This week we’re talking all things substance-related with psychologist and Columbia professor Carl L. Hart. In his new book, Drug Use for Grown-Ups: Chasing Liberty in the Land of Fear, he outlines a bold new approach to drug use in America. If we are indeed the land of the free, he argues, we need to act like it when it comes to drug policy.

“The Declaration of Independence lays out these ideals of these promises that each of our citizens are entitled to, and Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness is one,” he told Mila. “If people choose to…

America’s “justice” system is broken. If the events of the last year haven’t cemented that notion in your head yet, our latest episode with Alec Karakatsanis of Civil Rights Corps will.

During our conversation with Alec, he made two dramatic — and accurate — points. First, our justice system is not designed to mete out justice, promote public safety, or remove the dangerous elements from our society. Instead, it is created by the wealthy and powerful to protect their interests at the cost of everyone else, and it has been doing an outstanding job for almost a century. …

This week we’re delving into the shadowy world of white-collar crime with lawyer Jennifer Taub, so we thought it was only fitting to take a quick retrospective on the “most complex” white-collar crime case in FBI history: The Enron Scandal.

Enron was born of two Texas energy companies in 1985. After hiring Jeffrey Skilling, Enron changed its business model from providing electricity and natural gas through pipelines and power plants, to trading in commodities. They matched buyers and sellers of natural gas and electricity. …

We often conflate sexual assault and sexual harassment, but they’re quite different things and we should understand the difference. So, when celebrated philosopher Martha Nussbaum stopped by our (virtual) studio recently to discuss her newest book, Citadels of Pride: Sexual Abuse, Accountability, and Reconciliation, she gave us a quick lesson on the differences.

“Sexual assault, of course, is a criminal offense, and there are various different degrees of it, but it’s always handled by the criminal law, which means in the United States that it’s handled mainly by the laws of the different states,” she told Mila. The DOJ labels…

According to conventional wisdom, every history textbook in America, and any speech remotely about Abraham Lincoln, America no longer enslaves people. Further, with the passage of the 13th Amendment some seven-score-and-sixteen years ago, we left our history of chattel slavery behind — right?

Well, that’s not quite true. According to the 13th Amendment, “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted [emphasis added], shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.” You can enslave people; you simply need to arrest them first.

Legal slavery…

If you’re living in poverty in America, it almost certainly isn’t your fault. Instead, argues our latest guest Mark Rank, you’re a victim of a system that doesn’t have enough opportunities to go around.

“What we’re doing in this country is basically playing a large-scale version of musical chairs,” he told Mila. “And the question is whether we want to focus on who loses out at the game or why the game produces losers in the first place.”

Among the worst casualties of America’s unfortunate version of musical chairs are our children. An estimated 13 million children live in poverty…

As the Israeli-Palestinian raged this week, our latest interview with seasoned peacebuilder Séverine Autesserre gained an urgent new edge it lacked only weeks ago. Autesserre spoke to Mila about her new book, The Frontlines of Peace: An Insider’s Guide to Changing the World, which looks at the ways bottom-up peacebuilding succeeds.

Bottom-up peacebuilding is the idea that peace depends on building on the community level where local stakeholders make the decisions and outsiders play a supportive role. By contrast, Autesserre argues, standard peacebuilding efforts that focus on political alliances, high-level talks, ceasefire agreements, and outsider intervention aren’t working. …

Fracking is a complicated issue in shale-rich communities of the country, which start with American property rights. They are unique almost the entire world over. When America was getting itself going, the Founding Fathers were highly impressed with enlightenment thinker John Locke. Locke had particular ideas about property, which he laid out in his Second Treatise on Government. In it, he wrote that a government “can never have a Power to take to themselves the whole or any part of the Subjects Property, without their own consent. For this would be in effect to leave them no Property at all.”

It’s 2021, and America’s oldest political party is busy dismantling the norms and institutions that allowed them to exist in the first place, seemingly at the whim of a down-and-out megalomaniac who cares not a whit for them.

The fact that sentence wasn’t a shock to write and probably isn’t one to read shows how far we’ve already sunk. If you want to know what the GOP’s descent into rabid authoritarianism and plutocratic rule will soon look like if left unchecked, look no further than Missouri.

Missouri, first the Show Me State, became known as the Bellwether State during the…

We’re back this week with a brand-new season, which means new blog posts to go with it!

For our first episode of Season 14, we take a look at how we came to be in our current cultural, political, and economic situation.

To do this, we turn to Kurt Andersen. Kurt is a writer of great stature, the founder of Spy and Inside magazines, and host of the long-running public radio show Studio 360.

Future Hindsight

Future Hindsight is a weekly podcast that aims to spark civic engagement through in-depth conversations with citizen changemakers.

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