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 asks Harold whether social science can make sense of the massacre in Newtown. Harold is disturbed by the way that gun manufacturers advertise their wares and by the “fundamental unreasonableness” of many gun enthusiasts. They also debunk some pernicious myths about guns. Looking back at the election, Harold tries to cure Glenn of his political cynicism. Glenn expresses skepticism about the triumphal narrative of immigration reform. They close with a personal discussion of the generational divide over issues like same-sex marriage.
Corey acts as host of The Glenn Show, interviewing Glenn about his writings on race and affirmative action. Going back forty years, Glenn explains the evolution of his views on the legitimacy of racial preferences. Corey asks about the objection that affirmative action stigmatizes its beneficiaries. Corey notes that there was a time “when affirmative action was white.” The two disagree about Chief Justice Roberts’s view that legally enforced segregation in the past is necessary to justify racial assignment of students to public schools in the present. Glenn stresses the importance and ineradicable nature of racial discrimination in the intimate private sphere. Glenn considers what he would say to the more conservative Glenn of the 1980s. They conclude by discussing the so-called “mismatch hypothesis.”
Glenn and Louis discuss the causes of economic inequality among nations, based on Louis’s recent book, The Good, the Bad, and the Economy. Louis describes the different hypotheses explaining global inequality, contrasting them with his own focus on cultural attitudes propagated across generations within ethnic groups. Glenn wonders whether a history of conquest, colonization and enslavement and/or possible genetic differences between populations might explain some of Louis’s findings. Can the countries left behind ever catch up? Glenn suggests that modern communications technology is making cultural differences across nations less relevant. So is foreign aid a waste of money? And does democracy follow economic growth, or vice versa?
On The Glenn Show, Glenn and John discuss the aftermath of the election. John says that the less duplicitous candidate won, but Glenn disagrees. They explore the prospects for the second Obama administration, with John predicting more cooperation with Congress and Glenn predicting more gridlock. Can the GOP adapt to the country’s changing demographics? John thinks the Tea Party is over, while Glenn argues that it has only just begun. Did Netanyahu bet on the wrong horse in the US election? John and Glenn conclude by offering their respective views on what an Obama defeat would have meant for African-Americans.
The Glenn Show once again lives up to its name with another father-son conversation about politics and religion. Glenn the son criticizes his father for having doubted Obama’s reelection. Glenn the father is troubled by the sharp splits in voting patterns along class and ethnic lines. The two argue over whether Obama or Romney ran the more negative campaign. The son objects to post-election grumbling on the right that he thinks smacks of racism. Can the GOP recover? They end with some talk about religion. Glenn the father expresses doubt about his religious doubt. He asks his son to come to church and see for himself what goes on there, but his son respectfully declines to do so.
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.