Dec 2, 2020 • 1HR 33M

Hipster Luddites

Jonah Goldberg
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In “The Remnant," Jonah Goldberg, the founder and editor-in-chief of The Dispatch, syndicated columnist, best-selling author, and AEI/NRI Fellow enlists a “Cannonball Run”-style cast of stars, has-beens, and never-weres to address the most pressing issues of the day and of all-time. Is Western Civilization doomed? Is nationalism the wave of the future? Is the Pope Catholic? Will they ever find a new place to put cheese on a pizza? Is Die Hard a Christmas movie? Who is hotter: Ginger or Mary-Ann? Was Plato really endorsing the Republic as the ideal state? Mixing history, pop culture, rank-punditry, political philosophy, and, at times, shameless book-plugging, Goldberg and guests will have the kinds of conversations we wish they had on cable-TV shout shows. And the nudity will (almost) always be tasteful.
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Today, Jonah is joined by Virginia Postrel – former editor-in-chief of Reason magazine and author of many of the latter-day holy tomes of libertarianism, such as The Future and Its Enemies – to talk about her new book, The Fabric of Civilization. Virginia and Jonah do a deep dive into several moments in which the changes in textile manufacturing created giant, revolutionary, consciousness-shifting ripple effects regarding how civilizations viewed their relationship to markets and the economy. In particular, Virginia addresses how the un-guilded spinners of Europe were like the Luddites before it was cool, why textile-making would be one of the most laborious processes in the world without advanced technologies, and what made cotton fabric from India so special that “the French treated it much the same as the American government treats cocaine.” At least that kind of wild protectionism confirms a long-held American instinct: Never trust the French.

Show Notes:

-Virginia’s book, The Fabric of Civilization: How Textiles Made the World

-“Isaiah’s Job”

-Our first episode with Matt Ridley (on technical innovation)

-Our second episode with Matt Ridley (on more technical innovation)

-Virginia at Volokh Conspiracy: The textile industry’s relationship to literacy

-The salaries of spinners may be higher than one thinks

-The High Sparrow and the Labor Theory of Value

-Some bits from “The Bad Polanyi” on ancient Assyria

-Virginia talks about Indian cotton prints

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