Politics: but we don't do the thinking for you.
The End of the Gold Standard (AKA, Dude, Where’s My Bullion?)
Feb 19 • 58 min
Last episode we heard a lot of arguments in the favor of the gold standard as opposed to having a fiat currency. In this episode we’ll understand the decline of the gold standard and the reasons behind it to learn some of the hurdles to returning.
Ethics, Humanity, and Meaning—Exploring Themes of Bladerunner
Jan 30 • 11 min
Go check out Beyond the Big Screen and hear Xander and Erik uncover how Blade Runner discusses these questions, and gets viewers to ReConsider what it means to be human.
Money From Nothing (And Your Chits for Free)
Jan 29 • 35 min
Now that ain’t workin’—that’s the way you do it! What the heck is fiat currency? Why are we on it? Can the US print money to pay its debts? Why do people want to return to the Gold Standard? Find out all of this and more as we kick off a series on…
Rising Separatism in Europe Pt II: The Threat to the Nation-State
Jan 9 • 51 min
Do separatist movements in Catalonia, Basque, Lombardy & Venecia, and other places, constitute a larger threat to the nation-state? What drives people to move towards fixing a nation versus leaving it when they’re fed up?
Christmas Special: What Happens When the Arctic Melts?
Dec 25, 2017 • 73 min
Santa’s workshop is underwater, and new shipping lanes emerge in an area once thought of as an insignificant edge on the global map. What happens when the Arctic starts getting wet in the summer? How does climate change affect the conflict between NATO…
Rising Separatism in Europe, Pt 1: Catalonia Kickoff
Dec 11, 2017 • 52 min
Catalonia declared independence. It didn’t go well. But why did they? Why now? And what are the implications for the rest of Europe?
Why Does the US Have a Two-Party System?
Nov 25, 2017 • 51 min
Ever wonder why the United States has a system with two parties and not more? Find out why the US system is the way it is, and why other countries are different.
Refugees and Rise of Anti-Immigrantism in Europe
Nov 14, 2017 • 62 min
“Multiculturalism leads to parallel societies and therefore remains a ‘life lie,’ [or ‘sham’]… “ — Angela Merkel, 2015 Just after enacting the “open door” migrant policy, Angela Merkel and all of Europe faced a political backlash, including rising…
After Vegas: Solving Gun Violence in America
Oct 21, 2017 • 70 min
After the largest mass civilian shooting in history, can we come together as a nation to reduce violence? Yes, but it requires good problem solving skills. In this episode we dive into understanding why Vegas was so deadly and how that was allowed to…
Why Fracking is Changing Everything About Geopolitics
Oct 6, 2017 • 60 min
You’ve heard of the Fracking Revolution. You may also know that your fuel bill is a little lower than it was in the 2000s. But man oh man, the picture is much bigger than that. The Middle East, Europe, Russia, and the foreign policy of the United States…
Realism in History: Case Studies
Sep 12, 2017 • 76 min
Zack Twamley of “When Diplomacy Fails” joins us to put realism to the test throughout history. The exciting thing for you? He’s not a realist. Join us as we pick a war out of a hat and chat about how—and whether—realism can explain how it came to be.
Toolbox Talk: Understanding International Affairs with Realism
Aug 31, 2017 • 68 min
Why do certain countries go to war, where others don’t? How do the domestic policies and the personalities of leaders get involved? In this episode you’ll learn the most widely-used lens for understanding the causes behind international affairs: realism.…
Crises in Venezuela and North Korea
Aug 11, 2017 • 91 min
Is Venezuela’s government going to fall? Is North Korea going to fire nukes? Is the US going to fire nukes? Are Maduro and Kim just madmen? Is Trump? Two dictatorial regimes, both of which hate the US, both entering crises and both facing substantial…
Trump’s Domestic Policy vs. Checks and Balances
Jul 28, 2017 • 60 min
President Trump has had a lot of trouble getting a legislative win, and he’s pressing Congress harder than ever to deliver one. The GOP has both the House and the Senate—what are the forces keeping them from getting things done?
Toolbox Talk: The Modern Stoic
Jul 14, 2017 • 60 min
Politics gets emotional. However the emotional part of our brain was designed not for rational thought, but for knee-jerk survival mechanisms. How can we train our brain to think more clearly about politics in our daily lives? In this episode, Erik and…
A Little Historical Perspective - Trump, the US, Europe, NATO in the Big Picture
Jul 1, 2017 • 73 min
HEY! The sound quality on this is junk. Really sorry. Technical issue that we didn’t realize was there until we were done. We’ve figured out how to keep it from happening again. The US and the world seem like they’re in a really odd, perhaps dangerous…
ReConsidering Russia Pt 4: The Putin Trump Relationship
Jun 7, 2017 • 76 min
AKA, “The Bromance of the Bad Hombres” In this episode we interview Prof. Stephen Sestanovich, a Colombia professor, think tank big wig, and prolific writer. Formerly ambassador-at-large and special advisor to Madeleine Albright. Prof. Stestanovich puts…
Comey, and Speculating on Trump
May 18, 2017 • 51 min
AKA: My Homie, Comey Welp. Trump fired Comey. If things weren’t crazy enough in the White House right now. There’s a pretty incredible amount of speculation about why he did it and what it could mean. How much do we actually know? And where is all the…
ReConsidering Russia Pt III: Russia’s Interest & What to Expect Going Forward
May 8, 2017 • 79 min
What is Russia’s current interest on its borders, and what considerations will shape its behavior over the next 20 years? Prof. Mitchell Orenstein is the Professor of Central and East European politics in the Slavic Department at the University of…
The Airstrike on Syria in Context
Apr 12, 2017 • 65 min
Much hubbub over the Syrian airstrike—everything from patriotic fervor to seemingly-genuine terror about World War 3. What happens when we take a step back from the hype and political spin, and look at the strike in the context of geopolitics,…
ReConsidering Russia Pt II: Russia’s Complex History
Mar 27, 2017 • 88 min
We’re joined by Mark Schauss to give us a whirlwind tour of Russian history. Mark is the host of the Russian Rulers History Podcast: Mark attended Queens College in New York, studied Russian History and Economics, got…
ReConsidering Russia Part 1: Russia Today
Mar 8, 2017 • 90 min
(Not the news source.) Joining us is Sean Guillory of Sean’s Russia Blog and Podcast, at He has a PhD in Russian History from UCLA. Sean helps us dive into the nitty gritty about what’s actually going on with Russia today. We ask:…
ReConsidering Russia Part 0: Intro
Mar 1, 2017 • 17 min
Russia is a scary place—and very misunderstood. We decided it deserves 4 whole episodes unto itself. We’ll be teaming up with 4 big-wigs that know their stuff about Russia to help you dive deep and understand Russia a whole lot better.
The Effectiveness of Political Violence in History
Feb 10, 2017 • 60 min
Or, “How’d punching Nazis work out last time?” People in the United States are starting to talk about using political violence in response to perceived dangerous political extremism and violent rhetoric. We look through history to see how the use of…
Podemos, Trump, and the Populist’s Path to Power
Jan 23, 2017 • 70 min
If we want to learn a little bit more about Trump’s path to the Presidency, we can look to recent history. It’s not actually totally unprecedented. Spain, going through its own very tough economic times, has vaulted the populist-left Podemos to the fore,…
Immigration & Xenophobia in History II: Shakespeare’s Sir Thomas More
Jan 13, 2017 • 18 min
There’s a play called Sir Thomas More that is _not_ Shakespeare… but scholars have agreed that its most awe-inspiring monologue was indeed written by Shakespeare himself. In Sir Ian McKellen’s words: “you’ll know when you hear it.” Xander delivers a…
Immigration and Xenophobia in History
Jan 5, 2017 • 47 min
People of another religion are showing up, and not all of them are friendly—some are even kinda terrorists. The economic situation is pretty tough
Ep 31: The Changing International Order
Dec 29, 2016 • 58 min
Politics: but we don’t do the thinking for you.
The Electoral College: WHY!?
Dec 15, 2016 • 34 min
But seriously, why on earth do we have the Electoral College? Something about having to travel in carriages? It’s a question a lot of people are asking after an election with a pretty big gap between the popular vote and the outcome. So why on earth does…
The Trump-olution
Dec 2, 2016 • 42 min
“I’m gonna drain the swamp.” Love him or hate him, Donald Trump’s rise and agenda are a political revolution. But revolutions are hard, even after you win. Most have failed miserably. What will it take for Trump to fulfill his vision, rather than fall…
Shakespeare’s Propaganda
Nov 21, 2016 • 33 min
English King Richard III was a bad bad dude, right? If you’re a fan of Shakespeare, you know this is true. But what if there’s more to the story? We subbed in for the English Renaissance History podcast a ways back and asked that question. Today we take a…
President Donald J Trump
Nov 9, 2016 • 60 min
It happened. It’s a shocker, but it happened. There’s a lot of pain and frustration across the country—and no matter what, half of it was going to be really upset today. How did Trump pull the upset? Where do we go from here? How do we understand each…
One Minute to Armageddon (Halloween Special!)
Oct 28, 2016 • 19 min
Originally broadcast on the Agora Podcast Network’s “Agoraphobia” series, Erik and Xander recount the true story from 1983 of how the world was a single crazy decision away from nuclear annihilation.
Toolbox Talk: Electing Judges
Oct 24, 2016 • 37 min
If you’re in the US, odds are good you’ll be voting for a judge or six this November. It’s hard, and _really_ different from electing a representative or executive. So how the heck do you do it? How do you judge your potential judges? If you want to be a…
Polling and Direct Democracy, WTF
Oct 19, 2016 • 49 min
Why are referendums ending up so different from how polls suggest? From Brexit to the FARC peace deal, there have been some shockers in referendums: the polls have very much gone one way, and the results another. So what the heck is going on? In this…
The Very Big Deal FARC Peace Deal
Sep 28, 2016 • 65 min
A 55-year-old civil war may be about to come to an end. The government of Colombia and FARC have hammered out a big, complicated, icky peace deal, and it’s going to referendum on October 2nd. The consequences for Colombia, the geopolitics of the Western…
The Stephanie Experiment
Sep 19, 2016 • 47 min
What if you decided to immerse yourself in the opposite political narrative to what you know? That’s just what Stephanie did. She lives surrounded by liberal news media and friends, and she decided to spend a few months reading and listening only to Fox…
Go Home 2016, You’re Drunk!
Sep 6, 2016 • 62 min
Everything’s falling apart! The breakdown of multilateral institutions! Anti-establishment candidates are popping up everywhere! Russia is escalating! China! Syria! Turkey! Terrorism! What’s it all look like in the long-term?
After the Conventions: Do The Parties Know How to Party?
Aug 22, 2016 • 74 min
The Party Conventions have come and gone. Each of the two major parties has made their case to America that their candidate is fit to lead. What’s the takeaway for the country? What are the underlying strategies of each party and what groups are they…
The Big South China Sea Ruling
Aug 8, 2016 • 44 min
UNCLOS has ruled on China’s claim to the South China Sea and China is totally on board with it. Just kidding! Now the fun begins. The Philippines sued China about its territorial claims in the South China Sea and won—basically, the UN said that China’s…
Some Good News on the ISIS Front
Jul 25, 2016 • 29 min
Anti-ISIS forces have scored a string of victories recently, and lots of people haven’t heard about them. Why do we hear about the defeats, but not the victories? How can we get the full picture?
Education in America, Pt II
Jul 18, 2016 • 57 min
After busting some myths about US education performance and its causes, we interview renowned SF Teacher of the Year Lana Corda to understand some of the challenges facing one of the toughest school districts in the country. We learn a lot about the…
Education in America, Pt I
Jul 12, 2016 • 35 min
How’s the US education system performing relative to other countries? How can we improve our own performance? There are many opinions and narratives about what to do, and in this episode, Xander and Erik dive into the data to understand which hold water,…
Brexit II: Judgment Day
Jun 25, 2016 • 41 min
Welp: it happened! Britain had its referendum, and they’re leaving the European Union. What the heck happens next? What are the short- and long-term consequences, and what is the UK going to do?
Free Speech in America
Jun 6, 2016 • 60 min
Free speech protests have popped up in campuses across the United States over the past few years, and everyone is getting their word about it in, even President Obama. You may or may not yet feel strongly about this. No matter where you stand, now’s the…
Toolbox Talk: Power!
May 22, 2016 • 78 min
“Speak softly and carry a big stick.” Or, “speak loudly and carry an even bigger stick!” There are different kinds of power and different ways to wield them… and it’s not always clear what’s our best kind of power to bring to bear in a given situation. In…
May 6, 2016 • 73 min
David Cameron doesn’t want the UK to leave the EU, but he set up the referendum for Brits to vote on it. Why the heck would he do that? How likely is Brexit to happen? Who wants it and who’s against it? What are the stay/leave arguments? What will be the…
Tiny Little Rocks, Big Deal Pt II
Apr 11, 2016 • 68 min
Now that we have a decent idea of the history of Chinese, East Asian, and US diplomacy and foreign policy, it’s time to throw all of this into the crucible of the South China Sea. It’s a powderkeg of epic proportions, but it’s something most Americans…
Tiny Rocks, Big Deal Pt I
Mar 30, 2016 • 72 min
There are tiny little rocks in the South China sea that have become a pretty big deal. China has claimed them as its own, putting air bases, missile batteries, and harbors on the islands to stake its claim. It’s become a huge, but quiet, international…
Delegate Math in the 2016 US Primary
Mar 13, 2016 • 63 min
Hoo boy, we’ve got an exciting presidential nomination this year. More and more we’re hearing rumblings that the GOP might go to a brokered convention. But… how the heck does that work? What’ll happen if it gets there? How likely is it? Find out all that…
Apple vs. FBI
Mar 10, 2016 • 79 min
The FBI wants Apple to write some code to unlock the phone of the San Bernardino shooter, and Apple has filed an appeal to make sure they’re not compelled to do so. Is it a ravenous attack on privacy? Is it not a big deal? Xander and Erik have done a ton…
Oil Prices
Feb 23, 2016 • 67 min
It’s hard to get a good sense of why the price of oil can vary between $150 and $30 per barrel. There are a lot of factors behind the price, but in the end it all comes down to supply and demand. In this episode we break down how supply and demand have…
Iran, Nukes, and Middle East Policy
Feb 9, 2016 • 83 min
We’ve made a nuclear deal with Iran, and everyone that hasn’t read the darn thing has a very strong opinion on it. In addition to understanding the deal in detail, we need to understand the history of Iran and the Middle East to get a good sense of…
Demagogues in History… and Today
Jan 20, 2016 • 71 min
You might be worried that in the US and Western Europe, there are some pretty scary folks that are getting pretty popular. Those folks—who appeal to our fears and hatred to get power—are called demagogues. We’ve seen them throughout history, from the very…
Western ISIS Policy
Jan 5, 2016 • 59 min
In our first “meaty” episode, Xander and Erik tackle ISIS, with such awesome questions as: 1. What considerations should govern how we try to take down ISIS? 2. Why is current policy against ISIS not working? 3. What’s different about ISIS from enemies…
Introduction and Background
Jan 5, 2016 • 20 min
ReConsider will help you become a better democratic citizen in 10 minutes a day or less, (or your money back!) which is probably more than you spend on your abs, but not by much. We help provide new context and insight on tough issues citizens face, help…