ezra klein

I’m Ezra Klein. That is “The Ezra Klein Present.”

A lot of what we think about to be new is outdated. So most of the seemingly novel sicknesses that afflict trendy society are actually simply resurgent cancers, recognized and described way back. That’s how Anne Applebaum, the Pulitzer Prize successful historian and journalist at The Atlantic, begins her introduction to a brand new version of Hannah Arendt’s 1951 traditional, “The Origins of Totalitarianism.” Why do folks hold going again to this e-book? What’s it about Arendt that issues, and that retains mattering decade after decade? I feel it’s this. Arendt was the grasp theorist of liberalism’s most elementary blind spot, its incapacity to account for and even perceive the attraction of its shadow, of illiberalism. And go searching right this moment, it’s nonetheless occurring — have a look at Putin, have a look at Trump, have a look at Xi. Have a look at how deeply liberals underestimated all of them, and the attraction they’d have and proceed having, even after they failed the very actions they promised to assist.

This isn’t a lesson that’s been discovered. So Arendt is interested by what makes folks and societies weak to this sort of takeover, takeover by totalitarianisms within the second she’s writing, however I’d additionally say in our second to authoritarians, to demagogues, to con artists. And our analysis is essentially concerning the weaknesses of liberal societies, the way in which liberal, political and financial techniques can paradoxically open the door to the figures they worry most, to the passions and yearnings they refuse to grasp. Studying Arendt right this moment could be a little disorienting, as a result of a few of — a lot of, in truth — what she writes is dated. It reads unusually. After which from time to time, you tumble into these paragraphs or pages of this startling perception. It’s like watching a black and white T.V. that each on occasion flashes a hyper vivid image of your personal future throughout the display screen. And so I needed to have Applebaum on to speak about these moments of technicolor prescience, and what we are able to nonetheless be taught from our Arendt right this moment.

As at all times, my e-mail is ezrakleinshow@nytimes.com. When you have visitor recommendations, when you’ve got studying or watching suggestions, for those who simply have suggestions, shoot us an e-mail.


Anne Applebaum, welcome to the present.

anne applebaum

Thanks for having me.

ezra klein

So what’s placing to me, studying “Origins of Totalitarianism” and Hannah Arendt right this moment for this dialog, is how targeted she is on what makes seemingly liberal societies weak to totalitarian, or now possibly extra authoritarian takeover, and the way she sees liberalism itself as creating loads of these vulnerabilities. So what does she see that liberals usually miss?

anne applebaum

I agree with you that that’s one of the vital fascinating issues about her. And naturally, what’s additionally fascinating is that she was observing liberal societies of the Forties, which we now are nostalgic about, and we imagined to be a lot extra stable and deep and wealthy than our personal. She talks about loneliness in a means that’s vital and weird. And by loneliness, she means people who’re reduce off from different folks. And so whether or not that’s by the intervention of dictators, whether or not it’s by — she talks about Stalin really utilizing the purges, utilizing these periodic assaults on society as a means of making worry between folks and creating distance between folks. However there are — after all, there are different sources of this sort of radical loneliness, and loneliness assembly people who find themselves not related to establishments. They’re not a part of teams. They’re not a part of church buildings. They’re not a part of civic organizations.

And individuals who aren’t related to different folks in society, she believes, are rather more liable to be persuaded by types of totalitarian or autocratic propaganda. I feel generally that her concept of human nature is a little bit over easy. I feel folks can do many issues without delay. They are often prone to propaganda within the morning, they usually can take into consideration one thing else within the afternoon, so that they’re — generally it’s extra difficult than that. There’s a quote from her, the place she says what ready males for totalitarian domination within the non totalitarian world is the act of loneliness, as soon as a borderline expertise — so as soon as, one thing that solely aged folks skilled — and now, it has grow to be an on a regular basis expertise. And right here, she’s speaking about modernity, the way in which through which folks transfer round extra usually than they did, the truth that folks work in nameless factories, and never at dwelling or not in communities.

And naturally, all of that’s as dangerous right this moment, if not worse, than it was then. Nearly each type of trendy know-how, virtually each financial change and each technological change, usually has the affect of separating folks much more from each other — even new types of leisure, the place we watch motion pictures by ourselves on Netflix, slightly than in film theaters. We devour the information not by watching newsreels all collectively, or by sharing dialog with our neighbors, however by taking a look at our telephones. The way in which through which know-how and modernity elevated separations between folks, all of these items are what she sees as a prelude to what she calls totalitarianism, and we name different issues.

ezra klein

So earlier than leaping into this, I agree with you on her view of human nature. And I discover this usually after I learn twentieth century thought classics, for lack of a greater time period. You’ll be studying, and in comparison with what we impose on teachers right this moment, it’s loads of ideas, it’s loads of speculating about how issues could or will not be. And generally, you’ll learn these passages of simply startling perception, the place you’re feeling they’ve obtained into one thing that research and empirics can’t get you to. After which for a lot of the remainder of it, you’ll be studying alongside, pondering, properly, that may be true. I imply, it’s an fascinating argument, however how would one actually, actually know? And I actually had that have studying Arendt for this. However I feel, such as you do, that her description and dialogue of loneliness is basically fairly vital. And so I need to zoom in on {that a} bit. She says in the direction of the top that what makes a society weak to takeover is loneliness.

And he or she describes it, to make use of her definition, as “the expertise of not belonging to the world in any respect, which is among the many most radical and determined experiences of man.” And that phrase, belonging, struck me as actually wealthy. And I’d wish to understand how you perceive it, since you talked about civic establishments and ties. Nevertheless it additionally appears to me she’s talking in an virtually metaphysical means, of belonging to a shared sense of which means. Belonging to a narrative, feeling a spot for your self, whether or not that place is literal as in a church, or simply conceptual, as in a part of the narrative of your personal nation and the time through which you reside.

anne applebaum

Sure, I do suppose she’s pointing at one thing fairly vital, which is that human beings must be in a story, as you stated — we might now name it — or a part of a group, as others would name it, a part of a world the place we share values with different folks and we really feel bolstered by that have. The factor I feel that we’ve discovered in the previous couple of years is that that have and that narrative don’t even need to be actual. So I feel persons are genuinely nostalgic for previous establishments, or what they think about previous establishments to have been. In order that they’re nostalgic for small communities that they suppose they bear in mind from after they grew up, when life was less complicated and everybody believed kind of the identical factor. They’re nostalgic for, I feel, an expertise of faith that doesn’t at all times exist anymore, you already know, the place everyone in a single group went to the identical church and thus believed the identical factor.

They’re nostalgic for these issues, even when on the time — for those who turned again the clock to the Fifties, which is, after all, as I stated, when Arendt was writing, you may need found that the church the place everybody believed factor ever the identical factor was not that far-off from a Black church, for instance, the place the group believed issues that had been very completely different, or felt issues that had been very completely different. So generally it’s imagined. And I feel within the trendy world, we now see that persons are able to being a part of communities that exist solely on-line. It’s a giant change, technologically. I imply, possibly it’s not likely a change in human nature, as a result of the identical factor took completely different kinds earlier on. However I imply, QAnon is a superb instance of a group of perception.

When you settle for the fundamental premises of QAnon, you already know, that there’s a conspiracy, that American elites are concerned in large pedophilia scandals and sophisticated relationships with each other that contain abusing kids, if you imagine that there’s a prophet on the market named Q who’s going to let you know what occurs sooner or later, and goes to form actuality for you — when you’re inside that world, you might be always bolstered. So that you be part of it. While you publish issues about it inside that group, folks write again with enthusiastic acceptance and admiration. You learn different individuals who imagine the identical sorts of issues. You type a gaggle that feels very strongly that each one of that is true, and that you’ve got — much more importantly, that you’ve got entry to particular and secret data that almost all Individuals don’t have. So that you’re a group that has particular data. You’ve been gifted with this particular entry to a unique actuality.

And when you’re inside it, it’s extraordinarily highly effective. And it seems that it’s extra highly effective than the actual actuality. And really, Arendt anticipates this. She writes why propaganda is efficient, as a result of many individuals don’t imagine in something seen within the actuality of their very own expertise. They don’t belief their eyes and ears, however solely their imaginations. So it seems it is a very outdated human property. It goes again a good distance. Human beings have in all probability have at all times been like this. However within the trendy world, it’s a sense that may be evoked not by church buildings and monks, or by civic establishments and congregations and actual life organizations, it may be evoked on-line. And meaning it’s a lot simpler to create these sorts of communities, and to provide them that reinforcing energy, as a result of when persons are surrounded on a regular basis by the identical pictures, the identical messages, after they see them on their telephones and their laptops and so forth, it has the impact of seeming extra actual than what they will see out the window.

ezra klein

It’s actually fascinating the way in which that the digital world performs into this, as a result of as you’re saying, it may be each a salve for loneliness, a spot you could find group when you’ll be able to’t discover it elsewhere. After which, I feel, on the opposite aspect, it may be a really sharp accelerant of loneliness. And it jogs my memory of some issues that Arendt writes in the direction of the top of the e-book. She writes that “loneliness will not be solitude. Solitude requires being alone, whereas loneliness reveals itself most sharply in firm with others.” And he or she goes on to provide this definition from Epictetus, the thinker, who says that “the lonely man finds himself surrounded by others with whom he can’t set up contact, or to whose hostility he’s uncovered.”

And an outline of loneliness as being surrounded by others with whom you can’t set up contact, or whose hostility you might be uncovered, really strikes me as an excellent description of what being on-line and being in social media usually seems like for folks. To the extent you determine contact, it’s not the form of generative, nourishing contact you actually need. And also you’re always both uncovered to hostility or on the knife’s fringe of being uncovered to it. And so what superficially appears to be like like a means of popping out of loneliness, at the very least you’re there on Twitter with everyone, in truth is a extra intense expertise of it.

anne applebaum

I feel that’s proper. The expertise of watching issues on-line or speaking on-line with individuals who then don’t exist if you put your cellphone down, or shut your laptop computer, may be profoundly alienating. You’re deeply absorbed in one thing that — you instantly have a distinction with the actual. So there may be this sort of double edged side of on-line life, that on the one hand, the extra you’re absorbed in it, the extra you’re reduce off from actual folks and actual experiences. Alternatively, the extra you’re reduce off from actual folks and actual experiences, the extra engaging a QAnon like group could be, as a result of it appears to supply an alternative choice to these issues that you simply’re lacking. So I feel that the expertise of being on-line — it’s not simply social media, it’s additionally different types of speaking, and being, and watching, and being entertained on-line — I feel the extra you’re absorbed in it, the extra reduce off are, and the extra liable you might be to seek out engaging one thing very completely different.

ezra klein

I need to bridge to then how this sort of loneliness turns into a vulnerability for societies within the face of authoritarian or totalitarian problem. I feel we’ve all noticed that there’s one thing right here that’s related. I used to be pondering whereas I learn all this that among the older folks in my life who’ve drifted proper, or after I go and report with proper wing thinkers who’ve grow to be rather more radicalized in recent times — one thing I hear time and again is that sense of non belonging, this sense the world has modified an excessive amount of for them to discover a place in it, or that its mores have modified in a means the place they really feel like persons are hostile to them and what they suppose. So there’s some connection there. However how do you perceive the precise vulnerability? Why does loneliness like that create fertile floor for rather more harmful political actions to take maintain? Draw the ultimate mile of this for me.

anne applebaum

So to begin with, the phenomenon that I simply described, which is the phenomenon of individuals being simply interested in conspiratorial or radical actions which have a coherent ideology, and which are accessible on-line, and that appear to resolve the issue of loneliness — as a result of for those who’re a part of a type of actions or teams, you then really feel related to folks in a means that you simply usually don’t. The actions supply that form of belonging. And I feel, additionally, the actual life model of them provides that. Simply to take an instance, I imply, if you’re in a white supremacist motion, you’ve precise conferences. You do army coaching collectively. You will have tasks that you simply do on the weekends. You propose issues collectively. You map out a future. You understand, you’re a part of a gaggle that has a mission, and also you’re hooked into that mission in a means that you simply won’t have present in different types of your group.

Just a few years again, I wrote a couple of political celebration referred to as Jobbik in Hungary, which was really, earlier than Fidesz, earlier than the kind of major heart proper celebration in Hungary grew to become extra autocratic, which it’s now, Jobbik form of led the way in which. And what Jobbik began out with — what it began as, slightly — was as a paramilitary group. It actually simply organized marching occasions for males on the weekends. And it was very, very profitable in rural components of Hungary the place there wasn’t anything to do. Jobbik created this sense of belonging. There was a gaggle exercise folks might do collectively, and that supplied leisure and connection and bonding in a means that unusual actions didn’t. I imply, there’s one other side to this, which is a little bit bit separate, which is one other factor that these actions usually do efficiently, is that they assault and undermine present morality. In order that they mock and make enjoyable of not simply the present political setup, however you already know, the morals of regular folks. They set themselves up as one thing outdoors of regular morality.

And meaning they admire various things. In order that they admire violence, or they admire energy in an quaint type, or they admire quaint sorts of hierarchies, male-female hierarchies or racial hierarchies that are actually taboo. And so they supply folks the prospect to interrupt taboos, and as soon as once more, be in some form of particular and enlightened group. And as Arendt tells us, that’s actually nothing new. The phenomenon of wanting to interrupt with the bounds that usually maintain us, the bourgeois guidelines of habits and values, and eager to be outdoors of these issues, that is one thing that these sorts of actions may supply folks. So it’s a group outdoors of regular communities. It’s not simply an unusual church group or an unusual — I don’t know, some form of charitable group. This can be a group that breaks the principles, exists outdoors of establishments, and provides you a full expertise of leisure, connection, comradeship, that just about nothing else can.

ezra klein

I feel her description of what that form of rule breaking, that gleeful defiance of regular concepts of morality and advantage supply folks in these actions was completely my favourite a part of the e-book. And I need to learn a quote from her on this. She writes, “For the reason that bourgeoisie claimed to be the guardian of Western traditions and confounded all ethical points by parading publicly virtues which it not solely didn’t possess in non-public and enterprise life, however really held in contempt, it appeared revolutionary to confess cruelty, disregard of human values, and normal amorality, as a result of this at the very least destroyed the duplicity upon which the prevailing society appeared to relaxation.”

And I learn that, and I assumed it was the only greatest description of how lots of people I do know on the best, who believed completely various things about how it’s best to comport your self in public a few years earlier than, ended up responding to Trump — that sure, he’s merciless and bullying and vulgar and unkind. However you already know what? It simply reveals. It simply goes to point out how sick our society has grow to be that we wanted somebody like that. And so they started to take an virtually enjoyment of it. He’s our fighter. Arendt’s sense of this appears to me to be very, very perceptive.

anne applebaum

There are a few issues I appreciated about that additionally. One was that she quotes that within the context of additionally explaining why so many elites have gone together with these new concepts and actions in that point. And he or she talks about this alliance between the elite and the mob, which is an unlucky phrase, however she has a particular which means for it — however elite and the mob rested largely on the real delight with which the previous watched the latter destroy respectability. So people who find themselves within the elite however suspect the elite of being duplicitous or being hypocritical, or of not dwelling as much as its personal morality, or being corrupt, then see anyone who breaks up these issues as any person who must be applauded. And I feel the extra corrupt the society, or the extra folks sense it to be corrupt, the extra you get this phenomenon.

I imply, trendy Washington, with its lobbyists, with its actually ridiculous guidelines about cash — I’ve European associates who come to America. And after they learn the way the American political system works, and the way vital cash is for congressional campaigns or senatorial campaigns, they’re usually actually shocked by it. And as soon as folks perceive how corrupt, how darkish cash works, how lobbyists work, as soon as they perceive that, they will usually really feel a lot disgust for the system that they suppose, properly, you already know, anyone who desires to smash that’s proper. And that was why Trump’s language about destroying the swamp was so profitable, as a result of folks intuitively believed it was a swamp. They noticed that there have been issues unsuitable with it. However slightly than making an attempt to reform these issues, which generally can appear unreformable, they got here to the conclusion that they need to be damaged altogether. And by no means thoughts that Trump was the swampiest creature in America. I imply, he ran the White Home as if it had been an adjunct to his non-public enterprise, which is one thing that has by no means been carried out earlier than in American historical past, at the very least not at that scale. However that didn’t trouble his followers, as a result of they thought, properly, he’s merely doing in public and brazenly issues that had been carried out privately prior to now.

I bear in mind having a dialog — should have been about 2017 or 2018. I used to be in Texas, and I sat subsequent to some folks at a dinner. And so they had been pro-Trump, and we began speaking about that. And I requested them, you already know, aren’t they bothered by Trump’s corruption? They stated precisely that. No, he’s simply doing in public what everyone did in non-public. And though, after all, that’s not true — Obama was not operating a enterprise out of the White Home, and George W. Bush was not operating a enterprise out of the White Home — the impression that Washington is one way or the other corrupt was so deep and so broad that Trump was seen as only a smarter man who was doing it brazenly. So I feel the impression that the system must be smashed, that the hypocrisy must be uncovered and that anyone who does that’s good, even when they’re providing a totally completely different set of values, is clearly one thing, once more, that’s very highly effective, a robust human phenomenon that we’ve got now, and we additionally had within the Thirties.


ezra klein

So there’s corruption, which we’ve been speaking about — darkish cash and operating companies, and enriching your self — however there’s additionally one thing else in that Arendt quote about advantage. To make use of it once more, she says, “The bourgeoisie claimed to be the guardian of Western traditions, and confounded all ethical points by parading publicly virtues, which it not solely didn’t possess in non-public and enterprise life, however really held in contempt.”

I’ve been doing this collection for the present on the populist proper, and so I’ve been spending loads of time in what folks on the populist proper have been writing. And I’m actually struck by the efficiency of this precise factor, this sense that society’s present elites — like, what they wish to name usually, like, the managerial class, or liberals, or whoever it may be — that they’re on the market telling you, you’re racist, you’re sexist, you’re bigoted, you’re backwards, you’re deplorable.

And there they’re, taking hundreds of thousands of {dollars} from Goldman Sachs and jet setting all all over the world, and telling you the way dangerous local weather change is whereas they fly of their non-public jets and have their large mansions. And you already know, you’ll be able to poke holes on this, however there’s something, I feel, to the facility at the very least of this sense, the facility of what it feels wish to imagine that you simply’re being judged morally suspect by people who find themselves themselves morally suspect, however merely management the mechanisms by which advantage is assigned.

And that — out of that comes an actual need for any person who says, screw these mechanisms, screw who decides whether or not or not you’re virtuous, or variety, or good. I’m going to interrupt this complete factor extensive open.

anne applebaum

One of many issues I dislike deeply concerning the populist proper in America and elsewhere is that it conflates loads of issues. I imply, it’s not essentially the identical people who find themselves accusing folks of being racist and sexist — that’s not essentially the identical people who find themselves advocating for local weather change coverage, and it’s not essentially the identical people who find themselves doing different issues that. They have a tendency to speak about an amorphous class, or an elite, which in truth they’re usually a part of.

The loudest populists in America for the time being are all graduates of Ivy League colleges, or most of them are. In order that they attempt to create the picture of an amorphous elite that has all these properties and qualities, and is hypocritical and does all these dangerous issues —

ezra klein

You don’t discover Peter Thiel to be an genuine tribune of the working class?

anne applebaum

Peter Thiel, Laura Ingraham, graduate of Dartmouth, JD Vance, graduate of Yale Legislation Faculty. They’re all from the identical elite, however they’re one a part of the elite turning in opposition to one other a part of the elite. However a few of that’s it’s a faux elite. I imply, it’s not constant. I imply, the factor they’re pointing to doesn’t have any consistency. It’s not one group of individuals. You discover this when folks speak about, oh, the mainstream media stated x or y.

I imply, what’s the mainstream media? One thing may need been in The New York Occasions, but it surely may need been denied by The Washington Put up, or it may need been in Politico, however not on NBC Information. And to say the mainstream media thinks or does x or y is sort of at all times unsuitable. And so it’s a means of robbing the story of nuance. And everytime you rob it of nuance, you make it a lot simpler to assault. And it’s a little bit bit like that with attacking the elites.

ezra klein

This will get to one thing that can be large in Arendt’s thought, which is that this fascinating intersection of cynicism and gullibility, which I feel are two circumstances folks usually consider in stress with one another, proper? In the event you’re cynical, you’ll be able to’t be gullible. In the event you’re gullible, you’re positively not cynical. However her argument is that they play off of one another. They coexist in a means that’s actually vital to those actions. Are you able to speak a bit about that?

anne applebaum

Nicely, cynicism, which may be very near nihilism and really near apathy, are feelings which are usually intentionally created by autocrats. For instance, it’s the coverage of Putin’s Kremlin, of his propaganda, to make Russians apathetic. And the way is that carried out? That’s carried out by providing them contradictory and generally ridiculous items of knowledge that don’t make sense.

The perfect instance, well-known instance of this, was after the crash of MH17, the Malaysian aircraft that crashed in Ukraine in 2014 that was shot down by accident by Russian troopers, the state got here out with fully completely different explanations. And generally, even the identical tv presenter would give one rationalization after which a unique rationalization an hour later. And this sort of multiplication of explanations meant that folks had been completely disoriented. They stated, we don’t know what occurred, and we are able to by no means know.

I really noticed a form of man on the road interviews that had been carried out in Moscow just a few days later. And folks’s perspective was, we don’t know. Nicely, it’s not possible to seek out out, and so — and I feel that was an try and create cynicism and create nihilism, and in addition to work on folks’s gullibility. So the concept is that individuals who really feel much less oriented, or they really feel unable to make sure, you already know, what the reality is, you supply them many various explanations, they usually then grow to be cynical.

So each of them come from the identical factor, which is the worry that they will’t know one thing, or the impression that it’s not possible to know one thing. And as I stated, they’re helpful to autocratic regimes or to authoritarian actions as a result of they lead folks to really feel that they’re powerless. In the event you don’t know what occurred and you are feeling that you could by no means know what occurred, then how are you going to do something about it? And so I feel these are kind of parallel and associated emotions.

You understand, I’ll settle for something, however I’m on the identical time skeptical of every little thing. Alongside loneliness, it is a form of precondition for autocracy.

ezra klein

And this will get to the well-known Arendt quote, that this mindset is every little thing was doable and nothing was true, which now could be utilized fairly often to Vladimir Putin’s Russia. There’s an awesome e-book by Peter Pomerantsev that takes its title from that quote. However I feel there’s one thing right here too about liberalism, and the way in which it’s offended or disbelieving of this mindset, that it thinks folks could be themselves repelled by this manner of wanting on the world.

I consider this a little bit bit as the very fact checker’s fallacy, that for those who can show, or suppose you’ll be able to show, that any person who claims to inform the reality is mendacity, that you’ll deeply injury their relationship with those that belief them.

And we’ve seen time and again that’s not likely true, however I feel it will get to one thing in Arendt’s thought that when folks hit a sure stage of cynicism, not solely do they not care if their leaders are mendacity, they suppose mendacity is how the sport is completed.

And so to lie properly, and to lie successfully, is definitely a part of proving that you could be the chief of this motion, that you could survive on this dog-eat-dog world, you already know, the place the establishments are all managed by a cabal of your enemies. Nevertheless it actually reverses, I feel, loads of the principles beneath which extra conventional liberal politicians wish to suppose politics, but additionally voters, function.

anne applebaum

It’s humorous. These guidelines are trendy guidelines. our assumption that persons are cheap, and that you could win any argument by rational argument — Tony Blair used to say have this factor, if I might simply get two folks within the room on the identical time and get them speaking to 1 one other, they’d agree. I might give you a compromise. Invoice Clinton had that as properly, this perception that you would resolve issues by rational dialog and dialogue.

Really, the founders of america of America, the individuals who wrote the Structure, didn’t imagine that. They had been rather more skeptical about human nature. Whereas they had been writing the Structure, a lot of them had been speaking about and studying histories of historic Rome and particularly the Roman Republic. And so they had been actively nervous a couple of Caesar coming to energy. And there’s the well-known Alexander Hamilton quote about, you already know, sometime a demagogue will come to energy and folks will fall in behind him. And so they’ll gullibly imagine no matter it’s that he says.

And among the much more irrational components of the American Structure, those that don’t work so properly now, just like the Electoral Faculty, a few of them come from the Founding Fathers’ try to go off that drawback. And that was — properly, that was what the unique concept was, even when it doesn’t work that means anymore. So actually, what we’re speaking about is a contemporary type of liberalism, which grew to become idealized.

I reckon that that is because of the success of america for the reason that Second World Warfare. So we grew to become a society that was the richest, essentially the most affluent, essentially the most highly effective, essentially the most culturally engaging society on this planet. And we merely had been that means for a lot of a long time. And that gave us the idea that we’ve discovered the answer, we discovered the perfect of all doable worlds. Inside this method, every little thing may be resolved fairly, and there aren’t any challenges to it which are critical.

And we forgot that there’s one other aspect of human nature, described — that the Founding Fathers knew completely properly, and that different liberal societies prior to now had been very cautious of, and that Hannah Arendt described so fantastically on this e-book, as did others, which is that there are different impulses in human natures. There’s an attraction to the irrational. There’s a need to smash regardless of the present system is, that we’ve simply talked about.

All of these issues, I feel, had been forgotten by twentieth and twenty first century liberals. And it’s price now remembering them.

ezra klein

I feel that time, that loads of the premises by which politics is known or checked out right this moment, are comparatively trendy. And one other one Arendt takes purpose at, that I need to get to earlier than making an attempt to wrap this into one principle, is the concept that politics is about self-interest. At one level, she calls it supposedly essentially the most highly effective drive in politics. And that dominates loads of regular political pondering, actually in america.

It’s actually considerably behind the concept of imposing these sanctions on Russia, that for those who can simply make folks really feel their leaders will not be doing the work of constructing their materials place higher, they may abandon these leaders. And I feel Arendt’s view is that self-interest is way weaker than folks suppose, and persons are prepared to sacrifice various materials achieve to be a part of these bigger actions. How do you perceive that stress?

anne applebaum

So I feel it is a actually profound perception. And it’s not likely an perception about liberalism, per se. It’s an perception into one thing else, which is economism, which is a phrase that’s used to speak about one of many instructions that liberalism went within the twentieth century, however particularly after the Second World Warfare, through which — the concept was that each one of politics is basically about prosperity and wealth. So it’s not fairly self curiosity, it’s about making folks wealthier.

And really, our politics within the final a number of a long time, up till just a few years in the past, had been divided that means. We had been divided into a celebration that needed a smaller state and a celebration that needed a much bigger state, one celebration that needed extra welfare spending, one needed much less. However these had been all arguments about financial well-being, by some means. And one of many insights, not simply of populists — however one of many insights, for instance, of George Orwell, was that usually these arguments can grow to be trivial to folks, or unimportant.

Orwell wrote a well-known essay in — I feel it was revealed in 1941. It was on the time that “Mein Kampf,” Hitler’s e-book, was revealed in Nice Britain. And he did a really quick evaluate, which is price studying, through which he describes the e-book and so forth. After which he says on the finish, the factor about this horrible e-book is that I additionally see its attraction. So right here we’re in Nice Britain — and he was a socialist, after all, and we’re all nervous about issues like hygiene and water high quality, and entry to contraception, which was a problem at the moment.

And he’s providing folks one thing fully completely different. And the expression he makes use of is weapons, flags and loyalty parades. So he’s providing folks a means of being a part of a spectacle. And the remainder of us are over right here arguing about issues that may usually appear trivial. And it’s, after all, not mandatory for liberalism to be about for futile issues, or for these to be the primary political arguments. However in recent times, they usually have been.

I imply, in a means, the peak of this was actually the period of Tony Blair and Invoice Clinton. They had been each glorious leaders. They had been each glorious audio system. And so they had been each coverage wonks who completely believed that if they might simply get folks in the identical room and have them speak to 1 one other, they’d quickly see the sunshine, and rational dialog would resolve all issues, and what folks actually needed was higher insurance policies to ship higher issues.

And that labored for some time, till it didn’t. And the perception of Orwell, and the perception of numerous autocrats, and the perception of some — in different components of the political spectrum, too, really, I would even embrace Bernie Sanders on this — is that folks additionally generally need one thing extra. They need to be a part of a motion. They need to be a part of a giant change. They need to be on the leading edge. They need to be marching within the parade. And when liberalism shrinks to being solely about economics, that’s what can occur.

ezra klein

You understand what this jogs my memory of, is Donald Trump’s contempt, very, fairly often said, for the opposite politicians, whose rallies will not be very properly attended, or who don’t do this many rallies. He had this in the direction of Hillary Clinton. He very a lot had it in the direction of Joe Biden. And it’s one thing that I feel loads of his political opponents laughed at a bit, his tendency to overstate the significance of his rallies, his desire to fascinated about them slightly than, say, polling, the place he possibly was behind.

However I feel from this attitude, this may mirror Trump understanding one thing that also is vital in politics, which is that to actually have a form of vibrancy, a motion requires that feeding of the communal soul or mass. And that when he understood that he had it and his opponents didn’t, that possibly doesn’t imply he’ll win, or he’s obtained every little thing, or he’s broadly standard, however he’s proper that he has one thing vital that they don’t.

When he understood there to be an enthusiasm hole, that he was seeing one thing there that was too usually derided by those that didn’t need to see the significance which may have carried.

anne applebaum

It’s not simply enthusiasm. It’s the sense of being a part of some sweeping change. I imply, I really suppose this was one thing that Barack Obama had.

ezra klein


anne applebaum

Notably throughout his first marketing campaign, the sense that there was a motion sweeping the nation, and that it was hope and alter, and that it was going to make issues completely different, I feel folks needed to be a part of that, even individuals who didn’t agree with every little thing that he stated or thought. The Republican Social gathering understood that, which is why they grew to become so devoted to stopping him in any means they might, utilizing no matter techniques had been doable, as a result of they noticed precisely how highly effective that form of feeling is and may be.

I don’t suppose all politicians need to be that. And likewise, there are different moments in historical past you’ll be able to see the place folks get sick of that. I imply, there’s a means through which generally folks, after the expertise of a really charismatic president or a really charismatic chief in highly effective a very long time, they simply need somebody who can decide up the items and make the trains run on time and pay folks’s salaries. So it’s not one thing that folks universally need, they usually don’t at all times need it.

However they do generally need it. And so they particularly need it in intervals when politics has grow to be very technocratic, and really boring, and really targeted on coverage. After which, folks start to really feel the necessity for one thing larger.

ezra klein

Yeah, I feel it’s appropriate to grasp this as an ache and a need greater than an at all times successful technique in politics. And that’s at all times one thing that Obama nervous about. I imply, they — he grew to become very involved this may grow to be a legal responsibility for them. However I do suppose it’s one thing that Arendt will get at in an fascinating means. And I need to generalize it to one thing she’s saying right here, and this goes thus far about self-interest in politics, which is that folks talk on many ranges apart from the literal.

That’s true for what they’re saying, and its reality worth. It’s true for what politics is meant to be about, proper, not simply self-interest, however a narrative. One thing that I actually learn in her, and that I’ve seen in loads of research of anti liberal thinkers, is that this sense that folks want myths and spirit and tales and communion and narrative to thrive, not only for politics to work, however for them to thrive. And that — I see Arendt as figuring out this as one thing that liberalism, when it’s in its governing mode, begins to lose.

That, as you say, it turns into about technocratic governance. And if at one level it had these large tales, and I feel you’re proper to notice, say, a Barack Obama as any person who advised these tales, but additionally liberalism in its post-war interval as a solution to 2 devastating wars has thrilling dimensions to it. However when it strikes into the governance mode, it not solely doesn’t actually talk on these ranges, however begins to be condescending to the concept that one would talk on these ranges.

And individuals who want a spiritual means of understanding the world usually really feel this, however I additionally simply suppose generally, there’s an inclination to overlook the significance of fable in politics.

anne applebaum

I imply, I completely agree with you. The significance of fable, the significance of feeling of unity, the significance of historical past and giving folks a model of historical past that’s reinforcing in addition to simply merely educating, all these issues are actually vital. A extremely fascinating instance of that is with us proper now. And we see it within the recognition, the unbelievable recognition, really, of the Ukrainian president in the remainder of the world, and particularly within the democratic world.

Why is Zelensky so standard — as a result of he’s seen as any person who’s talking for and defending a liberal society, one which is profoundly tolerant, through which folks can converse a couple of language, they usually can have completely different religions, they usually imagine in freedom and the rule of regulation. And but, he’s doing it with a army marketing campaign, and on this vigorous and very courageous means.

The sight of that’s what’s inspiring these mass marches all over the world, and the truth that everyone desires Ukrainian flags hanging from their flag poles, or caught onto their Twitter accounts. It’s the attraction of that liberalism, however liberalism with this sort of muscular bravado hooked up to it that folks miss and that they admire in Ukraine proper now.

ezra klein

But in addition liberalism beneath menace, or liberalism hooked up to a mission — I feel Zelensky, for the exceptional nature of his management on this interval, is a extremely fascinating instance of this, as a result of I’ve been making an attempt to return and browse political evaluation and reporting in Ukraine the final couple of years. And it’s so placing coming from the place I’m coming from, which is that this second, to learn Zelenskyy framed as a compromiser, as form of uninspiring, as any person who folks really feel goes to be too diplomatic or too submissive to Russia.

There are all these items simply of a form of exhaustion, a frustration that, you already know, the revolutions have amounted to solely this. After which Russia really invades, and Zelensky turns into this world historic determine. However the truth that these two intervals might exist in a single man, I feel, speaks to one thing that’s actually profound right here, which is that — and one motive that totalitarians so usually, and authoritarians so usually really do launch wars, which is that it’s onerous to maintain the inspiration that comes from life or loss of life stakes with out life or loss of life stakes. And so both they’re imposed upon you, or generally they’re chosen — it is a large level in Arendt’s work, that totalitarians usually create the world they inform folks is inevitable. However that there’s one thing concerning the problem of sustaining this in instances of normalcy that leads folks to crave abnormalcy. To make use of the well-known Chris Hedges e-book title, conflict is a drive that provides us which means.

anne applebaum

I feel, sadly, that’s completely true, and that’s additionally one thing very elementary about human nature. Arendt writes at one level concerning the totalitarian — I feel she’s speaking particularly concerning the Nazis, really — she talks about them within the Thirties, artificially creating civil conflict circumstances. In different phrases, they sought to extend the sensation of violence so that folks would really feel extra secure inside their motion than outdoors it, but additionally to create precisely what you stated, which is that this life or loss of life stakes.

There was a second when the Trump administration sought to do this too, I feel, after they despatched DHS police, or no matter they had been — they had been kind of armed males from completely different components of the Border Guards and the Coast Guard, and so forth, after they despatched them to Portland, Oregon to combat with protesters. It was a traditional piece of the authoritarian playbook, as a result of it created scenes of violence through which the state was pushing again in opposition to what was proven as loopy radicals to Trump supporters.

And it was precisely an try and create that sense of menace. You understand, we’re threatened by these protests, and we’re pushing again with energy and power. So sadly, that’s one thing that has a deep attraction to folks, the sense that we’re preventing one thing that threatens our very safety and our security, and we have to band collectively to do this. And that’s one thing that merely motivates folks greater than anything.

ezra klein

And to make use of a extra trendy instance, too, I imply, this has very a lot been Vladimir Putin’s rhetoric on Ukraine all alongside.

anne applebaum

Completely. I imply, this is likely one of the causes for his conflict in Ukraine. He must create the sense that an outsider is threatening Russia so as to justify his rule, so he’s any person who’s profoundly corrupt, and is thought to be corrupt, and who runs a really unfair and unequal society, and one which has really been getting poorer in recent times, which he additionally is aware of.

And so what has he sought to do? He sought to create an enemy, and the enemy is a mix of Europe, which is degenerate and threatening our values, and America, which is violent and is ready to assault us. After which Ukraine, which is a form of proxy for each of these issues — you already know, Ukraine, he describes Ukraine as a faux state, and we have to assault this state, as a result of Ukraine is the image of this degeneracy and this violence which are coming from outdoors.

And completely, he’s created this conflict as part of his try to remain in energy, and as a means of crushing what stays of the pro-democracy motion, and primarily, anti-Putin motion inside his nation. He’s making an attempt to create a rally across the flag sentiment and a sense of unity within the face of this conflict. One other query is, can it work? I imply, it seemed initially prefer it may work, however I ponder whether as the prices develop greater, and as he begins dropping, whether or not it is going to succeed. However that’s one other situation.

ezra klein

Nicely, I do suppose a related one — not essentially to foretell the course of the conflict, however there’s been a line of commentary and evaluation, which is argued one thing like, Vladimir Putin, geostrategically, was afraid of NATO, had at all times stated it might be an actual drawback if Ukraine joined NATO, and launched this conflict, on some stage, on these grounds. And look what he obtained. He strengthened NATO, he introduced Europe nearer collectively. He has expanded the variety of nations who need to, and may be part of NATO.

So it has all backfired on him.

However I do suppose one other means of taking a look at it, from this extra Arendtian perspective, is that Putin wants, desires, the foil of NATO. And really, making NATO into extra of an anti-Russian drive, in some methods, backs up his narratives — really making the West extra straight contributing, and even driving the decline in Russian dwelling requirements, the impoverishment of Russia. Really, making the West extra anti-Russian suits his narrative.

And so forth the one hand, for those who take him geostrategically, that is all a profound failure. In the event you take him narratively, in some methods, it’s not. He has created one thing a lot nearer to the world he has advised Russians they’re dwelling in, and the world he has advised them he’s the one reply to.

anne applebaum

Sure, I imply, I at all times thought that his creation of NATO as a giant enemy was at all times faux. I imply, he knew it was faux. The Kremlin knew it was faux. NATO has not been able to attacking Russia in a few years. Till 2014, there weren’t even any American or Western — different Western European troops within the Japanese native states, so sure, it was at all times faux in that sense. It was at all times designed for inside consumption.

Sadly, some Westerners slightly gullibly believed it — whereas we’re as regards to gullibility. However yeah, no, I take your level, that reinforcing NATO, and even scary NATO to be concerned, may assist him rhetorically. I do ponder whether Russians are — have been ready for the sacrifice this time, and never simply the financial sacrifice, however the sacrifice of younger males, largely, that that is going to ivolve. I imply, there’s an oddity in Russia, which is that it’s very unusual, actually, that Putin has not advised the Russians but that they’re at conflict.

He’s nonetheless describing this as a particular army operation. He’s nonetheless not explaining to folks what’s occurring. He’s barely acknowledging that there have been any losses. And that leads me to imagine that there’s nonetheless some ambivalence. I imply, I feel they believed the conflict could be over very quick, so that they didn’t anticipate this circumstance. So I’m undecided that saying that is precisely what he needed is precisely appropriate.

ezra klein

I feel that will get to, in some methods, the liberal counterargument to loads of this, which is that finally tales run out and actuality takes maintain, that you could inform folks an alternate story for a while, they usually’ll imagine it for a while, however the extra that they really need to stay beneath it, which is completely different than if you’re merely an opposition motion or a conspiracy principle — the extra they really need to stay beneath the implications of your story, the extra one thing else really takes maintain.

And over time, the implications for his or her lives grow to be if not dominant, at the very least related.

anne applebaum

Yeah, so I imply, actuality can undermine and alter that form of narrative. I imply, that’s really — that’s how the Soviet Union fell. The Soviet Union had this very constant and really inspiring narrative, one which was rather more inspiring than what Putin provides folks, about worldwide brotherhood and peace, and so forth. And naturally, it was hypocritical. And naturally, it wasn’t true. And for lots of people who lived inside that system, it nonetheless had a deep attraction.

The issue with it was is that it additionally had an financial narrative that stated, and we’re getting richer and richer, and the West is getting poorer and poorer, and we’re getting nearer and nearer to communist utopia daily. And folks might — all folks needed to do is stroll outdoors and go searching themselves, and stroll into an empty store. And so they understood that it wasn’t true.

And so communism primarily fell as a result of the narrative now not labored. And it didn’t work for unusual folks, and it didn’t work for the elites. No one needed to defend it anymore. And so when the Berlin Wall fell, the Soviet Union might have invaded and guarded East Berlin. And so they talked about doing that, however no person had the conviction anymore that will work, or that it was a good suggestion. I imply, it’s as if the concept failed, and from the failure of the concept, all these different penalties adopted.

So sure, it’s profoundly true that actuality can contradict a propaganda narrative, though the Soviet Union was round for a very long time. It could actually take a very long time for that to occur.


ezra klein

The excellent news, in a means, is that Arendt was unsuitable in her time. So she envisions that the post-war world goes to be even darker. However as an alternative, we get European integration. We get the rise of social democracies. Liberalism does overcome communism. So to be extra optimistic right here in the direction of the top, what did Arendt miss? What did her evaluation of the power of totalitarian actions and the weak spot of liberal democracies get unsuitable?

anne applebaum

It’s humorous. After I reread Arendt, I wrote an introduction to the latest version of Arendt, as you already know. And after I reread it, whereas engaged on that introduction, that was my first response — was that is so pessimistic, and it’s so darkish. And he or she foresaw so many terrible issues occurring that didn’t occur. And why not? And my guess is that she underestimated the creativity of Western societies, of Western democracies, and American democracy.

She and loads of different related intellectuals had loads of disdain, for instance, for Hollywood, and for American leisure and American standard tradition. And so they miss among the good facets of it, you already know, the facility of it, the storytelling capacity, the power that — she missed the way in which through which democratic societies could be a lot extra revolutionary economically, but additionally form of sociologically, that issues could be solved in ways in which they couldn’t be solved in autocracies.

And the way in which through which Western economies and societies merely grew to become a lot extra subtle than totalitarian dictatorships, they usually grew to become capable of resolve issues that the dictatorships themselves barely might even know existed — all of that, I feel, she simply underestimated. Coming from Thirties Germany, she noticed America in a a lot darker means than I feel she ought to have carried out.

ezra klein

And in that very same preface, although, you write one thing that could be a little bit extra pessimistic, which is that the origins of totalitarianism forces us to ask not solely why Arendt was too pessimistic in 1950, but additionally whether or not a few of her pessimism may be extra warranted now. So why do you suppose it may be extra warranted now, that the world we’re in may be higher described by her than the world she was in?

anne applebaum

Partly as a result of we’ve misplaced a few of that capacity to innovate. I don’t imply when it comes to know-how, I imply when it comes to politics and forms and political change. We see it appears so onerous to repair something now, in a means that it wouldn’t have appeared so onerous within the Forties. I additionally do imagine that social media, as we mentioned at the start of this dialog, has created new divisions between folks which are a lot more durable to surmount.

And the mere truth that folks don’t disagree anymore nearly their opinions, however they disagree about what occurred yesterday. And we are able to’t agree on our drawback. And if we are able to’t outline the issue, then we are able to’t resolve it. I imply, that is the issue that the Soviet Union had. I imply, there was a lot mendacity and a lot dishonesty that they couldn’t analyze what was unsuitable with their society. And I fear that we are able to’t analyze what’s unsuitable with ours for various causes, as a result of we stay in a unique echo chambers, they usually don’t intersect.

So I fear rather a lot about one thing that Jonathan Rauch has described because the kind of breakdown of what he calls the structure of information, the way in which through which we’re capable of know issues, after which by understanding them, advance our data. I fear that she intuited a few of that within the ‘40s, after which it was fastened in postwar America in methods she didn’t anticipate. And I fear that a few of these techniques, whether or not it’s universities or the information media, or different methods of understanding issues — whether or not these issues aren’t breaking down now.

ezra klein

I virtually consider that as a fairly optimistic mind-set about the issue in liberalism, which is — to sum up our dialog right here, a method of taking a look at it’s that these exterior difficult actions are capable of inform these world historic, virtually mythic tales. And since they’re not certain in any means by reality, as a result of they’re not certain by what they will ship, they will say virtually something, and that liberalism one way or the other must give you a counter story.

However you’re really suggesting, I feel, one thing completely different and extra believable, which is that liberalism and liberal democracies and governments must do what they really do properly, which is govern — that whereas it’s true that self-interest, even broadly described, will not be all of what politics is about, and positively not materials self-interest, it nonetheless does matter. And with the ability to ship on that, and with the ability to govern successfully, is likely one of the higher methods you may need of holding a few of these opposite actions at bay.

anne applebaum

Traditionally, it’s one of many solutions that folks have given. Just a few months in the past, I spent a while taking a look at how civil wars are resolved, and civil battle. And I obtained very wrapped up in Northern Eire for quite a lot of causes. You understand, it wasn’t a full conflict. It was only a civil dispute. And the way did communities finally reconcile themselves to dwelling subsequent door to 1 one other, who had incompatible views of the state, they lived in — some believed it must be Eire, some believed it must be Britain.

And that was not a resolvable battle. I imply, or not simply resolvable. And one of many solutions was these numerous group tasks had been created, and so folks might argue about the place the group heart was going to be positioned, and what it might do, or the place the bridge could be constructed, and which neighborhoods could be affected by the brand new highway works. And folks might disagree about these issues, however at the very least they wouldn’t kill one another about them, as a result of there have been arguments that folks can have that aren’t existential.

So loads of effort was made in Northern Eire — and that is additionally one thing that was tried in different post-civil conflict, post-conflict zones, the place they attempt to get folks to speak about sensible options that don’t have existential solutions. You don’t need to kill your opponent to resolve them. I assumed for a very long time that was one of many solutions in america, though, I heard a — I had a really miserable dialog just a few days in the past with any person who works within the Biden White Home, who was speaking concerning the new infrastructure invoice.

And he stated, you already know, everyone criticizes us for not speaking sufficient about it. These are concrete, sensible options to issues that folks say they care about, just like the bridge falling down, or the highway having potholes. And we’re going across the nation, and we’re making bulletins about investments, and no person seems to have an interest.

I fear that Individuals, particularly within the space of nationwide politics, are so caught up within the tradition wars, and in these — as I stated, these existential arguments — that it’s very onerous even to get folks within the enterprise of governing, or the enterprise of constructing.

And that’s a really harmful second. It’s actually — as I say, it’s a standard argument. It’s what many individuals have argued for years could be a solution to resolve these sorts of conflicts. However can that also work in a time when folks aren’t even targeted on the outer world? They’re simply targeted on on-line, or theoretical conflicts between narratives.

ezra klein

I do suppose there are a few fascinating questions there. One is, in a nationalized media world, you simply get rather a lot much less consideration to what’s essentially an area or regional story about an funding within the highways, or prepare traces, or one thing. However however, I ponder if that was ever such a giant level of public consideration, however what was possibly completely different was issues obtained constructed. I’m, in comparison with another folks on this, I’m skeptical that you simply get credit score for infrastructure you’re constructing.

I feel you may get credit score for infrastructure you’ve constructed, and that’s significantly new issues. So I do know loads of the infrastructure invoice, partially as a result of it’s onerous to ship on new infrastructure due to how a lot problem we’ve got on this nation constructing issues shortly, on funds and on time, went into restore. However I feel you don’t get in all probability that a lot credit score for restore. And however, issues that ought to have been signature tasks, say, California Excessive-Pace Rail, don’t actually occur, or they’re very, very onerous to make occur, due to all of the difficulties, we’ve got constructing.

So I feel there’s a little bit of a stress between the making an attempt to make use of modest infrastructure tasks as a solution to the truth that the federal authorities is having loads of hassle doing very large issues, and on the identical time wanting credit score for the federal authorities really doing issues, which comes when folks see large, headline issues occurring, I feel, not a lot when their roads get a little bit bit higher, and the bridge is bolstered in a means they don’t perceive.

anne applebaum

Possibly. I imply, that will be one rationalization. It’s extra satisfying rationalization than it’s as a result of persons are caught up in on-line conflicts that they care extra about. I imply, it’s actually true within the U.S. that native and even state stage politics are sometimes higher than nationwide politics for precisely this motive, as a result of native politics is usually about concrete and specific issues, and never about, as I stated, existential conflicts that don’t have any resolution.

Which may deteriorate as nationwide stage arguments penetrate decrease. However typically talking, politics are higher after they’re about issues that folks can see and contact, slightly than celebrities arguing on tv.

ezra klein

I feel that’s a superb place to come back to an in depth. So at all times, our ultimate query, what are three books you’d advocate to the viewers?

anne applebaum

Primary is a e-book that simply gained the Pulitzer Prize. It’s referred to as “Cuba: An American Historical past,” by Ada Ferrer. And what I actually appreciated about it was that it’s not a proper wing or left wing story of Cuba, it’s about Cuba, and its intimate and really difficult relationship with america. And it’s stuffed with stuff you haven’t considered it. Cuba was a slave state previous the time when America was, and so it grew to become a spot that was the place former secessionist Jefferson Davis went on vacation.

It performed all types of roles in American historical past, and vice versa, and it’s very price studying.

I might additionally advocate a novel referred to as “The Lincoln Freeway” by Amor Towles, which is a extremely wonderful piece of Americana. It’s a narrative that doesn’t bear — I can’t sum it up for you, but it surely provides you many various views on America of the Fifties, from very many various varieties of individuals. And it’s advised in a means that’s un-putdownable — sluggish begin, however then un-putdownable. After which I might say the third factor I like to recommend is Hannah Arendt’s “Origins of Totalitarianism,” for those who haven’t learn it. It’s a really lengthy e-book. You don’t need to learn all of it, however the sections within the second half that concentrate on mass actions and propaganda and dictatorship, you’ll discover them revelatory, as a result of they sound a lot like issues which are occurring right this moment, as we’ve simply mentioned.

ezra klein

Anne Applebaum, thanks very a lot.

anne applebaum

Thanks. [MUSIC]

ezra klein

“The Ezra Klein Present” is produced by Annie Galvin, Jeff Geld and Roge Karma. Reality checking by Michelle Harris, Rollin Hu, Mary Marge Locker and Kate Sinclair. Unique music by Isaac Jones, mixing by Jeff Geld. Viewers technique by Shannon Busta. Our government producer is Irene Noguchi. Particular because of Kristin Lin and Kristina Samulewski.