In this week’s episode, Neil, Niki, and Natalia debate the canonization of Mother Teresa, the rise of the alt-right, and the menace of taco trucks.
- Mother Teresa has been declared St. Teresa by Pope Francis. Natalia noted the controversy that has swirled around Mother Teresa, including Christopher Hitchens calling her a “fanatic, fundamentalist, and a fraud.” Niki detailed how Pope John Paul II changed the canonization process to benefit Mother Teresa. Neil discussed Mother Teresa’s political significance to the pro-life movement, including her anti-abortion speeches at her 1979 Nobel Peace Prize acceptance and at the 1994 National Prayer Breakfast.
- The alt-right has made its presence known in the 2016 presidential race. Niki outlined the rise of the alt-right, something she has written about for U.S. News & World Report. Natalia discussed how the alt-right fit in the larger world of conservatism, citing the influence of George Nash in her thinking. Niki discussed the alt-right’s intellectual self-identity as smarter than the “old-school racist skinheads,” as Milo Yiannopolous wrote in Breitbart News in 2016.
- The founder of Latinos for Trump warned there would soon be “taco trucks on every corner” if Donald Trump didn’t win the presidency. Natalia and Neil discussed whether this served as an effective political threat. Natalia shared how scholars of immigration have identified the lowest tolerance for immigrants as something called “contributionism,” where immigrants are appreciated only for what they contribute to American society. Niki placed the taco truck in a long history of food trucks, including chuck wagons and pushcarts. Natalia remembered the alarm when salsa recently outsold ketchup as America’s favorite condiment.
In our regular closing feature, What’s Making History:
- Natalia commented on the value of taking Phyllis Schlafly seriously.