Betsy Speicher

John Lewis Radio Interview - March 3, 2008

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JOHN LEWIS is an in studio guest on "Political Animals" -- a weekly political talk show on the Bowling Green State University radio station.

Dr. Lewis, a visiting scholar at the BGSU Social Philosophy and Policy Center and associate professor of history at Ashland University, is under contract with Princeton University Press to write a book called "Nothing less than Victory: Military offense and the lessons of history from the Greco-Persian wars to World War II." Dr. Lewis is on the full two hours and joins in on the presidential discussions at the top of hour one. In hour two he discusses his forthcoming book and the philosophy of Ayn Rand.

You can listen to or download an MP3 of the show here.

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You can listen to or download an MP3 of the show here.

Where is the direct link to download the mp3 file instead of streaming it in real time?

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You can listen to or download an MP3 of the show here.

Where is the direct link to download the mp3 file instead of streaming it in real time?

That is the direct link to the mp3. Just right click and select "Save Target As...", if you have MS Internet Explorer, to save to your hard drive.

I heard the show yesterday and the first fifty minutes aren't too good, but after that it really picks up when John Lewis takes over and gets into a discussion about the low level of political discourse today. I really enjoyed it!

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JOHN LEWIS is an in studio guest on "Political Animals" -- a weekly political talk show on the Bowling Green State University radio station.

Dr. Lewis, a visiting scholar at the BGSU Social Philosophy and Policy Center and associate professor of history at Ashland University, is under contract with Princeton University Press to write a book called "Nothing less than Victory: Military offense and the lessons of history from the Greco-Persian wars to World War II." Dr. Lewis is on the full two hours and joins in on the presidential discussions at the top of hour one. In hour two he discusses his forthcoming book and the philosophy of Ayn Rand.

You can listen to or download an MP3 of the show here.

It takes a long time for the download to complete, even with a broadband connection, maybe because it's a two-hour show. And my experience was that even after the download says 'done' it isn't, for a long time after it says that it is.

I would have liked to have had a little more idea of what to expect before listening, so I offer my impressions, so that those who plan to listen, but haven't yet, will know more than I did about what to expect if/when they do listen.

'Political Animals' is a two hour show that seems normally to have three hosts. I'm supposing that ideologically the three hosts are supposed to represent 'differing' political viewpoints, e.g. liberal, conservative, and (perhaps) 'moderate', but I'm not sure. One of the usual hosts (maybe two) were not there. There was at least one substitute (maybe two) and one took over the functions of the usual lead host, who was on a vacation -- with whom they spoke by telephone as part of the show.

Dr. Lewis sat there for two hours and talked for maybe ten-to-fifteen minutes total, mostly toward the end of the show. The rest of the time was taken up with station-breaks (fortunately edited out of the download), talking by phone with the lead host while he was on a vacation, some very tedious, nearly substance-free discussion of politics, questions from callers, and several guests who called in by telephone. The call-in guests included the editor of Reason magazine and the leader of a political party in Ontario, Canada called the Freedom Party, described as an Objectivist.

In the first hour and twenty minutes, Dr. Lewis asked a clarifying question and made one or two brief observations. Later in the show he spoke more, about how the level of political discourse has sunk so low (which was funny in a painful way, because this show, aside from John Lewis's participation, is a clear example of this low level). He argued that the reason for the low level of discourse is philosophy, and unsurprisingly received little agreement -- and even less understanding.

The level of discussion of the hosts was excruciatingly superficial, and discussion of non-essentials was the rule of the day. When Dr. Lewis spoke, he tried to steer the conversation toward ideas, but the hosts and the entire format of the show ensured the almost constant reversion to non-essentials, and remained almost entirely concrete-bound.

At the very end Dr. Lewis had several minutes to discuss his forthcoming book, Nothing Less than Victory: Military Offense and the Lessons of History due for publication in Fall of 2008. He was able to direct listeners to the website of The Objective Standard, where they can read, without charge, one of the articles "No Substitute for Victory" The Defeat of Islamic Totalitarianism, which will appear in the book.

One of the hosts made repeated swipes at Peter Schwartz's article on Libertarianism (I presume "Libertarianism: The Perversion of Liberty" appearing in The Voice of Reason). Dr. Lewis disagreed with the (very) negative assessment of the host and deflected further discussion of it. But the host seemed very eager to get Dr. Lewis to come back on the show to discuss that topic in particular.

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It takes a long time for the download to complete, even with a broadband connection, maybe because it's a two-hour show. And my experience was that even after the download says 'done' it isn't, for a long time after it says that it is.

Thank you for the summary, as I seldom do long downloads.

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Thank you for the summary, as I seldom do long downloads.

You're welcome. And here' a little addendum FYI:

I failed to mention Dr. Lewis's nice, very brief refutation of Libertarianism, which involved discussing the major difference between the anti-state Libertarian position (regardless of the fact that not all Libertarians are anti-state), and the anti-statist position of Objectivism. It's a crucial point to make for non-Objectivists who are honest, but have not yet seen that there is a fundamental distinction between Libertarianism and Objectivism, nor understand why Libertarianism is necessarily destructive of liberty (a clear symptom of which is its toleration of anarchists, among other aberrations).

Also, I found the leader of the Freedom Party interesting. In any case, I'd be interested to hear further discussion between the leader of the Freedom Party in Ontario, and Dr. Lewis, because they were both clearly capable of discussing their ideas, and the reasons for them; but disagreed about the advisability of expending effort to directly attempt to enter the field of politics.

Dr. Lewis said that it's still too early, and pointed out that the main function of the Freedom Party was, in any case, primarily educational. The view of the leader of the Freedom Party was that you never know just when one of the major parties will really implode, which he said can happen overnight. And he considered it advisable to have some rationally-based political entity, no matter how small, ready to offer as an alternative at the moment when there will suddenly be many people looking for a political party.

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At the very end Dr. Lewis had several minutes to discuss his forthcoming book, Nothing Less than Victory: Military Offense and the Lessons of History due for publication in Fall of 2008. He was able to direct listeners to the website of The Objective Standard, where they can read, without charge, one of the articles "No Substitute for Victory" The Defeat of Islamic Totalitarianism, which will appear in the book.

Apologies. I realize that here I (perhaps wrongly) assumed that this article would appear in Dr. Lewis's forthcoming book. But I do not actually know whether or not this article will appear in Nothing Less than Victory: Military Offense and the Lessons of History. Nevertheless, it is an article worth reading.

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