On The Glenn Show, Glenn talks to Steve about his recent research on American politics. Steve explains how political parties change positions, looking specifically at conservatives’ embrace of prison reform. Is Republican leadership the only way prison reform will actually happen? Glenn and Steve debate the (de)merits of moral argument on behalf of less punitive prison policy. They next dicsuss what Steve calls “kludgeocracy“—the increasing complexity of social policies in the US, citing the Affordable Care Act as a prime example. Steve explains his concerns about the inefficiency and non-transparency of federal-state collaborations on education and Medicaid. They conclude with some reflections on Django Unchained.
On The Glenn Show, John describes the book he’s writing on how language does and doesn’t shape our view of the world. Glenn reports on the economists’ annual conference, including a caucus of African-American scholars who gathered there. John and Glenn reminisce about being declared “outcasts” by their black professional peers. Glenn remembers the work of the great and recently deceased social scientist Albert Hirschman, and they speculate on what “true loyalty” to one’s group, nation or culture might mean. Has the era of the towering public intellectual passed? They conclude by expressing their very different views about the affirmative action case pending before the Supreme Court.