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tv   Book TV  CSPAN  August 21, 2011 3:00pm-4:30pm EDT

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creation, not helping it, and one of the side point is, i know you made a comment about north west dc, but my guess is most people in northwest dc by example would be in favor of some of the, you know, governmental programs that would encourage job creation. >> right, right, right, right. i wish i had -- it's an intractable problem, and i wish i had a good answer for you. i mean, in is a -- this is a tough period politically, and you're right. i mean, the political forces today are really pushing against what we need to do, not towards if. ..
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>> is talk about these issues and write and call our elected officials and make a stink about it. um, and, you know, i don't think that, um, i don't think that's happened as much, actually, on, um, kind of the pro-government support side as it has on the anti. the other thing that we -- well, it's not really another thing, i guess. even if that doesn't, um, push the government towards a wholesale change in strategy, a lot that we can be doing right now that doesn't actually cost money. we're just not doing it because, frankly, our elected officials aren't really focused on job growth. so let me give you one small example of that.
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a bill before congress now, it's called the start-up visa act. and it was, it was, um, supported by american venture capitalists, and what it would do is it would more or less automatically grant a visa to any foreign entrepreneur who wanted to settle in the u.s. and could -- and had already secured american venture capital funding. there are a large number of highly skilled entrepreneurs who would love to move to the u.s. they could create jobs immediately. and the bill is languishing. this wouldn't cost any money. um, we're not doing it. um, you know, i describe that and other tactics. there are a host of measures that we could be pursuing, you know, without any impact on the deficit. um, collectively they at least add up to something, and we're not doing them. >> we've got one last quick question here. >> um, putting bad government
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policies aside for the moment, um, a lot of people who talk about economics and who write economic books and talk about this problem seem to believe in something that i guess i could call the business cycle. that, you know, there's the dips and troughs and peaks and stuff like that. and i'm wondering whether business cycles is really something that we're still dealing with. i mean, we have, i mean, cheaper labor offshore is a phenomenon. i mean, if you want to get a job, go to india or go to china. not a problem. i mean, that's certainly one solution. but we have the internet is a phenomenon that has only existed ten or fifteen years. that certainly makes mincemeat of a lot of brick and mortar jobs. computers, automation, artificial intelligence, robotics, they're all the future. what business cycle, i mean, what kind of solutions do we
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have for these things that i personally don't believe are, you know, every business cycle has had these kind of things thrown at at society? i mean, what kind of hope might there actually be for people given these ugly realities? >> yeah. well, i mean, i think there are two things going on in the economy, and one is, essentially, a business cycle although an extended one. i mean, we've, um, we spent years overspending, um, you know, consumers were taking on debt more and more, and, um, and what we're seeing is kind of a hangover now from that period. the fallout from the financial crises is -- big ones, is almost always very slow, and recovery usually does take a number of years. so, i mean, part of what's happening today is kind of cyclical, and the problems will mitigate and go away once
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consumers deleverage and can spend again. but that is a very long process, and it will be all the longer if government hinders rather than helps. but, you know, you're right. the other thing that's going on and that i've tried to describe in this talk is much more than business cycles. it's, um, it's an acceleration of the hollowing of the middle class driven by technology and offshoring. that may slow down again a little bit, um, you know, once we come out of this period for a time, but it's certainly going to continue, and that's why i think that in addition to short-term measures to stimulate the economy, we really need to, um, think broadly as a nation about how for the next generations and for people who are currently falling out of the middle class, you know, how we can build a broad and sustainable middle class country again because the one we have is falling apart. >> thank you very much. [applause]
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thank you to don for a great talk. thank you all for being here. copies of "pinched" are in front of the store. come back, have one signed, say hello. thank you very much for joining us, have a great evening. [inaudible conversations] >> up next, syndicated column smith mark steyn argues that the united states is destined for a decline in its role as a world rider if current political and cultural norms continue. the author contends that american debt has placed the country in a precarious position and that regulation and lack of innovation have become hallmarks of the country's business climate. mark steyn speaks at the new hampshire institute of politics and political library at
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st. ansome college in manchester, new hampshire. [applause] >> good evening. looks like a lot of people happen to be here. very excited. everybody here to hear the musical theater critic? [laughter] do you think i'm joking? one thing you're going to learn tonight, ladies and gentlemen, is that the guy that you're here to see, who is named mark steyn, is a disabuser of false notions. most of you think you are here to hear a critic, an author, a commentator. let me begin by just reviewing a little bit of his life because i think one of the neat things about mark steyn is that his very existence is a thumb in the eye to conventional wisdom and to things that you thought you knew. mark steyn is from toronto, and
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like any wise and intelligent person, he got out as quick as he could. [laughter] i know, i mean as quick as he could. like 16. unfortunately, he made the mistake of going east instead of south, so he wound up in london. he was back and forth between canada and england a little bit. now, can you imagine leaving home as a teenager, hopping back and forth, and, you know, the great british empire, what are you going to do with yourself? so this guy becomes lots of different things; rock and roll deejay, classical music deejay, musical theater critic. see? [laughter] he makes documentaries. he writes about opera. this guy lives in the woods in
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if new hampshire. in new hampshire. he's a culture critic. you know, i put opera -- i like opera. nothing wrong with opera. i put it in the car when i'm taking the kids camping, you know? the so it gives them a little culture as we're about to go kill fish and stuff. [laughter] so this is just a little bit about how cultured and how varied a background mark steyn has. this is a guy that you're going to hear from. now, people will tell you, especially people who don't like mark steyn, he's a conservative critic. they sort of dismiss him by saying conservative critic as if that's something that, a, something people shouldn't aspire to be, but as if there's belittling or demeaning, he just criticizes people. and that, i think, does mark steyn a great injustice. sure, he's an author, best-selling author. by the way, those of you who are here holding copies of his latest book might be interested
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to know that it was just announced that it made, will debut at number five on "the new york times" hardcover nonfiction list. [applause] yeah. pretty good for a key critic, huh? -- conservative critic, huh? but mark steyn once he bopped around ask did his deejaying and his theater criticism and his documentaries somehow wound up being diverted into this life of, you know,s what -- you knowt i think his critics will call a conservative commentator. they are also wrong. again, his life, his work proves them wrong. this guy's not a cultural critic or a conservative critic. he is, and i'm not exaggerating, a human right activist. now, some of you might laugh, right? your idea of a human rights
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activist is somebody who, you know, might have dread locks, hasn't bathed for a couple of days, is holding a sign, you know, protesting that we need to take money from the free societies and give it to dictators. that's what people who commonly associate human rights activists with, right? well, mark steyn is, in fact, a human rights activist. his writing, his work, it's dedicated to promoting liberty, to making people as free as they can be. and he doesn't just walk the walk. this is a guy who in writing about issues of freedom, of oppression was brought up on charges -- maybe charges is too strong a word -- was brought before the canada human rights commission and accused of bigotry. but as he said thing about muslims, he wrote things after 9/11 about islam, about radical islam that some of the more
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sensitive people in the islamic community if you want to call it that in canada took offense too. so they took him before three different human rights commissions. now, we in the united states might find this baffling because we enjoy the freedoms to be able to criticize and to call other people out when we think they're doing wrong. in canada they have a human rights cove that says you're not allowed to talk about a group, a person or group in a way that would subject it to hatred or ridicule or so torte. so forth. so this group said, hey, mark steyn is making people think bad things about muslims, so they brought him up in front of three different human rights commissions. of course, each time it was thrown out. and this is what i love about mark steyn. when it was thrown out of the canada human rights commission, the big national one, they said,
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look, nothing he said here really rose to the level of, you know, being something we can lock him up for or censor his writings for although in canada i think it's kind of frightening that there is such a thing as a human rights commission that does have the power to as the people who brought him up to the commission wanted to direct him and his publication and what to say. they tossed it out, and steyn got mad and said, i wanted to lose! i wanted to lose so you would take it to court, a real court with real laws so we could put this notion to rest, and we could free the people of canada. that's the kind of person that mark steyn is. that's the kind of human rights activism that i think is so critical and so important today and that you're about to hear a lot about. so with that let's, please, welcome mark steyn. [applause]
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[applause] >> thank you, thank you very much, drew. it's wonderful to be here in -- what the hell state are we in again, drew? oh, right, my state, my state, new hampshire. i hope he's sure about that. it's weird, i never recognize the bit with indoor plumbing. [laughter] we were supposed to be getting that in my part of the state under the stimulus package, but it fell off the back of the truck somewhere on i-93, so we never did. i, he mentioned opera, drew in his introduction, and it's true i used to introduce opera on the television a long time ago. and a neighbor of mine up north
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who does sugaring, and the opera were coming. i notified him that the opera were making a rare appearance, some opera company at, in if lebanon, new hampshire. so he thinks, you know, because he's in the woods, he'd like to see what this opera thing is all about. and we get a couple of tickets, and he's on his way down there in his pickup truck with his wife, and he gets pulled over by the cop for speeding. and the guy asks for license and registration. he opens the glove box, and three guns fall out. it's not in there. [laughter] he pulls up the thing in the middle, and he pulls out another, like, five or six guns. [laughter] license, registration, he says, i know it's around here somewhere. so he plows around the backseat tossing, you know, another five or seven guns over on so top ofs wife, and eventually the cop gets bored and says, okay,
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forget it. just bring it in to the police station in whatever it is, the next seven days. by the way, where are you going in such a hurry? and he goes, to the opera. [laughter] it's -- no, no, you laugh. it makes sense to pack heat at the opera. if you've ever been at a first night at la call la in my land, those arguments can get serious. it's, i want to say something before we get going tonight. if you're from new hampshire and you listen to me very, very, very, very carefully, you may just hear a very, very faint trace of just a little smidgen of a wee something in the accent. it might lead you to believe that i'm not a granite state native. [laughter] i don't want you to worry about it, it's a malfunction in the sound system. we spent all afternoon trying to fix it.
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the engineers from st. an sell m's worked on it nonstop, but it's some kind of miswiring. but if you go home and you catch this speech when it's shown on your television, you'll find i've been digitally remastered back into my original north country yankee accent, so there's nothing to worry about. i love this state, i discovered it by accident, and i thought it was beautiful, and i figured it would be nice to get a little ski condo for maybe a couple of ski weekends a year. drew was asking how i wound up in if new hampshire just -- in new hampshire just before we came out, so i thought it'd be nice to get a nice little ski condo. i walked into the realtor's and walked out two hours later with a 200-year-old farmhouse that needed about 200 years worth of work on it. [laughter] but i fell in love with the land, and i never stopped loving it. there's a spot that i walk my dogs every morning that never ceases to take my breath away. i fell in love with the land,
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and then i fell in love with the system of goth. i saw what alexis of turkville saw, self-reliant citizens governing themselves in their own townships. topville was smarter than me. he certainly would have never bought my house, believe me. [laughter] he probably got the ski condo in loan mountain. he's there every february. on the channel 9 ski report when they talk about fresh powder, they're referring to his wig. [laughter] um, actually, that's -- a lot of sports bars the shtick just die, believe me. [laughter] so i came for the sweet land, and i stayed for the liberty which kind of snuck up on me. and the liberty is a little imperilled which is what i'm going to talk about this evening. my book is called "after america get ready for armageddon." so we're a little ways from be
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"little house on the prairie" type stuff. i was going to say it's available at all good bookstores, but i see most of them have gone out of business. even on this day borders has gone out of business. they usually only stock me in the back, one key table for "an inconvenient truth: the director's cut." [laughter] but this time around borders is so reluctant to carry the book at all, they've taken the precaution of going out of business. [laughter] if you go to the big borders, and today's the last day. i don't know whether they're keeping their 10:00 closing hour. but if you go to the big borders up in concord, for the first time ever my book's in the front window because even the looters didn't want it. [laughter] when you're launching a book, you always want a bit of a publicity boost, something in
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the news cycle that gives you a lift s. a lot of my book's about fiscal collapse. so two days before the official release date, s&p downgrade america from its aaa status for the first time in history. you know, if you're an author, you can't buy publicity like that. [laughter] i mean, you can if you've got $15 trillion and you're willing to toss it down the great sucking sink hole of the federal treasury, but other than that it gets pretty expensive. and then in part of the book i compare britain's decline with what america might be in for. that's chapter five. it's called the new brittania, the depraved city. and two days before my book was published in the united king.com, the baying mob of british welfare deadbeats decided to reenact chapter five of my book on the streets of london by burning half the city to the ground. [laughter] again, you can't buy publicity like that. [laughter] drew mentioned i used to be a musical theater critic. this was like chapter five, the
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musical, if you've ever been to a musical where the cast lobbed concrete into the orchestra pit. it was fantastic. can't buy publicity like that. but the news cycle moves on, and by the end of the week everyone was all agog by the iowa straw poll of presidential candidates, and congresswoman michele bachmann is going up and down the state, indianola, waterloo, quoting my book at every stop in if iowa, and she wins the iowa straw poll, and then she quotes my book, so i had a pretty great opening book publicity wise. [laughter] if you've read the penultimate chapter with its big nuclear finale, you might want to be out of town when we do the publicity tie-in for that. [laughter] you don't write a book called "after america" because you want it to happen, you write it in order to prevent it happening. total societal collapse is not in my interest. if you're an author, the
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destruction of the banking system makes it much harder to cash the royalty check. so i want to prevent the dawn of the post-american world, and i hope you do too. if you're in favor of the post-american world, if you're a tenured professor at an american college campus, i don't think you'll enjoy it as much as you think you will. [laughter] i'm often asked by fellow conservatives why i'm being such an hysterical old queen about the whole business because if you recall, president obama's now-forgotten debt commission, i don't know whether you remember them, all very bipartisan and blue ribbon, just a few months ago they produced a report mel dramatically emblazoned, the moment of truth. and after that dramatic title they proposed such convulsive course corrections as raising the age of social security eligibility to -- raising the
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age of social security eligibility to 69 by the year 2075. [laughter] so with wake-up calls like that, we can all roll over and slip sleep in for another half century, right? is. [laughter] but some of us have been here before. we foreigners know the smell of decay. we've lived it, and when we get the whiff of it in our nostrils in america today, that's a very worrying sign. we have an advantage over you natives. we're the canaries in the coal mine. we know what that smell means. let me quote another foreigner who spends part of the year over the border in massachusetts. last year nile ferguson, professor at harvard, joined such eminent thinkers at the aspen ideas festival as barbra streisand and james brolin.
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and professor ferguson told barbra streisand, quote, having grown up in if a declining empire, i do not recommend it. it's just not a lot of fun, actually, decline. unquote. and he's right, it's not. it really isn't. you don't want to go there, and we're well on the way there. whether like greece or portugal or ireland, the scale is entirely different. no one uses the t word, trillion, in lisbon or dublin, and when a catastrophe slides off the cliff, it lands with a much bigger thud than iceland or portugal do. one of the saddest aspects of the present debate is the assumption that american decline will be as comfortable for americans as british decline was for britons when the pax britannica yielded to the pax americana after the world war. dream on. that was the smoothest transfer
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of global dominance in history, and it isn't going to go that smoothly next time around, and next time around's already underway. by 2016 according to the imf, the world's leading economy will be a communist dictatorship. that's in five years time. now, think about that. if imf is right, the guy you elect next november will be the last president of the united states to preside over the world's leading economy. and instead the preeminent economic power will be a one-party state with a communist politburo presiding over a largely peasant corporation with no human rights, no property rights, no rule of law, no freedom of speech, no freedom of the press, a land whose legal, political and cultural traditions are as rail yen to its pred predecessors as could e devised. and it will not merely mark the end of a two-century angola phone dominance, but like the
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americans and british and dutch and italians before them, the leading economic power will be a country that doesn't even use the roman alphabet. it's very silly to assume that this is just a heart of dollars and cents -- a matter of dollars and cents and debt to gdp ratios. when money drains, power drains remorselessly. the week before my book came out, everyone was very excited about whether we would reach a so-called deal on the debt ceiling before the clock chimed midnight on august the 2nd. remember all the big fuss about this? august the 2nd is looming, it's coming, it's approaching! august the 2nd at mid height. if we didn't reach a deal on the debt ceiling, our glittering coach would turn back into a pumpkin. and air force one would turn back into a large sue kinny with two stick-on wings, president obama's beloved a riewg la flapping limply as it tried to get airborne. i may be overextending the
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metaphor a little bit here. [laughter] this is classic beltway nonsense. the debt ceiling deadline was entirely irrelevant. the problem is not the ceiling, it's the debt. and cinderella negotiating to extend the midnight deadline to maintain the illusion to 2 a.m. does not alter the fact that it is an illusion. just to put that debt ceiling debate in perspective, there was a dispute between john boehner and the be congressional budget office about the so-called scoring of his plan. speaker boehner said his plan called for $7 billion in cuts for the 2012 budget. the cbo said it only reduced it by a billion dollars. which of these numbers is correct? who cares? the $7 billion that john boehner calls a real and forcible cut for financial year 2012 represents what is the government of the united states current libor row -- borrows every 37 hours. in other words, between now and
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the time and the end of the week, we will have borrowed back every dime of those painstakingly-negotiated savings. if cbo scoring is correct that et reduces the 2012 deficit by just $1 billion, then the cut represents what the united states borrows every five hours and 20 minutes. in other words, in less time than it takes to drive from my pad upstate to st. anselms and back, in the time it takes to watch "harry potter and the deathly hallows" parts one and two with a bathroom break in between, all the savings of this painstakingly-negotiated plan will be borrowed back. seven billion or one billion, who cares who's right? that's the choice between dead or deader. a month of shuttling back and forth between the capitol and the white house for a, quote, real enforceable cut of $1-7 billion? let me give you some numbers that are rather more relevant. within a decade the united
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states will be spending more of the federal budget on its interest payments than on its military. that's to say more on debt service than on the armed services. and according to the cbo's long-term budget outlook, by 2020 the government will be paying between 15 and 20% of its revenues in debt interest and defense spending will be down between 14 and 16%. so america, just to get this in perspective, america will be, is responsible for about 43% of the world's military expenditures. within a decade america will be spending more on debt interest. and this is not paying off the principal, this is like when you get your mastercard at the end of the month, you can't pay off any of the debt, all you can do is just stay current with the monthly interest charge. our monthly interest charge will be more than the combined military extendtures of china, written, france, russia, japan, germany, saudi arabia, india,
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italy, south korea, what civil, canada, australia, spain, turkey and israel. you add up all their military budgets, that's our interest charge on the debt. by 2015 -- by the way, and that's if they stay at their current historic low. if they were to return to what they've averaged in the last 20 years, about 5.7%, america will be spending more than the planet's entire military budget on debt interest. by about 2015 we will be covering the entire cost of the people's liberation army of china. that's what you guys have to pay for. small businesses in bedford, suburban homeowners in nashua will be paying for the entire budget of the chinese military. no precedent on that anywhere in history. the roman empire got pretty stupid in its last years, but they didn't say to roman
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taxpayers that as a matter of policy you're going to have to pick up the bill not just for the roman military, but the advise governor military as well. and the they had, it wouldn't have been so bad because the other military's budget was mostly just pelts. [laughter] so they'd have still gotten a better deal than we do. permanence is the illusion of every age. we are not, we are not just outsourcing the economy, we are outsourcing power. and as american power fades, it's outsourcing the future to a very dangerous planet. um, this is, this is a bleak -- this is bleak, and i understand it's a depressing scenario. i don't want to give away the ending of my book, but when we do do the musical version that drew seemed to be encouraging, we will focus group the finale in out of town previews, and we'll change it to a happy
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ending in the which michele bachmann sees the error of her ways and settles down with joe biden to run an all-singing, all-dancing department of community organizer grant applications in chicago. it'll warm your heart. [laughter] but until we close the deal with disney on that particular project, let me, let me stay being grim. it starts with the money, but it never stops there. just let me spell out where a postamerican world leads. a is for addiction. we spend too much. it's not a revenue issue, it's a spending issue. the united states joined the rest of the western world in voting it a lifestyle it was not willing to pay for and, indeed, can never pay for because when you spend $4 trillion but you only take in $2 trillion which is the federal government model, you can never close that gap with revenue. when government spends on the scale washington's gotten used to, it's not a spending crisis, it's a moral one. there's nothing virtuous about
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caring, compassionate progressives demonstrating how caring, compassionate and be progressive they are by spending money yet to be earned by generations yet to be born. we are looting the future to bribe the present. indeed, we have looted the future to such an extent it's no longer clear we have one. and that's what so-called fiscal conservatives often miss. it's not a green eye shade issue. absolving the citizenry from responsibility for their actions, the multitrillion dollar debt catastrophe is not the problem, but merely the symptom. and this is where i disagree with mitch dan yells and some others. it's not about balancing the books, it's about rebalancing the very structures of society. r is for redistribution. leftists often talk about redirection of wealth. recruiting a distributing from the future to the present, you are redistributing wealth that has not yet been created, wealth
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that does not exist. meanwhile, day by day in this republic we see an unprecedented transfer of resources from the productive class to the obstructive class, to government, to regulators, to bureaucracies. so if much of this wealth does not yet exist, what exactly are we redistributing? we're redistributing liberty. we're delivering a self-governing republic into rule by regulators, bureaucrats and ask social engineers. just this week the formerly golden state of california, a broke jurisdiction who's rapacious government and dependency class are driving what's left of the productive class to flee its borders, just this last week the state announced that its burning priority is that it needs to regulate bed sheets in motels and hotels. it will be illegal under the california sheet regime for motels and hotels to put nonfitted sheets on their beds.
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and so there will be a sheet regulatory regime with sheet regulatory enforcers kicking down the door of room 73 of the orange grove motel to check they're in compliance with the california sheet regime. you can try to resist, but they'll kick the sheet out of you. [laughter] there is an apock create fall rotation to describe the way pacifists, even pacifists assume the sold ri are there to defend the realm. quote, people sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf, unquote. ha! says the state of california. people sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because the state agency of sheet regulation stands ready to do violence to innkeepers with none last candidated sleets. [laughter] by the way, if there's any ku klux klan member here tonight --
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because i know, i know you tea party guys. [laughter] i know what it's really about. so if there's any ku klux klan members here tonight, you're planning on flying in for a lodge meeting with a grand colleague l in california, you will need a fitted sheet, okay? [laughter] when canada, when canada decriminalized homosexuality, pierre trudeau said the state has no place in the bedrooms of the nation. but california says, oh, yes, we do if you're consummating your same-sex marriage on a noncompliant sheet. [laughter] and so it goes. i was, i was talking, i was talking to an undocumented immigrant from tijuana, and he says that california is already
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a biword for sheet government. [laughter] these are not trivial things. they represent the remorseless redistribution of liberty. 7-year-old julie murphy was selling lemonade in portland, oregon, when two officers demanded to see her temporary restaurant license which would have cost her $120. when she failed to produce it, these officers threatened her with a $500 fine. she's a 7-year-old girl. they also made her cry. now, when i read these stories -- there was another one in the papers just the other day. u.s. fish and wildlife, an 11-year-old girl in virginia, skyler capo, had rescued a wood pecker from the clutches of a cat, spent a few days nursing it back to health before releasing it. an agent of the united states department of fish and wildlife arrived along with an escort of
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virginia state troopers to deliver a $535 fine to the little girl who rescued the woodpecker for the federal crime of transporting a protected species of woodpecker. she transported it out of the mouth of the cat who was eating it. serve the cat with the $535 fine for illegally transporting the woodpecker down your gullet! [laughter] these are not small things. two officers shake down the 7-year-old girl for the $500 lemonade stand fine. officers from two agencies, federal and state, make the 11-year-old girl, skyler, cry for rescuing the woodpecker. they should with ashamed of themselves. this is not a small thing. they do not understand the relationship between the citizen and the state. when i read these stories, i'm
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always reminded of saudi arabia's religious -- [inaudible] the commission for the promotion of virtue and prevention of vices. except in this case our religious police, the religion they're enforcing is state power. perhaps like the fierce bearded men, the cheerless stoles of permit stand could be issued with whipses and scourges to flay the grade school sinners in the street the way they do in riyadh. when life hands you lemons, you make lemonade and then watch the state enforcers turn it back into sour fruit. ask yourself this: it's exactly the same thing as with gun control. gun control is not about guns, it's about control. woodpecker control is not about woodpeckers, it's about control. lemonade control is not about lemonade, it's about control. if a second grader can no longer sell homemade lemonade in her
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front yard, what aspect of your life can't the government regulate? for more and more americans, law has been supplanted by regulation, a governing set of rules not legislated by representatives accountable to the people, but invented by an activist bureaucracy much of which is well to the left of either political party. you may remember that congress stripped provisions for end of life counseling, the so-called death panels, out of the obamacare bill. but kathleen sebelius, the secretary of health and human services, put 'em back on her say so. why shouldn't she? the new law contains 700 references to the secretary, quote, shall -- another 200 to is secretary, quote, may. so the secretary may and shall determine pretty much anything she wants. plucked at random, quote, the secretary shall develop oral health care components that shall include tooth-level
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surveillance, unquote. tooth-level surveillance. that phrase is hitherto unknown to human history. [laughter] but it's in obamacare. george iii never went in for tooth-level surveillance. [laughter] if stories about george washington's wooden teeth were true, that would have killed the american revolution right there and then. i'm not sure even colonel gadhafi goes in for tooth-level surveillance. from colonial subjects to dentured servitude in a mere quarter my runs ya -- millennia. [laughter] [applause] m is for monopoly. i mentioned a moment ago that the aspen ideas test value has great thinkers like barbra streisand, so i would like to cite another great thinker, george harrison of the beatles. in 1969 george harrison in the course of a wide-ranging ramble
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briefly detoured out of the harry crush that chants and lsd into some remarks about the monopolist commission which is a british version of the u.s. antitrust division. and he goes, you know, this is the thing i don't want like. it's the monopolist commission. if anybody, you know, kodak or somebody is cleaning up the market with film, the no lop list commission sends them in there and you're not allowed to no knop his. yet when it's the government, who's going to sort that one out? if that is one of the most brilliant observations on government that has ever been made. there was an old joke in britain at the time, why is there only one monopolist commission? [laughter] it is, in fact, an incisive observation on the nature of government. we wouldn't like it if there was only one automobile company or only one breakfast cereal, but
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by definition there can only be one government which is why when in george's words when the government's no knop hissing, it should do so only in very limited areas, and that's particularly true for national governments when the nation they govern is more than 300 million people dispersed over a continent. but i think it gets worse than that because it's not just the monopoly of power. right now we have rule by a monopoly of ideas which is the most dangerous monopoly of all. in fact, a kind of monopoly of gray matter as it were. um, take, take, for example, our so-called meritocracy. we're ruled by, effectively, not them no accurates, but a cartel of conformocrats who impose, essentially, a sterile monopoly of ideas. michael boesch laws hailed obama as, quote, probably the smart
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guy ever to become president, unquote. why would you say such a thing? [laughter] i mean, other than an impressive talent for self-promotion, what has he ever done? even as a legendary thinker, what original thought a has he ever expressed in the his entire life? and yet he's, quote, probably the smartest guy ever to become president, and he's a presidential historian, so he should know because he's a smart guy too. and lending a hand another smart guy, david brook, the house conservative at "the new york times," hailed the incoming -- hailed the incoming administration as a collection of supersmart eggheads credentialed to the hilt. quote, if a foreign enemy attacks the united states during the harvard/yale game anytime over the next four years, we're screwed, unquote. [laughter] he was right. over a quarter of obama's political appointees had ties the to harvard. over 90% had advanced degrees, and yet we're screwed anyway. how did that happen?
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what kind of supersmart guys all think the same thing? we are governed by conformocrats who live in a self-reinforcing bubble. we have a ruling class that thinks alike and cannot conceive that anyone other than a racist, a terrorist or a mentally ill lunatic like my sometime-colleague at fox news, poor juan williams when he got fired from npr for accidentally wandering off the reservation for 30 seconds. they do what they do in the soviet union. oh, we're going to send you to the sanitarium, let the men in white strap you down, you'll still be feeling much better. "the new york times" ostentatiously recruits by sending it editors to hire people at the african-american journalist convention, the women journalist convex, the hispanic journalist convention, the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender journalist convention, it recruits on every
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diversity except the only one that matters, diversity of ideas. and if anyone could use some new ideas right now, it's america's wretched elite ruling class. [applause] a is for arteriosclerosis. which is really the shortest answer to obama be. yes, we can? no, we can't. have you tried to? the zoning committee, the landing committee, the environmental impact study, try putting that on the end. the asterisk after yes, we can. america is seizing up. i cite the most obvious example this my book, the ten-year hole in the ground in lower manhattan that should shame every one of us here. because destroying those buildings is something america's enemies did to us. leaving the hole in the ground for a decade is something we did
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to ourselves. the empire state building, which was the tallest in the world back then, was put up in 18 months during a depression. where's that spirit today? what can you do in 18 months today? at that ten-year hole in the ground in lower manhattan is profound and eloquent in what it's telling us about american sclerosis. g is for global retreat. as written and other great powers quickly learned, the price of big government at home is an ever smaller presence abroad. first comes reorientation and the shrinking of the horizon. after empire britain turned inward. between 1951 and 1997 the proportion of government expendture on defense fell from 24% to 7% while the proportion on health and welfare rose from 22% to 53%. and that's before tony blair's new labour government came along in 1997 to widen the gap even
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further. now, i'm sure, you know, for that 53% welfare spending you saw what a bang for the buck they got in the scenes on your tv screens this last week. when they spent that withinlying memory, the city in the flames on our tv screens every night. governed a fifth of the earth's surface and a quarter of it population. it then inverted it priorities and spent all that money on its nanny state charges at home with what spectacular results you can see if you've made the mistake of booking a trip to historic london in the next six weeks. good luck with that. that is the same trajectory every great power in retruth because you can have euro-sized entitlement at home. you can see it already in our silly little pseudo war in
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libya. i don't know how many of you remember the libya war, it was in all the papers for for about8 hours and can then it fell off the radar screen. i believe it's in the guinness book of world records for the world's fastest quagmire. so there is that to be said. the president spent the first month of the war telling the american people, oh, you don't need to worry, we're just along for the ride. the point of the war is on a need to know basis, and we don't these to know. it's a kinetic scope-limited action. and they eventually announced so reluck were they to have anything to do with the action that they eventually announced that the new supreme allied commander of the limited action was general pew saturday, a canadian general. i'm a canadian. i didn't even know we still had generals. [laughter] but i said on fox news that week that as much as i like the idea
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of canadian military commanders randomly invading muslim nations -- [laughter] i, i really, i really feel the gig should have gone to a mexican general because -- [laughter] after all, president obama had pretty much spent the previous month insisting that this is a job americans won't do. [laughter] so -- [applause] war is hell, but kinetic scope-limited action is purgatory. proven in the kremlin, the poll lis borrow in beijing, they're all enjoying this glimpse of the postamerican world in libya right now, a world in which the global automaker of the last 60 years not only can't enforce it will, but no longer makes any serious attempt to do so. they're looking forward to that world. e is for engineering.
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and the ideological he amongnity would be regarded as child abuse i think in any other age. aside from its other defect, it diverts too many americans into frivolous, unproductive activity while our competitors get on with the real work. in 1940 a majority of the u.s. population had no more than a grade eight education. by 200840% of 18-20-year-olds were enrolled in college, so we're on track to a world in which the typical american is almost twice as old by the time he completes his education as he was in 1940. he's spent over twice as long in the classroom, and in theory gotten twice as much attention from his school marm because the pupil/teacher ratio is half of what it was a century ago. um, education is the biggest single structural defect in the united states right now. no country needs to send a majority, never mind all as is
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president obama's ambition, all of it children to college, and no country should. if only because not every child has the aptitude to benefit, and not every child who has the aptitude wants to go or needs to. and for most who wind up there, college is a waste of time and money and life. hacks pretend to teach, slackers pretend to learn, and employers pretend it's a qualification. we have a trillion dollars, american individuals hold a trillion dollars just in college debt. that's the equivalent of a g7 economy just in one small boutique, niche market of debt. um, you'll recall that before she as vended to the throne of first lady, michelle obama worked for the university of chicago hospitals. she wasn't a nurse, she wasn't a doctor, she wasn't even a janitor. she was taken on by the hospitals to run, quote, programs for community
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relations, neighborhood outreach, staff diversity and minority contracting, unquote. she was a diverseocrat. a booming industry in elite america. in the 2005 just as her husband was coming to national prominence, by strange coincidence the happy coincidence with which the ruling class in chicago are often blessed she received an impressive $200,000 pay raise and was appointed vice president for community and external affairs in charge of managing the hospital's diversity. mrs. obama famously complained that america is, quote, down right mean, unquote. she had to make due with a housely $316,962 plus benefits for a job so necessary to the hospital that when she quit to become first lady, they didn't bother replacing her.
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[laughter] leave corporate america, that's what she boasted. yes, indeed, it makes sense. leave corporate america and get a non-job as a diversity enforcement officer. that's where the big bucks are. you go over the connecticut river to our neighbors in the vermont, and if you go to any vermont college and talk to the students, the ambition of most of them is to work for a, quote, nonprofit. sounds so nice, doesn't it? the entire state of vermont is a nonprofit. [laughter] [applause] ben and jerry's used to make a ton of money selling ice cream. and it worked out so well, they were bought by the anglo-dutch multi-national unilever. i can't remember, jerry didn't like the deal, but the one who did like it said we're a wholly
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dependent subsidiary. something like that. [laughter] and the other guy just gets on with all the nonprofit stuff now. so the entire state of vermont is a nonprofit. so is america, actually, because when you're $15 trillion in the hole, you're the all-time champion of nonprofits. president obama wants the rest of america to follow in his and michelle's footsteps. turn into wasteful and self-indull gent activity. they don't do it in china, they don't do it in india, and eventually those differences will tell which is my next letter. d is for decay. because that formula, the governmentallization of more and more people is a recipe for disaster. much of the united states will be on a fast track to latin america where there's a privileged, corrupt elite presiding over a vast swamp of poverty. and that leads to the next
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stage, d is for disintegration where becoming the highly singular united state of america. no advanced society has ever tried direct rule for 350 million people. will it work, or is it more likely that increasingly compatible jurisdictions and social groups will conclude that the price for keeping 50 stars in the flag is too high? a postprosperity america is going to fracture. i don't just mean on ethnic lines where you'll have millions of poor white americans and black americans on the one hand and millions of poor illegal americans on the other and there's no jobs for either. i just mean cultural tensions. it's not clear to me that when this country is no longer the world's leading power that the mullahs of dearborn, what they call michiganistan, will want to stay in the same poverty as fire island. they each might decide they're
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better off going it alone. but it's something more basic. if you take a retired federal bureaucrat in her early 50s retired on fantastic, unsustainable pension benefits and health benefits and enjoying the early years of what is, in effect, a 30-year holiday weekend, she lives at 26 elm street, the guy at 24 elm street went to exactly the same school as her, but he's got to go to work at his hardware store every day until he drops dead to fund the lavish retirement benefits of his neighbor and a retirement that he will never know. those two people cannot coexist in the same street any more than they can in athens or in london. ooze chasm, young versus old. what's left of american youth will be taxed to the hilt to pay for the retirement and medical care of a baby boom america that their kids will never know. look at the flash mobs.
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look at the gleeful rampage at the wisconsin state fair and ask yourself whether there'll be more or less of that in a postprosperity america. o is for open season. i said earlier if you find it hard to imagine a world without america, that the russians, the chinese and the mullahs don't, and they're making plans for it. for 60 years the american security umbrella has ab softed the wealthiest nations on the planet from paying for their own defense, and they've gotten used to it. the united states army lives in germany. if you like the german welfare system as many americans do, good for you, because you're paying for it. because you freed up the german military budget so they could beat their swords into welfare checks. now we've decided we'd like to live like the swedes and the belgians, but without a sugar daddy to take care of us as we took care of europe. we live on a planet in which north korea is assisting the iranians with their delivery systems, and the iranians are
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promising to share their nukes with sudan. north korea has an undetectable gdp. it doesn't just have a low gdp, it has a gdp that is not statistically measuren when you compare it with go bonn. there is no gdp. all they export are nuclear technology and knockoff viagra. you cannot measure north korea's gdp, but it's a nuclear power. we face the prospect of a world in which the wealthiest societies in history from norway to new zealand are incapable of defending their borders while third world basket cases go nuclear. how long do you think that arrangement is going to last? and on that kind of planet, it's not hard to figure out what comes next. n is for nukes away. so i've just given you, i've just spelled out letter by letter the thesis of my book. a is for addiction, r is for redistribution, m is more monopoly, a is for
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arteriosclerosis, g is for global retreat, e is for educational social engineering, d is for decay, d is for disintegration, o is for open season, n is for nukes away. put them all together they spell -- >> armageddon. >> yes. armageddon ♪ [laughter] ..
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>> boy, that got a big, a bigger cheer than the other shtick. [laughter] >> don't be cruel to john kerry. he thinks those yellow spandex does wonders for his figure. i think he should windsurf off nantucket and tell 2050. he's doing the least damage out there. let's not let him make landfall until 2050 and we might just get out of this thing. those of us on the receiving end of john kerry's genius need to understand it's not about mid century. it's about mid decade. it's about right now. the united states is still different. you know this. in the wake of the economic meltdown, the youth of france, rioted over the most modest proposal to increase the retirement age. elderly students in britain
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attacked the heir to the throne's car over attempts to constrain bloated wasteful and pointless university costs. everywhere from iceland to bulgaria, angry mobs besiege their parliaments demanding the same thing. why didn't you the government do more for me? america was the only nation in the developed world when minds of people took to the streets to tell the states i can do just fine if you control freak status, your nonstandard steam is, your job was jobs bill a new multi-trillion dollar and just did hell out of my life and out of my pocket. that's the -- [applause] >> that's the america that has a sporting chance. even as america's spend all of government outspends not only
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america's ability to pay for it but by some measures the planet, even as it follows britain into the dank pit of transgenerational dependency and a failed education system and unsustainable entitlements, even as it makes less and less of mortgages its future to his rivals, cheap chinese trinkets, most americans including far too many of my friends on the right of some that simply because they are american their insulated from the consequences but i have this in my friends from fox news last week when i said you couldn't argue that we didn't deserve to downgrade. you couldn't service to argue this nation was aaa with $1520 worth of debt. my friends on fox news the most right wing guys in the american media said what do you mean? of courseware aaa. we are better than aaa. we should have a quadruple a category just for us. these loser countries and aging countries in the aaa category. they are losing nation's. they can't compare with us.
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we need to understand we are not aaa. when you go $15 trillion in debt you can't be aaa. when you go 10 times that in unfunded liabilities you can't be aaa. sissel rose, the great british empire was, wasn't great. markedly an unpleasant man but he left one memorable -- forgot where i was for a minute. [laughter] i've got to remember, the social road cheers gets pictures when you're in south africa. i've got to remember. [laughter] i took the wrong pill before i walked on. the deplorable british imperialist -- [laughter] distill the assumption of generations when he said that to be born an englishman was to win first prize in the lottery of life. on the eve of the great war and his play heartbreak house, the thought was turned round to haunt the ruling class to self
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absorbed as he was coming. you think a hero, a loss of god will be suspended in favor of england because you were born in it? in our time, to be born a citizen of the united states is to win first prize in the lottery of life. and as britain's did, too many americans assume it will always be so. do you think the loss of god will be suspended in favor of america simply because you were born in it? think carefully about that question. when you live in the north country, when you live in a state where the weather spend six months of the year trying to throttle the life out of you, one thing you understand is the fragility of civilization. back in the spring i was walking on an abandoned classics road behind my house with my two boys one morning when we noticed a huge mama bear rearing up in the trees just off to our left. and just ahead of us we noticed one little cub, and behind us
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another little cub. and we were in the middle. [laughter] and my boys were excited. [laughter] but a little scared. and that's the way i feel as we embark on this critical half decade. i feel excited but a little scared. and i wonder if our society still has the survival instinct of that mother bear protecting her cubs. if you disagree, don't wait for a messiah to descend from the heavens on a tuesday morning in november. we tried that in 2008. we entrusted a multi-trillion dollar enterprise to a guy who was never created a dime of wealth in his life, and then we were surprised that for some reason it didn't work out. this time it's up to you. ordinary citizens need to do this year and next year as they did in 2009, 2010, and move the
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meter of public discourse. in my book i quote milton friedman. milton friedman says don't elect the right people to do the right things. create the conditions whereby the wrong people are forced to do the right things. every time -- that deserves a cheer. [applause] there should be nothing controversial because every time you see obama go and give a speech, and someone has taken the precaution of loading up some lame boilerplate into his prompter about how we need to get our fiscal house in order and we need to control the deficit. the only reason he is even pretending to care about it is because the meter of public discourse was moved in 2009 and 2010. he's the wrong person being forced to pretend that he wants to do the right thing, that keeps changing the discourse until the wrong people are
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actually forced to do the right thing. milton friedman is right about that. when i first moved to name sure, i carelessly assumed the general staff had said live free or die, before some battle or other that i thought it was a bit of red meat to rally the boys with a challenge to a touch of the old henry v routine. and then i discovered that our state's great revolutionary war hero had made his creed occur decades after the cessation of hostilities and later regretting would be unable to attend a dinner. and in a strange way i found even more impressive. because in extreme circumstances many of us can browse people to rediscover the primal impulses, and the way the brave men on flight 93 day. they took off on what they thought was a routine flight. when they realized it wasn't, they went into general note and cried let's roll. but it's harder to maintain that live free or die spirit when
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you're facing not an immediate crisis but just a slow, i'm facing ratchet effect which is in stable societies unthreatened by revolution were within their borders, always the way liberty falls. traded away to this date, incrementally, painlessly, all but -- lived free or die. die an honorable death. but, in fact, it is a prosaic statement of the obvious, of the reality of our lives in the prosperous west. you can live as free men, but if you choose not to, your society will surely die. live free or die, it's new hampshire's choice. it's america's choice. so make the right call, because the fate of our world depends upon it. thank you very much indeed. [applause]
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>> for more information on mark steyn and his work, visit steynonline.com. >> here's a quick look at some of the upcoming book fairs and festivals around the country over the next few months.
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>> booktv as at the annual publishers convention in new york city. it's called book expo america. and we're previewing some of the falls 2011 books that are coming out. farrar, strauss & giroux is an imprint of the macmillan company and we are joined their publicity director tran want to talk about some other upcoming titles. i want to start with "that used to be us." what is that? >> peter, it's a continuation of tom friedman's amazingly influential and best selling book, "the world is hot, flat and crowded." this time he is collaborating with a foreign policy adviser was also a close friend and longtime associate of his.
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and the book is really, outlines four ways in which america has gone off the rails and four ways we get it back on. >> when is this coming out? >> is coming the day after the labor day, highly programmatic, and it's just a roadmap for the u.s. which is going to be a great event. >> who is andrew feinstein? >> andrew feinstein is most likely the world's leading expert on the global arms trade, the kind of black market in arms around the world. he was a south african by birth, a politician who now lives in exile in london, and he is the go to person for every media organization and every ngo on the global arms trade. >> y. in exile in? >> well, it's a long story but it has to do with the crushing of the government and his attempt to stand up against it a
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few years ago. >> in south africa? >> correct. >> and i want to ask you about a nobel economics prize winner, author that you have, "thinking fast and slow." >> that's daniel kahneman. we like to seize the most influential author you've never heard of. he won a nobel prize in economics for his psychological thinking. his area is decision-making. he's been very influential on malcolm gladwell and all sorts of people who are in, who work in the area of business and how we make decisions we do. and this is his first time in print with a book for the general reader. super well regarded by ceos and fortune 500 people all around the world, and my fingers in a lot of different fields. it's a great privilege to be publishing him. >> jeff seroy with fsg breathing some of the falls 2011 books.
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>> center mike lee, republican from utah is reading it's dangerous to be right. >> visit booktv.org to see this and other summer reading lists. >> visit booktv.org to watch the programs you see here online. type the author or book title in the search bar in the upper left side of the page and click search. you can share anything you see on booktv.org easily by clicking share on the upper left side of the page and selecting the format. booktv streams live online for 48 hours every weekend with top nonfiction books and authors. booktv.org. >> next on booktv, philip terzian discusses his book "architects of power: roosevelt, eisenhower, and the american century." this is about 50 minutes.and gor
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>> thank you. and good morning, and i am be honored and delighted to be here. at the roosevelt reading festival. n't ge i don't live around here so i don't to visit the roosevelt d library very often. but everyme time i do, and every time i visit, i'm always reminded of henry morgan thaw who was fdr's neighbor here in duchess county and probably knew him as much as anyone and said that roosevelt had a thickly-forested interior which meant that roosevelt was a very rather enigmatic, um, distant, almost secretive man in many ways. but i've always felt that when you visit the house, especially, and walk around and look at it,
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you get as close as you'll ever get to appreciating franklin roosevelt as a human being and where he came from and what he was and how he became what he did become. and i'm delighted to be here, too, at the roosevelt library which is the first of the great president -- we often forget that franklin roosevelt invented the whole concept of presidential libraries. it was his idea to preserve his papers and memorabilia here on the grounds of his, of his old family estate in 1940. and, um, i'm a great fan of presidential libraries around the country and have made it my lifelong task to visit each one. and so i'm patiently awaiting the george w. bush one in dallas which is supposed to open sometime in the next year or two. i'm angling for an -- a friend of mine is an official down
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there, so i keep hinting at there must be some panel discussion or something that i can come down to see it. [laughter] um, i have a sort of, if you'll excuse a digression for a minute, i have a sort of crackpot theory about presidential libraries and museums which is tangentially connected to my book, and that is that i think that they reflect in some ways what i call the civic protestantism of america. and by that i mean we don't as a culture, we don't revere religious relics so much anymore. we don't, we don't bow before the fragment of the true cross and that sort of thing. but because america is a nation founded on an idea, we've sort of substituted that human instinct and transferred it to our political founders. so you go to the archives in washington where i live, and there's the declaration of independence and the
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constitution, and they're housed in the these brass and glass helium-filled rell squares which are completely reminiscent of the sort of medieval ones that you see where one of christ's thorns or one of the fragments of the true cross is located. and you go to presidential establishments -- mount vernon, monticello, recently montpelier, james madison's home in virginia has become a sort of museum and center -- and here they're wonderful institutions because they have brought together every conceivable object, paper. i know, i've been writing a little bit about the madison house, and they have surveyed all the general region, they've found furniture that madison had owned and touched, articles of clothing, toothpicks, spectacles, everything you can
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think of. [laughter] and they're all lovingly collected and under glass which i think is wonderful. but if you look at it from a sightly skew as i do, it's kind of interesting, too, the way we retrieve these things. and i think it also, it also belies the idea that americans are not interested in our history. i think we're deeply interested in our history. not every american is as interested in others, but i think our presidential libraries and museums definitely, definitely reflect a national interest in our, in our past. um, now, if you'll forgive a die depression, the reason i mentioned all that is that in this, in my little monograph i address myself to two, two themes. one is i wanted to make some biographical observations about these two individuals who are usually not united historically. we don't think of fdr and
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eisenhower together. but my thesis is that they did come together at a very strategic moment in american history, and, um, it's to our long-term benefit that they did. um, but secondly, i'm very interested in historical memory, how we look at the past, how our views of the past change and evolve. the speaker just before me, professor moy, has written this wonderful book about the tuskegee airmen, and he quoted a 1925 army air corps study of african-americans in the military. and it's full of these terrible condescending, one might say racist views of black people which we are, which we, of course, recoil from, obviously,
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from today. but we always have the sense in history that right now we've come to a consensus and that our attitudes at this moment are the correct ones and that all the wisdom of, you know, the past was complicated and people had kind of strange ideas about things. but now we've got all the research in the, and everything -- we've come to our senses. and so now the current thinking among historians is the right thinking. um, and i was struck by that, um, a dozen years ago when i covered the dedication of the franklin roosevelt, um, memorial in washington. i don't know how many of you have visited it. it's on the mall near the world war ii memorial. um, which is another wonderful story that i sort of tangentially covered over the years. um, the roosevelt memorial, actually, was, um, it was dedicated in 1997 which was, um,
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what, 52 years after fdr had died. and there was this -- and they had been contemplating a memorial to fdr almost from the time he did die. um, and there was this general sense that they could never come to a conclusion, that there would be a, there would be a design submitted and congress would approve, and then there'd be some obstacle, the archives -- i mean, this just went on and on for decades. when are we ever going to get a memorial to franklin roosevelt? and it was finally dedicated in 1997, a half century after he died. and my reaction to that was, well, it was actually more or less on schedule because not too far from the, from the roosevelt memorial is the lincoln memorial which you all know, and that was dedicated in 1922 which was even longer after lincoln's death than the fdr memorial was dedicated after his death.
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so these things always have a kind of gestation period. and also things are not, things are not always as they seem. we now regard the lincoln memorial as a national treasure, and whenever we want to have any kind of unifying event in washington, people are always careful to stage it in front of the lincoln memorial with abraham lincoln sort of benignly looking down on them and the reflecting pool in the front. well, i grew up in the washington, d.c., and i'm now old enough to remember when i was a little boy there were still elderly women in washington, friends of my mother's, who still were not really very happy that the mall had been gummed up with a memorial to abraham lincoln. so we don't always, we don't always arrive at these consensuses instantly. but what interested me about the roosevelt memorial is that as with many monuments to historical figures, it really
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tells us almost as much about the times in which the memorial was made as about the subject of the memorial. and i think that's particularly true in fdr's case. my own opinion is that i don't know that -- i mean, i'm, as a great admirer of franklin roosevelt, i'm delighted that there is a memorial to him, and better the one there is than none, but i'm not a huge fan of the fdr memorial, and i don't know that it's really a memorial that he would particularly like. we have a, we have a notion of what he considered a good presidential memorial because fdr was the, was the, really, the energy behind the building of the jefferson memorial in washington. it's a kind of funny side light on franklin roosevelt personally. he as a good democrat, of course, always paid o bee sense to thomas jefferson, and i
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always thought fdr slightly overdid it a bit because all of his forebearers -- isaac roosevelt, old james roosevelt -- were all hamiltonians to the core. the roosevelts, in the time of jefferson, none of the roosevelts thought very much of jefferson. so fdr kind of overdid this. and, once again, i think there should be a monument to thomas jefferson in washington, but that nice neoclass call structure that you see along the tidallal basin, and i've always thought was fdr's taste, the memorial, i think, is very much a 1990s view of franklin roosevelt. and, um, i say this partly out of, from design conviction. and i don't think the structure is what he would have particularly liked. but, also, it's franklin roosevelt that we now think
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about historically, and that is the franklin roosevelt of the new deal. the fdr memorial in washington heavily concentrates on the depression, it concentrates on his domestic policies, on his conservation, his stewardship of, of national parks and so on, all of which is true. but to the total exclusion of certain other aspects of him. you would never know that the great conservationist was also one of the great dam builders of the 20th century which is somewhat anathema in our time, but fdr thought that was a very logical thing to do, to generate energy and to put people to work. also you would never know that this was a monument to the man who prosecuted the greatest war in american history and very vigorously prosecuted it. and i don't think reluctantly prosecuted it. so one of the -- and i think
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that's, i mean, obviously, any student of roosevelt will know that, but when you go to the roosevelt memorial in washington, you're only seeing the -- you're, essentially, seeing the 1997 sort of congressionally-approved view of franklin roosevelt. and this happens with historical figures all the time. i mean, in the journalism particularly we always when we refer to fdr, it's always the fdr of the new deal. and similarly, my other subject -- the somewhat unlikely partner of fdr, dwight d. eisenhower -- the only time he ever gets quoted nowadays in the press is that one sentence in his farewell address where he warns against the power of the military industrial complex which he believed and which is true and which is valid. but it's just a speck in the great ocean of what eisenhower really represented and is a little bit, i think, misleading. and similarly, with fdr i think
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that while he is the, obviously in be my view, the dominant president, the greatest president of the 20th century and, obviously, the man who invented really our modern politics in many ways, he was also a global theorist. he was also a man ambitious for american power in the world. um, and, um, as with all such things you often wonder where did this come from? why did roosevelt think this way? what, what made him a kind of liberal imperialist, to use a scholarly term, as he was? why did he actively pursue a kind of american, what i call an american empire without colonies which is to say american power around the globe, um, but
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without necessarily acquiring real estate the way the europeans tended to do? and i think the answer comes from biography. franklin roosevelt was born in 1882, the united states in the immediate post-civil war, i mean, the united states has never been a deliberately imperial nation. we never have set out to create a map of the world that's colored red, white and blue in various places like the british, the spanish or others did. but we have a kind of, we've kind of become imperial is a bad word these days, but i can't think of an alternative. we have become a global power to some degree through inadvertence, but also -- and when i say inadvertence, partly because of the vacuums of power we have filled especially after world war ii, but also

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