gray asphalt road surrounded by tall trees
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Dan Carlin has a pair of wonderful and challenging podcast series. One is called ‘Hardcore History‘ which discusses various historical events in great detail. The other is called ‘Common Sense‘ where Carlin discusses various contemporary political ideas and political issues, threaded together by a strong appeal to history.

One of the things that I like most about Carlin’s ‘Common Sense’ podcasts is that he has consistent principles which he applies to current affairs. Rather than being completely in the tank for, and rooting for, one tribal side, Carlin applies his consistent view of the world to current events. Thus, although I think he would be considered by many to be fairly leftist in outlook, he has the capacity to understand the appeal of Trump.

In that, he treats the audience, the public, and the voters as intelligent agents who are able to make good decisions. I like his respect for the audience and the public – it is far too rare in public commentary these days, where too many journalists see themselves as cheerleaders for the left or the right, where too many journalists see their role to advocate for one side or the other. Carlin appears to see his role as about telling the truth.

His most recent podcast had this wonderful quote that appealed deeply to me:

Eisenhower, obviously a Republican President in the 1950s and he said, quote, people talk about the middle of the road, as though it were unacceptable. Actually, all human problems except morals come into the grey areas. Things are not all black and white. There have to be compromises. The middle of the road is all the usable surface. The extremes of right and left are in the gutters.

Garbage In, Garbage Out