#608: Signal Over Noise with Noah Feldman — The War in Ukraine (Recap and Predictions), The Machiavelli of Maryland, Best Books to Understand Geopolitics, The Battles for Free Speech on Social Media, Metaverse Challenges, and More

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Tim Ferriss and Noah Feldman on The War in Ukraine (Recap and Predictions), The Machiavelli of Maryland, Best Books to Understand Geopolitics, The Battles for Free Speech on Social Media, Metaverse Challenges, and More | Brought to you by MANSCAPED premium grooming products, Athletic Greens all-in-one nutritional supplement, and Allform premium, modular furniture. More on all three below.

I rarely cover current events on this podcast, but this is a new experiment.

To avoid overwhelm, I do not track the news 24/7 with doom scrolling. Rather, I depend on conversations with my smartest friends to find the signal in the noise. The following conversation with Noah Feldman (@NoahRFeldman) is an example of such a conversation, very similar to what we would have offline, and I wanted to share it with you. I learned a ton and changed my thinking a lot, which I always do.

Noah Feldman is a Harvard professor, ethical philosopher and advisor, public intellectual, religious scholar and historian, and author of 10 books, including his latest, The Broken Constitution: Lincoln, Slavery, and the Refounding of America. You can find my interview with him at tim.blog/noah.

Noah is the founder of Ethical Compass, which helps clients like Facebook and eBay improve ethical decision-making by creating and implementing new governance solutions. Noah conceived and designed the Facebook Oversight Board and continues to advise Facebook on ethics and governance issues.

Feldman is host of the Deep Background podcast, a policy and public affairs columnist for Bloomberg Opinion, and a former contributing writer for The New York Times. He served as senior constitutional advisor to the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq and subsequently advised members of the Iraqi Governing Council on the drafting of Iraq’s interim constitution.

He earned his A.B. summa cum laude from Harvard, finishing first in his class. Selected as a Rhodes Scholar, he earned a DPhil from Oxford University, writing his dissertation on Aristotle’s Ethics. He received his JD from Yale Law School and clerked for Justice David Souter of the US Supreme Court.

He is the author of 10 books, including Divided by God: America’s Church-State Problem — and What We Should Do About It; What We Owe Iraq: War and the Ethics of Nation Building; Cool War: The United States, China, and the Future of Global Competition; Scorpions: The Battles and Triumphs of FDR’s Great Supreme Court Justices; and The Three Lives of James Madison: Genius, Partisan, President.

Please let me know what you think of this experimental format by sending me feedback on Twitter @tferriss. Do you love it? Do you hate it? Have suggestions for improvement? The usual long-form interviews with evergreen questions will still be the default and bread and butter of this podcast, but if you like this, I could see doing more of them, perhaps once a month or once every two months. It’s just an easy way to get caught up without drowning in news.

Please enjoy!

NOTE: This episode was recorded on June 22nd.

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[08:40] Russia vs. Ukraine: why?

[17:31] The first Web3 war?

[25:24] Will punishing Russian oligarchs make Putin blink?

[29:06] Did Putin miscalculate, or is he just playing a longer game?

[38:19] Could this conflict affect the US dollar’s status as a reserve currency?

[42:11] Exploring base/best/worst possible outcomes of the conflict.

[47:56] Recommended reading.

[58:15] Free speech in the age of social media.

[1:14:07] What’s at stake as free speech is legally reevaluated?

[1:23:18] Enforcement, decentralization, and free market considerations.

[1:31:09] Where Noah sees the free speech conversation in three years.

[1:35:50] Will the future be colored predominantly in AR or VR?

[1:39:45] Parting thoughts.

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