#1198 All we have to fear is fear itself (Our Culture of Fear) ​

Air Date: 7–24-2018
Today we take a look at our current moment in history and the two basic paths that lay before us, one dominated by fear that drives a willingness to give up power to authoritarian rulers and the other guided by hope for a better future and a willingness to work together toward that future

Episode Sponsors:   Better Help  |  Dollar Shave Club  |  Amazon USA  |  Amazon CA  |  Amazon UK 

Support Best of the Left on Patreon!



Ch. 1: Sasha Abramsky on the rise of fear and its influence on American society - This Is Hell! @thisishellradio - Air Date 9-20-17

Author Sasha Abramsky explains how irrational fear rules, and guides, life in America.

Ch. 2: Martha Nussbaum on the fear at the root of our political polarization - The Brian Leher Show - Air Date 7-3-18

Martha Nussbaum, author of The Monarchy of Fear: A Philosopher Looks at Our Political Crisis, argues powerlessness and fear underlying political polarization.

Ch. 3: Johann Hari explains why disconnection is at the center of depression and anxiety today - @ThisisHell - Air Date 1-31-18

Johann Hari, author of “Lost Connections: Uncovering the Real Causes of Depression – and the Unexpected Solutions”, explains why disconnection is at the center of depression and anxiety today.

Ch. 4: THE MIDTERMS MINUTE (Primaries Edition): Connecticut & Vermont (and MN and WI) on 8.14 - Best of the Left Activism

*Scroll down for the segment info, dates and links. Or click above for the full blog post.*

Ch. 5: Sasha Abramsky on the rise of fear and it opens to the door to demagogues - @ThisisHell - Air Date 9-20-17

Author Sasha Abramsky explains how irrational fear is fertile ground for authoritarian demagogues.

Ch. 6: Escape from suffering - Progressive Faith Sermons w @RevDrRay - Air Date 7-9-18

Dr Roger Ray explores some of the ailments of our society that keep so many of us from happiness.

Ch. 7: Barack Obama on the competing visions for the future and the struggle between fear and hope - Nelson Mandela Centenary - Air Date 7-18-18

A portion of Barack Obama's speech at Nelson Mandela centenary celebrations in Johannesburg, South Africa discussing the two political and social paths that lay before us. (Watch the entire lecture)




Ch. 8: How medical bankruptcy made me change my worldview - Kim from Chicago

Ch. 9: Progressive philosophy is amorphous by nature and hard to track through history - Ariel from Memphis

Ch. 10: Without an underpinning philosophy, ideas only float but do not take root - V from Central New York


Ch. 11: Understanding the underlying philosophies of both the left and right with clarity



Check on candidates endorsed by Justice Democrats | Brand New Congress | DSA | Latino Victory | Our Revolution

Check your state registration deadlines and voter ID laws with rockthevote.org

For an easy way to donate to candidates, check out DownTicket.com on your mobile browser.

15 Ways to Help a Campaign Win Their Election” (Political Charge)

August 14th Primaries:

Connecticut (Reg. Deadlines - Primary: Online, mail, or in person by Thurs. Aug 9th / General: Oct. 30th)

Governor (Dem. Primary) - Ned Lamont

5th District (Dem. Primary) - Jahana Hayes (Heads up! Republicans are vying for this seat in November.)

2nd District - Heads up! One large county in District 2 pivoted for Trump in 2016. Incumbent Dem. Joe Courtney will run against Republican Dan Postemski in the general.

Vermont (Reg. Deadlines - Primary: Early voting has begun. Must be registered by Aug. 14th / General: Nov. 6th)

U.S. House (statewide Rep.) (Dem. Primary) - Daniel Freilich (Read about incumbent Pat Welch corruption)

Governor - Christine Hallquist vs. James Ehlers vs. Ethan Sonneborn 

U.S. Senate - Bernie Sanders 

*Minnesota (Reg. Deadlines - Primaries: Online: July 24th, In person: Until August 14th / General: Oct. 9th) *Read our spotlight*

*Wisconsin (Reg. Deadlines - Primary: Post-marked by July 25th, or in-person by Aug 10th / General: post-marked by Oct. 17th, in-person by Nov. 2nd) *Read our spotlight*

Written by BOTL Communications Director Amanda Hoffman 




Produced by Jay! Tomlinson

Thanks for listening!

Visit us at BestOfTheLeft.com

Support the show via Patreon

Listen on iTunes  |  Stitcher  |  Spotify  |  Alexa Devices  |  +more

Check out the BotL iOS/Android App in the App Stores!

Follow at Twitter.com/BestOfTheLeft

Like at Facebook.com/BestOfTheLeft

Contact me directly at [email protected]

Review the show on iTunes and Stitcher!

Showing 1 reaction

  • Deedee
    commented 2018-07-25 13:42:02 -0400
    Just responding to the recent discussion about articluating the principles of progressive ideology. (Understanding the ideologies of the left and the right)

    On 7/19/18 (possibly 18th) Thom Hartmann responded to a man who refers to migrants as “invaders” and those who do not support immgration as a legal process as “traitors”. Thom stated that no ELECTED Democrats are suggesting open borders and stated specifically that any Dem who would should be voted out. He conceded that anyone who would promote open boarders can be considered a traitor. And summarily terminated the ability to even make that big progressive rhetorical push and settle for the inevitable middle ground.

    On the same/next day, FAIR, in an interview with Jacinta Gonzalez gave voice to those who want to see immigration leave the legal system as it is currently adjudicated.

    It seems like progessive/liberal/Democrats are singing two completely different tunes and who knows, this may be the exact kind of thing the right would spin as “hey conservative friends, when you call in, they claim they’d never support open borders. When they speak amongst themselves that’s exactly what they’re talking about.”

    What we should realize is that the Progressives of yesterday are the liberals of tomorrow. Just as the Liberals of today are the rank and file Democrats of tomorrow.

    As our Overton window has shifted our consciousness of conservativism as mainstream, those who considered themselves moderates have begun to identify more as just Democrats. (A little bit a nasty taste in their mouth about the state of the Republican party’s social views, and there you go.) We can see this in the broad and individualized senses.

    (I’m going to introduce a really clunky term for the sake of this conversation)

    Those who had been actively pressing for social change has reached the limit of change that their neuro-political-elasticity if you will, allows for. They may have been okay with gay marriage but maybe not so much with nonbinary gender representation. So, we have to accept that the velocity and willingness at which progressives adopt a broader application of what I will reveal as my definition of progressivism, slows as we reach the outer limits of what seems normal to them.

    Think of it as moving for a new job. You’re definitely moving across town maybe just changing your local convenience store. Not a huge paradigm shift there. You may move out of state and switch from Kroger’s to Giant Eagle or Von’s. You’ll have to drive a new name. It’s going to be more of a psychological stressor to move to another country where actually there is no super market. You have to remember to go to the local grocer, the pastry shop, the fruit stand, etc.

    So, what it comes down to is, as Jay has identified, the very definition of progressivism: An ever-forward striving endeavor to secure in social and legal contexts the inherent worth and dignity of all people.

    There you have it, the progressive ethic. And we are limited in our view of what that means by our own senses of our neuro-political-elastic breaking point. Your progressivism today with be woefully inadequete to respond to the reality of tomorrow without great effect to remain politically and morally elastic in your conception of what progressivism is. Going back to our example, Thom considers himself progressive or at least liberal, but his views are progressive for the 70s and liberal for the 90s. While the progressives of 2018 are doing precisely what is inconceivable to him as a rank and file Democrat in 2018.

    Also, I want to interrogate this idea that there was a two generation lull in progressivism followed by our present moment.

    First, for all of the history of socialism, it doesn’t seem to be making its way to the presidency or Congress in any large numbers. Might we say that it isn’t catching on? I wonder how that squares with the potency of the socialism story.

    Second, if we are to accept this recent history of progressivism, what has accounted for its resurgence sans grand ideological narrative spanning centuries? And, can we see defining a progressive agenda linked to our contemporary political and moral ideas as antithetical to the idea of moving ever forward. The socialism history suffers from the same problem as the conservative one: constantly fitting a centuries old ideology into a modern context and having to grapple with whether the ideology is being manipulated past its purity and any previous incarnations that were not all-people inclusive and all-people affirming.
Sign up for activism updates