Steven B. Smith is indeed an American, Chicago born. (The line is Saul Bellow’s, cited by Smith in this “Q&A.”) He is a political scientist, a political theorist, a famous professor at Yale. His new book is “Reclaiming Patriotism in an Age of Extremes.” He and Jay talk about patriotism (naturally) and nationalism and many other issues—including “wokeness” on campus and baseball. Professor Smith is not only a brain, he is a joy. You will enjoy him. 

On Twitter, Claire Berlinski bills herself as a “rootless cosmopolitan.” She has styled her new newsletter “The Cosmopolitan Globalist.” There is such a thing as “owning the insult.” In other words, if they’re going to call you those things anyway … Berlinski is a writer and scholar who specializes in international relations. She has lived in various places and is now in Paris. With Jay, she discusses France, anti-Semitism, the pandemic, free speech, and sundry other issues, most of them controversial. Candid and thoughtful, she is, as Jay says, a breath of fresh air. She is certainly herself, without apology. A very interesting listen. 

Douglas Carswell grew up in Uganda. For a dozen years—2005 to 2017—he was a member of the British parliament. He is a conservative and a free-market man. In recent weeks, he has come to America to head the Mississippi Center for Public Policy. Jay talks with him about a little bit of everything: Africa; British politics (Thatcher, Cameron, Boris, et al.); Mississippi (how do you sell Thatcher-Reagan politics in a poor state?); America (what do you like about it, or dislike?); conservatism (what is it?); and more. Douglas Carswell has led a highly interesting life, and is an excellent conversationalist. 

Jared Genser is an American human-rights lawyer, who has represented many political prisoners and dissidents all over the world. From 2006 to 2010, he served as pro bono counsel to Aung San Suu Kyi, the Burmese democracy leader. A week ago, the Burmese military ousted Aung San Suu Kyi and the government in a coup d’état. Genser wrote about the issue here. And he talks about Burma—and his work generally—with Jay. Jay wants to know, “What just happened in Burma? What are the ins and outs?” And, beyond that, “What happened to Aung San Suu Kyi, the great lady? Was she always so dark, or cynical, or did she take a terrible turn?” Very, very interesting stuff, from an expert.

What a strange title. What could it mean? That Jay addresses “The Well-Tempered Clavier” (both books), that masterpiece by Bach. And that he addresses music by Catalan composers. A successful mixture, we think you will find.

Bach, Prelude and Fugue in C major, “The Well-Tempered Clavier,” Book II
Montsalvatge, two songs from “Cinco canciones negras
Mompou, “Secreto,” from “Impresiones íntimas”
Mompou, “Damunt de tu només les flors,” from “Combat del somni”
Fábregas, Elisenda, “Pluja brodada,” from “Imitació del foc”
Bach, Prelude and Fugue in F-sharp minor, “The Well-Tempered Clavier,” Book I
Bach, “Gigue” Fugue in G major

Jay hosts two of his young colleagues from National Review: Madeleine Kearns, of Glasgow, and Cameron Hilditch, of Belfast (or nearby). He has had them as guests before—singly. This show is more of a roundtable. Under discussion: the British Isles, with its accents and whatnot; the critical importance of “loser’s consent” in a democracy; great literature (including “Jane Eyre”and George Herbert); and more. A relax, multi-faceted, enjoyable conversation

John Hare is an eminent philosopher—a professor of philosophical theology at Yale. Among his books are “Why Bother Being Good? The Place of God in the Moral Life.” Hare is also a renowned teacher, prized by his students. He is the son of another eminent philosopher, R. M. Hare. He and Jay talk about that. What else do they talk about? Young Hare’s adventures in India, as a teenager. His time on a congressional staff. The evolution of his thought. His favorite philosophers (there are four of them). The question, Was Jesus Christ a philosopher? Also: How are American students faring today? Professor Hare says that the Internet is a boon, and a problem as well. All in all, a fascinating discussion, and a heartwarming one, too.

A sportscast with Jay’s favorite gurus: Sally Jenkins, Vivek Dave, and David French. Bill Belichick and the Pats. The coach’s turning down of the Presidential Medal of Freedom. The miraculous career of Tom Brady. Too “miraculous”? Anything illicit going on? Urban Meyer, the Washington Football Team, James Harden as Brooklyn Net, and more. Very lively, very informed—very entertaining.

In 1913, Vachel Lindsay wrote “General William Booth Enters into Heaven.” It speaks of the founder of the Salvation Army. Peggy Noonan cited this poem in a recent column. In 1914, Charles Ives set the poem to music. You will hear it in this episode. Also a Beatles concerto (yes), a rag by an early Metropolitan Opera soprano (yes), some American standards, and, at the end, transcendent Mahler. Jay plays off a good amount of reader mail. An amazingly eclectic, interesting episode.

Shchedrin, Piano Concerto No. 1
Robison, “Think Well of Me
Rutter, “Beatles Concerto,” first movement
Pinkard-Alexander-Mitchell, “Sugar
Ives, “General William Booth Enters into Heaven
Pinkard-Bernie-Casey, “Sweet Georgia Brown
Case, “Metropolitan Rag
Handel, “Rejoice greatly,” from “Messiah”
Mahler, Symphony No. 2, “Resurrection”

Jay talks once more with one of his favorite writers and people — Kevin D. Williamson, whose new book is “Big White Ghetto: Dead Broke, Stone-Cold Stupid, and High on Rage in the Dank Woolly Wilds of the ‘Real America.’” Among the topics: poverty, drugs, gambling, porn, and despair. But don’t worry: The conversation is much more pleasurable than it sounds.

In 2017, Bryan Fogel made “Icarus,” a film about Russia, sports, and doping. It was a highly consequential film. It won the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature. Now Fogel has made “The Dissident,” about Jamal Khashoggi and his murder by the Saudi government. Jay talks with Fogel about his life and his work. An interesting, admirable fellow, Fogel.

Jay has an assortment for you—some Bach, some jazz, some Russian, some French, a spiritual . . . It all ends with a thrilling “First Nowell.”

Bach, “Jauchzet, frohlocket,” Christmas Oratorio
Berlin, “White Christmas
Bach, “Nun seid ihr wohl gerochen,” Christmas Oratorio
Gauntlett, “Once in Royal David’s City
Trad., “God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen
Chesnokov, “Gabriel Appeared
Trad., “Il est né, le divin Enfant
Trad., “Somebody Talkin’ ’bout Jesus
Trad., “The First Nowell

The latest of Richard Brookhiser’s many excellent and useful books is “Give Me Liberty: A History of America’s Exceptional Idea.” What can Americans rally around, diverse as we are? Liberty. What is the wellspring of these United States? Liberty. In this “Q&A,” Brookhiser touches on the Founding, Gettysburg, Seneca Falls, and more. Rick Brookhiser has the gift of understanding, and the gift of communicating it to others – in writing and, as you’ll hear, by the spoken word.

Once more, Tim Alberta, the ace reporter from Politico, is Jay’s guest. He has done some of the best writing in the post-election (as in the pre-election). Try this, for instance, and this. He and Jay talk about their home state, Michigan: dramatic hearings; dramatic other things, including a plot to kidnap the governor. They go beyond Michigan, too, to talk about the state of the union, which is far from good. Americans are at one another’s throats. Tim Alberta has done some serious reporting and thinking about it.

This episode is a real smorgasbord—works, mainly short, by Domenico Scarlatti, Rachmaninoff, Duparc, Stravinsky, Jonathan Dove, and Jerome Kern, among others. A tasty, diverse spread. You may well want it all.

Scarlatti, D., Sonata in G, K. 14
Rachmaninoff, Andante, Cello Sonata
Duparc, Lento, Cello Sonata
Lachenmann, “Five Variations on a Theme by Franz Schubert
Stravinsky, Piece for Solo Clarinet
Shostakovich, Impromptu (for viola and piano)
Dove, “Fair Ship,” from “Under Alter’d Skies”
Kern-Tatum, “The Way You Look Tonight

Declan Walsh is a veteran foreign correspondent, whom Jay has read and cited for years. Walsh has reported from many spots, most of them troubled – very. He has recently been Cairo bureau chief for the New York Times. Now he is in Africa for that paper. He has just written a book about Pakistan (a country from which he was expelled). Jay tours the world with Declan Walsh – or a bit of it – starting with the reporter’s growing up in Ireland.

Harvey Mansfield, the professor of government and political philosopher at Harvard, is one of the great teachers in America. He does some splendid teaching in this hour with Jay. He talks about manliness – what it is and what it isn’t. (Mansfield published a book on the subject in 2006.) He talks about “conservative” and “liberal” – what do those things mean? He addresses the question, posed long ago, of whether we can keep our republic. In all, a rich and enriching hour, requiring not a cent in tuition.

In honor of the recent “blue moon,” Jay plays four songs about the moon—two classical, two popular. He also has some Quincy Jones, some Cannibal Corpse (yup), some Villa-Lobos, and some Bruckner. Complain if you will, but not about a lack of variety.

Rodgers & Hart, “Blue Moon
Bellini, “Vaga luna, che inargenti
Dvořák, “Song to the Moon,” from “Rusalka”
Howard, “Fly Me to the Moon
Jones, “The Streetbeater
Cannibal Corpse, “Frantic Disembowelment
Villa-Lobos, “Punch,” from “The Baby’s Family”
Villa-Lobos, “Lullaby” from “The Baby’s Family”
Bruckner, Symphony No. 4

In these post-election days, Jay wanted to talk to his old friend and colleague Robert Costa: national political reporter of the Washington Post; analyst for NBC News and MSNBC; host of PBS’s “Washington Week.” They do indeed talk it over: R’s, D’s, media, inaugurations, and more. Costa is a man who knows – because he finds out.

A wide-ranging conversation with Sally Jenkins, columnist of the Washington Post, and David French, senior editor of The Dispatch. An NBA season. A Major League Baseball season. College football, sort of. A Masters tournament in November. Should there be a college sports major? And more. Two seasoned and eloquent gurus, questioned by Jay.