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The Right-Wing Case for Left-Wing Economics
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The Right-Wing Case for Left-Wing Economics

Sohrab Ahmari on how the GOP can (actually) become a working-class party.
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Capitalism is a revolutionary force. It is not conservative. So why have conservatives gone along with market fundamentalism for so long?

Sohrab Ahmari, a convert to Catholicism, has been known as a culture warrior. This time he returns to the podcast to make a surprising argument. Ahmari, the founder and editor of Compact magazine, argues in his new book Tyranny, Inc., that it’s the economy, stupid. Private power is imposing its own tyranny through tools of economic coercion that exploit workers. It’s time to redirect attention from the hysteria over “wokeness” and toward establishing social democratic protections in America. That’s a view ubiquitous on the left, but a similar case is being made on the populist right.

Sohrab, Shadi, and Damir debate America’s economic order, its social contract, and whether the cruelty is the point. Embracing the label “pro-life New Dealer,” Sohrab laments the right’s obsession with the culture wars and argues that conservatives are losing sight of glaring problems in the economy. The three also delve into how an emboldened state may collide with Sohrab’s socially and culturally conservative values.

In the full episode (for paying subscribers only), Shadi, Damir, and Sohrab discuss whether the United States needs to stay “cruel” in order to remain the world’s economic leader. If politics is about tradeoffs, is this the one that Americans have to accept? They cover the GOP’s economic stance and what Sohrab sees as the incongruity between the party’s culturally conservative and pro-market positions. Conservatives appreciate the need for constraints on freedom when it comes to culture and morality. Why are they so resistant to constraints on economic freedom then? Finally the three consider to what extent Protestants and Catholics diverge on key questions of social and economic justice—and whether Republican Senators like J.D. Vance, Marco Rubio, and Josh Hawley can succeed in ushering in pro-labor policies.

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Required Reading:

  • Tyranny, Inc.: How Private Power Crushed American Liberty--and What to Do About It, by Sohrab Ahmari (Amazon).

  • Compact Magazine, where Sohrab is founder and editor.

  • Sohrab’s first appearance on Wisdom of Crowds.

  • The meme Damir referenced about why America doesn't have universal health care.

  • “On Conservatism and Capitalism,” by Damir Marusic (America’s Future).

  • The Great Transformation, by Karl Polanyi (Amazon).

  • The Market Revolution: Jacksonian America 1815-1846, by Charles Sellers (Amazon).

  • Jesus and John Wayne: How White Evangelicals Corrupted a Faith and Fractured a Nation, by Kristin Kobes Du Mez (Amazon).

  • Abraham Lincoln’s speech at the Wisconsin State Fair.

  • Of Boys and Men, by Richard Reeves (Amazon).

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Appears in episode
Damir Marusic
Shadi Hamid