Sometimes, you have to face up to despair before you can find an honest way to hope. In this episode of Young Heretics, Spencer Klavan returns to T.S. Eliot’s The Waste Land to uncover the surprising hope that waits just beyond the edges of Eliot’s dark vision.

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As civil unrest threatens to tear the country apart, Spencer Klavan offers a special Young Heretics message of hope and pride in our heritage. From Cicero to John Adams to us, the long march of liberty reminds us to keep fighting for the West and the USA—no matter what.

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T.S. Eliot’s The Waste Land is known as one of the most depressing poems ever. Eliot refuses to offer any BS or happy talk: his spare, cold look at the woes of modernity can help us understand where hope lives when everything else goes dark. In this episode of Young Heretics, Spencer Klavan argues that this work also contains the seeds of Eliot’s eventual conversion to Christianity and hope for us in our own depressing age.

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The victory of Greece over Persia at Salamis blew everybody’s mind. In Persians, the great tragedian Aeschylus looks back on the wars he fought and questions what makes a civilization great. In this episode of Young Heretics, Spencer Klavan walks listeners through the play, the genius of tragedy, and the Western tradition of honoring your enemies.

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Was C.S. Lewis the 20th century’s greatest thinker? Lewis was a war veteran, the unofficial pastor of the West in its darkest hour, and a supremely gifted philosopher with a masterfully light touch. In this episode of Young Heretics, Spencer Klavan takes the audience through a close look at Lewis’s The Abolition of Man to prove that those who dismiss Lewis as “just the Narnia guy” are just plain wrong.

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It’s more than sex. In fact, sex is just the beginning. Plato’s Symposium is the hilarious, weird, and profound story of one magical night on which the erotic secrets of the universe were unveiled. In this episode of Young Heretics, Spencer Klavan does a deep dive into the world of Socrates and the mysteries of love.

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At the Battle of Actium, the fabled lovers Antony and Cleopatra made a doomed last stand against Julius Caesar’s heir, Octavian. In this episode of Young Heretics, Spencer Klavan and Cornell historian Barry Strauss talk through the battle that ended the Roman republic, and the sex, treachery, and feuding that transformed the world.

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The Prophecy of Isaiah is so much more than the excerpts you hear at Christmas. It’s a story of war and politics, of defiance in the face of utter despair, and of faith when everything you believed in—even the city of God—comes crumbling to the ground. In this episode of Young Heretics, Spencer Klavan tells the story of this enigmatic genius from the 8th century BC.

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It all starts with Homer: the man, the myth, the musician. Spencer Klavan walks through the glorious tale of valor, tragedy, and heroism known as the Iliad, reading aloud from the rhythms of the original Greek and recounting this ancient tale of the war for the most beautiful woman in the world.

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