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19 July 2024

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Friedersdorf

Conor Friedersdorf brings an independent-minded perspective to dialogues on politics and culture.

Jun 18, 2012 — Conor Friedersdorf & Noah Smith
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On Friedersdorf, Noah begins by accusing libertarians of turning a blind eye to the Bush-Obama national security state. Conor argues that supporting the Libertarian Party in a two-party system is not quixotic, even though libertarianism has an image problem. Moving to the debate over higher education, Noah suggests that a college degree doesn’t just signal intelligence, but that education actually transforms students. Conor, on the other hand, worries that college might cost society more than it’s worth.

Jun 6, 2012 — Conor Friedersdorf & Robert Wright
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Conor asks whether Bob might abandon the Democratic Party over national security issues. Bob posits that humans aren’t evolutionarily equipped to evaluate the possibility of blowback in foreign affairs. Conor wonders why Americans aren’t more willing to impose checks on the executive branch—what won’t the public will accept in the name of “security”? They next discuss whether Obama’s mild manner causes people to accept policies that they would object to under a more cowboyish president. Bob presses Conor about what he hopes to gain by voting for Libertarian Party candidates. They conclude with Bob making the case that network effects all but guarantee Facebook’s long-term success—an argument Conor isn’t buying.

Jun 3, 2012 — Conor Friedersdorf & Philip Klein
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Conor interviews Phil about his new e-book, Conservative Survival in the Romney Era, which argues that the right must give Mitt Romney the close scrutiny it failed to give George W. Bush. Phil believes Romney only won the GOP primary because of the failure of the conservative base to settle on a credible alternative. Conor wonders why Republican primary voters refused to even consider Jon Huntsman as a candidate, despite his conservative record. The two disagree about whether Tea Partiers confuse being principled with being combative. Phil argues that when it comes to the deficit we have a spending problem, not a revenue problem. Conor insists that a commitment to limited government ought to include restraining the national security state, and criticizes the GOP for being unconcerned with civil liberties.

May 29, 2012 — Conor Friedersdorf & Jim Manzi
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Conor interviews Jim Manzi, author of the new book Uncontrolled. Jim explains how his background in business consulting shaped his view of what’s wrong with government. The two debate whether localities should be permitted to experiment with policies that reduce the freedom of their residents. Conor cites professional licensing as an area where localities experimenting with different approaches don’t seem to learn anything useful. Jim considers whether value-added teacher evaluation is worthwhile. Finally, Jim explains why he thinks there are no silver bullets for complex policy problems.

May 15, 2012 — Conor Friedersdorf & James Poulos
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Conor and James kick things off by musing on what the most radical social experiment in American history might be (hint: it’s not same-sex marriage). James argues that Europe is suffering from a crisis of political leadership and legitimacy, and that countries like Greece have been subsidizing their nationalism. Are idiosyncratic customs like the Spanish siesta doomed? James explains that being a parent is very different than he expected. Will we ever arrive at a science of raising children? Conor argues, contra Tom Friedman, that advertising makes America a more egalitarian country than it would otherwise be. And James explains how to go about being a rock star.

May 4, 2012 — Conor Friedersdorf & Phoebe Connelly
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Conor and Phoebe talk about photos of cute animals and the copyright implications of republishing them. Conor demands that pundits stop using the phrase “the most important election since…” Phoebe explains why she likes the sitcom New Girl—does it capture something important about how twentysomethings live today? They next discuss Hulu, its business model, and the best way to watch television. Conor shares his experience watching Glenn Beck’s new subscription-based online TV network. They conclude by discussing the departure of Newt Gingrich from the presidential race and the fascinating figure of Callista Gingrich.

Apr 25, 2012 — Conor Friedersdorf & Peter Suderman
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Peter and Conor kick things off by discussing President Obama’s management skills—they agree that Mitt Romney will make them an issue, but disagree about whether Romney’s experience as a management consultant has prepared him for the White House. Conor says it’s impossible to tell what President Romney’s foreign policy would be, whereas Peter argues that he’s always been “cautiously hawkish.” Peter makes the case against the Buffett Rule. And Conor explains how his “best of journalism” awards differ from the National Magazine Awards.

Apr 18, 2012 — Conor Friedersdorf & Michael Brendan Dougherty
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Conor and Michael kick things off by discussing the trial of Anders Breivik, the far-right Norwegian terrorist, who is trying to turn his trial into an attack on multiculturalism. They next turn their attention to Katie Roiphe’s controversial Newsweek cover story about female submission fantasies. Conor argues that there is a bipartisan interest in making women feel bad. Do American voters have a psychological need to be frightened? Both diavloggers muse on why Republicans continually fail to nominate the most conservative candidates in presidential primaries. And Michael heretically argues that Pete Campbell is his favorite character in Mad Men.

Apr 11, 2012 — Conor Friedersdorf & Kashmir Hill
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Conor and Kashmir kick things off by discussing whether Google Glasses will create a surveillance state. Conor argues that the government is eventually going to legislate new privacy norms. Kashmir explains why she’s fascinated by the case of a college football player arrested for taping the sounds of a dorm mate having sex. Is technology making the Fourth Amendment prohibition of unreasonable search obsolete? They disagree about whether the smartphone app Girls Around Me is objectionable. And Conor predicts that people will start taking a “flood the zone” approach to protecting their privacy.

Mar 28, 2012 — Conor Friedersdorf & Reniqua Allen
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Reniqua lays out the argument she made in a recent op-ed lamenting the state of America’s conversation about race and urging President Obama to talk more about the subject. Pushing back against her thesis, Conor argues that President Obama is the wrong man to lead such a conversation. He also claims that for all his eloquent rhetoric, Obama’s substantive record on issues with a racial dynamic isn’t strong. Reniqua talks about her frequent frustration with being the only black person in a room full of white people. They next give different versions of the racial conversation they’d like to see more of in America and grapple with the tension between embracing multiculturalism and creating self-segregation.

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