About the show

Co-hosts Emmet and John plumb the depths of history, culture, and philosophy to understand why it is that despite calamities and rapid change nothing feels possible anymore. Guests include artists, scholars, and thinkers from all over the world.

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  • [teaser] MacIntyre - Human Dignity: A Puzzling and Possibly Dangerous Idea?

    December 5th, 2021  |  11 mins 56 secs

    Emmet and Mike hash out MacIntyre's provocative lecture at Notre Dame's conference on the idea of human dignity in the secular age last month.
    They go through the essentials of MacIntyre's argumentation, reflect on its implications, then consider Abrahamic Law more broadly. Mike brings a Muslim perspective to bear and they both ask how we are to live with fidelity in a world where nothing feels possible.

  • Episode 67: The Imperial Vampire Castle II: Standpoint Bureaucracy and the CIA's New Dialect of Power ft. River Page

    November 30th, 2021  |  1 hr 6 mins
    cia, identity politics, idpol, mental illness, pmc, populism, queer, tucker carlson, woke, wokeism, wokeness, working class

    River Page joins Emmet to talk about the new woke institutions and how they reify previously existing class structures. They go into standpoint theory, identity politics, the CIA's relationship to the New Left, PMC projections of the working class's soul, and much more. They close by contemplating the possibility of a better left populism.

  • Episode 66: Guns, Coal, and Power: Three Takes on Human Development and the Illusion of Progress

    November 23rd, 2021  |  1 hr 12 mins
    america, britain, coal, engels, history, japan, meiji, navy, progress, steven pinker, thermoeconomics, wolfgang streeck, wwii

    Canada Mike and Emmet take a look at three pieces to consider different lenses for human development. The first is an essay on Engels by Wolfgang Streeck, the second is a lecture on thermoeconomics by John Constable, and the third is an overview of arguments for human evolution by Michael E. Mann. Emmet and Mike touch on the Meiji restoration, why we should read old thinkers, British coal, why Steven Pinker sucks, what kind of revolution was the Industrial Revolution, civilizational skillsets, and more!

  • [teaser] The True and Only Heaven 6: "No Answer But An Echo"

    November 21st, 2021  |  13 mins 28 secs

    Emmet and John forge ahead through the longest and most difficult chapter in Lasch's The True And Only Heaven. They question his use of Thomas Carlyle, delve into the Calvinism in both Carlyle and Emerson, what it means for America to have an anti-progressive tradition, Boethius's Wheel of Fortune, appreciating fate, and more!

  • Episode 65: The High Church of Wokeism ft. Joseph Keegin

    November 16th, 2021  |  1 hr 3 mins
    divinity school, gender, ibram kendi, progressivism, protestantism, race, robin d'angelo, unitarian universalism, woke, wokeism

    Emmet sat down with Joseph Keegin to talk about his pice for Tablet, The High Church of Wokeism, which traces certain elements of woke ideology back to Unitarian Universalism. They talk about the unacknowledged power of divinity schools in shaping American progressivism, repairing the "broken middle," identity talk as soul talk, and much more.

  • Episode 64: Solving the Opioid Crisis ft. Percy Menzies

    November 9th, 2021  |  54 mins 34 secs
    addiction, crime, dopesick, drug treatment, drugs, fentanyl, heroin, methadone, opioid, opioid crisis, oxycontin, sackler, war on drugs

    Emmet sits down with Percy Menzies of Assisted Recovery Centers of America to talk about the opioid epidemic in America. Percy walks through the history of opioids, how OxyContin changed everything, and how fentanyl has changed everything again. He and Emmet discuss misunderstandings about addiction, the forces aligned against solving the crisis--including the methadone lobby--and more.

  • [teaser] The True and Only Heaven 5: The Populist Campaign Against "Improvement"

    November 7th, 2021  |  15 mins 14 secs
    american history, lasch, liberal, liberalism, politics, populism, progressive

    Emmet and John dive into Lasch's overview of populism. They start to get glimpses of Lasch's commitments here. Touring classical conceptions of republicanism to people like Paine, Cobbett, and Brownson, Emmet and John track how they frustrate our contemporary interpretations of republicanism and liberalism can't or don't apply to them. Thinking with Lasch on historiography, they close the chapter discussing 19th-century artisans, populism, the New Deal, and the triumph of Taylorism.

  • Episode 63: Public Writing, Public Thinking ft. Oliver Traldi

    November 3rd, 2021  |  1 hr 3 mins
    american politics, crt, philosophy, polarization, political philosophy, politics, woke

    Writer and philosopher Oliver Traldi sits down with Emmet to talk about what it means to be a public intellectual today, what being a writer's really like, CRT, how woke politicization has homogenized every other endeavor in the humanities, and more!

  • Episode 62: The Coming Wave of Sex Negativity ft. Default Friend

    October 27th, 2021  |  1 hr 43 secs
    college, community, dating, hookup culture, identity, sex positivity, woke

    Default Friend returns to ex.haust to talk about the death of sex positivity, the coming wave of sex negativity, affinity community online, how our identities are formed now, and a whole bunch of other stuff.

  • Episode 61: Two Piece: Resigning from Being Superfluous

    October 19th, 2021  |  1 hr 5 mins
    incels, obama, peak oil, strike wave, the great resignation

    Emmet, John, and Canada Mike talk through two pieces: one on superfluous men by Alex Gendler and another about bullshit jobs and people quitting the workforce by John Michael Greer. They talk about the Great Resignation, the strivewave, why many men have been historically superfluous, incels, and ponder if we need new ways to think of being modern.

  • [teaser] The True and Only Heaven 4: The Sociological Tradition and the Idea of Community

    October 17th, 2021  |  6 mins 43 secs

    Emmet and John forge ahead in the Lasch reading. This time they watch Lasch take on Burke, Marx, Weber, Tonnies, and more. They discuss development theory, the systematic view of history's progress, what they think Lasch is up to, what Schopenhauer did for them, and more.

  • Episode 60: Double Feature '84: The Terminator and A Nightmare on Elm Street ft. Josh Bregman

    October 12th, 2021  |  1 hr 17 mins
    arnold schwarzenegger, christopher lasch, final girl, freddy krueger, horror, james cameron, slasher, terminator

    It's Halloween season. To help celebrate, Emmet and frequent guest Josh Bregman sit down to talk about two favorites: The Terminator and A Nightmare on Elm Street. They talk about the slasher genre, collapse of American confidence, the terror of the past, the horror of the future, and more.

  • Episode 59: Political Ossification ft. Luke Thompson

    October 5th, 2021  |  1 hr 15 mins
    america, american history, conservatism, history, liberalism, politics

    Political consultant and podcaster Luke Thompson joins Emmet to talk through different conceptions of political ossification. They talk through realignment theory, conceptions of political time, and, of course, why nothing feels possible.

  • [teaser] The True and Only Heaven 3: Nostalgia ft. Canada Mike

    October 4th, 2021  |  7 mins 46 secs
    cormac mccarthy, lasch, nostalgia, progress, progressivism

    Canada Mike fills in for John for the third installment of our series on Lasch's True and Only Heaven. Mike and Emmet detail Lasch's argument and consider the necessary relationship between progressive ideology and nostalgia. They talk about living in an eternal present, Cormac McCarthy as subverter of American tropes, the frontier as a "zone of innocence" and more.

  • Episode 58: American Canon: John Milius

    September 28th, 2021  |  1 hr 26 mins
    america, american culture, cold war, film, john milius, milius, movies

    Emmet and John discuss the life and times of writer and director John Milius, looking specifically at his movies The Wind and the Lion and Conan the Barbarian.

  • Episode 57: Into the Fairy Castle ft. Sam Biagetti

    September 21st, 2021  |  58 mins 48 secs
    aoc, bernie, borgen, history, house of cards, liberalism, liberals, met gala, politics, victorian history

    Emmet sits down with historian, podcaster, and writer Sam Biagetti to talk about his latest piece for American Affairs, "Into the Fairy Castle: The Persistence of Victorian Liberalism." They about Gilbert and Sullivan, Borgen, the downfall of the Bernie movement, meritocracy and more.