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Charlie Chaplin in "The Circus" (1928)

Interchange – Moderation In Dark Times: Aurelian Craiutu


We’ll open with “Tensions” by Charles Mingus, recorded in 1959 and released in 1960 on the album Blues & Roots. About the album Mingus wrote that it’s “unusual” presenting only one aspect of his musical world, the blues.

“Some people, particularly critics, were saying I didn’t swing enough. [The record’s producer] wanted to give them a barrage of soul music: churchy, blues, swinging, earthy. I thought it over. I was born swinging and clapped my hands in church as a little boy, but I’ve grown up and I like to do things other than just swing. But blues can do more than just swing. So I agreed.”

And so if we begin with “tensions” and competing perspectives, and at a particular moment in a time, on a particular project, with a project goal in mind, can we moderate toward agreement?

Today we welcome to our studio Aurelian Craiutu, author of the recent book The Faces of Moderation. We’ll focus primarily on the art of “trimming” in order to keep the “ship of state” on an even keel; we’ll look specifically at one “face” of moderation, the Polish historian, essayist, former dissident, and public intellectual, Adam Michnik. And finally we’ll discuss the protest at Indiana University in Bloomington that occurred when Charles Murray (author of the controversial book The Bell Curve, and more recently, Coming Apart) was invited to speak under the auspices of IU’s Tocqueville Program, which is directed by Craiutu. The talk was co-sponsored by the American Enterprise Institute, a right-wing think-tank. Charles Murray is the W. H. Brady Scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, who first came to national attention in 1984 with the publication of “Losing Ground,” which has been credited as the intellectual foundation for the Welfare Reform Act of 1996. This Act bears the usual Orwellian designation the GOP seems to favor: Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity.

That particular fact of American political “trimming”–a bill authored by Republicans and signed by Bill Clinton, elected to the presidency as a Democrat–may be a fair example of what moderation looks like in American politics.

Aurelian Craiutu is Professor in the Department of Political Science at Indiana University, Bloomington, and Adjunct Professor in the American Studies Program. He is also affiliated with the Russian and East European Institute, the Institute for European Studies, the Ostrom Workshop, and the Lilly School of Philanthropic Studies. He is the author and editor of several books on modern political thought including Liberalism under Siege: The Political Thought of the French Doctrinaires (Rowman & Littlefield/Lexington Books, 2003) and A Virtue for Courageous Minds: Moderation in French Political Thought, 1748-1830 (Princeton University Press, 2012)

Letter from the Gdansk Prison” by Adam Michnik, translated by Jerzy B. Warman

“Tensions” by Charles Mingus
“Dollar Brand” by Abdullah Ibrahim
“Hat and Beard” by Eric Dolphy
“Ugly Beauty” by Thelonious Monk

Producer & Host: Doug Storm
Assistant Producer: Rob Schoon
Board Engineer: Jennifer Brooks
Executive Producer: Joe Crawford

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