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#101- Defending the Republic A Conversation with Cass R. Sunstein

 
Nhoj Morley
 
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Nhoj Morley
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17 October 2017 08:34
 

In this episode of the Waking Up podcast, Sam Harris speaks with Cass Sunstein about the fragmentation of American society, “choice architecture,” the importance of face-to-face interactions for problem solving, group polarization and identity politics, virtuous extremism, the wisdom of crowds, direct democracy, the limits of free speech, the process of Presidential impeachment, and other topics.

#101- Defending the Republic A Conversation with Cass R. Sunstein
 

This thread is for listeners’ comments.

 
Udstrat
 
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Udstrat
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17 October 2017 16:54
 

It sounds like Sunstein has a lot of interesting things to say, but the din and cadence of his voice is hardly clear or attention grabbing.

 
sethg
 
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sethg
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18 October 2017 10:04
 
Udstrat - 17 October 2017 04:54 PM

It sounds like Sunstein has a lot of interesting things to say, but the din and cadence of his voice is hardly clear or attention grabbing.

Many interesting ideas. A little too political. But agreed 100% on the voice. I am usually riveted by the podcast but found myself growing sleepy during this one.

 
Twissel
 
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Twissel
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18 October 2017 10:50
 

my take-home message from this podcast:

there is next to no chance of getting rid of Trump before 2020.

 
 
ryan765
 
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ryan765
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19 October 2017 08:47
 

My ears perked up with the wisdom of crowds example on guessing the weight of cows.  I’m a cattle scientist (yes that is a thing), and I just recently published a paper about guessing weights of cows!

 
feignedcynic
 
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feignedcynic
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20 October 2017 13:52
 

I’ve only listened to about 5 minutes of this podcast. I will be enjoying it the next hour or so. Before I did that I had to hit pause and say something about Sam’s decision to keep The Waking Up podcast ad free.

Part of my work is in advertising so I’m certain Sam is missing out on an extraordinary amount of money. I’ve seen other podcasts attempt to do this. They only last about 2 months until the ads start coming. It was not until this specific intro that I realized Sam is not just “missing out on money”. He’s fighting a battle bigger than anyone can imagine. That may sound like exaggeration. I can assure you, it is not.

On the largest scale, one day podcasts or something similar will be like Fox News & CNN. You will only hear certain things certain places. Staying ad free is the only way to prevent this.

Ads may not change podcasts that much in the beginning. Larger sponsors bring larger challenges. All the sudden Sam may not have a certain guest because they talked badly about his sponsor. Once revenue is in place, it becomes much harder to say no to it.

Sure, some other podcasts say they don’t care about their sponsors and they’ll say what they want about them. I don’t think they would feel the same if all their sponsors dropped them at once. Not to mention you’re still listening to ads. A lot of ads. Yes you can skip them but don’t tell me you’ve never heard about MeUndies.

I could go on much further. I just want to say thank you Sam for being on the right side of this battle. I cannot support you every month but I will when I can for the hours of knowledge and entertainment you’ve brought to me and many others.

[ Edited: 20 October 2017 16:31 by feignedcynic]
 
attemptingsmart
 
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attemptingsmart
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23 October 2017 05:25
 

Does anyone know what is Cass Sunstein’s podcast might be?

 
Mark Peter
 
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Mark Peter
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24 October 2017 02:12
 

Overall, a very useful discussion.  I’m always glad to see issues in the realm of civics and government described and clarified from a historical and constitutional perspective.  I’m often surprised, and occasionally appalled, at the arguments I hear made about current political events which reflect little to no understanding of the true underpinnings of our system.

In that respect, I liked Sunstein’s strong position on free speech.  However, I found his analysis of the distinction between protected and unprotected speech a little off.  I think a much easier way to understand all of the “exceptions” to free speech is to see that they aren’t actually exceptions.  They are instances in which speech is an instrument of some larger action, above and beyond mere expression, which is criminal in its own right.  Fraud, harassment, slander, extortion, and incitement to violence are all well defined crimes.  If you are convicted of fraud, your crime is not that you expressed an idea in words.  Your crime is that you obtained something of material value from someone under false pretenses.  The fact that you spoke some words in the commission of this crime should obviously not be exculpatory.

 
Raphael Spannocchi
 
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Raphael Spannocchi
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25 October 2017 09:42
 

There’s something dark, probably even malign, under Sunstein’s outwardly affable persona.
He really gave me the creeps.

I sometimes think that it’s not the Trumps of this world we should be afraid of.
But these men.
Well spoken, articulate, deathly intelligent apparatchiks.

Behind the facade of humaneness lies something else… creepy!

 
mapadofu
 
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mapadofu
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25 October 2017 10:48
 
Raphael Spannocchi - 25 October 2017 09:42 AM

There’s something dark, probably even malign, under Sunstein’s outwardly affable persona.
He really gave me the creeps.

I sometimes think that it’s not the Trumps of this world we should be afraid of.
But these men.
Well spoken, articulate, deathly intelligent apparatchiks.

Behind the facade of humaneness lies something else… creepy!

Do you think it might be a bit much to insinuate that he isn’t really a human being?

[ Edited: 25 October 2017 10:53 by mapadofu]
 
Raphael Spannocchi
 
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Raphael Spannocchi
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26 October 2017 00:40
 
mapadofu - 25 October 2017 10:48 AM
Raphael Spannocchi - 25 October 2017 09:42 AM

There’s something dark, probably even malign, under Sunstein’s outwardly affable persona.
He really gave me the creeps.

I sometimes think that it’s not the Trumps of this world we should be afraid of.
But these men.
Well spoken, articulate, deathly intelligent apparatchiks.

Behind the facade of humaneness lies something else… creepy!

Do you think it might be a bit much to insinuate that he isn’t really a human being?

Of course he’s a human being. He just isn’t the humane, caring individual he acts, IMO.

I mean he advised the Obama admin on surveillance, the administration that surveilled like no other before.
No into “innovation” in the military…

 
czrpb
 
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czrpb
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26 October 2017 09:02
 

Direct Democracy

I was a bit disappointed in this part of the discussion.

As usual, the discussion seemed to only consider decisions at the national level. But what about more local DD? So, those examples: infrastructure spending, opioids, pollution, or helmet laws seem perfect for DD on the local level!

Most DD advocates imagine implementations where decisions to be made are done in proportion to their impact. Thus, a local motorcycle helmet law in one state (or county, or city) is only directly voted on by people in that area.

This alleviate most of the concerns, the chief being “people are busy”, and besides don’t people want to be involved in how their lives are impacted? Its interesting when Cass says people just wanna live their lives, as if all this stuff isn’t directly related to their lives!

Finally, it must be always be discussed—though never really is—that being anti-DD entails a pessimistic view of people. You can hear this in Sam’s example of a nuclear first-strike on NK.

Anyway, this discussion is wide and deep, but too little debated.

 
Raphael Spannocchi
 
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Raphael Spannocchi
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26 October 2017 13:28
 

That fits perfectly to Sunstein. He wants Government control and surveillance.
He is deeply distrustful of humans.
Needs them to be ruled under an iron fist, preferably in a velvet glove.

 
jenks_
 
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jenks_
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26 October 2017 15:40
 
mapadofu - 25 October 2017 10:48 AM
Raphael Spannocchi - 25 October 2017 09:42 AM

There’s something dark, probably even malign, under Sunstein’s outwardly affable persona.
He really gave me the creeps.

I sometimes think that it’s not the Trumps of this world we should be afraid of.
But these men.
Well spoken, articulate, deathly intelligent apparatchiks.

Behind the facade of humaneness lies something else… creepy!

Do you think it might be a bit much to insinuate that he isn’t really a human being?

I believe you’ve missed the ‘e’ above.

 
ubique13
 
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ubique13
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26 October 2017 17:18
 
czrpb - 26 October 2017 09:02 AM

...This alleviate most of the concerns, the chief being “people are busy”, and besides don’t people want to be involved in how their lives are impacted? Its interesting when Cass says people just wanna live their lives, as if all this stuff isn’t directly related to their lives!

Finally, it must be always be discussed—though never really is—that being anti-DD entails a pessimistic view of people. You can hear this in Sam’s example of a nuclear first-strike on NK..

I believe the essence of the argument in favor of a worldwide “State Authority” has everything to do with the knowledge that man is somewhat understandably predisposed toward ‘evil’ (in whatever sense a society may view the concept as finite and static). That direct democracy does not exist in the United States is no mystery, nor is it a mystery why the concept has been considered disdainful by individuals dating back as early as Plato. “Out of sight, out of mind,” may be a cliche, but there’s also that cliche about cliche’s being cliche for a reason. Apathy is something that anyone but a true Nihilist would consider “sinful.”

 
 
czrpb
 
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czrpb
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27 October 2017 10:02
 
ubique13 - 26 October 2017 05:18 PM
czrpb - 26 October 2017 09:02 AM

...This alleviate most of the concerns, the chief being “people are busy”, and besides don’t people want to be involved in how their lives are impacted? Its interesting when Cass says people just wanna live their lives, as if all this stuff isn’t directly related to their lives!

Finally, it must be always be discussed—though never really is—that being anti-DD entails a pessimistic view of people. You can hear this in Sam’s example of a nuclear first-strike on NK..

I believe the essence of the argument in favor of a worldwide “State Authority” has everything to do with the knowledge that man is somewhat understandably predisposed toward ‘evil’ (in whatever sense a society may view the concept as finite and static). That direct democracy does not exist in the United States is no mystery, nor is it a mystery why the concept has been considered disdainful by individuals dating back as early as Plato. “Out of sight, out of mind,” may be a cliche, but there’s also that cliche about cliche’s being cliche for a reason. Apathy is something that anyone but a true Nihilist would consider “sinful.”

hi! sure, but i am curious: why do you see Cass as so authoritarian? is it a sort of philosopher-king/techno-elite authoritarianism? he’s not a dictator right?

 
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