Ascending the Tower – Episode 0: “We Call It ‘The Media'”

Brought to you by Surviving Babel and Nick B. Steves, Ascending the Tower is a podcast distributed by Social Matter and represents the latest project of the Hestia Society. Please leave feedback in the comments, and if you’d like to get in touch with Surviving Babel, you can find him at:

Stay tuned for future episodes.

0:00 Introduction
1:10 Rolling Stone coverage of the UVA rape case
16:30 The reach of the media
18:30 #Shirtstorm and casual misogyny
27:00 The biggest problem with the Right


If you are interested in sponsoring Ascending the Tower, e-mail me at Surviving Babel at gmail dot com. Sponsorships start at $10 an episode, and all proceeds will either go back into the podcast or provide some compensation for your most grateful host. You can purchase a mention or short message, or you can choose to sponsor the Out of Left Field question or even an entire episode.

Subscribe to

Ascending the Tower

Or subscribe with your favorite app by using the address below

Liked it? Take a second to support Social Matter on Patreon!
View All


  1. I’ve just listened to this and I to say that it sounds excellent, very nicely done, especially for a first episode.

    Please get it into the iTunes store or supply some kind of feed so your listeners can subscribe.

    I’m very happy that you made clear your intent to pursue a “big tent” or “no enemies to the right” approach: besides being a reactionary and a monarchist, I’m also a Jew, and don’t see any reason why these things should be in conflict.

    1. Another reactionary jew here as well! I also see no reason why these things need to conflict – considering the striking similarities of reactionary thought and Orthodox Judaism especially in the Kahanist vein (anti-democracy, anti-Hellenism). Would be a topic worth discussing.

  2. Quality throughout. I especially liked the note the discussion section ended on. You’re right that the left really believes in its bones that all “power structures” arise through exploitation and propagate oppression. In many ways that’s the core critique of contemporary progressivism and the different schools really only vary on how they describe the power structures.

    I’ve always thought that an analogy to evolution, broadly speaking, would be a powerful counter-model to set against that critique. The power structures that stick around, in other words, stick around because they are successful in some sense or robust. Not because they are benefiting some “privileged group” (which of course begs the question of how they got that privilege in the first place… Help us, Jared Diamond!). But I’m still waiting for the whole thing to crystallize in my head.

    1. Yeah, John. I guess it goes by the name Cultural Marxism or Critical Theory. What is very hard to believe is that the idea is so pervasive and powerful, while simultaneously being almost never true. It is a vision of the world that is almost always perfectly false. And this is what motivates Cathedral Storytelling (news coverage, TV, movies, univ social sci survey classes, etc.): keep pointing everyone’s eyes at the relatively rare cases that we can dig up of exploitation of and within natural hierarchies, and never let the people notice that in 99% of cases, they work perfectly to everyone’s advantage. There ARE structural (e.g., natural) power imbalances. And virtually all of the time, this works out supremely well for everyone. But we’re conditioned to think, “B-b-but that’s UNFAIR!!!”

  3. I really like the format, it reminds me of panel shows I used to enjoy in the 80’s, calm and listenable, before everything went frenetic and modern. Liked the music, liked the poetry reading at the end. Anything that can promote the creation of art in the community.

    “Surviving Babel,” consider getting a microphone that can isolate your voice and not pick up echos from the room.

    Try to be better prepared with details if you’re going to bring something up in conversation, for instance the writer you were thinking of was Menachem Z. Rosensaft, you probably saw this graphic:

    Verdict according to me: strong start, looking forward to more.

  4. I’m not sure what extent I agree with your analysis of the campus rape controversy (I’m in the UK and I must admit that it’s kinda passed me by…): however you do hit the nail on the head regarding the liberal attitude towards power-relationships and hierarchy. One of the most fundamental political-philosophical problems is that of ordering power-relationships for the benefit of the whole, and decrying all notion of authority (whilst secretly coveting said authority) as ‘exploitative’ is simplistic and obfuscating.

  5. I really enjoyed the podcast, and I hate podcasts (I find listening to things to be agonizingly slow — the same reason I can’t stand television news) (well lots of other reasons too for that).

    Still, it was a very interesting discussion. Have you considered providing a transcript via some speech-to-text program? I’d rather read the thing than listen, but hey that’s just me!

    Side note: I don’t want to be pedantic, but both you guys should watch how often you say “you know.” It’s a hard habit to break, but it does detract from an otherwise excellent discussion.

  6. Excellent podcast. I will be tuning in to hear more. The social spectacle is an interesting one. While it’s ear-grabbing, I look forward to the day that talks such as these can be put in a museum somewhere for people to gawk at. No matter how many times you tell us you aren’t in it for the power, power will always be the foundation of the spectacle we take part in. And it is only technology and knowledge and heart that will free us from it. There will be a time when man and woman are fully independent from any power structure other than their own, when they can feed each other with minimal effort, can construct and fortify their homes with ease, and can manufacture their own goods in a system outside the one that exists today. I look forward to the advancement of complete autonomy we are blindly marching towards. So continue on, for now, I am in your corner.

    “You never change things by fighting the existing reality.
    To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.””

  7. Best line: “A little right curious” LOL.

Comments are closed.