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

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.

In the episode’s current-events segment, the co-hosts discuss Congress’ investigation of the January 6 Capitol Insurrection, as well as the pushback coming from both the Trumpite right and those like Jacobin’s Branko Marcetic.

Radio Free Humanity is a podcast covering news, politics and philosophy from a Marxist-Humanist perspective. It is co-hosted by Brendan Cooney and Andrew Kliman. We intend to release new episodes every two weeks. Radio Free Humanity is sponsored by MHI, but the views expressed by the co-hosts and guests of Radio Free Humanity are their own. They do not necessarily reflect the views and positions of MHI.

We welcome and encourage listeners’ comments, posted on this episode’s page.

Please visit MHI’s online print publication, With Sober Senses, for further news, commentary, and analysis.

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August 6, 2021

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