251: The case for one billion Americans, & more (Matt Yglesias)

Matt Yglesias talks about One Billion Americans, his book arguing that it’s in the United States’ national interest to dramatically boost its population, by expanding immigration and having more babies. Matt and Julia also discuss arguments for and against the “YIMBY” movement, which pushes for building more housing; what they’ve both learned from reflecting on … Read more

250: What’s wrong with tech companies banning people? (Julian Sanchez)

Companies like Twitter and Facebook are increasingly willing to ban users — and even if you agree with their decisions, is it worrying that a few companies have so much power? Julia discusses with Julian Sanchez, expert on tech and civil liberties. (January 19, 2020) Additional works mentioned in the episode: Julian Sanchez’ personal website Julian’s Cato … Read more

249: The case for racial colorblindness (Coleman Hughes)

Coleman Hughes explains why he favors a “colorblind” ideal and why the “race-conscious” camp disagrees with him. Coleman and Julia also discuss whether reparations are just, and what counts as racism. (January 5, 2020) Additional works mentioned in the episode: Coleman Hughes’ podcast and website Coleman on Twitter “Deepities and the Politics of Pseudo-Profundity” (October 2018) “The … Read more

248: Are Democrats being irrational? (David Shor)

Data scientist David Shor discusses some of the bad choices made by Democratic political campaigns. What’s the cause of the errors? Is it irrationality, coordination problems, or something else? (December 22, 2020) Additional works mentioned in the episode: David Shor on Twitter David’s July 2020 interview with New York Magazine David’s November 2020 interview with Vox Transcript (PDF)

246: Deaths of despair / Effective altruism (Angus Deaton)

  Economist and Nobel Laureate Angus Deaton discusses the rise in “deaths of despair” in the U.S. – deaths from drugs, alcohol or suicide. What’s causing it, and how do we know? Also, Julia and Angus debate whether effective altruism can help the poor. (November 23, 2020)   Additional works mentioned in the episode: Deaths … Read more

245: Are Boomers to blame for Millennials’ struggles?

Rationally Speaking returns from hiatus with a look at a clash between two generations: Millennials, and their parents’ generation, the Baby Boomers. Faced with stagnant wages and rising costs of education, rent, and health care, Millennials have a tougher path to economic security than Boomers did. And a growing number of millennial writers argue that … Read more

244: Seeing other perspectives, with compassion (Stephanie Lepp & Buster Benson)

November 25, 2019 This episode features a pair of interviews on a similar topic: First, Stephanie Lepp (host of the “Reckonings Podcast”) discusses what she’s learned from interviewing people who had a serious change of heart, or “reckoning,” including a former Neo-nazi and a former sex offender. What causes a reckoning? Second, Buster Benson (author of “Why Are We Yelling? The … Read more

243: The case for open borders (Bryan Caplan)

November 11, 2019 The idea of open borders — letting people move freely between countries, taking a job wherever they can find a job they want — is still a pretty fringe position, politically speaking. But economist Bryan Caplan makes a compelling case for it in his new graphic nonfiction book, “Open Borders: The Science and Ethics of … Read more

242: Why consciousness is an illusion (Keith Frankish)

October 28, 2019 Philosopher of mind Keith Frankish is one of the leading proponents of “illusionism,” the theory that argues that your subjective experience — i.e., the “what it is like” to be you — is a trick of the mind. It’s a counterintuitive theory, but Keith makes the case for it in this episode, while explaining … Read more