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tv   Book TV  CSPAN  May 1, 2010 4:30pm-5:00pm EDT

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calls. the program is 30 minutes. >> lots of people floating around. 130,000 are expected here today and tomorrow. live coverage has not ended. we are live with charles kessler, editor of the claremont review of books sponsored by claremont mckenna college. what is the review of books? >> i teach at the climate review books which is a publication of the local think-tank which is the claremont institute for the study of statesmanship and political philosophy which just turned 30 years old this year. it is an unusual think-tank. it takes a conservative view of
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the world but one heavily informed by abraham lincoln and american founding. as a result of that is conservatism looks different when it is not pursuing the traditional or economic liberty at the highest end of human endeavor. we are in favor of limited government and the great ideas of the west and our book reviewer is an intellectual one after political, philosophical subjects, religious and historical subjects, it takes a high tone towards ideas and politics. >> how far are the campuses from where we are? >> 35 miles. basically the last city going east in los angeles county. as soon as you pass through
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claremont you arrive at san bernardino county. >> we have the american enterprise institute, somebody we know quite well in washington d.c.. this is what you write. this is what he writes. he writes conservative intellectuals in particular are in eclipse at the moment. the leading figures on the right tend to be the media celebrities of talk radio and cable tv and make up in decibels what they lack in rigor and depth. we have created bill buckley for glen beck, irvin crystal for and coulter. >> there's a lot of truth to that diagnosis. conservatism has always been an elite intellectual movement, and popular movement.
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it became popular beginning in the 1916s with the election of ronald reagan and the aftermath of that. bill buckley himself was famous for saying he would rather be gathered by the first two hundred thousand names in the boston telephone directories and the faculty of harvard university. that was not on his part and undiscriminating populism. in those circumstances in the 1950s and 60s and still true today there is more common sense and more good sense in the people than there are in the intellectual elites or academic version of the intellectual elite. >> if you would like to dialing you can. 202-585-3885. if you live in the east central time zones, 585-3886. if you live in the mountains or pacific time zone. go ahead and dial in.
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you have a flavor of what professor kessler talks about. it is about patrick's book the conservative ideas and personalities through all-american history. that book has the virtue of treating conservatism as an american phenomenon rather than a transplant or derivation of european flawed. >> guest: conservatism has been confused for most of its life in america because it was never quite sure what it was for. in new what it was against. was a bit against liberalism and big government and soviet union and communist imperialism, but
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not so confident -- some conservatives thought of themselves as traditionalists. they thought the world ended with the french revolution and we were in the after times ever since. libertarian conservatives to state and government as such to some extent. but it seems to me and to -- if you really want to understand where it came from you have to look at american things. conservatism is reacting to the intellectual and political forces that progressivism unleashed at the turn of the last century. the peculiar domestic sources of american liberalism lie in the thought of woodrow wilson and herbert crowley and john dewey and that generation. the left has been living off of those ideas for 100 years.
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>> what is your favorite conservative book? >> guest: that is a tough one. i knew bill buckley for 30 years. it is not unexpected that i favorite conservative book would have been written bah bill buckley. two of his books--one of his last books called miles gone by, is unknown assortment of autobiographical writing and the other is a book of his best speeches called let us talk of many things and those are excellent introductions to the history of conservatism and the mind of a very special and gifted and brilliant -- my old
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friend bill buckley. >> host: to glen beck and and colder and sarah palin, are they important to the conservative movement? >> guest: they are important as popularizer of conservative ideas. media celebrities today get something of a bum rap because many of them, the best of them are quite thoughtful. if you look at rush limbaugh or even increasingly glen beck, these are people who are not winging it. these are people who are taking ideas very seriously, reading conservative books and criticism and have a gift for taking the ideas of intellectuals and retailing them. along the way they have to bumped them up a bit and entertain their millions of listeners but i think on pole that is a bargain that
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conservatives should be happy with. popularizing a thought is not a substitute for generating research and philosophical scrutiny about politics and there is something to the criticism that conservative books have not been as profound as they were from the 1940s. i am not a pessimist that great conservative books lie behind us entirely. >> host: have they been selling more since the obama administration? >> guest: of course. the obama administration has been a great boon to conservatism but not the country. there are all kinds of people on
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the right examining obama. i am writing a book on obama and the history of modern liberalism. there are lots busy on the subject of obama and why not? conservatives made the mistake of letting down their guard and persuading themselves that liberalism was a spent force or at least the radicalism had gone out of liberalism. even bill clinton eventually came around to this view when he announced the era of big government was over triangulating his way to reelection. part of obama's genius was
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recognizing liberalism was not a spent force and could be revived with the right kind of magical incantations which he has certainly done and conservatives were really caught flatfooted. >> host: senior fellow at the claremont institute, co-editor with william f. buckley on keeping the tablets and two years ago hosted and afterwards for booktv where he interviewed christopher buckley. first call for him is from norton, virginia. >> good afternoon. i am one of those evil liberals. i want to issue a challenge to you and all of your viewers since you mentioned the founding fathers. george washington's overdue library books at the new york
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public library. donations made at 127 east 50 eighth street, new york, 10002. that is number 27 east 50 eighth street in new york. this idea of public libraries and the u.s. mail. >> host: any reaction? >> guest: that should be paid and we should contribute to paying off our founding fathers's library fines but on the other an end they should cut him a little slack. he did a great deal of good for the country and find those books and return them to the library instead of forcing him to pay his fine. >> host: arizona, good nose for
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you. sounds like they are gone. let's go to the other coast to washington d.c.. good afternoon. >> caller: i have a question about glen beck's comment on social justice that caused a firestorm in the religious community. i wondered if you would like to comment on that controversy that is going on. >> host: what did he say? >> caller: people who go to churches for economic justice is used should leave them where they preach social justice because they are code words for communism and socialism. >> host: thank you. >> guest: the term social justice is perceptible to many different meanings. it is true that it is a term that comes out of the social
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gospel movement, there is also a catholic, social justice teaching as well. it is an exaggeration to say that any thinking along the lines of social justice is already automatically a stalking horse for left or liberal fox. on that question i would >> host: as we get deeper into the digital age, the claremont review of books will still be published? >> guest: eventually it will be on kendall and other electronic forums as well but for us at part of the attraction on paper is it is an anti blog. it stands for books, serious
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consideration of books and personal appreciation of the history of the book, history of geniuses utilize teach us and also we are very fond of the arts of the magazine. our magazine is illustrated by one brilliant illustrator from new york city, in a sort of 18th-century or early nineteenth century sort of style which is deliberately in neoclassical and meant to remind us of our ancestors of the newspaper and all it has meant out of the literary review, the culture of america and the west.
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>> host: who was angelo? >> guest: an analyst who bought until his retirement, almost to be generous, a critic of the bush administration's foreign policy from the right. >> host: next call from fort myers, florida. >> caller: first-time caller. abortion is an issue in the conservative movement. how does that come about? when was that coopted and brought in to the movement? and a catholic myself and maybe you are. i went to prep school and went to high school in 1973. i don't remember hearing a word
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about abortion then. then there were bus trips to washington and everything else having to do with abortion. when did that become part of the conservative ideology or is it? >> guest: it was the supreme court who made abortion into a national issue. before that in 1973 it was essentially a face the issue and many conservatives cautioned in the 1960s that conservatives should not run headlong into a moral crusade against abortion but the supreme court eliminated the state by state politics when it was nationalized through that decision. and the religious right sprang up almost immediately after that decision.
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it had been repaired by a series of supreme court decisions in the 1960s which had expelled prayer from public schools, liberated obscenity and pornography in the nation's me and had offended religious conservatives. but the final straw was the abortion decision. >> host: is abortions central to conservative fought? >> guest: the issue of abortion is a central part of conservative politics. it is not purely the center of conservative politics. is important because the principles it implicates the personal the right to life, the right to liberty, the right to the pursuit of happiness are central to the core of america's moral self definition and the
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defense of american tradition and american public philosophy. different conservatives, the difference in the conservative movement about abortion and some members on the more libertarian side to take a different view. they support roe v wade or something like it. they are a minority of the conservative movement at this point and even libertarians have a significant number of critics of abortion in their ranks. >> host: when you think of ucla, what do you think of and is claremont mckenna and conservative? >> guest: that was founded recently in part as a place where the list of the new deal
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could be questioned. it was not overwhelmingly conservative but there were a number of conservatives in the government faculty and ever since then, prided itself on a balance tool in which you have liberal professors and conservative, our student body's opinions probably parallel those of the country pretty closely. we have always had maybe one in five professors who are conservative and that is enough to make them unique among large colleges in the country. we don't have any problems with political correctness probably because there is a critical mass of conservatives who would not
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be -- the paradox political opinion. the culture of the campus was to the right of ucla's political leanings while still being essentially a moderate rather than conservative. >> host: didn't barack obama start there? >> guest: he started in accidental which is a liberal arts college just down the road right beside pasadena. >> host: los angeles, thanks for holding on. >> was compassionate conservative, that term coined by the liberals as an attempt to control the conservative party? they used that term to influence the conservative party into the
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direction of liberalism? >> guest: the short answer is no. the term was coined -- it was in a book by an engineer, the founder of jacobs engineering, used in a book to describe by himself an autobiography called a compassionate conservative but it was george bush who took that term which was in the air, turned it into the creed of his campaign in 2000. i don't think myself that it is a terribly coherent idea. it was an attempt to combine the left favorite adjective and the
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right favorite noun. really to a genuine school of thought in conservatism. it was more a political gimmick than anything else. not that they are not compassionate but simply that compassion strictly speaking is not a virtue. it is a form of feeling or having sympathy with others but doesn't answer the most important questions which are weather -- why others deserve your sympathy or to what extent others deserve your sympathy. you can make a distinction between an innocent man suffering and someone who is a mass murderer suffering a punishment by the law. one shouldn't feel compassion equally in those cases if at all in the second case. in particular it was a mistake to believe compassion would be--should be a passion that
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moves the government itself. george bush famously said when people are suffering government has to move. that i think is too in discriminant. the purpose of government is to do justice more than to rent her compassion to people. in many beautiful speeches denouncing slavery abraham lincoln doesn't dwell on compassion or the suffering of the slaves perce. he is aware of it of course but he drills on the injustice of slavery because that is the virtue government is concerned with. rectifying injustice to the extent possible. >> host: you have a review of sally pipes's new book. the antidote to obamacare. >> guest: it is a brilliant indictment of obamacare shortly
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to be followed by the top ten myths of obamacare which we will be issuing later this year or next year but the full disclosure, sally pike is wife. [talking over each other] >> i am recognizing what is truly there. >> host: philadelphia. >> caller: hello. how are you? >> host: 18 thank you. >> caller: i have discussions with people who admit they are conservatives and i yet have had once to had met segregation for example was a conservative philosophy rooted in property rights and rights of free
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association and the government's need to enforce those rights and attitudes. would you be able to admit or define where segregation fit in the conservative philosophy? >> guest: i think segregation is the opposite of the conservative philosophy. segregation historically was an invention of southern democrats who were sore losers in the civil war and wanted to repress and suppress blacks in the legitimate exercise of their new found constitutional rights and their inherent natural rights. they couldn't reinstitute slavery but could do the next
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best thing which was jim rowe and the regime of segregation. saying segregation is done in the name of property rights, there is a little true to that but it is a partial truth. every human being has a right to his own property and his own freedom as part of his property, his own individual identity. slavery was even more so a suppression of the right of property on the right of black human beings. it is true that in the late 50s and 60s that you did find conservative politicians and conservative spirits not exactly supporting segregation because very few did that but objecting to the attempt by the supreme
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court in brown and subsequent attempts by the civil-rights act to remedy segregation on the grounds that it was a state's rights issue which would require something like a constitutional amendment to remedy. by and large conservatism and certainly in its principal, it ought to be opposed to something like segregation. >> host: have you been following the controversy at the hastings school of law about the christian group that wanted to form a campus association but they are not allowed to they are not being allowed to at this point? >> sounds like a provocation that there are other examples
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of. i am not familiar with details of the hastings case. >> host: our guest is the editor of the claremont review of books, charles kessler. >> guest: they should go to www.claremont.org, they can subscribe through this and see the samples, on the archives of every issue, samples from the current issue. >> host: thank you for being on booktv. >> charles kessler's a senior fellow at the claremont institute. he is a regular contributor to the opinion pages of the wall street journal and los angeles times. visit
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l.a.times.com/festivalofbooks. sunday on in-depth television analyst, author and columnist and three time presidential candidate pat buchanan on conservative ideology in today's political climate. he will take your calls. three hours with pat buchanan sunday live at noon eastern on c-span2. former political correspondent and commentator john kempner challenges the idea that capitalism and democracy are positively linked. he argues over the past 20 years several countries decided to trade freedom and liberty in exchange for economic prosperity. carneg counc in new york city hosts this hour-long event. >> good morning. ladies and gentlemen, ambassadors, thank you for this kind introduction. shea remove the book? i am quite sur

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