BrownCast Podcast episode 24: Shadi Hamid, American politics, Egyptian politics, being online

Another BP Podcast is up. You can listen on LibsyniTunes, Spotify,  and Stitcher. Probably the easiest way to keep up the podcast since we don’t have a regular schedule is to subscribe at one of the links above.

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Today we talk to Shadi Hamid, a Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution. The author of Islamic Exceptionalism and Temptations of Power.

The range of topics was diverse, from the new live-action Aladin film, the role of religious minorities in Egypt, and what it’s like to seem politically heterodox online. I say seem because Shadi’s sympathies with a sort of Left economic populism that isn’t quite exotic, but he evinces less fixation on epistemological hygiene than is common for modern public intellectuals.

We also talked extensively on his views about the role of religion in life, and religious identity in his own life, and the incentive structures of the careers of D.C. intellectual types.

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[…] had Shadi Hamid on the Brown Pundits podcast. Really appreciate Shadi’s interest in engaging with a diverse array of people. A real […]

5 years ago

Here is the conversation between Shadi Hamid and Sam Harris referenced above:

I really liked most of what Shadi said. My primary disagreement (in Shadi’s conversation with Sam) is about the history of liberalism. I would argue that liberalism is very, very ancient. Liberalism is how much of the ancient world functioned for thousands upon thousands of years.

The illiberal institutional Abrahamic moment since circa 300 AD has been an outlier in the broader human experience, not the norm. I would further argue that illiberalism lowered ceteris paribus total factor productivity, causing the international community to be poor for over a millennia. It is only now being gradually reversed. If the post modernist cultural marxists succeed at resisting liberalism–the world again have far lower total factor productivity than would otherwise be the case.


With respect to this conversation with Razib (and momentarily Zach!) I have an observation.

In India it is low resolution to call RSS anti muslim. In the late 1940s the RSS organized Sufi conferences and praised Jahanara and Dara Shikoh. The RSS has many muslim cadre in her core. Many of the RSS’ affiliated organizations are muslim.

What might be said is that many in the RSS have their own vision for a patriotic Bharatiya Swadeshi muslim (or Hindu muslim as some call it). Muslims can engage with the RSS is through the RSS’ muslim cadre and through the RSS’ muslim affiliates.


I would love to hear Shadi’s perspectives on:
—free art and thought among muslims
—Muraqabah doctrine (the Islamic theological basis for what Sam Harris calls consciousness, or meditation and Samadhi). If muslims around the world were free to practice Muraqabah at their discretion, what affect would it have?

Joshua Livingston
Joshua Livingston
5 years ago

At the end Razib recommends a podcast named “Totally Offline”(?) by Sage Hilani(?). I might have the wrong name or spelling, but can someone link me to this please?

5 years ago

Haven’t heard of extremely offline are heard them before. But their first four podcasts seem “EXTREMELY” interesting.

I really like anything involving Kmele Foster. Dude we be homo sapiens. This be all identity we need. Homo Sapiens best friends forever [BFF].

5 years ago

Fuck this was a good one.

5 years ago

This is what intellectual honesty looks like. Very glad to see you stepping into the podcasting arena, Razib.

That said, shoegaze and its millennial offshoots are important, and I’ve learned a lot from Shadi’s Spotify playlists. Sequel?

(Re: Zaid Jilani, his “heterodoxy” is recent news to me. I first remember hearing his name in J Street circles ca. 2013, where he was being feted by Eli Valley, the angry leftist cartoonist recently known for his Meghan McCain grotesqueries.)

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