E11 -

Jason Kuznicki joins us this week. What is the subject matter of history? How was it chosen?

Aaron Ross Powell
Director and Editor
Trevor Burrus
Research Fellow, Constitutional Studies

Jason Kuznicki has facilitated many of the Cato Institute’s international publishing and educational projects. He is editor of Cato Unbound, and his ongoing interests include censorship, church‐​state issues, and civil rights in the context of libertarian political theory. He was an Assistant Editor of Encyclopedia of Libertarianism. Prior to working at the Cato Institute, he served as a Production Manager at the Congressional Research Service. Kuznicki earned a Ph.D. in history from Johns Hopkins University in 2005, where his work was offered both a Fulbright Fellowship and a Chateaubriand Prize.

Jason Kuznicki, a research fellow at the Cato Institute and editor of Cato Unbound, joins Aaron and Trevor to discuss historicism: the idea that historical forces work to determine the ideas and values of individuals, and that as a result, historical trends have a direction or purpose to them.

To understand a person or event in history, you need to look at their historical context. That’s not so crazy all by itself—it’s actually pretty reasonable. But the trouble starts when historicist thinking begins to deny individual agency. Not always—but very often—historicism is at odds with methodological individualism.