The Ezra Klein Show

The Ezra Klein Show

New York Times Opinion

Society & Culture

55 episodes

Each Tuesday and Friday, Ezra Klein invites you into a conversation on something that matters. How do we address climate change if the political system fails to act? Has the logic of markets infiltrated too many aspects of our lives? What is the future of the Republican Party? What do psychedelics teach us about consciousness? What does sci-fi understand about our present that we miss? Can our food system be just to humans and animals alike?


  • 30 JUL 2021
    Nikole Hannah-Jones and Ta-Nehisi Coates on the Fight Over U.S. History
    1h 17m 41s

    You’ve heard plenty by now about the fights over teaching critical race theory and the 1619 Project. But behind those skirmishes is something deeper: A fight over the story we tell about America. Why that fight has so gripped our national d...

  • 27 JUL 2021
    Ross Douthat Has Been ‘Radicalized a Little Bit, Too’
    1h 7m 45s

    Am I too panicked about the future of American democracy? My colleague Ross Douthat thinks so. He points to research suggesting that voter ID laws and absentee voting have modest effects on elections and the reality that Republican state o...

  • 23 JUL 2021
    How Blue Cities Became So Outrageously Unaffordable
    1h 8m 44s

    Joe Biden’s economic agenda is centered on a basic premise: The United States needs to build. To build roads and bridges. To build child care facilities and car-charging stations. To build public transit and affordable housing. And in doing...

  • 20 JUL 2021
    Our Workplaces Think We’re Computers. We’re Not.
    1h 8m 14s

    For decades, our society’s dominant metaphor for the mind has been a computer. A machine that operates the exact same way whether it’s in a dark room or next to a sunny window, whether it’s been working for 30 seconds or three hours, whethe...

  • 16 JUL 2021
    Ibram X. Kendi on What Conservatives—and Liberals—Get Wrong About Antiracism
    1h 5m 25s

    “What if instead of a feelings advocacy we had an outcome advocacy that put equitable outcomes before our guilt and anguish?” wrote Ibram X. Kendi in his 2019 book “How to Be an Antiracist.” “What if we focused our human and fiscal resource...

  • 13 JUL 2021
    How Octopuses Upend What We Know About Ourselves
    56m 4s

    I’ve spent the past few months on an octopus kick. In that, I don’t seem to be alone. Octopuses (it’s incorrect to say “octopi,” to my despair) are having a moment: There are award-winning books, documentaries and even science fiction about...

  • 09 JUL 2021
    Critical Race Theory, Comic Books and the Power of Public Schools
    1h 26m 16s

    Eve Ewing’s work as a sociologist, poet, visual artist, podcaster and comic book writer manages to do two things that are often in tension: it gives us a clear picture of how race, power and education work in America right now, and envision...

  • 06 JUL 2021
    Best of: What ‘Drained-Pool’ Politics Costs America
    1h 8m 55s

    In February, I spoke with Heather McGhee. I’ve been thinking about the conversation ever since. “The American landscape was once graced with resplendent public swimming pools, some big enough to hold thousands of swimmers at a time,” writ...

  • 02 JUL 2021
    Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy Wants You to Be Bad at Something. It’s for Your Own Good.
    1h 11m 1s

    Recently, I picked up Jeff Tweedy’s “How to Write One Song.” It was a bit of a lark. Tweedy is the frontman for Wilco, one of my favorite bands, but I’m not a songwriter, and I don’t plan to become one. But, unexpectedly, I loved the book....

  • 29 JUN 2021
    Why Do We Work So Damn Much?
    1h 22m 47s

    Historically speaking, we live in an age of extraordinary abundance. We have long since passed the income thresholds when past economists believed our needs would be more than met and we’d be working 15-hour weeks, puzzling over how to spen...

  • 25 JUN 2021
    Republicans Are Setting Off a ‘Doom Loop’ for Democracy
    1h 18m 29s

    The insurrection at the Capitol on Jan. 6 failed. Donald Trump is not the president. But at the state level, the Republican war on elections is posting startling wins. They are trying to do what Trump failed to do: neuter elections as a che...

  • 22 JUN 2021
    Sarah Schulman’s Radical Approach to Conflict, Communication and Change
    1h 1m 27s

    Sarah Schulman’s work — as a nonfiction writer, novelist, activist, playwright and filmmaker — confronts the very thing most people try to avoid: conflict. Schulman, far from running from it, believes we need more of it. This was true in S...

  • 18 JUN 2021
    Welcome to the ‘Take This Job and Shove It’ Economy
    54m 3s

    This is a strange moment in the economy. Wages are up, but so is inflation. Jobs are growing, but maybe not fast enough. Quit rates are at a 21st-century high. It isn’t clear what’s a trend, what’s a blip, what’s a transition and what’s now...

  • 15 JUN 2021
    The Freeing of the American Mind
    1h 3m 35s

    Free minds. Freedom fries. Free speech. The Freedom Caucus. Freedom from. Freedom to. What do Americans really mean when they talk about freedom? Louis Menand’s “The Free World” is a 700-plus-page intellectual history of the Cold War perio...

  • 11 JUN 2021
    Sam Altman on the A.I. Revolution, Trillionaires and the Future of Political Power
    1h 10m 56s

    “The technological progress we make in the next 100 years will be far larger than all we’ve made since we first controlled fire and invented the wheel,” writes Sam Altman in his essay “Moore’s Law for Everything.” “This revolution will gene...

  • 08 JUN 2021
    Employers Are Begging for Workers. Maybe That’s a Good Thing.
    1h 3m 52s

    There has been a bit of panic lately over employers who say not enough people want to apply for open jobs. Are we facing a labor shortage? Have stimulus checks and expanded unemployment insurance payments created an economy full of people w...

  • 04 JUN 2021
    Is A.I. the Problem? Or Are We?
    1h 16m 39s

    If you talk to many of the people working on the cutting edge of artificial intelligence research, you’ll hear that we are on the cusp of a technology that will be far more transformative than simply computers and the internet, one that cou...

  • 01 JUN 2021
    Obama Explains How America Went From ‘Yes We Can’ to ‘MAGA’
    58m 42s

    “My entire politics is premised on the fact that we are these tiny organisms on this little speck floating in the middle of space,” Barack Obama told me, sitting in his office in Washington, D.C. To be fair, I was the one who had introduce...

  • 28 MAY 2021
    Sway: How Online Sleuths Pantsed Putin
    41m 57s

    Today, while I'm on vacation, we're sharing an episode from Sway, a fellow New York Times Opinion podcast. Host Kara Swisher talks to Eliot Higgins, CEO of the open source investigative operation Bellingcat. Kara presses Higgins about the p...

  • 25 MAY 2021
    The Argument: Should We Cancel Student Loan Debt?
    47m 48s

    This week, while I'm on vacation, we'll be sharing work from two other New York Times Opinion podcasts. First up, an episode from our friends at The Argument about how to cancel student-loan debt. Host Jane Coaston is joined by activist Ast...

  • 21 MAY 2021
    Violent Crime Is Spiking. Do Liberals Have an Answer?
    1h 14m 6s

    Early estimates find that in 2020, homicides in the United States increased somewhere between 25 percent and nearly 40 percent, the largest spike since 1960, when formal crime statistics began to be collected. And early estimates indicate t...

  • 18 MAY 2021
    The Spectacle of the G.O.P.'s Shrinking Tent
    1h 2m 59s

    On May 12, House Republicans voted to remove Representative Liz Cheney, the third-ranking Republican in the House, from her leadership post. Her transgression? Vocally rebuking the claim that the 2020 election was stolen from Donald Trump....

  • 14 MAY 2021
    Status Games, Polyamory and the Merits of Meritocracy
    1h 21m 50s

    Agnes Callard is an ethical philosopher who dissects, in dazzlingly precise detail, familiar human experiences that we think we understand. Whether her topic is expressing anger, fighting with others, jockeying for status, giving advice, or...

  • 11 MAY 2021
    Michael Lewis Is Asking the Right Question
    59m 44s

    Michael Lewis’s new book, “The Premonition,” is about one of the most important questions of this moment: Why, despite having the most money, the brightest minds and the some of the most robust public health infrastructure in the world, did...

  • 07 MAY 2021
    Elizabeth Warren on What We Get Wrong About Inequality
    55m 1s

    One lesson of covering policy over the past 20 years is that whatever Elizabeth Warren is thinking about now is what Washington is going to be talking about next. So when I read Senator Warren’s new book, “Persist,” I read it with an eye t...

  • 04 MAY 2021
    How to Have Better Conversations About Hard Things
    1h 3m 49s

    Anna Sale is one of my favorite interviewers. As the host of WNYC Studios’ “Death, Sex and Money,” she has an uncanny ability to get her guests to open up about the most personal, tragic, beautiful and embarrassing parts of their lives, whe...

  • 30 APR 2021
    How Chuck Schumer Plans to Win Over Trump Voters
    45m 35s

    In his 100 days address this week, Joe Biden outlined his plans for a big, bold legislative agenda to come. He previewed a two-pronged economic package: the $2.25 trillion American Jobs Plan and the $1.8 trillion American Families Plan. He...

  • 27 APR 2021
    Shame, Safety and Moving Beyond Cancel Culture
    1h 1m 23s

    I’ve been thinking lately about how to move beyond the binary debate over cancel culture. And a good place to start is with the deeper question we’re all trying to ask: What is the kind of politics — the kind of society — we’re trying to ac...

  • 23 APR 2021
    Noam Chomsky’s Theory of the Good Life
    1h 12m 30s

    How do you introduce Noam Chomsky? Perhaps you start here: In 1979, The New York Times called him “arguably the most important intellectual alive today.” More than 40 years later, Chomsky, at 92, is still putting his dent in the world — wri...

  • 20 APR 2021
    That Anxiety You’re Feeling? It’s a Habit You Can Unlearn.
    59m 16s

    This has been a bad year for the anxious among us — myself very much included. The pandemic was objectively terrifying. And many of us were trapped inside, with nothing we could do about it, severed from social connection and routine, with...

  • 16 APR 2021
    Why Adults Lose the ‘Beginner’s Mind’
    1h 1m 7s

    Here’s a sobering thought: The older we get, the harder it is for us to learn, to question, to reimagine. This isn’t just habit hardening into dogma. It’s encoded into the way our brains change as we age. And it’s worsened by an intellectua...

  • 13 APR 2021
    Your Success Probably Didn’t Come From Merit Alone
    1h 22m 34s

    Prepping for a conversation with Tressie McMillan Cottom is intimidating. McMillan Cottom is a sociologist at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, a 2020 MacArthur fellow, co-host of the podcast “Hear to Slay,” and the author of t...

  • 09 APR 2021
    The Best Explanation of Biden's Thinking I’ve Heard
    56m 46s

    With the $2 trillion American Jobs Plan, the economic theory that is Bidenomics is taking shape. It’s big. It puts climate at the center of everything. It is more worried about political risks — losing the House, giving Donald Trump a path...

  • 06 APR 2021
    Did the Boomers Ruin America? A Debate.
    1h 10m 52s

    Donald Trump was the fourth member of the baby boomer generation to be elected president, after Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton. The Senate majority leader, Chuck Schumer, is a boomer. Chief Justice John Roberts is a boomer. T...

  • 02 APR 2021
    Humanity’s Awesome, Terrifying Takeover of Evolution
    55m 37s

    For years now, I’ve had the same recurring worry: Am I focusing on the trivial? When future generations look back on this moment in history, will they remember the daily political fights — or will everything just look like a sideshow compar...

  • 30 MAR 2021
    The Author Behind ‘Arrival’ Doesn’t Fear AI. ‘Look at How We Treat Animals.’
    50m 16s

    For years, I’ve kept a list of dream guests for this show. And as long as that list has existed, Ted Chiang has been atop it. Chiang is a science fiction writer. But that undersells him. He has released two short story collections over 20...

  • 26 MAR 2021
    A Top G.O.P. Pollster on Trump 2024, QAnon and What Republicans Really Want
    1h 58s

    In the aftermath of the Capitol attack, the polling firm Echelon Insights decided to ask voters a simple question: Do they think the goal of politics is more about “enacting good public policy” or “ensuring the country’s survival as we know...

  • 23 MAR 2021
    An Unusually Optimistic Conversation With Bernie Sanders
    28m 57s

    Bernie Sanders didn’t win the 2020 election. But he may have won its aftermath. If you look back at Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders’s careers, the $1.9 trillion stimulus package, the American Rescue Plan, looks a lot like the proposals Sander...

  • 19 MAR 2021
    Andrew Cuomo and the Performance of Power
    1h 5m 2s

    Six months ago, Andrew Cuomo was on top of the world. He was touted as the anti-Donald Trump — the calm, fact-driven coronavirus leader the country needed. Now, amid allegations of hiding the true number of Covid-19 deaths in New York nursi...

  • 16 MAR 2021
    Mark Bittman Cooked Everything. Now He Wants to Change Everything.
    48m 54s

    Mark Bittman taught me to cook. I read his New York Times cooking column, “The Minimalist,” religiously. I bought “How to Cook Everything,” that red brick of a cookbook, and then, when I gave up meat, I bought its green companion, “How to C...

  • 12 MAR 2021
    How America’s Covid-19 Nightmare Ends
    1h 1m 10s

    On Jan. 28, I published a column that began like this: “I hope, in the end, that this article reads as alarmism. I hope that a year from now it’s a piece people point to as an overreaction.” Today, that column, thankfully, does look like a...

  • 09 MAR 2021
    What Does Toxic Stress Do to Children?
    1h 6m 13s

    Dr. Nadine Burke Harris’s pioneering work on how childhood trauma shapes adult outcomes led to her being named the first surgeon general of California. That was in 2019. And then, of course, the novel coronavirus hit. The job of California’...

  • 05 MAR 2021
    Stop. Breathe. We Can’t Keep Working Like This.
    54m 16s

    We were promised, with the internet, a productivity revolution. We were told that we’d get more done, in less time, with less stress. Instead, we got always-on communication, the dissolution of the boundaries between work and home, the feel...

  • 02 MAR 2021
    What a More Responsible Republican Party Would Look Like
    58m 12s

    If you watched this past weekend’s Conservative Political Action Conference, you heard a lot of debunked election conspiracies, dire warnings about “cancel culture” and unwavering fealty to Donald Trump. What you didn’t hear was much in the...

  • 26 FAB 2021
    How the Texas Crisis Could Become Everyone's Crisis
    1h 20m 28s

    Last week, freezing temperatures overwhelmed the Texas power grid, setting off rolling blackouts that left millions without power during an intense winter storm. But this story is a lot bigger than Texas: Our world is built around a model o...

  • 23 FAB 2021
    A Radical Proposal for True Democracy
    44m 44s

    One thing I want to do on this show is give space to truly radical ideas, to expand the boundaries of our political and moral imaginations. And Hélène Landemore, a political scientist at Yale, has one of those ideas. She calls it “open demo...

  • 19 FAB 2021
    What It Means to be Kind in a Cruel World
    1h 15m 48s

    George Saunders is one of America’s greatest living writers. He’s the author of dozens of critically acclaimed short stories, including his 2013 collection, “Tenth of December”; his debut novel, “Lincoln in the Bardo,” won the 2017 Booker P...

  • 16 FAB 2021
    What ‘Drained-Pool’ Politics Costs America
    1h 8m 55s

    “The American landscape was once graced with resplendent public swimming pools, some big enough to hold thousands of swimmers at a time,” writes Heather McGhee in her new book, “The Sum of Us: What Racism Costs Everyone and How We Can Prosp...

  • 12 FAB 2021
    The Senate Is Making a Mockery of Itself
    1h 9m 37s

    The Senate is where Joe Biden’s agenda will live or die. More specifically, the intricacies of archaic Senate rules — the budget reconciliation process, the filibuster, the majority leader’s ability to control the floor — combined with the...

  • 09 FAB 2021
    Should We Dim the Sun? Will We Even Have a Choice?
    56m 1s

    “We are as gods and might as well get good at it,” Stewart Brand famously wrote in “The Whole Earth Catalogue.” Human beings act upon nature at fantastic scale, altering whole ecosystems, terraforming the world to our purposes, breeding new...

  • 05 FAB 2021
    An Appalled Republican Considers the Future of the G.O.P.
    1h 25m 17s

    "I don’t think conservatism can do its job in a free society in opposition to the institutions of that society,” Yuval Levin told me. “I think it can only function in defense of them.” Levin is the director of social, cultural and constitu...