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Plain English with Derek Thompson

Why the "Need for Chaos" Is Eating American Politics

Today’s episode is about one of the most interesting pieces of research I’ve read in the past year. It's an idea called "need for chaos," and the truth is that I literally cannot stop thinking about it as I follow American culture, politics, and media. Very briefly, it is the observation that many Americans today embrace conspiracy theories and nihilistic burn-it-all-down messages, not because they are partisans of the left or right, but rather because they've become hopelessly cynical (sometimes for very good reason!) about all elite and all major institutions of power. Today’s guest is the Danish political scientist Michael Bang Petersen, who coauthored the paper that introduced this idea.
If you have questions, observations, or ideas for future episodes, email us at PlainEnglish@Spotify.com.
Host: Derek Thompson
Guest: Michael Bang Petersen
Producer: Devon Baroldi
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Plain English with Derek Thompson
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