Week Eight at Chautauqua has already examined courage through science and faith, in the face of loss and adversity. A recurring theme is courage in politics — especially divided politics.
“As we think about these issues of what it means to be courageous, and how we think about courage during such a deeply polarizing and troubled time, that question around the intersection of courage and politics was one that deeply interested us,” said Matt Ewalt, vice president and Emily and Richard Smucker Chair for Education.
At 10:45 a.m. Wednesday, Aug. 17 in the Amphitheater, Jonah Goldberg, co-founder and editor-in-chief of the center-right digital news site The Dispatch and the former senior editor of National Review, will be in conversation with Nancy Gibbs, director of the Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy at Harvard University.
Goldberg is the author of several books, most recently Suicide of the West: How the Rebirth of Tribalism, Populism, Nationalism, and Identity Politics is Destroying American Democracy. A conservative columnist for several publications and his own Dispatch, he’s a regular contributor to major new networks, including CNN, MSNBC and, until November 2021, Fox News. He and fellow pundit Stephen Hayes left the network after its streaming service aired a documentary series from Tucker Carlson called “Patriot Purge.”
It was “a collection of incoherent conspiracy-mongering, riddled with factual inaccuracies, half-truths, deceptive imagery and damning omissions,” Goldberg and Hayes, who co-founded The Dispatch with Goldberg, wrote in a blog post announcing their departures.
Changes in the media landscape over the last few years will be a part of Goldberg and Gibbs’ conversation today.
“Earlier in the week, we heard from Congressman Jamie Raskin about courage in politics more broadly, as we think about issues of trauma and collective trauma as it relates to Jan. 6,” Ewalt said. “But with Jonah Goldberg, we have one of the most significant conservative thinkers of our time in conversation with Nancy Gibbs, around the divisiveness of our politics, the state of American conservatism and an examination of our media landscape, all with these larger themes of courage in mind now.”
Ewalt said that Goldberg, an author and a fellow at the National Review Institute and the American Enterprise Institute, will provide an examination of liberal and conservative ideologies, economic policy and the changed role of media. With Gibbs, former managing editor of TIME magazine, he will look into how to define and exercise courage in a polarized world.
“With the polarization of our country right now, we often settle, within ourselves, upon a kind of linear or two-dimensional (perspective), or think it’s one of two sides,” Ewalt said. “Yet, our politics is far more complicated than that.”
Goldberg and Gibbs, through today’s conversation, will challenge the idea of our democracy and discuss courage in politics.
“What does it mean to unsettle that kind of simplification, and begin to think of where we find courage within ideas that, on the surface, we may not agree with, but in fact play a role in larger work that a society is confronting?” Ewalt asked.