democracy

Philosophy Talks asks: How does Propaganda work?

May 29, 2015

Governments and other political institutions employ propaganda to sway public opinion, instill ideas, and exert a degree of control over people. While totalitarian regimes have been known to do this explicitly, democratic governments often disguise their propaganda with persuasive rhetoric. So what exactly constitutes propaganda and how does it work? Does it always involve lies or falsehoods? Can propaganda ever be morally justified or is it a pernicious form of communication? John and Ken trade slogans with Jason Stanley from Yale University, author of How Propaganda Works. 

Democratic systems of government are supposed to reflect the interests of ordinary citizens, and not some shadowy political elite. But more and more, we see the influence of big money and special interest groups in so-called democratic politics, while income inequality and voter suppression grow. With millions convinced that politicians don’t speak for them, is there a "crisis of representation" in the US? Are these problems a result of political decay in our institutions, or is democracy in trouble everywhere?

Philosophy Talk asks: Is Democracy a Universal Value?

May 23, 2014

Americans value democracy, and expect others to value it. But is it a universal value? Does God, or rationality, or something very basic about human sensibility, dictate that states should be organized democratically? What if there were empirical evidence that some non-democratic form of government is more likely to produce human happiness, cultural achievement, and sound money?

Hana Baba

California’s 15th District race featured young newcomer and Democrat Eric Swalwell challenging the 39-year incumbent Democrat Pete Stark. It didn’t look too good for Swalwell ​– and even the Democratic party endorsed his rival – but last night Stark was unseated by his challenger.

Dr. Wes Watkins, IV has built his whole life’s work around the idea that there’s no better example of democracy than a Jazz ensemble. Dr. Watkins is the founder of the Bay Area-based Jazz & Democracy Project. He devised a curriculum that teaches schoolchildren lessons in jazz alongside American history and the democratic process.

On the next Your Call, we'll have a conversation about the state of the opposition movement inside Burma, where elections are taking place on April 1. Opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi recently gave her first campaign speech, saying the reform process has yet to deliver democratic gains. It's been almost five years since the massive uprising in Burma. What do you want to know about the struggle for democracy there? It’s Your Call, with Rose Aguilar and you.

Guests:

Bo Kyi, former political prisoner and international human rights activist from Burma

Colorlines

On the next Your Call, we’ll talk about the year in democracy.  It has been one full year since Tunisian fruit vendor, Mohamed Bouazizi, set himself on fire--setting off a domino chain of revolts and revolutions in the Arab world and around the globe.  Now there are 150 cities with Occupy movements in California alone.  What’s the moment from the 2011 grassroots uprisings that will stay with you?  Join us at 10 or email us at feedback@yourcallradio.org.  What does democracy mean to you today?  It’s Your Call with Rose Aguilar, and You.