tv Book Discussion on In the Arena CSPAN May 15, 2016 4:30pm-5:31pm EDT
talking about income inequality and san antonio is one of those places where they're side-by-side some of the worst poverty and well off, and i was think about your point about women having children out of wedlock more and more, and i think historically we have always been taught to think, that's a bad thing. that's something that we need to help those women not do. just like we need to improve the educational system and away. are we thinking about this wrongly? >> i believe that we are. i am, however, a lefty feminist. it is conservative dogma and you can hear from many republicans who really believe for different rains that ones of of the cures for poverty is the re-establishment of marriage as a form any republican politician will tell you this and they'll
tell you in terms that make sense, one income, how can you raise a kid on one income? if you brought two incomes together -- i believe the reverse is true. i believe that stabilizing people economically promotes -- i'm not particularly interested in repromoting marriage as a norm but promotes more emotional and familial stability in whatever form those families and bond take. so, what you're asking is a question there's a real fight about. i happen to be on the side that says these kind of policies i was talking about, higher minimum wage, paid leave, expanded welfare programs, more protected way, and reproductive control, contributes to stabilizing populations financially, that then better enables them to form the kind of bonds and raise the kind of families that are going to be healthier and more economically stable. conservatives will tell you that it's about repromoting early marriage as the norm.
so it's a fundamental disagreement. >> i think we have to stop but thank you all for a great, great discussion. >> thank you. >> i'm going to remind you -- wait -- they will be signing books again on the second floor in the gallery. my instructions are wrong. and don't forget to shop at the book tent, and in the gallery. [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] when i tune into on the weekend, usually authors sharing
new releases. >> watching the nonfiction authors on booktv is the best television for serious readers. >> on c-span they can have a longer conversation and delve into their subjects. >> booktv weekends, they bring you author after author after author that spotlight the work of fascinating people. >> i love booktv and i'm a c-span fan. [inaudible conversations] >> good morning, welcome to the heritage foundation. we welcome those who join us on our heritage.org web site on these occasions.
those guests here in house we ask the last courtesy check that our cell phones and other noise-making devices have been muted, as a courtesy to our speaker. our internet viewers are always welcome to send questions or comments. simply e-mailing speaker at heritage.org and we'll post the program on the site. hosting our event is vice president of our katherine and shelby institute for national security and foreign policy. also our ew richardson fellow. a graduate of west point and a 25 year veteran of the army, serves as ans a junction professor at georgetown university and is a visiting professor at the national defense university. he is on the board of trustees of the marine corps university foundation and the advisory boards for the west point center of oral history, the hamilton society, and operation renewed hope.
please join me in welcoming jim. [applause] >> pete is a graduate of princeton and harvard. we won't hold that against him. he served in the u.s. army. right? which is another mark in his favor. three combat tours. >> three tours. >> two bronze stars, combat infantryman badge, extraordinary career in the become sphere, including now working with fox news and so having put his life on the line ironing not sure what possessed him to write this, but i think in the arena is both courageous, dangerous, and certainly politically incorrect, in the world in which we leave he was deemed to write
a book who we are and who we should be. it seems something that just seems quite old fashioned and distasteful to address but for those who have walked around potomac and walked by the roosevelt statue and seen the quotes and the legacy of people who thought, maybe this really does matter, that deciding who we are kind of quint essential to being a republic and a democracy, and i applaud pete for taking it on and coming here today to share his thoughts. so, pete's going to talk and then we'll take q & a, and peter will recognize his own questions and we'll do that until the end of the area. so when we get to q & a, if you would wait for the -- raise your hind and waite for pete to wreck noise you and wait for the microphone so people online can hear the question, and then just state your name and affiliation and that would be awesome.
please join me in welcoming the author of "in the arena. ." [applause] >> jim, thank you very much. the i'm grateful for this opportunity. you got the book early, read it, engages with it. ed appreciate that and offered to hope. this feels like family reunion, basically, in this audience, and i thank you for being here. so many wonderful faces, people i've known and worked with and folks online. i want to thank bunch of people but my former colleagues here at concerned vets which make up a big bulk of this audience. i'm grateful you're here. i wrote this book from 4:00 to 8:00 a.m. in many morning while working, while running cva and it was what we did at cva that was an inspiration for me. you'll find in the wages of the book it's a call to action that is the call to action that is the organization.
so it was always a pleasure to work with you. i appreciate the work you continue to do, from jay and bill and caroline and sarah and dan and will and sean and amber and emily and my brother, phil in the front row. and want to thank all of you, and kate pomeroy. kate was an inspiration for know write this book. she told me you got write emt. and i took her advice and i'm glad. i also want to thank my very good college buddy, matt hoops, 0 who is here today and is acknowledged in the book. this book would not have happened without nat, without him teaching me how to think and write and argue in college and pulling me back from the brink of some absurd things i put in the pages of publications. nat was the content editor of the princeton temperaturey -- torry and to good rein. thankthank you for your help.
and so many others that are not here. my wife, my boys, gunner, boon and rex, who i dedicate my book. to there's good season name nets north. my brother, nate, and i also want to recognize david, a very good friend of mine, fellow traveler of voters freedom, an author himself and encouraged the project from the beginning. the book itself. when i was? iraq and afghanistan and guantanamo bay i carried with me a quote in a black frame. durable black frame. i always hung it and it what teddy roosevelt's map in the arena quote. if you open up the first page you'll see it. it's not the critic who count it's the man who is in the ray reina whoa has face is marred by blood and dust who strives valiantly and comes up short because there is no effort without error and short coming but who does actually strive to
do the deeds and knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions, into spend himself on a worthy cause, the best knows in the end to achieve highly and fails while daring greatly so his place shall never be with the cold and tim mid souls who know neither victory nor defeat. famous quote. this book aims to ask those questions of the american people today. this book is not about my life. i'm not audacious enough to believe i should writing a biography of the age of 35. i'm not a state senator from illinois. this book is also not about teddy roosevelt. of course it channels his historic speech but it's not about him. i'm not attempting to litigate his life as a conservative. i'm very aware of his progressive lurch and what he gave us in 1912 in the candidate siy and presidency of woodrow
will son, too say teddy roosevelt -- this book is not about me or roosevelt or litigating where he is. it is a call to action. it to me is meant to inspire, motivate, and remind americans of every generation what makes america special. and that it is worth fighting for. and some of us carried a rifle, and many in this generation still do, but you don't have to carry a rifle to be in the arena and it's your job to instill in every generation perpetuate -- this is an experiment in human freedom. if the 21st century isn't an american century, then the 21st century will not be a free century. it's just a fact. look around in the world today, there are threats looming, ideologies around the world are quite different than ours and a quote in the book is the phrase history is not over.
height is never over. and all we have to do is look to western europe today to realize when you decide to gut your military to pay for your welfare state and you forget who you are you have to tendency to ride the wave of history also opposed to shaping it. it's getting off too a good start is important, then no one is more responsible for the 20th century being an american center than teddy roosevelt. the guy who charged up san juan hill in 1898. sent the great white fleet around the worldin' 1907 and who was the chief agitator for american involved in world war 1. woodrow will son declared the wanted peace without victory which its quite difficult would be a different looking peace than we have today. in many way is the 20th 20th century was an american century on the back of teddy roosevelt. why, then, -- is a think bit when i read the entire roosevelt speech, that's when i woke up to the power of the quote.
the quote itself is powerful. the quote is motivating. but it is in some ways -- there's no value assertion in the quote. it's been in the arena. but where is the arena? i write it's not your arena or my arena or a you do you argument. there's the arena for the exceptional american experiment gifted to us 240 years ago and has to be perpetuated in every single generation. we know the reagan quote, never more than one generation away from extinction. it doesn't get bassed to the next generation in the bloodstream. a beautiful quote but a stark reminder and a more difficult reality in a -- on a daily basis. the quote, man in the arena, is one coat of a larger speech called citizenship in a republic and roosevelt gave it in 1910 in front of french elite at the
university of paris, when i read the speech for the first time, after looking at the quote and never can think of the context is was blown away it it is unpc before there was pc. it was a -- to me it struck me has the road map of what we need in america today in order to restore our republic. why should i stand up and declare what i think the direction of america should be when instead i could channel a fantastic speech, a historic speech, that has timeless resonance today and reminds us of the very ingredients of republics that are required of every generation whether we have twit ore facebook. the baseishing seed of a republic are the same. he he says the average citizen must be a good citizen if great republics are to succeed. think about that. the average citizen must be a good citizen if great republics
are to succeed. not great rulers or even great citizen, heroic citizens in every moment. good citizens. that on a diely basis in a gritty way, personal way, understand what it takes to keep america the greatest country in the world good citizens are the only anticoat to big go. the smaller and -- the larger and more uncheck government becomes and as history shows us good citizens who understand why mare is exceptional and special, they are the thin line between freedom and tyranny. they're the ones who understand our american experiment truly is exceptional. not because we're proud or boastful, but because we understand that this american experiment, when it was first started, was just that. an experiment. in fact europe laughed at us and said a piece of paper? a constitution is going stands between you and a tyrant? you're going to hand over power peacefully? there was this sense that it
just wasn't possible. yet our funders reminded us our rights come from a creator and not from government. they in other words a balance of power which checked the nature of humans, pride, tyranny, and ambition. they understood freedom of religion, as opposed to freedom from religion. they understood amendmentses like the first and the second are indispensable to free people. the ability to articulate, speech and ideas across the spectrum, which roosevelt talks about powerfully in the speech. true tolerance is tolerating varies you dissension and -- and the second amendment, the right to bear arms and protect yourself, and one-third we're a country of laws, not men. if men were angels we wouldn't need laws. the talks about good citizens and good patriots. and that's the breakdown of the book. is -- it's intentionally in that order. i talk a lot about what i talk
about on fox and elsewhere is foreign policy and military and national security and look at the world today and there's a lot to talk about. but you can't talk about american leadership until you talk about restoring and maintain can citizenship. if you don't understand who you are and what you believe and don't educate that in every generation then you can forget about attempting to be the leader in the world, or attempting to project power in controversial and difficult places. you need to shore up, you might say, the home front first. what is a good citizen? not just vote organize jury duty. it's not protesting in the -- those are ingredients of what we do in republics, what citizens. do vote and can all those things are good. but roosevelt point little out that it's the gritty, virtue, the civic virtue, he uses the word efficient, which is usually a word we think of when we think of light bulbs and starting pitchers. you don't think of it when you think of citizens. his view of citizenship is first inward. who are you as an individual? do and what do you do before
deciding how others ought live, and he uses the first principle is work. earned success. the willingness to keep a job and provide for your family. the served is fight. a strong and virile people, a masculine spirit for men and women. strength, vigor, power, hold are your own, we're a bike helmet culture when we should be think beth the identify mail subjugation in the middle east. we teach our kids to be wimps and turn our men into women and women into men and we need to stand up and fights for the thing wes believe in, whether it's on a battlefield or here at home. the third degree is large families, demographics. roosevelt wrote about demographics and talk about demographics in the speech elm n an neck dotted i use is of an afghan interpreter i spent time with. not a radical. he would risk his life for me
and i would for him. and we were talking about faith, religion, christianity, islam, and he said it's inevitable that islam will rule the world. the prophets toll us are we're having ten kids and you're having one. there was powerful position nance in that raines. when you look at western europe today. when you look at -- i mentioned they're gutting their militaries to pay for their welfare statement when you forget who you are and don't demand allegiance and assimilation from population that separate themselves thens and then have ten kid while you're having one, that's how london becomes the most popular name in london is mohammad for newborn boys and for us to think that things like that just go away, is wilful blindness, and western europe whether it's 25, 50, 75 years from now will look very defendant. and that's not an antimuslim phrase or statement. it's a reality that because they don't do integration, they haven't down that well in western europe, they're not the melt moth that america has been
so far they going to have massive cultural classes as we have already seen, and thing is like the migrant crisis, and europe could be a preview of american elm second chapter over the book is about france and what we can learn from france that was a frankly former live great republic, that decided to give away its status by making very intentional decisions at home, and america can learn from that. we have massive advantages that our revolution was very different than theirs. the fourth aspect you can put first in good citizenship is character. whether it's faith, or believing something -- in something greater than yourself. george washington said in his first gnawing all, religion and moriality are instance dispensable. written out faith and you wonder why we get what we get. i'm not talking about social conservativism in the former --
i'm still a social conservatism but a former ardent conservative on college. when you go to war you realize there's other things that are more important, eye knock talking about "life issues. that's a fight that conservatives should continue to fight and win. we obsess over things like same-sex marriage, and its inhibitses our ability too talk about the real challenges facing families. the real challenges face can parents and kids in our culture. then he talks about after you focus on yourself, looking outward and talking about equal opportunity which needs to be the loadstar of conservatives and the republicans. the left is a party of equal outcome. if we don't strive daily to be the party of equal opportunity, then we will miss the mark, and i think it's fair to say republicans and conservatives have in many ways milled the mark on that for a long time.
talking about marginal tax rates when people's minds selds are very difference and they're seeing massive shifts in our economy and the way their lives are lived. we have to have clear eyes about attack that and approaching that and that means not just unburden can regulations and problems for those who are push -- or pushing back against dependency for those at the bottom and making sure those at the top play by the same rule. it's the regulations, it's the tax code, it's the lobbyists that rig the system so that those at the top are able to game it to their advantage, and in many ways block out those who would otherwise have social mobility. the left talks about income inequality. we should talk about social mobility, us the ability to rise, the ability in this country to have every opportunity that your parents or others had in previous generations. you have too start with citizenship. also talks about what undercuts good citizens and it's a citizenry focused on rights
instead of duties, citizenry that believes man is perfectible and therefore you long for utopia and utopian yesterdayses, there is no right or wrong, we see that on the battlefield today. take something like the abu ghraib prison scandal which was terrible, but there's no reason why "the new york times" had to put it on the front page 32 straight days in a row. there is no home team. the american press or other places today because it's pass say to say that america is good. or pass sai to say that i'm an american and therefore i support the causes we undertake. the fourth is class warfare, and roosevelt talks about -- he says at the end of the rfk is at hand when class ware far comment s which is what we have seen in many ways, which it's left, right can blacks, white, mail, female, young, old.
we have seen classes and genders pitted against each other in this nation over the least seven years, which is toxic to the body politic and to citizenship. so you start with citizenship because without citizenship you can't create the good patriots or be the good patriots on the world stage you need to be. you guys have seen the bumper sticker, think globally, act locally. it's a popular environmental bumper sticker. think roosevelt would rip that off and say, think globally -- think locally, act globally, meaning remember who you are and be willing to act globally in defense of those principles which are indispensable, that america guess and worth fighting for is truly exceptional and has been a force for good in the world. and by the way, win can the wars a good thing.
roosevelt says are we a people willing and able to prevail? sounds like a basic, simple question but there are critical moments -- i write in the book boot iraq in 2005 and 2006 when i was theren and the iraq surge in 2006 and 2008 and i see people who are part of vets for freedom. the line of freedom and tyranny is decided in those really difficult moments when half the country or a lot of people want to take a political ex-ptsdents route and say let's set a timeline for the war. it's been difficult controversial, costly, let's pot smoke and leave this difficult battlefield. then the other half says, no, this is the exact moment when you need to be willing to double down, you need to be willing to take the fight the enemy, and i've never been more proud is a write in the book than january 10, 2007. when george w. bush announced the surge in iraq and did the right thing in the face of massive public pressure. doubled down to defeat a vicious enemy. he said the future of tower security depends on the beatle in the streets of baghdad, and
ask yourself today if he was right. and unfortunately of course he was. and the surge did work, and it was successful, and al qaeda in iraq was largely defeated. political progress was happening. by february of 2010, joe biden was declaring iraq a great achievement of the obama administration. such a great achievement he just happened to visit again four, five days ago with political chaos unfolding. they took for granted the stability and gains made through greedsy decisions in a dark moment and assumed they would perpetuate themselves without understanding how central defeating islamists in iraq was to their narrative, and our narrative. are we the paper tiger that osama bin laden said we were? will we retreat from every difficult conflict? if we're scuffed up or able to show resolve of our forefathers and win the wars we fight. that's not call for a endless
nation building or fighting every bogie man on the horizon. it's a lesson we should learn from iraq is that resolve works. not that it's all these middle eastern wars are terrible and just let's nation build at home, fortress america, that's it. we should -- and the difficult part of the narrative in the republican and the democratic party in many ways is moving he wrong direction to unlearn everything we learned and what i basically do over a couple of chapters in the book is make the case that the iraq war is a war we should learn from about what to do in the right moments as opposed to run from. and republicans and conservatives should stand confidently in every form they and can point across the aisle to hillary clinton and barack obama and joe biden and say you're the reason isis is proliferated in iraq and afghanistan. it was american retreat that create those seeds, and it was your policies that advanced choose in the -- chaos in the
region. obvious live it's a more complexion situation when you unfold every layer of that but ultimately a lack of military will, and a lack of political engagement. we simply decided we were over iraq. that's because today we have, as roosevelt warns about in his speech, the first president of the united states who considers himself first a citizen of the worlds. and roosevelt talked about that in 1910. warning against those who see themselves first as citizens of the world, whose international feeling swamps national feeling. citizens of the world are the worst citizens of their own country because they point out a humanity in the amorphous things we can do for them withouts focusing on what makes in the republics case. i call the forepolicy of barack obama a coexisting important policy. another bumper sticker.
doesn't it make you throw up a little built, too when you see it? that is an example of his mindset. it's not the coexisting is bad. it's good. but it's a means, not an ends, just like engage. is a means, not an end. but for this administration ex-when asked about this doctrine he said it is to engage. engaging is not a doctrine. engaging doesn't mean you necessary lip understand who you are or what you believe in, and so what you have is a series of progressive elites who went to school at places like princeton harvard, and a lot of us know a lot of little obamas, big believers in the state and in humanity and what we can accomplish if we just build another international institution. except then eventually they're forced to emerge from their utopian cocoons from their safe spaces and solidarity marches, and what happens when the world
still doesn't want to coexist with a leaders as progressive and culturally sensitive as obama. what if isis is chopping off the heads of christians, or iran is he coulding on the deal will shouldn't have a bomb like north korea after the deal. or what be the islamic state is pushing gay men off a building in iraq the same day the white house is lighting up the white house ins how of the rainbow in solidarity. what if they don't want to coexist and what if the difficult tate glory russia is redrawing the lines in eastern europe. they're not on campus anymore in the grad watt student lounge. they're the commander in chief. ...
rather than calling out real threats and abject evil or heaven for bid confronting them, obama, clinton, kerry, and others look around for mutual understanding, mediation groups or solidarity marches they self righteously facilitated as graduate students, except they don't work. they seek the impossible global consensus. they declare the need to negotiate without preconditions, unilaterally withdraw from wars without caring what happens. they dismissed growing threats as the jv and unilaterally declare no boots on the ground, apologize profusely for past sins, sends nonlethal aid when it is the legal aid that is needed.
they seek the moral high ground by leading from behind and declare the use of violence just so 19th century. they try to coexist with a dangerous, fallen, backwards world, and it does not work. and it is utterly incoherent and unknowable because they don't understand because america's leadership does not believe in america or the use of american pols and tools for freedom and security in the world. we get the bin laden raid and the bo bergdahl swap, aa white house that the world simply does not recognize. so as good patriots, what do we need to do? unapologetically lead and be willing to acknowledge that without america there is no leader of the free world. we don't have to be the policeman in every corner,
but we better be the sheriff with the big shiny badge. our word matters and we will back up our allies and stand up to our enemies. we need to be willing to crush the islamic state and unleash hell on them by loosening rules of engagement and recognize that they are vicious enemies. we need to stand by dissidents in the world who still speak for freedom who we have utterly abandoned, and we must be resolute and willing to talk about things like the iraq war. the book talks about things like comparing iraq to afghanistan to libya. i went to afghanistan wanting to believe we could surge there and see a different outcome. what you can accomplish in afghanistan is very different from what you can encompass in iraq. this administration cynically told us this was the good war.
they were never invested there, which is a moral send and never sent the amount of troops are commanders wanted and when you give the speech about that war he told the enemy when you are going to leave the minute you did. it would be a joke, but it is not funny. that is the problem. you also have an electorate seduced by the idea that american disengagement is what is necessary. i tried to take on the trends today and explain why , as practitioners of the 911 generation there are differences of opinions across the spectrum. there is a reason to be proud of what is accomplished even if today the outcomes are worse than murky in many places. i used to say, as it pertains to the book and everything else, i thought so that my kids don't have to, put on the uniform or
carried a rifle so that my kids never would. that is just not true, and i don't say that anymore. i serve knowing that my kids will have to as well. whatever it is, but every single generation will have to contribute every turn. we are called to be engaged, good citizens in an ongoing experiment. we literally stand at the doorstep, another woodrow wilson who teddy roosevelt famously tangled with. a man who said on multiple occasions, too proud to fight vicious enemies in the world. when he was agitating for involvement, he tried to lead the roosevelt division
to world war i which ultimately never happened. he wanted to lead from the front again. our kids in educational institution, families to how critical that incubating capacity is, as i said, our educational -- and i have a policy chapter in the back of the book that talks about simple recommendations. not meant to be a conservative carte blanche. i wrote about citizenship, equal opportunity and american leadership in five simple categories. so i want to thank you for being here, all of you for being in the arena in different capacities. capacities. i look out here and see people engaged in this town. it is a difficult fight these days, it can be demoralizing, and they a lot of uncertainty ahead, but i encourage you to go back to founding documents, historical speeches like
this to be reminded of what our country represents, the types of men and women who have perpetuated it, had courage to do difficult things a difficult times. go back and read the speech. you can make your own judgment about the speech, but a trigger warning, it might urge you to enter the arena if you are not already. [applause] any questions friendly or otherwise? >> i was wondering if you could give us some ideas of your thoughts about donald trump and his insistence that the war in iraq was a mistake. are you able to comment on that? >> sure.
i have commented about it on national television many times, so i will repeat what i said there. i take issue with his characterization of the iraq war. i think his book is a push back against that narrative. i don't think we should be falling in with the code pink moveon.org narrative of the war, which is what it is. it may feel politically expedient answer that way, but it is much more politically powerful and principal to argue that even if you did not like how we got in, ultimately finishing it properly is important, and hasimportant, and has massive, massive implications and george w. bush searched and had a successful strategy command this president gave it away. if you want to look at the carnage of isis in iraq and syria.to the event -- abandonment of moroccan red lion syria which hangs on the neck of barack obama and hillary clinton.
this has been difficult for a lot of people. jeb bush, it took him about a week to figure out where he wanted to be. there are few moments when i've been proud of republicans on their articulation. i really can only think of one. marco rubio was asked and said, it was not a mistake. i remember sitting there and saying, finally somebody won't cave into the narrative. over the next commander-in-chief is is willing to truly unleash total war on the islamic state. what i take issue with is the way people characterize carpet bombing of the willingness to unhand of the enemy, their focus is on doing whatever it takes to destroy the islamic state, not we want to find a way to kill civilians. carpet bombing is, if we know where the headquarters of isis is an rocket, we're
going to bomb it. but we are looking at the fuel trucks leading turkey we're not going to bomb them with leaflets because we think the drivers are so willing casualties. we are going to bomb the oil trucks. so it is a difference a position. >> how are you doing? >> all right. >> he talked about the social issues and said that on some of the maybe there is some kind of obsession, and i do not completely disagree. same-sex marriage has been fought and is water under the bridge, but then you mentioned the elimination of the white tip -- elimination of the white house with the colors. there is a certain sense in
which the rest of the world does not agree with the us on that issue, and when they look at the way that it is being litigated in court and lack of magnanimity of the victors, they are motivated to push back against us. when our foreign policy looks like we are going to be promoting those sorts of things against their will, it seems like we cannot ignore this at home, especially in light of that kind of policy. >> that is a really good point and would note the hypocrisy of divesting from north carolina but had quartering elsewhere in the world where homosexuality is illegal. my argument is more about the amount of focus and energy that should go at home, and to your opening
statement, and many ways that issue was whether you the think it was lost her one, it was lost in the culture. so it almost feels like end is a dead horse that conservatives could be tempted to continue to beat, which prevent us from making far more -- not far more, but very legitimate arguments about marital divorce rates with kids or out of wedlock births, things like that which should be a focus. instead, we are dismissed by the media, the left, the everything and unable to make core arguments that need to be made, but does that mean that is the way the whole world looks at the issue? absolutely not. there are plenty of conservative orders in this world who look atlook at us sideways and just confirms the absolute immorality of america that is totally decadent.
i just do not think it is a.of emphasis at any level. i do not think we should be trying to make a big issue of it here or attempting to impose it anywhere abroad either. >> mr. nathaniel hoopes. >> who also is my blog mate for four years. >> thank you. it is fantastic. outside of the whole political fight that we continue to have on the role of government, the iraq war and social issues. one of the things we feel is troubled by the sense of breakdown of just overall social cohesion in the country, whether it is too much time staring at the phone rather than talking to your neighbor, or the sense
in the schools that there is not the kind of -- citizenship is not being taught. sometimes it is more than just voting for basics. it is also about engaging with the community in a way that says, i care about my community. i care enough to want to know my neighbors. and i guess one of the powerful things that i would love to hear comeau what got you inspired to talk about citizenship with where you grew up in minnesota? >> as i was writing and researching and thinking about this, i -- i neveri never thought of my parents as inherently political of politically involved. they were not partisan. frankly, college was the 1st time i was introduced ideologies and perspectives in a meaningful way, but when i started researching and looking into it i
started to realize what good citizens are parents were. they always worked hard, never asked for handouts are made excuses. my mom watch starts the pta, the local curriculum which really embarrassed me as a kid. you know, i don't and my -- in the book i do not impugn small families. i make the case relies patriotic families. they raised a family full of boys. i was not from a military family. i observedi observed that from basic civic rituals of going to the memorial day parade and watching the veterans walk down the wide main street, the world war ii guys whose uniforms don't fit anymore, the korean war, go for because it is a town
of 500 separate is like this long, but the whole city stands, is there, saluting, clapping, and it ends at memorial park down by the river. this could be replicated anywhere across all 50 states, and so they did not sit there and preach or beat into me, read the constitution. it was just part of learning citizenship, but it was an infused since of what it meant to be a productive contributor to the country, and the 4th ingredient is faith and character. as much as i may have wanted to rebel against it, the reminder that there are things greater than you and someone died on the cross to
redeem you for the sins that you will have in this world was something that carried with me and kept me humble and reminded me go i was. those are the way more important ingredients than sending our kids, making sure my kids get together princeton and harvard which is wonderful and opened tons of doors, but the more important pieces whether they come out of childhood in school and liver is good citizens. i am from the public school. i worry that i will have to deconstruct eight hours of every day they learned school something different. we find a way to pay a modest tuition to send them to liberty classical academy which is of the road from us. they learn about patriotism and faith and civics and the classics. they may not have a great basketballa great basketball team, which i am a little worried about, and football
team, but i feel like they will be -- the world today is much different than small to. i think our educational systems and culture and media have been captured in so many places by moral relativism, by progressive elites with a different view of what we should be emphasizing. i even was tempted to not include a lot about how you confuse citizenship because it becomes a political, how you teach the founding documents, the founders. in a world today you can see a dissenting quite quickly. talk about original documents, reading the constitution, the federalist papers, the things like that.
i also talked about homeschooling. when i grew up he met homeschooled kids, so they were kind of weird. i no so many wonderful homeschooled children were wonderfully grounded, educated, and are amazing citizens in this country, and if the public schools on -- are not an alternative because you feel like your kids are not being educated the way you want to, we should make things like homeschooling more possible, easier, more streamlined. so it -- to me there is a lot that goes into the education of the formal nature of citizenship, but it is more -- and what root of -- roosevelt wrote about was everyday life which is not sexy and may not be cool on facebook but is important.
>> thank you. >> i work for the tech startup. funding business loans. the last question about just how we influence culture, i remember going through marine corps training in quantico i would come up to the mall on the weekends and it was very little sense of public awareness of the veteran community. four years into an all volunteer military, but either there is no one who has served in the military or there are ten. how do we influence that culture to keep that red-blooded americanism alive? >> i am not a fan of something like universal service because i think it
devolves into massive government growth. but i talk about the more robust decision point between selective service, a little envelope actually meaningful so that you're making a decision about how i want to serve, and here are the benefits, bernie sanders is running around talking about free college. the military already gives away free college. there are plenty of ways to incentivize whether it is through the tax code or educational benefit or others real service and that it is honored. you take that step to be a part of the core, or maybe you are not in the military. how many of us know people who are wonderful patriots.
the next level, the step before the draft. a lot of people would do that because they would feel skin in the game. if that moment comes i am ready to carry a rifle for my nation or this or that. i think there is an interim step that will be an interesting way to tie people more to service. he talked about that which is obviously a passion of mine. a lot of what i talk about is the way that entrenched interest in washington and crony classes protect what they have and prevent meaningful change. a lot of the work i have done and people here have done is at the department of veterans affairs, and there is no better example than the va. american efforts i was involved in our met by a brick wall for those who are
supposed to be for things. here we are two years later, and things are no better. in many places that have gotten worse. no one is being held accountable. the white house has no interest. the va is going to us bike the reforms. you have government. i talked about civil service reform. you are damn right. make sure they are held accountable. that is a pretty basic principle. government unions have a grip. and then it is special interests. you want to talk about establishment? special interest exists
everywhere. and it is traditional veteran service organizations were unwilling to change, who want to get invited to white house cocktail parties and play nice at all times. that stifles things like basic choice and accountability and then they impugn and attack their opponent every turn. they attack you personally. if you want fun reading 329 page document focused on me by other organizations. they don't want to argue the merits of the issue or issue a report. they just want to attack the opponents and mischaracterize. that is why things did not change and it is hard to be a good citizen because it is easy to get along.
you can take that example throughout every spectrum and level of government and that every place you will meet resistance and they will be a critic and you are going to fail again and again command all they want you to do is quit to my quit. at every level. the va wants us to quit because we can all live our lives. they are ticked off because nothing changes and everyone over promises and never delivers. with this book i hope will help do is remind people that the fight is worth it. you will never get it the 1st try with the 1st month of the 1st year. year.year. it is going to have to be sustained iteration of truth of what works and the advocacy behind it as individuals and organizations and having the courage to believe in america, and what it represents, not power from those who have a new idea,
and i think a document like roosevelt speech is a great pathway to remind us. >> let me steal the last question. other than fixing the va what is the thing that we as citizens could or should be doing? >> the 1st thing is,is, and we talked about it here in this auditorium once before. recognizing and raising awareness about issues facing the veterans community without stigmatizing it and making sure weightwe acknowledge challenges facing that's but did not create a caricature that they are ticking time bombs were inevitably broken and damaged. it isdamaged. it is empowering them through any number of vehicles, education, opportunities, small business financing, recognizing that these guys are going to be the future leaders, going to rebuild our country.
they are the core people in america that understand what it means to serve something greater than themselves and have been in an arena that is highly controversial and places that were difficult. they found a way to get it done. and frankly get it done quite successfully. i am confident that they and their families and those who come around them provide the nucleus of the type of folks that will get out there and make sure that the 21st century is an american century as well. i used to used to say this on the defend freedom tour. it is not going to be your neighbor in the basement playing world of warcraft and watching tmc. they are not going to do it. they have no idea. they exist without a sense of where and why. if we do so tepidly and we
are going to get steamrolled. if you don't remind yourself what makes this place special menu will get steamrolled. >> before i ask you to join with me in thanking the author, let me just say that there are books available outside. if you would like your book signed you will be around. please join me in thanking our author. [applause] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations]
>> the government's job is not to rule us, it is to be our servant, the protector of our rights. what happens when protects our rights equally, your freedom the same as mine? we will create different amounts of wealth is we have different abilities, make different choices, some want to go and become a teacher. for us, thatus, that is what a successful life is, whether we go up or down from where our parents were. other people want to be hedge fund managers, of the people want to start new companies. you're going to get inequality if we have equal