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Christopher Lasch, the late historian and social critic, can be difficult to pin down. Despite writing with startling clarity and verve, Lasch frustrates his readers' longing for clean partisan taxonomies and explicit programmatic statements. Taken up in recent years by Steve Bannon and post-liberal populists, he was, in life, a man of the left who…
 
Matt is joined by John Huntington, author of Far-Right Vanguard, which chronicles the history of what he calls the "ultraconservative" movement, its national network, its influence on Republican Party politics, and its centrality to America's rightward turn during the second half of the twentieth century. John is a history professor at Houston Comm…
 
Here's something fun and a little different: your beloved cohost Matt Sitman was recently interviewed by Victor Bruzzone and Matt McManus on their podcast, Plastic Pills, and the ensuing conversation — about Matt's own history, the right-wing intellectual pipeline, and the enduring and contested influence of Leo Strauss on the conservative movement…
 
In the third and final episode in their series on the overturning of Roe v. Wade—recorded on the day it happened—Matt and Sam pick up with 1990s, the George W. Bush administration, and eventually take listeners up to the present. They focus especially on way conservative, mostly Christian intellectuals, many of them connected to the religious journ…
 
Today we're sharing a special "Dig Your Enemy" crossover event, as Daniel Denvir of Jacobin magazine's The Dig podcast puts Matt and Sam in the hot seat. We answer all of Dan's excellent questions about the state of the American right, including: the return of isolationism, the New Right, Peter Thiel, Curtis Yarvin, Blake Masters, Doug Mastriano, t…
 
At long last, Matt and Sam dive into the origins of the Christian right—a complicated tale often flattened by contemporary debates. What was the history of Christian anti-abortion activism before Roe, and how soon after the landmark Supreme Court decision did conservative Christians coalesce around the abortion—and other issues—to become the politi…
 
On May 5, Politico published a leaked draft of the majority opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health, written by Justice Samuel Alito, that would overturn Roe v. Wade. How did we get here? In the first of three episodes dedicated to answering that question, Matt and Sam talk to Peter, Rhiannon, and Michael of the 5-4 Podcast about the conservativ…
 
A conversation with David Adler and Thea Riofrancos about the return of the Latin American left — unlocked from Patreon in advance of hugely consequential elections in Colombia this weekend!! (Originally published May 15, 2022.) Hope for the American left is at a fairly low ebb, at the moment, but our counterparts in Latin America are on the march …
 
Hope for the American left is at a fairly low ebb, at the moment, but our counterparts in Latin America are on the march and succeeding at beating back repressive right wing governments across the region. What can we learn from them? And given extremely volatile global conditions — and the continued role of the US in defending the interests of capi…
 
Sarah Weinman's new book—Scoundrel: How a Convicted Murderer Persuaded the Women Who Loved Him, the Conservative Establishment, and the Courts to Set Him Free—is a gripping true crime story, and perhaps the tale of an ill-fated love triangle. It also is a story about William F. Buckley, Jr., who defied expectations to show mercy to a death-row pris…
 
Since Donald Trump was elected president — partially on the strength of white working class support in the Rust Belt — we've heard that the GOP is a working class party; that liberals sold out American labor to globalized capital; and that American workers are too socially and culturally conservative to remain within the increasingly progressive De…
 
Did this week's one-on-one debate between Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen change the race in any significant ways? Why is Le Pen drawing notably more support this time around than she did in 2017? How much is Macron's strategy of pivoting to the right on issues of culture and identity to blame for her rise? What about Jean-Luc Mélenchon, the left…
 
Matt and Sam are joined by Georgetown University historian and co-editor emeritus of Dissent, Michael Kazin, to discuss his new book, What It Took to Win: A History of the Democratic Party. They discuss the origins of the Democratic Party, the alliance between its urban North and segregationist South, the party's turn toward using government to hel…
 
Matt and Sam are joined by KYE all-star John Ganz to discuss Compact: A Radical American Journal, a new publication founded by Sohrab Ahmari, Matthew Schmitz, and Edward Aponte. It's launch coincided with a profile in the New York Times—and a party that Sam attended. What are the ideas behind Compact? How should the left approach the perspective it…
 
Matt and Sam are joined by Ari Brostoff, author of Missing Time: Essays, to explore David Horowitz's 1996 memoir, Radical Son. Like a number of prominent conservatives, Horowitz is a convert from the left. But he's younger than most of the first neocons, and his journey to the right went through Berkeley and the New Left more than the alcoves of Ci…
 
Matt and Sam talk to Gillian Branstetter, press secretary for the National Women’s Law Center, about the spate of anti-trans laws sweeping the country: What do these interventions do? Who is pushing them? And why? The American right has long been invested in policing gender boundaries, but its fixation on trans people — and trans children, in parti…
 
In the first half of this conversation with Buzzfeed’s Joe Bernstein, Sam asks: What is “disinformation?” Who gets to decide? And does it explain what's wrong with our politics? And in the second half: why is Trump’s favorite venture capitalist, Peter Thiel, funding New York City’s downtown arts scene? And what are the political stakes of "anti-wok…
 
The past few months have seen much talk of a "second Civil War" in the United States or a "national divorce" between red states and blue states. New York Times columnist Jamelle Bouie joins Matt and Sam to discuss why the analogy to the Civil War fails, what such rhetoric does for those who deploy it, and what the challenges really are to a better …
 
Matt and Sam talk to Michelle Nickerson about her brilliant book, Mothers of Conservatism, which explores the lives and political activism of conservative women in the Los Angeles area in the 1940s and 50s. Unlike many other conversations on the show, this one is less about intellectuals and ideas than social history—a description of how, as Nicker…
 
Matt talks to writer Phil Christman about his new essay collection, How To Be Normal. They talk about the meaning of "normal" (especially in these pandemic times), religious fundamentalism, Christian conspiracy theories about rock music, Mark Fisher, love, and much more. Sources: Phil Christman, How To Be Normal (Belt Publishing, 2022) "Turning Not…
 
It seems almost every big culture-war battle of the moment—from "Critical Race Theory" to COVID mandates—is being fought in America's schools. Meanwhile, Democrats, anxious about a midterm rout driven by angry Republican parents, too often are conceding these battles to the right, adopting their rhetoric and their terms of debate, and have been for…
 
Author, podcaster, and New York Times Magazine staff writer Jay Caspian Kang joins Matt and Sam for a spirited discussion of some treacherous topics: identity politics, critical race theory, and cancel culture (oh my!). Jay is our charming, intrepid guide to these touchy subjects, those that liberals and leftists are sometimes loath to engage, offe…
 
When Joan Didion died at the age of 87 in December, her early conservatism figured into a number of obituaries and commentaries, but was rarely discussed in detail. Matt and Sam turned to Sam Tanenhaus, William F. Buckley, Jr.'s biographer and knower of all things National Review, to discuss Didion's early writing for the magazine, her roots in Cal…
 
Unlocked by popular demand: Psychoanalytic writer and teacher Pat Blanchfield joins Sam for a discussion of Freud and politics. Together we ask: how can psychoanalytic tools help us make sense of our irrational political moment, our desires and attachments, as well as conservatism, liberalism, fascism, Donald Trump, and even Thanksgiving? If we've …
 
With another year of the podcast, the pandemic, and American decline in the rearview, we turn to Know Your Enemy's absurdly brilliant listeners for guidance and intellectual stimulation. That's right, folks, it's a mailbag episode! And thanks to you, our cups runneth over with fascinating questions. Along the way, we discuss the intellectual legacy…
 
Finally, another enemy! This time Matt and Sam are joined by Nate Hochman, a rising star on the intellectual Right and one of the subjects of Sam's recent New Republic article about today's young, populist conservatives. They discuss Michael Oakeshott, friendship and politics, where the Right and Left might agree, and, especially, where they don't.…
 
Psychoanalytic writer and teacher Pat Blanchfield joins Sam for the long-awaited KYE "Freud Pod," in which we discuss how psychoanalytic tools can help us make sense of our irrational political moment, our desires and attachments, as well as conservatism, liberalism, fascism, Donald Trump, and even Thanksgiving. Subscribe to Know Your Enemy on Patr…
 
It's rare for nearly all the inhabitants of the KYE podcast universe to gather in one place, but it happened earlier this month in—as you might guess—Florida, where the National Conservatism 2 conference was held. The proceedings were littered with extraordinary claims of a "totalitarian cult" (liberals and the left) deliberately trying to destroy …
 
Matt talks with playwright Ben Firke about I Am The GooseKing, which just finished its debut run at The Tank theater in New York City. Here's a description of the play: Jane Vazquez is a journalist on assignment for a tech blog. She travels to New Hampshire to interview a young conspiracy theorist and YouTuber named Phil, who has thousands of follo…
 
Matt and Sam dedicate an entire episode to an under appreciated but indispensable figure in the founding of post-war conservatism: Frank Meyer, the father of "fusionism." Meyer was a man of contradictions: an ex-communist ideologue who longed for consensus; a cantankerous, unyielding debater who kept his friends and rivals close; a bohemian, indivi…
 
Matt and Sam are joined by historian Lauren Stokes and writer John Ganz to unpack the American Right's ongoing embrace of Viktor Orbán's Hungary, from Rod Dreher's springtime junket there to Tucker Carlson broadcasting from the country to the adoring attention it receives from an assortment of "postliberal" intellectuals What gives? Your hosts and …
 
Matt is joined by Know Your Enemy favorite Sarah Jones to discuss her recent New York Magazine essay, "An Atheist Reconsiders God in the Pandemic." They discuss their shared religious upbringing and college years among fundamentalist and evangelical Christians, why Sarah became an atheist (and Matt didn't), and the reasons she reopened the question…
 
It's impossible to comprehend the state of conservative politics — or American politics in general — without looking closely at the wars we've been waging for the past two decades. The story we've been telling about American conservatism has been incomplete without a deep-dive on the so-called Global War on Terror. Luckily, Spencer Ackerman has wri…
 
This is a slightly different kind of Know Your Enemy episode—a conversation about hope and despair as the effects of climate change bear down upon us. At the center of that conversation is a brilliant new book, Daniel Sherrell's Warmth: Coming of Age at the End of the World, that focuses not on the facts of climate change or how to stop it, but wha…
 
Finally, a deep-dive on William F. Buckley, Jr.! Matt and Sam are joined by Buckley's biographer, Sam Tanenhaus, to talk about WFB's 1965 campaign for mayor of New York City. Topics include: how Buckley's campaign made him the most famous conservative in America; the importance of his candidacy to the conservative movement's rise; the hardline posi…
 
In this episode, Matt and Sam are joined by political theorist and conservative intellectual Samuel Goldman—a very sensible and polite "enemy"—to discuss his brilliant new book, After Nationalism. Topics include: Goldman's punk-rocker past; the influence of Leo Strauss on his thinking; historical attempts to provide Americans with a coherent, endur…
 
It's been over seven months since pro-Trump protestors breached the Capitol on January 6, 2021. The meaning of the event remains contested. Was it a genuine coup attempt by an extra-parliamentary faction of the Trump movement? Or was it a disorganized and pathetic act of desperation by Fox News-poisoned rubes? Were the protestors inside the Capitol…
 
In this unlocked bonus episode, Matt is joined by historian Eric Rauchway for a deep-dive into his new book, Why the New Deal Matters. It's Rauchway's latest effort to recover Franklin Delano Roosevelt as an anti-fascist political leader who sought to expand the meaning and practice of American democracy—that in a robust democracy, people don't jus…
 
Subscribe to Know Your Enemy on Patreon to listen to this bonus episode, and all of our bonus content: https://www.patreon.com/knowyourenemy Matt and Sam are back in the same room — Matt's study — enjoying brown liquor, each other's company, and a surprisingly coherent discussion of the right's latest fixations: our "rainbow regime" and "critical r…
 
In this episode Matt and Sam discuss Ravelstein, Saul Bellow's roman à clef about the Straussian political philosopher Allan Bloom, who achieved late-in-life wealth and fame after publishing his controversial bestseller, The Closing of the American Mind. Along the way they consider the University of Chicago's Committee on Social Thought, eros and t…
 
Subscribe to Know Your Enemy on Patreon to listen to this bonus episode, and all of our bonus content: https://www.patreon.com/knowyourenemy Every June it happens: conservatives get all hot and bothered by Pride celebrations, and this year has been no different. Why do banal corporate expressions of support for LGBTQ+ rights drive them so mad? How …
 
Subscribe to Know Your Enemy on Patreon to listen to this bonus episode, and all of our bonus content: https://www.patreon.com/knowyourenemy What is the status of "equality" in the American political tradition? What place does it have in the inheritance that conservatives are trying to preserve? Matt and Sam pick up where they left off in their rec…
 
For a slight change of pace, we invited our dear friend Brandy Jensen—author of the world's best advice column, Jezebel's Ask a Fuck-Up, and features editor at the new Gawker.com—to answer listener questions about reentering the world post-vaccine, dating, conservative relatives, whether the "Trad Caths" are right, and mourning the lives we did not…
 
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