When most people think about war, they think about senseless killing, brutality, violence and horror. But when journalist Sebastian Junger thinks about war — even though he has witnessed firsthand how war is all of those things — he also thinks about meaning, purpose, brotherhood and community. It's why, he posits, so many veterans actually miss war when they return home. As Junger argues, war gives people all of the things that religion aspires to impart to people and often fails. War, he says, delivers.
For the most part, this was an interesting interview, but it was ruined by how partisan he is and he clearly suffers from Trump derangement syndrome. At lease he was hones about where he comes from politically, but he was quick to demonize his opposition.
Generally a interesting podcast, but ruined by TDS and conservative shaming. I’m not even a fan of trump but I find it so frustrating when he’s brought up in a completely irrelevant topic.
Thank you for an awesome & interesting podcast with Sebastian. I’m a fan. Heard him at Newport Beach library back in the day. I remember at that time, after Libya, he was recalibrating risk w/kids, as he says. To hear about his health scare was stunning. I had no idea. Such an amazing story about leaving risk & it finding him anyway. So thankful for his ongoing recovery. Two mentions: His book War kind of saved my mind at a pivotal time. I have kept my volume as a treasure since. I “bonded” with story of his brothers in Korengal and their struggles coming home mirrored some of my own. By studying, learning, following what they did in the book helped me find the path out of darkness and to meaning. I am forever grateful.
I would love if possible to return the favor. I promise you Sebastian, your comments about religion not being able to do what war can are incorrect. Seeing your Dad should dent that a bit as you imply. Religion is a trigger word. But going with your definition, it is real. In context it does exactly what you suggest it should. Yes, and has all the white knuckle risk as war. You will lose your life to save it. But it is the way to truth. And the cliche is correct - the truth will set you free. The only real freedom possible.
This is a fundamental truth we are trying to condition out of our boys and it is backfiring. When my dad was in school, and two boys would get into a fight, they would be taken into the gym with boxing gloves to work it out. When I was in school fighting was technically not allowed, but it still occurred and no one would get into serious trouble. The result was boys working things out in a way that dates back to the dawn of mankind. Today both boys would be suspended or expelled under zero tolerance policies and their anger/frustration continues to grow until it explodes. I think this is part of the growth of school shootings over the past 20+ years.
I've read a couple of Mr. Junger's books and have listened to or read numerous interviews with him. I find him extremely interesting and I do think he has a unique and mostly on target view of humanity. Except for the anchor of his liberal side, which tends to undermine some of his perspective from time to time. By the way, Bari- one can be against sending hundreds of billions of dollars in weaponry and money to Ukraine, with no tracking or accountability, while our own country is a mess and our own borders are being invaded, without being for the Russians. And...I doubt very much that there are many on the right who are enamored with Putin for any reason, let alone for his perceived 'masculinity'. Again- being against usurping our own funds and weapons does not mean pulling for The Man, Putin. That's ridiculous.
Junger seems to still think the Russia Collusion case was real. His 'Trump as Authoritarian Fascist' is a real blind spot in his overall thinking. And that kind of mentality does taint how I hear his overall views on humanity, but...all that said, he's enormously interesting and I do think he's mostly on target, particularly when it comes to men, wars, tribes, and how we perceive what freedom is.
The interview was excellent, but I was a bit disappointed with Junger's narrative about the J6 events. In fact, I believe that his discussion about human desire for community and belonging is a connection he could have explored as they pertained to the events that transpired that day. I have only voted Democrat and I live in DC, and walking through many of those December rallies I witnessed firsthand the closeness and sense of community many of the Trump supporters had for one another. With the election over and Trump losing, their sense of belonging was going to be fractured, especially with the added stress of the lockdowns and a destabilized economy. I have read one of Junger's books and listened to him speak before, so I was surprised by his take on this event.
This is yet another mind-exploding perspective brought to us by Bari on a subject that I thought I had all figured out. My dad is a Vietnam Vet who suffered from debilitating PTSD, depression and suicidal ideation. His peacetime relationships all carried a similar arc: people would coalesce around him as a leader with intense passion and loyalty, which he always brought to the baseball field as my coach, or the construction site as a foreman. Then, when his new peacetime battalion confronted a mild external offense, my dad would react with a warrior’s intensity, making many in the group uncomfortable. Finally, when those uncomfortable members of the tribe spoke up or challenged my dad as leader, he would turn his aggression onto them with righteousness, furious their cohesion to the group could be so fickle. Ultimately, these relationships would be destroyed by what I would later term my dad’s “warrior’s loyalty complex.”
I used to think that my dad was an passionate leader damaged by war. Thank you, Sebastian, for a new perspective. My dad was a passionate leader because of war. And the men and boys that gravitated to him before his inevitable fall were drawn to him because of the reverberations of wartime that emanated from his persona.
I loved this interview. I love the FP. Thank you Sebastian and Bari
Side note. This interview is not at all about politics. If a political response is the basis for your initial reaction, please give it a second listen
Great show! Like many others have suggested, his comments were a little tainted by TDS, but certainly not enough to detract a lot from the episode. However, I'd love for someone with Bari Weiss' interviewing ability to honestly engage with someone like Mr. Junger, who believes the US was in actual danger on Jan 6, on the following basis.
During the Kavanaugh hearings, protestors completely took over the Hart Senate building. This building is literally a stone's throw from the Capital and a place where substantial government work occurs. It houses the offices of many Senators and has many committee rooms. The protestors physically threatened Senators and staff and occupied Senate offices. The protestors had the express intention of indefinitely obstructing the Senate from installing Kavanaugh as Kennedy's replacement. They obstructed proceedings concerning two branches of the government (Senate and SCOTUS) both of which are equal to the Executive branch. The demonstrations were loudly encouraged by Democrat leaders of the Senate and House. Does Mr. Junger feel that the Kavanaugh protests were an "insurrection" that imperiled the nation? If not, please explain how the Jan 6 riots were different in substance from the actions and intentions of the Kavanaugh protestors?
The underlying premise is correct. Men, particularly adolescent men, seek purpose and validation of their manhood in sports, military, or thrill seeking. Men are programmed to provide and protect.
The current trend to delegitimize our young men physically and mentally by encouraging their wimpification (metrosexuals), to sideline young men (bring your daughter to work day), etc has already created a climate of mental illness and suicide. Also note what is happening in the military today with Wokification, resulting in decreased recruitment. This will all come to a bad end.
This was really interesting to me and then it went completely off the rails...I started wondering whether SJ works for US Intelligence and/or is this podcast propaganda to warm the American people up to the idea of drafting Americans (a la Vietnam) to fight the hot war in Ukraine?
Damn, this guy confuses the hell out of me. Says some profound stuff, then goes on to say he is an “anti-mystic”??? What even is that? What did a mystic ever do to him to warrant such a dumb statement? Also, I really, really, definitely do not need to be told so many times in one sitting that you vote democrat dawg. But have fun with that, and the anti-mysticism stuff. Weirdo.
This was one of the best podcast episodes I've heard in a long, long time. Bari is a master interviewer.
As a 50-year-old man and the father of two teenage boys, what Junger was saying hit home. I'd always suspected something like this intuitively, but hearing it articulated and explained was illuminating.
I was wondering at one point if part of the "rugged individualist" (versus group belonging and collaboration) mindet that makes up a large part of the American psyche has led to higher rates of life dissatisfaction and depression. Do other countries experience this to such a degree? They got close to this discussion but I find this idea very interesting...
I saw a video about a Ball Turret Gunner on a B-17. He was asked WHY, Why he volunteered to do it. His answer "I wanted to see if I had What It Takes to do that."
I was a Security Policeman in the AF. April of of 1970 had orders for Nam. I didn't Have to accept the Orders, and didn't. To this day I sometimes wonder......