Episode 49: Populist Rhetoric as Bullshit (interview with Avishai Green)


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Brendan and Andrew interview Avishai Green, author of Speaking Bullshit to Power: Populism and the Rhetoric of Bullshit and doctoral student in political science at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Employing the concept of bullshit (speech that lacks concern with truth) that Harry Frankfurt’s On Bullshit made famous, and referring frequently to statements by Donald Trump and his underlings, Green argues that populism and bullshit are connected in fundamental ways. He elaborates on the connections between populism and bullshit discussed in his paper––populists’ anti-intellectual focus on “sincerity” at the expense of accuracy, their emphasis on symbolic communication, and so on. He and the co-hosts also discuss whether populists’ bullshit is an assertion of power and whether Green’s analysis applies to left populism.

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