Interview on The Democracy Test: A Six Part Radio Series and Podcast - November 2, 2018
What happens in a democracy when we can’t believe in anything? When we don’t even believe in our nation’s ability to govern itself? Faith in democracy decays. Participation erodes. The politics of possibility in our nation demand some sense of shared reality and basic level of belief that government can serve the common good. What will be the lasting impact of our current break in truth and faith?
Talk at The University of Pennsylvania - November 15, 2018
How, historically, have democracy and truth been connected to one another? Why is that relationship seemingly in peril now in the U.S. and in much of the world? And what, if anything, can be done in our “post-truth” age?
Talk at CRASSH: The Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences, and Humanities at Cambridge University - June 1, 2017
Populism is best understood as a style of politics rather than a specific doctrine. But ever since the eighteenth century, its appeal has depended upon a kind of built-in conspiracy theory: that the current crisis stems from the fact that the real people have been robbed of a power that they once naturally possessed, and the situation can only be rectified by a return to their unjustly neglected 'common' sense. In the age of Paine, this theory helped spur the development of a democratic political order. Yet already by the time of the French Revolution – and to this day, as the current Trump regime in the US demonstrates – a common sense populism threatens to undermine democracy at every turn in ways that this talk spells out.