Episode

2/27 The Big Myth: The Civic Religion of Capitalism w/ Naomi Oreskes

February 27, 2023

Sam is back! He and Emma speak with Naomi Oreskes, professor of the History of Science at Harvard University, author of The Big Myth: How American Business Taught Us to Loathe Government and Love the Free Market, co-authored with Erik Conway. First, Sam and Emma run through updates on another “low-confidence” government report on COVID emerging from a Wuhan lab, Biden’s student debt relief plan coming to the floor of the Supreme Court, political protests breaking out in Mexico, the recent report on child labor in the US, Fox’s internal censorship ahead of Dominion’s multi-billion-dollar lawsuit against them, and Elon Musk’s commitment to being awful both publicly and privately, before diving into the death-knell in DeSantis’ presidential hopes: a Jeb Bush endorsement. Professor Naomi Oreskes then joins as she dives right into her work with Erik Conway exploring why intelligent people are so inclined to completely reject hard-won, well-established scientific evidence (from global warming to the impacts of child labor), and the government regulations that would best address the issues that are discovered, first taking on the influence of market fundamentalism on denouncing any and all attempts at government regulation. Professor Oreskes then walks Sam and Emma through the ideology of market fundamentalism, exploring the ever-looming threat of communism and the myth of the free market in creating a fundamental threat to liberty juxtaposed with a utopian and organic economic system, making any restraint on the market a step towards the return to serfdom, before shifting to how market fundamentalism was able to capitalize on pre-existing elements of US culture such as hyper-individualism and the deification of property rights. Moving into the evolution of this fundamentalist ideology in the West, Naomi Oreskes parses through the debates around child labor regulation, energy provision, and labor compensation to show how the ideology of market fundamentalism was laundered from the elites through academia and the electoral system during the first half of the 20th Century, alongside a mass investment into cultural propaganda align public opinion with their aims. Wrapping up, Sam, Emma, and Naomi explore the greater ideologies behind the emergence of market fundamentalism, from the Mont Pelerin society to Friedman and Hayek, and tackle why embracing truth to combat propaganda is necessary to win the battle.

And in the Fun Half: Emma and Sam parse through Charlie Kirk’s beliefs on the sociopolitical role of witches, Scott Adams’ insane “Black people are a hate group” statements which, unsurprisingly, got Elon Musk’s full approval, and Jesse Watters’ conversation with Tulsi Gabbard on why diversity is at the heart of all American issues. They also do a little early GOP-primary coverage, exploring Trump’s many targets, and debate the influence of Ben Shapiro’s failed dreams on his disgusting politics, plus, your IMs!

Check out Naomi’s book here: https://www.bloomsbury.com/us/big-myth-9781635573572/

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