603 Comments
Jul 28, 2022Liked by Darryl Cooper

Man, I sure was surprised to learn that we are at pretty different ends of the political spectrum. Listened to all your older stuff and just assumed we voted about the same, then you tackled the news of the day, and I was a little lost at first. It was a more pleasant surprise than I woulda thought though, as I’m appreciative that you offer me some insight into the “other side.”

I’m likely the furthest left listener and supporter that you have. I’m neither proud nor ashamed of that. I’m glad we can have some diverging views in America. And it would take something big for me to stop listening to your outstanding historical explorations, and your thoughtful analysis of current events.

In that vein, are there any contemporary, left-leaning academics that you find offering value to the overall discussion, particularly in current events. You are frequently mentioned alongside Dan Carlin, and that’s certainly a fair comparison when it comes to the quality of y’all’s work. He’s really pretty centrist overall, but hearing your thoughts on his Common Sense series would be interesting considering how frequently y’all are compared. But definitely curious if there are other historians or journalists or academics who are squarely left that you...respect?

Thanks man, and thanks for what you do.

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Don't worry, some of my best friends are leftists. I take politics seriously, but not more seriously than personal relationships.

It's a cliche by now to say that Left and Right have become terms with fuzzy meanings. A few decades ago, people on the "right" denounced Cesar Chavez as an anti-business commie; today, people on the "right" use him as an example of someone who understood the threat unregulated immigration posed to domestic workers. The Trump wing of the GOP has taken up most of the slack left in the anti-war movement by the Obama years, while the Democrats hold up the FBI and CIA as paragons of virtue and patriotism. What does right and left mean in that case? Is MAGA a right wing movement with some left wing policy views, or are those policy views no longer properly on the "left", as it has changed and developed?

I'm promiscuous in my reading, and the Old Left writers I admire is too many to list. Except in cases where a writer is focused on pornographic sexual depravity (Nabakov, Sade, etc), I don't restrict myself due to ideological revulsion. When people ask for books on the Russian Revolution, I always tell them to start with Trotsky - a demon-possessed man who should have been strangled in the crib, IMO. Anarchists and revolutionaries were pushing the envelope in the late 19th/early 20th centuries, and churned out very interesting stuff - There are many mid-20th century "left wing" existentialist psychologists I've learned a lot from: R.D. Laing, Ernest Becker, etc. In the first half of the 20th century, pretty much everyone who was anyone was a socialist of some kind. Many of them changed later, but with a few well-known exceptions (Heidegger, Schmitt, Eliot, Pound, etc), if you wanted to read the smartest people in the West you had to accept the fact that you'd be reading people on the "left". I've read and enjoyed all of Christopher Lasch's books (more of a Red Tory, but Red nonetheless). I have gotten a lot out of the best writers on race in America - Orlando Patterson and David Brion Davis (neither of whom where an ideology on their sleeve). Economic & industry/labor historians like Norman Ware, Eric Hobsbawm, Galbraith... Modern critics like Paul Berman and Kirkpatrick Sale. Even modern historians whose work hits as obvious polemic are valuable, if you can get over yourself enough to push past vehement disagreements and emotional triggers - Howard Zinn, Rick Perlstein, etc. There are many, many more... I could probably provide a whole list for any subject.

As far as Dan Carlin, thanks, that's high praise. I always enjoyed Common Sense. My personal style is obviously different from his: I strain to be as fair as possible, but that's as far as my objectivity extends. Dan tries to provide every side of each question; I study and think about the question, and then tell you what I think is true - only doing the "on the one hand... but on the other hand..." thing if I find myself stuck and cannot find my way to a clear position. I think Dan, like many people (including me), has had a hard time processing a lot of what's been going on since 2016, but overall nothing but respect. He inspired me to start MartyrMade, and Blueprint is still the best thing ever recorded in podcast form, on any subject, IMO.

Man, this is just the first question I've answered. I'm going to have to shorten these up or I'll be here for the rest of the year.

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Oh, as far as people doing this stuff today.... my man Scott Horton, of course. I like Parallax Views podcast with JG Michael. Unfortunately, between keeping up w/Jocko Podcast and doing my own reading, I don't have as much time as I'd like to listen to other podcasts. :(

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Jul 28, 2022Liked by Darryl Cooper

Thank YOU, rugbymedic, for continuing to listen to scholarship and discussions from a perspective whom you disagree with on many issues. Public discourse is well served by people who consider ideas that come from sources outside their ideological comfort zones. Keep it up!

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I have to agree. I had a conversation with an old friend this weekend, and when we got to some political issues I could tell we did not agree, but we left it there. Afterword, I was struck by how unusual this experience was; I couldn’t remember the last time I’d had such an open conversation. We need more of that. Good on ya.

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Jul 29, 2022Liked by Darryl Cooper

Wow - look at all us righties and lefties hanging out in the same place! Its a beautiful thing.

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Jul 29, 2022Liked by Darryl Cooper

Agree 100% - America SHOULD be a place where different viewpoints have a voice. Darryl's spot here on substack is a good model for how everyone should be - all united against the darkness....

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Jul 29, 2022Liked by Darryl Cooper

Another lefty listener and I SO appreciate your thorough explanations of history and current events! It wasn’t until I heard your first Ukraine episode that I realized how biased the journalism I read is (mostly The Economist, which I believed to be more centrist than left...but they never called out the US or NATO for knowingly crossing Russia’s red lines, etc).

I would love to hear more episodes like that - perhaps a recent history of the US-China rivalry from your sources and perspective? Or your views on the EU and Europe’s political future?

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Jul 29, 2022Liked by Darryl Cooper

The leftist people here leaving comments like this is definitely a positive thing.

Most have no idea about the bias and lies of the mainstream media.

I myself am very much in tune with DC politically in the sense I don't believe either of us are Republican party supporters per se, as much as the alternative is completely unacceptable.

It's not good to apply labels, but I consider myself libertarian more than anything else.

But I cannot, in any sort of conscience support the democrat party in any way.

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Funny you say this 'cause the leftists I know say the same thing about the Democratic party (myself included).

What makes the Democratic party so unacceptable in your viewpoint?

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My answer: Inability to stand up to or control its own extremists, and the willingness of many to tacitly, and sometimes even directly, use protest, street politics, and the threat of mob violence as a political first-resort (rather than as a last resort when institutions fail or are being unlawfully blocked). Protests that erupt from the dissatisfied and angry masses are a part of any healthy political system; protests endorsed and led by major party leaders and corporate media represent a breakdown of the political system.

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This has been a deeply disturbing development. My faith in institutions was completely shaken by the riots in 2020. I lived in Portland at the time and had a front row seat to months of political violence conducted with the approval of political leaders and the media. I can’t imagine what our political leaders are going to do if the left is threatened by a real loss of power in the next two election cycles.

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Same critique could be used vs the republican party.

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In some ways, yes, but the level of official support for street violence on the left far exceeds the right. In Portland, from mid-2020 on, the prosecutor presumptively declined charges against rioters while state and even national politicians praised the mob. More recent events repeat this pattern. Where is the right using the legal system and mainstream politics to take a wink-and-nod approach to normalized mob violence?

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I don’t disagree, however, this problem is not unique to the democrats. We have a pretty big for example going on currently. The actual leader of not only a political party but the free world could catch the same shade. Only in the halls and floors of US institutions, not just a city park in Seattle, a few police stations and target department stores.

Criticizing the left doesn’t a rightwinger make, if so I’d be Mussa-fucking-lini. For my money, DC, you’re all fair play big dog. The democrats® suck in myriad, it’s a sad state that they’re the representatives of the left broadly.

You guys are all great.

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Jul 29, 2022·edited Jul 29, 2022

DC answered that question far more articulately than I ever could and basically I totally agree with him with the exception that I don't believe the democrat party is incapable of controlling it's own extremists. As I think they've shown they have complete control over them and tend to use them exactly the way they intend to.

The democrat party intentionally creates political unrest and even violence by effectively funding and organizing these groups when it serves thier purposes.

And I agree with DC that this is a breakdown and perversion of our political system because "the party" is driving the policies and direction of it's members instead of the people directing the policies of the party. As an example, just look how the DNC rigged it's own primaries twice to exclude Bernie Sanders, Andrew Yang and Tulsi gabbard in favor of the establishment candidate and in contradiction of the will of it's constituents. The democrat party is basically the Dominant party of the Washington DC establishment and not of the American people.

So I definitely have no fondness of the republican party. Their gutless and often feeble feigns at opposing things like this is truly disgusting.

Unfortunately, there's currently no better alternative.

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I'll add to this by saying that in my opinion, the democrat party rigging it's own primary against the populist candidates in favor of the Washington DC establishment is probably the biggest unknown travesty of politics in this decade.

Just think about the national conversations somebody like Andrew Yang and Bernie Sanders could bring to kitchen tables across America as a presidential candidate!

Neither perhaps could have won a national election against Donald Trump, but just consider how those conversations could direct policies for years to come.

I think it could create discussion that would eventually lead to tangible solutions for issues that matter to the American people by contrasting policies that most people have never thought of.

Those two alone as national candidates could force these discussions and subjects to the front and center of American politics win or lose.

The nation would be better for it in my opinion, but the establishment Democrats would be in a similar position that Donald Trump has put the establishment Republicans....on notice by their voters.

The democrat party just wasn't going to have it.

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Yeah, I'm way more on this than the former (LOTS of thoughts on the former, not sure I want to spill them all out here, but like... oh man. Very irked by that). And not only killing Bernie's campaign and silencing Yang, but funding extremists Republicans in a midterm election where they're facing horrible headwinds? The fuck is that??? Now we're stuck with Biden -- who most of us didn't like -- and Kamala -- who no one likes. It's like... Jesus.

I think there's a legit chance that Bernie or Yang could've beat Trump (who knows, really). And yeah, that really could've changed the entire political conversation. I'm really hoping more dudes like John Fetterman (running for Senate in PA) start to reshape the Democratic Party. It's such a no brainer, but these Congressional Reps who've been around for over three decades just won't go away.

Do you feel like the Republican has the same problem? Or a different problem? The nativist sentiments that are being cultivated have an ugly history and it has a lot of us freaked out.

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I think the republican party definitely has the same problem. Realistically the republican party has been in a sort of an internal struggle since the tea party of the late 1990s.

The difference is that the populist movement inside the republican party has the upper hand against the establishment side for the time being thanks to Donald Trump.

I really don't think the republican establishment expected him to win, so they allowed the populist side to win, and now they can't stop it. Which is great news for the American people because the republican party is now driven by it's supporters from the bottom up instead of vice versa like the current DNC establishment which is from the top down.

My opinion if your a populist progressive your options are to support populist republican candidates or try to "tea party" the DNC.

I personally would go for the populist side myself, republican or not and let the effects surge upward.

It's really a war between the establishment and the people. We need to see it as such and stop thinking in terms of blue or Red. Whether you're a leftist like yourself or a libertarian like myself and probably DC.

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It's hilarious you said Fetterman in one sentence and no-brainer in the next.

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What they did to Bernie was a shame. What they did to Tulsi was a travesty, because I actually believe she would make a great president.

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I told myself I would never vote Democrat again, but man, is RFK Jr ever tempting. Shame we all know exactly what they'll do to him.

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Jul 28, 2022Liked by Darryl Cooper

Also lefty with the same experience listening to the podcast. I like this question!

Rugbymedic -- you got any on your list?

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Jul 29, 2022Liked by Darryl Cooper

I don’t know if anyone besides Carlin is doing something similar, and that I would call left. I imagine Duncan’s Revolutions Podcast would be left leaning if he did more current stuff?

Lions Led By Donkeys does get into more recent events on occasion, with a very obvious left perspective. The entire point is to show the ineptitude of many military leaders as they blatantly disregard human life. I enjoy it, but not a lot of commentary on current events.

Corey Robin is a good guest on a lot of pods, and I enjoy a lot of what he has written. Tackles some very tough subjects.

Richard Wolff for an understanding of actual Marxist economic theory and how some of it could be incorporated in a better overall economic system.

Sam Harris isn’t super lefty, and I don’t agree all the time, but he’s a smart dude for sure.

The gal from Philosophy Tube on YouTube is great! But I have a tough time with watching stuff, I have more time to listen instead.

And always open to more suggestions! Tough to find commentary that isn’t garbage on either side of the spectrum, so I stick to history and philosophy and religion a lot more than genuine politics and economics.

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I'd hardly call Carlin left because he never has stepped up with any "pro-state" philosophy and has very little to say about how a state should be run. I felt like most of Common Sense was critique of the state -- but not in a way I'd call right wing either. He seems a bit removed from the political spectrum. And I think that's why makes his historical perspective and curiosities so compelling.

Richard Wolff I have trouble with. He fronts a lot scholarly POV, but really ignores a lot of historic and political context surrounding the way he discusses Marxist economies. Not to say he doesn't have a lot of great points! He does for sure.

I listen to Sam Harris a lot, and God he bothers the hell out of me, lol. A lot of respect to him -- legit -- but I do get tired of his 'woe is me, I'm tormented by wokeism' stuff.

Will check out Lions Led By Donkeys and Corey Robin. Sound great. I recently got turned onto Marc Lamont Hill, who really shines in long form interviews, and a YouTube video essayist named FD Signifier. FD in particular speaks with compassion to those he critiques, which I respect a lot.

I listen to Bad Faith Podcast here and there. I'm not 100% here for Briahna Joy Gray (sometimes I think she leads with her self-righteous rage), but she conducts great interviews, brings on great guests, and the best part about here -- if she disagrees with the person who's on, she goes after them. Very refreshing!

Oh! And JACOBIN RADIO is great. I think it both conducts its own and collects interviews from other podcasts. Well curated. In fact, there's a great history episode that aired on 8/28 where an Eastern European historian talks about reframing world history from a non-Western (not Anti-western, mind you) point of view that Martyr Made listeners would probably really like.

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Richard Wolff reminds me a bit of Chris Hedges. Both of them have some excellent talks and lectures that hit many of the right emotional notes on important injustices and inequalities, but both can veer off into sanctimony and be loose with facts and historical context.

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Jul 29, 2022Liked by Darryl Cooper

Totally. Wolff's praise of China's success often sounds remarkably -- or willfully -- ignorant of its crimes. Or the idea that, you know, they might be lying about some of that shit.

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Jul 29, 2022Liked by Darryl Cooper

That’s a very fair critique. I spend a lot of time trying to further research statements that seem too glowing for what seems to be standard knowledge. I think I remember Wolff being married to a Chinese lady, or something like that. I just assume that shades his views on things the rest of us see a bit more clearly. My own love for most of the Afghan locals I met probably causes me to gloss over some of their more heinous cultural norms.

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Jul 29, 2022Liked by Darryl Cooper

Awesome! Lots to explore there, thanks!

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Oh, I sometimes drop into Behind the Bastards too -- but it's obnoxiously left. Not sure I'd call it acadmeic.

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Yeah, I dig that one, even as I agree with the obnoxious leftness. Lions Led By Donkeys is very similar.

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History on Fire... if you don't know who the teacher would vote for they are doing it correctly

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Jul 29, 2022Liked by Darryl Cooper

You're not alone :)

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I recall Darryl once saying complimentary things about the Death Is Just Around the Corner podcast. I've listened to a few episodes some time ago, and I remember it being more of a far-left treatment of 20th century history, but also a bit more on the speculative and conspiratorial side. But it was definitely thorough, and I recognized some similarities with the Martyr Made podcast.

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Jul 28, 2022Liked by Darryl Cooper

You may have already given this info out before, but a recap or summation of your own bio would be good to hear. Where you grew up, what you did, how you grew an interest in deep dives of history etc.

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If you want a good recap of Darryl's life growing up and how he came to be the shining star he is today, you should give this Jocko podcast a listen https://jockopodcast.com/2020/04/08/224-in-an-uncertain-world-stack-the-deck-in-your-favor-with-darryl-cooper/

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Thank you Ron. I turned to Martyr Made after always hearing DC giving these incredible rehashes of events on Jocko's podcast. Reminded me of Dan Carlin Hardcore History. Thank you again for the heads up Ron.

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Jul 28, 2022Liked by Darryl Cooper

This was Darryl's introduction when the Thread started which subsequently morphed into the Unravelling podcasts because those geniuses forgot to see if that title was already taken ;-)

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Echoing this and would have posted the same -- it's a fascinating and detailed summary and should take you way farther than you might have expected.

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Thank you for sharing, what a fantastic listen.

I didn’t think my man crush on DC could get any bigger, but this episode definitely did it!

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Thank you. I'll listen to it.

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This would be a very long answer, so maybe I'll do a podcast on the subject soon. In fact, it might solve my problem of how to frame the one I'm working on now, based on a documentary I just saw. In the meantime, as someone did below, I'll just point you to this: https://jockopodcast.com/2020/04/08/224-in-an-uncertain-world-stack-the-deck-in-your-favor-with-darryl-cooper/

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Jul 29, 2022Liked by Darryl Cooper

Thanks DC.

I also heard you first on Jocko's podcast and kept thinking "who's this guy Jocko keeps deferring on the history and subject matter here"?

That led me here as a subscriber and it's really helped a lot in regards to my understanding of the world today.

You've got a gift of articulating things most of us already know on some level but just can't explain

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thanks!

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Listening to it now in the gym. Thanks.

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I have a few stories I could tell about our fearless podcaster from his younger years that didn't make the Jocko episode.

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I'd like to hear.

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Haha, I'd have to get his permission first 😂

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You have my permission to get your ass whooped.

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Bring it!

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Jul 29, 2022Liked by Darryl Cooper

The fact the bathroom story made it into the podcast... I'm gonna listen to/read anything that DC posts after hearing that story. So much respect for DC... where he cam from to where he is now. 💪

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I remember the first time I saw a pic of DC properly (I thought the t-shirts dude on the website was a model - no homo). Danielle posted a pic of the 2 of them on Facebook after a collaboration and I was like damn, the voice lives up to this jacked MFer. Not a guy to mess with

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Cooper looks like he should be cloned for the ranks of the Space Marines.

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Absolutely.

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I cam here to write just this Ian! So please make this request 2x

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What is your recommendation of “10 Books Must Read”?

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Jul 29, 2022·edited Jul 29, 2022Author

Very hard question without breaking it down by topic. Off the top of my head, though, I'll give you a "top 10 books to read if you want to understand where Darryl is coming from" (in no particular order):

1. Decline of the West, by Oswald Spengler

2. Icarus Fallen, by Chantal Delsol

3. The Machiavellians, by James Burnham (I would recommend each of the authors he covers, but in the interest of keeping the list at 10...)

4. Culture of Narcissism, by Christopher Lasch

5. Fearful Symmetry, by Northrop Frye

6. The Collapse of Complex Societies, by Joseph Tainter

7. The Origins of Political Order, and, Political Order & Political Decay, by Francis Fukuyama

8. Manufacturing Consent, Noam Chomsky

9. Notes from the Underground, Fyodor Dostoevsky

10. I See Satan Fall Like Lightning, by Rene Girard

Ten is not nearly enough, but there you go.

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F*ck you bro. You just gave me, like, 18 more books to read. But also tnx

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I was going to ask this same question but phrase it a bit differently. If you could recommend 10 books that give an unvarnished hidden history of the 20th century...what would they be. Knowing the power of the current MIC in Vietnam and since I have to conclude there were great financial forces behind WWI and WWII that are generally unknown and likely intentionally obscured by the excuses of nationalism, imperialism, binding treaties, etc...

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Hmm... this will be off the top of my head as well. Some of these books will be politically incorrect, but I imagine you knew that when you asked the question. Some of them (eg, Degrelle's book) are on the list less because they provide the "unvarnished truth" than because they provide the other perspective on topics that have been verboten. World War 2 is the founding myth of the current global system, as well as the American social order. As such, discussion of the topic from any perspective other than the approved version has been professionally (and, in Europe, even legally) dangerous. Almost by definition, then, it's one of the areas of modern history with the most unexplored territory. There are many topics - early CIA operations, the JFK assassination (but I repeat myself), various threads of Iran-Contra, etc, that are probably still awaiting a definitive single-volume treatment.

1. Aberration in the Heartland of the Real, by Wendy Painting

2. The Red Decade, by Eugene Lyons

3. Savage Continent, by Keith Lowe

4. Anything That Moves, by Nick Turse (and The Phoenix Program, by Doug Valentine, if you want more... this latter book is packed with info, but rather poorly written, IMO)

5. Hitler's War, by David Irving

6. The New Dealer's War, by Thomas Fleming

7. Hitler: Born at Versailles, by Leon Degrelle

8. Empire's Workshop, by Greg Grandin (and Bitter Fruit, by Schlesinger & Kinzer, and Hidden Terrors, by AJ Langutth, if you want more)

9. Cocaine Politics (and other books), by Peter Dale Scott

10. The Anglo-American Establishment, by Carroll Quigley

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Throw in The Jakarta Method, too.

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Thank you.

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If possible, I have two questions for you

Who is your favorite Saint in Christian history (with the parameters to pre 1054 great schism as to be fair to any Orthodox/Catholics) and why?

As an adult, what drew you back towards Christian life and the faith? I'm always interested in this one as people's stories are always fascinating.

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I'll come back to this one. Will require some time and thought to answer.

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Just poking at ya in case you got some thoughts on it

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Darryl, are you OK? The subject matter that you cover on Martyr Made is frequently dark and often deals with the very worst of man's inhumanity toward man. I can't imagine that the many hours you spend steeped in this stuff during your research leaves your heart light and full of joy. Do you have things/people in your life that provide balance?

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Jul 29, 2022·edited Jul 29, 2022Author

Yeah, I'm alright. Every once in a while it takes its toll. I'll have trouble sleeping, or sleeping well, a few nights in a row, and my mood degrades before I realize why it's happening. Then I take a break, read a novel or some ancient history, or only listen to music for a few days, and that usually clears it up. I can't say that balance is one of my strengths, though.

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Jul 28, 2022Liked by Darryl Cooper

Yeah,had to watch about 3 days of nut shot videos so I’d stop twitching after listening to Antihimans. Not like the other episodes are a stroll in a dewy meadow either.

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Jul 29, 2022Liked by Darryl Cooper

I had to stop listening from time-to-time and turn on some Billy Joel to calm the nerves. Uptown Girl really helped pull me through.

To add insult to injury, I went on vacation with the wife and brought the Anti-Human book with me because I'm mentally messed up. I had to switch after every chapter and some short stories from Kurt Vonnnegut.

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Jul 28, 2022Liked by Darryl Cooper

Darryl, as I've been following you over the last couple years, it seems as though you are at your best when you are going against or at least providing more nuance to the the popular understanding of a topic or situation such as the Russia-Ukraine conflict, Israeli-Palestinian situation, etc. What are some other historical misconceptions that you feel that we may have as Americans or people living in the modern age?

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Jul 29, 2022·edited Jul 29, 2022Author

World War 2 is the founding myth of the current global system and the American domestic political order, so its study and reporting have been set about with taboos and prohibitions that could cost someone a career (or, in Europe, their freedom) for violating. As such, that topic (and the interwar years that preceded it) is one in which the official court history has been reduced to a flat mythology. This seems to happen with every event that founds a new political order - both the US Civil War and the American Revolution are poorly understood by laypeople because the official histories - with their larger-than-life heroes and villains that come down as archetypes relevant for all time (that is, mythological figures) - are not real histories, they are myths, and consciously so. Given that the Civil War came 89 years after 1776, and World War 2 ended 80 years after the Civil War, I'd say there's a good chance that today - 77 years after the end of World War 2, people taking irreconcilable sides, the global and domestic political orders being delegitimized by the day - we're probably hurtling toward another one of those epoch-defining events.

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Jul 30, 2022Liked by Darryl Cooper

Post JFK assassination I feel like I have a good sense of what not to believe, but pre-1960s I haven't escaped from the mainstream story.

Any hints on where to start reading to better understand the lead up to WWII?

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I found the answer to my question in the answer to Dale's question 😁👍

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Makes me think about The Fourth Turning, a book about generational cycles (which I think I've heard Darryl mention on an Unraveling episode, but I know he mentioned it somewhere and I was excited because finally I had read a book he'd read! The authors were on Coast to Coast back in the day.) Anyway, it's basically a book-length version of the "hard times create strong men, strong men create good times, good times create weak men, weak men create hard times" meme.

But they do it by generation (every twenty years) and the next big conflict (hard times) is supposed to be in this decade. I originally thought that it might be the pandemic, that was the crisis, but now I think that might have been the prelude to a human-on-human conflict for some reason people seem to be thirsting for right now. I hope we can avoid it!

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I would really like to hear a series about the mythology of WWII. The more I learn the more it seems that mythology fits better than history

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Yes please!

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Just chiming in because Maxwell is right, this is a great question. Please answer this one.

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great question

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Jul 28, 2022Liked by Darryl Cooper

Any interest in diving into the Balkan's? Specifically the history of the Serbo-Croatian conflict starting back with the great Serbian migrations in the 1600's and taking it through the breakup of modern day Yugoslavia and the ensuing war that redefined the borders of the countries today. Think it would be a fascinating topic to cover over a couple podcasts.

I'm biased as I'm half Serb, half Croat. Thanks for all the knowledge!

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Yes, definitely. Over the last few years, I've been slowly building my knowledge base in order to take the topic on. Not there yet, but we'll see where things stand after I finish this labor series.

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Jul 29, 2022Liked by Darryl Cooper

Woo Hoo!!! Thanks Darryl!!

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Jul 29, 2022Liked by Darryl Cooper

Ron for the win!

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What does your process of ‘building a knowledge base’ look like? I struggle to keep up with your reading recommendations and mostly jump from topic/period to topic/period. It’s be cool to hear what your reading schedule is like, especially before and after your full-time dedicated to MM.

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I try to read at least six hours a day. Usually an hour in the morning while I wait for caffeine to start my workout, an hour of lighter reading in the evening to clear my mind of whatever horrific topic I’m on that day, and 4-6 hours during the day, depending on where I’m at on a project. The closer I am to finishing, the more writing and less reading I do. But if it drops below 4-5 hours in a day, it’s because I’ve consciously set the day aside for errands, chores, rest, etc.

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Was this process similar when you weren’t working full-time on the podcast yet?

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Similar time commitment, but I wasn’t able to read for hours at a time. Worked mornings, evenings and lunch breaks when I was on my 9-to-5, so it’s nice to have those times back.

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In 1989, when I was 17, I was lucky to spend the summer in Yugoslavia with my Bosnian friend Romeo and my Serbian friend Mario. They both were foreign exchange students at my high school.

I’m not a very serious person. I never have been. My only interests in Yugoslavia that summer were discotheques, the beach, drinking and girls.

Yugoslavia was the most wonderful place to be young and dumb in the summer. If there were undercurrents of civil war present, I was oblivious to them. While in Zagreb (Croatia), I remember some folks telling Bosnian jokes like we used to tell Polish jokes when I was a kid. I thought nothing of it.

My youthful impression of Yugoslavia then was of a vibrant, first world, cosmopolitan paradise where 17 year olds could drink and club all night.

I spent a week in Sarajevo. Almost everyone I hung with there died in the war. People often talk of the thin veneer of civilization, how chaos and anarchy lurk around every corner. I saw it, how thin it really is.

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Half Serb half Croat? That’s tough…

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Jul 28, 2022Liked by Darryl Cooper

Yea I always joke that if I was over there I'd have to shoot myself.

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I'd love to hear it!

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Jul 28, 2022Liked by Darryl Cooper

What do you think would be the most viable, nonviolent method of rolling back the federal governments power over the next 50 years?

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Disclaimer: Most viable does not mean *actually* viable.

The federal government will never roll back itself, so any strategy that requires taking over the federal government to roll it back will fail. Fortunately, the American system has invested real power in state and local institutions that still carry enough legitimacy to act forcefully. The county sheriff, for example, is an elected office, and is vested with serious Constitutional power if the people of his county have his back. If people interested in battling against federal power turned their attention away from Washington, DC (not to say don't vote, knock yourself out, but don't expect much or spend your time and emotion there), and instead empowered state and local officials to stand against federal encroachment, they would get a lot further. Elect a sheriff and a mayor that will defy federal edicts and dare Washington to send the marshals to arrest them. If they do come, call the people to surround City Hall and defend their town and mayor. Have a sheriff who will not permit the marshals entry. Of course a single town would be easily squashed, so it's important not to pick any big fights alone. This would have to develop as a movement, with other towns and counties, and eventually states, following suit, so that if the feds want to crush one, they have to crush them all.

I suppose this path involves the risk of violence, but I can't think of another that would get past first base in a million tries.

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Jul 29, 2022Liked by Darryl Cooper

This take is pretty much on par with mine. Look to yourself, then your city council to change your world, not the feds. Not even going to lie though, the fact that me and an intellectual powerhouse like Darryl Cooper came to the same conclusion gives me quite the reassurance that I’m not a complete moron.

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Localism… finds a way

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2nd the motion

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I believe you said that you worked on the DOD for 20+ years. Then at the beginning of the "Thoughts on Ukraine" podcast you said "For one thing, I don't like war. I'm over that stage in my life," followed by a quote from anti-war activist Scott Horton (later doing an interview with him). I would be very curious to hear about the mental journey you took regarding your position on war.

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When I was younger, I liked to fight. Today, I think back on some of the pointless beatings I gave people, and how lucky I was that I didn't run into the wrong person at the wrong time, and I have trouble explaining it to myself without resorting to a plea of insanity. It's similar with war. Maybe I'm just getting soft in my old age, but I no longer see tanks, soldiers, and trenches when I imagine war, but instead see women with their legs blown off and kids with no fathers. I was 20 and already in the Navy when 9/11 happened. I was in my libertarian phase, and my politics had been shaped heavily by the Waco massacre, so I was more prepared than most to withhold judgment on the war fever of the Bush administration. But still, terrorists had blown shit up in America, and like all of the people around me I wanted to find and kill anyone who had anything to do with it, or even thought it was a good idea. If I hadn't already been in the Navy, I surely would have joined the Marines. As it was, I tried for two years to get approval to go to SEAL, EOD or SWCC training (denied due to my NEC being considered critical, and they'd already spent too much time and money training me on radars and electronics). But over the years, like everyone else, I had to face how cynically we had all been lied to, and I thought about the people I might have killed, or the people on our side who were killed, over a lie. Then, being a history nerd, I came to understand that the Iraq War & GWOT weren't unique, that there arguably hasn't been a war in American history that wasn't based on a lie at the time, and told as a lie today. When I was young and full of piss and vinegar, I would have snarled at the quip that war is just a bunch of rich guys sending poor kids to die to line their pockets or stroke their egos, but that's what it is and has been. That said, I still think military service is a noble calling. There were many Native Americans in the late 19th, early 20th centuries, who joined up to fight America's wars despite knowing full well the nature of the beast. They did it because they were warriors, and warriors have to go where the war is. I have always respected that mentality. A young man who doesn't have some part of himself that wants to smash and kill and stand over the ruins he's created is not fully healthy, IMO, and a young man who channels that into a vocation that, right or wrong, his whole society is telling him is good and righteous, deserves respect.

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Jul 29, 2022Liked by Darryl Cooper

Thank you so much for the response to my question. This response shows one reason why your podcast is so successful, because you are willing to critically examine everything, including your own career choice. Thank you again, and I look forward to everything you put out

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Jul 29, 2022Liked by Darryl Cooper

Thank you for this answer, it gave articulation to a couple of things I have wanted to say to people but haven't known how to phrase.

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Has there ever been a just war in your eyes that would meet maybe St Augustine's standards? Even if perhaps mistakes were made to send that boulder rolling?

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Jul 28, 2022Liked by Darryl Cooper

Something going through the arc of the ideals and how war is sold compared to the reality would be great. Related to the Ukraine conflict, beyond the arc of getting older and wiser, is another variable the degraded quality of the military's PR machine?

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Jul 28, 2022Liked by Darryl Cooper

Can we just settle the Nazi/Alt-right thing? I've been following you for years now, and you're a hard guy to pin down belief wise. To be clear I like that about you, you seem complex. What "left wing" beliefs do you hold? What "right wing" beliefs do you hold? Why oh why did you start your controversial interview series in decline of the west with a white nationalist? and why didn't you continue with the rest of the planned guests? I'm perfectly capable of separating the art from the artist but it helps to know what potential filter the art might be coming through. Thank you for introducing me to blood meridian BTW. Cheers

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Jul 29, 2022·edited Jul 29, 2022Author

My beliefs are usually worn on my sleeve, I think. It's just that I take a mix of positions that don't often go together. Sometimes, I take what seem like right- or left-wing positions for reasons that seem to come from the other side. For example, I think mass democracy is a bad political system (right wing belief?), but the reason is that I think it's too easily and inevitably coopted by plutocrats and fails its stating aim of providing people with representation (left wing belief?).

Having spent a lot of time around the world, I know how easy we have it in America. I also know that this thing of ours is fragile, and impossible to put back together once it's broken. Regular people need stability and order in their lives, but the people who run our society are insulated from the consequences of disorder and instability. From their safe distance, disorder and instability seem cool, and they're very cavalier with the community norms, social institutions and economic stability that regular people depend on for their lives. These are people who cheer on riots while the poor people who live in the affected neighborhoods hide in their homes praying for the National Guard. Those people are my enemy. I grew up in ghettos, barrios and trailer parks, with a stint in rural Montana. Those people are my friends, and most of politics derives from outrage over how they're portrayed and treated, and a fighting urge to slap a bully on their behalf. That could be right wing or left wing, depending on what decade you're talking about. In this decade, when "right wing", as far as I can tell, simply means "not insane", I guess it puts me on the right.

As for the aborted Decline of the West series, I should elaborate for people who don't know what you're talking about. Several years ago, I had a very short-lived podcast series called Decline of the West - a more conversational podcast about contemporary topics with an author I knew at the time. My co-host dropped off the map for a bit, so I was trying to think up topics to keep things going until he popped back up. It was 2016, and people were talking about the Alt Right and BLM, terrorists were driving buses over crowds of people, etc, and so I had the idea to interview four people considered extremist identitarians: a white nationalist (Greg Johnson, who runs the Counter-Currents website), a black nationalist who runs a small organization (now defunct AFAIK) down south, a supporter of the Muslim Brotherhood in the UK, and a very serious religious Zionist settler in the West Bank. I had the first three lined up, and someone was setting me up with the fourth. Greg Johnson ended up being first because he was the easiest to coordinate with, so I interviewed him about white nationalism. It was the first interview I'd ever conducted. I thought it was as simple as just hitting record and talking to someone, but I learned there that interviewing is a skill, one I hadn't yet developed. Johnson is a very polite gentleman, and it's in my nature to be kind to people who are kind to me, so the podcast came off like I was just shooting the breeze with my white nationalist buddy to let him sell his ideology to my listeners. To be clear, I think the intent and approach of the series was sound, in general, even if not perfectly executed. If I had it to do again, I would not treat it like an adversarial interview or an interrogation, because that's not the purpose I had in mind. But after that one came out, I decided my co-host probably wasn't coming back any time soon, and I was already seeing a lot of criticism of the Johnson interview, so I decided it was best to just take the whole series (5-6 episodes down) and move on.

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Jul 29, 2022·edited Jul 29, 2022Liked by Darryl Cooper

Thank you for the response! I liked the Johnson interview. It reminded me of an old common sense podcast in which Dan Carlin argued that one of George W Bush's big mistakes was turning down the opportunity to debate the leader of Iran ( too lazy to Google how to spell that unit of a name) . I think it's valuable to hear out all opinions, expose them to the light of day and see how well they hold up to scrutiny. Otherwise they just fester like bad food you kicked under the fridge instead of picking up. I've been procrastinating lately by arguing with young earth creationists and it's so frustrating as a geologist just how divorced from reality they are, but its still fun.

I definitely take issue with the assertion that the only sane people these days are right wing. I like my Canadian health care plan. And I like my labor rights (looking forward to your next podcast on that, the first one was awesome.) But ya they lose me at "jimmy likes to play with barbies, let's put HER on estrogen". The MAGA crowd are also a bunch of nutcases though. I'm also from the lower class, and now having risen to the middle class I do find I resent a lot of my peers who were raised without real hardship. Like I'm from oil country but now live on the west coast where nobody seems to realize what would happen to them, let alone places in Canada that are actually cold, if we just stopped using fossil fuels. It was absolutely disgusting hearing them celebrate the fires in Fort macmurray. I think what I took from my lower class upbringing was different than what you did though in that I understand justbhow life changing just a little but of government assistance can be, and what a myth pulling yourself up by the bootstraps usually is.

Again, thanks for the response. My question could've been better written but I wanted to get it in before the rush. Cheers

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And I like my Swedish health care system as well. And labour rights. And welfare system.

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I must have missed this. Who was the white nationalist?

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Jul 29, 2022·edited Jul 29, 2022

There's some discussion and a link to the podcasts here https://www.reddit.com/r/martyrmade/comments/tkj8xe/has_anyone_got_an_archive_of_the_complete_decline/

The white nationalist is Greg Johnson, in the 6th episode.

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Charcoal or propane?

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Pellet, with a basic Weber charcoal grill for finishing and quick jobs like burgers, etc.

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Solid

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Jul 28, 2022Liked by Darryl Cooper

or wood fire?

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What was the most consequential act of the 20th century in your opinion?

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I think, when it all shakes out, the development of nuclear weapons will be the obvious answer. I won't say Gavrilo Princip just because there were forces angling for a war against the Central Powers with or without the assassination of an Archduke, and one way or another they'd have gotten it.

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Behind that last sentence hides an entire potential series, I imagine.

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Jul 29, 2022Liked by Darryl Cooper

“Mankind invented the bomb, but no mouse would ever invent a mousetrap” (Einstein) Thanks for the response Darryl! Keep up the great work.

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I second this question.

No cop-out answers, you have to pick an event ;)

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Jul 28, 2022Liked by Darryl Cooper

Is there even an argument for anything besides the development of the nuclear bomb?

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The assassination of Archduke Ferdinand... that seemed to lead to so many other things, including WW2 and the development of the bomb.

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Earlier I posted that the consequential event of the 20th century was WWI. I was originally going to submit that the assassination of archduke Ferdinand was the most consequential event, but I didn't because it seemed like all the nations were on the path to war, and if Ferdinand wasn't assassinated, something else would've started it anyways (whereas something consequential like the victory of the Bolsheviks was far from guaranteed). But regardless of whether or not WWI was inevitably going to happen, the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand DID set it off, and so you're probably right that that was the most consequential event of the 20th century

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Jul 28, 2022·edited Jul 28, 2022

I don't know how narrow the initial poster wanted this question to be, but I think WWI was the most consequential act of the 20th century because it completely destroyed the wealth that had been created since the industrial revolution and led to what could be the most consequential smaller scale act, the success of the Bolshevik revolution

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It also set the stage for America as THE dominant world power.

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The Birth Control pill

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Interesting, and worth exploring.

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Jul 28, 2022Liked by Darryl Cooper

the cultural nuclear bomb

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I'd argue against that. The birth control pill was part of a decline in fertility that had been set in motion many decades before the advent of the birth control pill by urbanization (see: https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Ahmed-Rahman-6/publication/228419887/figure/fig1/AS:301979038437383@1449008821701/Birth-and-Death-Rates-in-England-top-Birth-Rates-in-Europe-bottom-sources-Galor.png )

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In addition to this, I've read that the medical advance that allowed for promiscuousness was not the pill, but antibiotics (the implications are disgusting). These two points really mitigate against the popular conception of the pill as a historical watershed.

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I've heard people talk about this is one of the biggest societal changes in history, but I'm not really understanding why. If you have a moment, could you elaborate on why this is such a consequential event?

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Jul 28, 2022Liked by Darryl Cooper

It fundamentally changed the consequences of sex, particularly for women. Before the Pill (or really before wide-spread, cheap contraception), sex was a much riskier adventure for women. This biological pressure forced women to be far more cautious in their sexual relationships and thereby suppressed the "body count" of both men and women alike. I don't think we can really fully comprehend how much this has changed society. Human beings evolved (or were divinely created, whatever your beliefs) with certain universal biological constraints and birth control ripped one of them up by the roots and tossed it into a fire. This has had both positive and negative effects. Some of the positives are that more and more women are educated. (This is a positive feedback loop as educated women are also more likely to use birth control.) Some of the negatives are that we don't form pair bonds as early (and I would argue as strongly) as we used to both as a direct consequence (women getting pregnant earlier before birth control) and as an indirect consequence (delaying the creation of a family allows women to become college educated and thus have opportunities that were previously denied to them, alleviating some of the economic sting of divorce).

I think we desperately need serious studies on the consequences of birth control so we can better understand the position we find ourselves in here in modern society.

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Those studies would be wildly helpful as we look at the possibility of changing access to contraception moving forward. I don’t genuinely believe that “the pill” is in any real danger of widespread banishment, but it seems like at least some people would push for it. A clearer picture of its’ true impact, or lack thereof, on equality for women, well that seems like an important part of the discussion. As maybe the world’s worst Catholic, I’m fascinated by the development and impact of the pill, and especially how the Church went about determining their stance on it. I think it was Malcom Gladwell that had a fantastic podcast episode on it that got me really thinking about it.

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That's fascinating to think about. It's really hard for me to think of this being the most consequential event of the 20th century, but that is likely due to me growing up in a world where I take it for granted. If only we could communicate with someone from before widespread contraception was available and they could explain how big a deal it is to those of us who can't truly comprehend it.

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The invention of the automobile. No other invention comes close to embodying the neoliberal consumerist worldview. Debeautification of cities and towns followed with its arrival, focusing instead on utility. Entire regions organized themselves to be reliant on public roads and the commerce they would bring. Also not a coincidence the youth movements with their focus on sex came about after its arrival first in the 20s-30s and the second in the 60s.

There probably wasn't a bigger change in how people saw themselves co-existing with the world around them until the arrival of the internet.

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The 1917 revolution strikes me as the biggest bean.

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What happened to Whose America? I thought you had a great thing going discussing the labor issues, then you started jumping around on topics. Did I miss Whose America somehow? Don't get me wrong it's all great stuff, just wondering what happened.

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Those episodes take a while. For the next episode, on the Battle of Blair Mountain, I've read 8 books on the incident itself, several books on other mining labor battles, two histories of the West Virginia-Kentucky border, a book about the Hatfields and the McCoys, a book about the Appalachian Scots-Irish, etc... I'm almost there. The other stuff is just to be able to touch base with you guys in between the big episodes.

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Thanks for the clarification and keep up the great work! I really enjoy learning new historical facts in your podcasts!

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Jul 29, 2022Liked by Darryl Cooper

Yeap! I want more Whose America?!

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Jul 28, 2022Liked by Darryl Cooper

What does US balkanization look like? How does a "civil war" look? Who fights who? What does the military do with all its different components (active, reserve, national guard)? If anything.

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It's hard to imagine, but it might look something like The Troubles in Northern Ireland. Terrorism and assassinations under the nose of an overarching and invincible military power. I don't see civil war in our future, though. I think people will continue sorting themselves out, red states will get redder, blue states will get bluer, and both sides will elect governors that insulate them from the choices made whenever the other sides wins control of the federal government. Americans tend not to stand and fight when things go against them. We're a frontier country, and to this day if we don't like the direction things are going, our first impulse is to pack up the covered wagon and leave. Look at the current exodus from California and other large, dense urban areas into states like Idaho, Montana, Arizona and Texas. Even our Civil War happened because the South decided to leave. But this isn't 1861. Kamala Harris doesn't have the heart or the clout to call the banners to march on a few recalcitrant states defying federal edicts. So gradual, effective Balkanization without sharp conflict would be my guess, with each region going its own way according to the choices they make.

One exception I can think of would be in rural areas being invaded by rich liberals. I could see native Montanans from the Gallatin River valley deciding they've seen enough G-Wagons with California plates clogging the roads between Bozeman and Big Sky, and suddenly the gastropubs and boutique coffee shops start going up in flames.

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My grandfather fought in a Revolution/civil war and in the late 1960s everyone thought we were going to have a civil war.

He just shook his head and said ,”Americans are to fat to fight a civil war.” A man needs to look across the table and see that he can’t feed his family or the government has caused the death of a family member or friend with no regret…., that is when a man will pick up a weapon and go to work”. He also said it’s not organized at first but mainly bands of men killing, burning, stealing and destroying other groups of men doing the same thing.

After awhile the killing and destruction is so common that it seems normal. And nobody knows how it’s going to end or progress once the killing starts.

He said he helped get rid of a bunch of criminals and liars and replaced them with his own criminals and liars. It was the total breakdown of anything normal and changed with a gun barrel shoved in your mouth to convince you.

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Gooood one. I guess the first question is, “What single issue are we going to fight it out over?” Or, will it even be a single issue?

Do this one, Darryl!

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What is something substantial that you've changed your mind about recently?

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How recently?

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The past year or two.

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great one

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You gave me a shot of self-awareness when you mentioned telling your wife a story that digressed into an ever-deepening back story that becomes necessary when explaining a complex topic (especially one you’re interested in and have researched exhaustively).

Given this, personally relatable, aspect of deep diving while researching topics for your shows, my question is related to the cynicism that is an inescapable byproduct of such in-depth study.

How do you reconcile things like lifelong patriotism, pride in service to the US, and reverence for founding fathers/documents, when as the truth becomes more apparent, you find out that much of the principals we hold are more of a veneer on an increasingly corrupt political system?

I find myself questioning my service in Iraq & Afghanistan in light of recent events like the disastrous withdrawal and the Freudian slip from former President Bush, that remove all doubt that these wars were based on lies. If ignorance is bliss, then what is our personal and moral responsibility of knowing the truth, and what actions can we take to ensure the same thing doesn’t happen again in an escalating geopolitical climate?

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You have nothing to be ashamed of, you served your people and your country, even if that service was put to a cynical use.

In Bill Moyers's interview of Joseph Campbell, Campbell mentions that being a scholar of world mythologies gave him a perspective on the nature of religion that was unavailable to the person locked into the religious framework in which they happened to be raised. The cost, he said, is that he would never know the depth and richness of the profound or mystical experience available only to a person fully-immersed in their native tradition. Naive patriotism is like being infatuated, both are built on uncritical adoration. But there is a mature appreciation of one's country that is more like being in love after many years, after you're perfectly aware of your partner's faults and humble enough to know that you're still lucky to be with her. The former is may be more intense, but the latter is more durable. It feels good to wave the flag and cheer for the destruction of our enemies, and in a way it hurts to give that up. But it's like giving up childhood to become an adult.

History is history. Your people called on you to serve and you answered the call. That you're able to reflect on your experience critically does not diminish the value of that service; if anything, it adds to it.

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Jul 29, 2022Liked by Darryl Cooper

Thank you Darryl, that is a great perspective. I appreciate your work & thoughtful insight. Even though certain realizations can difficult, I’m convinced that with people like yourself & others in this group, we can continue to spread truth to make a better future for everyone. Cheers to you brother.

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Jul 28, 2022Liked by Darryl Cooper

Christopher, so sorry you feel like you have to question your service. For what it's worth, we appreciate what you were willing to do for us -- US citizens -- regardless of what lies you were told by our government. Brave is brave; sacrifice is sacrifice.

I certainly don't have an answer to your question, but I would love to listen to whomever might, including Darryl or you or anyone else.

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Jul 30, 2022·edited Jul 30, 2022Liked by Darryl Cooper

I grew up wanting one thing as a kid; to become a soldier. Unfortunately for me (but to the delight of my mother), my country doesn’t have a need for soldiers these days. I failed in the selection process, and have been trying to figure what to do for a decade since.

Over that time I’ve read a lot of memoirs/books of real warriors. It doesn’t matter if I’m reading the memories of a Wehrmacht or Canadian grunt, I have nothing but respect for these men. Whatever you say about the politics of their nations, they were heroes who answered the call, and sacrificed everything. No matter cause you fought for for your country, do not be ashamed. Weaker men shied away from this while you stepped up.

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I’ll never be ashamed, in fact I can’t think of a greater honor than having the privilege to serve with some of the greatest men in a generation. I’m mostly disheartened with the fact that those who we entrusted with leadership of our great nation still won’t take accountability for their terrible mistakes.

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