Click here to read a transcript
Joe Selvaggi: [00:00:00] This is Hubwonk. I’m Joe Salvaggi. Welcome to Hubwonk, a podcast of Pioneer Institute, a think tank in Boston. What is wokeness, and where did it come from? For many Americans, this harmless sounding label has been the source of a disoriented cascade of shifts in social vocabulary, cultural mores, and political activism.
On the surface, wokeism regards itself as an informed sensitivity to the differences in wealth and privilege between historically marginalized groups and those who have long enjoyed unchecked power and status. To those committed to its principles, the disparities of wealth are proof positive that discrimination is ubiquitous.
Where any challenge to the orthodoxy demonstrates personal ignorance and complicity in its harm. But a closer look at the principles that undergird woke ideology is a belief that members of society are defined by their identity groups, rather than as individuals. Such [00:01:00] orientation towards group essentialism reduces individuals to stereotypes, disincentivizes individual achievement, and gives rise to a political and social activism that divides society rather than unites it.
Not content to celebrate the dignity of the individual, identity politics valorizes group victimhood and redefines society as a zero-sum struggle for power. Such group identity themes, once esoteric subjects for university seminars, are now the orthodox pieties preached by authorities from grammar school administrators to boardroom diversity officers.
How did identity politics become ascendant in our institutional leadership? How does it differ from the classical liberal aspirations of universal individual rights? And how can a more robust understanding of the tenets of identity politics help to reveal the tension between its appeal for its woke activists and the counterproductive [00:02:00] and destructive effects of its practice?
My guest today is Johns Hopkins University professor Yasha Mounk, who’s recently released book entitled The Identity Trap: A Story of Ideas and Power in Our Time, chronicles the origins of identity politics and the path it took towards influencing mainstream culture. Professor Mounk will discuss that while its desire to critique and reform modern liberal society may be well intentioned, the practice of defining and dividing society by groups serves to undermine the hard-won victories of our diverse pluralistic culture.
When I return, I’ll be joined by author and Johns Hopkins University professor Yasha Mounk.
Okay, we’re back. This is Hubwonk. I’m Joe Selvaggi, and I’m now pleased to be joined by Johns Hopkins professor Yasha Mounk, author of The Identity Trap, A Story of Ideas and Power in Our Time. Welcome to Hubwonk, Professor Mounk.
Professor Yasha Mounk: Thank you so much for having me, Joe.
Joe Selvaggi: Okay. I enjoyed your book. I want to have you on as a guest to of course, encourage our listeners to [00:03:00] read your book. Although I hear it’s now sold out. You are going to a second printing. But I think it’s a great map to help many of our listeners understand the — what seems like a cultural intellectual upheaval all around them. I’ll stipulate for our listeners, your book is not an explanation of all the left, just a particular strain that seems to be ascendant and quite dominant right now. But we only have 30 minutes, so I want to cover a lot of bases in a short amount of time. Let’s start with your introduction. I thought it was very — it grabbed me.
It’s a relatively long book, but the introduction really was concise in that it talked about examples of what you call, evidence of this identity trap. Share with our listeners some of the experiences, everything from modern school segregation to vaccine, allocations, these kinds of things share with our listeners.
Professor Yasha Mounk: Yeah, one of the striking things I did when I was researching this book was to speak to a woman called Kyla Posey, an African American woman who lives in the suburbs of Atlanta, an educator. She has two young kids. And she asked the principal of her school whether she could request [00:04:00] a particular teacher for her second grade daughter.
And the principal said, sure, that’s fine. Just send along the name. But once she sent in the name, the principal kept demurring and saying, what about this other teacher? And wouldn’t a different classroom be more appropriate for her? And eventually she got frustrated and said, look, why you said I could choose a classroom for my kid. Why wouldn’t you let me do that? And the principal said, that’s not the black class. Now that sounds like a story of straight up racial discrimination in the American South until you learn the principal is herself a black woman, somebody who has bought into a new set of progressive ideas that encourage educators to teach students to see themselves as racial beings that say that if you don’t have enough peers and friends of the same racial group, you’re not going to be able to think of yourself in racial terms.
In the right way, a set of ideas that has inspired many private schools around the country to have enforced racial affinity groups as early as the third grade of a second grade or first grade of teachers coming in and splitting kids up [00:05:00] by race into different kinds of classrooms. So that’s one example.
And another example I have is about public policy, as you mentioned, when we. We finally got these life-saving vaccines against COVID, but we still had very sparse doses of it. The Centers for Disease Control chose not to prioritize older Americans who are at the most risk of a disease because it claimed that they’re disproportionately white.
And instead it chose to, give us vaccine to a much broader category of essential workers, even though its own model suggested that this would lead to a much higher death toll. And so, in the end you had movie producers in LA and finance executives in New York and college professors in the state of Maryland like myself end up being eligible for the vaccine ahead of many elderly people, even though, as it happens, I was not teaching in person. I wasn’t allowed to teach in person. I was teaching on Zoom. So, when I worry about the whole, these ideas now have on the left, there’s not [00:06:00] just a lament about cancel culture, but what some silly student says, or, what ideas people are spreading on Twitter or social media, it really is about real changes in public policy, in the norms of institutions that have very high stakes.
Joe Selvaggi: Indeed, this is a new ideology, but it has, let’s say, older origins, a post-World War II, some intellectuals that some of our listeners may have heard of, but others may not have. Let’s take a step backward. Let’s say, me being a philosophy minor, I was an engineering major in undergrad, but I do know about Foucault. We always interpret it as the opposite of the engineer, someone who refuted ideas of objective truth. We live and die by our principles of F equals IR, but Foucault, he, imagined a different world. You, you set him as the origins of how we walked down this path. Why is Foucault important in your story?
Professor Yasha Mounk: Yeah, a lot of people who have tried to chronicle the origin of these ideas, and there’s not many of them, by the way, one of the things I struck by [00:07:00] is that no serious academic has attempted to tell the intellectual history of this thought, claim that it’s a form of cultural Marxism. And that is wrong substantively, saying that you can take economic categories like social class out of Marxism is a little bit like saying that you can take the bat out of baseball. That’s just not very much left of the ideology once you’ve done that. But it’s also wrong as a matter of intellectual history, because as I show in this book, the way to understand the main themes that animate, social adjustment, justice movement, politics today is to listen to free traditions, post-modernism, post-colonialism, and finally critical race theory.
So, Foucault rejected grand narratives, including both Marxism and liberalism in the 1950s and 1960s, became very skeptical about ideas of universal values of neutral truths, and embraced a conception of power, in which we shouldn’t think [00:08:00] of power as being top-down, as originating from laws and being enforced in society, but rather as in hearing the kind of discourses and the kind of conversations we have right now as really lying and how we think and talk about the world and the categories we use for that.
A lot of thinkers in the second step is post-colonial thinkers were already attracted to the way in which these ideas served as a universal solvent, allowed you to be deeply skeptical of contemporary institutions, something that was appealing to them as they were trying to rethink how to rule the country.
After centuries of colonial rule, they didn’t want to just take over Western ideas and institutions, but they also struggled. With a way in which Foucault’s ideas were apolitical, in which they didn’t seem to allow you to make real progress. And so, they set out to re-politicize these ideas in the form
Joe Selvaggi: Okay, no, that’s true. So essentially, before you essentially, reconstruct a new narrative — or again, he would reject the idea of a narrative — but before you start to take part [00:09:00] and rebuild, you have to take apart the old world. And Foucault effectively gave us both an interpretation of the world that rejects narratives, it rejects, you know, stable identities and, but we had political actors who wanted to make use of these tools. Will you introduce us to say, and, and a woman on, called good, G Sayatri Spivak, who, effectively say, okay, look, if there isn’t a narrative, how do we use, how do we build, a world for social change or do something with this? So take us from there. Thank you.
Professor Yasha Mounk: Yeah, so these postcolonial thinkers were attracted to these ideas, because they allowed them to critique the ideas that had helped justify colonial rule. And a philosophy that allowed you to criticize everything was very appealing to them. At the same time, they needed to figure out how to rule the countries. They needed a set of substantive ideas, to adopt and guide their societies in a broader way. And they needed to repo, politicize, Foucault. Edward Said was the first step in this, in Orientalism. He criticized Western notions of the east, of the so-called Orient, which he argued had traditionally, sustained colonial rule. But he didn’t just want to take an axe to that ideology, he wanted to redistribute political power. Power to actually allow the colonized to become powerful to fight back in an effective way. And so, this originated a kind of form of politicized discourse analysis, which still remains influential today, which helps to explain why today a very legible form of feminist politics, for example, is not just to argue for a certain kind of law, but to critique or celebrate or render problematic something like the Barbie movie, right? And in the second step, somebody like Gayatri Spivak, an Indian literary theorist, again, was very attracted to the [00:11:00] way in which postmodernist thinkers had questioned the validity of stable concepts of identity. in which they said that Foucault, who, in our terms, was a homosexual, was a gay man, somebody, a man who had sex with men, didn’t like that category, that self-description, because he said that it obscured the ways in which sexual experience is very varied, and goes far beyond those kind of simplistic labels.
Spivak basically agrees with that, but then she says, unlike people like Foucault, I think that I need to be able to speak on behalf of identity groups. Foucault believed that workers could speak for themselves. That might be true of relatively privileged workers in Paris who’ve had an education, who have certain kind of material and political resources.
She claimed this was not true. Of the so-called subaltern in the third world that people in Kolkata may not have been able to go to school, may not know how to read and write, may not have those material and political resources, and somebody needed to speak on their [00:12:00] behalf. So, she coined this term of strategic essentialism, saying that philosophically, these essentialist notions of identity might be wrong, but for strategic political purposes, we should embrace them. That helps to explain how a lot of activists talk about these issues today, saying race is, of course, a social construct, but this is what black and brown people demand. This is why we should defer to BIPOC people and so on. This is why in schools, we should separate kids out by race and make sure that they think of themselves as racial beings. All of that is a kind of applied form of strategic essentialism.
Joe Selvaggi: So, we, if we can organize people into groups, define those groups of having common interests and some sort of a persistent identity, we can use those groups to activate and produce political outcomes. Okay, now we’ve got that. We’ve got the groundwork. We’ve got Foucault saying, essentially, my truth and we won’t go too deep into that, but we organize people into — we resolve the conflict whereby though identity is socially constructed, we can use identity for political change.
I’m going to jump ahead and talk about a modern thinker that many of our listeners would have heard of, Derek Bell from Harvard Law School, who in the hope, early in his career of helping, people of color, at a time when there were still some racial segregation, started his early life, trying to help integrate schools and then ultimately, became disillusioned and said, look, that’s not the path. He might even argue against the civil rights movement. He said, perhaps that was wrongheaded. We need to follow a different path, one other than inclusion, and go down a different road. Share with us how we got from, Spivak to Bell.
Professor Yasha Mounk: Sure. Bell was a civil rights lawyer who helped to integrate hundreds of schools and businesses and other institutions in the American South. But he came to think of that work as being, in many ways a mistake. He, in [00:14:00] fact, came to agree with the critiques of, segregationist senators who argued that civil rights lawyers weren’t really arguing on behalf of their clients, they were just trying to impose their integrationist ideology on the country.
And Bell, who’s an African American, wrote his first influential academic article called Serving True Masters, arguing that when he was claiming to represent these clients, he was not, in fact, arguing on behalf of their true interests. And that may, in many cases, have consisted in accepting schools that were separate, but truly equal, he came to be a critic in many ways of Brown v. Board of Education, and he called on his followers to reject what he called the defunct racial equality ideology of the civil rights movement. So, when you think about critical race theory, sometimes on the right it is attacked as just wanting to do things like teach kids about the history of slavery, which is obviously important.
And then the mainstream and on the left, sometimes people say, critical race theory, that’s just wanting to think [00:15:00] critically about the role of race in society. What could be wrong with that? But when you go to the founders of this tradition to people like Derek Bell, that they claim that America has not made any progress in race whatsoever.
But key parts of the civil rights movement just served the interests of whites and that therefore we need to rip up that civil rights era legislation, rip up many of those court rulings, create a society in which how you’re treated is more rather than less dependent on the kind of group of which you are a part, except that it might favor a different set of groups.
That is a much more radical ideology than many people have realized, and it has helped to inspire the deep pessimism about the ability of our institutions to make progress that is prevalent today, and it has also helped to inspire the embrace of race-sensitive public policies, like the one from the CDC I described earlier that are prevalent today.
Joe Selvaggi: Indeed, it’s effectively racial [00:16:00] centralism you are your race, we’re racial beings. And then again to bring it all the way forward, the last, or one of the last thinkers in the book that kind of puts it all together and brings us to modern times is Kim Crenshaw, who you raised, you’re a couple other things. Your sex, you’re a female, you might be blue-eyed, left handed, all these things add up to who you are, and each of those identities invites a different kind of oppression. And the more of those things you can stack together, the more oppression you experience. And essentially creates a — in my view — a hierarchy or a framework in which there’s common cause amongst all the oppressed. It’s just a degree, not whether you are oppressed. share with us how Kim Crenshaw, in a sense, ties it up together in a bow.
Professor Yasha Mounk: Yeah, Kimberley Crenshaw coined the term of intersectionality, which in its original meaning was pretty straightforward and sensible. It simply recognizes that the kind of experience that, for example, a black woman might, face, is more than the arithmetic sum of prejudices faced by white women [00:17:00] on the one side and black men on the other side, then the way in which intersectionality came to be interpreted, it came to mean two more far reaching things. Number one, the idea that if you and I stand at different intersections of identity, we really can’t understand each other properly.
The best we can do is to defer to each other’s judgment, in particular, the person who’s part of a more privileged group should defer to the judgment of a person who’s less privileged and secondly, therefore, that since all forms of oppression interconnected to be in good standing in one activist group fighting against one injustice, you need to also sign up to all these other activist groups fighting different forms, different kinds of injustice. And so together, I think these themes really explain the shape of contemporary social justice politics, the skepticism towards objective truth that comes from Foucault, the embrace of his politicized version of discourse analysis, but as rooted in Said, the embrace of a [00:18:00] kind of strategic essentialism that leads to pedagogical practices.
Like the one we’re seeing in American schools rooted in Said, but the deep skepticism about our ability to make progress in the call for race sensitive legislation, inspired by Bell. And finally, this claim that we can’t understand each other and that good activists should, defer to each other, fighting against all forms of oppression at the same time, rooted in Crenshaw.
Joe Selvaggi: And this would be in stark contrast to what I would consider ourselves to be a fundamentally liberal society. 1 that believes in the universal equality of mankind. And it’s an ability to communicate across culture, across sex, across race. If we want to use those kinds of terms. That’s in stark contrast.
Essentially, it’s an abandonment of those sort of what I would consider, American values. I don’t know if you characterize as Tocquevillian or how you would describe those, but essentially, it’s in stark opposition to, let’s say, aspirational [00:19:00] values of the Constitution of the Declaration of Independence, those kinds of values. Is that fair to say?
Professor Yasha Mounk: Yeah, and interestingly, it is in stark contrast to older traditions of what you might call identity politics, people like Frederick Douglass Jr. were deeply aware of the injustices that African Americans, for example, faced in their day. and they organized African Americans to march against those, but their demand was one for inclusion. They recognized that values like the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence weren’t being lived up to, but they told other Americans, if you really mean that you’re committed to these values, then by what are you excluding me and other people like me from, if you are serious and genuine in your commitment, you need to fight it, to change our country so that we will be treated as equals, and this is really the fundamental divide[00:20:00] between this tradition everywhere else. It’s a question of whether we’ve been able to make progress and whether those universal values were part of how we did make that progress. If that value, believe in a markers as racist today as it was at any point in the past, then I understand why you come to a conclusion, but we should simply give up on what you’re calling those American values. But I think that’s wrong. In fact, it’s offensive, not to the great Americans living today, but to the people who suffered much worse forms of discrimination in the past. How, for example, can you think that this country is homophobic as it was, at any other point, when in, your living memory and in my living memory, Ellenn DeGeneres was forced to leave her talk show because — sorry, her sitcom — because she publicly acknowledged, having, a girlfriend.
And so, once you recognize that we, that our society remains imperfect, that there remain serious injustices in it, but [00:21:00] that these values have in fact inspired political progress, allowed us to live up to these ideals more closely, then I think you embrace a very different vision. Of what the best way is to fight for further such a problem.
Joe Selvaggi: Indeed. I think we just, before we recorded, we mentioned we were at Harvard, at least I was leaving and you were both leaving about the same time. I didn’t see this coming. I saw this was, Occupy Wall Street year. I didn’t see the sort of the ideology we’re talking about right here is part of a more of a class or wealth thing, not a sort of identity concept.
When did you see, like when we talk about Derrick Bell or Kimberly Crenshaw, you mentioned in your book that social media had something to do with affinity, but I think the aspiration or the hope when we had an internet where everyone could talk to everyone that would have a universalizing effect meaning we could all find common cause across the globe. How did it serve to fan the flames of this identitarian view?
Professor Yasha Mounk: Yeah. I wonder whether some people have suggested [00:22:00] the failure of Occupy Wall Street is part of what moved the energy on the left from this kind of universalist economic, a set of concerns right about all of us of any race.
In fact, 99 percent of us in the population, we are really being taken advantage of by this 1 percent of ultra-rich people. I think that’s a slightly simplistic model of our economy and of our society as well. I think the true line in America often lies between the top 20 percent of which you and I, many listeners to this podcast are probably part of and the 80 percent or 70 percent of Americans who are less privileged. But it was firmly talking about economic issues and when that movement fell apart, the energy moved to those identitarian movements that may be part of the story in an interesting way, but more broadly, you’re right that. The hopes that people had in the Internet in the 1990s just turned out to be absolutely wrong.
They thought that, in the past we didn’t [00:23:00] communicate with people in Nigeria because, calling them up for a minute on the phone cost, a fortune, let alone having a one-hour conversation, but now on the Internet we’re going to be able to talk to people, basically, costlessly anywhere in the world.
And it’s going to lead us to reach out to people who are very different from us. No, what actually happened is that when you gained the ability to communicate with anybody in the world, we chose to communicate with those who are as much like us. As possible who share a whole bunch of identity categories and sometimes to create new identity categories, which to define us ourselves.
And I explain in the book, not just where these ideas come from, which we’re talking about in the first part of this conversation, but also how these ideas ended up spreading and becoming so influential between 2013 and today.
Joe Selvaggi: I don’t want to ignore this fundamental, the metaphor in your book is a trap, right? As something that has an appeal and something that sort of captures you where you don’t want to be. Like a mouse does not want to be caught in a trap. It’s in your title. What do you mean by trap in this? I [00:24:00] think we’ve set the groundwork here for saying, ‘Look, we wound up in a place that doesn’t seem to make any sense, but perhaps there was some inviting ways that we got here.’ What did you mean by identity trap?
Professor Yasha Mounk: The idea of, of a trap is, first of all, that there’s something seemingly appealing about the set of ideas. There’s a lure, right? A good trap has a lure, piece of cheese, perhaps, in this case, the lure is the claim that, this is the ideology that in the most radical uncompromising way is going to allow us to fight against injustices that are very real. But I argue in the book, it ends up being a trap, because it makes it harder for us to accomplish the goal of building a tolerant, thriving, peaceful society. It encourages all of the forms of zero-sum conflict between groups we’ve been talking about. In the last years, we’ve seen how many progressive institutions have had enormous trouble serving the missions because of internal [00:25:00] meltdowns they experienced. We have seen how many of those policies end up backfiring. the CDC’s way of prioritizing essential workers, for vaccines, didn’t just kill more Americans. I think it most likely killed, more nonwhite Americans because if you give two 25-year-old black Uber drivers rather than one 80-year-old black retiree, a vaccine against COVID, more black people are going to die.
And finally, it’s a political trap as well. Much of my previous work was on the crisis of democracy and the danger that it poses to our institutions. This ideology appears to be diametrically opposed to right-wing populism, but in fact, they help each other. One of the reasons, why these ideas became so hard to criticize on the left after 2016 was that Donald Trump was elected president.
But in turn, one of the reasons why Donald Trump is now running head-to-head with Joe Biden in post for 2024 is [00:26:00] that, these ideas have come to have so much hold over mainstream institutions. They seem to be in conflicted with each other, but actually one is vegan to the other is young.
Joe Selvaggi: Yes, if I have a criticism for the book I can see that there’s a sort of a sympathy for those who do fall into the trap meaning you, I think, maybe I’m reading between the lines ascribe some, virtuous intent they do indeed want to help the world become better but perhaps it’s my sort of right of center worldview and my experience with some of the same identitarian, essentialists, I don’t know what the right word would be, woke individuals is, they enjoy creating, having control of language, of culture, of, these intellectual shibboleths, these phrases that only they know, so as to, establish a power and control over others, they essentially adorn themselves with the latest rather than in a sense, they don’t seem the least bit troubled by the fact that they’re actually not [00:27:00] helping this.
Certainly, there’s no measurable effect for people of color or for anyone else. In fact, as you say, there may be a. It may have cost lives during the COVID or, education for people who are segregated. It doesn’t seem to trouble them. So, to me, it seems like more of a quest for power than for real social change. What would you say to that criticism?
Professor Yasha Mounk: I think those two things can often go hand in hand. as a general outlook on the world, I assume that, for most people, they’re the hero in their own story, the hero in their own movie, right? there are psychopaths and sociopaths. There are people with dark personality triads.
And there’s some interesting research in social psychology that those are overrepresented on the extremes, on the far right, but also on the far left. I certainly think that some people use and invoke this ideology simply to be sadistic or to exercise power over others. But most people in the world, I think, are [00:28:00] trying to at least pretend to themselves that they’re trying to make the world a better place.
And they’ll say, yeah, we want to exercise power because we need power in order to make the world better. Yes, I don’t think we should be naive about this and think that everybody is well intentioned. We don’t need to pretend that power is not part of a story. That’s why the book is called The Identity Trap: A Story of Ideas and Power in Our Time.
But I don’t think. going into this conversation with the assumption that everybody, already holds, who holds these beliefs is just a bad faith actor trying to further their own interest is very helpful. And it’s not helpful in part because I think there’s many persuadable people, and I’ve seen that.
People who were originally quite attracted to these ideas, who, as they’ve seen the damage it’s done in the last years, as they’ve sometimes seen the damage it’s done to institutions of which they’re a part, for which we volunteer and which way work. have also become very open to the critiques that I’m trying to explain and channel in this book. And my audience for this book is two sets of people. It’s people who [00:29:00] are torn in this kind of way. I want to be able to convince them, but it’s also people who perhaps like you already are opposed to these ideas. but who I think need to understand, the nature and the origin of these ideas and need to marshal the best possible arguments against them in order to push back effectively. And for that, I think, engaging in good faith with interlocutors who are open to persuasion is the best course of action.
Joe Selvaggi: That’s fair. I think I do fall into that second camp, but I’m sure that your book will appeal to those people who might consider themselves people of the left who have become disillusioned with where this path has taken us. I mentioned at the outset that your book is, sold out. So ,I’m sure we’ve piqued our listeners’ interest. Where can they find more about, your book as it’s sold out and more about your writing? I know that you do have a, a podcast persuasion podcast to share with our listeners, how they can learn more about Yasha Mounk.
Professor Yasha Mounk: There’s more copies on the way. So, by the time I assume it’ll take you a day or two to post this, by the time you’re listening to this, if [00:30:00] you go and order it online, you’ll get it within a few days. I don’t want to discourage people from buying the book. You will get it perhaps not the next day, but within three or four days.
And of course, you can always listen to it on audible or get it as an ebook as well. I have a podcast myself called The Good Fight in which I interview people, leading thinkers and intellectuals and scientists and statesmen. about their work and the deep issues in our world today. I run a magazine called persuasion, which you can sign up for at persuasion.community, and that’s it.
Joe Selvaggi: Thank you very much. I could have, as you probably can guess, would have liked to have talked with you, much, much longer, but, alas, our time is limited. Thank you for joining me on Hubwonk today, Professor Mounk, and your writing is really, persuasive and powerful. Thank you.
Professor Yasha Mounk: Thank you so much. Really enjoyed this conversation.
Joe Selvaggi : We’re grateful if you share Hubwonk with friends. If you have ideas or suggestions or comments for me about future episode topics, feel You are welcome to email me at hubwonk at pioneer institute. org. Please join me next week for a new episode of Hubwonk.
Joe Selvaggi hosts a conversation with Johns Hopkins University Professor Yasha Mounk regarding The Identity Trap, Mounk’s latest book, which delves into the origins of woke identity politics, its potential impact on classical liberal values, and strategies to effectively counter its influence.
Professor Yasha Mounk was born in Germany, Yascha received his BA in History from Trinity College Cambridge and his PhD in Government from Harvard University. He is a Professor of the Practice of International Affairs at Johns Hopkins University. Professor Mounk is also a Contributing Editor at The Atlantic, a Senior Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, and a Moynihan Public Fellow at City College. He is the founder of Persuasion, hosts The Good Fight podcast, and is a publisher at Die Zeit.