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Each Tuesday and Friday, Ezra Klein invites you into a conversation on something that matters. How do we address climate change if the political system fails to act? Has the logic of markets infiltrated too many aspects of our lives? What is the future of the Republican Party? What do psychedelics teach us about consciousness? What does sci-fi understand about our present that we miss? Can our food system be just to humans and animals alike?
 
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A few weeks ago, the Supreme Court let stand a Texas law creating a system of vigilante legal enforcement against anyone who participates in an abortion after the point of fetal cardiac activity. In effect, Texas’ law bans abortions after about six weeks, which is long before many women even know they’re pregnant. And soon the court will hear argum…
 
“The world discovered that John Maynard Keynes was right when he declared during World War II that ‘anything we can actually do, we can afford,’” writes Adam Tooze. “Budget constraints don’t seem to exist; money is a mere technicality. The hard limits of financial sustainability, policed, we used to think, by ferocious bond markets, were blurred by…
 
“If he got a thrill out of transforming these ill-gotten goods into legit merchandise, a zap-charge in his blood like he’d plugged into a socket, he was in control of it and not the other way around,” writes Colson Whitehead in his new novel, “Harlem Shuffle.” “Dizzying and powerful as it was. Everyone had secret corners and alleys that no one else…
 
Tyler Cowen is an economist at George Mason University, the co-founder of the blog Marginal Revolution, and host of the podcast “Conversations With Tyler.” But more than that, he’s a genuine polymath who reads about everything, goes everywhere and talks to everyone. I’ve known him for years, and while I disagree with him on quite a bit, there are f…
 
“Feminists have long dreamed of sexual freedom,” writes Amia Srinivasan. “What they refuse to accept is its simulacrum: sex that is said to be free, not because it is equal, but because it is ubiquitous.” Srinivasan is an Oxford philosopher who, in 2018, wrote the viral essay “Does Anyone Have the Right to Sex?” Her piece was inspired by Elliot Rod…
 
President Biden’s economic policy isn’t what you would have expected from his long career. That’s true in the legislation he’s backing, which is bigger and bolder than anything we’ve seen from him before, but it’s even truer in the appointments he’s making and the theories he’s embracing. On everything from antitrust to inflation to employment to p…
 
We asked for your questions, and you answered. Hundreds and hundreds of fantastic questions poured in, and our producer Annie Galvin joined me to ask some of the best of them. Does the infrastructure bill mean there’s more hope for bipartisanship than we thought? What’s my view on the degrowth movement? What do I think my book, “Why We’re Polarized…
 
Everything about the Afghanistan withdrawal is tragic. But that tragedy is the result not of the withdrawal, but the occupation, and America’s profound misjudgment of its own power and limits. This is the foreign policy conversation much of Washington is trying desperately to avoid. The answer for the horrors of war is always more war. The bomb att…
 
“Trauma is much more than a story about something that happened long ago,” writes Dr. Bessel van der Kolk. “The emotions and physical sensations that were imprinted during the trauma are experienced not as memories but as disruptive physical reactions in the present.” Van der Kolk, a psychiatrist by training, has been a pioneer in trauma research f…
 
We're taking this week off from publishing new episodes, so today we're bringing you an episode from "The Argument" about one of my favorite topics: aliens. We'll be back with new episodes of "The Ezra Klein Show" on Tuesday. With the U.S. government puzzling over U.F.O.s, and potentially habitable exoplanets in our telescopes, earthlings are close…
 
We’re taking a week off from releasing new episodes, so today I wanted to re-up one of my favorite episodes of the show, a conversation with fiction writer George Saunders that covers much more than just his writing. Saunders is one of America’s greatest living writers. He’s the author of dozens of critically acclaimed short stories, including his …
 
One problem with the conversation around political polarization is that it can imply that polarization is a static, singular thing. That our divisions are fixed and unchanging. But that’s not how it is at all. The dimensions of conflict change, and they change quickly. In the Obama era, Republicans mobilized against government spending and deficits…
 
The Sept, 11 attacks might have taken place almost 20 years ago, but we’re still living in the America that the war on terror built. Its legacy is not just mass surveillance and drone strikes but birtherism, nativism and Donald Trump. And much of it has been — and continues to be — a bipartisan effort. That’s the argument of Spencer Ackerman’s new …
 
“The war has changed.” That’s what the leaked C.D.C. document says about the way the Delta variant has upended our coronavirus policies. Delta is astonishingly contagious. It can generate 1,000 times the viral load of the original coronavirus strain, and it spreads with the ease of chickenpox. The vaccinated can no longer assume immunity. The unvac…
 
We all know by now that Zoom causes fatigue, social media spreads misinformation and Google Maps is wiping out our sense of direction. We also know, of course, that Zoom allows us to cooperate across continents, that social media connects us to our families and Google Maps keeps us from being lost. A lot of technological criticism today is about we…
 
You’ve heard plenty by now about the fights over teaching critical race theory and the 1619 Project. But behind those skirmishes is something deeper: A fight over the story we tell about America. Why that fight has so gripped our national discourse is the question of this podcast: What changes when a country’s sense of its own history changes? What…
 
Am I too panicked about the future of American democracy? My colleague Ross Douthat thinks so. He points to research suggesting that voter ID laws and absentee voting have modest effects on elections and the reality that Republican state officials already have tremendous power to alter election outcomes — powers they did not use in the aftermath of…
 
Joe Biden’s economic agenda is centered on a basic premise: The United States needs to build. To build roads and bridges. To build child care facilities and car-charging stations. To build public transit and affordable housing. And in doing so, to build a better future for everyone. But there’s a twist of irony in that vision. Because right now, ev…
 
For decades, our society’s dominant metaphor for the mind has been a computer. A machine that operates the exact same way whether it’s in a dark room or next to a sunny window, whether it’s been working for 30 seconds or three hours, whether it’s near other computers or completely alone. But that’s wrong. Annie Murphy Paul’s “The Extended Mind” arg…
 
“What if instead of a feelings advocacy we had an outcome advocacy that put equitable outcomes before our guilt and anguish?” wrote Ibram X. Kendi in his 2019 book “How to Be an Antiracist.” “What if we focused our human and fiscal resources on changing power and policy to actually make society, not just our feelings, better?” When I first read “Ho…
 
I’ve spent the past few months on an octopus kick. In that, I don’t seem to be alone. Octopuses (it’s incorrect to say “octopi,” to my despair) are having a moment: There are award-winning books, documentaries and even science fiction about them. I suspect it’s the same hunger that leaves many of us yearning to know aliens: How do radically differe…
 
Eve Ewing’s work as a sociologist, poet, visual artist, podcaster and comic book writer manages to do two things that are often in tension: it gives us a clear picture of how race, power and education work in America right now, and envisions a world that could work radically differently. “Dreaming and imagination and possibility are very much key w…
 
In February, I spoke with Heather McGhee. I’ve been thinking about the conversation ever since. “The American landscape was once graced with resplendent public swimming pools, some big enough to hold thousands of swimmers at a time,” writes McGhee in her recent book, “The Sum of Us: What Racism Costs Everyone and How We Can Prosper Together.” These…
 
Recently, I picked up Jeff Tweedy’s “How to Write One Song.” It was a bit of a lark. Tweedy is the frontman for Wilco, one of my favorite bands, but I’m not a songwriter, and I don’t plan to become one. But, unexpectedly, I loved the book. It’s the most generous and approachable guide to the creative process I’ve read. It’s also relentlessly practi…
 
Historically speaking, we live in an age of extraordinary abundance. We have long since passed the income thresholds when past economists believed our needs would be more than met and we’d be working 15-hour weeks, puzzling over how to spend our free time. And yet, few of us feel able to exult in leisure, and even many of today’s rich toil as if th…
 
The insurrection at the Capitol on Jan. 6 failed. Donald Trump is not the president. But at the state level, the Republican war on elections is posting startling wins. They are trying to do what Trump failed to do: neuter elections as a check on Republican power. A new report by three voting rights groups found that 24 laws have been passed in 14 s…
 
Sarah Schulman’s work — as a nonfiction writer, novelist, activist, playwright and filmmaker — confronts the very thing most people try to avoid: conflict. Schulman, far from running from it, believes we need more of it. This was true in Schulman’s 2016 book, “Conflict Is Not Abuse,” which argues that people often mislabel conflict as abuse without…
 
This is a strange moment in the economy. Wages are up, but so is inflation. Jobs are growing, but maybe not fast enough. Quit rates are at a 21st-century high. It isn’t clear what’s a trend, what’s a blip, what’s a transition and what’s now normal. And all this as the virus continues to stalk us and we process the trauma of the last 18 months. “We …
 
Free minds. Freedom fries. Free speech. The Freedom Caucus. Freedom from. Freedom to. What do Americans really mean when they talk about freedom? Louis Menand’s “The Free World” is a 700-plus-page intellectual history of the Cold War period that traces the opening of the American mind to new ideas in art, literature, politics, music, foreign policy…
 
“The technological progress we make in the next 100 years will be far larger than all we’ve made since we first controlled fire and invented the wheel,” writes Sam Altman in his essay “Moore’s Law for Everything.” “This revolution will generate enough wealth for everyone to have what they need, if we as a society manage it responsibly.” Altman is t…
 
There has been a bit of panic lately over employers who say not enough people want to apply for open jobs. Are we facing a labor shortage? Have stimulus checks and expanded unemployment insurance payments created an economy full of people who don’t want to work — and who are holding back the economic recovery? That’s one theory, anyway. But it’s le…
 
If you talk to many of the people working on the cutting edge of artificial intelligence research, you’ll hear that we are on the cusp of a technology that will be far more transformative than simply computers and the internet, one that could bring about a new industrial revolution and usher in a utopia — or perhaps pose the greatest threat in our …
 
“My entire politics is premised on the fact that we are these tiny organisms on this little speck floating in the middle of space,” Barack Obama told me, sitting in his office in Washington, D.C. To be fair, I was the one who had introduced the cosmic scale, asking how proof of alien life would change his politics. But Obama, in a philosophical moo…
 
Today, while I'm on vacation, we're sharing an episode from Sway, a fellow New York Times Opinion podcast. Host Kara Swisher talks to Eliot Higgins, CEO of the open source investigative operation Bellingcat. Kara presses Higgins about the perils of taking on Vladimir Putin and how Bellingcat’s work, which Kara calls “gumshoe journalism,” differs fr…
 
This week, while I'm on vacation, we'll be sharing work from two other New York Times Opinion podcasts. First up, an episode from our friends at The Argument about how to cancel student-loan debt. Host Jane Coaston is joined by activist Astra Taylor and economist Sandy Baum, who agree that addressing the crisis requires dramatic measures but disagr…
 
Early estimates find that in 2020, homicides in the United States increased somewhere between 25 percent and nearly 40 percent, the largest spike since 1960, when formal crime statistics began to be collected. And early estimates indicate that the increase has carried over to 2021. Violent crime is a crisis on two levels. The first, and most direct…
 
On May 12, House Republicans voted to remove Representative Liz Cheney, the third-ranking Republican in the House, from her leadership post. Her transgression? Vocally rebuking the claim that the 2020 election was stolen from Donald Trump. But Cheney’s ouster is just the latest plot development in a story about the contemporary G.O.P. that goes bac…
 
Agnes Callard is an ethical philosopher who dissects, in dazzlingly precise detail, familiar human experiences that we think we understand. Whether her topic is expressing anger, fighting with others, jockeying for status, giving advice, or navigating jealousy, Callard provokes us to rethink the emotions and habits that govern how we live. She also…
 
Michael Lewis’s new book, “The Premonition,” is about one of the most important questions of this moment: Why, despite having the most money, the brightest minds and the some of the most robust public health infrastructure in the world, did the United States fail so miserably at handling the Covid-19 pandemic? And what could we have done differentl…
 
One lesson of covering policy over the past 20 years is that whatever Elizabeth Warren is thinking about now is what Washington is going to be talking about next. So when I read Senator Warren’s new book, “Persist,” I read it with an eye toward that question: Where is Warren trying to drive the policy debate next? And two answers emerged. First, to…
 
Anna Sale is one of my favorite interviewers. As the host of WNYC Studios’ “Death, Sex and Money,” she has an uncanny ability to get her guests to open up about the most personal, tragic, beautiful and embarrassing parts of their lives, whether it’s childhood trauma, the death of a partner or losing control of one’s limbs. The kinds of conversation…
 
In his 100 days address this week, Joe Biden outlined his plans for a big, bold legislative agenda to come. He previewed a two-pronged economic package: the $2.25 trillion American Jobs Plan and the $1.8 trillion American Families Plan. He spoke about the need to pass universal background checks for firearms, comprehensive immigration reform, and t…
 
I’ve been thinking lately about how to move beyond the binary debate over cancel culture. And a good place to start is with the deeper question we’re all trying to ask: What is the kind of politics — the kind of society — we’re trying to achieve in our fights over acceptable speech? To talk through this question, I wanted to bring on two guests, bo…
 
How do you introduce Noam Chomsky? Perhaps you start here: In 1979, The New York Times called him “arguably the most important intellectual alive today.” More than 40 years later, Chomsky, at 92, is still putting his dent in the world — writing books, giving interviews, changing minds. There are different sides to Chomsky. He’s a world-renowned lin…
 
This has been a bad year for the anxious among us — myself very much included. The pandemic was objectively terrifying. And many of us were trapped inside, with nothing we could do about it, severed from social connection and routine, with plenty of time to fret. But that almost gives anxiety, at least as I experience it, too much credit. This year…
 
Here’s a sobering thought: The older we get, the harder it is for us to learn, to question, to reimagine. This isn’t just habit hardening into dogma. It’s encoded into the way our brains change as we age. And it’s worsened by an intellectual and economic culture that prizes efficiency and dismisses play. Alison Gopnik is a professor of psychology a…
 
Prepping for a conversation with Tressie McMillan Cottom is intimidating. McMillan Cottom is a sociologist at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, a 2020 MacArthur fellow, co-host of the podcast “Hear to Slay,” and the author of the essay collection “Thick,” which was a National Book Award finalist. And she’s one of those people who can s…
 
With the $2 trillion American Jobs Plan, the economic theory that is Bidenomics is taking shape. It’s big. It puts climate at the center of everything. It is more worried about political risks — losing the House, giving Donald Trump a path back to power — than some traditional economic risks, like wasting money and bumping up inflation. It prefers …
 
Donald Trump was the fourth member of the baby boomer generation to be elected president, after Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton. The Senate majority leader, Chuck Schumer, is a boomer. Chief Justice John Roberts is a boomer. The Federal Reserve chair, Jerome Powell, is a boomer. President Joe Biden and Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the Sen…
 
For years now, I’ve had the same recurring worry: Am I focusing on the trivial? When future generations look back on this moment in history, will they remember the daily political fights — or will everything just look like a sideshow compared to humans being able to edit genetic code? The technology I’m referring to, known as CRISPR, could cure gen…
 
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