Deceiving others for a living - oh wait! That's politicians. Doug is on a comic kick! In this episode, comic magician Doc Dixon unwittingly exposes Doug's affinity for dark humor. Just kidding. This fun and lively interview takes us behind the scenes with the guy who fooled Penn and Teller (link below). And Doc even comedically corrects the idea that magic is deceiving others.
Doc Dixon chats with Doug Stuart about being a (Reformed) Christian libertarian and comic magician. Dixon has been featured on Penn & Tell's Fool Us, and successfully fooled them. Like many of us, Dixon came to libertarianism during the Ron Paul Revolution and the libertarian view of economics and monetary policy. Dixon talks about the natural compatibility between Christianity and libertarianism.
They shift topics to discuss Dixon's career choice as a magician. Dixon demystifies professional magic by pointing out that it's a learned skill like anything else. How do magicians decide to share their secrets? (And how much is already "out there" thanks to the Internet). What's the community of magicians like? Do they get together to learn from each other? and much more! Of course, the performance is personal and we get to hear how his personality comes out in his work.
Do some Christians believe magic deceiving others and so off limits for us? Dixon has a perfect response for this - "there's an unintended hubris there." Not even Las Vegas, in Dixon's view, are the magic shows really superstitious or occult-like. (Though that's not to say everything in Vegas is that innocent.) Dixon and Stuart take a few (more than a few) friendly jabs at one another throughout. So sit back and enjoy this more lighthearted episode of the Libertarian Christian Podcast.
Main Points of Discussion:
02:36 How does Doc Dixon identify? Comedian or Magician
04:38 Doc Dixon's Christian background and how he came to faith
06:10 What led you to Ron Paul?
09:13 Do you believe Christianity and libertarianism is naturally compatible
11:42 Do you incorporate libertarianism into you shows?
16:25 How do you become a magician?
20:08 Magician cocktail parties?
23:16 Are Las Vegas magicians dabbling in the occult in their performances?
27:25 Workshopping magic with other magicians
30:35 Is incorporating humor a part of who you are?
34:26 Dark humor?
37:12 People in other fields you admire?
42:48 Magic over Zoom? How does that experience work?
45:18 Concluding thoughts, Libertarianmagician.com?
Dox Dixon's website: https://docdixon.com
Magician Doc Dixon FOOLS Penn & Teller on Penn&Teller: Fool Us: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YaDnY5q_mxg
In this episode, Doug Stuart chats with Lou Perez, speaking as a comedian, about his new book, That Joke Isn't Funny Anymore: On the Death and Rebirth of Comedy. Perez offers a "behind-the-scenes" of the creative journey for his new book, as well as experiences in the life of professional comedy - especially in today's highly charged and political climate.
Lou Perez was the Head Writer and Producer of the Webby Award-winning comedy channel, We the Internet TV. During his tenure at WTI, he made the kind of comedy that gets you put on lists and your words in the Wall Street Journal: "How I Became a 'Far-Right Radical.'" In addition to producing sketch comedy, stand-up, and opinion writing, he's also host The Lou Perez Podcast.
Perez details some of the back story to his book. He remarks about how his publisher gave him complete creative freedom to "write the book you want." Perez saw this is a unique opportunity to write about things important to him and the problems he saw brewing about community. He also commented about his experience in 2020 and 2021 when several big names in comedy passed away and the effect that had on him.
Don't miss all this and more in our latest episode.
Main Points of Discussion:
03:25 Perez's intrigue with the connection between anarchism and Christianity
05:54 What was the purpose of writing That Joke Isn't Funny Anymore
09:35 Creative, Editing, and Publication process
14:25 The mutual respect and community among fellow comedians.
17:26 What's it like to "bomb" a show?
20:40 What's going wrong with comedy today?
23:46 At what point do you old back from? (Dark humor)
32:51 Is Donald Trump funny?
34:45 Do your kids understand your humor?
36:53 What other things have you done besides stand up?
39:11 The fight you had on Twitter
42:30 Concluding Remarks
Lou's website: https://www.thelouperez.com/
Lou's Wallstreet Journal Article: https://www.wsj.com/articles/how-i-became-a-far-right-radical-11609370135
Buy the Book! https://www.amazon.com/dp/1637582455
In this episode, Doug Stuart was invited by Aaron Harris onto the Decentralized Revolution Podcast. Doug and Aaron spoke in depth about a number of topics relevant to libertarianism, Christianity, and speaking to the left about issues of concern to them.
How do we present libertarianism to our leftist friends? They're concerned with things that are easy to write off, but to what end should write them off, and are we missing an opportunity? Stuart and Harris dive into some interesting topics including covid, love of neighbor, social sins (social justice), the Marxist tendency to weaponize people and ideas that actually need serious consideration, the destruction of the family, democracy, and so much more.
Main Points of Discussion
05:55 On Covid restrictions from a Christian perspective
15:50 Supporting social justice while opposing the left's solutions
24:26 Define social justice
29:42 How do we talk about real solutions to real social problems?
37:46 Democracy as an impulse to control
41:50 How do we open the eyes of our leftist friends?
47:44 The destruction of the family
52:23 Why is the left disconnected from the systemic injustice of central banking and monetary policy?
53:45 What is the aversion to learning economics?
59:33 How are the different libertarian factions responding to issues of social justice?
1:05:51 What are good resources for understanding and evaluating social justice?
1:10:06 Fascination with Jordan Peterson and his non-theological analysis of Scripture
Is Social Justice Compatible with Christianity? https://libertarianchristians.com/2022/07/01/social-justice-christian-libertarianism/
What About Social Justice? https://libertarianchristians.com/2021/07/20/episode-232/
Critical Race Theory with Phil Magness https://libertarianchristians.com/2022/02/16/critical-race-theory-phil-magness/
Book Review: John McWhorter's Woke Racism https://libertarianchristians.com/2022/03/02/book-review-john-mcwhorters-woke-racism/
Ep 294: Awake, Not Woke: Noelle Mering Helps You Respond to Progressive Ideology https://libertarianchristians.com/2022/09/30/episode-294/
In this episode, Doug talks to Bonnie Kristian about her new book titled, Untrustworthy: The Knowledge Crisis Breaking Our Brains, Polluting Our Politics, and Corrupting Christian Community. She is concerned with the unhealthy skepticism corrupting culture. Bonnie Kristian (MA, Bethel Seminary) is a seasoned journalist who writes on foreign policy, religion, criminal justice, urbanism, civil liberties, electoral politics, and more. Her column, "The Lesser Kingdom," appears in print and online at Christianity Today, and she is the author of A Flexible Faith: Rethinking What It Means to Follow Jesus Today. Her work has also been featured in other outlets, including The Week, USA Today, CNN, Politico, and Time. She lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, with her husband and twin sons.
Bonnie Kristian believes there is a crisis impacting the church that we are only just now becoming aware of. What is it? Not so much a "misinformation" problem as it is a combination of overwhelming information and few skills for processing through it. The constant bombardment of information is a relatively new phenomenon in human history. And it doesn't begin with the advent of the Internet, but with the advent of the television. For most of human history, information has been passed down actively through oral and written mediums. Since the television, it became something visual and passive.
Kristian first noticed the problem when interviewing pastors about their concerns impacting the church. Pastors noted a discipleship problem wherein people were only exposed to preaching for one to two hours a week, verses the near constant news and commentary bombarding airwaves during the rest of the week. But it wasn't simply the passive receipt of information, but also a change in habits and behavior including unhealthy skepticism corrupting culture. Kristian notes specific characteristics that are particularly troubling including, time use/management, the mixed quality of available information, the inability to critically assess and evaluate that information, and also, the manner in which media and the news industry produced their content. People began trusting media less, but consuming it more.
This shift away from trusting news sources comes from what Kristian believes is a myth. Namely, the idea the corporate media is consciously and maliciously lying to the audience to further a subversive agenda. Kristian, a journalist herself, raises the point that journalists are still trained to avoid writing to support political agendas and parties. (Though she doesn't deny this happens in some cases either). She believes are fair critiques to be made of journalism today, and she addresses those in her book. However, the main driver of news and commentary seems to rest in click bate. How do you get people to click on your link? Kristian points out the old model of advertising-financed news sources doesn't work anymore. But people are willing to pay for their news either. So in some sense, our own behavior of clicking on the most provocative titles, rather than search for and evaluating trustworthy content.
Another contributing factor to this unhealthy skepticism is the "death of expertise." Kristian borrows this phrase from author Tom Nichols who points out a problem that expertise is closely tied to an ideal. Its the notion there is an ideal that has "died" and so expertise with it. While we have plenty of examples of misuse of expertise, Kristian wants to emphasize the alternative is untenable. That is, that being completely self-sufficient in our own knowledge of expertise is not possible. When purchase good or services, we're looking for the best quality. That requires expertise. When we drive across a bridge, we expect it won't collapse. That requires expertise. Kristian laments that subject-matter experts have a bad habit of not staying in their lane. But that problem also results from people not recognizing the lane they ought to be in.
Main Points of Discussion:
02:04 Why is unhealthy skepticism corrupting culture?
06:19 Why should Christians be concerned with tribalism, misinformation, conspiracy theories, etc.
11:12 What characteristics are particularly troubling?
14:02 How does our online activity affect our offline behavior?
19:03 Why the shift away from trusting media
27:43 Is click-bait contributing to the problem?
30:42 What the death of expertise & democratized knowledge?
36:09 How do non experts navigate the information minefield?
39:59 Why do we love conspiracy theories?
47:42 Concluding thoughts