When it comes to personal political beliefs, can anyone really be persuaded? In the age of the internet, are we living in a world of debate without gatekeepers? And how is William F. Buckley similar to the Pope?

In his final appearance on “Banter” as AEI’s president, Arthur Brooks answers these questions and more. We also discuss his latest book “Love Your Enemies,” how the political landscape has shifted since he took office in 2009, the role of think tanks in shaping the public debate, and what’s next on the horizon for him.

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“The proper question for conservatives is: What do you seek to conserve? The proper answer is concise but deceptively simple: We seek to conserve the American Founding.”

So writes George Will in his new book, “The Conservative Sensibility.” But what does it mean to conserve the Founding, and the classical liberal tradition that helped inspire it? Further, is classical liberalism still a viable animating philosophy for modern times and modern countries? George Will himself joined this episode to discuss these questions. We also cover why conservatives should rethink their support for judicial restraint, whether religious belief is a necessary component of a conservative sensibility, the aims of higher education, and much more.

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For the past seven years Chris Arnade has traveled around the United States photographing and interviewing residents of this country’s forgotten communities. These photographs and interviews eventually became Arnade’s debut book, the just-released “Dignity: Seeking Respect in Back Row America.” On this episode, we interviewed Chris about what led him to give up his lucrative career on Wall Street to become a journalist, and what he’s gleaned from his experiences.

Chris Arnade is a freelance writer and photographer whose work has appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Atlantic, and many other outlets. He earned a PhD in physics from Johns Hopkins University and worked for twenty years as a trader at an elite Wall Street bank before leaving in 2012 to document addiction in the Hunts Point neighborhood of the Bronx.

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Since the Cold War, the Pentagon’s “two-war” metric served as the main force-planning construct: It sought to ensure US forces could simultaneously defeat two regional militaries, such as North Korea or Iraq. But as Rick Berger and Mackenzie Eaglen write in War on the Rocks, the latest National Defense Strategy advances a new force-planning construct: Rather than defeating and deterring Iran and North Korea, the new construct principally evaluates US forces by their ability to defeat and deter China and Russia.

But is this feasible given the Trump administration’s proposed defense budget? On this episode of Banter, Rick Berger rejoins the show to discuss. We also cover whether this shift in focus to great-power conflict is good policy, the strategic worth of our aircraft carriers, and much more.

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Why are millennials so liberal? How much did the Great Recession hurt millennials specifically? And do we really spend all our money on Chipotle and avocado toast? The Wall Street Journal’s Joseph C. Sternberg, author of the new book, “The Theft of a Decade: How the Baby Boomers Stole the Millennials’ Economic Future,” joined us to discuss these questions and more.

We also cover Senator Elizabeth Warren’s proposal to forgive student debt, why boomers can be blamed for the exorbitant cost of housing, and whether millennials will follow Churchill’s aphorism and evolve into conservatives by the time they reach their forties.

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Last week in the New York Times, Ross Douthat wrote: “Recently, under the somewhat unlikely inspiration of Elizabeth Warren, some conservatives have revived an old debate: Did millions of women entering the work force actually make families worse off?”

Some conservatives, notably Tucker Carlson in a January monologue, agree with Elizabeth Warren’s 2003 prognosis that it did: Instead of getting richer, dual-earner households bid up the price of real estate and child care and lost the division-of-labor benefits of homemaking, working harder for little or no economic gain. Warren dubbed this the “two-income trap.” In a recent Bloomberg Opinion column, Michael Strain takes issue with this characterization. He joins us on this episode to make his case and discuss the ongoing intra-conservative debate.

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Realism, neoconservatism, isolationism — all these labels and more have been employed to describe the foreign policy of past Republican presidential administrations. The debate continues today as supporters and detractors alike struggle to define a “Trump Doctrine,” if such a thing can be said to exist. To discuss the history of Republican foreign policy, and what a coherent conservative approach should look like going forward, we’re joined by Colin Dueck.

Colin Dueck is a Jeane Kirkpatrick visiting scholar at AEI, where his research focuses on the interconnection between US national security strategies and party politics, conservative ideas, and presidential leadership. He is also a professor in the Schar School of Policy and Government at George Mason University, where he is the faculty adviser for the Alexander Hamilton Society. A senior nonresident fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute, he has also served as a foreign policy adviser on several Republican presidential campaigns.

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My Father Left Me Ireland: An American Son’s Search for Home” is the first book by National Review senior writer Michael Brendan Dougherty. It’s ostensibly a personal story, told through a series of letters written from an American son to his absent Irish father. But it’s also a deep meditation on the importance of one’s roots, one’s family, and one’s nation.

In this episode, we talk with Michael about how he came to write this book and what nationalism means to him. We also discuss his problems with modern social science, the political philosophy of Edmund Burke and Patrick Pearse, the real meaning of Francis Fukuyama’s “End of History” thesis, and much more.

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Nearly a decade after the passage of the Affordable Care Act, another sweeping reform of the United States health care system could soon be in the works. Democratic presidential hopefuls are laying out their plans to reduce the roughly 28 million uninsured Americans to zero, with proposals ranging from Medicare-for-All to a public option. But in doing so, are they overstating the extent of the problem?

In a recent article in RealClearPolicy, AEI’s James Capretta and Joseph Antos say the answer may be yes: The number of Americans truly unable to obtain health insurance coverage is much smaller than the topline number of 28 million would suggest, and this affects which policies are best-suited to improve health insurance coverage in the US. In this episode, we talk with James Capretta about his article and its implications for US health policy. We also discuss what the conservative vision for health policy should look like, what lessons can be gleaned from other countries’ health care systems, the Trump administration’s plans for lowering prescription drug prices, and much more.

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Politics, the media, and Hollywood are saturated with overpopulation doomsayers. From Green New Deal advocates to Marvel’s supervillain Thanos, warnings abound that the Earth simply cannot sustain the 7 billion humans and counting currently plodding around the planet. But Lyman Stone says this commonly-held view gets things exactly backwards.

The greater threat to human flourishing over the coming decades is not overpopulation but depopulation, as fertility rates across the developed world crater and fertility rates in developing countries follow suit. In this episode we discuss why the panic over a “population bomb” is so misguided, what’s causing declining fertility rates across the world, what if anything can be done to reverse course, and what these shifting demographics will likely mean for the United States and the world.

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April 11 marks the start of the largest democratic exercise in the world, as the first of India’s 900 million voters go to the polls to decide if Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party wins re-election. What should we expect to happen, and what will these elections mean for India, Asia, and the United States? AEI resident fellow Sadanand Dhume joined this week’s episode of Banter to answer these questions and more. We also discuss recent political and economic history in India, India’s ongoing rivalries with Pakistan and China, and the future of the US-India relationship.

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As Britain finalizes its plans to exit the European Union, the Republic of Ireland faces a good deal of uncertainty. How will Brexit affect the border between the Republic and Northern Ireland? What will be the impact on Ireland’s economy? And how might Brexit change Ireland’s relations with the EU and the United States? On this episode of Banter, Ambassador Daniel Mulhall joined us to answer these questions and more.

Daniel Mulhall became Ireland’s 18th ambassador to the United States in August 2017. He has served as Ireland’s ambassador to Malaysia (2001–05) and Ireland’s ambassador to Germany (2009–13). Before coming to Washington, he served as Ireland’s ambassador in London (2013–17). He’s also the author of “A New Day Dawning: A Portrait of Ireland in 1900” and coeditor of “The Shaping of Modern Ireland: A Centenary Assessment.”

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“We are surrounded by plenty. Humanity has never been richer as technologies of production have improved steadily over the last two hundred fifty years.” So opens Raghuram Rajan’s new book, “The Third Pillar: How Markets and the State Leave Community Behind.” Yet despite this economic success, he writes, workers in developed countries are literally worried to death. What is causing this wave of anxiety?

Dr. Rajan writes that while economists understand the relationship between markets and the state, all too often they neglect the “third pillar,” the communities we live in. In this episode, we talk with Dr. Rajan about what’s causing the erosion of communities across the developed world, what can be done about it, and much more.

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“Brazil is the country is the future, and always will be.” So goes a popular and snarky saying. But with the recent election of Jair Bolsonaro, has the country reached a turning point?

With the Brazilian president in Washington now to meet with President Trump, Dr. Ryan C. Berg joined us to discuss. On this episode, we cover recent Brazilian history, who Jair Bolsonaro is and why he was elected, what to watch for from his meeting with President Trump, and much more.

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Why do women wage war? Jessica Trisko Darden, co-author of the new book “Insurgent Women: Female Combatants in Civil Wars,” joins the show to shed some light on this often overlooked but important topic. Then, how should the West respond to the attempted return of the so-called “ISIS brides”? We discuss the ongoing debate over the legal status of these women, how the United States and Europe are coping with the situation, and what should be done.

Jessica Trisko Darden is a Jeane Kirkpatrick fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and an assistant professor of international affairs with the School of International Service at American University. Her latest book “Insurgent Women: Female Combatants in Civil Wars” examines three important aspects of women’s participation in non-state armed groups: mobilization, participation in combat, and conflict resolution.

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“Sadly, the American Dream is dead.”

It was a refrain repeated often by Donald Trump as he campaigned for president, and it resonated throughout the country. But what is the American Dream, and what killed it? In his new book, “Alienated America: Why Some Places Thrive While Others Collapse,” Tim Carney explores these questions. He joined us on Banter this week to discuss.

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When war breaks out, what factors influence the belligerents’ decisions about whether to talk to their enemy, and when may their position on wartime diplomacy change? How do we get from only fighting to also talking? AEI Jeane Kirkpatrick visiting scholar Oriana Skylar Mastro addresses these questions in her new book, “The Costs of Conversation,” which she joined Banter to discuss.

Then, how do we avoid war altogether on the Korean peninsula? And how will the ongoing US-China rivalry play out? Dr. Mastro tells us how to think about the second Trump-Kim summit.

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What is the purpose of a higher education? Why does it cost so much? And how come college campuses seem to be so left-leaning? On this episode of Banter, Harvard president Larry Bacow joined us to discuss. Dr. Bacow is the president of Harvard University and one of higher education’s most widely experienced leaders. From 2001 to 2011, he was president of Tufts University and before that he spent 24 years on the faculty of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He holds an S.B. in economics from MIT, a J.D. from Harvard Law School, an M.P.P. from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, and a Ph.D. in public policy from the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.

 

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It finally happened: On Friday, February 15, President Trump announced an emergency at the southern border, allowing him to divert funds from other projects to enhance border security. How will this affect the military? What will this look like in practice? What type of precedent does this set? Rick Berger joined Banter to answer all these questions and more.

Rick Berger is a research fellow at AEI, where he works on the defense budget, the National Defense Authorization Act, military appropriations and acquisition reform, as well as on other national security budget-related issues. Before, he was a professional staff member for the Majority Staff at the US Senate Budget Committee, where he worked on defense, foreign affairs, and veteran issues.

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