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The Political Animals

The Political Animals

By The Political Animals
Honest conversations about the political, theological and cultural ideas that shape who we are in the 21st century.

The Political Animals is hosted by Dr Jonathan Cole, an academic, scholar, translator and writer specialising in political theology: the intersection of religion and politics.

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Is Australia a Racist Country? A Conversation with Indigenous Commentator Dr Anthony Dillon
Indigenous commentator Anthony Dillon joins the show for a discussion about indigenous affairs. Anthony provides a fresh perspective that is critical of what he calls "blacktivism," the grievance industry and the view that Australia is a racist country. Issues covered in the conversation include poverty, child abuse, incarceration, Aboriginal deaths in custody, indigenous incarceration rates, the infamous Bill Leak cartoon, Bruce Pascoe's Dark Emu and the fraught issue of Aboriginal identity. Dr Anthony Dillon is an indigenous commentator and behavioural scientist and researcher at The Australian Catholic University. Check out his website: www.anthonydillon.com.au. Host of The Political Animals, Jonathan Cole, is an academic, writer, speaker and translator who specialises in political theology: the intersection of religion and politics. He is currently Assistant Director of the Centre for Public and Contextual Theology at Charles Sturt University. Previously, he worked as a Senior Terrorism Analyst at Australian intelligence agency The Office of National Assessments. You can follow Jonathan on Twitter and Facebook.
58:08
October 17, 2021
Intellectual Snack: Edmund Burke on Necessities, Human Nature and the Dangers of Abstract Political Thinking
In this intellectual snack, Jonathan reflects on Edmund Burke's conservative understanding of politics as the pragmatic art of managing human necessities within the constraints of human nature, and why we ought to be sceptical of abstract political thinking in that endeavour. Host of The Political Animals, Jonathan Cole, is an academic, writer, speaker and translator who specialises in political theology: the intersection of religion and politics. He is currently Assistant Director of the Centre for Public and Contextual Theology at Charles Sturt University. He is the author of Christian Political Theology in an Age of Discontent: Mediating Scripture, Doctrine, and Political Reality. Previously, he worked as a Senior Terrorism Analyst at Australian intelligence agency The Office of National Assessments. You can follow Jonathan on Twitter and Facebook.
18:54
October 10, 2021
Intellectual snack: Aristotle's Political Animal
In this intellectual snack, host Jonathan examines Aristotle's immortal concept of the political animal.
12:59
October 7, 2021
John Stuart Mill on Free Speech
This is the first in a new series of short intellectual snacks in which host of The Political Animals Podcast, Jonathan Cole, will offer a meditation on a single idea or argument from a great book and thinker that is relevant to the cultural and political challenges of 21st century humans. In this inaugural episode, Jonathan meditates on John Stuart Mill's argument for free speech in his classic work On Liberty (1859).
09:53
October 5, 2021
Public Christianity with Dr Natasha Moore
The Centre for Public Christianity's (CPX) Natasha Moore joins host Jonathan for a conversation about public Christianity. They begin with an overview of the work of CPX, before moving on to the question of how to define and understand public Christianity more broadly, particularly in light of Christian division, denominational particularity and an often uninterested or hostile secular public. They then take a close and considered look at Marilynne Robinsons's Pulitzer Prize wining novel Gilead as an example of public Christianity. This sparks an unexpected and interesting detour into gender before the pair return to the question of public Christianity to close out the show. Dr Natasha Moore is a Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for Public Christianity. She has a PhD in English Literature from the University of Cambridge and is the author of For the Love of God: How the church is better and worse than you ever imagined and, most recently, The Pleasures of Pessimism. She has worked for CPX since 2014 and written on topics that include books, movies, politics,
 food, domestic violence, Scripture in schools, war, Thanksgiving, and freedom of speech. Host of The Political Animals, Jonathan Cole, is an academic, writer, speaker and translator who specialises in political theology: the intersection of religion and politics. He is currently Assistant Director of the Centre for Public and Contextual Theology at Charles Sturt University. He is the author of Christian Political Theology in an Age of Discontent: Mediating Scripture, Doctrine, and Political Reality. Previously, he worked as a Senior Terrorism Analyst at Australian intelligence agency The Office of National Assessments. You can follow Jonathan on Twitter and Facebook.
02:03:09
October 3, 2021
On the Life, Times, Political Theology and Poetry of John Milton with Dr Ben Myers
Ben Myers joins host Jonathan in this episode for a deep dive on the fascinating life, times and thought of John Milton (1608–1674). They cover everything from the English Civil War, regicide, political authority, republicanism, the Protestant Reformation, tyranny, censorship, theology, exegesis, the individual conscience, freedom, marriage and divorce, poetry and more.  Dr Ben Myers is Director of Graduate Research at Alphacrucis College and writes on the intersection of literature and theology. His international appointments have included visiting fellow at Fuller Theological Seminary and member in residence at the Center of Theological Inquiry in Princeton. He is a Research Fellow of the Public and Contextual Theology Research Centre at Charles Sturt University and an Honorary Senior Research Fellow of the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities at the University of Queensland. He is the author of The Apostles’ Creed: A Guide to the Ancient Catechism, Christ the Stranger: The Theology of Rowan Williams and Milton's Theology of Freedom.  Host of The Political Animals, Jonathan Cole, is an academic, writer, speaker and translator who specialises in political theology: the intersection of religion and politics. He is currently Assistant Director of the Centre for Public and Contextual Theology at Charles Sturt University. Previously, he worked as a Senior Terrorism Analyst at Australian intelligence agency The Office of National Assessments. You can follow Jonathan on Twitter and Facebook.
01:33:02
September 26, 2021
European Philosophy with Prof Wayne Hudson, Part B: Derrida, Foucault and Deleuze
In this, the second episode in the show's two-part series on European philosophy, polymath guest Wayne Hudson and host Jonathan Cole discuss the contribution and legacy of French philosophy. The enigmatic, controversial and influential thought of Jacques Derrida, Michel Foucault and Gilles Deleuze serves as a springboard for a wide-ranging diagnostic conversation about contemporary politics, culture and education. Wayne Hudson is a Research Professor at Charles Sturt University. He is an intellectual historian and a social philosopher who works across the areas of philosophy, history, politics and religion. His research covers religious thought, utopianism and social reform, the Enlightenment and the postsecular. He is recognised as the English language expert on the Jewish German Philosopher Ernst Bloch and is also a leading historian of English deism. He delivered the first lectures on postmodernism at Oxford and taught philosophical anthropology for seven years at the University of Utrecht. Host of The Political Animals, Jonathan Cole, is an academic, writer, speaker and translator who specialises in political theology: the intersection of religion and politics. He is currently Assistant Director of the Centre for Public and Contextual Theology at Charles Sturt University. Previously, he worked as a Senior Terrorism Analyst at Australian intelligence agency The Office of National Assessments. You can follow Jonathan on Twitter and Facebook.
50:57
September 19, 2021
European Philosophy with Prof Wayne Hudson, Part A: Kant, Hegel and Schelling
In this episode, the first in a two-part series on European philosophy, returning guest Prof Wayne Hudson examines the legacy of German philosophy. He explores the contribution of German giants Kant, Hegel and Schelling and explains the ways in which their thought has been misunderstood in the English-speaking world. He and host Jonathan then embark on a discussion about contemporary science and culture, civilisational decline, the cognitive evolution of the human being and the fate of humanity. Wayne Hudson is a Research Professor at Charles Sturt University. He is an intellectual historian and a social philosopher who works across the areas of philosophy, history, politics and religion. His research covers religious thought, utopianism and social reform, the Enlightenment and the postsecular. He is recognised as the English language expert on the Jewish German Philosopher Ernst Bloch and is also a leading historian of English deism. He delivered the first lectures on postmodernism at Oxford and taught philosophical anthropology for seven years at the University of Utrecht. Host of The Political Animals, Jonathan Cole, is an academic, writer, speaker and translator who specialises in political theology: the intersection of religion and politics. He is currently Assistant Director of the Centre for Public and Contextual Theology at Charles Sturt University. Previously, he worked as a Senior Terrorism Analyst at Australian intelligence agency The Office of National Assessments. You can follow Jonathan on Twitter and Facebook. 
41:23
September 12, 2021
The Tyranny of Health: Government, Law and Freedom in the Covid Era with Prof Nicholas Aroney
Eminent constitutional scholar Nicholas Aroney joins host Jonathan in this episode for a wide-ranging discussion of life in the era of covid. They discuss the Australian Constitution, federalism, the legislative power of State and Territory governments, the legal basis of lockdowns and associated measures, legal challenges to lockdown measures, vaccine passports and mandates, the power of health bureaucrats, the place of death in our culture, the modern tendency to over-legislate and the impact of covid on our personal freedoms. Nicholas Aroney is Professor of Constitutional Law at the University of Queensland. Professor Aroney has published over 100 journal articles, book chapters and books in the fields of constitutional law, comparative constitutional law and legal theory. He has led several international research projects in comparative federalism, bicameralism, legal pluralism, and law & religion. He is the author of The Constitution of a Federal Commonwealth: The Making and Meaning of the Australian Constitution (Cambridge University Press, 2009). He has held visiting positions at Oxford, Cambridge, Paris II, Edinburgh, Durham, Sydney, Emory and Tilburg universities. Host of The Political Animals, Dr Jonathan Cole, is an academic, writer, speaker and translator who specialises in political theology: the intersection of religion and politics. He is currently Assistant Director of the Centre for Public and Contextual Theology at Charles Sturt University. Prior to that, he worked as a Senior Terrorism Analyst at Australian intelligence agency The Office of National Assessments. You can follow the show on Facebook and Twitter. 
01:49:40
August 29, 2021
Lessons from the Afghanistan Debacle with Former Intelligence Analyst Jonathan Cole
In this special episode of The Political Animals, host Jonathan Cole dons his cap as a former intelligence analyst to discuss the sobering lessons from the Afghanistan debacle. Jonathan worked at the Australian Signals Directorate 2007–2010 and as a Senior Terrorism Analyst at the Office of National Intelligence 2010–2014. His patch included terrorism across the whole of South Asia. Jonathan talks about the failure of the Afghanistan intervention and the wisdom and morality of military interventions per se from a realist perspective. He also shares his experience of visiting Kabul in 2011 and other trips to the region. 
53:33
August 22, 2021
Rebecca Hilton on the Untold and Unsung Historical Contribution of Women to the Australian Church: A Baptist Case Study
Rebecca Hilton joins the show in this episode to discuss the neglected history of women in the Australian Church through her doctoral research into the roles, contribution and identity of Australian Baptist Women 1882–1945. Tune in to learn about the remarkable women who drove missionary work, established and financed churches, preached, contributed to the suffrage movement and the intellectual life of the church. Host of The Political Animals, Dr Jonathan Cole, is an academic, writer, speaker and translator who specialises in political theology: the intersection of religion and politics. He is currently Assistant Director of the Centre for Public and Contextual Theology at Charles Sturt University. Prior to that, he worked as a Senior Terrorism Analyst at Australian intelligence agency The Office of National Assessments. You can follow the show on Facebook and Twitter.
01:28:13
August 15, 2021
Is Social Media Dehumanising? A Conversation with Nathan Campbell
Presbyterian pastor and blogger Nathan Campbell joins the show this week for an examination of social media. Nathan and Jonathan explore the formational effects of social media, its vices (and virtues), the nature of communication in the 21st century, the impact of social media on the church, society and politics, whether social media is a help or hindrance to the gospel and Nathan's own controversial role in the strange ecosystem of Christian social media. Nathan blogs at St Eutychus. Jonathan Cole is host of The Political Animals and assistant director of the Centre for Public and Contextual Theology at Charles Sturt University.
01:58:13
August 8, 2021
Same-sex attraction and conservative Christianity: An important conversation for the Church
In this special episode, host Jonathan talks to a young politically and theologically conservative Christian who is same-sex attracted and called to singleness. Jonathan's guest talks honestly and courageously about his struggle to come to terms with his sexuality and his faith growing up in a conservative Christian home and belonging to a theologically conservative church. In addition to the guest's personal story, they discuss the theology of same-sex attraction, conversion therapy, the ex-gay movement, Milo Yiannopoulos, the secular LGBTIQ movement and the contemporary church's attitude to same-sex attracted believers. Host of The Political Animals, Dr Jonathan Cole, is an academic, writer, speaker and translator who specialises in political theology: the intersection of religion and politics. He is currently Assistant Director of the Centre for Public and Contextual Theology at Charles Sturt University. Prior to that, he worked as a Senior Terrorism Analyst at Australian intelligence agency The Office of National Assessments. Newly published research indicates that giving a 5-star rating to The Political Animals Podcast on Apple grants seven years of good luck. So be sure to take advantage of this finding! You can follow the show on Facebook and Twitter.
01:37:34
August 1, 2021
On the Political and Cultural Legacy of Jordan Peterson
This week, returning guest Stephen Chavura joins host Jonathan for a deep dive on the political and cultural legacy of one of our age's most significant public intellectuals: Jordan B. Peterson. Has Jordan Peterson saved a generation of young basement dwelling deadbeat males from doom? Has he undermined the influence of ideological feminism? Is he one of the greatest theologians of the early 21st century? These are just some of questions Stephen and Jonathan explore in this appreciative tour of the Peterson phenomenon. Dr Stephen Chavura lectures in history at Campion College and Dr Jonathan Cole is Assistant Director at the Centre for Public and Contextual Theology, Charles Sturt University. You can follow the podcast on Facebook and Twitter, and if you like what you hear, don't be afraid to drop a five-star rating on Apple: it keeps the god Algorithm at bay.
01:30:20
July 18, 2021
Religious Freedom with Human Rights Lawyer John Steenhof
This week, Jonathan discusses religious freedom with John Steenhof, principal lawyer at the Human Rights Law Alliance. John provides insight into the types of religious freedom cases he handles, the legislative situation regarding religious freedoms in Australia, the developing cultural climate that imperils the free practice of religious faith, the reasons secular society struggles to comprehend the importance of religious freedom and how the situation in Australia compares to that in America and elsewhere. The Human Rights Law Alliance is a Christian charitable law firm set up to protect and advance the religious freedom of all Australians. Since commencing as a law firm in 2019, HRLA has provided legal advocacy and advice to people who are under attack for living out their faith and convictions in public.
02:08:03
July 4, 2021
Child Sexual Abuse Inquiries and the Catholic Church: Reassessing the Evidence
Dr Virginia Miller joins the show this week to discuss her new book, Child Sexual Abuse Inquiries and the Catholic Church: Reassessing the Evidence. The book reviews the methods and findings of inquiries in Ireland, America and Australia into child sexual abuse in the Catholic Church. Virginia Miller (PhD) is a research fellow with the Centre for Public and Contextual Theology, Charles Sturt University, Canberra. Her research work includes church-focused policy research into sexual abuse of children, elder abuse, euthanasia, and religious freedom. Her other books include A King and a Fool? The Succession Narrative as a Satire (Brill). Host Jonathan Cole is an academic, writer, speaker and translator who specialises in political theology: the intersection of religion and politics. He is currently Assistant Director of the Centre for Public and Contextual Theology at Charles Sturt University and previously worked for the Australian Federal Government, including as a Senior Terrorism Analyst at intelligence agency The Office of National Assessments. You can follow Jonathan on Facebook and Twitter, and please consider giving a 5-star rating on Apple podcasts if you'd like to support the podcast.
01:57:57
June 20, 2021
Political Science with Professor Keith Dowding
In this episode host Jonathan Cole speaks to Keith Dowding, Distinguished Professor of Political Science and Political Philosophy at The Australian National University. They discuss the distinction between political science and political philosophy, current trends in political science, the utility of political science, declining trust in Western liberal democracies, the American constitution, the office of president and Keith's most recent book, It's the Government, Stupid: How Governments Blame Citizens for Their Own Policies.
01:30:36
June 6, 2021
Building Bridges Amidst the Culture Wars: A Conversation with Parnell Palme McGuinness
In this episode, Jonathan talks to social and political commentator Parnell Palme McGuinness. They cover Parnell's "small 'c' conservatism," Australian politics and society, the art of communication, the culture wars, cancel culture, objective truth, tradition and the social value of religion (even for the non-religious). Parnell is a Managing Director and co-founder of strategic communications and PR firm Agenda C. She specialises in strategic policy and campaign engagement services, with industry associations, governments, brands and think tanks. She writes a weekly column for the syndicated Nine newspapers and is a regular on ABC programs Q&A and The Drum. Jonathan Cole is an academic, writer, speaker and translator specialising in political theology: the intersection of religion and politics. He is currently Assistant Director of the Centre for Public and Contextual Theology at Charles Sturt University and previously worked for the Australian Federal Government, including as a Senior Terrorism Analyst at intelligence agency The Office of National Assessments.
01:15:49
May 24, 2021
The Conservative Tradition from Menzies to Morrison: A Conversation with Damien Freeman
In this episode, Jonathan discusses the conservative tradition with Damien Freeman, author of Abbot's Right: The Conservative Tradition from Menzies to Abbott (Melbourne University Press). They cover the conservative cast of mind, ideology versus pragmatism, identity and belonging, same-sex marriage and energy policy, the liberal and conservative traditions within the Liberal Party and the political philosophies of prime ministers Robert Menzies, Malcolm Fraser, John Howard, Tony Abbott, Malcolm Turnbull and Scott Morrison. Damien Freeman is the Principal Policy Advisor at the PM Glynn Institute, Australian Catholic University. He was educated at the University of Sydney (BA, LLB (Hons), MA, MPhil) and Magdalene College, Cambridge (MPhil, PhD). He is the Editor of the Kapunda Press, the imprint of the PM Glynn Institute, which is published by Connor Court. He lectured in philosophy for ten years at Pembroke College, Cambridge, and currently lectures on law at Exeter College, Oxford. He is a Legal Practitioner of the Supreme Court of New South Wales and a Licentiate of Trinity College, London. He has been a guest lecturer at the Art Gallery of New South Wales on a range of topics including a lecture series on Sublime: the pleasure of the overwhelming. Together with Julian Leeser MP, he founded Uphold & Recognise, a non-profit organisation committed to the twin imperatives of upholding the Australian Constitution and recognising Indigenous Australians in the Constitution.
01:47:15
May 12, 2021
Modern Liberalism: A Conversation with Tim Wilson MP
This week, Jonathan talks to Federal Liberal Member for Goldstein Tim Wilson. They discuss modern liberalism, conservatism, the same-sex marriage plebiscite, religious freedom and more. Tim was elected to the federal parliament in 2016. He was formerly Australia’s Human Rights Commissioner and a policy director at the Institute of Public Affairs. He has also run his own business and served on major boards, including Monash University and Alfred Health.  He is the author of The New Social Contract: Renewing the Liberal Vision for Australia.
31:05
May 2, 2021
Evangelical Christianity in a Progressive World: A Conversation with Dr Michael Bird
This weak Jonathan enters the "birdcage" to discuss the fate and fortunes of Evangelicalism in a woke world with Michael Bird. They explore the contemporary meaning(s) of the term "Evangelicalism," the politicisation and fragmentation of the Evangelical theological tradition and its place in a secular and hostile social context. Sidebars are aplenty in this rollicking conversation, including on the ABC, Q&A, the ACL, Margaret Court, Israel Folau, Cancel Culture, George Orwell's 1984, civic totalitarianism, the modern media, progressive Christianity and the meaning of Conservatism. Dr Michael Bird is Academic Dean and Lecturer in Theology at Ridley College, Melbourne, Australia. Michael has written and edited over thirty books in the fields of Septuagint, Historical Jesus, the Gospels, St Paul, Biblical Theology, and Systematic Theology. His book Evangelical Theology is an attempt to develop a truly gospel-based theology that promotes the advance of the gospel in Christian life and thought. He is the co-editor of the New Covenant Commentary Series, an associate editor for Zondervan’s The Story of God Bible Commentary, and an elected member of the Studiorum Novi Testamenti Societas (the international society of New Testament scholars). Michael also writes a regular newsletter on Substack called "Word from the Bird." Check it out!
02:02:09
April 25, 2021
Cancel Culture and the Fight for Civilisation: A Conversation with the IPA's Bella d'Abrera
This week Jonathan is joined by Bella d'Abrera, Director of the Foundations of Western Civilisation Program at the Institute of Public Affairs, to discuss cancel culture, Western civilisation, history, the humanities and the spiritual battle for the soul of the West. Dr Bella d'Abrera has a BA in History and Spanish from Monash University, an MA in Spanish from the University of St Andrews and a PhD in History from the University of Cambridge. She is the author of a number of academic works and scholarly articles and specialises in education and skills, faith and society and culture, ideas and liberty and Western Civilisation. She appears frequently in the media and is a regular contributor to The Australian, the Daily Telegraph, The Herald Sun and the Spectator Australia.
01:00:32
April 18, 2021
Political Parties: A Conversation with LNP Insider Josh Phillips
In this episode, Jonathan chats to LNP insider Josh Phillips about political parties. They discuss the LNP, the role of political parties in a democracy, their role in policy formulation, popular perceptions and misperceptions about political parties, the existence of "factions" in the LNP and the future of conservatism. Josh Phillips has been an LNP member for seven years. He is currently the acting chair of a policy committee for the LNP in Qld, has previously chaired a branch, has written on AI and the morality of big tech and he runs a consulting business that aims to catalyse human flourishing in the developing world.
01:33:36
April 11, 2021
Media in an Era of Polarisation and Disruption: A Conversation with John Sandeman
This week Jonathan chats to John Sandeman, founder and editor of Eternity. They discuss the origin and aims of Eternity, the responsibilities and challenges of being an editor, the backlash on social media arising from recent opinion pieces published by Eternity, the challenges confronting Christian media, political bias and the future of journalism in an era of polarisation and disruption. 
01:24:28
March 28, 2021
The Scourge of Pornography: A Conversation with Melinda Tankard Reist
How did it come to this: the pornification of our society? Our children and youth now contend with peer sexual assault and sexual harassment at growing rates and disturbingly young ages. This week Jonathan sits down with Melinda Tankard Reist of Collective Shout for a very honest conversation about the widespread sexual dysfunction of our age and its catastrophic consequences for our children.   Melinda is a co-founder and movement director of Collective Shout, a grassroots campaigns movement for a world free of sexploitation in all its forms. Melinda is author/editor of six books including Getting Real: Challenging the Sexualisation of Girls (Spinifex Press, 2009) and Big Porn Inc: Exposing the harms of the global pornography industry (Spinifex Press, 2011, co-edited with Dr Abigail Bray). Melinda has appeared on ABC’s Q&A and The Gruen Sessions and many other TV and radio programs. She is an Ambassador for World Vision Australia, Compassion Australia, Hagar NZ and the youth mentoring body the Raise Foundation. She is also Senior Lecturer in the Centre for Culture and Ethics, Notre Dame University, Sydney.  Melinda's recent article on ABC Religion & Ethics is called "Why “consent” doesn’t stand a chance against porn culture."
57:02
March 21, 2021
Dave Pellowe on the Church and State Summit, the Christian Right, and that photo with the Proud Boys
Dave Pellowe is on the show this week to talk about the Church and State Summit that he founded and which has been the source of recent controversy. Articles in the Sydney Morning Herald and Eternity Magazine depicting Dave as a leading figure in a sinister Christian Right in Australia generated unprecedented debate and contention in the usually staid waters of Australian Christian political discourse. Dave discusses his interesting political journey, the origins, conception, aims and purposes of the Summit, the Christian Right and the controversial photo that recently (re)featured in an Eternity article in which Dave appeared with some Australian Proud Boys, one of whom is alleged to have made a white power symbol with his fingers. The Michael Koziol article in the Sydney Morning Herald is: 'It’s our turn': Inside the Christian Right conference plotting a political takeover. John Sandeman's article in Eternity Magazine is: That "white power" signal resurfaces as Christian conservatives meet. Dave Pellowe's conversation with John Sandeman about John's Eternity article can be viewed here. Dave Pellowe is a writer and commentator, justice and human rights advocate, founder and editor-in-chief of The Good Sauce, founder and convenor of the Church and State Summit and founder of Sanctity of Life Sunday.
01:32:29
March 14, 2021
Christian Citizenship and the Christian Political Vocation: A Conversation with Dan Anderson
This week, Jonathan sits down with Lachlan Macquarie Institute Director, Dan Anderson, to discuss the formation of Christian citizens and political leaders. What is Christian citizenship? What if anything makes it distinct from other conceptions of citizenship in contemporary Western liberal polities? Is politics a legitimate vocation for Christians? How does a political vocation relate to the church's core gospel mission, if at all? Join Jonathan and Dan as they explore these questions and much more.  Dan Anderson the Director (CEO) of the The Lachlan Macquarie Institute (LMI). LMI seeks to train Christian men and women for wise leadership in politics and culture. Prior to LMI, Dan was chaplain to Robert Menzies College (a residential college at Macquarie Uni established by the Anglican church of Sydney) and the pastor of Trinity Chapel (the University church on the RMC Campus). He also served as the Anglican Chaplain to Macquarie University. Dan is completing a PhD at Macquarie University exploring the ethics of forgiveness in political contexts.
01:42:41
March 7, 2021
The Ravi Zacharias Scandal: A Conversation with RZIM insider Richard Shumack
This week, Jonathan sits down with long time friend Richard Shumack to unpick the shocking revelations regarding the sexual misconduct of Ravi Zacharias, one of the biggest global evangelists since Billy Graham. Richard has an association with RZIM going back to 2005. He has worked on several RZIM projects, taught and conducted training on behalf of the organisation and has deep and longstanding friendships with figures throughout the organisation, including in the executive. After discussing Richard's personal experience of RZIM, the way the organisation has handled the allegations against Ravi from the time they first arose to the report released by the Board on 9 February, where culpability lies in relation to the scandal, and what the future portends for RZIM, Jonathan and Richard embark on a wider discussion about Christian leaders behaving badly and what this says about Christianity in the 21st century. The Report of Independent Investigation into Sexual Misconduct of Ravi Zacharias undertaken by Miller & Martin can be found here. The RZIM Board's open letter in response to the Miller & Martin report can be found here.  Dr Richard Shumack is a philosopher of religion who directs the Arthur Jeffery Centre for Islamic Studies at Melbourne School of Theology and pastors Trinity Chapel at Robert Menzies College, Macquarie University. His doctoral research at the University of Melbourne focussed on how people come to have religious beliefs and how they go about establishing their certainty in those beliefs. His publications include a philosophical apologetic entitled The Wisdom of Islam and the Foolishness of Christianity, and the more popular level Jesus through Muslim Eyes. 
01:36:09
February 28, 2021
Feminism: A Conversation with Dr Jacqueline Service
This week Jonathan is joined by Dr Jacqueline Service for a wide-ranging critical look at feminism in the 21st century. Jacqui is Lecturer in Theology and Program Director of Master of Arts at Alphacrucis College, Sydney, Australia. She is currently a Board Member of Micah Australia and a Trustee for the International Anglican Order of the Cross and has been actively involved in church ministries over many years. Alongside these undertakings, she worked as a lawyer in Commercial and Government Legal Practice, and, for over a decade, at the Australian Government’s Agency for International Development (AusAID) managing, reviewing and designing aid programs across the Pacific and South West Asia.
01:43:10
February 21, 2021
The Woke University: A Conversation with Dr Bernard Doherty
In this episode Jonathan is joined by Dr Bernard Doherty for a conversation about the politics of the modern university. To what extent have universities been captured by the left? Are they too woke? Just how left are they? And is there room for conservatives in today's university? The duo discuss this and much more. Dr Bernard Doherty is Course Director, School of Theology, and Lecturer in History and New Religions at Charles Sturt University. His research interests are wide-ranging and include New Religious Movements, Patristics, Australian religious history, Church and State issues, religion and the media.
01:30:60
February 14, 2021
Karl Marx's Conservative Manifesto: "Conservatives, Unite!"
A spectre is haunting the world, the spectre of Conservatism...
13:08
February 7, 2021
Blue Labor and the Politics of Jesus: A Conversation with Centre-Left Theologian Scott Cowdell
In this episode, Jonathan discusses politics with centre-left blue labor colleague and friend the Reverend Canon Professor Scott Cowdell. They debate the centre-left, blue labor, the radical left, the centre-right, the radical right, political theology, the politics of Jesus and contentious policy questions such as same-sex marriage, abortion and refugees. Scott Cowdell is Research Professor at the Charles Sturt University Centre for Public and Contextual Theology and Canon Theologian of the Canberra-Goulburn Anglican Diocese. He was Farnham Maynard Lecturer in Theology at Trinity College, Melbourne, and Principal of St Barnabas' Theological College, Adelaide. He is Founding President of the Australian Girard Seminar. Professor Cowdell is the author of nine books exploring the interface between Christianity and contemporary Western culture, and the co-editor of five. His current research project is on the work of today's premier theorist of violence, culture and religion, René Girard. His most recent books are René Girard and Secular Modernity: Christ, Culture, and Crisis and, also with the University of Notre Dame Press, René Girard and the Nonviolent God.
01:23:22
January 31, 2021
Confessions of a Trumpaholic: A Conversation with Dr Stephen Chavura on the Future of Conservatism
In this bibulous episode, Jonathan sits down with pal and fellow academic Dr Stephen Chavura to nut out their differences over Trump and to pontificate about the future of conservatism.
01:35:57
January 24, 2021
The Rise of China, the Decline of America and the Future of the Global Order: 2020 in Review with Prof. Wayne Hudson
In this episode Jonathan is joined by the inimitable Prof. Wayne Hudson from Charles Sturt University to review the seminal developments of 2020. They cover the civilisational rise of China, the civilisation decline of America, the consequences of both for the global order, the China-Australia relationship (or what's left of it), as well as covid, economics, law, rights, politics and science. 
01:05:32
January 10, 2021
Preliminary reflections on the US Capitol insurrection
Title self-explanatory
28:45
January 7, 2021
Conspiracy Theories
In this episode, Jonathan tackles one of his favourite topics: conspiracy theories. Trump, 9/11, Jeffrey Epstein, the Bay of Pigs, UFOs and flat earth all get a mention in this discussion of how to approach and assess the claims of conspiracy theories, gleaned from Jonathan's experience working as an intelligence analyst and his long love affair with all things conspiracy.
45:39
December 13, 2020
A Conversation with Martyn Iles, Managing Director of the Australian Christian Lobby
A wide-ranging discussion about the ACL, Martyn's role as a high-profile Christian in the public square, evangelisation in the 21st century, the relationship between Christianity and politics, conservatism, difficult and controversial social issues and the state and nature of our contemporary culture.
01:34:40
December 6, 2020
Critical race theory: a critique
In this episode, Jonathan explores the origin, nature and tenets of critical race theory, exposing the theory's intellectual flaws and its dangerous implications.
57:59
November 29, 2020
Special Announcement: Changes at The Political Animals
Special Announcement: Changes at The Political Animals
08:28
November 23, 2020
Russell Kirk on 'The Conservative Mind'
This week, Jonathan and Simon discuss the magnum opus of one of the greatest conservative intellectuals of the 20th century: Russell Kirk's The Conservative Mind. The episode covers Kirk himself, his ideas, and particularly his conception of aristocracy, the spiritual nature of persons and politics, and the importance of tradition and the past. Tune in and join the discussion.
45:37
November 16, 2020
Is this the end of Trumpism?
This week sees Jonathan and Simon tackle the aftermath of a dramatic Presidential election in the United States. Even though he ultimately appears to have lost to Joe Biden, Donald Trump's strong electoral performance raises plenty of challenges for the future of the right across the West. Is this the end of Trumpism? Will we see Trump or a Trumpian candidate as the Republican nomination in 2024? What does a Trump electoral loss mean for the "Never-Trumpers"? And what does Trump's remarkable success in expanding the Republican voter base mean for the future of conservatism in Australia? Tune in to join the lads as range across political a policy questions in light of the 2020 POTUS election.
48:03
November 9, 2020
Can a Christian vote for Trump in good conscience?
Simon and Jonathan tackle the hot topic of Christian support for Trump. In the 2016 US Presidential Election, Trump garnered substantial support from evangelical Christians and church-going Catholics, and looks like he will do the same again in 2020. However, Trump's divisive rhetoric and questionable personal morality is a point of tension for many Christians, and others point to the moral degradation of civic life when someone like Trump is in high office. The lads discuss the spectrum of opinions on the matter and share their own thoughts on thinking through these issues from a Christian perspective. They also raise the impact of political theology on the moral and political reasoning of evangelical Christians.
01:20:25
October 26, 2020
Michael Oakeshott on being conservative
This week, Jonathan and Simon discuss Michael Oakeshott's classic essay, 'On being conservative'. Oakeshott (1901-1990) was one of the foremost thinkers in twentieth century British philosophy and a leading conservative. This essay, published in a collection of Oakeshott's writings entitled Rationalism in Politics, outlines Oakeshott's brand of liberal conservatism. The lads focus in on Oakeshott's description of conservatism as a disposition, his conceptions of innovation and change, and his framing of the conservative view of politics. The episode covers fundamental and important questions about politics, society more broadly, and living as a conservative today.
01:20:45
October 19, 2020
Hayek's Liberal Critique of Conservatism
Jonathan and Simon discuss Friedrich Hayek's famous 1960 essay "Why I Am Not A Conservative". In the essay, Hayek unfolds a critique of the conservative approach to politics from a liberal perspective. By liberal, Hayek means "old Whig" and aligns himself with thinkers in the conservative pantheon like Edmund Burke and Alexis de Tocqueville. And yet he is staunchly critical of conservatives and what he perceives to be their unthinking opposition to any change and progress. Simon and Jonathan respond to some of Hayek's critiques and discuss how they point to certain weaknesses on the conservative right in contemporary politics, exposing the need for a positive statement about what conservatism can offer in today's world.
55:20
October 12, 2020
Libertarianism, Liberalism, and Conservatism: Is Fusionism Dead?
Jonathan and Simon discuss the recent collapse of the right-wing alliance between libertarians and conservatives in the United States, as well the analogies in the Australian scene. Some of the symptoms of this include populist politics, new approaches to economic policy in the Republican Party and, of course, President Trump. What is next for the right in the United States? Will the Republican Party have to reimagine itself in this transition period? Will new alliances form on the Right? Another question we explore is whether the "fusionism" on the Australian right has a similar instability, and how this might affect the Liberal Party. They also discuss Grant Wyeth's recent article at Quillette, "The Failure of Fusionism". Some of the resources mentioned in this episode are linked below: Jonathan Cole, "A Kirkean Critique of Libertarianism", Quadrant 63 (iss. 10, October 2019), pp. 86-88 Simon Kennedy, "Empty Pews", The Spectator Australia, 29 October 2016
01:08:11
October 5, 2020
Trump, Postliberalism and the Future of Conservatism
In this episode, Jonathan and Simon discuss the emergence of a new ideology on the political right - postliberalism. What is it? Where has it come from? What does it mean for the future of conservatism in America? How might it affect the political conversation in Australia? Along with these questions, we look at Gladden Pappin's recent article in American Affairs, "From Conservatism to Postliberalism: The Right after 2020".
01:13:29
September 22, 2020