Glenn Loury invites guests from the worlds of academia, journalism and public affairs to share insights on economic, political and social issues.
On The Glenn Show, Glenn and John discuss the role of race in the presidential election. John predicts Obama will win—but, should Romney somehow prevail, John preemptively rejects the “Obama lost because he’s black” argument. Glenn thinks, whether pro or con, that it’s infantile politics to focus on Obama’s race. John argues that Obama has actually been quite a pro-black president. Glenn imagines how Romney’s election might actually be good for blacks, and enumerates ways in which the policies of the Democratic Party and the interests of blacks do not align. John, citing the sociologist William Julius Wilson, advocates that progressive politics should focus on class, not race. Finally, Glenn explains why he thinks, despite the polls, that Romney just might win.
On The Glenn Show, Corey Brettschneider discusses his recent book, When the State Speaks, What Should It Say? How should governments treat speech that is offensive or false, like hate speech or Holocaust denial? Corey argues that the state should both protect and criticize such speech. Glenn and Corey consider free speech in light of the turmoil caused by the infamous anti-Muslim video. Should religiously motivated anti-gay beliefs be granted a pass? They look back at the political correctness wars of the ’90s. Plus: Should the government fund controversial research on subjects like race and IQ?
On The Glenn Show, Glenn and Joshua discuss whether Obama came across as disrespectful in the final debate. What would Romney’s foreign policy actually look like? Glenn accuses Obama of hypocrisy for dismissing Romney as a foreign policy neophyte, considering Obama’s own limited experience in 2008. Joshua challenges Glenn to make the case for Obama’s reelection, and Glenn obliges. However, they both lament the president’s lack of vision in the closing weeks of the campaign, and they wonder whether there’s a real chance that Obama could lose.
On The Glenn Show, Glenn and John discuss the presidential debates. John was shocked that the president seemed in need of a teleprompter in the first debate. Glenn, citing Bayesian statistics, explains why Obama’s poor performance rightly hurt his credibility with undecided voters. Is what happens in debates actually relevant to the performance of presidential duties? John and Glenn discuss the merits of the Obama campaign’s “we inherited a mess” argument. Glenn laments the powerful influence of political advertising. John admires Joe Biden’s debating skills, while Glenn thinks Biden was obnoxious and patronizing. The two conclude with their forecast of the outcome of the coming election.
On The Glenn Show, Glenn and Harold clash over the reason for Obama’s weak debate performance. They debate the privatization of Social Security and the need to raise the retirement age. The conversation turns to a heated debate about personal versus social responsibility. Glenn asks why it would be wrong to return control of social programs to the states via federal block grants, and then answers his own question. Glenn gives Harold the “Biden Rorschach Test.” Harold reveals that he has produced with his own personal funds a political advertisement now up on YouTube.
On a very special edition of The Glenn Show, two guys named Glenn Loury, father and son, introduce themselves. The son asks his dad why he is so cool towards President Obama. The father explains his resentment of Obama’s use of racial identity to foster his political ambitions. Glenn the son isn’t very happy with Obama either, but think Romney’s election would be a disaster for the country. The two then discuss religion and gay rights. The gay son asks why his father, an evident agnostic, attends a church which does not support marriage equality. But Glenn the son objects to what he sees as the rampant homophobia of many black American Christian communities. The elder Glenn defends the black church against this charge, and asks his son for patience; the younger, impatient, Glenn passionately explains why he can’t wait.
On The Glenn Show, Glenn and John debate whether racism has shaped Obama’s presidency. Referencing the Trayvon Martin case, Glenn argues that Obama’s race is still symbolically powerful. The discussion turns to the leaked video of Romney at a fundraiser. John is appalled by Romney’s comments, but Glenn offers a partial defense of Romney. The two then discuss the free speech implications of the YouTube video that helped trigger violence and protests in the Muslim world. Plus: Is there still the possibility of a dialogue between Islam and the West?
Glenn and Gershom discuss Israel and the US election. Gershom finds the controversy over Jerusalem in the Democratic platform to be disconnected from reality. Glenn suggests that this only illustrates the power of symbols in political communication. Do Israelis prefer Romney over Obama? Glenn thinks that pro-Israel pandering in US politics is more about evangelical Christians than Jewish voters. Gershom and Glenn have different ideas about why some Americans still view Obama as foreign. Gershom suggests that American Jews will vote Democratic, but not based on Israel. Gershom argues that the segregated economic situation of the ultra-Orthodox in Israel is unsustainable, and he and Glenn explore how it might change.
Glenn and Larry discuss the LIBOR rate-fixing scandal. Larry gets into the details about how LIBOR works, lamenting a lack of transparency in the gigantic global financial derivatives market. Larry tells how his visit to the Goldman Sachs trading floor made him sick to his stomach. They use the Tylenol drug tampering crisis to explicate our banking woes. Larry explains why leverage plus opacity plus limited liability is a formula for perpetual financial crisis, and recommends creating a financial version of the FDA to certify the “health” of financial instruments. Glenn and Larry outline why banking is different than any other kind of business.
Under discussion on The Glenn Show is Brink’s new book, Human Capitalism: How Economic Growth Has Made Us Smarter and More Unequal. Glenn asks Brink how his argument differs from that of Murray and Herrnstein in The Bell Curve. Brink explains how the human capital divergence contributes to growing inequality, and how the complexity of the modern world exacerbates class differences. Can education overcome the class gap? Brink describes the problems with “working class culture.” Brink closes with proposals for educational and economic reform to improve the lives of the lower class.
On The Glenn Show, Glenn and John discuss affirmative action and the racial achievement gap. Glenn notes the energetic debate over affirmative action that he witnessed recently in Nepal, in contrast to the exhausted and formulaic arguments over that issue in the US. John says affirmative action should be a time-limited policy in the US. Glenn and John debate whether affirmative action has a place within urban police forces that use test-based hiring. The two discuss the existence and sources of racial differences in intelligence. Is standardized testing necessary? Finally, they both reflect on having achieved high test scores in their youth.
On The Glenn Show, Josh and Glenn talk about their respective battles with prostate cancer. Glenn discusses his own travails after the death of his wife, Linda. Josh pivots to a description of the work he was doing in Kenya this summer. Glenn reports on his own excursion to Nepal. They compare Nepali and American political discourse. Finally, Josh and Glenn complain about the lack of seriousness in Obama and Romney’s campaign ads.