Is it possible for conservatives and left-of-center thinkers to have a civil and substantive conversation in the Era of Trump? I decided to find out, and the result is this completely gonzo episode.
Recently I sat down for a long and appropriately boozy dinner with Nils Gilman of the Berggruen Institute, and Ted Nordhaus of the Breakthrough Institute, for a grand tour through some of the big themes and controversies of the moment, including capitalism, “neoliberalism,” the “plutocratic insurgency” (Nils’s phrase), inequality, bank bailouts, Trump, the idea of progress itself, and ending with a first cut at a debate over the 1619 Project.
The conversation played out over Ted’s magnificent three-course dinner accompanied with fine wines, so there’s a lot of kitchen noise in the background. But this just adds to the authenticity of things, as I like to say. Ted was multitasking the whole time, preparing home made sushi and grilled wagyu beef, while jumping in and out of the conversation, and one obvious conclusion is that he has missed his calling in life as a gourmet chef and sommelier.
It was a long conversation that was a challenge to edit down, and mostly I wanted to let Nils and Ted explain themselves rather than engage in a debate over every contestable point, of which there are many. (Bear this in mind as you ponder commenting.) There was much more left on the cutting room floor (maybe enough for a second whole episode—readers should let me know), and one thing the three of us did agree on is that we have to do it again some time soon.
Incidentally, we’re working in fixing up a year-end podcast with the entire Power Line crew, including Ammo Grrrl, like we did last year. Stay tuned for updates.