Welcome to the Harvard Lunch Club for October 17, 2017, it’s the Psycho Halloween Killers edition of the show – number 144 – with your hosts, Todd Feinburg, Hartford radio guy, and Mike Stopa, nanophysicist, and today with special guest star, host of Michael in the Morningthe inimitable Michael Graham!

MG will join us, as will big cheese Rob Long, at the upcoming Ricochet meetup in Burlington, MA (just outside of Boston) on November 11, from 7-10 pm. Today he joins us to talk about the meetup and also to discuss why the left is choosing to lurch even farther left. And, in a related topic what gives when a poor Soda Pop and Pet Store owner (not kidding here) joins Donald Trump for a signing of an executive order that will help his 100+ employees get affordable health insurance only to find, when he returns to his home in central Massachusetts (yes, *that* Massachusetts) that his name is dog poo-poo? Michael will help us analyze.

And, the title piece of the show is our topic on Halloween…it ain’t just for kids anymore. In fact, it ain’t for kids at all. It’s for college administrators. And the fun is now officially gone. It takes Todd and Mike a while to get to the heart of the matter. But here’s the question: in twenty years will we look back on these days and blanch at how thoughtless we were not grasping the horror of Halloween costumes that appropriate cultural identities? or will we look back on these pathologically sensitive times as an aberration that is best forgotten? (or something in between?). We will analyze.

Our shower thoughts – of course. (A meditation on lost things). And our hidden gem is David Olney’s piece (I can’t describe it – you have to listen to understand) Jerusalem Tomorrow.

Join us next week when Victor Davis Hanson joins us again on the Harvard Lunch Club Political Podcast.

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There are 18 comments.

  1. Coolidge

    I find the line of conversation the Left, especially white progressives, of playing this game about being happy that “white voters will die out due to demography” fascinating. I’m not sure if they don’t realize, as the ACLU protest at William and Mary showed, that white liberals are on the proverbial hit list and instead expect to be welcomed as honored guests, or if they’re so self-loathing that their destruction is the price for their racial transgressions.

    • #1
    • October 17, 2017 at 4:20 am
    • 3 likes
  2. Member

    Mr. Graham advanced the thesis that democracy is all about compromise and that any other view could only be held by a “total idiot” or “moron.” So as the regressive left pushes into ever crazier-areas, we should compromise with them and agree to only moderately crazy? Shall we compromise on free speech so that only certain topics can be discussed?

    As our liberties are gradually eroded, Mr. Graham’s view seems to be that we can use compromise to slow the slide into full despotism. Indeed, this is why we got Trump.

    On a related matter, Mr. Graham explains how well the system worked under Obama by claiming that “…the courts stopped Barack Obama; they stopped him cold.” Really? You mean the way they stopped his unconstitutional use of executive orders (“I’ve got a pen and a phone”)? Mr. Graham himself refers to the “abuses under Obama.” Where were the courts then? Make up your mind: was Obama able to abuse his power or did the courts stop him cold?

    This is the kind of incoherent reasoning I expect from the Left but now seems to have bled into the Right. I suppose Mr. Graham would retort, “That’s compromise, that’s the way democracy works! Shut up, Todd, you moron.”

    • #2
    • October 17, 2017 at 2:04 pm
    • 11 likes
  3. Podcaster

    drlorentz (View Comment):
    Mr. Graham advanced the thesis that democracy is all about compromise and that any other view could only be held by a “total idiot” or “moron.” So as the regressive left pushes into ever crazier-areas, we should compromise with them and agree to only moderately crazy? Shall we compromise on free speech so that only certain topics can be discussed?

    As our liberties are gradually eroded, Mr. Graham’s view seems to be that we can use compromise to slow the slide into full despotism. Indeed, this is why we got Trump.

    On a related matter, Mr. Graham explains how well the system worked under Obama by claiming that “…the courts stopped Barack Obama; they stopped him cold.” Really? You mean the way they stopped his unconstitutional use of executive orders (“I’ve got a pen and a phone”)? Mr. Graham himself refers to the “abuses under Obama.” Where were the courts then? Make up your mind: was Obama able to abuse his power or did the courts stop him cold?

    This is the kind of incoherent reasoning I expect from the Left but now seems to have bled into the Right. I suppose Mr. Graham would retort, “That’s compromise, that’s the way democracy works! Shut up, Todd, you moron.”

    I’m thinking I should have hit him with Elizabeth Warren. And I’m even happy to concede that she is completely moral according to her own lights, a charming dinner companion and, for what it’s worth, a whiz at backgammon. But anyone who suggests that those who built businesses deserve no credit for doing so – indeed we all deserve just as much credit for the businesses that they built – that in fact they themselves “didn’t build” them, is saying something deeply pernicious in my opinion. And even if the result is a little more money for the weak and a little higher taxes for the strong – not such a big deal – still, the justification that denies the value of work and ability is not just “how democracy works.”

    But I missed my chance this time.

    • #3
    • October 17, 2017 at 2:47 pm
    • 6 likes
  4. Member

    Michael Stopa (View Comment):
    I’m thinking I should have hit him with Elizabeth Warren.

    “You didn’t build that” is just the tip of the leftist iceberg. Far more dangerous are the the Left’s attacks on First (freedom of expression and religion) and Fifth (due process) Amendment rights. These are not fit topics for compromise that Mr Graham would have us engage in. Leftism operates like a ratchet; compromise only slows its progress. There is rarely motion in the opposite direction.

    And, btw, the literal use of the phrase “you didn’t build that” was Obama’s, though he was echoing Warren’s thoughts, which were more nuanced. Potayto, potahto, I suppose.

    • #4
    • October 17, 2017 at 3:40 pm
    • 7 likes
  5. Coolidge

    The Supreme Court certainly did not stop Obamacare cold.

    • #5
    • October 17, 2017 at 4:11 pm
    • 8 likes
  6. Member

    I’ve come to the conclusion that what’s dividing the Right isn’t Trump. It’s the sense of urgency (or lack thereof) about the Left tearing at our foundations. With a backhoe and TNT. If you believe the Left isn’t all that bad, you feel obliged to criticize Trump whenever he steps out of line (despite him actually performing as a solid conservative thus far). If you see the Left as an existential threat, the tweets and brashness are, meh, no big deal.

    • #6
    • October 17, 2017 at 4:13 pm
    • 9 likes
  7. Member

    Obama’s idea of compromise was, “I won.”

    • #7
    • October 17, 2017 at 4:14 pm
    • 11 likes
  8. Member

    Richard Easton (View Comment):
    Obama’s idea of compromise was, “I won.”

    Yeah, where was the compromise during Obama’s eight years? Compromise for me but not for thee: a losing proposition for the Right.

    • #8
    • October 17, 2017 at 4:25 pm
    • 5 likes
  9. Member

    drlorentz (View Comment):

    Richard Easton (View Comment):
    Obama’s idea of compromise was, “I won.”

    Yeah, where was the compromise during Obama’s eight years? Compromise for me but not for thee: a losing proposition for the Right.

    Obama thought that the arc of the universe was bending towards his point of view. He’d lie on issues such as SSM in order to get elected, but there was no seeking for middle ground when he felt safe. For example, there was no compromise offered wrt the Little Sisters of the Poor.

    • #9
    • October 17, 2017 at 4:37 pm
    • 8 likes
  10. Member

    drlorentz (View Comment):
    Mr. Graham explains how well the system worked under Obama by claiming that “…the courts stopped Barack Obama; they stopped him cold.” Really? You mean the way they stopped his unconstitutional use of executive orders (“I’ve got a pen and a phone”)? Mr. Graham himself refers to the “abuses under Obama.” Where were the courts then? Make up your mind: was Obama able to abuse his power or did the courts stop him cold?

    @michaelgraham Michael Graham seemed off his feed in this appearance. In all of his discussion of how “the system is working,” he ignored the fact that the Republican-controlled congress isn’t in fact working.

    Michael also missed the mark in responding to @toddfeinburg Todd Feinburg’s well-taken point that the Democrat Party – which unike the Republican party is controlled by its most extreme elements – promotes anti-American policies and positions. For example, the extreme left’s position on open borders is anti-American per se, since it prohibits the exercise of sovereignty over borders. The Bowe Bergdahl guilty plea is another example: Barack Obama, Commander in Chief of the US Armed Forces, was willing to praise a deserter AND return enemy generals to the battlefield during a time of war. That frankly makes me wonder just what constitutes “adhering to [America’s] enemies, giving them aid and comfort.” Regardless, it’s reasonable to call such actions anti-American.

    • #10
    • October 17, 2017 at 10:02 pm
    • 5 likes
  11. Thatcher

    Definitely agree with the criticisms of Michael Graham’s argument. We are not dealing with old-school liberals in the mold of John F. Kennedy or Tip O’Neill. Todays leftists hate America and what they see as the traditional backbone of America: the white middle class. Compromise will not work, and to advocate it is to make the mistake of fighting the last war, as so many naval strategists did after World War I when the battleship and its variants had been rendered obsolete by the submarine.

    • #11
    • October 17, 2017 at 11:37 pm
    • 4 likes
  12. Member

    LibertyDefender (View Comment):
    Regardless, it’s reasonable to call such actions anti-American.

    It comes down to the definition of what falls within the American experiment and what does not. Mr. Graham’s point was that it has been broadly interpreted in the past, encompassing both Woodrow Wilson and Ronald Reagan. One could argue (though I wouldn’t) that capitalism is not an intrinsic element. But it would be hard to argue that liberty and respect for the autonomy of the individual are not.

    I agree with you that some ideas are prima facie anti-American: disrespecting the flag and anthem, supporting de facto open borders, and celebrating treasonous actions. This is but one incoherent element among many of Mr. Graham’s argument. Given the casual disregard the commentariat and the political class has for core American values, it is unsurprising that a significant fraction of the electorate rejected all candidates, regardless of their other merits, who belonged to that class in favor of an outsider. The public rightly judged that any of these others would have folded like a cheap lawn chair in the face of the Left’s unrelenting attacks and offered to compromise á la Michael Graham, i.e. advance the ratchet another notch or three.

    Because that’s how democracy works, amirite?

    • #12
    • October 17, 2017 at 11:38 pm
    • 2 likes
  13. Coolidge

    Western Chauvinist (View Comment):
    I’ve come to the conclusion that what’s dividing the Right isn’t Trump. It’s the sense of urgency (or lack thereof) about the Left tearing at our foundations. With a backhoe and TNT. If you believe the Left isn’t all that bad, you feel obliged to criticize Trump whenever he steps out of line (despite him actually performing as a solid conservative thus far). If you see the Left as an existential threat, the tweets and brashness are, meh, no big deal.

    I had this exact same thought when listening to the podcast. He seem to underestimate how ruthless the left is. I also don’t think that any party that wants to “transform” the country is pro-American. I view the left as an existential threat to this country. I also think had Hillary when we would have been past a point of no return,

    • #13
    • October 18, 2017 at 1:37 am
    • 2 likes
  14. Member

    A couple months back, I discovered a Saturday podcast on my local public radio station called How I Built This with interviewing business entrepreneurs. Its first episode was Sept 2016. The government’s role is never mentioned. How can that be?

    • #14
    • October 18, 2017 at 9:09 am
    • 2 likes
  15. Member

    Marythefifth (View Comment):
    A couple months back, I discovered a Saturday podcast on my local public radio station called How I Built This with interviewing business entrepreneurs. Its first episode was Sept 2016. The government’s role is never mentioned. How can that be?

    For the Left, there is no history. Everything is reset the morning of every day. The “you didn’t build that” is sooo 2012. Dude, that was… like… five years ago.

    • #15
    • October 18, 2017 at 1:01 pm
    • Like
  16. Member

    Western Chauvinist (View Comment):
    I’ve come to the conclusion that what’s dividing the Right isn’t Trump. It’s the sense of urgency (or lack thereof) about the Left tearing at our foundations. With a backhoe and TNT. If you believe the Left isn’t all that bad, you feel obliged to criticize Trump whenever he steps out of line (despite him actually performing as a solid conservative thus far). If you see the Left as an existential threat, the tweets and brashness are, meh, no big deal.

    Michael Graham played part of his interview on his podcast, so this is the second time I’d heard it. Mr. Graham’s description of the Flight 93 election caught my attention the second go around. Mr. Graham said the Flight 93 election was we must crash the plane to save the plane. I haven’t reread the essay in question, but my take on it was some people thought the country had been hijacked and last election was the time to storm the cockpit and try to take back the controls. The Flight 93 passengers knew their hijackers weren’t old school hijackers trying to get to Cuba. They realized that if they did nothing, they too were going to be crashed into some building. Rushing the cockpit might not work, but it was better sitting around accepting a known fate.

    Electing Hillary was a guaranteed destruction of the country, after eight years of Obama, in the lens of Flight 93 voters. Electing Trump was like rushing the cockpit, the country might not be saved, but maybe it would.

    • #16
    • October 18, 2017 at 2:53 pm
    • 2 likes
  17. Coolidge

    drlorentz (View Comment):

    Marythefifth (View Comment):
    A couple months back, I discovered a Saturday podcast on my local public radio station called How I Built This with interviewing business entrepreneurs. Its first episode was Sept 2016. The government’s role is never mentioned. How can that be?

    For the Left, there is no history. Everything is reset the morning of every day. The “you didn’t build that” is sooo 2012. Dude, that was… like… five years ago.

    Appears that history started November 9. 2016

    • #17
    • October 19, 2017 at 4:35 am
    • Like
  18. Contributor

    Wait a sec, @drlorentz! “One could argue (though I wouldn’t) that capitalism is not an intrinsic element.”

    Seems to me that Capitalism is the most essential democratic principle, the backbone of liberty. We “vote” many times each day on what sort of society we’re going to have with where we go and where we spend. This arguably points the direction our society with far more immediacy than our vote ever can, and makes it much harder for the bad guys to rig the system.

    • #18
    • October 24, 2017 at 9:40 am
    • 1 like