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, John explains to Glenn why he objects to the recent firing of Naomi Schaefer Riley from The Chronicle of Higher Education after she wrote a piece attacking black studies. Glenn argues that Riley’s piece was offensive and wrong. John recalls his own critical assessment of the field, and he and Glenn discuss what black studies should be. They disagree about the state of Harvard’s influential black studies department. Glenn worries that black academics are held to a lower standard, a theme John discussed in his 2000 book Losing the Race. Glenn and John agree that black studies needs to adopt a more global approach.
On The Glenn Show, Glenn and Ann discuss the politics of President Obama’s recent endorsement of gay marriage. The two professors, both of whom have gay sons, defend the religious opponents of gay marriage against the charge of “bigotry.” They argue that religion can be a force for positive social change, such as during the civil rights movement. Ann laments that politicians so often feel they must demonize their opponents, and Glenn defends Mitt Romney’s background in private equity. Ann and Glenn compare the Occupy movement with the Tea Party and find the former lacking. Finally, they celebrate “the leisure of the theory class” and compare their different approaches to vacationing.
Glenn and Tim talk about the problem of increasing inequality in the US, which is the subject of Tim’s new book, The Great Divergence. Tim and Glenn debate international comparisons of inequality between the US and other countries. Tim explains why some common explanations of American inequality—race, gender, and immigration—don’t hold water. He argues that education, skill-based technological change, and globalization play a much stronger role. Glenn asks about the role of unions—good for equality but, perhaps, not so good for productivity. Tim recommends a less antagonistic culture of labor-management relations as a possible antidote to rising inequality.
This week on The Glenn Show, the topic is political correctness. Amy and Glenn agree that it’s a problem, and Amy stresses its bad affects in the university. Glenn asks what’s wrong with ostracizing people who incite bigotry or hurt the feelings of others with their words. Amy illustrates her argument with the example of “food deserts.” Glenn’s concerns reach far beyond the college campus—he stresses that there’s PC on both left and right. Even if some professors are politically biased, won’t accurate research and data ultimately win out? And is political correctness the weapon of the weak or the intellectually lazy?
This week on The Glenn Show, John and Glenn talk about their personal and professional lives. Have professors abandoned engaging with the broader intellectual world? John announces his new position at Columbia University and Glenn explains why he so loves teaching at a place like Brown. John and Glenn make the case against political correctness in the classroom. John waxes eloquent about the joys and sorrows of fatherhood. Glenn relates his existential crisis in the wake of his wife’s recent death, and John gives him some sage advice.
On The Glenn Slow, David argues that the fight against economic inequality should move beyond taxing the rich—excessive executive compensation and restricted admissions at elite colleges contribute to the problem as well. Glenn wonders why the US is so averse to raising anyone’s taxes and notes that he sees nothing necessarily unfair or inefficient in economic rents. David and Glenn discuss how unions can promote inequality within the working class. They debate whether elite colleges are artificially limiting the number of highly trained graduates, thereby enhancing inequality. They end on a point of agreement about the moral imperative and political difficulty of achieving genuine equality of opportunity.
John and Glenn express their outrage at the killing of Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman. They consider the intersection of violent crime, stereotyping, and “stop and frisk” policies. Glenn explores possible reasons for higher rates of violence in black communities and extols the benefits of organized black protest against police brutality in the wake of this tragedy. John and Glenn liken the Trayvon Martin killing of 2012 to the Emmett Till lynching of 1955. John admits that this case helps him better understand the 1992 LA riots, while Glenn offers a potentially more effective alternative than civil disorder to help the black poor.
Glenn and Reihan discuss two policy debates: the economics of higher education and the wisdom of the auto bailouts. Reihan criticizes the “college cartel.” What’s driving the incredible increase in the cost of higher education? Glenn wonders whether selective colleges and universities don’t serve a useful role in bringing bright young people together. Reihan summarizes his “too big to fail” objections to the Detroit bailouts. Glenn invokes the “Samaritan’s Dilemma,” and wonders if objecting to bailouts can ever be a viable political strategy.
Mark and Glenn start off by recalling Harvard’s Kennedy School in 1980s, where they both came to know James Q. Wilson. Mark says liberals got the crime question wrong, while Glenn urges that “crime” be placed in broad political perspective. Glenn asks why the US imprisons so many—could the answer be American democracy? Glenn and Mark argue the merits of the new parole supervision policy reflected in Project HOPE. They close with a heated debate on crime, human nature, and Wilson’s legacy.
Glenn Loury interviews Gershom Gorenberg about his book, The Unmaking of Israel. Glenn asks whether the real problem is that the Israeli state is ethnic, not that it’s religious. Would empowering Arab Israelis be a smart move for Zionists? Gershom describes how government officials aided and abetted illegal settlers, and how lawlessness emerged. Are ultra-Orthodox Jews dependent on government largesse? Gershom closes on an optimistic note.
Glenn is joined by Jodi Kantor, author of the hot new book The Obamas. Jodi reports on fault lines within the Obamas’ marriage and stresses the difficulty of moving from Chicago to the White House. She discusses the “angry black woman” controversy surrounding the book’s initial release, and Glenn sympathizes with Michelle Obama’s plight. Jodi and Glenn explore the unusual relationship the Obamas share with Valerie Jarrett. The conversation ends with a review of President Obama’s thin-skinned reaction to some unwelcome advice from Berkeley Law Dean Christopher Edley.
Glenn and John begin by debating the merits of Coming Apart, Charles Murray’s new book on the “white underclass.” John likes the book’s focus on the importance of culture; Glenn acknowledges that culture matters while rejecting Murray’s conclusion that public policy can do little to help the poor. They also debate whether the ascendancy of a black president has led to more emphasis on class and less on race in political discourse. Glenn and John next discuss controversial remarks about gays by CNN’s Roland Martin. They go on to debate the moral status of religiously founded beliefs that homosexuality is immoral.