. Buckley, Jr., "Why the South Must Prevail," National Review, August 24, 1957

Kevin Williamson, "Why Not Fewer Voters?" National Review, April 6, 2021

To listen to more bonus episodes like this one, subscribe to Know Your Enemy on Patreon!

May 05, 2021
TEASER: Why the New Deal Matters (w/ Eric Rauchway)
00:02:55

Subscribe at https://www.patreon.com/knowyourenemy to hear this and all our bonus content.

In this episode, Matt is joined by historian Eric Rauchway for a deep-dive into his new book, Why the New Deal Matters. It's Rauchway's latest effort to recover Franklin Delano Roosevelt as an anti-fascist political leader who sought to expand the meaning and practice of American democracy—that in a robust democracy, people don't just need enough to live on, but something to live for. Topics include: Herbert Hoover's and FDR's different responses to the Bonus Army's march on Washington; why Hoover is the true founding father of modern conservatism; how FDR understood the New Deal as more than just a pragmatic series of experiments; the importance to the New Deal of public art and projects like building libraries and theaters; why, despite its compromises with white supremacists in the Democratic Party, the New Deal continues to inspire; and more! 

Apr 30, 2021
Overheated (w/ Kate Aronoff)
01:03:26

At last, Know Your Enemy takes on climate change! Kate Aronoff, staff writer at The New Republic and Dissent editorial board member, joins Matt and Sam to discuss her new book, Overheated: How Capitalism Broke the Planet—And How We Fight Back. The conversations traces the history of collaboration between fossil fuel executives and conservative think tanks; then we discuss what comes after climate denial and try our best to imagine a post-carbon world. 

What will it take to avoid a future of eco-apartheid, fortress nations, and "lifeboat ethics?"  Listen to find out.

Further Reading:

Kate Aronoff, "The European Far-Right's Environmental Turn," Dissent, May 31, 2019.

Kate Aronoff, "With A Green New Deal, Here's What the World Could Look Like For The Next Generation," The Intercept, Dec 5, 2018.

Sam Adler-Bell, "Appalachia vs. the Carceral State," The New Republic, Nov 25, 2019.

Sam Adler-Bell,  "Why White Supremacists are Hooked on Green Living," The New Republic, Sept. 24, 2019.

...and don't forget to subscribe to Know Your Enemy on Patreon!

Apr 23, 2021
TEASER: Democracy and Its Discontents
00:02:25

To listen to this episode, and all of our bonus content, subscribe here: https://www.patreon.com/knowyourenemy

In state legislatures across the country, Republicans are unleashing a fierce assault on voting rights. Hundreds of proposals aimed at restricting ballot access are being considered, and in a few states—most notably Georgia—have already become law. These obvious efforts at suppressing turnout have been justified by the deranged lie that Donald Trump had a landslide victory stole from him in November, along with the usual evidence-free worries about election integrity peddled by conservatives. Of course, the debates all this has generated have been remarkably unintelligent—just more fodder for the culture wars. 

Matt and Sam breakdown where voting-rights bill have been passed, what provisions they include, and how it all fits into both the GOP's current strategy of minority rule and the right's longstanding suspicion of mass democracy.

Apr 14, 2021
KYE Film Club: A Lost Cause (w/ Jesse Brenneman)
01:05:58

This episode is something different: the latest installment of the KYE Film Club, an ongoing series in which Matt and Sam's great friend (and the podcast's producer) Jesse Brenneman guides them through the strange world of terrible conservative movies. The selection this time was "Christmas Cars," a confusing attempt at Confederate nostalgia written and directed by former Dukes of Hazzard star John Schneider.

Watch: Christmas Cars on Vimeo

Peruse: John Schneider Studios

...and don't forget to subscribe to Know Your Enemy on Patreon to listen to all of our bonus episodes!

 

Mar 30, 2021
TEASER: A Royal Mess
00:03:17

To listen to this episode, and all of our bonus content, subscribe here: https://www.patreon.com/knowyourenemy

At last, Matt and Sam take on  the British royal family. Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's recent interview with Oprah set off a firestorm of commentary—not least from aggrieved conservatives who were outraged at the young couple's criticisms of the monarchy. Why was the Right so upset by the interview? Why did the defenders of the American Revolution find themselves siding with our ancient enemy? Then your hosts turn to a documentary that offers an acerbic look at the media coverage of Princess Diana's death—Diana: The Mourning After, by none other than Christopher Hitchens. It leads to a discussion of neoliberalism, what happens when the powerful to share their struggles and appear relatable, and more!

Mar 21, 2021
TEASER: France's War on Terror (w/ Cole Stangler)
00:02:06

Subscribe at https://www.patreon.com/knowyourenemy to hear this and all our bonus content.

In recent months, French president Emmanuel Macron, once hailed as the savior of mainstream liberalism, has responded to a series of Islamist terror attacks with a sharp right turn—one he hopes will serve him well in a possible run-off election against the nativist/populist Marine Le Pen. KYE Paris correspondent Cole Stangler joins Matt and Sam to explain Macron's increasingly Islamophobic, authoritarian, and anti-leftist policy agenda. Topics include: whether or not his reactionary pivot should have been a surprise; the alarming parallels between France today and America after 9/11; the susceptibility of center-left politics to reactionary forces; the role French secularism (laïcité) has and hasn't played in these controversies; prospects for the French left; and more!

Mar 14, 2021
The Rush Limbaugh Show (w/ Nicole Hemmer)
01:23:41

No media figure has had a more profound impact on the shape of contemporary conservative politics than Rush Limbaugh. For three hours a day, every weekday since 1988, Rush delighted and ignited his radio audience with a high-octane diatribe against liberal degeneracy — an often comic, always cruel, and never apologetic expression of the white male id. When he died on February 17, 2021, Rush left behind an American media landscape — and a Republican Party — reshaped in his image: a ruinous marriage of entertainment, insular world-building, and reactionary meanness that found its apotheosis in the presidency of Donald J. Trump.

And no one is better situated to elucidate Rush Limbaugh's appeal, his effectiveness, and his impact on American politics than our guest, Nicole Hemmer. Hemmer is  the author of Messengers of the Right: Conservative Media and the Transformation of American Politics She's at work on a new book tracing the transformation of right-wing politics in the post-Reagan years — a story in which Rush plays a starring role. Hemmer is also an associate research scholar with the Obama Presidency Oral History Project at Columbia University. And — a skilled broadcaster in her own right — she cohosts the podcasts Past Present and This Day in Esoteric Political History.

We're certain you'll enjoy this conversation as much as we did! 

Further Reading:

Nicole Hemmer, "The Man Who Created President Donald Trump," CNN, February 17, 2021.

Mary Harris, "Rush Is Dead, but We're Still Living in the World He Created," Slate, February 18, 2021

Jill Filipovic, "The Life and Death of a Woman-Hater," New York Times,  February 20, 2021

William F. Buckley Jr., "Crucial Steps in Combating the Aids Epidemic; Identify All the Carriers," NYT, Mar 18, 1986.

...and don't forget to subscribe to Know Your Enemy on Patreon for access to all of our bonus episodes!

Mar 09, 2021
TEASER: Keeping up with the Bozells
00:01:37

Subscribe at https://www.patreon.com/knowyourenemy to hear this and all our bonus content!

From the union-busting, ad-man scion (Brent Sr.), to the fiercely brilliant and troubled National Review editor-turned-Catholic zealot (Brent Jr.), to the insipid media watchdog and Trump apologist (Brent III), and finally, to the ball-cap-wearing January 6 capitol siege participant (Brent IV, aka "Zeeker") — the Bozell epic has all the elements of a great family saga: pathos, intrigue, tragedy, farce, decline, and even a bit of redemption. 

In classic KYE fashion, we over-prepared and over-imbibed to bring you this story. Please enjoy responsibly!

Feb 27, 2021
How to Survive a Pandemic (w/ Peter Staley)
01:15:48

Matt and Sam have an in-depth conversation with HIV/AIDs activist Peter Staley to get his perspective on Dr. Anthony Fauci's role in America's response to two of the most devastating public-health emergencies of recent decades: the AIDS crisis and the pandemic that began nearly one year ago.  They discuss how Peter got his start in ACT UP (AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power) in New York City in the 1980s, what the group was fighting for, his run-ins with Pat Buchanan, Jesse Helms, and other rightwing rogues, and how he came to know Fauci. How does Peter understand Fauci's role in the Trump administration's response to the pandemic? Should Fauci have resigned? What good was he able to do? And how does his experience as an activist inform his views about working with government officials on the "inside"?  

Watch:

How to Survive a Plague (the 2012 documentary about ACT UP in which Peter figures prominently) 

Read:

Sam Adler-Bell, "Dr. Do-Little: The Case Against Anthony Fauci," The Drift, February 4, 2021

"A Timeline of the Coronavirus Pandemic," New York Times, January 10, 2021

...and don't forget to subscribe on Patreon for all Know Your Enemy bonus episodes!

 

Feb 22, 2021
UNLOCKED: Midnight in the Garden of American Heroes
01:13:27

Matt and Sam explain West Coast Straussianism, the school of thought behind one of the last acts of the Trump administration: its publication of the "1776 Report," the Right's shabby response to the 1619 Project and blueprint for how the American Founding should be understood and taught. What are the origins of this school of conservative thought? Why are its adherents so enthusiastic about Trump? How do they understand the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and U.S. history? And why are they obsessed with "identity politics"?  

Sources:

Harry Jaffa, "American Conservatism and the Present Crisis," Claremont Review of Books, Spring 2003

Publius Decius Mus, "The Flight 93 Election," Claremont Review of Books, September 2016

Steven Smith, "Hidden Truths," New York Times, August 23, 2013

John J. Miller, "The House of Jaffa," National Review, January 12, 2015

Kathryn and Michael Zuckert, The Truth about Leo Strauss: Political Philosophy and American Democracy (University of Chicago Press, 2006)

Feb 11, 2021
TEASER: L'Affaire (w/ John Ganz)
00:03:12

Subscribe at https://www.patreon.com/knowyourenemy to hear this and all our bonus content.

Beloved KYE guest John Ganz (Ep. 15: The Year the Clock Broke) returns to explain how the Dreyfus Affair (and the French Third Republic) help us understand the Trumpian right, fascism, and the left's response to both.

Feb 06, 2021
Panic! In America (w/ the You're Wrong About podcast)
01:35:32

Matt and Sam are joined by special guests Sarah Marshall and Michael Hobbes of the You're Wrong About podcast to discuss moral panics—from tales of rampant Satanism in the late 1970s to the Stranger Danger wave in the 1980s and beyond—and their role in the rise of rightwing politics in America. What do such "Save the Children" stories tell us about the way the conservative mind conceives of morality and power? What do they tell us about American culture and politics? It all builds to a discussion of QAnon and both the promise and problems with empathy.

FURTHER READING AND LISTENING:

Sarah Marshall, "Remote Control: Tonya Harding, Nancy Kerrigan, and the Spectacles of Female Power and Pain," The Believer, January 1, 2014

Michael Hobbes, "Everything You Know about Obesity is Wrong," Huffington Post, September 19, 2018

John Paul Rollert, "Going to Extremes: What Acting Taught Me about the Limits of Empathy," Commonweal, January 27, 2021

Rebecca Jennings, "What we can learn about QAnon from the Satanic Panic: An Interview with Sarah Marshall," Vox, Sept 25, 2020

Paul M. Renfro, Stranger Danger: Family Values, Childhood, and the American Carceral State, (Oxford University Press), June 2020. 

Listen to You're Wrong About here, support them on Patreon here, and check out their merch here...

...and don't forget you can subscribe to Know Your Enemy on Patreon to listen to all of our bonus episodes!

Feb 01, 2021
TEASER: West Coast Straussians and the "1776 Report"
00:03:28

Subscribe at https://www.patreon.com/knowyourenemy to hear this and all our bonus content.

Your hosts explain West Coast Straussianism, the school of conservative thought undergirding the "1776 Report" — the Right's shabby response to the 1619 Project and a blueprint for how the American Founding should be understood and taught. 

Jan 23, 2021
Did It Happen Here?
01:44:23

Matt and Sam take up the question that's dominating The Discourse: Is Donald Trump—and the movement he leads—fascist? To provide an answer, they turn to the rich historiography of fascism and some key essays on the subject published since Trump's election. Along the way, they break down different approaches and sets of criteria for evaluating fascism, consider the similarities—and differences—between the 1920s and '30s and today, and ponder whether or not the "fascist question" is the right one to be asking. Listen to the end to find out where Matt and Sam finally land!

Further Reading: 

Robert O. Paxton, The Anatomy of Fascism (Vintage, 2004)

Friedrich Reck, Diary of a Man in Despair (New York Review of Books, 2013; originally published in 1947)

Federico Finchelstein, From Fascism to Populism in History (University of California Press, 2017)

Kathleen Belew, Bring the War Home: The White Power Movement and Paramilitary America Harvard University Press, 2019 

Jason Stanley, How Fascism Works: The Politics of Us and Them (Penguin, 2018)

Aimé Césaire, Discourse on Colonialism (1950)

George Jackson, Soledad Brother, (1970)

Robert O. Paxton, "I've Hesitated to Call Donald Trump a Fascist. Until Now," Newsweek, Jan 11, 2021

Richard Evans, "Why Trump Isn't Fascist," New Statesman, Jan 13, 2021

Dorothy Fortenberry, "Can’t Fight This Feeling Anymore" Commonweal, Nov 5, 2020

Dylan Riley, "What is Trump?" New Left Review, Dec 1, 2018

Gabriel Winant, "We Live in a Society," n + 1, Dec 12, 2020

Alberto Toscano, "The Long Shadow of Racial Fascism," Boston Review, Oct 28, 2020

Angela Davis, "Political Prisoners, Prisons and Black Liberation," Verso, Feb 21, 2018

Jairus Banaji, "The Political Culture of Fascism," Historical Materialism, Feb 19, 2017.

Richard Seymour, "Inchoate Fascism," Patreon, Nov 13, 2020. 

Samuel Moyn & David Priestland, "Trump Isn’t a Threat to Our Democracy. Hysteria Is," New York Times, Aug 11, 2017

Corey Robin and David Klion, "Almost the Complete Opposite of Fascism," Jewish Currents, Dec 4, 2020. 

Peter Steinfels "The Semi-Fascist Candidate," Commonweal, May 16, 2016.

...and don't forget to subscribe at Patreon for access to all of our bonus episodes!

Jan 17, 2021
TEASER: Storming the Capitol
00:05:27

Subscribe at https://www.patreon.com/knowyourenemy to hear this and all our bonus content.  Matt and Sam analyze the Trumpist "siege" on the Capitol on our latest bonus episode.

Jan 07, 2021
Masks Off: The Right in 2020
01:24:13

Matt and Sam—in a rare, just-the-two-of-them episode—look back at what a bad year revealed about a number of bad people, especially the coterie of rightwing intellectuals and politicians who have downplayed the pandemic, exacerbated anxieties about the uprising against police violence, and played along with Donald Trump's conspiracy-fueled attempts to steal the presidential election. What holds these efforts together, and what do they say about the state of conservatism? It turns out that 2020 confirmed the anti-democratic, revanchist character of the Right in the United States.

Sources Cited:

Matthew Sitman, "Why the Pandemic is Driving Conservative Intellectuals Mad," New Republic, May 21, 2020

Matthew Sitman, "Time in the Eternal City," Commonweal, December 24, 2020

Sam Adler-Bell, "Conservative Incoherence," Dissent, Summer 2020

Bret Stephens, "America Shouldn't Have to Play by New York Rules," New York Times, April 24, 2020

"Trump’s Focus as the Pandemic Raged: What Would It Mean for Him?" New York Times, December 31, 2020

"Pence Welcomes Futile Bid by G.O.P. Lawmakers to Overturn Election," New York Times, January 2, 2021

...and don't forget to sign-up on Patreon for all of our bonus episodes!

Jan 04, 2021
TEASER: Trump the Dove? (w/ Stephen Wertheim)
00:02:48

Subscribe at https://www.patreon.com/knowyourenemy to hear this and all our bonus content.

An excerpt from our latest bonus episode on Trump's 'non-interventionist militarism' and the future of American foreign policy — with Stephen Wertheim of the Quincy Institute. 

 

Dec 26, 2020
Why the Supreme Court Sucks (w/ the 5-4 podcast)
01:26:14

In this much anticipated crossover event, Matt and Sam take aim at the conservative legal movement with Rhiannon, Michael, and Peter—the brilliant and funny team behind the 5-4 podcast, a Know Your Enemy favorite. For those who are not yet fans of the show, it's "a podcast about how much the Supreme Court sucks" that offers "a progressive and occasionally profane take on the ideological battles at the heart of the Court’s most important landmark cases, and an irreverent tour of all the ways in which the law is shaped by politics." Topics discussed in this conversation include the origins of originalism, the founding of the Federalist Society, Robert Bork's disastrous confirmation hearings, the way the media covers the Supreme Court, and how the Left can fight back. 

Know Your Enemy listeners can check out 5-4 here.  Follow @fivefourpod on Twitter for their latest episodes, along with hosts @AywaRhiannon, @_FleerUltra, and @The_Law_Boy. Special thanks to podcast guru Leon Neyfakh (@leoncrawl) for helping make this happen.

Listeners, especially new ones, might want to revisit Know Your Enemy episode eight, "Koch'd Out," for a deep dive into some of the foundations and institutions mentioned in this conversation.

...and don't forget to support KYE on Patreon to listen to all of our bonus episodes!

 

Dec 21, 2020
TEASER: A Working Class GOP? (w/ Aaron Sibarium)
00:04:34

Subscribe at https://www.patreon.com/knowyourenemy to hear this and all our bonus content.

An excerpt from our latest bonus episode on "the limits of realignment" with Aaron Sibarium of The Washington Free Beacon.

Dec 06, 2020
Talking Trump (w/ David Roth)
01:24:05

Who is Donald Trump? The great David Roth, co-owner of Defector Media and a columnist at the New Republic, joins Matt and Sam to answer that harrowing question. From Trump's odd lies about his baseball talents to creepy White House Christmas decorations, this conversation was the perfect opportunity to unpack the neuroses, self-protective measures, cruelty, humor, and sheer weirdness of a terrible president on his way out of office. Also: Sam finally gets to do his Melania "impression"!

Sources Cited:

Leander Schaerlaeckens, "Was Donald Trump Good at Baseball?" Slate, May 5, 2020

David Roth, "I Made Up a Fake Donald Trump Quote, and He Retweeted It," SBNation, June 10, 2014 

David Roth, "A Unified Theory of Trump's Creepy Aesthetic," New Republic, December 19, 2019

David Roth, "The Littlest Prince," New Republic, November 17, 2020

For more of David's writing on Trump, check out his author archives at the New Republic...and don't forget to support Know Your Enemy on Patreon to listen to our extensive catalogue of bonus episodes!

 

 

Nov 28, 2020
TEASER - What Happened? (w/ Eric Levitz and Dan Sherrell)
00:01:51

Subscribe at https://www.patreon.com/knowyourenemy to hear this and all our bonus content!

An excerpt from our election recap bonus episode with New York magazine's Eric Levitz and Daniel Sherrell, director of the the #VoteTrumpOut campaign. 

 

Nov 14, 2020
Suburban Woman (w/ Dorothy Fortenberry)
01:26:45

Matt and Sam are joined by Dorothy Fortenberry for a wide-ranging conversation about women and politics. Topics include growing up in Washington, D.C; her experiences writing women characters in Hollywood;  why the left should take over existing institutions; the complicated Catholic motherhood of Amy Coney Barrett; and much, much more. For those not familiar with her work, Fortenberry is a writer and producer on Hulu’s award-winning adaptation of The Handmaid’s Tale, and her plays include Species Native, Partners, Mommune, and Good Egg. She's a regular contributor to Commonweal, among other publications, though for her latest political takes you should follow her on Twitter (@Dorothy410berry).

READ: 

Dorothy Fortenberry, "One of Those Serious Women: Andrea Dworkin's Radical Feminism," Commonweal , April 29, 2019

Dorothy Fortenberry, "A Plea to My Fellow Warren Moms," Commonweal, March 6, 2020

Dorothy Fortenberry, "Why I Stay," Commonweal, November 18, 2018

LISTEN:

Highwomen, "Highwomen"

Highwomen, "Redesigning Women"

Dar Williams, "The Pointless, Yet Poignant, Crisis of a Co-Ed"

 

...and don't forget to support Know Your Enemy on Patreon to hear all Matt and Sam's bonus episodes.

Oct 29, 2020
On the Road to Reaganland (w/ Rick Perlstein and Leon Neyfakh)
01:18:18

Matt and Sam talk to two esteemed guests, Rick Perlstein and Leon Neyfakh, about why U.S. politics took a right turn in the 1970s. “We organize discontent,” as one New Right activist put it—and they did. Fierce battles over desegregation, gay rights, abortion, and the meaning of America itself all paved the way for Ronald Reagan's smashing victory in 1980.

Over four books and two decades, historian Rick Perlstein has chronicled the rise of movement conservatism in America, starting with its renegade beginnings in the 1950s and '60s. Now, with Reaganland  (2020), his extraordinary tetralogy is complete—taking readers on a journey through Jimmy Carter's doomed administration,  the culture wars of the 1970s, and Ronald Reagan's campaign for the presidency. Perlstein's sweeping narrative is paired in this episode with the brilliant work of journalist Leon Neyfakh, who just finished the third season of his podcast Fiasco. It's a deep-dive into the battle over integration in Boston public schools during the 1970s (colloquially but inaccurately known as the Boston "busing crisis")—a vivid and compulsively listenable portrait of a pivotal episode in recent American history.

In this conversation, Rick and Leon  disinter forgotten figures from a decade crucial to the rise of conservatism—the 1970s—while discussing how they tell stories we know the ending to, the problem of contingency and political agency, and issues such as American innocence, white backlash, right-wing rhetoric, and more. Don't miss this one!

Further Reading: 

Rick Perlstein, "I Thought I Understood the American Right. Trump Proved Me Wrong," NYTimes,  April 11, 2017

Richard Sennett & Jonathan Cobb, The Hidden Injuries of Class, (1972)

Jesse Curtis, "'Will the Jungle Take Over?' National Review and the Defense of Western Civilization in the Era of Civil Rights and African Decolonization,"  Journal of American Studies, November 2019

Jefferson Cowie, "Is Freedom White?" Boston Review, Sept 23, 2020 

Tom Wicker, One of Us: Richard Nixon and the American Dream (1995)

 

... and don't forget to support Know Your Enemy on Patreon to hear all of Matt and Sam's bonus episodes!

Oct 21, 2020
How to Be Depressed
01:07:07

We released this bonus episode on depression and politics in July, and it quickly became a favorite of our Patreon subscribers. A number of them asked us to make it available in front of the paywall so they could share it with friends and family who have experienced depression and other mental-health issues—so that's what we decided to do. Topics discussed include: Matt's review of George Scialabba's memoir about depression; how left and right understand moral desert; and the struggle to build a society based on human frailty, our vulnerability to bad luck and bad breaks, and how much we need each other. 

Further Reading:

Matthew Sitman, "Muddling Through: A Depression Memoir Like No Other," Commonweal, July 14, 2020.

Johanna Hedva, "Sick Woman Theory," Mask Magazine, January 2016.

Gabriel Winant, "Coronavirus and Chronopolitics," n + 1, Spring 2020

And Listening:

Steve Earle, "My Old Friend the Blues" (1986)

Oct 12, 2020
Not Even Past (w/ Jamelle Bouie)
01:06:02

From the never-ending culture war over the New York Times's 1619 Project to arguments about the Black Lives Matter protests to President Trump's promise to Make American Great Again, today's political conflicts reflect, to an extraordinary degree, disagreements over the meaning of American history. Jamelle Bouie's New York Times column is one of the places where these lively debates are most effectively narrated and clarified. 

Bouie joins Matt and Sam to help make sense of how history, historiography, and politics relate to each other—or at least, how they should. Along the way, the conversation takes up slavery and capitalism, Afro-pessimism and Marxism, and (a frequent preoccupation of the podcast) what left-wing patriotism might look like.  

Further Reading:

Jamelle Bouie, "Beyond White Fragility," NY Times, June 26, 2020.

Jamelle Bouie, "Why Juneteenth Matters," NY Times, June  18, 2020.

Sam Adler-Bell, "The Remnant and the Restless Crowd," Commonweal, Aug 1, 2018.

Vinson Cunningham, "The Argument of Afropessimism," New Yorker, July 20, 2020

Nikole Hannah-Jones, “Our Democracy’s Founding Ideals Were False When They Were Written. Black Americans Have Fought to Make Them True.” New York Times, Aug 14, 2019. 

Sean Wilentz, "A Matter of Facts," The Atlantic, Jan 22, 2020.

John Clegg, "How Slavery Shaped American Capitalism," Jacobin, Aug 28, 2019.

Tom Mackaman, "An interview with historian James Oakes on the New York Times’ 1619 Project," World Socialist Website, Nov 18, 2019

PLUS: Check out Jamelle's newsletter, which recently featured a huge list of books on the American Revolution and the early republic, and don't forget to support Know Your Enemy on Patreon for bonus episodes!

Sep 14, 2020
Know Your Frenemies (w/ Samuel Moyn)
01:26:33

Matt and Sam welcome Yale historian Samuel Moyn to the show for a deep-dive into the Never Trump movement.  Who are the Never Trumpers? How seriously should we take the heroic story they tell about themselves? Did they sink Bernie's campaign for the Democratic nomination? Have they reckoned with their role in paving the way for Trump?  In trying to answer these questions the conversation moves from the baleful influence of Never Trumpers to a discussion of historical debates about over the rise of fascism, the perils of "tyrannophobia," and the possibilities for breaking through the hegemony of neoliberals and neoconservatives in our political life.

Further Reading:

Samuel Moyn, "The Never Trumpers Have Already Won" (New Republic)

Robert P. Saldin and Steven M. Teles, "Don't Blame Never Trumpers for the Left's Defeat" (New Republic)

Samuel Moyn and David Priestland, "Trump Isn't a Threat to Our Democracy. Hysteria Is" (New York Times)

Samuel Moyn, "Interview: We Can't Settle for Human Rights" (Jacobin)

Sam Adler-Bell, "The Remnant and the Restless Crowd" (Commonweal)

Matthew Sitman, "Riding the Trump Tiger" (Commonweal)

Pankaj Mishra, "The Mask It Wears" (London Review of Books)

John Ganz, "Finding Neverland: The American Right's Doomed Quest to Rid Itself of Trumpism" (New Republic)

Marshall Steinbaum, "Guardians of Property" (Jacobin)

Books Cited:

Robert P. Saldin and Steven M. Teles, Never Trump: The Revolt of the Conservative Elite (Oxford University Press)

Samuel Moyn, Not Enough: Human Rights in an Unequal World (Harvard University Press)

James Chappel, Catholic Modern : The Challenge of Totalitarianism and the Remaking of the Church (Harvard University Press)

...and don't forget to support Know Your Enemy on Patreon for bonus episodes!

 

Aug 09, 2020
Pandemic Politics (w/ Marshall Steinbaum & Sarah Jones)
01:31:06

Matt and Sam are joined by two special guests, Sarah Jones and Marshall Steinbaum, who return to the show to take stock of where we're at: our failed response to the pandemic, the connections between the pandemic and the protests, and how all this might play out in November.  The four of us range widely—but be warned, this is not the most inspiring conversation. Are there any reasons to be hopeful? Listen and find out.

Sources Cited and Further Reading:

Eric Levitz, "Coronavirus is Killing Our Economy because It Was Already Sick" (New York Magazine)

Sam Adler-Bell, "Conservative Incoherence" (Dissent)

Sarah Jones, "Eugenics Isn't Going to Get Us Out of This Mess" (New York Magazine)

Sarah Jones, "The Coronavirus Class War" (New York Magazine)

Matthew Sitman, "Why the Pandemic is Driving Conservative Intellectuals Mad" (The New Republic)

Know Your Enemy bonus episode: What Are Intellectuals Good For? (with further thoughts on the protests that followed George Floyd's murder)

Jul 08, 2020
Strange Gods and Strong Gods (w/ Tara Isabella Burton)
01:33:19

There's been no shortage of commentary on the rise of the "nones," those Americans who claim no religious affiliation, a trend especially notable among younger people. But that doesn't mean we live in a secular age. Matt and Sam talk to Tara Isabella Burton about her new book, Strange Rites: New Religions for a Godless World, and the way our search for meaning and the need for ritual has met our neoliberal economic order.  What does this spiritual churn mean for our politics? Why do reactionary ideas find a ready audience among those disillusioned with modern life? We take up these questions and more in a wide-ranging conversation about the way we live now.

Sources and Recommended Reading:

Tara Isabella Burton, Strange Rites: New Religions for a Godless World

Tara Isabella Burton, "Christianity Gets Weird" (New York Times)

Daniel José Camacho, "The Racial Aesthetic of Burton's 'Weird Christians'" (Sojourners)

Michael Anton, "Are the Kid Al(t)right?" (Claremont Review of Books)

 

Jun 08, 2020
KYE Extra: The Sad Truth (w/ Shuja Haider)
01:31:51

Matt and Sam are joined by writer and editor Shuja Haider to discuss a topic near and dear to all of our hearts: country music. We talk about country's conservative reputation, the problems with (and virtues of) Ken Burns's recent documentary about country music, and the humane politics that arise from acknowledging—as the best country songs do—our collective frailty. Plus, a bunch of great music recommendations for your quarantine listening.

A playlist featuring every song we mention in the episode, plus a few more bangers can be accessed here.

Further Reading:

Matthew Sitman, "E Pluribus Country," Dissent, Winter 2020.

Shuja Haider, "The Empty Jukebox: Johnny Paycheck and the Return of the Repressed in Country Music," Viewpoint,  March 10, 2015

Shuja Haider, "A World That Draws a Line: Interracial Love Songs in American Country Music," Viewpoint, March 1, 2017

Shuja Haider, "Canon Fodder," Popula, Sept 13, 2018

Cole Stangler, "Emotional Archaeology: An Interview With Ken Burns," Commonweal, Sept 13, 2019

Shuja Haider, "The Invention of Twang," The Believer, Aug 1, 2019

Shuja Haider, "Somebody Had to Set a Bad Example," Popula, Nov 14, 2018

Nick Murray, "The Other Country," LA Review of Books, Nov 1, 2018

Jesse Montgomery, "African Chant," Popula, Sept 18, 2018

May 14, 2020
Longtime Listener, First Time Caller (the Mailbag Episode)
01:24:36

Here it is—the mailbag episode. Recorded on 4/20 and celebrating a full year of Know Your Enemy, Matt and Sam answer listener questions about: conservatives hiding in plain sight, our favorite conservative novelists, a George W. Bush counterfactual, the right’s response to COVID-19, and—against our better judgment—some Bernie Sanders campaign postmortem.

We received so many amazing questions for this and recorded tons of material. So much, in fact, that we decided to release another 25 minutes of it as bonus material on Patreon. If you get to the end of this episode and find yourself hankering for more, sign up on Patreon and you can listen to some extra discussion of Bob Dylan and political realignment + our entire back catalog of bonus episodes.

Thanks for your support through all this. Stay safe and (reasonably) sane.

 

Further Reading:

Matthew Sitman, "Trump's Intellectuals and the Great Moving Right Show," The Bias, April 3, 2020.

Matthew Sitman, "A Time For Politics," Commonweal, April 23, 2020.

Matthew Sitman, "Saving Calvin from Clichés: An Interview with Marilynne Robinson," Commonweal, October 5, 2017

Sam Adler-Bell, "Coronavirus Has Given the Left a Historic Opportunity," The Intercept, April 14, 2020.

Sam Adler-Bell, "Beautiful Losers," Commonweal, March 11, 2020.

John Thomason, "Hope Deferred (on Obama and Marilynne Robinson)," The Point, May 8, 2017.

 

May 04, 2020
The Windbag City (w/ Marshall Steinbaum)
01:49:19

Matt and Sam are finally joined by the show's longtime bête noire, Marshall Steinbaum, for a deep dive into the Chicago school of economics and the wreckage it's supported—from welcoming the birth defects caused by deregulating the pharmaceutical industry to justifying massive resistance to desegregation to being put in the service of Coronavirus truther-ism. Where did this iteration of libertarianism come from, intellectually and institutionally? Who are the key figures in the Chicago school? How have their ideas infected the way we all think about economics and politics? It's a sordid, depressing tale of rightwing money, intellectual dishonesty, and a gleeful desire to discipline the forces of democracy.

Sources and further reading:

Marshall Steinbaum, The Book That Explains Charlottesville, Boston Review,  August 14, 2017

Marshall Steinbaum, Economics after Neoliberalism, Boston Review, February 28, 2019

Isaac Chotiner, The Contrarian Coronavirus Theory that Informed the Trump Administration, New Yorker, March 30, 2020

Nancy MacLean, Democracy in Chains (Penguin-Random House, June 2017)

Edward Nik-Khah, Neoliberal Pharmaceutical Science and the Chicago School of Economics (Social Studies of Science 2014, Vol. 44(4) 489–517)

Apr 18, 2020
KYE Extra: "Last Ounce of Courage"
01:34:21

Our rollicking conversation with Know Your Enemy Film Correspondent Jesse Brenneman is now out from behind the paywall! Be prepared: we dive into Darrel Campbell's 2012 war-on-Christmas fever dream Last Ounce of Courage, a deranged film that nevertheless offers real insight into the conservative mind. (If you really love freedom, you can watch the film here, before you listen. But it is not at all necessary.) 

Jesse is a seasoned radio producer and dear friend—and funny. He has his own new podcast you should check out: Tech Talk with Tim and Ted.

WATCH: Last Ounce of Courage (YouTube)

READ: the Ronald Reagan speeches mentioned in the episode: "A Time for Choosing" (October, 27, 1964 ) and "Encroaching Control" (March 30, 1961)

 

*** As mentioned in the intro, we're doing a mailbag episode next week. Please submit questions you'd like us to answer on air by email knowyourenemypodcast[AT]gmail.com OR by tweet  @Knowyrenemypod ***

Apr 05, 2020
The Year the Clock Broke (w/ John Ganz)
01:59:07

Matt and Sam talk to John Ganz about paleoconservatism, the Island of the Misfit Toys of the American right. Along the way we're introduced to David Duke, Pat Buchanan, Sam Francis, and others, and discuss their enduring influence on the Republican Party and conservative politics—both in 1992, when Buchanan made a failed run for president, and today, when the hopes of their movement seems to have been fulfilled in Donald Trump.

Sources and Recommended Reading:

John Ganz, The Year the Clock Broke (The Baffler)

John Ganz, Finding Neverland (The New Republic)

Rick Perlstein, I Thought I Understood the American Right. Trump Proved Me Wrong  (New York Times)

Murray Rothbard, Right-Wing Populism: A Strategy for the Paleo Movement

Michael Brendan Dougherty, The Castaway (America's Future Foundation)

Shuja Haider, How To Be a Democrat, According to Republicans (The Outline)

 

Mar 15, 2020
Morbid Symptoms (w/ Ross Douthat)
01:26:29

Ross Douthat is that strangest of all creatures, a religious conservative with a New York Times column—a perch from which he pronounces on U.S. politics, the Catholic Church, and modern culture with style and intelligence, plus a dash of mordant pessimism. In other words, the perfect choice to be the first "enemy" to come on the show. He joins Matt and Sam to discuss his own conservatism, the American right in the Trump era, and his new book The Decadent Society: How We Became the Victims of Our Own Success.

 

Further Reading:

 

Feb 05, 2020
What Happened to Norman? (w/ David Klion)
01:44:08

Making It is Norman Podhoretz's 1967 memoir about his journey from the working-class neighborhood of Brownsville, Brooklyn to his heady ascent in the New York literary scene of 1950s and '60s. It's also a fascinating psychological study of a man on the cusp of converting from Cold War liberalism to what came to be known as neoconservatism—a shift driven, at least in part, by the cool reception of this book. Making It proves a fascinating text through which to understand not just one conservative mind, but multiple generations of New York intellectuals, the neoconservative movement, and the politics of grievance, self-pity, and narcissism that have come to define much of conservatism in the Trump era.

Sources Cited:

 

Jan 15, 2020
She's Got a Plan (w/ Rebecca Traister)
01:29:23

Matt and Sam talk to Rebecca Traister of New York magazine about sexism and electoral politics. How has patriarchy conditioned the political careers of politicians like Hillary Clinton and Elizabeth Warren? How does the right mobilize anti-feminism to win? And how do conservative women like Sarah Palin use traditional womanhood and femininity to their advantage? Listen to find out! 

Traister is the author of Good and Mad: The Revolutionary Power of Women's Anger.

Further Reading:

Rebecca Traister, "Elizabeth Warren's Classroom Strategy," The Cut, Aug 6, 2019

Rebecca Traister, "Leader of the Persistence," New York Magazine, July 23, 2019

Elaine Blaire, "The Power of Enraged Women," New York Times, Sept 27, 2018

Liesl Schillinger "Book Review: Big Girls Don't Cry," New York Times, Sept 16, 2010

Nov 28, 2019
We Could Be Heroes (w/ Will Arbery)
02:08:20

Will Arbery's play "Heroes of the Fourth Turning"—about four conservative Catholic friends arguing under a night sky in Wyoming—feels like it was written to be discussed on Know Your Enemy. An ominous meditation on faith, conservatism, empathy, cruelty, and power, "Heroes" has ignited debate and garnered praise across the political spectrum—from First Things to the (failing) New York Times to Rod Dreher's blog at the American Conservative. Arbery was raised by conservative Catholic professors and grew up imbibing the ideas of the right and the teachings of the Church. He writes from a place of deep love and withering scrutiny. Lucky for us (and you!) Will displays all the sensitivity, intellectually curiosity, and love in this conversation that he does in his remarkable play. Enjoy!

You can buy tickets to see "Heroes" here, which is playing in NYC until November 17. Watch a preview here.

Further Reading:

The New York Times profile of Will, "A Play about God and Trump, from a Writer Raised on the Right"

Vinson Cunningham, "A Play About the Nuances of Conservatism in the Trump Era," The New Yorker, October 14, 2019

B.D. McClay, "Heroes of the Fourth Turning’ is a haunted play about religious conservatives," The Outline, November 5, 2019

Rod Dreher, "Will Arbery’s Heroes," The American Conservative, October 2, 2019

C.C. Pecknold, "An extraordinary play that challenges progressives and conservatives alike," Catholic Herald, October 1, 2019

 

Nov 11, 2019
Trump Country (w/ Sarah Jones)
01:40:16

Sarah Jones joins Matt and Sam to discuss the myth of "Trump Country" and the pitfalls of reporting on rural America, and to address the most important question of all: is Donald Trump the Antichrist? (Answer: Probably not.) Sarah's essay, "Scapegoat Country," appears in this month's special issue of Dissent on "Left Paths in Rural America."

Sarah is a staff writer for New York Magazine, where she covers inequality and national politics. Follow her on Twitter: @OneSarahJones

Sources Cited:

 

Oct 29, 2019
KYE EXTRA: "Morning Hate" (w/ Hannah Gais)
00:44:03

UNPAYWALLED:

Sam interviews journalist Hannah Gais about (1) the far right's ongoing efforts to infiltrate conservative media and (2) the self-victimizing grift of Quillette anti-anti-fascist Andy Ngo.

Discussed:

Oct 23, 2019
Working-Class Conservatism (w/ Max Alvarez)
01:24:02

Matt and Sam talk to Max Alvarez—writer, editor, and host of Working People, an excellent podcast—about growing up working-class and conservative in a mixed race household.

Matt and Max compare experiences as we try to answer some basic but tough questions: what attracts some members of the working class to conservative politics? How do the cultural and economic aspects of conservatism interact for working class conservatives? And what can the left learn from working-class conservatism's appeal?

Support Max's Patreon here!

Further Reading:

Oh and please support our Patreon!

Oct 07, 2019
Koch'd Out
01:32:29

With the help of Jane Mayer's essential 2016 book, Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right, your hosts explore the world of right-wing philanthropy and the institutions—from centers at universities to think tanks in Washington, DC—it has funded. What emerges is a startling history of how a small group of incredibly rich families used novel techniques to shelter their wealth from taxation and fund a right-wing takeover of American politics.

Other sources cited and consulted:

Sep 09, 2019
Gunpower (w/ Patrick Blanchfield)
01:29:28

Matt and Sam's first ever guest, Patrick Blanchfield, is an Associate Faculty member at the Brooklyn Institute for Social Research and author of the forthcoming book Gunpower from Verso books, which you can and should pre-order here. In the wake of the massacres in El Paso and Dayton, we turn to Patrick—a truly brillant writer and thinker—to help us understand how these traumatic reptitions of spectacular violence are rooted in American history and ideology.

Patrick's work:

  • "The Market Can't Solve a Massacre" (Splinter)
  • "Recoil Operation" (New Inquiry)
  • "Ghosts of 2012" (N+1)
  • "The Gun Control We Deserve" (N+1)
  • "Thoughts and Prayers" (N+1)
  • "'They're Coming for the Ones You Love': My Weekend of Gun Training in the Desert" (The Nation)
  • Declaration of War: The Violent Rise of White Supremacy after Vietnam (The Nation)

Other sources cited:

PS If you haven't already, please subscribe to Know Your Enemy on Patreon! For $5/month, you get additional episodes and other subscriber-only content. For $10/month you get the bonus content + a digital subscription to Dissent magazine!

Aug 15, 2019
The Definitely-Not-Racist National Conservatives
01:37:07

The first National Conservatism conference was convened at the Ritz Carlton in Washington D.C. two weeks ago. It was a coming out party for the rising nationalist wing of the conservative movement, with attendees laying the groundwork for a more intellectual version of Trumpism. Many mainstream conservatives were in attendance, along with paleoconservatives, figures from the religious right, Silicon Valley entrepreneurs, and a popular Fox News host. In the era of Trump, mainstream conservatism is making room for hardcore nationalists, economic populists, illiberal theocrats, and others—this conference was a chance for them to find common ground.

Matt and Sam discuss the conference, what it means for the present and future of conservative politics, and how the left can combat the nationalists' appeal—which is, in many ways, much more powerful than that of the dying Reaganite consensus.

Here's what we read and watched:

Jul 30, 2019
The Rise of the Illiberal Right
01:18:33

Interested in the background reading we did for this episode? There's a lot of it. But we want to show our work and give you the chance to dig deeper. Below are the articles we referenced, read, or drew upon for our conversation on the illiberal right.

Primary Sources:

Against the Dead Consensus, First Things

Sohrab Ahmari, Against David French-ism, First Things

David French, What Sohrab Ahmari Gets Wrong, National Review

R.R. Reno, What Liberalism Lacks, First Things

Romanus Cessario, O.P., Non Possumus, First Things

Edmund Waldstein, O. Cist., Integralism in Three Sentences, The Josias

Ross Douthat, What are Conservatives Actually Debating?, New York Times

Rod Dreher, The Meaning of the Benedict Option, The American Conservative

Adrian Vermeule, Integration from Within, American Affairs

Adrian Vermeule, A Christian Strategy, First Things

Commentary:

Matthew Sitman, Liberalism and the Catholic Left (a review of Patrick Deneen's Why Liberalism Failed), Commonweal

Emma Green, Imagining Post-Trump Nationalism, The Atlantic

Jane Coaston, David French vs. Sohrab Ahmari, Explained, Vox

Damon Linker, How the Intellectual Right is Talking Itself into Tearing Down American Democracy, The Week

Sam Adler-Bell, With Census Decision, Trump's GOP Falters in March to White Minority Rule, The Intercept

Isaac Chotiner, Interview with Ross Douthat on the Crisis of the Conservative Coalition, New Yorker

Eric Levitz, Oregon Republicans Flee State to Block Action on Climate Change, New York

Patricia Mazzei, Florida Limits Ex-Felon Voting, Prompting a Lawsuit and Cries of ‘Poll Tax’, New York Times

Adam Liptak, Supreme Court Bars Challenges to Partisan Gerrymandering, New York Times

Jul 12, 2019
The Death of Conservatism? (Part 2)
01:01:02

Special thanks to Will Epstein and The Downtown Boys for providing music for these two episodes. Check them out.

Ronald Reagan's televised "A Time for Choosing" speech in support of Barry Goldwater in 1964: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qXBswFfh6AY

A choice excerpt:
"Those who ask us to trade our freedom for the soup kitchen of the welfare state are architects of a policy of accommodation. They tell us that by avoiding a direct confrontation with the enemy he will learn to love us and give up his evil ways. All who oppose this idea are blanket indicted as war-mongers. Well, let us set one thing straight, there is no argument with regard to peace and war. It is cheap demagoguery to suggest that anyone would want to send other people’s sons to war. The only argument is with regard to the best way to avoid war. There is only one sure way—surrender."

Jun 26, 2019
The Death of Conservatism? (Part 1)
01:01:30

Sam Tanenhaus's original 2009 essay in The New Republic, the basis for the book we're discussing today: https://newrepublic.com/article/61721/conservatism-dead

Whitaker Chambers's 1957 dismantling of Ayn Rand in the pages of National Review: https://www.nationalreview.com/2005/01/big-sister-watching-you-whittaker-chambers/

And here's Buckley's 1955 mission statement for National Review: https://www.nationalreview.com/1955/11/our-mission-statement-william-f-buckley-jr/

Jun 12, 2019
How Conservatives Argue
01:17:27

In episode two of KNOW YOUR ENEMY, Matt and Sam discuss economist Albert O. Hirschman's 1991 book The Rhetoric of Reaction: Perversity, Futility, Jeopardy. Along the way, they identify the persistent patterns in conservative rhetoric from Edmund Burke to Friedrich Hayek to Paul Ryan.

They finish off by examining some of the rhetorical tics of the progressive left, and Sam reminisces about the good old days when DSA was comprised exclusive of young nerds and old Jews.

May 16, 2019
Behind Enemy Lines
01:01:42

Read Matt's Dissent essay, "Leaving Conservatism Behind"

Read Sam's essay about Jonah Goldberg's Suicide of the West, "The Remnant and the Restless Crowd"

May 07, 2019