Tag Archives: Society

#77 – Defending Trump’s Presidency

pexels-photo-208724 Cropped [Problem with the web audio player? Click here for the full range of listening options]

Dr. Larry Fedewa says that Donald Trump would do well to tweet less often and to rein in some of his unseemly language, but, nevertheless, Dr. Fedewa argues that Trump is doing a good job as United States President. In this edition of The Aidan Project, Aidan is speaking to Dr. Larry Fedewa, a conservative political commentator, with countless media contributions to his name, including the Washington Times. How successful has Trump’s administration been in gaining legislative support? What can be said of Trump’s foreign policy? Is Trump a new Ronald Reagan or is he more akin to a much earlier President, Andrew Jackson? Could Trump face impeachment, and if so, how does the impeachment process work? What is the future of the odd relationship between Trump and the mainstream media? All of these questions, and much more, are considered during this intriguing episode.

Aidan also spoke to Dr. Fedewa for the bonus audio episode, #75 – Project Extra: The Gun Debate.

For more information on Dr. Larry, you can visit his website at http://www.mypoliticalinsights.com. Larry is also on Twitter at https://twitter.com/lawrencefedewa, and you can view his Amazon author page at https://www.amazon.com/Lawrence-J.-Fedewa/e/B076P8Q1W8 (US) and https://www.amazon.co.uk/Lawrence-J.-Fedewa/e/B076P8Q1W8 (UK).

Expanded show notes:

‘Trump says Kim meeting is ‘in the making’ despite concerns’, BBC News website, 10 March 2018.

‘Even when Trump is right, mainstream media downplays it rather than be honest — and more media embarrassments’, Fox News website, 10 March 2018.

“He who knows only his own side of the case, knows little of that. His reasons may be good, and no one may have been able to refute them. But if he is equally unable to refute the reasons on the opposite side; if he does not so much as know what they are, he has no ground for preferring either opinion.”

John Stuart Mill (1806-1873)

The Aidan Project on social media:

The mailing list
Twitter
Facebook

#75 – Project Extra: The Gun Debate

bullet-3126675_1280 Cropped[Problem with the web audio player? Click here for the full range of listening options]

In this bonus edition of The Aidan Project, Aidan is speaking to Dr. Larry Fedewa, a conservative political commentator, with countless media contributions to his name, including the Washington Times. In this mini-episode, Dr. Larry offers his reflections on the 14 February 2018 mass shooting at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, before discussing the wider issue of guns in American culture. Dr. Larry talks about the Second Amendment, the failures of the FBI, the culture clash in the US between rural and urban areas, and more. How soluble is the gun problem in America? Or is the problem less about guns, but more about mental health and law enforcement? Dr. Larry provides considered insight into these questions.

For more information on Dr. Larry, you can visit his website at http://www.mypoliticalinsights.com. Larry is also on Twitter at https://twitter.com/lawrencefedewa, and you can view his Amazon author page at https://www.amazon.com/Lawrence-J.-Fedewa/e/B076P8Q1W8 (US) and https://www.amazon.co.uk/Lawrence-J.-Fedewa/e/B076P8Q1W8 (UK).

Expanded show notes:

Aidan’s full-length conversation with Dr. Larry will be released in the coming weeks. In this upcoming episode, Aidan and Dr. Larry talk for around an hour regarding the presidency of Donald Trump. In a wide-ranging conversation, all aspects of Trump’s administration are discussed, from foreign affairs to the president’s battle with the press. To ensure you do not miss an episode, you can subscribe to the podcast or join the mailing list at http://www.theaidanproject.org/podcast/.

I recommend reading Sam Harris’ 2003 article, The Riddle of the Gun, which is available at https://samharris.org/the-riddle-of-the-gun/.

Aidan and Mary Shores spoke briefly about the Florida shooting in #74 – Déjà Vu: Consciousness and Free Will.

#70 – Notes on the Great Debate: Paine Versus Burke

architecture-2892_1920 Cropped
[Problem with the web audio player? Click here for the full range of listening options]

In this edition of The Aidan Project, Aidan looks at the remarkable debate that is, according to some historians, the origins of left versus right politics – or progressive versus conservative. In the late eighteenth century, Edmund Burke went up against Thomas Paine, each offering entirely different opinions on the French Revolution. Paine, writing in his most celebrated book, Rights of Man (1791), argued: “Whatever is my right as a man is also the right of another; and it becomes my duty to guarantee as well as to possess.” Burke had spoken out against the revolt in France, saying the chaos and upheaval would eventually be settled by a dictatorship. He was right. Paine certainly did not see Napoleon coming. Britain avoided revolution; instead, Britain moved further to the right. This episode further explores some of the themes from episode 69, The Churchill Myth: Many Dark Hours. Aidan also gives his damning verdict on the dire standard of discourse on social media, where debate is certainly not great.

Related links:

How to Criticize with Kindness: Philosopher Daniel Dennett on the Four Steps to Arguing Intelligently.

#69 – The Churchill Myth: Many Dark Hours

#58 – Notes on Shame and the Modern Pillory

Guest Appearance on Miracles and Atheists

‘The Great Debate’ bibliography:

Paul Langford, ‘Burke, Edmund (1729/30–1797)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography web site, http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/4019, September 2012, accessed on 14 October 2017.

Mark Philp, ‘Paine, Thomas (1737–1809)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography web site, http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/21133, May 2008, accessed on 14 Oct 2017.

Jonathan Sperber, Revolutionary Europe 1780-1850, (Harlow: Pearson, 2000).

Adam Zamoyski, Phantom Terror: The Threat of Revolution and the Repression of Liberty 1789-1848 [audiobook], (New York: Harper Audio, 2014).

#65 – Project Extra: Trump Tower or Bleak House

trump-2745242_1920 Cropped
[Problem with the web audio player? Click here for the full range of listening options]

In this bonus episode of the podcast, Aidan and cultural anthropologist, Jared Miracle, discuss Donald Trump’s legislative victory on tax reform. Republicans from the Senate and the House of Representatives have agreed on a joint bill which will sanction significant restructuring to US taxation. The Washington Post and Fox News, to the surprise of nobody, have taken entirely different views on the bill. These contrasting stances are typical of the polarisation of political discourse in the age of Trump. Writing in the Post, Fareed Zakaria claimed that the bill is “ushering in a bleak future.” However, David Moore of Fox News argued that Democrats “can’t ever be happy by anything the president or congressional Republicans do.” According to the media, America is either doomed or is on the march towards greatness. Who to believe? In this episode, Aidan looks at the media’s reaction to Trump’s big win, before Jared explains his concerns about the bill. Aidan also discusses what historians are saying about the reforms.

This bonus audio was recorded after Aidan and Jared’s conversation for an upcoming special episode, ‘2017: The Year in Review’. The episode will be released later this month. For more information on Jared Miracle, you can find Jared’s web site at http://www.jaredmiracle.com, on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/dockungfu, and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/jaredmiraclewriter

Related links:

Historians on the tax fight: “This was manufactured urgency”, Vox news, 18 December 2017

US tax bill: Republicans agree sweeping changes, BBC News, 16 December 2017

The GOP tax bill may be the worst piece of legislation in modern history, The Washington Post, 14 December 2017

GOP tax cuts will strengthen our economy and drive Democrats crazy, Fox News, 14 December 2017

Related tweets:

Archive of all podcasts with Jared Miracle

#63 – Tribalism Aboard the Ship of Theseus

pexels-photo-89095
[Problem with the web audio player? Click here for the full range of listening options]

In this edition of The Aidan Project, Aidan welcomes back philosopher, Dr. Benedict Beckeld, for a conversation which explores the current political climate, and delves into intriguing questions regarding the self and personal agency. Why has the political climate become so polarised? What is causing this failure of communication? And how do we understand our own personal self – is the self an illusion and do we have the ability to have acted differently in a given situation? Could letting go of an illusory idea of ourselves liberate us to better live, love and learn? Aidan and Benedict discuss tribalism, free speech, political discourse, journalism, truth, relativism, and the deep questions of the self and free will. Aidan and Benedict also both share an example of an unwitting experience in less than honourable journalism – in Benedict’s case, his comments on inner and outer beauty were used in an egregiously misrepresentative manner by an American tabloid newspaper. The episode begins with a summary of the theme from Aidan and Benedict’s previous conversation, episode 12, Western Downfall: Why Trump Won. Benedict explains whether he feels the conditions which led to Donald Trump’s presidency have begun to change or have continued unabated. Dr. Beckeld was born in Sweden to Brazilian and Jewish parents, but emigrated with his family to New York City as a teenager. Dr. Beckeld’s philosophy has thus far focused primarily on matters of aesthetics, ethics, contemporary culture, political philosophy and the philosophy of history. For more information on Dr. Beckeld, you can find him online at http://www.benedictbeckeld.com and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/benedictbeckeld

Links to items discussed on this show:

Benedict Beckeld web site
Benedict Beckeld on YouTube
Benedict Beckeld, Monism and Inner Beauty, 1 June 2017.
Western Downfall: Why Trump Won

#61 – Best of the Project, Vol 2: Donald Trump

pexels-photo-462365
[Problem with the web audio player? Click here for the full range of listening options]

The Aidan Project remains intact after a year of podcasting  – thank you so very much for your support. During 12 months of covering the sublime and, in light of a great deal of madness, no shortage of the ridiculous, it is time to look back and reflect at what has been happening. The theme of this compilation is the remarkable anointing and presidency of Donald Trump. In a tour de force of audio, Aidan presents highlights from episodes which have addressed Trump’s ascendancy and rule. With contributions from a range of guests over the past 12 months, in addition to highlights from a number of Aidan’s solo, ‘Notes on…’ episodes, this ‘best of’ presents discussions on the controversy, intrigue and leadership of the inimitable 45th president of the United States of America. Featured in this edition include political philosopher, Benedict Beckeld, who outlines his theory as to why Trump won the election; malware guru, Ran Levi, who explains the allegations pertaining to Russian meddling during the election cycle; Richard Keeble, Chairman of the Orwell Society, who gives his verdict on “alternative facts”; veteran journalist, Gary Herman, who outlines the challenges of a seemingly post-truth world, and documentary filmmaker, Christopher Hale, who explicates Trump’s disturbing lack of understanding of history. All this and a great deal more in a bumper compilation episode.

Episodes featured in this collection:

#2 – The Man of the Year and The Führer
#10 – George Orwell Versus Alternative Facts
#12 – Western Downfall: Why Trump Won
#16 – On Liberty and Free Speech
#17 – The Fake News Agenda
#38 – Notes on Making America Great Again
#40 – Downloading a President
#41 – Westminster Briefing
#44 – The New Cold War
#46 – The Emergency: Empire, Massacre, Duterte
#47 – Notes on North Korea
#56 – Notes on Patriotism: Taking a Knee
#59 – Notes on Terror, Treason and Anarchy

External audio:

Richard Dawkins interview, Russia Today, June 2017

Related articles:

Donald Trump: Man of Letters
The Berlin Wall and Donald Trump

#59 – Notes on Terror, Treason and Anarchy

pexels-photo

[Problem with the web audio player? Click here for the full range of listening options]

In this edition of the Aidan Project, Aidan talks about the infamous Gunpowder Plot, Guy Fawkes in popular culture, and the definition of terrorism. In 1605, Catholic dissidents in England attempted to mount an insurrection by first murdering King James I of England and Scotland, along with other notables, in a planned explosion of the Houses of Parliament. Robert Catesby led the audacious scheme to topple the Protestant hierarchy, but it is Fawkes who is most associated with the events of that dramatic 5 November near-miss. Moreover, the subsequent adoption of an abstract idea of Guy Fawkes as somehow playfully representing anarchism and anti-fascism is deeply ironic. The Fawkes mask is a feature of modern popular culture that is far removed from the intention Parliament had when it sought to commemorate the uncovering of the plot with an officially sanctioned annual observance. Parliament desired to remember 5 November as a deliverance from evil, but this message has since been diluted, if not quite altogether lost. In the modern age, ‘Bonfire Night’, ‘Guy Fawkes Night’ or ‘Fireworks Night’ is more notable for theatrical pyrotechnic displays and sickly candy-floss than as a reminder of what would have been an appalling atrocity. Aidan also comments on the definition of ‘terrorism’ in the wake of the Islamist terrorist attack in Lower Manhattan on 31 October.

Remember, remember
The Fifth of November
The Gunpowder Treason and Plot
I know of no reason
Why Gunpowder Treason
Should ever be forgot

Traditional 17th century rhyme

Related tweets

Further reading

Richard Dawkins, ‘I love fireworks, BUT…’, Richard Dawkins web site, https://www.richarddawkins.net/2014/11/i-love-fireworks-but/, 5 November 2014.

‘Terrorism’, Oxford Dictionary web site, https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/terrorism

‘V for Vendetta’, IMDB web site, http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0434409/.

Bibliography

Lewis Call, ‘A is for Anarchy, V is for Vendetta: Images of Guy Fawkes and the Creation of Postmodern Anarchism’, Anarchist Studies, 16, 2, 2008, pp.154-172.

Antonia Fraser, Faith and Treason, (New York: Random House, 1997).