Episode

9/8 The Struggle To Define Citizens’ Role In American Government w/ Paul Sabin

September 8, 2021

Sam hosts Paul Sabin, professor of history at Yale University and director of the Yale Environmental Humanities Program, to discuss his recent book Public Citizens: The Attack On Big Government and the Remaking of American Liberalism, on how the US went from eras defined by government action under FDR through LBJ, to Reagan and Clinton coming together across the aisle to end the “era of big government.” Professor Sabin starts us off in the Fifties and early Sixties with the government’s managerial role in brokering between businesses and the labor industries, and the rise of liberals speaking out against the unaccounted power in politics; they walk through the roles of folks like Ralph Nader, Jane Jacobs, and Rachel Carson and how they turned on government planning, taking on their efficiency particularly when it comes to their relationships with sectors such as the auto industry. After a little background on Nader’s libertarian, albeit, progressive, roots, and how they gave birth to all sorts of NGOs, such as the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC), which attempted to keep public interest behind the wheel of government. Next, they look into the jumpstart on the turn against government with the Nixon administration and how it was bolstered by liberal attempts to get the government to buckle down, with procedural interventions such as FOIA, unfortunately, undermining the trust in government, particularly as Nader and co. pushed back against the supposedly successful liberal regime under Carter. Lastly, Paul and Sam turn towards the Reagan and Clinton years, and they debate the role of Clinton in marking the end of big government, as he promised the end of said era, before they wrap up the interview by discussing the rhetorical failures by liberals in attempting to have the government-run “efficiently” rather than run with “good platforms.” Sam concludes the fun half with some updates on Texas’ take on Roe v. Wade, alongside Greg Abbott’s new and improved plan to eliminate rapists.

And in the Fun Half: Sam discusses his internal issues and the problematic nature of procedural hindrances to digestion (he got food poisoning), the MR crew discusses NYC education COVID policy, as well as the fight AND flight conflict of COVID deniers. They also discuss Fox’s Brian Kilmeade objections to giving a horse drug a bad name, Lauren Windsor’s continued brilliance in duping Republican officials into spilling party tea, and expand both on Gov. Abbott’s turn against sexual assault, and Elon Musk’s response to his proclaimed support for Texan social policy. They wrap up the fun half with a conversation on how culture war dominates discourse over material benefit, particularly in the context of discussing Texan abortion law, plus, your IMs!

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