Podcast explores ‘Democracy and Difficult Questions’ with Penn State’s Chris Beem

Author: Ted Fox

cover art for With a Side of Knowledge podcast, featuring a plated Notre Dame waffle in the background behind the show's name and two dialogue bubbles in the foreground

With a Side of Knowledge is a podcast produced by the Office of the Provost at the University of Notre Dame. It brings listeners informal interviews with fascinating scholars and professionals from both Notre Dame and elsewhere that take place over brunch.

The 10th episode of the show’s third season, “On Democracy and Difficult Questions,” was released Thursday, Dec. 5, and features Chris Beem, managing director of the McCourtney Institute for Democracy at Penn State University. 

A 1983 graduate of Notre Dame, Beem is the author or co-editor of five books, most recently Democratic Humility: Reinhold Niebuhr, Neuroscience, and America's Political Crisis, which was published by Lexington Books. Currently at work on a book about democratic virtues, he is also a co-host of the McCourtney Institute’s Democracy Works podcast.

His conversation with host Ted Fox did eventually find its way to podcasting, but on the way there they talked about things like the nature of democracy—not to mention human beings themselves—as well as the role of ethics in a democratic society. They also discussed the one thing everyone listening to the episode could do to help make our democracy better. Beem’s answer to that question provided some good food for thought heading into 2020.

You can visit provost.nd.edu/podcast to learn more about With a Side of Knowledge, which is available through Apple Podcasts, Google Play, Spotify, and Stitcher or by searching “With a Side of Knowledge” in your favorite podcast app.

You can also listen to the episode with Beem using the player below.