May 25, 2017
Cass Midgley and Bob Pondillo interview Gleb Tsipursky. He's an Assistant Professor in the History Department at Ohio State. He earned a bachelors from NYU, a masters from Harvard, and a PhD from UNC Chapel Hill. He specializes in behavioral science and is keen on how authoritarian regimes take over countries. He was raised in a Jewish household in Russia til he was 10 , but never personally adopted Judaism and is today non-religious. As a part of the Rational Politics project, Gleb co-founded Intentional Insights (dot org) and the Pro-Truth Pledge (dot org).
A current tragedy of the commons we're all experiencing today is our eroding confidence in differentiating truth from lies. Gleb is inviting everyone to take the Pro-Truth Pledge. It provides a tool that motivates all who take it to share accurate information and avoid sharing misinformation.
As you've probably figured out, this episode is highly political and if you're a Trump supporter, this is not gonna be a fun ride for you. Gleb paints a much scarier picture of things than I previously assessed. Up until this conversation, I had deemed Trump an idiot. And appealing to idiots. Gleb says otherwise. Gleb even says that Trump is emotionally intelligent, that he knows exactly what he's doing, and knows what to say and what persona to present in order to get elected and to influence people. This is a game-changer. Now keep in mind, Gleb is a Russian immigrant, he has a PhD in History with an emphasis on behavioral science. This is not a conspiracy theorist. This isn't a talking head punding shit out of his ass. This is research based observations, first hand accounts, and historical patterns and examples from other countries and eras.
I know this is a bit doomsdayish, but Chris Hedges concurs with Gleb's perspective as voiced in a recent article titled, "The End of the Republic." The following is an excerpt from that piece:
"Trump and our decaying empire
have ominous historical precedents. If the deep state replaces
Trump, whose ineptitude and imbecility are embarrassing to the
empire, that action will not restore our democracy any more than
replacing Commodus restored democracy in Rome. Our republic is
Societies that once were open and had democratic traditions are easy prey for the enemies of democracy. These demagogues pay deference to the patriotic ideals, rituals, practices and forms of the old democratic political system while dismantling it. When the Roman Emperor Augustus—he referred to himself as the “first citizen”—neutered the republic, he was careful to maintain the form of the old republic. Lenin and the Bolsheviks did the same when they seized and crushed the autonomous soviets. Even the Nazis and the Stalinists insisted they ruled democratic states. Thomas Paine wrote that despotic government is a fungus that grows out of a corrupt civil society. This is what happened to these older democracies. It is what happened to us."
After this conversation, Bob and I both took the Pro-Truth Pledge. I hope you benefit from our talk with Gleb Tsipursky.
We taped these conversations on April 18th, 2017. We interview people you don’t know, about a subject no one wants to talk about. We hope to encourage people in the process of deconstructing their faith and help curb the loneliness that accompanies it. We think the world is a better place when more people live by sight, not by faith. Please subscribe to our podcast, and leave a review wherever you listen to podcasts. Our show is available on most podcast platforms. Also, you can support us monetarily in two easy ways: you can pledge one dollar per episode through Patreon; that’s www.patreon.com/eapodcast, or leave a lump-sum donation through PayPal at our website, www.everyonesagnostic.com. The smallest contribution is greatly appreciated.
"Towering Mountain of Ignorance" intro by Hank Green https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w3v3S82TuxU
Intro bumper "Never Know" by Jack Johnson
The segue music is on this episode was created by the Barry Orchestra, found at barryorchestra.bandcamp.com
Thanks for listening and be a yes-sayer to what is.