On this episode of High Noon, Inez Stepman formally introduces a new segment, After Dark, with The Federalist Culture Editor Emily Jashinsky. The last week of every month, Emily and Inez will be chatting about the most under-covered stories of the month.

This month, they talk about where moral responsibility for the disaster in Kenosha lies, and the duplicity of an establishment elite that is happy to abandon rule of law but chooses to heap the consequences of doing so on 17-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse.

Emily and Inez also discuss whether they think the growing centrist rebellion — from Virginia suburban parents to Yale Law School professors — has a chance of rolling back wokeism in the nation’s institutions.

High Noon: After Dark with Emily Jashinsky airs on the last Wednesday of every month and covers the most noteworthy news of the day.

High Noon is an intellectual download featuring conversations that make possible a free society. Inviting interesting thinkers from all parts of the political spectrum to discuss the most controversial subjects of the day in a way that hopes to advance our common American future. Hosted by Inez Stepman of Independent Women’s Forum.


TRANSCRIPT

Inez Stepman:

Welcome to High Noon, where we talk about controversial subjects with interesting people. And we talked a little bit about this the last time that Emily Jashinsky was on. Emily is a editor, the Culture Editor over at The Federalist. She’s also involved in Young America’s Foundation, where she trains up the next generation of right-of-center journalists and sends them out like her little minions to all these different outlets after they have learned what they needed to learn from Emily Jashinsky. But we talked a little bit about this last time she was on, but we’re going to have this regular segment here on High Noon. We’re calling it After Dark, just a little play on the time of the day and also the fact that a lot of these are going to involve cocktails.

Emily Jashinsky:

All of them. All of them. So Inez is drinking a what?

Inez Stepman:

I made myself something called a Boulevardier. I may be completely mispronouncing that, but it is Campari and whiskey basically and a little bit of vermouth.

Emily Jashinsky:

Here you see the differences between Inez and I crystallized perfectly. Inez made something with Campari and vermouth and I had one mini bottle of Captain Morgan somewhere in my cupboard that I poured with the lime seltzer in my fridge. And it’s not great.

Inez Stepman:

Yeah. I think that’s just a function of you calling me old and decrepit. And the last time we did this, you’re like, “Oh, I am a young, adorable whippersnapper. I’m a young conservative and you’re an elder millennial.” So yeah, that’s the advantage of being old. You have an actual bar cart with vermouth on it. No, but we are going to be doing this segment once a month, usually at the end of the month, the last Wednesday of the month as we are doing it now. This will be released the last Wednesday right before Thanksgiving.

But we’re going to be doing this, I think because the news cycle moves so quickly and oftentimes you miss something. So we’ll be talking about big stories from the month past, and also kind of updating you on what we’re seeing, Emily and I, in terms of where all of these forces in the country are going, whether…. I think we’re going to have a little bit more of an optimistic take today. I think we, right now, we feel pretty optimistic. Last month, I think we were a little more pessimistic. So it should be interesting to look back and see over the past month how our predictions for the future of the left and right in America — and, more importantly, the country itself — are really going.

But I want to open this up with the obvious thing that just broke. We’re actually recording this on Friday evening, and the thing that just broke a couple hours ago is the verdict in the Kyle Rittenhouse trial. So Kyle Rittenhouse was found not guilty on all these counts, all the counts that were arrayed against him. The judge had actually dropped one gun charge that was based on a law that he found ridiculously vague. There were a series of exceptions, and anyway, the judge basically said, “This law is ridiculously vague. It doesn’t actually make any sense.” And he actually dropped that charge. But the other five charges all related to Kyle’s actions that night in Kenosha during the riots, including killing in self-defense, I think we can now say that, killing in self-defense two of the rioters and wounding a third by shooting him in the arm. So, Emily, were you surprised when you got this verdict?

Emily Jashinsky:

Actually, I wasn’t surprised at all. And I know that there were some on the right who were surprised. And then, as you’ve said this over and over again, this was fairly clear-cut. And maybe I still sort of have trust in the average American that they can look at something like this and not be cowed into doing what’s wrong and not be sort of intimidated and dominated by the white supremacy narrative or whatever it is, the race narrative into doing something that’s wrong. I just think the facts in this case were really strong. And I wasn’t glued to my screen over the course of the trial, but I do really think the prosecution did a terrible job. They looked like they were grasping at straws. They looked like they were flailing. The defense seemed so much more prepared. So the evidence was already, I think, more clearly on one side of the other, but when you layer just a poor, poor theatrics and a poor performance from the prosecution on top of the existing sort of factual burden, I wasn’t really surprised at all.

Inez Stepman:

Yeah. And poor trigger discipline on the part of the prosecutor pointing gun at the jury and the courtroom.

Emily Jashinsky:

So bad.

Inez Stepman:

Yeah. I mean, I think there are kind of two strains, as you said, of people for whom this verdict is unexpected. One is — and I kind of want to take each one of these in turn — one is folks in the left, or maybe even the center, who just watch the mainstream or the corporate media. And as you say, they wildly mischaracterized what was going on in the courtroom. I mean, one particular incident that really shocked me was to see actually a local Fox affiliate the day that the guy who survived getting shot by Kyle Rittenhouse took the stand. He basically blew up the prosecution’s case. He was a witness for the prosecution, but he basically blew up the prosecutor’s case by saying in fact, yes, he had had his hands up with his weapon, but that he had lowered his hands and pointed his weapon at Kyle. And that’s when Kyle shot him.

Emily Jashinsky:

Grosskreutz. That’d be Gaige Grosskreutz.

Inez Stepman:

Yes. Yes, that’s right. And the way that that was covered in local media was, “Victim takes stand, testifies that his hands were up.” That’s beyond sort of bias. That’s actively misleading about what the guy actually testified to. And so folks who are watching that coverage, absolutely I can see how they would be shocked and angered by this verdict. Do you remember who was, I think it was somebody from the Young Turks who said she didn’t know that the victims in this case were white?

Emily Jashinsky:

Yeah. Yeah. I saw several people say that. And if you look at the news coverage, including coverage from this week, you can see the AP, for example, identifying Rittenhouse as white, and then not racially identifying his victims, or I shouldn’t say his victims, but the men he killed. That seems like a simple thing. It maybe seems anodyne. But when you think about the narrative that that puts in someone’s mind, that he’s at, and I continued to hear this in the coverage, that he was at protests, that he was at Black Lives Matter protests. Well, first of all, he was at a riot. And secondly, if you’re making it salient that he was at a BLM event, then you should probably say what race everybody was involved in. Otherwise it is, if you’re going to name his race, you’re making it sound like he went and slaughtered a bunch of innocent black protestors.

Inez Stepman:

Yeah. I mean, the level of misleading coverage was insane. And actually, I think Bari Weiss had a great piece that I only skimmed because she just published it right before we came on about how this should be a wake-up call for people. If this verdict surprises you in that way, from that direction, then you really need to look at what media you’re consuming, because they have misled you and in a very factually checkable way, in a way where if you actually went and listened to the testimony, you would see that what they were writing about, it was not just a perspective or biased. It’s actively wrong and misleading you about what happened in that courtroom. And I think that’s totally true in one part of this.

The other set of folks who are surprised by this are people on the sort of black-pilled right, because they believed that the court system was so utterly corrupt, that our institutions are so corrupt that we could not deliver a just verdict, that the jurors would be intimidated by, for example, the threat of having their names released, the threat of which, maybe you could talk a little about MSNBC getting in trouble here, but that the politics surrounding the case and the media coverage surrounding the case would make it impossible for jurors to do their job in an impartial way and actually take into account only the evidence that was presented in the courtroom. Do you want to talk a little bit about that? I mean, does this make you more white-pilled about America’s future or institutions, and sort of what would be your response to somebody who is perhaps pleasantly surprised by this verdict, but nonetheless is very surprised?

Emily Jashinsky:

I think it is surprising when America’s institutions meet their expectations now, because we are drowning in institutional failure. That said, I also think that institutional failure is often from the top down, and this is a case where the power was in the hands of average people, people who had the misfortune of being selected for jury duty down in Kenosha, which, by the way, is about an hour from where I grew up. And that’s a really interesting contrast to most of the institutional failure that we see now, which is coming from powerful journalists, powerful lawmakers. In this case, this was power in the hands of ordinary civilians. And I guess we should… I think it’s unwise for us to underestimate the extent to which the sort of woke conditioning does dominate the minds of people in generation Z and millennials like both of us, but at the same time, facts, when they’re laid out in front of people, they should still stand. There are always outliers, but this case is, to your point, it was pretty clear-cut. The facts were clearly in one direction and yeah, maybe that is a white pill, I guess.

Inez Stepman:

I guess the pessimistic way of looking at it is that the standard is now incredibly clear. So if you are unfortunate, for example, it’s easy to imagine this trial going the other way if there hadn’t been actual live footage streamed of a lot of these incidences. I mean, how rarely in these kinds of altercations do you get actual footage of what happened? Not every single thing that happened that had a video to go with it, but a lot of it did in this case, which allowed the New York Times of all places to do this sort of minute by minute breakdown about where Kyle was, where the people attacking him were, piecing footage together, piecing together sort of reports from different literally block by block in this altercation — and I should say this conflagration — going on in Kenosha. I guess the pessimistic way of thinking about this would be, I mean, imagine how this trial might have gone if not for that documentation.

Emily Jashinsky:

Well, and this is where we see the double-edged sword of new media in that it is actually documented, that the reporter for the New York Times left that night where the Rittenhouse incidents happened. It is documented that the New York Times reporter left because it was going to get dangerous. Fair enough. But you have to have the eyes of the defenders of our democracy on the ground. That’s the sort of public’s window into these things as they happen. And there were journalists from The Daily Caller and Townhall and The Blaze who stayed there and got a wealth of the footage that we rely on to understand what happened that night. And on the other hand, though, would any of this have happened if the mindless blue checks hadn’t spent the summer signaling their virtue on Twitter in a way that fanned the flames of riots?

I don’t think that it would have. I mean, I think the groupthink that is incentivized on this sort of gamification of our public discourse — that is, Twitter — I think the level of groupthink and virtue signaling that’s incentivized on there really fanned the flames. And it created this climate where rioting was sort of implicitly described as moral or at least justifiable. And you have people like Governor Tony Evers of Wisconsin being too intimidated by the prospect of being on the wrong side of the BLM ideology to put the national guard troops in when they needed to be in, and 35 small businesses were destroyed. People’s lives were ended. I mean, it’s unbelievable the destruction that happened because leaders were intimidated out of doing the right thing, or maybe morally prostrate to BLM. So that’s sort of, to me, I see this as a very good case study in the double-edged sword of social media and that it is the problem, but it is also in some ways the solution. Of course, that doesn’t make it great that we have social media. It just means we can also use social media, I guess, to assuage some of the problems it creates.

Inez Stepman:

I’m going to, you’re going to have to forgive me in advance because I’m going to go on a bit of a rant here, because this is what really pissed me off about this entire situation. And actually Anna Khachiyan of Red Scare, I think, put this really well on Twitter when she essentially, and I’m paraphrasing here, but she said, more or less, “The institutions and the cops and the politicians told people in a thousand ways, ‘You’re on your own.’ And then they are shocked and dismayed when people take them at their word.” And that’s exactly what’s going on. And that’s what happened in that summer of 2020. Every level, the people who I find morally culpable for this, and when I see Kyle Rittenhouse in that trial a couple times, one where he was on the stand and he… Look, obviously I’m not a psychiatrist or whatever. He pretty clearly to me seems to have PTSD. You could see his eyes lose track of where he was in the courtroom.

Emily Jashinsky:

According to his attorney, we know he’s being treated for PTSD. He confirmed that this evening when he did a press conference after the verdict.

Inez Stepman:

Okay. Well then I guess my armchair psychiatry skills are… Anyway.

Emily Jashinsky:

Well done.

Inez Stepman:

It’s pretty clear that this was an incredibly traumatic experience for him. He had to defend his life and he had to take two lives in order to do so. He was hunted down by people who wanted to kill him. And he has to live with the fact that he’s taken these two lives. And even as I do think it is totally justified, he was totally justified in doing that, but it’s a heavy burden for a 17-year-old kid. And when I look at that, I’m so furious, not at Kyle Rittenhouse for “crossing state lines,” which is the stupidest meme of all time, not at Kyle Rittenhouse for being there, but at the politicians and the police and the entire political environment and of course the media for creating a situation in which ordinary citizens in this country feel that they are the last line of defense when their towns are burning down.

And, of course, you’re going to have more violence that way. What did you think was going to happen when the institutions abdicate their role in all of this? Their job was to maintain law and order, not to prevent first amendment exercise, not to prevent protests, but to prevent the total breakdown of law and order that happened in cities across this country over and over and over again with no consequence and then to turn around and be shocked that ordinary Americans, even this 17-year-old kid, didn’t think that the right thing to do was to lock their houses, stay quietly in their bedrooms, and wait for the storm to pass and burn down their homes. The fact that they went out and tried to protect each other, tried to protect property, tried to maintain some kind of law and order when it had been abandoned by all those people who we pay and elect to do that very basic thing, that very basic job of the state, to go ahead now and condemn him for that seems to me to be morally reprobate. However you say that word. That really took the wind out of my rant right there at the end.

Emily Jashinsky:

Yes, queen.

Inez Stepman:

No, but it really ticks me off. It shows a total disregard for law-abiding citizens in this country and a total disregard for human nature. People will just continue to take this. They will continue to just watch everything burn down around them, and the expectation is that they will stay in their homes and never come out. Now, I’m not saying that the wisest thing in the world is always to run out into a conflagration. I don’t think I would do that, but this is America and we’re the country that pioneered the Western, right? We have all this national ethos around law and order, around citizens really taking responsibility for law and order, and then to sort of jettison all of that and pretend that it’s just wildly irresponsible for any citizen, even somebody who is trained, for example, in CPR and some other medical things as Kyle Rittenhouse was, to go to the town where his whole family worked, where he worked, and to try to do something, not to shoot people, but to try to do something about the fact that his town was burning to the ground, to then put all of this moral responsibility on this 17-year-old kid really makes me sick.

The moral responsibility here for those two deaths, for all of the billions in property damage, all of the deaths, which I think are above a dozen. It’s 18 people or something that died throughout the course of those riots in 2020 in different cities. I may be wrong, but it’s above a dozen people who died, and there were billions in property damage. There were about 2 billion dollars in property damage during those riots, when you add up all of these riots in the cities. And to place all of that moral responsibility on a 17-year-old kid who sort of did the best he can to help his community and then was put into a situation where it was life or death. It was his life or his attacker’s life and then now has to live with that. That makes me really angry at, not at Kyle Rittenhouse, in some sense, not even at the rioters, although obviously, I think they should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. But my moral anger is most reserved for the people whose job it is to maintain law and order who are now turning around, put their job on a 17-year-old kid, and now have the goal to turn around and morally condemn him. That to me is just a disgusting way of looking at this.

Emily Jashinsky:

It doesn’t incense me just on behalf of Rittenhouse. And I’m sure it’s the same for you. I mean, men that were killed had children and none of this had to, nobody had to be there that night. The curfew could have been enforced. This could have been taken a lot more seriously. Law enforcement could have been much more robust. None of this had to happen, but everyone was thrust into the situation. And again, I sort of feel very repetitive saying this, it sounds maybe like a virtue signal, but I think conservatives are unwise to underestimate how in the same way that you look at the people who rioted in the Capitol on January 6th and say they were conditioned. They have every reason not to trust one of these authorities, any one of our institutions. They should not trust the news media.

It is entirely rational not to trust the news media. They’ve placed their trust in somebody who told them they could trust nobody, and that’s Donald Trump. And he plays fast and loose with that. So in the same way that you can say there are a lot of disenfranchised people who are clinging to hope in this case and this case, that’s also true of the rioters here in DC and around the country. I’m not excusing it at all, that or January 6th, but the people have lost faith, and they are right to have no faith in our institutions. And the consequence of that is when you are told from, as you’re growing up, that we live in systemic white supremacy and when the president of the United States is calling voter legislation, anodyne voter legislation, Jim Crow 2.0 or Jim Eagle, my God, that’s powerful language and kids are listening.

They are hearing this. And it is really having a serious consequence. And so, yeah, if you think that the regime of Jim Crow is on the precipice of returning, you might riot. If you think that an election is being stolen, you might riot. And people are believing what used to just be sort of political hyperbole more and more and more because they rightfully trust absolutely nobody. And to your point, Inez, there’s this thing with Rittenhouse where even in the media now, I was watching MSNBC after the verdict was rendered and they’re saying, “Rittenhouse had no business being there that night. He inflamed the situation by walking around with an AR.” It gets to exactly what you’re saying. They are blaming the person who is responding instead of the people who are causing the breakdown.

It’s truly unbelievable that they are now pointing the finger at Kyle Rittenhouse instead of the people that were literally torching minority-owned small businesses to the ground, looting, breaking curfew, breaking all kinds of laws. Kyle Rittenhouse shouldn’t have been out there that night, in my opinion, absolutely not. But if you are putting the weight of the blame on him instead of the people who he was only out there because they were breaking all of these laws, you’re framing this in a very dangerous way. And it is one, you said, there’s a disregard for the public. I would say there’s this contempt for gun owners and for people who look at the second amendment as something that gives them a right to self-defense, not a right to just hunt. There’s just this contempt for people who think that way, because nobody in the legacy media thinks that way and to protect their communities, et cetera, et cetera, and it’s a contempt. It’s a contempt.

Inez Stepman:

It’s contempt, but it’s also, they have no interest in trying to understand.

Emily Jashinsky:

Right. Yes.

Inez Stepman:

Because it’s not that unusual. I really do think this is a bubble thing. Most of the reporters writing about this or the blue checkmarks writing about this, they don’t know anyone who regularly goes out armed. Oh yeah.

Emily Jashinsky:

It’s Charles Murray. Yeah.

Inez Stepman:

They don’t know… Just the crossing state lines discourse, which is so ridiculous, as though it’s not a totally ordinary thing in most of the country, especially alongside the state borders to drive 30 minutes while armed. That’s a completely normal thing. My favorite one of these responses, I think it was on MSNBC was like, “This is a license for civilians to carry guns.” Do you know that you’re in America?

Emily Jashinsky:

No.

Inez Stepman:

That’s just not new information.

Emily Jashinsky:

They were saying that a lot in the coverage. They were saying this is going to embolden people who want to enact vigilante justice. Joyce Vance, as a legal analyst on MSNBC, got on the air right after and said, “Does this verdict make us safer?” And her implication was, no, it makes us less safe because people are going to arm themselves to protect their communities. And it’s just like, how are you twisting the logic here to see that as the problem?

Inez Stepman:

Not everyone is that one journalist from two or three years ago who saw earplugs on the ground and was like, “I think these are rubber bullet, guys.” Not everybody in America is that… Look, I’m a cosmopolitan elite drinking a cocktail.

Emily Jashinsky:

That’s true. You are.

Inez Stepman:

It’s not really sort of my scene either. I’ve shot guns a few times. I’ve gone to the range, but it’s not something I do for fun. And it’s not kind of part of my daily life, but my God, have you ever left a big blue city? I mean, guns are part of American life.

Emily Jashinsky:

I know people from blue states on the East coast, people who I love, who shot guns for the first time and cried. It was very traumatic for them in their twenties. So the first time they went to a target range and shot guns, it made them cry.

Inez Stepman:

I didn’t cry, but I would say when I first went to the range, I think I was a sophomore in college. And I was afraid. I was afraid to pull the trigger even at the range. I had this fear around it. And then, of course, once you do it a few times, you lose that fear. There is this huge cultural divide over guns, but I actually want to go back to something you said a little bit earlier about the January 6th riot.

Emily Jashinsky:

Because it was really smart, probably. It was probably really smart.

Inez Stepman:

It was very smart, but about the January 6th rioters — and for those who don’t know, Emily was actually there as a reporter, not as a balcony jumper. She was there for a large part of it and sort of observed firsthand what was going on —

Emily Jashinsky:

I’m a survivor.

Inez Stepman:

Right. She wrote about it. And she also went on some podcasts to talk about it. Well worth your time if you want a very accurate and balanced way of what actually happened in front of that Capitol from her vantage point. Obviously, she didn’t see everything that happened. But what do you think about this? Because there was another sentence handed down in the last 48 hours. And that was the sentence for the QAnon shaman who got, I think 41 months or roughly… So got a few years in prison for… Apparently, they couldn’t really prove that he was breaking in, but they did get him on some minor charges. They threw the book at him for those minor charges and he ends up with about three years in prison. What do you think about that verdict? Do you think it was a just verdict and what does that case tell us about sort of whether our justice system is still administering justice impartially?

Emily Jashinsky:

Yeah. And I’m curious for your sort of legal analysis on that question, because I don’t have a law degree. But I will say Jonathan Last, of all people, wrote something interesting on this, where he called for a sort of beer summit 2.0 where Joe Biden should pardon the QAnon shaman and bring him to the White House and sort of talk through the level of institutional distrust that led him to believe as he now concedes falsely that the election was stolen in some of these ludicrous arguments. And I think that’s really interesting, but I think this is the wrong case to make that point about, because this is somebody who’s clearly very mentally ill. He was a roving protestor, traveled around the West Coast, probably the entire country, I mean, he was in Washington that day, doing this sort of thing.

I think some of the more mundane cases like the woman who took a private plane to DC and seemingly normal small business owner from Texas, pretty wealthy, that would be the more interesting beer summit from my perspective, where there’s no sort of mental illness or anything like that or very extreme beliefs involved. That would actually be really interesting from my perspective, because I did see just a lot of, on that day, very ordinary people. It was a more blue-collar crowd than you would see at a Tea Party rally probably. But it was just a lot of ordinary people. I talked to a woman when we were, I was walking with them down Constitution Avenue. So as we’re walking from President Trump’s speech to the Capitol, a woman from my hometown, I was just talking to people randomly like you’re supposed to do as a journalist.

And I’m talking to this woman who worked in the 6,000-person town that I grew up in. She had never even voted in a presidential election before voting for Donald Trump. She was a retail worker, very sweet, very normal. And she fully believed all of the things that were being said by the kind of MAGA camp about the election. That’s the beer summit. So the QAnon shaman is the least interesting of all of these people to me because he’s clearly exceptional and clearly an outlier. What’s much more interesting is what has rooted deeply into average Americans than it is to some of those sort of exceptional people who were always going to kind of believe fringy things anyway.

Inez Stepman:

Yeah. That’s a fair point, I think. I will confess that this sentence, by contrast to a lot of the folks that I talked to on the right, I did not think this sentence sounded on its face crazy to me. It makes sense to me that, given the political scale of rioting in front and then going into the Capitol building and seating yourself in the U.S. Senate or in the House, I can’t remember which side he went into, but it makes sense to me that they would throw the book at that case.

Emily Jashinsky:

With the intent, by the way, to disrupt the legislative procedure of certifying the election, which is very different than —

Inez Stepman:

[crosstalk 00:30:17] That’s ultimately one of the things he got convicted of if I’m not mistaken.

Emily Jashinsky:

Yes. Yeah. And that’s very different than just waltzing through on a regular day. I mean, they were there to disrupt the legislative procedure and I’m generally with you. I don’t know all of the facts of his case. It doesn’t sound insane to me. I’m not morally offended by it, but it is sort of sad when you factor in his mental illness and the fact that he’s already served 10 months in solitary.

Inez Stepman:

Yeah. So actually what concerns me about some of these cases — well, there are two things that concern me about the January 6th cases. One is the length of time in detention before the trial. I legitimately think that that’s a problem, which is a subspecies of the larger problem here, which is, if we’re talking about losing faith and people who have already lost faith with the institutions, there really isn’t, and that’s why this Rittenhouse verdict, I think, was somewhat of a white pill for so many people on the right. They’ve lost the expectation that justice is going to be administered impartially across the political spectrum when you see the rioters from 2020 get away largely scot-free. There have been very few convictions. There’s been very few consequences despite all of the devastation and destruction that we’ve been talking about for the last, whatever, 20 minutes. There have been very few consequences for those folks. And so when we look at the book being thrown at the January 6th rioters, even this man who’s obviously mentally… He’s competent to stand trial. That’s a higher bar, but he’s obviously got mental issues, this guy, the shaman with the horn.

But I think it’s less objection, in my case, it’s less objection to the sentences that are being handed down in this case and more the sinking feeling of knowing that those sentences would not be handed down and will not be handed down for people who did comparable things, who are on the other side of the political spectrum. That cannot stand for the same reasons that everybody charged with the responsibility of maintaining law and order in 2020 cannot expect everyone to stay home while they abandon that responsibility. You can’t expect people to behave as though they still have trust in the institutions when those institutions have rightfully lost that trust. I’m all in favor of all rioters going to jail. That’s my position. So I haven’t changed that position with regard to the January 6th rioters. I think if they can prove that they trespassed, that they broke in, that they were attempting to stop the democratic procedure that was happening, I think that the book should be thrown at people in that situation. I also think the book should be thrown at people who burned down the town of Kenosha.

And I guess I do come back to with all of this; none of this had to happen if the people who had actual power were more responsible about how they were using it. And I include Donald Trump in that analysis, frankly.

Emily Jashinsky:

Yeah.

Inez Stepman:

Even if he’s right about — and it’s not that the claims regarding the election are, some of them are just completely factually false. But some of them are not. I mean, there was that entire Time Magazine piece that was basically, I mean, if it had been written by somebody on the right, people would’ve been like, “Oh, this is hysterical Alex Jones stuff,” where they said, “Yeah, we literally got together in small rooms and we coordinated.”

Emily Jashinsky:

Cabals.

Inez Stepman:

“And the social media companies. And we made sure that we got rid of bad stories, and we changed the laws before the election. That was a concerted effort to do that, all because we knew we couldn’t survive Donald Trump getting another term.” So in that sense, I don’t think those concerns are crazy. But I do think that a person who cares deeply about the future of this country, even when cheated, has to think about his words and the power that he really has over people. And that’s always been one of my problems with Donald Trump, honestly. I think he takes himself too seriously and the country not seriously enough. And I know that he is a patriot. I believe that. And I think he was a good president for most of the time, but that sort of personality flaw, that character flaw in him, has consequences. It really has consequences. I don’t know, I think here about the precedent of an Andrew Jackson, who, I mean, there’s all kinds of historical debate about whether or not it was a corrupt bargain, but Andrew Jackson lost a close election the first time he ran because the election was thrown to the House of Representatives.

There was a tie, and the election was thrown to the House of Representatives. And so there was some horse-trading and one of the key votes then ended up with a plum position in Cabinet. I’m not going to go into all of the historical details, but it was called the corrupt bargain at the time. There was the feeling both from Jackson and from his followers that he had been robbed of that presidential election. He comes back four years later and he wins. But he concedes. And Nixon concedes In 1960, when we know, I’m fairly confident in just straight up saying this without the allegedly that Joe Kennedy definitely rigged the election for his son, for JFK. Nixon had very good reason to believe that the election had been stolen from him, but he conceded in 1960 because the peaceful transfer of power and the faith in the American election system is something that people should take seriously.

Obviously, the left doesn’t take that seriously anymore, but I don’t think Donald Trump took that seriously. I don’t think he took his responsibility as a voice that people would listen to seriously. so I don’t know. I don’t know where I’m going with this, but [crosstalk 00:36:21].

Emily Jashinsky:

No, no.

Inez Stepman:

People in power in all of this really bother me morally. The people who are responding to the messages given to them by people in power, I have much, much more sympathy for than I have for the people who are abdicating their responsibility as folks who are actually wielding power.

Emily Jashinsky:

One of my biggest problems with Donald Trump — and I don’t, I mean, I completely understand the argument that dwelling on the negatives about Trump while the left is going scorched earth on our culture is not the most constructive way to spend our time. I understand that, but probably my biggest irritation is what you just touched on. And it’s extremely salient right now because we’re watching these sort of laboratories in various states where it’s Ron DeSantis or Blake Masters or J. D. Vance or Glenn Youngkin, who are learning some of the really key lessons from Donald Trump and trying to do it without what’s clearly the baggage. I mean, over the Trump administration as a journalist, you’d talk to, and probably even anyone, you talk to Trump supporters, the one thing they would say over and over again is, “I wish he would just stop the tweeting.”

That’s not something they’re being told to say or conditioned to say by anybody. It was just genuinely what a lot of Trump supporters, hardcore and just regular Trump supporters really thought. And my biggest sort of irritation with him is that I think he really exploited the distrust, the reasonable distrust, that a lot of disenfranchised people and enfranchised people in this country have in the system post-recession. This is really, really running very deep. And I think, to be a responsible steward of that trust, you shouldn’t traffic in hyperbole meant to advance your individual cause over the truth. And that’s one of the big problems that I always, I don’t really mind exaggerations in politics. I mean, it’s hilarious to hear the hysterics from the left every time Trump basically partook in normal banal political hyperbole. But when you’re telling people that the election was stolen, then, of course, they’re going to go to the Capitol and riot. Of course. That’s what people are going to do.

Of course. And so that’s still one of, I think, the biggest, I mean, I blame the people who rioted for the rioting. I think Donald Trump could have probably done more to tamp down on it, but yeah, I mean, I blame basically the left for creating this entire climate, not the left, the centrist uniparty in control, the establishment, the uniparty establishment for all of this. That said, the reason that’s an interesting conversation is because we’re watching Ron DeSantis and Blake Masters do, I think, a lot of what Trump did, talk to the press and to the political establishment the way that Donald Trump did very successfully. We saw a little bit of this with Glen Youngkin very successfully take on the culture war, very successfully take on the political establishment. And that’s the future of the right. And that’s a huge thing to work out.

I mean, just a few years ago, I would’ve said there is no Trumpism without Donald Trump. He is singular and he is essential to Trumpism. At the same time, that said, there can be sort of aspects of Trumpism that go on without Trump that can be successful for the right and for conservatives. I think Chris Rufo is doing — there’s been so much navel-gazing post-NatCon. And that’s one of the things that drives me crazy is these dueling op-eds and everybody who was there wants to write about what they saw. And I really think that’s an affliction of the right, because there are these conservative media outlets that have low barriers to entry compared with the institutional media or the legacy media. And so everybody wants to opine because everybody thinks they have a uniquely interesting insight. And meanwhile, Rufo is out there doing stuff, you know what I mean?

Inez Stepman:

You and I have uniquely interesting insight. So I don’t know what you’re talking about.

Emily Jashinsky:

But that’s a given. That’s a given. That’s a given. But anyway, that’s why I think, and Trump, for all of his blathering on Twitter, he didn’t dillydally in the way that is sort of normal for Washington. He would do things. He loved to actually just do stuff. And I think that the sort of lessons are actually…. Blake Masters, as we were recording this, just put out a statement on the Rittenhouse verdict. That is something that Republicans five years ago, they would not be aggressively putting out statements. They’d be avoiding the press for the entire weekend while they’re in their home district so as not to get questions about it, because they don’t want to have to answer and talk about the fact that they thought the Rittenhouse verdict was good, despite the fact that their entire base thought that. And so there are real changes happening, but I think you raise a point that’s, don’t play fast and loose with the truth in the same way, as we’re sort of moving ahead, that Donald Trump did because it’s exploitive and it’s not a sort of moral or responsible way to approach the people who are turning to you for the right things, the right facts.

Inez Stepman:

Having critiqued the right and Donald Trump, I think we should move on to critiquing the center.

Emily Jashinsky:

Oh please.

Inez Stepman:

So you brought up the Youngkin victory a few times and I want to tie together a few elements that may seem at first to be sort of disparate and have nothing to do with each other. One is the Rittenhouse verdict. One is the victory for Glenn Youngkin, delivered primarily by moderate and even sort of center-left folks who voted for Joe Biden in 2020, who voted in a Republican, primarily on cultural war issues, primarily on education, on these debates about critical race theory. And I know there’s some dispute about whether or not we should actually interpret the race that way, and everybody has their own little Rorschach test for how that race should go.

I’m pretty certain that that was the core of that race. But look, I could be wrong. I’ve been wrong many times before, but I think that was the core of that race. And I think the fact that that was a successful bid in a +10 democratic state is something very notable about the future of the Republican party. And finally stuff that’s been going on at Yale Law School, which at first glance, who cares what goes on at Yale Law School, they’re [crosstalk 00:42:57] around the world after they graduate. But it does tend to be insular. And there’s a lot of sort of personalities and things that seem almost gossipy about the series of stories that have been happening at Yale Law School, where administrators — totally unrelated stories — where administrators have told students that they’re — to me, the common thread here is administrators telling students, representatives of the university telling students, that their careers as lawyers would be in jeopardy because they wouldn’t do something the administration wanted for political reasons.

In one case it was denounce Professor Amy Chua for something that these students who are now suing say was not true, that the university wanted them to attest to things that were not true and threaten their careers over it. And then there was a kid who sent out an email, including the horrible word trap house —

Emily Jashinsky:

Yes.

Inez Stepman:

— party, which would be kind of a typical woke story on a college campus, the kind of thing that is really important, but I feel like, at this point, everybody knows about, that there are these woke mobs on college campuses, and they get offended over something utterly ridiculous. But the twist in this story was that the administration called in this kid and basically threatened his career, said, “Oh, we’re going to have to send this to, the Bar does a character and fitness section of the Bar. You wouldn’t want anything to happen. You need to sign this prefabricated apology statement.” This is kind of Soviet tactics; again, the notable thing to me about that was how it’s advanced into the administration, but that’s in some sense predictable.

But the thing that I see in common with all three of those stories, and actually, I should add something to the Yale story: at the end of this saga so far, the dean who had acted really atrociously up until this point actually wrote out an email reaffirming Yale Law School’s commitment to free speech, reaffirming the Federalist Society’s right to exist on campus, although she stopped short of actually apologizing to the student, Trent. And it was sort of too little, too late for a lot of people. And I totally understand that perspective and kind of agree with it. I think it is too little, too late for this dean.

Emily Jashinsky:

Yes.

Inez Stepman:

But the reason that I bring that up is that you had this sort of buckling of an administration in Yale Law School that was going along with the very worst of, sort of, the liberal woke left, and then had to backpedal. Because they came under so much pressure that they had to backpedal. So you have these three separate incidents. You have the, regrettably at this point, surprising verdict to some people of a very clear, just verdict in the Rittenhouse trial of an institution functioning as it should in the court system. You have a victory to Glenn Youngkin, who’s a moderate Republican, but on the basis of cultural issues delivered by people, mostly center and center-left, the people who flipped that election. And then you have the heart of the institutional beast, the dean of Yale Law School having to backtrack on her sort of woke pronouncements of the past and the university’s behavior.

Even though that that behavior is totally atrocious, I would say that hits similarly to me because I expect the atrocious behavior, and I’m not sure that I would expect her to backtrack. So if you string those three things together, I think what you see is that the… Oh, and I guess a fourth thing, John McWhorter becoming a columnist at the New York Times, which I actually think is quite significant, and a relatively uncensored columnist at the New York Times in the sense that his pieces at the New York Times have sounded very much in tone like his pieces prior to the New York Times, at least to my read.

I think you are, there’s a case to be constructed now that there is a center and even center-left backlash that goes beyond the John McWhorter and Andrew Sullivan crowd, that they weren’t just representatives of a particular liberal left ideology, but that there is a broader number of people, whether they are in academia or whether there are suburban moms who generally vote Democrat in Northern Virginia, there is a backlash to the illiberality and the extreme extremism of the woke left. And I think that the danger of that is becoming very clear even to people in the center and the center-left. My question for you is, what are your hopes for that backlash, one, and two, I guess my opinion’s kind of built into the second thing, because they are on the center and because they’re coming to this place of seeing this danger from the left for the first time when folks on the right have seen it for a much longer period of time, at least a decade, I guess I kind of doubt they’re going to be in favor of what’s necessary, in terms of really gutting institutions that have gone…

I guess, essentially, I’ll rephrase it: Has the rot in the institution has gone so far that any solution from the liberal left, even if there is a kind of uprising, is it too late for that uprising? What kind of solutions are they likely to put forward? Are those solutions going to be enough to actually push some of this ideology out of the institutions? Are they salvageable, or is the right sort of correct that these institutions are mostly completely unsalvageable, we need to start from scratch?

Emily Jashinsky:

Well, I think it’s both. And that’s just my quick perspective is that I think the institutions are unsalvageable, but if you start your own institutions and compete with them, that’s where they sort of have to strip down and start from the ground up. And I’m not saying that that’s going to happen, but the way that I see it in response to your question is that it feels like a race against the clock. I think it’s a center-left and a center, a revolt of the center and of the center-left. John McWhorter is a great example. He was on Federalist trader out this week, center-left. Bari Weiss, center-left even on key cultural issues. And that’s not to say Republicans are suddenly going to change their tune on gay marriage. That’s obviously not going to happen, but the center-left and the center are sort of aligned in this, I mean, even for some people, I don’t even know why we’re calling John McWhorter center-left. He’s only center-left because he’s anti-woke because the left has lurched so dramatically in such short time in one direction.

And that’s just sort of how that happens. And I think you’re right to discern a revolt. But the question from my perspective is, can the left, sort of to the point earlier about gen Z, can this actually happen in time, or have the minds of enough people been polluted fundamentally against this country? And as you and I have talked about this, we’ve had really interesting conversations about this. I remember one, it was super humid night this summer, we were talking about this. If you cannot fundamentally agree that the country is redeemable — and the left does not; that’s the entire premise of the 1619 Project, essentially, that there’s nothing fundamentally redeemable about the United States of America — so if you can’t agree with that, then what is there to save in this project? And I mean, psychologically, intellectually, logically, there’s really just no reason to hold fast to any of our traditions or our founding.

So if enough people’s minds have already been polluted, and if they get into the workforce and into the voting booths in high enough numbers, I don’t know that this is salvageable and that we don’t just sort of end up like a giant version of Norway. We’ve seen backlash in some Scandinavian countries and some European countries. I mean, people love to use the Hungary example. You can point to other examples in different countries, too, of sort of cultural backlash. We’ve seen that happen even in countries that sort of codify their leftism. So it’s not, I mean, I don’t know, it’s not that all hope is lost, but I do think that this is a race. And that’s the way, sort of fundamentally, I see it is that it’s a race for sort of sanity. And if you’re in the thrall of this religion as McWhorter describes it, and I don’t always love that comparison, but I think the way he lays it out is very fair because he’s not saying it is literally a faith. He’s saying that it has the psychological effect of religion in all of these salient ways. So if you’re in the thralls of that kind of religion, you won’t be reasoned with so it’s a race to see how many people we can save before they become true believers of the church of wokeness.

Inez Stepman:

I think you’re right to say it’s a race. I don’t know that the Norway option is an option for the United States because of other cultural and just facts about this country.

Emily Jashinsky:

Yeah. You’re not taking guns without, yeah.

Inez Stepman:

Yeah, I tend to think the United States is, and bear in mind that I think most of this is really a positive thing about the United States, the United States is young and vigorous and robust. Our national character is still, we are still a young country. We are incredibly diverse, especially compared to Norway, Sweden, even with their recent immigration. There’s no comparison in terms of homogeneity in the system. We have a very individualistic culture.

Emily Jashinsky:

Material and cultural wealth. We are miles ahead of every other country.

Inez Stepman:

[crosstalk 00:52:43] prosperity, there is no cultural, and we’re seeing this with the inflation and with shortages and stuff, there is no American sort of precedent in the American mind, even though Americans have suffered greatly from want over the centuries, I’m thinking about the Great Depression. But even during the Great Depression, America was suffering less than the rest of the rest of the world. Americans have always been relatively prosperous, from colonial days relatively prosperous. Americans are not… I don’t think America is going to do socialism like Sweden or tyranny like the SSR. I actually think it’s going to be worse because there isn’t anything that holds all of these wildly disparate peoples together. So I don’t think slow decline, I kind of disagree with Ross Douthat in this sense. I don’t think that slow decline is really in the cards for America.

I think things will change much, much faster because of who we are as a people. And I think all of those characteristics about us as a people are really great. But I think, in this case, it’s going to be spectacular. If we don’t pull out of the dive, it’s going to crash in a spectacular way. It’s not going to sort of slowly decline in the way that old Europe did. I don’t think that’s kind of in the American cards. And you see this in how completely incompetent American institutions are in comparison to European, even the socialist institutions of some European countries are less incompetent than the DMV here. We don’t do government well.

Emily Jashinsky:

Yeah. It’s because there’s a huge chunk of us that doesn’t want to do government well.

Inez Stepman:

Right, yeah. Well, the best people in America are entrepreneurs. They make millions of dollars. They do all these other things. Actually, I think the show The Americans really portrays this well, even though initially it really ticked me off when I was watching it. I was like, “Why do they portray all of the people who are on the American side as these dullards who are completely one, uninteresting. They’re bad at their jobs. And then all of the people on the Soviet side, they’re fascinating. They have all these sort of complex interests, and they’re really good at their jobs.” Well, there’s something true to that because the elite of Soviet society went into their KGB. They’re selecting. The way to get ahead in that kind of society is all the best and brightest want to go into the KGB or want to go into the party or want to go into, if you don’t have any moral principles anyway.

But America isn’t like that, and so our government services, nobody in America, we don’t teach kids to, even though we have this larger compliance bureaucratic sector, I don’t think kids lay awake at night being like, “Mommy, I want to be a bureaucrat. I want to be a high-ranking bureaucrat in Washington.” I don’t think that’s part of the American soul and character. I think that’s good, but I do think it’ll mean we’ll do decline a lot worse. We can’t do managed decline. I don’t think that’s in the cards for us. But returning to the sort of rebellion for a minute, what I really worry about is with regard to these folks in the center. And we can segue this into what we should do if we get another bite at this power apple, because all of the polls — and I’m scared something is going to happen between now and 2022 now — but they look good for the Republican party.

They also look good for the center-left folks in the sense that we’re focusing on the most dangerous aspects of the left. And so I think when Trump is a little bit out of the picture, and now that we’ve had this disastrous time under Joe Biden, I do think that there will be a sort of coalition that develops. Whether it can hold together, I don’t know. But I think Youngkin shows that you can put together these different elements of the coalition and you and I have chatted about this in the past, so whether it’s possible to put together a working class from Ohio suburbs of Virginia coalition. There’s a lot of reasons why that wouldn’t work, but it seems for now out of expedience, that is kind of coming together, that coalition is kind of coming together. What I worry about is that, because of the race you are referring to, I kind of think we get one shot at this and that the next people, whatever, if they’re center-left, whether they’re right-wing, the next people who are anti-woke who take substantial power, political power, it seems to me that they have to make institutional and transformative change that stops that clock in a way. We have to radically change the education system in this country. We have to radically reign in bureaucratic power in this country.

These are not tax cut bills, or these are not even something like healthcare, which neither party has really been able to move since Obamacare. And Obamacare itself was a massive compromise for the left. So even something that I would call a sort of intermediate transformative issue like healthcare in the sense that it’s not dealing with the fundamental structure of the country, but it is a huge part, it’s restructuring a sixth of the economy. So it’s sort of a mid-tier project for a political party whereas the kind of gimmes or the low-hanging fruit will be more spending for the Republican party as tax cuts. Whatever it is. It seems to me that the solutions have to be radical and transformative enough to stop that clock.

And then I still think we’re not out of the woods because, as you point out, we already have a generation and a half of people who have really been poisoned by this separation between themselves and their country, and fundamentally see their country as irredeemable. And the Republic is still going to have to live with the fact that that bulk — and the millennials are the largest generation — so that bulk of voters is going to move through the power structure, not only as voters, but through all of… They’re going to move up in corporations and they’re going to head up and there are going to be a bunch of presidents who are millennial. So we’re still going to have to deal with that. It’s still going to be a very bumpy ride, but it seems to me that if we get a shot at changing this, those solutions have to be transformative.

What is done by the next administration in power that is anti-woke, whichever part of that political spectrum it comes from. And I worry if it comes from the sort of center-left, or even if the center-left has a large seat in it, that they will shy away from the kind of massive transformations that have to be done. You’ll get your Anne Applebaum-type columns saying, “Oh, no, we can’t fire bureaucrats. That’s fascism.”

Emily Jashinsky:

[crosstalk 00:59:53]

Inez Stepman:

Right. I worry that we’ll miss this opportunity because I really, I agree with you wholeheartedly that it is a race and you have to bear in mind that time is on the side of the wokes here.

Emily Jashinsky:

I think average people have more power in our culture than they do in our government. And so to the extent you’re, you are completely right that if there’s, Glenn Youngkin’s actually a really good example. Glenn Youngkin is already not doing the DeSantis thing where he overrides county mask mandates. It’s another, is Glenn Youngkin the man who signed favorable BLM stuff while he was at the head of the Carlisle group and favorable LGBTQ stuff when he was at the head of the Carlisle group, is he the vehicle for this? Is he because he’s kind of moderate on those issues the perfect vehicle, or is he the antithesis of the perfect vehicle? These are good questions. We don’t have answers to them yet. We have reasons to be extremely skeptical, but I think you’re completely right, that center right, center-left people don’t have the stomach for radical transformation, but that’s because they’re still sort of responsive to a very unhealthy culture and legislation.

It’s common sense that narrow legislation that bans literal racism from our education curricula, that’s something that Republican governors should pass. Do I understand the Kmele Foster argument? Absolutely. Do I think still, though, that there’s a way to have a narrow ban on actual racist curricula? Absolutely. And most of the woke curricula would fall under racism. I mean, it absolutely would, just if you swapped it out — I was talking to John McWhorter about this this week — if you swapped it out with texts that were in favor of Jim Crow and you took away the context, people wouldn’t know. They would be like, “Wow, this is really racist.” So yeah, there’s certain things like that that can be done.

But when I think about these issues, what scares me more than anything is just all of the trends that have created immense alienation and that have left us sort of on Facebook for our psychological comforts and our human relations and on Instagram. We have a generation of people that has a stunning level of diagnosable mental illnesses. And I think we don’t fully understand social media’s impact on that yet. But when you look at what happened immediately after the iPhone was introduced, which is when I was in high school, it is immediate. I mean the effect seems to be immediate. We need more research on this, but that’s what scares me even more than the sort of lack of legislative muster to handle these things. Because I think our culture is going more deep into a very dangerous place. And when you talk about the slow death of old Europe, it’s interesting because America is an enlightenment project, but it’s not a secular enlightenment project and it never has been.

And I don’t think we’ve ever seen this level of secular modernity. Of course we haven’t. That’s the sort of point of modernity, but this is not something that, and Bret Weinstein and Heather Heying’s new book is really good on this, technology has hit a clip where it’s evolving way faster than human nature can keep up with, that the human brain, the human body, can keep up with. We’re in a very anti-human time. And that sort of gives me hope in the sense that the sort of human nature can win out at the ballot box. And by human nature, I literally mean things like Glenn Youngkin getting elected because you shouldn’t enable young men to use the same restrooms as young women when they’re hormonal teenagers. It’s obviously unsafe. Those sorts of things like Jordan Peterson’s book being a runaway bestseller. There is sorts of things that, will human nature win out?

Sure. But that still probably gets to the race part. Can the elites dominate this from top-down? And I don’t actually think legislation is the most powerful avenue or the courts are the most powerful avenue here. Barronelle Stutzman just settled this week after years of being, these are the most anti-American tragedy that I can think of legally, this woman who is just a sweet Christian florist ended up having to pay $5,000 to these people who just keep suing her, because she wouldn’t serve a gay wedding, wouldn’t partake in, I think it was art, and Inez, you would know this better than I do, that celebrates a gay wedding. I mean, that’s your canary in the coal mine and that’s been happening for years. So this is, to me, it is just there’s so few things that we can do legislatively that have the same power of things that we could do culturally.

Inez Stepman:

I think… I’m not sure I agree with that. I got to think about it more because —

Emily Jashinsky:

That’s good.

Inez Stepman:

I do think, I do think that legislation does, to this extent, I agree with Sohrab Ahmari and some of these others, legislation and culture are locked in a loop, right?

Emily Jashinsky:

A hundred percent. Yes. I agree totally.

Inez Stepman:

One thousand percent we changed the culture with the Civil Rights Act.

Emily Jashinsky:

Yes. A hundred percent.

Inez Stepman:

[crosstalk 01:05:08] the enforcement of the law, it changed the culture.

Emily Jashinsky:

It’s our norms. It affects our norms. A hundred percent. You see this with marijuana. Yeah. I agree. Terry Schilling always says, “Absolutely politics is downstream of culture, but culture is also downstream of politics.” It’s totally true.

Inez Stepman:

And as an aside, every time that is used wrong by that team, I get so frustrated because Andrew Breitbart could not be accused by literally anyone of not caring about the culture war. And actually, I think that people are using his quote to mean something that he absolutely did not mean by it. Which is, he was trying to tell the Republican party and the conservative movement that they needed to pay attention to culture. He wasn’t specifying whether that would be legislation, but I think he understood we’re beyond the point of dinner conversations, which was Reagan’s solution. Reagan’s solution in his farewell address, he points out everything that is happening to us now. He was very prophetic about it. But his solution at the end is, I don’t know what to do about this other than we need to have these conversations around our dinner table and we need to change the culture. I think Breitbart was very, obviously not knocking Reagan here, he was leaving office in 1988 and 1989.

Emily Jashinsky:

Yeah. He had the benefit of —

Inez Stepman:

And Breitbart said this in 2012, so totally different context. But I think he was doing the same wake-up call. He was saying, “Expend your political capital on culture because if you don’t, you’re going to lose everything.” And I think in that way he was also very prophetic. And I don’t like people, I agree with their larger point, but I don’t like people taking that quote, I think, out of context and to say that we shouldn’t legislate on cultural issues. Because that’s kind of what they’re saying, we shouldn’t apply political solutions to cultural problems. I don’t think that’s what Andrew Breitbart was saying at all. But in any case, I want to close this out with, and every time I think we’re going to do this on these After Dark episodes, but Emily, what’s one thing that you have read or listened to in the last month that you think probably did not get the analysis or the coverage that it deserved and maybe the listeners have not seen on their feeds yet?

Emily Jashinsky:

Yeah. This is a really easy answer for me. It would be David Sirota’s new podcast on Audible called Meltdown. It’s about the great recession, but actually about the fallout from the great recession and our government’s extremely lackluster response to it. He goes into the mechanics of why that happened and how that happened, how that lackluster response was mounted, and why with some really good insight from people who were on the inside. And to understand, and I was sort of fairly young — I guess I was in high school and early college as this was all playing out — but it does really, I think, dimensionalize the current moment when you understand how profound the left and the right’s response to the great recession, how profoundly consequential that was in the level of institutional distrust, when you are reminded of the degree of loss that people suffered in sort of very specific personal accounts. It adds a lot of perspective, I think, to the current moment, and it’s super compelling. Sirota’s good reporter. So I highly recommend that.

Inez Stepman:

Yeah, that sounds really fascinating. I’m going to have to check that out because I think that’s something that people miss about the Tea Party all the time. A huge part of the response of the Tea Party was not just to debt and spending, but was to the inherent unfairness of elites getting a bailout while everybody else did not. And I think that was a huge part of what launched the Tea Party, this feeling that the game is rigged.

Emily Jashinsky:

There’s a whole episode on the Santelli rant in David Sirota’s podcast. And it’s very critical of it because the Santelli rant itself was kind of anti-bailout in a different way.

Inez Stepman:

Bailout.

Emily Jashinsky:

But it was anti-bailout in a different way, but it’s very, very interesting to get fresh perspective on it.

Inez Stepman:

Yeah. Yeah. No, I think a lot of the response to the Santelli rant was basically, “Yeah, they should not get a bailout.” These are people who made responsible choices and responded to that Santelli bailout, they said, “Yeah, we don’t agree with this bailout,” but also they didn’t want to bail out their neighbors, but they really didn’t want to bail out the banks. There was huge sentiment in the Tea Party, basically you made your bed and you lie with it. And anyway, I think that’s a really great recommendation.

My recommendation is going to be this Manhattan Institute event that I attended in person, but you can watch on the YouTubes or on their site, Manhattan Institute. And the event is called Black Patriotism, The Case for Black Patriotism. It is a talk from Glenn Loury, and he gave a very similar talk at NatCon, so the talk is not new. He’s also written up that case very, very persuasively. I mean, literally he kind of brought a tear to my eye when I was listening to it. But what I want to point you to, that case absolutely worth seeing but I don’t think it qualifies as undercover because I saw it a lot of places and probably chances are a lot of you have had the pleasure of either listening to, or reading that case from Glenn Loury, which I think is well worth your time if you haven’t.

But the undercover thing at this event was a response from a guy named John Wood who works with an organization called Better Angels. But I think the best sort of check for myself that I’ve heard in terms of my instincts about, not about BLM as an organization, for example. And he’s definitely sort of center or right-of-center, but about the relationship, the complicated relationship, that lot of people in black America have with the country. And I think the way that he presented that “rebuttal” — and I’m going to put rebuttal in quotes cause it wasn’t really a rebuttal. I mean, I think in a lot of things he agrees with the Glenn Loury perspective, but I think it was more of a defense for sensitivity and a little bit of human understanding about how sometimes even justified rage can be unproductive. And it really did remind me of, actually in parts of his rebuttal, especially, for example, addressing a type of honor culture, he doesn’t use those words at all, but a type of honor culture among some sort of cultural strata of black Americans that does lead to, for example, a lot of violence.

I mean, that’s something that they shared with the Irish when the Irish came with certain grievances, mostly against England, but then replicated in the United States. And obviously, those experiences are different in a lot of ways, but it reminded me even of sort of my own experience culturally, there is such a thing as sort of passed down distrust and passed down generational stories, and it is important for us, I think, to remember that those stories of genuine oppression, no matter how much they are twisted by certain parts of the left and the woke left and in unproductive ways, that those stories do hold a lot of pain and that that pain doesn’t necessarily go away in a generation or two. It does continue through families and it results in learned attitudes, both in relation to the world and also in relation specifically to patriotism or government or how you feel about your country.

And I just thought it was really well worth listening to. It was a very serious case for understanding and a little bit of sensitivity. And it struck me that it must be particularly painful to have that kind of history in the country that, to everyone else, for folks like my parents and virtually everybody else who came to America voluntarily, has been the promised land. It has been the land of opportunity. And it has that been that way for black Americans as well. But I can understand that that relationship is much more complicated than it is for anybody else. And it must have been particularly painful for that relationship to be one of oppression in the country that was sort of the land of freedom and opportunity for everyone else around the world and the beacon of hope for everyone else around the world.

So highly recommend that rebuttal. I think that it’s worth your time to kind of check some of your own premises if you are in agreement with folks like me and Emily. And just to remind you all, we will be doing these After Dark episodes once a month. We’ll be doing them. They’ll be the last Wednesday of each month. So come check out our After Dark episodes. We’re always happy to hear from you. And thank you for listening. So thank you to our listeners.

High Noon with Inez Stepman, as well as After Dark, is the production of the Independent Women’s Forum. As always, you can send comments and questions to [email protected] Please help us out by hitting the subscribe button, leaving us a comment or review on Apple Podcast, Acast, Google Play, YouTube, or iwf.org, or wherever else you get your podcasts. Be brave, and we’ll see you next time on High Noon.