Show Notes for Ep. 1.5 "The Capital and the Cafe"

In this episode, the hosts of MRAH explore questions of violence, pacifism, ethics, and empathy while juxtaposing a local incident against an event of national proportions.

Content warning: This episode discusses a racist attack on a business, the January 6 attack on the US Capitol, an Islamophobic insult, fascism, and other related political topics.

Recorded 10 January 2021 / Published 25 March 2021


  • 0:35: Introducing the topics: A racist incident in Oak Park; the January 6 attack on the US Capitol; and Mary Anne running for office.
  • 1:10: Disclaimer: This is a hot take on (among other things) the January 6 attacks, and Mary Anne and Ben may have changed their minds since they recorded this.
  • 2:35: The ongoing dialogue about how we have these conversations, and how people react to misbehavior.
  • 3:55: Background about Oak Park, the suburb of Chicago where Mary Anne lives.
  • 5:05: L!VE Cafe, in Oak Park, which hosts events. (It’s owned by Black entrepreneur Reesheda Graham Washington.)
  • 6:25: The racist message attached to a brick thrown at L!VE Cafe, in the context of Black candidates running for local office.
  • 9:05: Oak Park is a liberal bastion, but this can still happen.
  • 12:50: Venues that are willing to try to address issues openly end up looking like they’re always having social justice fights.
  • 15:10: Connecting the L!VE Cafe attack to the Capitol attack.
  • 16:45: The dangers of beefing up security.
  • 18:10: Nazi-punching as one option among several.
  • 22:45: Fanon, King, and Gandhi. Pragmatic and strategic pacifism vs philosophical pacifism.
  • 27:10: Every time Frodo puts on the ring, it strengthens Sauron and weakens Frodo; but sometimes it also helps Frodo get away.
  • 30:35: Violence in the name of greater good: what does it cost you long term? And is the gain worth the cost?
  • 33:15: Deplatforming, silencing, and freedom of speech.
  • 35:05: A distinction between conservative and liberal worldviews.
  • 38:05: Where you allocate money says something about the society you’re trying to build.
  • 38:30: The word liberal means very different things in the US and Switzerland.
  • 40:25: The people who attacked the Capitol were not trying to preserve something; they wanted to tear down the system.
  • 41:25: Brief intermission, featuring an ad for the Speculative Literature Foundation.
  • 42:00: Edmund Burke.
  • 44:30: The Faustian bargain made by statist conservative Republicans.
  • 51:30: We need a more sophisticated taxonomy.
  • 54:35: Lots of disenfranchised people believe that the system is corrupt, and that they can’t improve it by voting.
  • 56:55: The populist impulse to radically overthrow, and a distinction between conservatism and fascism.
  • 1:04:30: Oak Park high school board member Matt Baron, who used a terrorism metaphor in talking about Dima Ali, a Muslim woman.
  • 1:12:25: Fascism poses a specific unique problem, because of its attitude toward language and thinking.
  • 1:14:45: Cancel culture, free speech, empathy, and the tendency of the internet to fall on people’s heads.
  • 1:24:05: How Mary Anne convinced people that the library should get rid of fines.
  • 1:29:00: Closing thoughts: You never have to excuse someone’s bad behavior to be a good ally to them. Hold them accountable.

Works Mentioned

Alphabetically by author surname.

Other clarifying or explanatory links