tv After Words CSPAN August 30, 2015 12:00pm-1:01pm EDT
>> now, american enterprise institute president arthur brooks discusses his book, the conservative part in which he said time for a new kind of conservatives and that fights poverty, promote equal opportunity and extol spiritual enlightenment. >> arthur brooks, you have great been exciting and important new book, the conservative part. how to build affair, had a more prosperous america. it's great to be with you. i read this book and as you can tell i started making notes. because you seem to have struck a chord here that i think will
be important for the republican party writ large, but more specifically, how to deal with some of the internal changes occurring within the party. and you talk about the party becoming again a party of aspiration. what do you mean by that? what are you to that conclusion. >> people talk about republicans and conservatives as being angry all the time. if you look at the television and watch what's happening with the candidate and donald trump, they sound really angry. if you don't know what it is or it is they don't have that many conservatives and their families. they just know what they see on tv. they see the guys yelling and screaming and they say i guess they hate people. when i became a conservative in my 20s, it was because they
realized i was brought up in a liberal family. i realize conservative ideas of the best ideas for lifting people out of poverty. 2 billion people which free enterprise ideas 1970s. it's incredible what happened world and of conservatives themselves can shout this from the rooftop, how do expect anybody else to do it? >> the idea of putting on a different face in showing who we are expressing what we believe in a manner that is welcoming and inviting, what are the steps we can take to do that. as you've noted, you've got everyone out of the gate already falling into these camps of this or that, whether donald trump or attackers are some others have had some strong things to say at the beginning of this presidential cycle. how do you begin to change that within the body of the gop?
>> we have to remember a purpose not just as republicans. it doesn't matter. remember our purpose as people in our purposes never to fight against policies. my purpose as a person in leadership position is not to fight against things. to fight for people. this is what realtors all have in common and ethical people is to say who am i going to fight for any of there is not billionaires. saying how can we get a better capital gains tax for billionaires. it doesn't come out. that is what we actually talked about in our private lives. fighting for people -- the second thing is remembering the faces of those people so when this book i have dozens of stories of people who don't survive. >> that was fascinating because
in one section i made a note of it. you talk about -- let me pull it out because it's really interesting. lessons from an indian slum in austin ghost town. you give these examples of how people live with their lives, deal with these issues and problems and talk about it from a very human aspect. not political, not calculating and there is a section when you talk about grandma europe and i particularly enjoyed brise of my start with monetary and fiscal policy plus liberalization and you go into the tech stuff. at the end of the day you talk about how you adapt to that change in what you do to make that work and how do you explain that, i do express these examples of people lives and their stories.
how does that relate to those individual lives and stories in this changing environment? >> to begin with we have to remember each one of us is indeed our people. the truth of the matter is if we remember that, that is the moral consensus. the moral consensus we have is we are supposed to be good samaritans. the people we are supposed to fight for are those with less power than us. then we have a competition of ideas but they might talk about government solutions and new anaïs conservatives can be on the other side of the table as they i agree with you and we have actually been all the things we do because her turn to serve the poor today better.
>> i want to put a checkpoint there because i get to the idea you lay out about the dignity of work and the value of work and how all of that balances out in terms of lifting people up. you lay out lessons we can begin to learn from and begin to implement, to see this new party of aspiration or to the dress that. you talk about seven things. be a moralist, fight for people not against things which you touched on. get happy, which i loved and i've always said that's a key part of it. you make the point get happy and mean it. still all the best arguments, which is something i've learned to do over the years. go where you are not welcome, which to me as an important part
because when i was chairman of the republican national committee i emphasized every time we met you need to get out of your comfort zone. you need to be where you're not wanted and not expect it. save in 30 seconds and break your bad habits. i think those are some pretty good lessons. of those seven, not necessarily the most important but which is the most important jump off point for you? >> the one biggest mistake we make on the conservative side a lot, but when the trips people the most believe it or not wishes to get happy. it is appalling. inc. about it. this is the greatest country in the history of the world. we should wake up everyday feeling so lucky to be americans. the whole doomsday set of scenarios that everybody's doing it like a zombie apocalypse.
this is the most important election of our lifetime. no it's not. we have better ideas to help people and we are happy to be here and we are delighted to have our values not as a casual, not as a weapon, but as a gift. look, we have a responsibility in this country. we should be happy. it's unethical for us to not be happy because this country is a gift. >> how do you talk about the backroom conversations and all the stuff you know goes into making up, you know, health care. how do you talk these things? they want to repeal a matinee amplifier visceral reaction to big government intrusion and
health care. how do you talk about something like that in a happy way? >> you remember the reason for policy. when you talk about obamacare, conservatives may contain the whole obamacare thing because it seems like such an aberration of doing things the relatively simple way. it is your credit. it twists all the incentives around the bureaucratic outsole. a lot of things conservatives hate is fighting against obamacare. if you want to be a happy warrior, remember the things you don't like and don't fight against it. fight for the people of being hurt. reagan was a warrior, and happy warrior because he was always a warrior on behalf of people who need it. a lot of progressives are watching us today.
nobody in my family voted for reagan. like eight people. how he got to let it, nobody knows. it's mathematically impossible. remember what was written on his heart. he was saying the same thing about bill clinton. bill clinton fought for people who needed him. he was a happy warrior. >> which is why when he went through his travails in impeachment and all of that is numbers they've relatively high because people remembered he was a fighter for them. they saw the context of always transpiring was truly political. that is kind of how i look at what happened with something like ghazi with the seriousness and gravity of the matter, the loss of lives, for example, the way the party came up talking about it was much more
political. we didn't bring the emotion and feeling of loss immediately. so we then not spectrum of something really import like the loss of life in a matter series of benghazi to something that was very political like the impeachment of the president, how you handle it, how you talk about it still matters. >> let's go back to the bill clinton thing. conservatives will say he brought it on himself, which of course he did. remember during the higher impeachment scandal what was going on as republicans are fighting against bill clinton say in this distraction is making it impossible for me to fight for the american people and now it's really critical. we have to remember fighting against things is not even interesting. it is not worthy of us as leaders. fighting for people who do you ever go away and nothing is ever more than that.
do i care about the people adversely affected vertebrae use their plight as an excuse. we have to examine our own conscience at the point of redirect energies. that's what i'm asking conservatives to do. think about education reform. an awful lot of us care about it. we can all agree we have an education system that's inadequate to training people, kids to grow up and be part of a workforce in a meaningful way. virtually all the kids were adversely affect it. innovation and choice are smart thing for the kids. not because you want to fight against teachers unions are bureaucracies. the one education reform because they are being denied civil rights and that is a worthy aim to direct your energy towards. >> it still matters how you talk
about it. it still matters what you say. it is one thing to say i will fight for you to reform education or bring charter schools on the do this, do that. but how you begin to express that and explain that you talk about that when the political blowback and he begins to rise matters more than anything else. >> remember the face of the person for whom you're fighting. the child -- the mother who want to send her child to the school. it is more important than your political future. it's more important than how people perceive you in the press. that mom is the most important thing. if you don't think so, you shouldn't be a leader. >> is sort of got the broad scope of the book
they are sort of relating back and you talk about your journey to the right. you talk about this movement in your 20s and referred to a one point cap decade. was that the moment of explosive recognition that while, there is something else out there a need to be thinking about or how is that journey for you? how did you end up to the point where you are now telling this story in relating back to that. >> two important things happen to me. to begin with i dropped out of college. i come from a lower middle-class family in seattle, democrats which is sort of redundant. i left college when i was made in. i wanted to be a french foreign player. i went on the road and i was
lucky. i made a living, play chamber music, play jazz on the road and then i went with the barcelona symphony. i married a girl in barcelona and she had dropped out of high school and actually didn't get her high school diploma because she wanted to sing with iraq and come us who had a similar parallel track. we made a plan together. we plotted to move to the united states and i would study and she would get a job we moved to the united states in her late 20s. i didn't have a degree. she didn't have a diploma. she didn't eat very much english. neither of us had skills and she got three job offers in her first month. who were nonpolitical, leftist nonpolitical. she said this is the greatest country in the world for people who want to work. it just hit me. because i was an immigrant in my own country. i didn't know anything except my preconceived notion. these are minimum wage jobs.
she worked a minimum wage job for three years and we needed that money to get in our feeble was taking college classes. that had a profound impact because it was the optimism of the immigrant i found to my wife and i it through the eyes of someone who just came to this country. i'm working through the day and the main question i have forever was about poverty. poverty is the most important thing to me. i remember when i was a little kid and he had this experience probably. i grew up last. when you first saw real poverty, remember this picture of this kid in sub-saharan africa about my age. seven, eight years old saying how is that possible in this world and a sort of haunted me and stayed with me.
when studying my 20s, i learned what happened to that boy more or less. i couldn't know him for sure. the world's poorest people and i learned in the percent of starvation level poverty have been eradicated since i was a child. i had no idea. 80% of the number of people living on a dollar per day unless had gone away. there was not united nations or the world bank, but you decide it was globalization, free trade, property rights, rule of law and entrepreneurship. this american-style free enterprise around the world and lands that were open for free trade because places like the pacific as an american conservative idea to pull 2 billion people out as a child. they came to my country and
experience real opportunity with no education effectively and i had discovered the idea had lifted up the world by listening to their radios weren't even playing. all they cared about was money. i went on a quest. i became a political conservatives were get to work with leaders and get the message out. we have a moral obligation to save the next people and bringing immigrants who can earn success, too. >> we clearly have a problem with immigration. you go back to what the bush administration in a framework laid out in the president said of the union which unfortunately dissipated and fell apart subsequently and then picked up again by the gang of a in the house and senate to get to some compromise on immigration
reform. that fell away. we now seem to be in the space where the immigrant story is not one of aspirational entrepreneurs on and taking advantage of the opportunities this country offers. but it is the ever ticket database on. it is taking advantage of the country, flouting the rule of law and affording your responsibility to come in the right way, trying to get welfare. how do you create a counter narrative of an aspirational story because the gop, talking about the gop was at least articulated as a party of assimilation and welcoming an aspirational. given the rate, how do you make the narrative he described in the book that speaks to the
aspirational story your wife had about america. >> at the general level, the gop will be litigated lined around how we think about immigration a lot better. and the party of aspiration. they talk about about aspiration is supposed to inciting anger. anger is easier. you have to have hope and hoping to trying to make new friends. anger is all about fear and fear is firing up your base. an aspirational candidate will feed through a leader through all sorts of a systemic remedy that is necessary. the second thing as republicans and by the way democrats, to accompany to stop thinking about immigration as if there were one thing. it's not.
we have an incremental approach towards progress. data while progress on immigration, once a place in the well because they can pull the band-aid off all at once. let's think about the 30 things we need to do over the next five years at the easy come important things first. high skilled immigration. we know the average high skilled immigrant from a place like china or india creates five jobs for nativeborn americans. this is really important. the second in as the guestworker programs for the poor people stop being exploited and so on and so forth that we can make real progress going down the list, understanding it takes a whole bunch of years. >> moving back into the narrative, a good way back from your personal journey and how that works in the boat to the point talk about practical help. what is that? what does that mean?
i had flashbacks to guess we can, keep hope alive, hope and change. we talk politicians in the political system talks a lot about hope. it is almost a 10-cent word at this point. but you gave it a new emphasis for gop. what do you mean by that? >> opus we understand it from hope and change from 2008 obama campaign, it was really all about i hope the government will help me. i hope i hit the lottery. hope i don't get hit by a car today. the whole point you want for the events outside your control. that is not the traditional understanding of hope. there's good psychological studies that show we talk about hope for things out of your
control, it disempowers you. it cuts your dignity. it's a real problem. it can be done and that's the hope of my great grand parents who come to the united states say in my hope is i can actually be rewarded for my hard work the first time. >> that a part in the book we related to the american dream. >> the pursuit of happiness is intertwined intimately with the concept it can be done and i can do it. if i understand it can be done in may see how i can do it, that is where the pursuit of happiness stars. >> you talk about and i was a little bit thrown off by this portion of the book where you reference pope francis and you talk about, you know, this
quite understand or get. i listen to a lot of folks, particularly progressives who rail tournament conservatives against them than you realize neither one of you get what he's saying because doctrinally and otherwise years can you stand. but then he's making the point you just did. you need to take a look at what's happening through the policies and the things in the actions you are taking are not taking. i thought that was fascinating how you work that into this narrative of a political process and party changing itself. i thought that was very well done. i am curious move in all those pieces around that you have and you are looking at the political landscape today, what it means, what it's looking like, how descendents to tuition like aei, american enterprise institute, which you run, how did those institutions feed the beast or not because we have seen a
number of organizations and i don't mean to name them, that have sort of perpetrated this sort of narrative, this negative narrative because it translates into money as a great fundraising tool. but then you've got others that have been trying to let the conversation. is that a yen and yang tension that the political process has to deal with as well? >> that reflects a lot of problems. thousands of people watching us right now are very frustrated with washington d.c. it is bitter, acrimonious, nothing is getting done. people say what you've got today was the political parties need to make it agree with each other. anymore republicans and conservative democrats that can overlap. that is strong against him will be talked about a minute ago. what you need is moral consensus about both sides more or less
agree and we are fighting for opportunity who needed the most feared that is the moral consensus and then a competition of policy ideas in the job of the think tanks is to offer policy ideas that can actually help execute that idea to the consensus. that is what they're supposed to do. if you don't have a moral consensus and you don't discuss the moral consensus, then the policy differences become the whole war and that is a problem. let's not forget these are policy differences that we are agreeing on something in the middle of it. we can make a lot of progress without pretending progressives and conservatives have to agree with each other. they don't. >> it seems to be a big stumbling block. he is the worst important for me in my time is elected official is a political figure, but one word i've avoided using because it's become so polarizing is
compromising. and so the word that seems to work best in this political environment that we are living in his consensus. i'm not asking you to give up anything. take what you believe in what is sure to you and bring it to the table and see where it lines up and wear matches. that is where i think institutions like yours play an important role intellectually, but also setting those guideposts for the argument. ..
>> guest: so the great disappointment of the past decade politically for me was not that president barack obama was elected, whether i voted for him or not is a different matter. >> host: right. >> guest: it's that he campaigned on unity and optimism but governed on pessimism and division. that's a real disappointment because it was a huge missed opportunity. now liberals watching will say, yeah, but, you know, he was blockaded from doing what he wants to do by conservatives. >> host: right. >> guest: but you and i know that you never blame people lower down the food chain whether you can fire them or not. >> host: right. that's right. >> guest: whether they're professors with tenure or elected officials, the boss is the boss. lyndon b. johnson didn't make that excuse, ronald reagan
didn't make that excuse, and both of those guys were optimistic people. so governing through pessimism has bred an atmosphere of pessimism. you see republicans today, they were in reaction to the obama era, and that means we need visionaries. we need conservative visionaries who say, who declare their independence and come out as optimists to say it's a new day, and we can have competing pessimisms, or we can have competing optimisms. >> host: so what is the formula that you offer in the book for that conservative visionary? i mean, what, what are the elements in the 215 or so pages of this book that you would pull out and focus that visionary on to begin that process? because for me it's all about the process of evolution, how you evolve from where you are to this new space, this new environment and whether or not you're willing to do it.
but to help you get there, what are some of the things that you would pull out? we talked about the seven lessons -- >> guest: right. >> host: maybe elements of that. what other aspects of this book that you had in mind for that visionary? >> guest: so the most important thing to remember is that we're fighting for people. i've said this a whole bunch of times, but i'm going to emphasize it one more time in particular. if there's one thing that will help us to be optimists, it's realizing that we're trying to create hope on behalf of people who don't currently have it. that's our job. if we can't do that job, we should do something else entirely. that's the job of american leaders -- >> host: but you just said that was, you know, something that barack obama did. he created this sense of hope -- >> guest: his campaign. >> host: his campaign did. >> guest: right. >> host: but then you say he governed on pessimism. >> guest: pessimism and division. how he talked immediately, he did what pessimists typically do when they govern, which is that they shift blame, they blame other people, they don't take
responsibility, they don't dig in. they look -- they're basically distracted from are the task at hand. >> host: how does that hope, so how do you flip that script? how does that switch turn off? you spent 18 months of your life campaigning on hope and change, and you have the elements. and you can see this gravitational pull of people towards you, young people, millennials for the first time in numbers unrecorded before. >> guest: right. >> host: african-americans, others. so all these folks kind of coming into this space, and then for the next seven years, eight years what happened? how do you flip that -- i mean -- >> guest: what happened? >> host: yes. how does the optimist, how does that individual who's bringing all of this energy of hope to the table all of a sudden get mired and sucked into this land of pessimism? you were saying the word pessimist before and that was sort of a false image of that individual -- >> guest: i don't think it was a false image, i think it's just hard to do. it's much harder to govern than
it is to campaign, much harder. >> host: if you're saying to me, as you do in the book, that you've got to, you know, govern with this sense of providing that hope, bringing that hope to people, how do -- do i have to keep that sense of hope myself, obviously? >> guest: for sure. the way you do it is the vision of your optimism through the relationships you have with people. you've run the rnc. you've done a lot of chief executive things. look, i met you -- the first time you and i met, you didn't know me at all, you invited me over as president of the economic institute, because you're a relationship guy. they bring people in so they can develop relationships with people. the only way you're going to elicit flexibility from others is having a human to human relationship with that person. if you don't do it, it's just all campaign promises. that's why governing is hard work. that's why the management that comes and the leadership that come with being a member of the political class, that's why your job and mine are actually hard work dealing and being with other people --
>> host: right. >> guest: which is a key thing and remembering why which is, remember, there are all these people out there. those people are suffering. in the past seven years, think about how many poorer people have been left behind in this country that we need to fight for. do we see them as liabilities to manage, or do we see them as assets to develop? if you're an on optimist and you see assets to develop, this conquest of this incredible adventure, you're going to develop any relationships that you can. on the other hand, if it's just exhausting -- >> host: you say in the book, and i love this phrase, and i'm just letting you know i will repeat it. i will give due attribution -- [laughter] it's important. you say help is important, hope is essential. >> guest: yeah. >> host: and that really, really struck me in that section of the book where you talk about that because it does seem to tie into what you're just saying in terms of that aspirational leader who's going to get out there and talk about that. that, i think, is where they get
tripped up. and that is they get tripped up on the idea of health. and so they get bogged down in the ways i've got to help you and lose sight of the fact that the hope is the essential element to all of that. >> guest: yeah. >> host: is that fair to say? >> guest: absolutely. and parents do this too, by the way, how am i going to help my kid? no, no, no. how am i going to set my kid free? when you're really thinking clearly about my children, you're saying what can i do to get the barriers out of the way of my child? that's really how government officials should be -- >> host: i've been doing that for a while. time to go out. [laughter] >> guest: so, and so i'll give you an example, michael. one of the things i talk about in the book is the four secrets to a happy life. i didn't make it up, and i'm not a theologian. this is from pure social science. the four secrets are faith, family are, community and work. how can the government assist in those things?
we don't need a government help project of, you know, the department of state family, community and work. we need a president of the united states who gets up defer and says what can i do to get out of the way of americans practicing their faith, building their families, participating in their communities and having an incentive for hard, honest, sanctified, ordinary work? right now we're doing just the opposite. look, we're abridging freedom, we're atomizing families, we're fragmenting communities and creating disincentives to work through our public policies. i understand what's going on. good-hearted officials are trying to do something that think think is going to be helpful, but they're not helping because they're not providing hope by taking away barriers. >> host: you say values matter in lifting people up, and then you talk about and focus on jobs and pay equity and things like that. and the section of the book i felt was very interesting in chapter three you title it "pushing the bucket."
what is that? >> guest: so there's -- >> host: that was, i thought the title, then i read through the chapter, and i go, okay, so what is that? [laughter] >> guest: so i did a lot of field work for this book. as a social scientist, as a think tank president, ordinarily i'm looking at data, and the scholars at aei are looking at data. but a lot of this was based on field work where i tell dozens of stories of people who rebuilt their lives. one place i went to, it's called the doe fund in new york city, a homeless shelter that specializes in guys, men mostly in their 30s and 40s, a lot of them that spent a lot of time in prison. so, you know, this is the population of people that we throw away in our society. these are the people that are hardest to deal with. i mean, men without families who have been in prison and are currently homeless. >> host: right. >> guest: nobody wants to touch them. >> host: yeah. >> guest: and if there's anybody who's a liability to society, it's these guys. this place was started by george and harriet mcdonald in new york city, and they looked at everybody and said we believe
that people are assets or not? if we do, we're going to look at the haroldest cases and through the ministry -- the hardest cases and through the ministry of honest, sanctified work, we're going to the help them put their lives together. these guys come in, and they're held to strict behavioral standards which is to say the same as your children and that you and i were held to, thank god. just the same, just nondiscrimination is what it comes down to. >> host: right. >> guest: and ask first job they have -- and the first job they have is pushing the bucket down first avenue, cleaning the street in blue uniforms and it's not degrading because they get paid for it. it dose into a savings account, it goes into a savings account, and they have to pay child support because a lot of these guys have kids. i met a guy named richard who had been in the program for one year after 18 years in prison. he'd never had a job, an apartment, a cell phone, a job, nothing. after one year he pushes the bucket, and then he enters the program for learning how to become an exterminator.
he'd just gotten his first full-time job, and i said, are you happy? he said, am i happy? he pulls out his iphone, and he says, no, no, no, look at this e-mail. the boss says to him, emergency bedbug job, east 65th street. i need you now. i said, so? he said, look at this. he says, i need you now. that's the pursuit of happiness, is being needed -- >> host: for creating real value. to be needed and to have your value recognized. >> guest: absolutely. >> host: which, again, going back to, i think, one of the underlying themes of the book is that's what we used to talk about as gop. that was something that was a value that we put out there and we pushed. so you take that story x you take -- and you take this chapter where you talk about pushing the bucket and viewing people as assets, not liabilities. and then you flash forward into the recent conversation, and jeb
bush has gotten criticism for it -- i think unnecessarily so because i got what he was saying, but i'd love to get your take in the context of you talk about work as a blessing. and this is a value proposition that the party should expound and link it to a lot of oh things -- other things. but then you had jeb bush a couple of weeks ago talking about people wanting or needing to work more. >> guest: right. >> host: and a lot of folks particularly on the progressive side of the aisle took that the wrong way, you know? i think took it the wrong way, sort of casting as, you know, something as a negative. >> guest: right. >> host: when, in fact, that's not, i think, what he was saying. i think in a real sense he was trying to get around to the point, some of the points that you're taking up here about recognizing the value. the fact that you have employers who are cutting back on time, you're having employers who are changing what the definition of full-time work is to meet
arbitrary federal standards now so they don't get penalized and they don't have to pay extra, whatever. but at the end of the day, people want to work more. they value that work. >> guest: that's correct. so jeb bush was, he was, i think, very unfairly characterized as being callous toward poor people as the if they were moochers and takers. that's not what he meant at all. >> host: exactly. >> guest: here are the facts. we have two big unemployment measures in america. one's from the department of labor, the people who are looking for jobs but can't find them, and that's been going down. that's not the problem. the problem is what we call u6 which adds in the unemployed people who are involuntarily underemployed. think about this. these are people who want to work more but can't, and this is the problem that we have in our country today, is that people who want to work harder and want to get ahead can't do it. and somebody's got to fight for these people. we need a system that allows people to work harder, and there's more opportunities for these people. you and i at a alternative point in our lives -- at a certain
point in our lives, how do we get ahead? if people who are well educated and come from families that valued education and had good ethical standards and all the good things that our parents gave us, is it just for us? but poor people, they can't get ahead by working harder? what kind of country is that? >> host: right. and, in fact, a lot of that work ethic is rooted in that community. i know my mom was, you know, a laundry worker here in washington, d.c. for 45 years making minimum wage. >> guest: yeah. >> host: raising her kids. but that work ethic never dissipated and is was instilled in me and my sister, and it's amazing how we've transitioned to a point now where that ethic is not recognized or appreciated, where, you know, you have people who think that the poor are just lazy, and they want to stay that way. and as i like to say, i don't know about you, but how many people woke up this morning and
says all i want to do is be poor? >> guest: who says i want a welfare check instead of a paycheck? republicans, i know that the left has been deeply guilty of holding people to to lower standards just because they're poor, but the right has to examine its own conscience on this thing too. too many times i've heard republicans and conservatives say, well, people just want their free stuff, as if poor people -- [laughter] they say, oh, i would prefer to get welfare as opposed to a paycheck. there's got to be somebody out there like that, but i don't know them. i've known a lot of poor people. i've never heard someone who doesn't want to work. >> host: the numbers are small, trust me. >> guest: we should accord the same standards of dignity for everybody. and for the left to have this bigotry of low expectations for the poor is wrong, but it's wrong for us to say that they simply don't want to work either because, one, it's not true and, two, it's not helpful, and, three, it's going to kill the republican party. >> host: well, i agree on that point exactly. so that is the perfect transition to what i thought was
really kind of a fun part of the book, because i self-identified in so many ways in the section, in the chapter from protest movement to social movement. and this, for me, was exciting. and i think the readers are going to enjoy the way you tell the story here and the way you create the narrative. you start out talking about our early founders in this whole revolutionary sense. and i'm a, i kind of -- i'm a revolutionary. i like to mix it up. >> guest: i know you do. [laughter] >> host: you know, i just do can. i believe in pushing the envelope, sometimes to my own debt criminate -- [laughter] but that's another show. >> guest: i'll interview you. >> host: you'll interview me on that one. [laughter] i love this quote, and then i think it sets up and i want to tie it into adams, rosa parks, newt gingrich, tea party which are all revolutionary strain. and it starts with sam adams.
as you note here, the original tea party organizer. quote: it does not require majority to prevail, but, rather, an irate, tireless minority keen to set brush fires in people's minds. i thought that that describes so much of that revolutionary spirit. and you go on and you talk about how the tea party jolted the republican party and that whole movement in this part of the century. but then you go on and you get into the conversation about building a social movement and looking at elements of the civil rights struggle which the gop played an important part. looking at the story of rosa parks. and i kind of threw in the newt gingrich piece there, because i thought that also, that contract with america, that revolutionary idea we're going to give power and control back to the people. >> guest: right. >> host: how do you -- talk us through your thinking and in this chapter in the book where you really kind of get into this
sense of social movement being created out of a protest movement. >> guest: well, protest movements start up in lots of societies at lots of times. so the arab spring is a protest movement. you can have a protest movement against an unjust law. mothers against drunk drivers started out as a protest movement. the civil rights struggle in america started out as a protests movement against discrimination in this country. and it was hugely important to do so because it was based on rebellion against injustice. and a lot of good things start this way. but they fizzle out if they don't actually go from fighting against the injustice to fighting for the people who are the object of that injustice. that's a really important distinction. and how do you do it? by actually changing the locus of your attention from what you're fighting against to what you're fighting for, the people you're fighting for. then having a strong moral overlay to it and trying to become a majoritarian movement from minortarian movement. protest movements are us against the worthed, us against the
machine. if it's not david v. goliath, it's not that interesting, right? it's outnumbered, the odds are low but he wins anyway. that's how protest movements start. but ultimately, your goal should be to be a majority, to be a majority that has, that started out as a minority in protest but vanquished that foe and moved on to actually understand how society can be better as a result of that. you know, a couple of different examples of it. one was the civil rights movement where it started out really as, you know, we talk about rosa parks, the bus boycott and the march on selma. it was important elements of a protest movement. but dr. king was such a visionary because he understood that his goal was for everybody in america to say i can't believe we used to do that. >> host: right, right. >> guest: which is where we've gotten in america today. not entirely, but almost. >> host: right, right. >> guest: we can't believe jim crow laws and discrimination. it's insane, you know? the amazing thing is that the state of south carolina, an indian-american woman governor,
together with an african-american senator who was born poor -- >> host: right. >> guest: -- together lowered the confederate battle flag from the top of the statehouse to the cheers of south carolinians. >> host: right. >> guest: that's how things have changed. that's what dr. martin luther king did by moving from protest movement to social movement which was majoritarian based on morals, fighting for all people and a common consensus of our jointly-held value ares. >> host: so what is a social -- well, a conservative social justice agenda? what does that look like for you in the context of the fact that we've got the voting rights act that's sitting, languishing in the house controlled by republicans in the senate, nothing's done there? you've got, you've got concerns about voting rights period, you know? just how states are implementing. you've got the shootings that have occurred, the tensions that have arisen. how, how does a party in flux and change begin to address a
conservative social justice agenda? and then you've got rand paul, for example, who's kind of led in this area or is trying to lead in this area a little bit, but 40 dow yo see this -- how do you see this playing out? >> guest: social justice agenda on the right starts by recognizing that it's on the left-wing turf, right? when you say social justice, it's like automatically you're a huge liberal. just saying that, right? social justice is very, very important, and conservatives need a bid in social justice using authentically conservative values. so it basically starts with one thing which is values, which is an ethos. and that's faith, family, community and work. it's very important that we talk about these things as a gift as opposed to as a king jill. they talk as though i'm going to beat you over the head until you're submitting, you give up -- >> host: yes. [laughter] >> guest: you say, no, no, look, i hold my kids to high standards in faith, family, community and
work, why? because i want them to have the best life. your kids, they're all of our kids too. we are our brother's keeper, and so value starts. the second is help, and one of the things i talk about is that republicans, conservatives need to declare peace on the safety net right now. that's the likely-funded safety net. -- publicly-funded safety net. not the whole thing, but the idea that we can actually help people who are poor that we don't even know because of capitalism which created so much largess and a rich society. it's the first time in human history it's been possible, and that's a great achievement. second, only nor people who are indigent, only for the poor and needy the problem with the progressive ideal is it moves the safety net into the upper class and middle class and everybody's taking effectively, and that becomes unsustainable as we've seen in the case of greece which has imploded because of insolvency. >> host: but you have a presidential candidate out there in bernie sanders -- >> guest: right.
>> host: -- who is actively articulating redistribution of wealth. >> guest: right. >> host: so if that becomes the agenda, what -- how do you then put into place, how do you keep in place, rather, all those other value systems that you're talking about? clearly, what i value has no value because you're going to take it and give it to someone else. >> guest: it doesn't work. bernie sanders wants the united states to be norway. if he did what we wanted to do, we'd be greece. that's basically what happened. the greek system, the norwegian system are are very, very similar, but the greek system is more likely what we would turn to. i thought we were going to be finland. [laughter] so that's exactly what happens. the third part of the social justice agenda is the hope agenda, and that means education reform, that means radical work creation, and it means entrepreneurship pushed all the way down to the bottom. republicans have been obsessed with entrepreneurship for rich people which is a mistake.
entrepreneurship is not about rich people, it's not about making a billion dollars. it's about building your life. the book is filled with polls that design details. there's lots of weeds in this book. i talk about getting rid of the licensing that hurt poor people, and i look at washington, d.c. that you and i know real well where if you want to be a realtor, it takes you 135 hours to get your license. that's a difficult second job for an upper middle class woman after her kids move out. if you want to be a hair dresser, braid hair, do nails in your living room which is a typical first job for a single mother who's poor in washington, d.c., you're required to get a license with 1,500 hours of education. you have to go to school for a year, costs about $16,000 to get a cosmetology license. that's discrimination. that's anti-poor behavior. that's anti- [inaudible conversations] >> host: you've got to know how those chemicals work.
>> guest: we can be education reform warriors, education reform which is all about innovation and choice. we can be radicals for work so every public policy is to bring more work, especially more work for people who don't have college educations but want to work hard and do something that's skilled and good. i mean, it takes five weeks to get gutters put on your house in this country, and we have people who are laid off and can't find jobs. we have to be able to do better in vocations and especially helping people to build their lives entrepreneurially by pushing the ethos of free enterprise and the system and freedoms that we as upper middle class people enjoy all the way down to the bottom. then we've got a new game. >> host: so with this new game, where do you see, where do you see us at the end of this cycle? you know, this is a prescription as far as i'm concerned. it really is. when i was reading this and i said this to you before we sat down, how does this man get in
my head? you've articulated what a lot of conservatives have felt has been missing, you know? we've got a lot of pieces out there, but this brings them all together. and you're right, we didn't get into a lot of the weeds here. i'll leave the weeds for you to read -- [laughter] and you should. but i am left at the end with the question looking at how this is unfolding now, where do you see this going? you know? if it all fits right now the way you've described it, i get it. >> guest: right. >> host: but where do you see this, how do you see this thing playing itself out in this current cycle? and this book being on the table as it should be, what is the takeaway at the end of the day? >> guest: ing this is a manual for conservative optimism. and we have reason to be optimistic. as i mentioned before, it's irresponsible for us not to be optimistic because we live in the greatest country in the world. >> host: right.
>> guest: this is a manual for how to project optimism and how to talk so people understand your optimism. if it works, then the republicans if and conservatives in general no matter what party they belong to are going to be seen as a much, much more aspirational force and we'll break out of the shackles of competing pessimisms that we've seen. if they're the only ones who do it, they're going to experience incredible victory in 2016. they're going to take the country forward the likes of which we have not seen since the days of ronald reagan. if there are competing on optims between the two parties, america wins unilaterally. >> host: so it's a new kind of conservativism. >> guest: absolutely. >> host: what you're talking about. >> guest: absolutely. this is a conservativism -- it's not george w. bush's compassionate conservativism because real conservativism, when we really see what's on our own hearts, we don't need a qualifier for conservativism. oh, i'm a conservative, but i'm not one of those mean ones. >> host: right. >> guest: i'm one of compassionate ones. no. conservativism as we really
understand it that believes in the dignity of work and the sappingtity of every single -- sanctity of every single individual as a child of god -- >> host: but how did we get so far off that path? how did we get into this space where what you're describing is not what we are? >> guest: i understand the anger that people feel. they feel like they're losing their country in so many ways that they lash out. they'll even celebrate and follow somebody like donald trump at least for a little while, and i understand that frustration that goes into it. but that's not the right reaction. that's not it. when you feel like lashing out, that's when you have to be most in control. >> host: is that true, too, of the progressive side where you see this sort of lurching towards an elizabeth warren? >> guest: yes. it's absolutely -- it's a lot less interesting for the press and the media. somebody like donald trump -- >> host: much more fascinating. >> guest: oh, he's catnip. you never know what's going to come out of his mouth.
>> host: catnip with a cocktail. [laughter] >> guest: how interesting can that be, right? but the truth is the left is actually moving to the left more than the right is moving to the right. the right is actually moving to the -- not to the center right now, but into a more flexible, aspirational space, i think. and i think it's better than 50% likely that you're going to see a candidate who basically frames himself as the candidate of aspiration, not anger. >> host: well, you've gotten high praise for the book from some really cool people; mike lee, senator mike lee and george will, paul ryan who states the conservative heart makes the case for why conservative principles should be at the center of our poverty-fighting efforts. and that, for me, is one of the more important takeaways from the book, is it does give a prescription of how to fight for something and how to be about
that fight in a way that brings people into it. and i think after listening to you and replaying in my head some of the sections of the book that really stood out, i understand why this is an important book. and i think a lot of people will -- particularly conservatives -- begin to appreciate that the struggle isn't over, the fight isn't done. we have a lot more fight in it, but we've got to put ourselves fully into the game. >> guest: that's right. and to enjoy it and to be happy about it and to be grateful that we're in a position of leadership. >> host: reagan talked about the happy warrior. >> guest: absolutely, the happy warrior. >> host: and this is the manuscript for the happy warrior. it has been a joy and a pleasure to be with you again and to share with everyone this book, "the conservative heart." >> guest: thank you, michael. you're a happy warrior, and you've been an inspiration to me. >> host: you've got it, my friend. arthur brooks. with pleasure, babe. >> guest: all right.
>> that was "after words," booktv's signature program in which authors of the latest nonfiction books are interviewed by journalists, public policymakers and others familiar with their material. "after words" airs every weekend on booktv at 10 p.m. on saturday, 12 and 9 p.m. on sunday and 12 a.m. on monday. and you can also watch "after words" online. go to booktv.org and click on "after words" in the booktv series and topics list on the upper right side of the page. >> and now joining us on booktv is northwestern university professor of law deborah tuerkheimer. before or after tuerkheimer, you've written a book called "flawed convictions." chat shaken baby syndrome? >> guest: shaken baby syndrome is a medical diagnosis with extreme legal