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tv   After Words George Will American Happiness and Discontents - The Unruly...  CSPAN  December 31, 2021 9:00am-10:01am EST

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near world war i, into making 70 when the south began to truly change. >> on this episode of booknotes+. booknotes+ is available on the c-span now, or where ever get your podcasts. >> up next on booktv is author interview program "after words"" syndicated columnist george will reflects on what he calls the unruly torrent years between 2008-2020. .. interview program with relevant guest host interviewing top nonfiction authors about their latest work . >> it is such a privilege to sit down with you to talk about your book and really the first thing i want to ask is how do you approach your role as a writer in
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particular a political writer ? >> first thing a political writer but to be aware of is that the public is not big part of most people's lives and it should be part of the life of a healthy society so if i don't write a score of columns, my hundred columns a year on books and another score on culturalmatters i'm not doing my job . politically the country is obsessed with the presidency. it's the presidency and then everything else although they had one of our three branches and one of our many governments his job is outlined inarticle 2 is to take carethat the laws are faithful . >> guest: ichl congress, but we have this swirling presidency that tends to absorb the energy and a lot of the space and ink
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of journalists so that the first task of a political columnist. >> and the thing that i saw as a younger person coming up, political writers to score points rather than make points, but you and maybe it's because you focus on people who don't focus on politics. do you think that people should be observers or advocates. there's a purpose to what you're doing when you sit down? >> they ought to be observers first, they ought to understand what's going on in the country before they make judgments about it and they ought to do what i try to do in each column. bear in mind that the cultural, judicial, legislative, political occasions of the
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column will recede and there's a principle involved, i wouldn't write about it, and i try to find the larger principle, constitutional, legal, moral, and that will remain. and to focus on that. it makes politics more richer and more nourishing. >> i was going through this as a collection and so many, i remember you called bill buckley, the most consequential writer of the 20th century. >> consequential journalist. >> i'm sorry, you would remember your column. >> and others. >> and of course, he had a purpose, you know, with at national review and the things that he was doing and advocating for. why did you call him the most consequential. >> before ronald reagan there was barry goldwater, and before goldwater, the national review and made the goldwater
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nomination possible. and before that, the spark in the mind of a young bill buckley, and won the cold war. >> that's consequential. and bill made conservative ideas accessible and fun. he brought in the land and the joyfulness to the police of political arguments. >> how important is the fun? >> terrific. when barry goldwater i cast my first presidential vote in 1964, and i think he was running for the city of phoenix in 1948, wrote a letter to his brother and said, politics, it might be fun. and it turned out to be pretty much for life and certainly was fun. if it wasn't fun, do something else. >> how do you keep it fun? >> first of all, writing about it is fun. of course, i love to write.
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i'm a compulsive writer. and i write 100 columns a year and always writing books and in the midst. but i happen to like politicsment i like a lot of politicians. i dislike some, i dislike some of their attributes. and i admire the business. we have to have government, we have to have laws and therefore, we have to have argument and the whole culture is the culture of persuasion. and argument is fun. if you don't like argument, you picked the wrong country because we argue about everything where it ought to be. >> there's a big difference between making argument and fighting, which i think a lot of people are tempted to do now, because of social media and things like that. and engagement. how do you always stay focused on the making the argument in a
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fun way because politics, you can get very invested into it and the stakes are very high these days as you well know. so how do you stay detached enough that it's fun and you can have the happy attitude when you sit down at that computer every day? >> well, first, to bear in mind that what seems earth shaking today is not shaking the earth. i recently turned 80 and one of the nice things looking for the second nice thing. but the first nice thing about turning 80 you look back and say what was it that happened in the carter administration that had me so excited? why was i so exorcized about something that gerald ford did? and makes you take a deep breath. >> one of the things that i admire and so many others do about your writing, you have a happy attitude, but you're not afraid to confront very complex
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problems. and as i looked into the book, i noticed you write about american history, a complicated debate unfolding now in conservative circles things like critical race thinking which is not talking about history of lynching, but is muddled and confused. and i remember you talked about a lynching that happened in illinois not far from where president obama announced his campaign. can you talk about why? because, you know, as a conservative growing up in rural michigan, i simply was not taught these things and sometimes it's being exposed to your columns was the first time i even heard it. >> i lived 80 years before learning this year about the tulsa riots. and it was actually the tulsa program, that's what we called it in europe and we should call
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it here. i heard there was unpleasantness in tulsa. and sometimes the disagreeable parts of history. and they're presented by progressives as definitional and typical and it requires a mental equilibrium to confront these things and put them in a contest and why we're having the new york times and the 1619 project and what america's founding it wasn't july 1776 it was 1619 when the first slaves arrived and led to the reframing,s at new york times, of american history so pernicious. the crux of the matter was, according to them, that the american revolution was fought
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to preserve slavery. but it was fought because lord dunsmore had said that blacks who escaped slavery and found on the side of the british side of the american revolution would be emancipated. well, this is just flat-out historically illiterate. i think he said that in november 1775, after lexington and concord. after the stamp act. after the boston tea party. after george washington was made head of the revolutionary army. it just doesn't square. it's illiterate and it's so bad, it's obviously meriticious. >> do you think there's a reason why people want to start the conversation? because there's this-- with american history that people don't know and when maybe someone comes up with the 1619 project that is riddled
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with problems, maybe it's the first time someone's heard it and said we should give it a chance. who is at fault for hiding this part of american history from us, because it did so clearly happen and it isn't taught and why is that? >> i don't think that-- hiding suggests they're doing it on purpose and a lot of people don't know. and the way we teach history, when we teach history, is probably cursory, and the reason we're arguing about it is that it matters. in 1984, said he who controls the past controls the future and he who controls the present controls the past. >>. >> and arguing about the past, we're arguing about the trajectory of the fup. >> i've never considered before when it comes to what do you know about american history and what we don't. another thing you wrote about america's last lynching, you
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made the point that our government did have knowledge and documents about this, but they were classified and you wrote most regulations tell us we cannot do secrecy tell us what we cannot now. and there was a role for government in this in not necessarily making these things public. >> and that formulation comes from the man who is my best friend, pat moynihan, and pat made the point that secrets are government property, and governments tend to horde them and become acquisitive about property, property and secrets. and secrets make us necessarily more unnecessarily ignorant. and this has to do, i believe, with grand jury testimony from 60 or 70 years ago, for pete's sake. what is the point of keeping this secret? >> and so -- eric holder discloses documents and ended saying, when is a cold case
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that should be that's not part of our national memory too cold to learn more about? the correct answer is never. it seems you're arguing we should not shy away from this and do you think that conservatives in particular should take more of an interest in this complex racial history we have, rather than perhaps fighting about crt? because it seems to me that this is a more wealth formulated argument that tells us why we do need to know rather than fighting about what other people have presented. >> i think that conservatives should pay attention to the lynchings, to the, as i said, in tulsa because it gives conservatives to make the truth case about astonishing progress. and the people say that 1619 is everything because it set the course of the country, and things haven't gotten all that
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better and that the illusion that it's better is a sign of systemic racism and all that. and to which i say go to sec football game. mississippi playing alabama and at head referee is an african-american most often, and bossing everybody around and as close to a national religion these days. >> do you think that athletes should be paid. and-- >> it turns into a great deserved affirmation of america to understand how bad things were and how much better they are today. >> and so do you think that that discussion is furthered or hindered when athletes decide to take the knee? >> their business. >> and you don't think that
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the-- >> i think that 95% of what presidents talk about they shouldn't talk about. andrew jackson dies and they have to become mourner in chief. where is that in-- the british separate head of state from head of government and we don't a therefore, the ceremonial around the office of the presidency, and makes it all the more swollen. >> why are we obsessed with presidency, the easiest thing to talk about? >> it's easiest thing to talk about, modern technology helps. first radio, which i think when we get a little more distanced, people will say that radio was actually a more fundamentally revolutional changes than television because radio gave -- was crucial to the nazi party, within of the first thing they did when they got in
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was make radios cheap. everyone could have a radio and radio gave the bully pulpit resonance. when roosevelt, franklin roosevelt sat down to give his first fireside chance, he began with two words that do not appear in the text. they were "my friends", hard to imagine george washington saying my friends, or calvin coolidge, another one of my heroes. >> have to first-- >> and roosevelt understood and he was going to create a new intimacy with the country. well, i don't think we want to be intimate with presidents. >> i'd rather not. >> they are the head of one branch of one of our many governments. >> and who has been the most ideal president in your view? who did it right or at least
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came close to it? because ronald reagan was famous for communicating with the president and look at the ghost of reagan and bring him back. >> and communicating with the public. it is wrong to say that the president should be front and center all the time communicating all the time, when the senator of colorado was making a brief run for the democratic nomination for president in 2020, he tweeted vote for me and you'll get a president you won't have to think about for weeks at a time. i was for him. >> so, do you think, you know, we talked about -- you mentioned the advent of radio and certainly social media has changed the game for all campaigns. >> yes. >> not just the presidency and how they communicate and how have you witnessed that change? because it hasn't only changed how the candidates communicate, but how people receive information and react to it and what the expectation is.
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>> and how they talk to one another. >> yes. >> and abuse one another. >> i've never tweeted, if i had to i wouldn't know how. >> congratulations. to be fair, twice a week, a member of my staff tweets out, what is it 240 characters. >> yes. >> and from my columns, that's it. >> okay. >> and i'm told i have a facebook page. i've never seen it, i'm just not interested to get the point. i've always thought that the quantity of stupidity relative to the size of the population was fairly constant over time. i'm no longer so sure, but it just may be that social media gives such velocity to intemperateness and
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vietuperation, he talks about constitutional law and first amendment in ucla, and a fascinating article out on cheap speech what it's done for us. it used to be to communicate with a lot of people you had to do a radio station, television station or printing presses and all of that stuff. distribution, but now, cheap -- it doesn't describe it. inexpensive beyond measure, it's free. you can-- anyone can say anything to anyone. well, that's so democratic, so-- makes-- >> it seems a natural inclination that this would lead to a net good. however, there's a downside to everything, including this.
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the downside, the much amused mainstream media had gate keepers, they had responsibilities, they had vulnerabilities, to take newspapers, keep the subscribers happy, the advertisers happy, the community, they had a reputation to uphold and therefore, they stood between the public and stark raving mad lunatics with crazy theories and now they can all get up there. so there's a cost to everything. how do you think that plays into the ongoing debate about cancel culture that's happening. as you know on the right side of the aisle there's a raging debate of the role of social media and moderation and what whites should expect they they go on the platforms. and what do you think we
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support freedom of speech, and counter bad speech, and-- >> i'm a section 230 absolutist. a provision in the law that says that the basic facebook or these, these other social media platforms are not publishers, they cannot be sued. they have enabled people to be out there, but they're not liable and i think i'm for that. these are private corporations. they are tremendously important to the public square now days, but they are also not forever. there's such a thing of monopoly fatalism. they're big and therefore forever and unchallengeable. i could exhaust and the hour here with all the unchallengeable monopolies. remember the a & p tea company,
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atlantic and pacific stores. there was one for every 9,000 americans, and when is the last time you heard of one? >> no, i've never been in one. >> and in 2007, the cover of forbes magazine said can anyone challenge the cell phone giant. talking about apple? no, they're talking about nokia. five months before that cover came out the iphone came out, and another unasailable monopoly was about to be asailed and nothing is immortal including the giants. >> and twitter and facebook are being challenged and from the startups like parler and you can come here and say whatever you want and then we have the weird things that happen where president trump is ticked off, with the taliban who put their
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messages on it and it seems we're in this vortex with are no one wants to attempt in i responsibility. and then you see these big giants like mark zuckerberg go to congress and says just go regulate me and please solve this problem for me and it's a nut nobody can crack. >> there's a serious argument that-- i'm not sure i accept it yet, but a quite serious argument that these should be treated as common carriers. if you open your doors, anyone can come through. if you open your doors to the public, let the public in entirely. and now, this has lots of wrinkles like a colorado baker opens his doors, but didn't want to serve some people and lots to argue about again, but basically i'm a-- >> but it's okay to not have your mind made up. >> absolutely. >> we'll turn to a completely different subject, but a lot of
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applicability today and another hard subject that has to do with how you've approached the abortion debate you had a wonderful way of talking about the heartbeat bill in which you called it a wholesome provocation and in attempting to have a debate about viability versus trimester. and i want to explore your thinking behind that and how it was received. >> trimester and viability. and did you think that american constitutional abortion, i think that's a phrase that would have amazed the framers of the. and the gestation of the human were prime number, say 11 or 13, couldn't have trimesters. where did we decide that it the line is divisible by three there should be different constitutional imperatives for
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each of the three segments? it makes no sense whatever. now, people can -- people who say, roe vs wade is atrocity and roe vs wade is a triumph for the human condition. and can all agree, it's a god awful constitutional law. and john hart eli who was pro choice said so. he was a great professor of law i believe at yale. ruth bader ginsburg had their doubt about the way they did it constitutionally, which is why the argument coming up in the mississippi case be argued this fall and decided by next june in the middle of a-- the midterm election, is going to be momentous. >> of course, the focus right now is on the texas law which creates this, i think, odd-- well, what you think, private right of action in order to
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explore this and you know, go after doctors and take it to the court. >> it's called private attorney general laws and i know that some conservatives impatient with making progress against roe vs wade, and not recognizing that patience is required for constitutional government and the rule of law. impatient conservatives say well, good we'll just empower citizens with a bounty of $10,000 to go out and sue people. someone has to say, said to conservative, wait a minute, wait until california says we're going to have a private action against hate speech. we're going to have $10,000 to drag people into court. >> and weapons and on the books. >> exactly. and i'm all for private enterprise, but not for outsourcing this kind of law. >> but it sounds like you do welcome the court hearings in the case? >> absolutely. it's going to change, and
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again, we have to confront the fact that here is what makes us an intractable problem. pro choice people say that one person is involved, the woman. others say there are two individuals involved, we're going to have to argue that again. >> do you think it's an intractable problem? there couldn't be progress made about viable all we know with science post 1973 and how preemie children can survive outside the woman. >> and survive outside the woman and the fact that intrauterine medicine now can do wonders for pre-born children. so, i'm not -- the difference, some people on right to life side says you can't split the difference. from the moment of conception on, there's a distinctly unique creature absent accidents or
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violence of nature is going to be a person. that's not theology, that's high school biology. but if we had abortion laws much more like those in europe, for example, in europe hardly theocracy these days, if we had a limit on abortion of 20 weeks that would be 95% of abortions would still occur, and the temperature would go down. >> you're saying to split the difference and i don't want to put words in your mouth. >> basically i'm splitting differences. >> and of course, to be decided by the court. >> terrified that roe vs wade would be overturned, state legislators a lot of whom say we want to overturn roe vs wade and in their heart of hearts say spare me that. a lot of americans think if you overturn roe vs wade suddenly
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abortion is illegal. not true. all it would is establish the status quo and establish abortion as a subject regulatable by state law and you'd have vast differences. you'd have one abortion regime in louisiana and one in new york, and they'd bear no resemblance to one another. >> i know a lot of people in favor of all of the above, abortion rights, if you want to put it that way, are looking forward to this court fight because they believe it will energize suburban women going into the 2022 election. and this is, another debate, arguments are going to be made on this, but i think it's going to turn into a fight given how emotional this issue is. >> yeah, people are emotional about peanut butter these days. they're emotional about everything and you can imagine what it's going to be like. june 2022. >> that will be the day.
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>> yeah. >> and in the court system-- >> i have a lot of faith in them because i think they're behaving well and i have minimal faith in the other two branches of government at this point. -- exactly. >> my view is that if we're going to have limited government, it depends on the supervision of democracy by the judiciary. congress will not, a, limit itself and it will not stop violating the nondelegation doctrine which the court flinches from enforcing which it should, and john locke said, legislators can make laws, they cannot make other legislators, so the congress ought to stop delegating, essentially legislative powers to executive agencies. such as, to take two, not quite at random. moratorium of centers for
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disease control or osha, occupational health and safety, safety and health administration to impose mandates on private sector employees. >> what do you think-- obviously, the reference of the supreme court overturned the eviction ban which went on for-- far outside of emergency powers and the also could be a judicial question. what do you think are the mo he is important decisions that have impacted american lives in the modern time? you know, i remember john roberts reluctant to overturn obamacare and going to this technicality on the tax mandate. and i find it hard to have a lot of faith in what's coming and that there will be a counter to many things, although, you know judges in the administration and kavanaugh. >> on modern times, depends what you consider modern. brown v board of education
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which gave the court a enormous prestige, and went defense against public people. and not just in the south. it was against the board of education of topeka kansas, this was a northern segregation story and the fact is that courts exist to stand against majorities. and i'll give you my little central illinois, i'm from illinois. >> as a michigander, from the midwest. >> and champaign county courthouse, big stone square courthouse. according to lincoln, travelling within the champaign county courthouse when he learned that steven douglas, an illinois senator had succeeded
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in passing through the senate the kansas-nebraska act. the kansas-nebraska act we're going to solve a problem, a vexing question should slavery be extended into the territory. popular, vote it up, vote it down, moral indifference, whether it's voted up or down, the important thing is to vote because america is about majority rule. lincoln's ascent to greatness began with his recoil against that doctrine. no, american is not about that it's about liberty. courts come in, courts exist to say majority rule is all very well, majority rule should have a broad sweep, but not a limitless sweep and certain things we do not put to a vote. for example, congress shall make no law with freedom of speech. even if everyone wants it, can't do it, sorry. some people call this the counter ma majoritorian, it
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can't be done. >> how much do you read history? >> a lot. counting as reading, recorded books. i get up every morning at 5:20. >> a morning-- >> and by 5:21 i'm listening to an audible book and shave and have breakfast and commute to work, walk to lunch, commute home. two and a half to three hours a day of otherwise wasted time, i'm listening to books most often on history. >> you can tell, of course, by reading, how much, how many facts are just shoved into every sentence. how much time do you think you spend reading as opposed to writing? i imagine it's enormous. >> and what do you do, are you a writer? no, i'm a reader.
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when i'm not reading, i write. henry kissinger once said when you come to washington, you start running down your intellectual capital because you don't have time to replenish it. that's only true if you're henry kissinger. but my friend moynihan who i once rather rudely said in wrote more books than people in the senate read. wasn't so. pat kept writing and producing books, but the trick in life in washington, really, everywhere, but particularly here, is to keep your intellectual capital restocked. >> since this is book tv. which books have been the most? >> oh, gosh. >> recently. any that pop up in recent memory and oh, that gave me that idea-- >> and john seatton. >> okay. >> a very bright man.
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>>en that's a bad combination usually. >> bad combination, but true, he was a very sinewy mind, and a terrible cause. white supremacy. >> and speaking of the bad causes, this column that you wrote in 2018 about visiting the holocaust museum here in washington, another place you can go to learn. it's hard to go there to learn about it, obviously you went and it was called into eternity velma. and it's-- you tell the story. >> you'll have to refresh me. >> i'll probably cry a little bit about a woman taken to the camps. >> oh, yeah. >> and-- >> the holocaust museum, from someone who discovered it far away, photographs and letters
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about a woman, i believe she was from czechoslovakia. >> that's correct. >> was sent to the death camp, not just concentration camp, but a death camp, and it's-- i've written a lot about the holocaust, including the holocaust museum on the tip of manhattan because an italian survivor of auschwitz said, it happened once, it can happen again. end of reason for writing about the holocaust, but nothing is unthinkable, nothing. >> the thing that was-- is also striking about it is that you don't write about it to be sad or scare people, you have to written after-- you include this incredible moving letter, the museum possesses human nature's noblist as well as vilist manifestations received 43 million visitors 90% who are nonjewish and the statistic you
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found to put with the story that makes you say as horrible as this was we're learning about this and then you dug out the good of it, that this is man's noblist virtual in being able to do this and now we're telling about it and sharing and working through it. >> when they first decided to build the holocaust museum next to the mall in washington. >> this is controversial. >> this is controversial, it's not bad people doing this, but what's the point. >> and i wrote a column, the geography and monuments to washington, jefferson and lincoln, is a tribute to the-- to the bright light of american life, the reasonableness of american experience. it is therefore, all the more important na this american nation, itself a product of the enlightenment and the confidence that enlightenment
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thinkers of the late 18th century had, it's important that we have a black sun into which to stare and that's the holocaust museum. it was because of that they the column that i was asked to go with the delegation that went to poland to auschwitz, to the death camps to get artifacts. >> what was that like? >> that was sobering. and i got off the helicopter-- i took my 12-year-old son. and i got off the helicopter in poland-- >> did you ever think about taking your 12-year-old son. >> no, to learn. and he said dad, there's a bone and i said david, sorry-- sorry, it was jeff. i said don't let your imagination run away with you. and the guy said, that was either a man's man's finger or
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a child' rib. the sandy soil of that part of poland just keeps sifting up the remains. >> did your son, did you talk about it with your son quite a bit after? and in personal interest, my children at school take a sixth grade field trip to the holocaust museum and it's something that they need to know about and i think a lot of people have tried talking about this because it's so difficult. >> i went to the holocaust museum in new york and one of their exhibits, in a glass case is a red shoe. a high-heeled shoe that a woman put on when she was taken to the train and i began to say, with are did she think she was going with a red pump? and try and capture the reality of what these people went through is a test. >> yeah and the people who lived in the past didn't know
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they were living in the past and we need to always think about that. >> and that the past is another country. >> yeah. >> and which, you know, the words like authoritarianism and fascism are thrown out a lot with our modern political culture. what do you think about that? do people have an understanding of those words, does it cheapen it, is it necessary? >> they are, and donald trump is not a fascist, it's not complicated enough to be a fascist, fascism had an intellectual pedigree, not that they were-- one had a ph.d., but fascism had a doctrine, had a world view, it had a sort of biological theory of the world that there is strive is
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inherent in races. we don't have that in this country. we have authoritarian temptations, we have autocratic pretences. >> and you come back to the belief that authoritarian impulses in america would be tempered by the courts and what makes you so confident about that? >> because they've behaved well in the past and even when they made mistakes, they corrected them. and they say that the american people are not-- either too squeamish to face their difficult past. i was reassemble on bainbridge island across the sound from seattle. and a sign that said japanese exclusion memorial. it turns out that after
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roosevelt, president franklin roosevelt signed the order to allow the military to uproot japanese, american citizens, half of them women and children, and move them away from the west coast, the first ones to leave were from bainbridge island and bainbridge island we're going to place that fact and talk about it and have a memorial. the supreme court in the decision in 1944 affirmed that use of executive power by franklin roosevelt. 1983, the supreme court repudiated the decision. said we were wrong, in 1988, congress voted reparations for this injury. americans are good at this. your question was about the courts. must say uncertain, but the courts have a very good record
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on protecting speech. not so good on protecting the constitutional eek lib -- equilibrium between the branches. >> a scale history in order to give us some perspective because people have been so worried about what happened particularly on january 6th when you saw a violent mob deliberately seek out to interrupt the peaceful transfer of power. there's court cases winding through for those individuals. i'm not sure that court can solve because of the intractable problem. >> the court shouldn't solve problem. the court should apply the law and hold the law up against the constitution. a very short walk from where we're sitting is the base of capitol hill. they've now put up fences
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again, they put up fences-- >> you don't think it's necessary? >> i don't think it's necessary. it makes it look like a banana republic with the edge of town. the police can surely control a crowd. if not, get better police. the idea that we have to take the united states capitol, the greatest secular building in daily use in the world and the very symbol at the epicenter of american democracy and protect it from whom? from a rabble? no. >> what do you make of the lafayette square incident that happened in january of 2020 where the president cleared the square to walk through, i mean, different types of problems, but there is, and especially in d.c. in 9/11 to put up the walls and barrier and everyone
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opportunity. >> well, the president used lafayette square as a prop with the bible he held upsidedown, and at st. john's church across from the white house. and brought with him milley who felt ill-used and shouldn't have been put in that position. and don't get me back on presidents. but the politics that is degrading politics. the summit today is almost entirely performative. gestures. courts are different, they have to decide and give reasons, they have to write opinions and concurrents and dissent.
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and philosophy in this country, if you say, gee, we don't have locke's second treatise on government and we don't have-- i say, a, we do, because the federalist papers ranks with nem because b, we do constitutional lawyers and constitutional argument is constantly political philosophy about the nature of freedom, freedom as opposed to and as intentioned with equality. we do it all the time. >> so you'd be against it in the cameras in the supreme court? >> i'm not so sure. we've seen recently that cameras do know the-- i want to put this politely. >> do not bring out the best in congressional committees. i do think that that the justices would behave. >> i'd be consent if they made the transcripts available in a more timely fashion. and you mentioned you went with
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your son and now taking you many places. and what is the most memorable trip? >> the trip to israel was really good. everybody had to go and see small it was. >> never been. >> and you could drive across in 30 minutes and tanks could get across in 30 minutes. i think that's probably the most memorable. and then to go to the soviet union, what struck me, it's interesting. something is weird about this place. absence of advertising. >> really? >> yeah. oscar wilde when he saw times square, said it would be beautiful if you couldn't read. and you look and, but there's no advertising because there's no private appetites. you aren't supposed to be consumers, you're not supposed to be persuading people. and advertising, give me a coke sign and bud light and all of
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that stuff. >> and in the interest of persuading people in some respects. [laughter]. what do you think persuades the most and you maybe changed minds in ways that surprised you? >> i tell you one that didn't. >> okay. >> i'm approaching 6,000 columns, and in this book that maybe stirred more people to anger, well, it's my-- against denim. and gave me a chance to illustrate how i think i can-- you can illustrate large things from small things. i just got tired. you go down to the airport concourse and there's a father in his late 30's and his 10-year-old son and they're dressed exactly alike. running shoes, blue jeans, t-shirt. and mom is wearing blue jeans.
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and i say, there was a time when different dress signaled different stages of life. that we crew up. now, what's this got to do with larger things? this. somewhere in the last 20 or 30 years the non-parent became a verb. >> i believe that is actually. >> and parenting is important. and this includes the belief in parental perfectionism, that if you do it right, it's like calculus. >> do you think that's a new thing? >> i do think, yes. >> [inaudible] >> to go back. and the last 10 years, like i would open the back door, one summer day and maybe come back for lunch, probably for dinner, but they didn't care, it's now
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called free range parenting and it was called being a kid back in those days and you were free to fail, coping with failure, growing up, coping with failure. today, helicopter parents hovering over their children, their bubble wrapped children, protected from injury, not just to their little shins and knees and elbows, but injury to their psyches. and we wound up being risk averse, and guess what happens when they go to college? they say, direct me to a safe space. i want freedom from speech. and i want the response team to run around and capture the microaggressors. that's where these brittle young people on campuses come from. they come from parents who didn't let them go out and skin their knees. >> you obviously have a great interest in academia, but why
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should we care so much what happens on college campuses? isn't it brimming were ideas. >> what happens on campus doesn't stay on campus, it leaks out into the larger culture and what it happening to campuses matters very much. it took 800 years of passage through political thickets to evolve great universities that are greatest ornaments of western civilization. and you can kick that away in a generation or two. we're doing that now. we're in the name of diversity, really, in the name of diversity we're seeing enforced conformity. >> how so? how do you see that? >> we have young people who attest that they're reluctant to speak their minds on college campuses. we have speech codes that are being struck down in many cases, but they still
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proliferate. we have speech zones. james madison turned the united states, turned the northern american continent into a free speech zone, remember, don't want to pick on texas tech. but at one point texas tech had a gazebo. 20,000 students in a gazebo is the free speech zone. can't make it up. you know that a university once trigger warnings on trigger warnings. and the first trigger warning, the word warning makes people unhappy and sad and nervous and triggers, you know what they make people think of. >> what should be done? and i talked to some college students and they have come to me with the fear of being canceled. if i have an idea or write the wrong thing, and i post it on facebook or somebody some day it could come back to bite me. i could lose a scholarship. so there's a thing that's happening that people are
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afraid to speak and i don't know, i don't have the right advice for them. >> speak anyway. friends are friends and fight back. write a check to fire, foundation for individual rights and education. and green light for good, amber light to problematic. >> and there are college-- and fire sports rights. >> who is do it right? >> which colleges? universities. >> programs or colleges. >> i'll give you two, university of chicago with the statement that a number of universities have adopted. as usual, purdue university under mitch daniels. the president we should have had. >> and the-- >> a great president of purdue university has made this
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absolutely clear, free speech. madison is in tear-- terra haute or west lafayette, wherever it is. >> and people are asking you to write thing, and one side of that from the office once upon a time. how do you choose when you have all of this incoming information? i mean, obviously the history is a wonderful resource, picking the most important thing to write every day, there are so many choices. >> and that's-- that's usual for you to say. most people say gee, how do you come up with things to write about? that's the most commonly asked question of a columnist and that's the question, i when i began asked my friend bill buckley, how do you come up with things to write about? the world irritates me three
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times a week. the world is littered with things to write about. it was said of napoleon he could not look at a landscape without seeing a battlefield. if you're a columnist you ought to be able to-- you can't look at the world without seeing column topics, they come at you. >> what do you think is the difference between writing about politics, and speaking about it? because people recognize you obviously all the time, but there are completely different things, some of those, that are so closely related. >> well, writing is demanding, and writing columns is particularly so because they're short. i'm here strictly to 750 word limit which means you have to be concise and you have to be elliptical and you have to intimate certain things and you have to assume certain things. most americans don't read newspapers and the majority of
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-- the minority who did read newspapers don't read columns. that's a good thing if you're a columnist and here is why. it means you've got a self-selected audience that's definitionally upscale, and they're people who come to the option of reading a column because they're interested. and they're interested because they've got a stock of knowledge and it's a great audience. you don't have to talk down to them, you shouldn't have to talk down to them because they came to you knowing what they're going to get. >> yeah, well, i have a question because i know listeners are so interested in other things to read. i've asked you about history, what are the other columnists you read to keep your mind active and what do you-- i don't know if you watch much television, what else is going into the mind of george will on a daily basis? >> most of it's reading. chuck blanes, a wonderful
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columnist, and ruth marcus, colleagues at "the washington post," holman jenkins, baker, others in the wall street journal. there's an awful lot of talented writing out there. i read the aggregator, real clear politics, real clear world, real clear conspiracy, tremendous amount of good writing today. that's great. thank you, this has been a pleasure and i hope everyone gets the book at their book stores. thank you so much. >> thank you, i enjoyed it. after word is available as a podcast, to listen, visit or search c-span after words on your podcast app and watch this and all previous after word
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interviews at book just click the after words button near the to top of the page. >> sunday, on in depth, historian joins us live to talk about the intellectual history of the united states, the civil war and the reconstruction era with book titles redeeming the great emancipator, gettysburg, and a biography of the confederate general in the civil war. at noon even in depth on book tv and before the program visit c-span during a recent virtual event hosted by the commonwealth club of california, miami herald
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journalist julie brown discussed jeff epstein story. >> he was a guy that really didn't tie his own shoe laces. he had, you know, he had somebody to do everything for him and so, these people that were part of his, you know, his life or this system that he had built involved everyone from the butler that opened the door where the girls were, to a chef in the kitchen who made them snacks, to the women, of course, he had other young women who arranged his schedule to, you know, the house keepers who cleaned up after him, you know, these incidents and the pilots who flew the jets, you know, where he had two private planes. the driver, he had drivers. you know, that picked up the
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girls. so this is a whole eco system around him. >> to watch the rest this have program visit book and look for the search box julie k. brown or the title of her book "perversion of justice", after words interview top authors about their work. ... . he's interviewed by bloomberg school of public health epidemiologist doctor emily gu. i'm so happy to be talking with you today. >> guest: the pleasure of mine, thank you very much. >> host: obviously, the themes in your book are very relevant for what we're going through today in


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