Podcast Madness: Midwest, Round 1

Recap: 40 podcasts, single-elimination brackets — 1 winner will emerge!

Read the first post here, then come back for the results.

Midwest, Game 1: Presidential vs. More Perfect

Presidential is a podcast hosted by Washington Post journalist Lillian Cunningham with an episode on each U.S. President. Naturally, I listened to episode 1 on George Washington. Cunningham interviews journalists and historians to briefly recap the character and legacy of the presidents, looking for lesser-known details and interesting facts to share.

While the first episode was interesting, there was a lot of “this is the thesis statement of my project” and not quite enough actual G. Washington facts. Maybe I’ve just already absorbed a lot of information about Washington? Now that I look at the timestamp, I see the episode was 48 minutes long, which is pretty short to cover Washington’s life. I think I also wasn’t crazy about some of the background sound effects and found them a little distracting. Maybe I should listen to an episode on a president I know nothing about. Like Benjamin Harrison. I know nothing about that guy.

More Perfect is an offshoot of the popular Radiolab podcast. It covers the Supreme Court and some of the consequences of decisions made there that ripple out into society. I listened to episode 1: Cruel and Unusual, which discussed the death penalty. You know, to start with something light.

It was fascinating, and I appreciated that they laid out some dissenting opinions. It made me think more about the death penalty and lethal injection, but without making me feel completely crushed by the conversation.

Winner: More Perfect

brown_silver_headphones

Midwest, Game 2: Common Sense with Dan Carlin vs. the Tom Woods Show

I listened to episode 314: Unhealthy Numbers of Common Sense with Dan Carlin, in which Carlin talked about U.S. healthcare. Whew. What a mess (not Carlin — the system)! He talked about how the U.S. stacks up against other comparable countries like Canada and the UK and guys, as we all suspected, it’s not great. We spend more on healthcare and we don’t get proportionally better results, and most average Americans completely hate the way the system works. The numbers are fairly dire.

While I appreciated his rant and agreed that the system is terrible, I felt kind of hopeless at the end. I’m a tiny person with no ability to change the mess and it feels like we should scrap everything and start over, which is ridiculous. We can’t do that. So I don’t know the answer… it’s probably good to talk about it though.

For the Tom Woods Show, I listened to episode 874: Snappy Answers to Anti-Libertarian Questions. Woods, the host, and his guest answered common questions about why one might be a Libertarian and addressed questions like:

  • do libertarians think the state is a force for good?
  • …but we can’t trust a free economy — don’t we need monopoly laws?
  • are you pro-business or pro-consumer?
  • this is not going to work — there are no examples of libertarian society

As someone who leans at least economically toward libertarianism (we can fight about politics later), I appreciated his answers. I think there are some problems with libertarian political philosophy, just like I think there are problems with Republican and Democratic political philosophy, but I appreciated the clarity of answers and addressing some common questions.

While I enjoyed/ became slightly depressed by both shows, I’m going to have to give the Tom Woods show a slight edge because I like having multiple voices to listen to. It could also have been that the healthcare mess was more depressing than rebuttals to economic questions.

Winner: The Tom Woods Show

Next time: the West.


Photo from Unsplash.

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