Podcast Episode 139: Rural vs. Urban America

Urban America has never trusted rural America. That has been the case since the 18th century and it has not changed in 200 years. This dichotomy has created a political, economic, and social fissure in American life and is one of the more important trends in American history. The Wall Street Journal recently ran a piece entitled “One Nation Divisible” explaining the modern differences between …more

Podcast Episode 138: Emotivism and American Politics

American politics has become a game of emotion. This is by design. We cannot have rational arguments because people “feel” their vote rather than “think” it. Such is the case with most cultural issues, from immigration to Confederate monuments. Paul Graham’s book “Confederaphobia” outlines this nicely, but the problem is bigger than what he describes. Emotivism is a cancer, but killing it will be almost …more

Podcast Episode 137: Occam’s Razor and Simple History

I hear many people–including “distinguished historians”–suggest that the War for Southern Independence can be explained by one word: slavery. Years ago I had someone tell me this was justified by “Occam’s Razor,” the idea that the simplest explanation was usually the correct one. That might work for science or theology, though that is debatable, but it does not work for history. I explain why in …more

Podcast Episode 136: Roy Moore, Taxes, and Local Government

Depending on who you ask, now that the dust has settled in the Roy Moore election and Trump has signed a new tax bill, all is either well or awful in the American Empire. It doesn’t matter either way. Sure, I want to save money in taxes, doesn’t everybody, but the tax bill and the Moore election are two reasons why everyone should be thinking …more

Podcast Episode 135: The Long War, 1789-Present

Historians like to keep things neat and tidy and thus often compartmentalize different periods in Western Civilization. The profession’s infatuation with monographs has led to a climate where the “longue duree” is often overlooked. That is unfortunate because it misses the conjunction between political, military, economic, and social history. As we reflect on American involvement in World War I, it is important to see that …more

Podcast Episode 134: John Dickinson and Originalism

A fan of the show emailed me asking what books, websites, etc. should he be reading to determine original intent. Of course my Founding Fathers Guide to the Constitution was designed for that purpose, but there are several other good books and websites that discuss either originalism or provide the primary sources to understand the concept. And of course there were members of the founding …more

Podcast Episode 133: Should We Be “Fearful?”

The ContraKrugman Podcast hosted by Tom Woods and Bob Murphy should be on your podcast rotation. If not, you are missing out. That said, they covered the Thanksgiving column by Paul Krugman on a recent episode that piqued my interest. Krugman, it seems, is a highly fearful man, but not over things that rational people would fear. No. Krugman is afraid of getting his feelings …more

Podcast Episode 132: Longmire and the Virginian

As I discussed in my podcast episode “Hollywierd,” pop culture is in decline in America, but there are a few nuggets that offer redemption. One is the recently concluded television series Longmire. The show reminded me of the classic series the Virginian, so I wanted to dive into the similarities and what makes both shows special. If you are hungry for a show depicting real …more

Podcast Episode 131: Does Original Intent Prove Seccesion is Illegal?

Over my vacation last week I received an email chain debating secession. One participant claimed that not only did the Constitution explicitly forbid secession, the founding generation thought it was illegal as well. For evidence, he cited a couple of lines from the Federalist and an incorrectly cited quote from George Washington’s letter to the Congress dated September 17, 1787. As they say, the devil is …more

Podcast Episode 130: “Did Tariffs Cause the American Civil War?”

Several people emailed me a link to an article on Mises.org over the Thanksgiving week concerning tariffs and the “civil war” [sic]. The author of the article, Chris Carlton, does a nice job with his podcast and is a thoughtful fellow, but he gets several things wrong, most importantly the real reason the North and South were at odds for nearly eighty years before the …more