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tv   After Words With George Nash  CSPAN  March 21, 2014 9:53pm-10:22pm EDT

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the element as we define it. they teach to have security with their traditional practices. so feeling you are not good enough ian you have to do more. so you should feel pretty enough. similarly in a different way , privileged whites they don't have to prove themselves but with both cases talk about eaton college they have superiority and also impulse control being exercised. >> but no insecurity. no rising from where they started.
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you start wealthy then you could say that. >> he is the eaton brad? >> he gave a favorable review. [laughter] >> so let's talk as it relates to the historical document but you seem worried we more a "the triple package" nation but has become less so. is it possible for a nation to become more triple package? it sounds like groups over individuals but what about a nation? >> we say we talk by analogy it is the last chapter we booked an end to say in some ways america was born with these three elements. everybody knows about american exceptional is of. we have the best system we
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always have the insecurity to be the underdog. queer look down on by europe in to the soviet union in the puritan origins of impulse control but it has always been an interplay which makes america of what it is of rules of immigrants but it's a good way you have new energy but what we say at the end of the book for the first time in our entire history maybe we were left with major superiority complex at the expense of the other two. so which has massive problems anyway is tempered
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to prove herself. >> would you want a country to have the triple package? you have to have been intelligent answer first. superiority complex make countries do terrible things. we argue that america has available a sense of the exceptionally if that can be the basis of the american superiority complex in terms of superiority i would be willing to say they could use a dose of impulse control was so many domains to stop borrowing and there
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is a good argument to we made with times of adversity. with the perverse silver lining with the military problems we have had a civic we have an exercise of impulse control. >> but china right now is a good example of the country described with the strong sense of security with we have been humiliated by the west. we will see what happens. >> host: amy chua and jed rubenfeld date you for joining us to talk about "the triple package".
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. . the 31st president of the united states ranked 37 out of 43 in a recent u.s. news poll that that magazine wrote of hoover, you was known as a port communicator who fueled trade wars and exacerbated the depression. not only those on the left but
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also ones on the right to assign blame. we're here today to talk about that specifically. president hoover's own analysis, his own work with plans of the people as well including his successor, franklin roosevelt and his predecessor calvin coolidge. we want to welcome you, viewers, to this hoover revision. dr. nash is a frequent guest on this channel. richard norton smith introduced him and interviewed him a few years ago for another boat. this time are going to get right to this crucial controversial depression. are going to break our our into three parts. the first is to remind ourselves who hoover was. the second part is to talk about the production of this tremendous book and its many pages and editing and detail. the third will be to talk about why it matters, what about the great depression.
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today c-span yours welcome. hoover's identity really began in college. you've written all book about that. where did you ever go to college and how did it affect them? >> was born in 1874 in iowa as the son of quakers and some of a blacksmith. he was orphaned before ten, went out to live with them on call in oregon, never had more than a middle school education. and then he applied for entrance into a newly formed stanford university in the summer of 1891. he got in mission and was told to take additional to agree with the help of which she post -- passed most of his entrance against. he was probably the first student at stanford university getting his dormitory room ahead of anyone else.
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that became his all moderate. after world war 100 -- hoover literally built his own home on the stanford campus. that's still there. >> and dr. nash, what did he do with his education and the got there? the study engineering. >> is the official measure was geology. he had an interest and engineering which quickly became his career after a graduated in the class of 1895. after your to in the united states he got a break and was hired by a british mining engineering firm that was preeminent in the world of the time. he was sent as a young man to australia. before he left australia at the
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age of 23 he was already part of one of the great gold mines. from there he once and got married to a stanford woman who also was a geology majors, possibly the first dutch woman in the united states to have that major. we can't be sure, but she was certainly a pioneer in her own right. they went to china for a couple of years and eventually hoover used london this is based during his mining engineering career which took him off to world war one. he became successful at it, travel all over the world, live in places like burma, china, australia and had a great success that the first career. >> we want to stop a minute and bank about this. imagine you have a summer dollar and the goes to college and studies that thing the world needs most, getting minerals out of the ground, a growing economy that needs minerals especially
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when the world is on a gold standard. your child is the best educated in that area. steady with masters of stanford and is also the most -- hoover was the best pay young man of his generation. certainly one of the most successful. he was not just in a success. >> required right. he became the outstanding mining engineer his time. he was recognized for that. he was earning in 1908-1914 money in excess of 100,000 per year which was a lot of money. he did not want to stop there. at the time he was 40. probably a millionaire. he wanted to do more with this live. just making money is enough. having done well in his profession he went to do something more creative, perhaps give back.
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that led to his second career as a humanitarian. >> that's right. professor nash's written about each stage of his early life. he moved first in war time to getting americans back to the u.s. and world war one. then to agree rescue of the people of belgium. and then some of the food administrator, that was the beginning of american politics. >> hoover was in london and the first world war broke out of the month of his 40th birthday. he had notions was going to return to the united states and get in the public life. i think he thought he would become a newspaper owner. but at any rate circumstances turned his life and a different direction. as you just pointed out the first helped american tourists it home. and then he was asked to organize what was about would be a temporary emergency relief mission to help the distressed
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people belgium who had just been overrun by the german army and the star of the war. he did not have enough food. that turned into something that was unprecedented in the history of humanity, feeding an entire occupied nation. almost over 9 million if you count a couple million in northern france the fell into the sphere. that made hoover an international hero and a symbol of a new force in the world at that time. the new world coming to help yield. hoover was doing this not by conducting war but by dealing with the problem for as a humanitarian. that made him, as i say, an international hero, an american hero as well. he entered the wilson administration and became food administrator. now he's kind of a world authority on food and food relief, a new field of humanitarian relief.
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he earned a self the accolade of the great humanitarian. he was called the master emergencies, but napoleon the mercy. and at the end of the war he went back on wilson's instructions to organize relief to prostrate your, many countries, over 20 countries receive food assistance that hoover orchestrated and facilitated. truly tens of millions of people were dependent. >> at that time he had the opportunity to form some opinions about the revolution that was going on in europe, whether it was germany or russia tell us a little bit about russia because he had investments there and he saw what happened with the russian revolution. >> as an american hoover traveled all over the world five times for four world war one and he was a very perceptive observer constantly comparing the america that he knew with these other social systems many of which were failing. and as you mentioned, there was great turmoil in the aftermath
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of world war one, the communists had taken over russia. and hoover had basically pulled out of russian mining interests before the revolution. he lost when the communists came in and seize the minds and general chaos ensued. he saw -- and i was one of the great lessons he drew from the wartime and postwar experience, he saw what he regarded as the failure of command-and-control economies as we would say. he used the word socialism, bolshevism. especially in russia. and he saw that as a great failure. also as a great challenge philosophically to the american way of doing things. so after his humanitarian episode which probably resulted in his saving more lives than any person who's ever lived, a remarkable achievement. after that he returned to the united states and entered american public life. >> that's right. we are going to move through his
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career quickly so that we can get to the controversy. he was such a success that both parties fight for his affection. >> yes, indeed. >> and in the and he went republican. he was commerce secretary to president harding and president coolidge. and he did not get along very well with president coolidge. >> initially they did, but it became an increasingly tense relationship partly for reasons of temperament. partly hoover was much more aggressive in terms of wanting to of the public-works expenditures and someone with grated against coolidge is more fiscal conservatism. so there were tensions. they were both party loyalists. so coolidge did endorse hoover ultimately and again when hoover ran for reelection. it's a complicated story, but it became a tense relationship
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underneath. >> that's right. so coolidge was no longer president. hoover was president. and just as your becomes president within a year the stock market crashes. so whoever is stuck with the albatross of a downturn. this is why there is so much emphasis on him, so much focus. what did hoover do in the depression? >> yes. hoover did not believe in the philosophy of laissez-faire. he frequently disparaging that. that was even before it was president. by the historic standards of the presidency he was an activist at the start. what he tried to do was to bring in leaders of industry, leaders of labour, bankers and have a kind of cooperative approach that would hopefully stimulate recovery through greater public-works spending in the light. there were faces to what they did. he did some things that he has
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been criticized for by conservatives like agreeing to this. >> there was a great tariff which she signed. some of us have seen a little scene about in fear spielers day off. and that tariff was a burden on business at a time when business could afford it. >> hoover was reluctant to sign it, but it had been pushed through and it was something that is party stood for a starkly. high tariffs. and he did hope that in the law as written he could turn it to better advantage by setting up a tariff commission that would presumably be more impartial and perhaps lower as well as raise tears. he had the hope that scientifically things work out better. that probably was a forlorn hope >> wages. >> he and many other leaders of industry and the view that wages
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should remain where they were, the argument being that this would create purchasing power for people who were struggling, perhaps the unemployed and so forth. that has been a much debated -- >> like and reform, he is not alone. henry ford believed pay high. so it's not keynesian is and because he was not really around. but it's an idea that is very popular now. consumer spending is good for the economy. >> and hoover was kind of approach keynesian at that point in the sense that he believed in stimulating the economy through countercyclical public expenditure on public works. you have to remember, hoover was an engineer. so that was part of his early policy. what happens to hoover as the depression deepened and people didn't know it was the great depression. it thought it was probably typical cyclical event, but when
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that pattern did not hold them in the depression deepened hoover then found himself facing increasing pressure from the left for greater and greater expenditures, greater intervention in the economy and started to hold the line against that and became very much a fiscal conservative balance the budget save the gold standard republican in the last year or two of his life. that perceived as part of the reason that he got attacked as supposedly not doing anything. he was quite active list for is time including some policies that might not have been all that effective. on the other hand he was valiantly struggling against a total statist turn such as he saw coming in the new deal. >> there are so many cliches about hoover, but they are different. some people blame him for being too active. some people blame him for doing nothing. neither is entirely correct. this is why your writings about
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hoover so important. there's the third great measure that is often discussed. an enormous tax increase in the later part of who resigned. i often think they were blamed wrongly. in today's terms to go to a very high tax in the 60% range from the 25 for 24 that they had when he started seems like a lot, but he was operating in a gold standard world. in a gold standard or washington must balance the budget. and even worse recession by taking your gold away. what do you think about this tax increase and whether he is wrongly blamed about it. >> there was a consensus among economists and politicians in both parties in late 31 early 32 of the federal deficit was so gigantic, 50 percent of federal
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expenditure. deficit spending. there had to be tax increases to balance the budget because, as you say to my balancing the budget was perceived to be critical to recovery. the question was, do you have a national sales tax, miscellaneous taxes. i think there is some evidence that hoover favored what was called at the time the manufacturing sales tax. eventually what happened was there was a whole bunch of taxes i have to point out that the consensus of economic thinking at that time was that this was a wise idea. this is not something that hoover hoisted on the congress. there was bipartisan consensus. that was -- those were the parameters of the debate. if you look at the results of that, even after rates were raised 90 percent of the american people did not pay any income tax. i'm inclined to think that whether it was a good idea or
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bad idea, it was not a catastrophic explanatory idea for the late phase of the depression the summer right would say. i tend to think that the tax increase, while probably a mistake by our understanding of policy was not nearly as much of a mistake or in that context to my say what choice did they have i think whoever is done too much criticism on a one. >> right. as super born the blame? and you think of it in an emotional arc. the stock market went down into the '40's from 381. the country is very angry. so who has a chosen plan, its hoover. he's the most blank president. and just quickly to move followed the before we talk about your work, the work of a biographer and editor, hoover is out and 303, kind of out on his rear in unfortunately, not
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included in goes back to california. you have said that he invented the ex-president's it because the lived very long after the presidency. you know, he held the record, in fact, until jimmy carter surpassed and. can you just briefly tell us what he did in that post presidency time? >> you are exactly right. he was a pariah left office. probably hated as much as any person in american history. he did not go quietly. he did go out into california. he stayed out of sight for a lot -- about the year-and-a-half. he gave roosevelt the chance. you wanted to permit a genuine change of the administration. hoover then became partly for reasons of temperament, partly because of a desire to vindicate himself and partly because he saw a great threat emerging, he became very active as an
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ex-president. has been said he invented the ex-president's. maybe deodar rose above have some inclinations. hoover became really the leader of the opposition. he fought back, wrote a book in 1934 which is kind of his return to the scene called the challenge to liberty. perhaps will talk about that moment. he ended a becoming a vigorous critic of the new deal. he actually really wanted to be president again, and there is considerable evidence that in 1940 was angling for the republican nomination. he wanted to return and stay in public life. he became the intellectual leader of the republican party during the time from 1933 until the advent of eisenhower's of ministration, the return of republicans in 1953. and in that time hoover became a man of the right because even though he saw a himself as a progressive republican and a historic liberal he was battling
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against what he saw as a much greater status challenge from the left which pushed him toward the right. during all these years is writing books, doing all sorts of philanthropic work. people forget that for almost 30 years she was chair of the boys' club of america movement and may get into a major philanthropy for urban boys. he did a huge amount of travel. so he was an extraordinarily activist next president. that, i think, is something that people tend to forget. >> this is a story that is not told, especially the part about the republican party. we sort of forgot it if we ever knew it. he advised william f. buckley or was around when the conservative free-market journal was created. he was a counselor to many conservatives or out of power republicans. it is not always take his advice he was there.
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that father figure is under appreciated in modern history. he had a phrase regimentation. what did that mean? >> he argued that it was a variant of a number of parents of what he called state is in, state control of the economy, straight -- state-controlled society. he said the american variant which had some relationship to the others was regimentation. that is in essence the economy would not be a free economy simply regulated by government. it would become the top down managed economy with government dictating to business or even being yes leader of business organizing business. whoever argued that properly regulated individualism was the
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proper alternative to what he called sure socialism. >> he's thinking about communism in russia which she deplores. he was not for recognition of communist russia that he is also complaining of the regimentation and the new deal which is related to we would call mandates, unfunded mandates. too many rules. it would be too much state control. i want to move really briefly because it is very important and interesting to you, your own career and the art of working on hoover and you are from new england. you went to amherst college where hoover did not go, but coolidge did. class of '67. coolidge was class of '95. you are also quite a coolidge scholar. what was your first book? >> the conservative intellectual movement in america since

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