Vivek is an entrepreneur and a Republican candidate for the 2024 presidential race. He founded a biotech company, Roivant Sciences, after working as an investment partner at a hedge fund. He’s also the author of Woke, Inc. and Nation of Victims. I’ll get ahead of you guys and confess that I liked him in our chat, and decided I wasn’t going to repeat the now-familiar trope of trying to get him to denounce Trump. See what you think, but I learned some stuff about his life.
You can listen to the episode right away in the audio player above (or on the right side of the player, click “Listen On” to add the Dishcast feed to your favorite podcast app). For two clips of our convo — on whether evangelicals will vote for a Hindu, and whether we should let Russia keep the Donbas — pop over to our YouTube page.
Other topics: Vivek’s upbringing in Cincinnati as the son of Indian immigrants; his engineer dad worked for GE; his mom was a geriatric psychiatrist; he took regular trips to his dad’s village in “the boonies of India”; his forebears were British subjects but he doesn’t feel oppressed by it; he thinks Americans’ view of victimhood is narrow and selective; affirmative action is “structurally embedded” and creates a culture of grievance; Vivek was raised Hindu but went to a Jesuit high school — which in fact strengthened his Hinduism; his faith sees Jesus as a son of God; he defends pluralism and Jefferson; Trump lacks any core values of Christianity; why Vivek went into biotech; how Big Pharma saved my life; his problem with “lurking state action” in the market that disguises its role; his problem with woke capitalism; his goal of reducing the federal workforce by 75 percent; his defense of Taiwan as long as the US is dependent on its semiconductors; why he thinks the CHIPS Act was “poorly executed”; his defense of bilateral trade agreements over multilateral; why “person of color” is as flattening as “LGBTQ”; his thoughts about being a visible minority within the GOP; his reply to the common criticisms against him, including Josh Barro’s “that section guy”; and his optimism for the culture war.
Browse the Dishcast archive for another convo you might enjoy (the first 102 episodes are free in their entirety — subscribe to get everything else). Coming up: Leor Sapir on the treatment of kids with gender dysphoria, Ian Buruma on his new book The Collaborators: Three Stories of Deception and Survival in World War II, and Spencer Klavan, who wrote How to Save the West: Ancient Wisdom for 5 Modern Crises. Later on: Martha Nussbaum, Matthew Crawford, David Brooks and Pamela Paul. Please send any guest recs, pod dissent and other commentary to email@example.com.
A listener reflects on two recent episodes: