ChinaTalk on Congress


Fantastic ChinaTalk episode on the role of Congress in American civic live with Philip Wallach:

The specific things that stood out to me:

  • The role of Congress in creating legitimate legislation: The Civil Rights act of 1968 was given legitimacy by the process it went through. The same Southern Senators who filibustered it and fought it all along the way were then able to go back to their constituents honestly and say "we lost, it's time to move on," which gave the legislation staying power. Similarly, debates over WWII policies gave those policies legitimacy with a public who felt burned by WWI.
  • The facade of representative government: Wallach makes the point that virtually every country in the world has a body that is nominally representative, but in authoritarian countries, they have little to no real power. This is one of the things I find most interesting about the Roman Empire. The Republic falls, but until the end there continue to be Senators running around.

ChinaTalk continues to be the podcast most likely to introduce me to something I didn't know I was interested in