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tv   [untitled]    August 3, 2016 10:59pm-11:05pm EDT

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interesting question, and i don't know how to answer it. i think his addition to the electorate is very healthy. he's bringing up and forcing conversations on things like inequality that people would much rather talk about undocumented immigrants. in crazy terms, than equality. i don't know if bernie sanders will ever get nominated or elected, but another interesting thing about it is he has the -- he's brave enough to call himself openly a democratic socialist. it does show in some ways the poverty of our political imagination, that that's sort of a deal breaker for people, without even understanding what that actually means. americans have long decided socialism is an unadulterated evil and that it's un-american, and yet throughout our history, we have embraced many aspects of socialism that we would not want to live without.
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so, i don't know. i'm following bernie sanders with great interest, i'll put it that way. >> near the beginning, you made the comment about history not repeating, but perhaps rhyming. i was curious, most of your conclusions were about similarities between this period and the gilded age. could you talk a little bit about perhaps what you see as differences between the gilded age and this period? >> well, let's see. horses. lots of things. i'm just thinking of, you know, what it was like to live in new york in the 1870s and 1880s. they are very different eras. there are some things that are utterly and completely different. technology. the way we communicate. the way our politics and our recreation, our politics and everything is so fundamentally different from what was taking place in the 19th century. in the late 19th century, if you wanted to communicate, you published something in a newspaper or a magazine.
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or you gave a public lecture. and that was really it. whereas now, it's so fragmented. i don't even know how to -- to me, i would say born in 1963, so i remember typewriters and rotary phones. i've got one foot firmly planted in that world. yet i have an iphone and i use social media and i use computer technology all the time. so i would say that that is one of the great differences. and what it means, i don't know. but it is one of the great differences. some people look at that and say that's where the great reform is going to take place. this kind of grass roots reform movement that can be done through people's iphones and social media. it's how we're going to get people to the polls. that's how we're going to shake things up to get politics out of the clutches of the hands out big business. i don't know. on the other hand, people say the other way of looking at it is people are just too busy looking at their screens, playing games and cat videos that they're not paying attention. they're upset, they're angry, but they're not paying
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attention. so i would say that that's probably the biggest difference. i mean, clearly there are lots. our economy is quite different and our position in the world is quite different. our military is, you know, up until -- students are always fascinated to learn this. i say one of the things in the constitution and the founders were in absolute agreement on, is that no military, bare bones military. couple thousand people. that's it. because if you had a standing army, a military, that's how tyranny occurs and that's how democracies are done in. that's what history tells us. that was our rule. you had five ways to go to war as a society in the united states. five steps. first, declare war. second step is say oh, my gosh, we don't have a military. third step, build a military. fourth step, win the war. fifth step, dismantle the military, until the next war comes along. it's only after world war ii, which we dismantled our military and immediately built it back and immediately built it back up starting in 1950 starting with the cold war. that's another thing, when you
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look at where our resources go, and how we talk about that. that's another massive difference between then and now. >> in his writings on inequality during the gilded age, did george discuss the end of reconstruction and the disenfranchisement of african-americans? >> yes, he did. george didn't have a lot to say about racial equality, although he spoke in racial equality terms. when he talked about reconstruction, he basically talked about it in only one way. which is you want to see the evidence and why land is so important. giving people freedom, back to this point earlier, citizenship requires material well-being. there's an economic dimension to it. so when enslaved people are granted their freedom and no land, guess what happens? they're going to be put into complete subordination, complete powerlessness for a long, long
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time. and, so, that's what we spoke of. he spoke of these, a textbook example right under our nose about this very thing. that was the primary thing that he spoke about. >> did henry george in any of his books address the role of warfare or war in the political economy of the united states? >> well, i think -- that's a good question. i need to think on that a little bit. i mean, i think george -- if i recall, he talks about warfare as being, you know, one of the options of an un-democratic government. what do governments do to avoid dealing with social problems? they declare war. and there are probably few other places where he talks about warfare. but i think i just in some ways anticipated that, because in 1879 when he writes his book,


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