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Wisdom of Crowds

Jun 2, 2021

“What fascinates and terrifies us about the Roman Empire is not that it finally went smash,” W. H. Auden once wrote, but rather that “it managed to last for four centuries without creativity, warmth, or hope.” In his latest bookThe Decadent Society, Ross Douthat suggests contemporary America may be in a similar spot. He joined Shadi and Damir to discuss the factors contributing to our present state of decadence, and possible avenues out—from wokeness to a new post-liberal politics to UFOs.

In Part Two, available here, the conversation continues with Damir asking Ross if wokeness will burn itself out or if it must be countered with a new, more compelling faith. Shadi, Ross, and Damir also discuss why more and more elites are no longer Christian, if meritocracy has failed, the role of rationalism and faith in sustaining the American project, and why—despite his religious conservatism—more liberals don't hate Ross.

Recommended Reading:

  • The Decadent Society: America Before and After the Pandemic, by Ross Douthat (Amazon)
  • "Can the Meritocracy Find God?" by Ross Douthat (The New York Times)
  • Bad Religion: How We Became a Nation of Heretics, by Ross Douthat (Amazon)
  • "Sohrab Ahmari on Liberalism, Tradition, and Political Catholicism" (Wisdom of Crowds)
  • "Sohrab Ahmari on Liberalism, Tradition, and Political Catholicism—Part Two" (Wisdom of Crowds)