Know Your Enemy: After the Theocons, with Damon Linker

Know Your Enemy: After the Theocons, with Damon Linker

A conversation about the George W. Bush administration, the conservative religious publication First Things, and how today’s right became so deranged.

George W. Bush George Bush addresses a meeting of the Christian Coalition on October 1999 in Washington, D.C. (Luke Frazza/AFP via Getty Images)

Know Your Enemy is a podcast about the American right co-hosted by Matthew Sitman and Sam Adler-Bell. Read more about it here. You can subscribe to, rate, and review the show on Apple Podcasts and Stitcher, and receive bonus content by supporting the podcast on Patreon.

Damon Linker is an idiosyncratic figure among political writers. Trained by Straussians as a political philosopher, Linker edited First Things, the flagship publication for intellectual religious conservatives, until he broke with that publication over the Iraq War (among other things) and became a self-described centrist. He’s also recently started his own attempt to grapple with what’s happening in the GOP and among conservatives: a Substack newsletter titled Eyes on the Right.

This conversation covers what Linker’s own trajectory can teach us about the right; what it was like working at First Things while the Bush administration geared up to invade Iraq; why he thinks Sarah Palin represented a turning point; and his case for understanding Donald Trump as a political, rather than legal, problem.

Sources and further reading:

Various, The End of Democracy? The Judicial Usurpation of Politics, First Things (1996)

Damon Linker, There is No Happy Ending to America’s Trump Problem, New York Times

A Giving of Intellectual Accounts, Eyes on the Right

How Do You Solve a Problem Like Donald Trump?, Eyes on the Right

The Theocons: Secular America Under Seige, Doubleday (2006)

Matthew Sitman, Reading Left to Right, Commonweal

…and don’t forget you can subscribe to Know Your Enemy on Patreon to listen to all of our bonus episodes!