Programming Note: Darts and Letters is off and retooling to relaunch in a new format early 2024.

EP27: Proud to be Canadian (ft. Leigh Phillips, Samantha Kutner, & Barbara Perry)

Happy Canada Day to our Canadian listeners! But actually, we are not celebrating here. Instead, we lament our country’s decay. In particular, our intellectual decay. We were a nation known for such pre-eminent intellectuals like Erving Goffman, Marshall McLuhan, and Charles Taylor. Now, we’re known for a decidedly more right-wing bunch of scholars and online influencers, including: Jordan Peterson, Stefan Molyneux, Lauren Southern, Gavin McInnes, and others. Their ideas and their organizing has inspired a new Canadian export: far-right politics, and sometimes far right extremist groups. One such group, the Proud Boys, were designated as a terrorist entity earlier this year. This week, we look at the far-right in Canada and ask: what should we do about them? And also: what shouldn’t we do about them?

  • First (@11:13), Leigh Phillips is a journalist, writer, and author. He’s also a contributor to Jacobin. After the Proud Boys were designated a terrorist entity, he took to the magazine to make the case against that approach to managing them. He argues that protecting civil liberties is essential to opposing the far-right and defending the left from state overreach and repression.
  • Next (@30:19), Samantha Kutner is an independent research and subject matter expert on the Proud Boys – as she puts it, a “Proud Boys whisperer” whose work is focused on “helping people leave violent extremism and white supremacy.” She takes us through that process and inside the heads of members of the far-right.
  • Finally (@57:04), Barbara Perry is a professor, an expert on the far-right in Canada, and the director of the Centre on Hate, Bias and Extremism at Ontario Tech University. She explores the far-right ecosystem in Canada with us and explains why the country punches above its weight when it comes to producing these organizations and individuals.


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Darts and Letters is hosted and edited by Gordon Katic. Our lead producer is Jay Cockburn. Our managing producer is Marc Apollonio. Our lead research assistant on this episode was Isabelle Lemelin. David Moscrop provided research assistance and wrote the show notes. Our marketing assistant is Ian Snowden. Our theme song was created by Mike Barber. Our graphic design was created by Dakota Koop.

This episode received support from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research. This episode was part of a project looking at the right of right wing political philosophies. The advisors on that project are: Andre Gagne, Ronald Beiner, and A. James McAdams. The lead research assistants are Tim Berk & Isabelle Lemelin.

Darts and Letters is produced in Toronto, which is on the traditional land of Mississaugas of the Credit, the Anishnabeg, the Chippewa, the Haudenosaunee and the Wendat Peoples. It is also produced in Vancouver, BC, which is on the unceded territories of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh Nations.

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