93* Quinn Slobodian on Ethnonationalism since 1973 (JP, EF)

What’s the relationship between immigration, globalization and demographics? And what is woke particularism?

John and Elizabeth turn for answers to Quinn Slobodian, professor of history at Wellesley College and author, most recently, of Globalists:  The End of Empire and the Birth of Neoliberalism.


In a 2019 discussion that proves eerily prescient of politics in 2022, first discuss Jean Raspail‘s racist 1973 novel The Camp of the Saints, a book whose popularity in certain quarters since its publication might explain how Europe has gone from Thatcher to Brexit, from Vaclav Havel to Viktor Orban.  How is this xenophobic screed related to science fiction of the same period–and to John Locke? Pat Buchanan,  American early adapter of Raspail’s hate-mongering, figures prominently.

figure from Hardin’s “Living on a Lifeboat”

They then turn to Garrett Hardin’s “Living on a Lifeboat” and John Lanchester’s recent novel The Wall to work out the ideas of forming a society beyond or beneath the state in less obviously racist terms than Raspail’s. What kind of hard choices need to be made in allocating resources? What claims about hard choices are just a screen for the powerful to make choices that, for them, aren’t actually that hard? Does gold make things more or less nationalized?

Finally, in Recallable Books, Quinn recommends Mutant Neoliberalism, edited by William Callison and Zachary Manfredi, for an attempt to really understand the politics of 2016 and beyond; Elizabeth recommends Douglas Holmes’s Economy of Words, an ethnography of central banks; and John recommends Ursula K. Le Guin’s The Dispossessed, a novel of solitary solidarity.

Discussed in this episode:

The Camp of the Saints, Jean Raspail

A Republic, Not an Empire and The Death of the West, Pat Buchanan

Dune, Frank Herbert

Living on a Lifeboat,” Garrett Hardin

The Lobster Gangs of Maine, James M. Acheson

The Limits to Growth, the Club of Rome

Libra, dir. Patty Newman

Slaveship Earth & the World-Historical Imagination in the Age of Climate Crisis,” Jason W. Moore

The Wall,  John Lanchester

Mutant Neoliberalism: Market Rule and Political Rupture, eds. William Callison and Zachary Manfredi

Economy of Words: Communicative Imperatives in Central Banks, Douglas R. Holmes

The Dispossessed: An Ambiguous Utopia, Ursula K. Le Guin

Listen to the episode here

Read here: RTB Slobodian

62 Brahmin Left 2: Jan-Werner Müller (AU, JP)

This new series on the Brahmin Left was inspired by Adaner and John’s bracing but terrifying interview with Thomas Piketty. Piketty maintains that Left parties have abandoned the working-class for an increasingly highly educated voter-base. This has turned (or perhaps only threatens to turn) Left parties all over the developed World (US, Western Europe, Australia/NZ etc…) from champions of egalitarianism into defenders of the privileges and interests of the educated. So, how do various scholars make sense of this ongoing realignment (or perhaps “dealignment”) from the class-based politics of the mid-20th century?

In this set of three conversations we set out to ask a set of related questions around that claim. First, is Piketty right? Second, to the extent that he is, how do we understand class dealignment in both Europe and America? Some scholars point to “post-materialist” politics; others to populist revival or ethnonationalism resurgent; others to the collapse of the trade unions which linked the working-class to the parties of the Left. Some even see in the Right’s recent successes simply the latest twist in a neoliberalism controlled by corporate elites.

Continue reading “62 Brahmin Left 2: Jan-Werner Müller (AU, JP)”