A better podcast featuring Patrick Deneen

Ezra interviewed Patrick Deneen a while back, and I think everyone found the interview pretty dissatisfying.

I came across another interview of Deneen today on Bari Weiss' podcast "Honestly". Its a sort of debate between Deneen and Brett Stephens. TBH, I'm not more than half way in, but the dialog is much more engaging. It reminds me more of the Deneen interview that Russ Roberts did years ago that sparked my interest in Deneen.

I personally find Deneen to be an interesting, challenging thinker. So far, Stephens is offering him a challenging debate. I'd encourage open-minded listeners of the EKS to give it a shot.



I'm about halfway through but I still have the same issue with Deneen. He can't seem to string his ideas into a cohesive philosophy and instead just loosely rants on the loss of America institutions in response to the different prompts.


The more I listen to the less I like him. I think he's a coward. I think I know what he thinks, and I think he's too chicken to say it. Because people that say things that he thinks out loud don't get speaking engagements. So instead it's just one dog whistle after another. What does this guy actually want? The Catholic Church to be the center of authority. Women back in the home making families. Blood and soil. Fewer immigrants. Sexual deviants back the the shadows. Some sort of communitarian economic order. I think the most honest part was where he admitted to not really having any solutions. Basically saying stuff is messed up, here's why I think that is, not really my job to fix it. I don't know. I can't decide how much slack to give him. If you went out and asked a lot of my conservative neighbors what they believe, their list would be similar to the above, except they are too lazy and decadent to actually submit to the moral authority of the church. I remember Marcuse at the end of One Dimensional Man saying, "the barbarians are at the gates and all critical theory can do is say no, as the system we oppose is too mighty to even reason outside of." Kinda feel like that's where Deneen is. A conservative critical theorist.


Thanks for the rec. I find Deneen just as maddening and nebulous here as on Ezra. I don't know if it's some personality-quirk on my part but something about the way he articulates himself -- it takes all my will not to zone out, and my reward for not zoning out is often negligible. I feel like if you parted all his word-clouds about "libertas" etc you'd find mostly a kernel of unpleasant emotion: anger, clenched-ness, fear. Stephens -- with whom I don't agree on a lot -- is hugely lucid, by comparison.


Adding The Bedbug alongside Deneen makes for an even less appealing listen. Add Bari Weiss as host and that's got to be the worst trio assembled on a podcast this year.


Glad to have this. I think Deneen’s broad thesis has some real merit in terms of, if nothing else, human’s evolved psychology and the work out institutions do on its behalf in ways we often don’t realize and which liberalism might too quickly cast off for its harms and flaws. But man, did Ezra clown him. I think he doesn’t think in policy and didn’t come prepared to talk policy or even really to provide evidence for the social changes he sees. For instance, I was annoyed when Ezra pushed him on the academic left’s suspicion/hostility to traditional families. Ezra either was or acted totally shocked and Deneen had no answer. But I work in academia and I can tell you that there is, obviously, very real pressure on the institution of the nuclear family. Some of it is fair some not. But Deneen didn’t have much in the way of evidence to talk about it and show how this shift, in a social fashion, might reflect the anomie of an unrestrained leftist attitude


> But man, did Ezra clown him. Can you clarify what you mean here? I can't tell if you mean something closer to "Ezra made Deneen look like a clown" or "Ezra was somehow laughably unfair/unreasonable ("clown-like") with his questions. > But I work in academia and I can tell you that there is, obviously, very real pressure on the institution of the nuclear family. Can you expand on this? I'm very interested in what you see (and where you see it), especially since Deneen wasn't able to provide an answer. I didn't notice anything like this during my Ph.D., but that was a while ago now and in a stem field with only a handful of philosophy and psych credits.


Thank you for these thoughts. As someone *not* in academia, would you be able to explain what you mean by pressure on the nuclear family, and how that manifests in the academic world? Thank you.