Elitists versus Trump and the Populists

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S1: I don’t know if the president understands about prayer or people who do pray, but we do pray for the United States of America. Pray for him. I pray that President Bush still President Obama, that because it’s a heavy responsibility and I pray hard for him because he’s so off the track.

S2: At some point there were instructions or dictates or requests from up above. And as a result, what was supposed to be turned over to us was withheld from us.


S3: My faith is at the heart of who I am. I take an oath before God as enormously consequential.

S4: Hello and welcome to Trump Cast. I’m Virginia Heffernan.

S5: Don’t cry out loud. Just keep it inside and learn how to hide your feelings.

S6: No. I had planned to definitely not sing today because I’ve been studying the radio style of one. Rush Limbaugh, to whom we all sent prayers and he’s very antic and sings and makes a lot of noises. And I was like, no. I got to be NPRM. Sylvia POGGIOLI, I’m CNN. I’m Anderson Cooper. Because that singing stuff is for clowns and carnies and trumpets.

S7: And damn it, this whole world has turned me into a clown.


S8: And Akani, goodbye, civilization with your beautiful ideals. I I loved you.

S6: Anyway, I’m not crying out loud because I have to admit I’m feeling some mounting let’s call it despair today at several turns of events, including the nutty Iowa caucus.


S8: Democrats will come through, but that was admittedly embarrassing and of course, the acquittal of the impeached and infinitely incontrovertibly guilty president. We knew he would be acquitted and he was. We knew he was going to crow about it and he did.

S6: And we knew it would come down to the election this year in which he and the Republicans are still medaling and would come down to whatever is left of our once cherished democracy. But it’s still hard. The only three forces that might intervene now are and that we can hope for a nuclear disaster, environmental disaster or like a strategically placed cardiac arrest in the right chest cavity.


S7: But what kind of monster would I be if I talked about nukes and cardiac arrest? I told you I’m becoming them.

S6: My guest today, though, has very much not become them. So I’m going to get it together. He’s committed to going high when they go low. And he stuck to his guns on this one. He’s Joel Stein, the longtime writer for Time magazine, reporter, humorist, essayist. He wears a cravat. He speaks in dulcet tones and suitably. His latest book is called In Defense of Elitism. Now, I’m extremely honored to be able to talk to Joel today. And between us, I’m going to try to call him Joel and pretend to be casual with him because he considers me a member of the elite instead of a try hard grind who’s clothes from Uniqlo. We’re all made of petroleum.


S8: So I’m just going to go with it with Joel. I mean, to keep it together, keep it together, keep act together.

S9: Joel Stein, welcome to Trump Cast.


S10: Thank you for having me. Isn’t this weird that that’s how you have to start these things and then you’re somewhere in the middle? It becomes like a date. You have to say or the end is such a good time and you really like each other. So I’m confused.

S9: Yes. Yeah. Your book is called In Defense of Elitism. I want to start with two stories about elitism and then I want you to tell me 400 stories about elitism. But I want you to tell me what you make of my two stories. They sort of will bear on whether I think I’m an elitist.


S11: I feel like Frasier Crane. I like this. OK. So the first one. They were examples of two people confessing to snobbery.

S12: Basically, the one was this guy, Mike, who I was just getting to know a little bit, friend of a friend. And he was explaining to me, this is what he said. So I grew up in Gravesend. And my father made weights for fishing boats. So as you can imagine, I was a little snobbish. Okay. That’s the first guy. And there was very much like I’m a little snobbish, nuff said. Right. Like weights for fishing boats. His grandfather. Say no more. Okay. Got it. The second one was a kind of Arabic word like proper pallotta, his mother, grandmother with beautiful features. Maybe how? Aided by a surgeon. And she said, Well, I’m from Snead Ann’s landing. So you can imagine what that led me to do. Okay. Two places I don’t know very well. Graves and and swedens Landing. And yet people from those places told me about them as though they were hallmarks of something important. And at that moment, I realized that everyone both thinks that they’re elite and worries that the elite don’t like them. What do you think about that?


S10: Wow. I love these names. There Sneddon’s landing and then.

S6: Yes. Graves.

S13: And they sound very much. I have I have to confess, I haven’t read the Harry Potter books, but it feels like those are places from your right.

S11: Both of them do. That’s absolutely true. Snowdens landing has a little Dr. Seuss factor that I like. OK.

S10: In my book, one of the things I get into is these two competing elite isms that I think is a big part of what we’re living through around the world right now, which came to me as I was writing the book, because President Trump, who I need to bring up right away.


S13: That’s Trump. Carson. Yes. Gave a speech probably two years ago now in Minnesota after railing against the elite throughout his entire campaign, as so many Republicans before and even after 2016. Suddenly in the middle, the speech kind of ad libbing as he does. He said, wait a second, why are they the elite? We’re the elite. We have more money. We have bigger apartments. We have nicer boats. We should be the elite. And then he started calling his himself and his followers the super elite, because he only has some words in his command. But instead, I decided that there was this essay written in Nineteen Hundred by Alfredo Rato, who is the economist who came up with the 80/20 principle, this fascist guy that Mussolini loved. Oh, yeah, yeah. And so he’s the first guy who uses the word to lead the way that I think I’m about to use it. And he wrote this book called The Circulation of the Elites. There’s an essay in nineteen hundred. Okay. And it’s a little bit of a rehashing of nature, but he says that you think that the populace kind of is revolting or whatever, but it’s really a fight between these two elites. It’s very animal form. There’s always going to be someone in charge. And the two groups he had. Better words for it, but the ones I use in my book are the intellectual elite. We don’t really want a yacht. We want it. We want to give it TEDTalk like that’s our goal. We’re not as much about power and money. We have different kind of gauges of what we think, how the world should work and what we want. And then there’s what I call the boat elite because of what Trump said.


S4: Let’s go back to the intellectual elite. They just think that you should have read your Italian philosophers and that, you know, a little Nietzsche never hurt nobody. Nothing.

S10: But it has hurt some people. Like a little need to hurt Hitler. Probably.

S11: Maybe you’re right. So these two different ones. Right. And we talked about this Needham’s landing guy and Eden’s landing.

S10: Was that the guy who made the weights?

S9: His dad made the Renault, the Graves Gravesend guy. The Gravesend guy, Mike. His grandfather made weights for fishing boats.

S13: I assume he was worried about being thought of the elite in the Bernie Sanders way of being a millionaire, a billionaire and having heirs because it was money. And I assume the other woman. Oh, right. So that’s it.


S4: No, I think he just had traction with this Italian family that did this kind of old craftwork and also had kind of dominated that business in Brooklyn. I think he was legitimately like concerned that his snobbery had led him to act out in various ways and that thought he was better than everyone else. And he was now trying to get some humility. Wow.

S13: So she was like the equivalent of like on the island of Maranhao, outside of Venice. And good. It is a glass worker lacework. I’ll get the two confused.

S14: Yes, that’s exactly.

S10: Oh, that’s an old version of kind of the intellectual, the right. That’s probably the one parade I was thinking.

S4: That’s right. Exactly. Or the one thing that. So my mother grew up in Appalachian, a coal mining town, but her dad wasn’t in mining. He kind of had a utility. Right. So she really worried that the coal miner’s daughters were snubbing her because she went to Girl Scout camp and they went to a regular camp. You know, and I mean, like this kind of very small differences, seemingly small differences not available to the naked eye, but that make you feel like you’re left out of the more fun stuff that the workaday crowd gets to do.


S15: What’s regular camp, if not Girl Scout camp in the mines?

S4: Yes. How much lower can you go? I don’t know. Then Girl Scout camp? I don’t remember. I think they just like went to daycare. They maybe they played in the coal dust. I don’t know. Wow. But it was definitely something that gave them integrity and cliquish ness. But anyway, your thought was that that guy with the craftmanship and the fishing weights, waits for fishing boats might want to have seemed more blue collar. But in fact, his family had money. Oh, I was amazed, that is that he used the word snobbish and that he, you know, this very arcane thing that wouldn’t set him apart anywhere. And he would have looked like an average Joe at, you know, maybe the places that, you know, the Beverly Hills Hotel. It barely be allowed in, but that he considered himself the cock of the walk somewhere else. And that was interesting to me.

S13: Yeah. So I really found that looking at what’s going on in the world right now as far as this populist revolution, which freak. I got really freaked out, as many of us did the night that Trump won the election. Yeah. I was going to this party on my block. This is a liberal radio host named Stephanie Miller. She was throwing a party and I was there and I brought a bottle of sparkling Trump wine from Virginia. That’s somewhat.

S4: Yes. I saw this. Yeah. And it was age, right? Cause you say I bought a 2012 bottle of blank to block or something. Yeah. And then I realized it’s 2016 and you’re you’re listening for election results. And I went back to see if you had the dates. Right. And then realized you have a 4 year old bottle of Trump blocked a bong.

S13: Well, as an elitist snob I actually have a wine cellar. So that didn’t even. Yes, right. That didn’t even seem old. But I wasn’t being aged. It was just I was waiting for a moment where it be fun for me to give someone that.

S4: That’s terrific. And also what fun we were all having that night because we were so much fun. Sure. The fix was in for our candidate. That was going to be great. First woman president.

S13: Remember, I was watching returns at my computer. Maybe because I’m not good at parties or I was nervous and I saw results coming in that didn’t match what I had seen earlier in the day from some exit polls. That’s only giving me. I got really freaked out. And as I’d been freaked out by braces, I’d been freaked out by some of the stuff that was happening in Europe. And I really started to look at it through this this lens of, oh, there’s a there’s a populist movement against the elites that we’ve seen before. It is happening everywhere. They need to understand it. I don’t know how to fix it, but I’d like to even understand. So Atomic County with the highest percentage of Trump voters and I went down there for a week and hung out with people that became this book. Yeah, the first third of the book. And then I went to go find other people to explain it to me in a different way.

S9: So tell me about some of the people you met. I know from reading the book you’re so personable and funny and also capable. I’m just going to flag the wine again. That Trump blank the blank of. Irony, which is a nice skill for people, whatever their relation to elitism. You know, like a little bit of amusement with ideas. You don’t hold anything too strongly square. What I mean is you are willing to participate as a good sport in many dinners and conversations around red anti-elite neighborhoods.


S13: Yeah. I mean, it’s I was curious. Even more than being a good sport or having a sense of irony. Like I was really just confused. And when when I get scared, I tend to want to make myself feel better with information. Like even right after the election, I remember calling like the one republic. I kind of knew pretty well. Or maybe you. And then my dad, who is a Democrat but has a kind of a long view of history and his you know, not that is a conservative kind of Democrat. But just because I felt those people would make me feel better and explain things to me because my friends were not making me feel better at all. And they didn’t. Right. No, they did to some extent. And the people in Miama, Texas, which is the town I went to, in fact, as driving here, I still talk to people there. They returned a call from someone who calls me a lot from there. So I just talked to someone about the impeachment and what he thought of it.

S16: And because you’re hot off it. What was that conversation like?

S9: This is a Trump voter who just learned what to us is crushing news about Trump’s acquittal and what to him is no doubt a moment of euphoria.

S10: No, that’s the thing. Like, oh, we live in a pretty, pretty far, far, far left world where these things are huge to us. He watches Fox News every night. He’s not uninformed. You know, a political he cares. But his view is a very Tony Soprano’s view of the world, which is like this thing Trump did. Politicians, you know, they’re looking out for themselves. I probably would be like if I were a politician, which is why I would never do it. But every other president’s done basically this thing that the left has gone mad. And yet the world’s gone mad. And if we get a Democrat as president, the Republicans are gonna impeach him. Like this is it’s gotten out of control and the Democrats RADIC control.


S9: I just finished a piece on Rush Limbaugh. That’s not up yet. But he also complains decries the elite end and lives in Palm Beach and a 70 million dollar estate.

S13: But that’s those are different elites.

S4: Barely. It’s right. Or at least they’re rich as hell. I mean, the world you were leading to earlier about intellectual elite, slick, just you know, and it seems like in the recent past they would have been considered just gauche beyond belief. But they definitely have more money than I do. I gotta hand it.

S10: They do. But I think there’s a mistake that like people like you and I make or that Bernie Sanders makes or that Jeremy Corbyn makes, where they don’t realize there are two different kinds of elites that are that are fighting. And they just don’t understand how people can support Trump when he’s a billionaire and he isn’t a leader. How can he really do it? It’s because he’s railing against the kind of like intellectual leaders who control everything with their sneaky laws and work against the hard working Americans, where the people who care about power and money, even if they don’t have any power or money, respect those who are able to get it. And that’s who they want. And they’re not they’re not lording it over them by quoting nature. They’re just like doing what they would do if they had money, which is like getting a hot wife with a boob job and campaigning everything gold and like eating McDonalds with under likes, you know, a Silverdome. That’s exactly how most people would spend their money. And they don’t find that to be elite.


S4: Tell me about one or two of these populists anti-elitist Trump by its maybe the guy that called you who you kind of liked and got into and thought was all right.

S10: Oh, I liked the people. A Mama Texas. I liked. I liked Scott Adams, the Dilbert guy who hung out with. I liked Tucker Carlson. Yeah. These are nice people he enjoy spending time with. It doesn’t mean that their idea of how the world should work isn’t dangerous, says Scott Adams.

S9: I gave his book Think Bigly, not a great review. And so I probably can’t think clearly about Scott Adams.

S10: But tell me what you liked about him, just as a person. Do you enjoy him? He’s very sweet. He’s very soft-spoken. He’s a really good listener. He’s a great host. You would like him on a personal level. I don’t think you’d like his world view at all. But I think you might enjoy him. He’s funny.

S9: Yeah, he does like power games. I mean, he’s he like he fits that description. He’s a trained hypnotist.

S13: I know. And he claims that he’s made many women, maybe many isn’t very he’s made a number of women orgasm without touching them through hypnosis.

S7: Oh, that is charming. That is white wine. And if someone you have lunch with, the eccentricity also of these people drives me crazy, like, why is that stuff coming up?

S9: And then you have there’s another couple that you have kind of some Christian catch on their walls.

S13: But also everyone in this time had Christian gets the first house I walked into and I didn’t eat a meal alone the whole time. I didn’t pay for a meal. Everyone wanted me over. And it was so nice to me and so open. But the first house I walked into, I was stunned because there were more crosses on the wall in their living room than ever seen in any room my life, including churches. There were 14 crosses in their living room. Then different shapes like the one that even on both sides and well, the ones where they are made of words that cross with that same letter in the middle. There were ones that.


S6: Yeah. Amazing Grace. You taught me the ages as Ross.

S15: Yeah. There are a couple. Yes. And then there was the two people I met, carved old Reader’s Digest, condensed books into crosses with a bandsaw and a fixed like a plastic flower to them, which is a thing you people you met.

S10: Well, I thought it was crazy when I saw the second line. And then I was listening to a podcast about a guy who who had gone through Christian conversion and now can stops it.

S13: And this is one of his hobbies. So this is like a thing in the Christian community. There’s so much to digest, condensed books out there. And they’re so soft and easy to soar.

S11: They’re soft and easy to soar through. I knew who was the first person who was the Eli Whitney of that’s who just decided he could put a song through a book. I would read a very New York Times magazine story on this.

S12: I would definitely four parter in The New Yorker for sure.

S9: But actually, this is the book In Defense of Elitism. It’s a book about those crosses in part. I mean, those are crosses, right?

S13: It’s also a book that can be carved with a bandsaw. People choose to add any shape you want.

S9: My copy looks pretty substantial for that. But but I’ll give it a shot tonight, I promise. Thank you. So wait, so that’s I mean, that came up in the context of talking about eccentricity and just the the sort of stuff that we’ve learned about from Errol Morris movies from, you know, when there was a big passion for finding little oddballs throughout the country. You saw like her this in s town. That enough? You listen to that idea. I could. Yeah, right. And the obsession with tattoos or the obsession with with these crosses and what is the relationship of those crafts, maybe their craft, their American handicrafts to populism? And then what is that relation to Trump?


S12: Can you connect those dots for me?

S13: Wow. You mean for making like a quilt out of t shirts all the way to Trump?

S11: Yes. OK. I can try it. Never do it. Only you. Only you can do it. Oh, boy. Let’s see.

S13: OK. I you know, my first job was working for Martha Stewart, so this shouldn’t be so hard. So populism is a belief that certain people count as members of the society. People other people don’t. So in other words, OK. That’s how you can make a claim that Trump is the true leader of America, even if he lost the popular vote, because the people who live in cities aren’t real Americans and the people who just became American citizens aren’t real Americans. And you can kind of pass out who counts and who doesn’t, which every society does. Like not everyone gets to vote. Like, if you’re whatever your rules are in a society, is is who counts as a as a member like under 18 didn’t go to prison. Woman My own lands, whatever it is. So they’re passing that. You know, it’s a good point. I’m much more local. Way populists always do. They define who the real people are. And ever else is a danger to that, real people who really understand America. Yeah. And and and they will tell you when the people in Miama, Texas, would think about living in Los Angeles like I do. Or New York like I used to. They they see dystopia and they see they see a bunch of people looking at their cell phones all day who don’t know their neighbors, who walk by homeless people on the street without helping them in a dirty place. And they don’t go to church and they don’t know each other. All they care about what they can get from each other monetarily. Okay. And they don’t sit there and they don’t craft and think about how they belong to a community and what they have in common and do these projects together and share them. And Trump is a person who they would not particularly no one imam of Texas likes Trump as a person. They’re not cultists in that they think he’s a savior. Okay. What they see is someone there said if you have a cockroach problem and the exterminator comes over and he’s showing his butt crack and he’s cursing and he’s a person you want out of your house as soon as he possibly can. But he gets rid of your cockroaches, right. Then he’s your guy. Look, if General Grant is drinking and smoking cigars and drunk half the time, but he’s winning the civil war. Like find out what kind of whiskey he’s drinking and send it to the battle lines.


S9: I’ll have what he’s having. Yeah. Yeah. Right. Okay. Got it. Yeah. That’s interesting. Right. That’s a little bit. The King Cyrus model that, you know, he’s a pagan. He’s freeing the Jews. Yes. He’s coarse and awful. But I don’t understand where the free the Jews or the cockroaches come in. Sometimes I don’t feel like I don’t understand the end point of this. And I’ll just add to that. We’ve had a lot of talk about Trumpism as a cult on this show and even has since been on the show to talk about an ex, Mooney to talk about this. And one of the things that seems clear about cults as they start out believing in something, clear out the cockroaches when the civil war, but they end up just re-enacting their and battlement like the Branch Davidians believed something before. They just believed the ATF. Out to get them. Right. So, like, what is the thing that they’re trying? Those people you met with the pawn toys and the crosses on their walls and the. And the Reader’s Digest crafts trying to do in the world. What are the cockroaches they want to eliminate? What would it take for them to say we did it?

S15: Oh, the restoration of the nation state, I guess, is the primary thing that all the populace and all the countries seem to be fighting.

S4: What does that look like? The restoration of the nation?

S17: Here’s the thing I like to you and I like this is why I had to wrap my head around. It took me forever. It was like, good luck. Populists like the world is moving on. You’re not going to stop it. Like you’re becoming more global, like we’re becoming more tech oriented. You can’t stop it. And then I look back at history. I’m like, oh, people have stopped things like we did have a dark ages. You did have pulled out. Like, you can zap things. It’s not an expert. And they’re trying to say, yeah, that’s right. And it just seems so ridiculous that they could accomplish it. But they really can. And they really have in certain places in the globe.


S13: Right. Like. Yeah. And not just from the right. Like we keep talking about the right but like Bernie is not crazy about systems. Bernie, does Bernie want to put a farmer on the Fed on the board of governors and then we wouldn’t eat for two different reasons. If he did that. So, yeah, you look at Venezuela like they don’t believe in global a system on the left, like there are these forces on both sides, which are a reaction to something that’s happened in the last few decades. And I’m trying to I’ve been trying to put my finger on it. And the closest I can get is after reading that book Sapiens, is that there s there’s we’re naturally built to be in groups of 150. If you tell a good enough myth, you can get people to cooperate in larger and larger groups, which is the great success of humanity at some level. This book, by the way, is so cool, but at some point people like you and me bought into a global myth. Like when when you think about where you can live in the world or where your friends are or like what movie, you can go see Paris say or you can listen to K-pop or you can know about a new restaurant that’s opening in Paris. And you look kind of global idea of the world on some level. And there’s a myth you’re telling yourself about human rights, which is like when Bloomberg says you can’t smoke anymore in bars in New York. Quickly thereafter, you can’t smoke in bars and even Paris. Right. So there’s this same with like gay marriage.

S15: Like there’s this idea that we’re all part of this this society. And there are a lot of people, especially in the rural parts of England, America and any country who don’t buy into that global myth. Right. Find that global myth to be very upsetting like Swedes or not. Swede’s anymore. If you buy into it, it’s not incorrect. Like I was in Paris last summer and I hadn’t been there for a while. I’m like, oh, Paris people here, I mean, they’re good looking at fashionable, but not like they used to be.


S10: They kind of look like people in New York, though, and even the restaurants, it’s all becoming a little similar. We pick up on things in other countries pretty quickly and adopt them in our cities. But in the country, yes, they don’t.

S4: This is actually very interesting because there is an earlier period and here we’re like, we’re just going to become parodies of ourselves or I’m going to become a parody of myself. But there was an earlier period where I definitely thought that I wasn’t Parisian. I didn’t say I thought I knew that I was an American in Paris, but that they were sort of incomprehensible, comprehensible by my education. You know, that I could sort of understand them and then I could branch out and maybe understand Bangkok and, you know, be both different. I mean, I guess that’s where I’m going with irony, be both different and a little bit play the part and learn a little bit of the language. And you know that if I used my mind, I could sort of put together a skin care routine that looked like a Paris skin care routine. But then, as you say, there was this time not at the Café de floor. See that being a parent of hot chocolate where exactly where I saw they were using a laminated menus. That’s exciting. And the waiters were being kind of nice. And I did have a sinking feeling that I didn’t want these. I didn’t want there to be a global elite where everyone kind of looked alike and everybody just stays at the Ritz in every city, you know, and it looks exactly the same. And the cars are the same. You know, when they just stopped having the little cars. Yeah. And just the look of the whole thing became more. Robert Moses than Jane Jacobs. And that was really a little bit upsetting to me. And I don’t know if that’s close to the homogenizing that people fear of losing their identities. I wanted the French to have their identity.


S10: Yeah, I came to America a little late. This idea of populism, because much of what the world’s experiencing, we exported. I mean, yes, people are I guess people are reacting to, you know, Syrians moving into their country for sure, because that’s that’s a really dramatic difference culturally, whereas the Americanization is like a language thing and the money thing. But it’s it’s not that different from from a lot of social European countries. But people in Brazil, people everywhere, just really the fight of populism is who is a real Brazilian and yet who is a real poll. And it’s not the gays like it always is some other group size. It’s the Jews. Like in Poland right now, it’s the gay is like there’s some group who doesn’t fit in, who you’re going to blame for these changes that you’re uncomfortable with. And there’s been there’s been massive changes. And if you live in cities like we do, the idea that gay marriage is new doesn’t, even though it is, doesn’t feel like a massive change. Transpeople doesn’t feel like a massive change. And unfortunately, the Liberal Party that we have in most countries is still operating on a communism capitalism x y axis. And that’s not what this fight is about all. So we we still have the Jeremy Corbyn’s who are making these arguments that are irrelevant. Trump doesn’t care about like the populist like Trump. They’re not really interested in in economics and that kind of way. Like, yeah, he would spend tons on infrastructure, like he would have a bigger government. Like you have a small government. It’s not of his interest.


S4: You know, it’s interesting because one of the presumptions of this conversation is that we find like that muscle flexing in the gilded decor and the sort of wolf pack power moves distasteful and silly. But there does seem to be a longing on the left or among liberals or a center left to see some Breo and some less. Leslie Simpson, more, more. Montgomery Burns on our side of things, too. And I’m going to cite this Nancy Pelosi moment of, you know, she’s such this bella figura. You know, she just like cuts a figure. What’s bella figura?

S9: Oh, it’s Frank Bruni talks about this a lot. It’s the Italian way of comporting yourself. So it’s like how you’re dressed. It’s Gestur It’s like tearing up the speech so big that big things like it. Yeah. Yeah. But but also that everything matters, how your cufflinks are, how you walk down the street. But it can tilt into he looked at me the wrong way, you know, kind of Cosa Nostra stuff. Okay. But we do love this Nancy Pelosi thing, which is pretty art of war. I mean, it’s pretty funny that we also like some of the Wolfpack moves if they’re made by our team.

S13: I hate them. I feel so strongly about this.

S7: Do you? Okay. Tell me why.

S10: I think this is what really scares me, because I feel like there is not a love for democracy right now. And there’s not. A love for stability. And if we are going to be the intellectual elite, even if we lose, that’s fine.

S15: But what we can’t do is become them or there’s no hope.


S4: Like, yeah, I have to. That’s what that’s if you’re anything.

S10: Yes, it is. And if you’re fighting to be the people who do their thinking with data and not with just force, and you believe in ideas more than power and you believe in democracy more than autocracy, like you care.

S13: You know, Nancy Pelosi is so impressive to me. I do not mean to pick on her at all, but ripping up the speech was not the right move. Like, it just it’s not who we want to be. I believe in the Michelle Obama when they I mean, it’s it’s snobby. And then they get low. We go high. It sounds smug. And I know. I don’t like. I know that’s the part of me that people hate. And that’s a part of the intellectual elite that people hate. So that part’s not great. But the idea of when they go low, we go high is right. I was sitting next to someone at the last debate, which was in L.A.. Yeah. And they came up and she said, no. When they go low, we kick them in the balls. It’s like, yeah. And so it’s like no. And I start I go there. And then at which point I thought she was MAXINE Waters daughter. And I realized, oh, this is the exact person who said after Ted Cruz or someone was screamed out of a restaurant, she made that speech that like if if you see them in a gas station, you see them in a supermarket, you corner them, you don’t let them go. And did you made it seem like a mob rule, which is it just scares me. So, yes, I think yeah. Michael, Abenaki, who I think you enjoyed at some point, he scares.


S7: Please. Sorry. Sorry. Penance for this time.

S10: You kind of do. Cause he was it. I saw him at some banditti faire of like one of these summit conferences and he just used eval. I mean he used power and control and money. Yeah. And shiny seats. All right. Carlson was right on that.

S9: Well that’s when I added Maserati ownership to Gulfstream ownership as the thing, you know, kind of like a red flag does. He owns Mars or Audi dealership.

S4: He has a Maserati. And or he had he’s like in arrears on everything. He’s everything’s been seized. But, yes, he actually the fact that he ran for president and and now has been sidelined in the big house is what Lee led us to say. The office of the presidency might not be corrupted forever by Donald Trump, because if it were, we’d want the person that goes low and kicks him in the balls. And we clearly don’t want Nathi. At least we have that. He saw that as very heartening. Right. I mean, I think I have a higher tolerance than you do for some of that show off stuff.

S10: I mean, that’s the appeal of Pete Budo, judge. I mean, that’s the appeal of Adam Schiff. Like that. He’s my congressman. And even though I think impeachment was a huge mistake, I wrote about that in The Washington Post before it started. I think it was an it was an elitist trap that that we fell out to. And it’s good may have bad ramifications in this election. But I also listened to Adam Schiff and I was like, well, if we’re gonna do this, that’s the way to do it. Like it’s an appeal to our better selves. It’s an appeal to democracy, its appeal to the rule of systems and law like it was built. Right. It’s very Westway.


S9: It wasn’t like a scar SASE mob speech. It was like an Oscar speech. And one of those were the films we used to see. Mr. Smith goes to Washington.

S10: The impeachment did lay out like you saw all those career civil servants who were so smart and you so much. Yeah. And devoted so much of their lives to to not making a lot of money and not having a lot of power and doing this work. And it just laid out these two different options. So even though I don’t like the impeachment hearings, I strategically I did think it was another opportunity for people to be presented with two different ideas of how America should be.

S9: I do, too. And I was so hot. I mean, I was pro impeachment because I feel like the truth is just more, more beautiful and more lasting than the lies. And I wanted to see them in the record.

S13: What’s the record like? I think we’re past like the record. I think we’re we’re down to, like, saving democracy. Like, I don’t I don’t know if there’s going to be a record.

S9: I think you brought up the Dark Ages before and that followed the fall of Rome. And I don’t know if you read this book. It’s a little bit on par with sapiens as far as probably dubious in total accuracy.

S4: But how the Irish Saved Civilization You Revere It is a bestseller a little while ago. But anyway, it was about how the Irish preserved the record, how the monks in the Book of Kells preserved the record of antiquity of Latin and Greek culture, and also Christianity from the Holy Roman Empire. And without it, we wouldn’t have made it through the Dark Ages so the culture could flourish again. And that’s why I think the record is important. That’s why I think we need to remember what Mitt Romney said, that there is a kind of piety that drives some Americans and that has been extremely useful in getting Americans like Mitt Romney to pursue truth against their own short term interests. And what Adam Schiff said, you know, sort of this beautiful cinematic rendering of what our civic responsibilities are was also lovely and quite emotional. I mean, there were lots of curlicues in what Adam Schiff said. It wasn’t as though he he didn’t kind of figure, you know, he wants to be a screenwriter. Yeah. And, you know, there’s a way that he can work himself up into tears. That is just totally masterful. I mean, he’s like choking back. It’s very manly, very marathoner way of crying. But I mean, man, I saw alchemy style saying, oh, Adam, do not start crying or I’m gonna be sobbing here. Don’t do it. You know, and I felt that way, too, watching him. But anyway, so that’s why I think the records important and and not a small not a small thing. And Mitt Romney saying, I might just be a footnote. You know, he’s he’s got his eye. He has his eye on history. And this is how history has been written so far. It may in a coming dark ages not be written like this. It may happen in Trump style tweets, but it just will be nice to remember that people used to talk this way.


S13: Yeah, and that’s that’s my fear. If you look at like the presidency after Andrew Jackson and before Andrew Jackson, it doesn’t really go back to the way the dignity of the founders had in the sense of honor. So so I don’t I don’t know how you turn things back, but but maybe you do somewhat like after Nixon, things seemed to turn back a little bit. I don’t know. But I do know that, like, it’s important to understand that people who hate the elites and what their world view is and not just say they’re stupid or brainwashed, they they are voting altruistically for an America that they believe is better. And it’s important to remember that. And it’s it’s also important to remember that the people who throw democracy away for autocracy, even if they believe it’s better that it never works out, it always ends. And Pol Pot or Stalin or Putin.

S9: It’s never it’s never a better scenario since you brought up sapiens and a certain amount of evolutionary biology. Is populism adaptive? Because that’s really the to me, that’s the only thing that matters. I mean, look at Venezuela and even Puerto Rico after the hurricane. I mean, the thing that can drive me to Adam Schiff style tears is the account of how Beltz have had to get smaller and smaller notches on them. Emmi closer and closer, smaller waists because people are just starving to death. In Venezuela, while their leader eats steak in front of them. And I think they were up to at some point at losing on average seven pounds a month. And you know, these things ground out like you’re the country’s go bankrupt, the people die.


S15: But there is there is a balance like. Yes, if you if you go full socialist tilt. But often this is where you can go to full. But there’s these other countries we can look at where like if you went to Hungary, you went to Poland, you go to Russia, we could live a life there like day to day level. It’s not Nazi Germany, it’s not Venezuela, it’s not Cambodia or Pol Pot. It basically functions almost like it’s a mockery. You know, it’s not really a free press, but like that’s a model that I think could last for be a very horrible thing for a lot of people, but last for a very long time. So, so so those are the things that I am I am afraid of. And I think one thing and I don’t know how to do it, that’s why I’m just a reporter and not a politician or a thinker. But I think that sapin what zwei someone needs to tell a big global myth that everyone can get behind, including people who don’t live in cities, including people who are very religious.

S13: Someone needs to tell that story and bring everyone in, because if we keep fighting. Given the way the systems are built, we might lose.

S14: Joel Stein is the author of In Defense of Elitism Why I’m Better Than You and You Are Better than Someone Who Didn’t Buy This Book. Thanks for being here, Joel. Thank you for having me. So that’s it for today’s show, what do you think? I hang out in a very non elitist place. That’s Twitter. I’m at page 88. This show is at Real Charmcaster. Our show today was produced by Melissa Kaplan and engineered by CHOWED 2. I’m Virginia Heffernan. Thanks for listening to Trump cast.