Show 590: Takis Fotopoulos and the New World Order in Action

The phasing out of economic and national sovereignty…by the (NeoLiberal) process has led to a popular global movement for sovereignty, i.e. self-determination and against globalization. The rise of the New World Order and the role of the Transnational Elite; that is, the network of the economic and political elites which administers it, are examined in Fotopoulos’ new text, ‘The New World Order in Action: Globalization, the Brexit Revolution and the “Left”‘

The mythology used by the elites as well as by the globalist “Left” is examined. It was the full integration of the Left into the new order which has led to its political bankruptcy and the rise of neo-nationalist movements embraced by most of the victims of globalization, particularly the working class that used to support the Left. The need for a struggle for national as well as social liberation has become imperative today on the way to a new form of internationalism inspired by the principles of solidarity and mutual aid, rather than the catastrophic principles of competitiveness and profit-making.

Show 570: To Boldly Go: Toward a New Political Hegemony

To Boldly Go: Toward a New Political Hegemony w/Nick Srnicek & Manu Saadia

With the current crises here in the early years of the 21st Century, Star Trek’s optimism, humanism, and scientific outlook may be more important than ever. For that reason, and the fact that the original series is what first brought me to the humanist perspective, I want to recognize and celebrate the 50th anniversary of the most popular science fiction enterprise in mainstream American culture, and perhaps the most influential television franchise ever. I’ve covered a few aspects of the philosophy, politics, and science of Star Trek on programs in the past, but I hadn’t had the opportunity to discuss the underlying thesis which allowed Star Trek to BE Star Trek.

But fiction is not the only place where utopian thinking is present. In fact, to some thinkers, such thinking is not necessarily utopian at all–at least not in the sense of creating an unachievable goal. There are many serious thinkers who are coming at this from various academic fields.

Today’s show will explore the possible humanistic future we can achieve in the real world, and celebrate a fictional future which anticipated and expected that we’d make it there. To do this we will be speaking with both Nick Srnicek & Manu Saadia.

Show 564: Economic Inequality & the Problem with Work

Economic Inequality & the Problem with Work w/Kathi Weeks and Michael D. Yates

Many secular humanists traditionally focused on the so-called hard sciences and religion in their analyses but this is clearly not enough. In time, many also address the social sciences and key political issues from Human Rights to Separation of Church and State to the crises of Climate Change. However, the willingness to apply the scientific method, healthy skepticism, and humanistic ethics to our more central political structures has been very lacking…even the willingness to take on the illusion of “free will” gets more traction with humanist in America. This is why we try to cover these issues when we can on this show. Today we will address our economic system and what it means to be a contributor within its boundaries…as well as what is at the core of one of our greatest problems today, massive inequality.

Capitalism can be, and has been, described in a great many ways. From the Austrian and Chicago Schools of economic thought to the Keynesian models to the Marxist and Anarchist analyses. Among those who do the academic work required to grapple with all of this, we will find sometimes complex, often contradictory, and always passionate points-of-view on what we should do about capitalism here in the 21st Century. Among the general populous in the United States, on the other hand, we find confusion, misapplied labels, dogmatism and not a little anger.

We’ve talked about this from different angles and tried to make sense of it all via political science, history, social science, and even evolutionary biology and neuroscience. After all, Capitalism didn’t spring up out of nowhere, and it doesn’t exist in vacuum – being value-neutral as some might want to believe. So today we are going to look at the capitalist condition from both overarching and under-arching perspectives…The former being the huge inequality problem we now face, and the latter being what is at the core of the capitalist system…Work. To do this, we will be speaking with two special guests: Kathi Weeks and Michael D. Yates.

Show 552: Identity and Mental Health in a Sociopathic Society

‘Identity and Mental Health in a Sociopathic Society’ w/ Charles Derber and Paul Verhaeghe

The social sciences have taught us that, as the 1960s saying goes, the personal IS political (and, of course, vice versa). One of the themes of my own interviews has been to connect the dots between the psychological health of individuals in society with the sociological health of the communities we live in.

We’ve talked with evolutionary biologists, evolutionary anthropologists, sociologists, psychologists, political theorists and even neuroscientists about what sort of creatures human be ings are, how we behave when we have our basic and developmental needs, and how we can understand the clearly unhealthy societies we find planet-wide, including here in the United States.

Today we will continue the exploration of where humanity is today, socially, and where we might like to see it change…and how. Our special guests this time around will be with sociologist Charles Derber and psychoanalyst Paul Verhaeghe.

Show’s 546/547: Whiteness, Racism, and The Economics of Cruelty

Whiteness, Racism, and The Economics of Cruelty

America is a racialized country. Built in part on chattel slavery predicated on a decidedly European model, the hegemonic power exists under the social construct known as Whiteness. If you are of that hegemony – or dominant group – you have access to many of the privileges this society has to offer. Of course there are other hegemonies in place: Male over Female, Straight or Cisgendered folks over LBGT folks, the Upper Class over the so-called Middle Classes – and both of those over the Working Classes and the Poor – Christians over other religious groups, and indeed religious groups over atheist and agnostic ones, and so on.

Over the course of US history, the tensions between those who dominate and are considered the “norm,” and those who are subordinated, has helped shape the culture and subcultures we now see. And this built in, often considered virtuous, hierarchical nature of our society determines the ways which resources are distributed and lives are lived.

In short, wealth leads to power and power leads to more wealth. We currently live in one of the most economically unequal society on the planet, which some argue is just what we should expect from late-stage Capitalism.

Today we will be speaking about what capitalism has wrought, as concerns the majority of the American population, and how being a highly racialized society is a big part of how we got to our current tragic circumstances. We will be speaking with a longtime friend of Equal Time, Tim Wise, and with someone I only recently discovered, Robin DiAngelo. Robin is the author of What Does it Mean to Be White?: Developing White Racial Literacy. Tim’s new book is Under the Affluence: Shaming the Poor, Praising the Rich and Sacrificing the Future of America.

Part two includes excerpts from Dr. Joseph Graves, author of The Race Myth, Peggy McIntosh, and a special segment on ISIS with excerpts from Noam Chomsky.

Show 543: Does Altruism Exist?

Does Altruism Exist? A Conversation with Evolutionary Biologist, David Sloan Wilson

Altruism gets a bad rap in the US.  Concerning ourselves with the welfare of others, extending empathy to all citizens here and in other countries, and looking at humanity as one diverse, if complex, collective is something some of us give much lip service to while leading their self-concerned busy lives, and others actively try to squash if it means their small piece of the pie might be nibbled at.

Regarding both political and religious institutions, altruism is at best a Utopian fantasy or at worse – as so-called libertarians who embrace the philosophy of Ayn Rand – dangerous and an abomination.  Even scientists working in various fields – especially evolutionary psychologists – argue that altruism is not what it seems to be, and that true altruism as we tend to think about it does not exist in the human animal.

But others disagree, and disagree strongly.  Among scientists who have written in favor of pure altruism are primatologist Franz De Waal, neuroscientist Donald Pfaff, bioethicist Peter Singer, anthropologist Christopher Boehm, physicist Stefan Klein, psychologist Dacher Keltner, biopsychologist Nigel Barber, evolutionary anthropologist Douglas Fry, and today’s guest, biologist David Sloan Wilson — author of Does Altruism Exist?: Culture, Genes, and the Welfare of Others.

Show 413: Merchants of Doubt: When Scientists Lie

Merchants of Doubt:  When Scientists Lie w/ Naomi Oreskes and Joel Kovel

Science is most likely our best way of knowing and navigating our universe. It is a self-correcting method by which bias is filtered through research, experimentation, and via objective means so that we can get as close to “truth” as any human endeavor might. But science is also a human construct, so it can’t help being influenced by not only our own human brains, but by the cultures our species develop in which science operates. And while science is our best method of separating human bias from fact, there can often seem to be a very thin line between each of these.

Today we want to focus on a relatively new book called Merchants of Doubt by Naomi Oreskes and Erik Conway.  Merchants of Doubt focuses on how some scientists have, and still do, misuse and misrepresent science itself – for either ideological or economical reasons – in such grave areas such as concerning the effects of tobacco smoke on human health, the Star Wars missile defense program President Reagan championed, and the current concerns around global warming.

Also joining us today will be Joel Kovel, an American politician, academic, writer, and eco-socialist.  Kovel feels the rapid economic growth encouraged by globalization has caused our current, acute ecological crises. He argues that capitalism’s expansion “exposes ecosystems” to pollutants, habitat destruction, and resource depletion. He is the author of the environmentally focused book, The Enemy of Nature: The End of Capitalism or the End of the World.

Show 386: Zeitgeist III: Moving Forward

Is our socioeconomic system consistent with our human nature?

How do our brains make us who we are?

These are among the primary questions that we on ETFF regularly ask. On this our Spring Fund Drive Special we will be offering to our listener supporters a couple of premiums (including Zeitgeist III) that we think shed a little light on these questions.

Tune in for the usual deep discussion and call in to help us remain on the air, as we continue to examine what’s primary to the human condition, and raise some funds to sustain us.

Show 369: Douglas Rushkoff

Douglas Rushkoff on his book, Program or Be Programmed

**UPDATE** During my interview with Douglas, I mention that I heard one of the parties involved in the allegations of rape against  Julian Assange had “backed out” of the investigation. That was my misinterpretation of the timeline of the Assange investigation, during which the initial prosecutor dropped the rape charges. Another prosecutor later overturned that decision. I apologize for contributing to misinformation regarding this important investigation.

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The debate over whether the Net is good or bad for us fills the airwaves and the blogosphere. But for all the heat of claim and counter-claim, the argument is essentially beside the point: it’s here; it’s everywhere. The real question is, do we direct technology, or do we let ourselves be directed by it and those who have mastered it?

“Choose the former,” writes Rushkoff, “and you gain access to the control panel of civilization. Choose the latter, and it could be the last real choice you get to make.”

Michael O’Neil talks with Douglas Rushkoff this Saturday on Equal Time for Freethought at 3:00 pm!

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Show 361: Global Rebellion: Religious Challenges to the Secular State

Global Rebellion: Religious Challenges to the Secular State

On Saturday, we will be airing a special one-hour program on the global rise in religious fundamentalism and in particular the political revolution and/or rebellion of groups who seemed defined by their religion against the industrial nations whether capitalistic or s0-called communistic.   What are the motives of these groups?  Why have they become so numerous over the last 4o years?  Does religion act as the catalyst, cause, or as a tool for these uprisings?  And, how do those nations best deal with the violence these groups target them with, while finding new ways to prevent these uprisings in the first place?

To speak to these questions and more, we will have on the line sociologist Mark Juergensmeyer, author of Global Rebellion: Religious Challenges to the Secular State, from Christian Militias to Al Queda.  Juergensmeyer is an American scholar and writer best known for his studies of religious violence and global religion.  He also has written on conflict resolution and on South Asian religion and society, and has been a pioneer in the field of global studies.

Continue reading “Show 361: Global Rebellion: Religious Challenges to the Secular State”