Progress in Eastern Europe, with Prof. Matthew Slaboch

Jakub Ferencik
5 min readFeb 20

This week, I had the great pleasure of being joined on my podcast, “Loosely Eastern Europe” with Prof. Matthew Slaboch from the School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership at Arizona State University and author of A Road to Nowhere: The Idea of Progress and Its Critics.

We talk about the human tendency to view society as a trend toward betterment and whether the same can be said about political progress.

Then we address the appeal of authoritarianism in post-communist countries and if populist nationalism and progress are connected.

Finally, we look at civil society and point toward new elections in the region as signs toward future candidates who promote and embody democratic norms. I hope you enjoy our conversation as much as I did.

Links to our conversation:

On Spotify: “Progress & Eastern Europe

On SoundCloud: “Progress & Eastern Europe

Photo by Christian Lue on Unsplash

And if you want further reasons to listen to the conversation, here is an overview of some of the questions I asked Prof. Slaboch.


Professor Matthew Slaboch is an assistant professor in the School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership at Arizona State University.

Prof. Slaboch’s previous academic appointments include a postdoctoral research fellowship at the James Madison Program in the Department of Politics at Princeton University and a visiting appointment at Denison University.

In this episode, we talk about some philosophy, but we make it very digestible, mainly because I am not a philosopher (I was a minor in philosophy in my undergrad, so I can reference some names here and there, but the concepts become foggier and foggier as the time passes) and so I would get lost in the weeds of some of these topics, so don’t fret listener — I won’t ask philosophically heavy questions.

Professor Slaboch’s research interests overlap with mine, including the study of Comparative Politics: East and West European Politics; Nationalism; Religion and Politics, Political Philosophy: The History of Political Thought; Nationalism; and Modern Ideologies.

Jakub Ferencik

Author of “Up in the Air” & “Beyond Reason” available on AMAZON | MA McGill Uni | Research assistant for EUROPEUM Prague | 700+ blog posts with 1+ mil. views