Jun 2 • 1HR 9M

#1 - What is Utopian Idiots?

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A podcast dedicated to pushing back against the cult of haste and distraction. We believe in what one of us has coined “the high drama of ordinary living.” We believe the best things in life are the simple things – the hidden joys of family life, the pleasures of deep friendship, and the satisfaction of craft, creativity and contemplation pursued as means of enhancing our state of presence to and gratitude for the good things in our lives, above all the people.
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Utopian Idiots co-creator Jonathon van Maren and I are pleased to bring you the first episode of the Utopian Idiots podcast.

In this conversation, we dive into the inspiration behind the Utopian Idiots project, and explain what we hope to achieve through it. We discuss our struggles with mental fragmentation, the pitfalls of activism, gratitude, chickens, Wendell Berry, and more.

QUOTE: “The fundamental disposition of conservatism always is gratitude. Because if you are not grateful for anything, then what is there to conserve? These two things cannot survive without each other. A conservatism that isn’t based on gratitude will inevitably wither and die … You see this in a lot of conservative circles in the last five or six years, the ‘burn it all down’ language. And here’s the paradox: at just at a time when most of us have forgotten how to build, we’re advocating burning it all down.” (Jonathon)

The conversation ended up being heavier than I anticipated. But the fact is that I spent years as, and Jonathon still is, a full-time activist dealing with some of the most controversial and pressing issues of the day. Utopian Idiots came in large part out of lengthy conversations we had about how best to balance the activist’s zeal to identify injustices and to make the world a better place through action, and the human need and duty to cultivate gratitude for and to attend to the many good things in our lives.

It was fun recording this first conversation. The only disappointment (and a huge one at that) was the absence of our other Utopian Idiots co-creator Will Pemberton. But he is with us in spirit, cheering on our new-found passion for all things Wendell Berry.

Bear with the less-than-ideal sound quality on Jonathon’s end. We have plans to improve that for the next episode.