tv After Words CSPAN December 19, 2016 12:00am-1:01am EST
is just the beginning because they cannot handle the acceleration. caravan homes in and that to the park no basement no foundation. like a tornado going to a trailer park starting in west africa through india and the borders that our straight lines. but the divide between order and disorder tell your daughter is not to grow up to be secretaries. and you have your heart set on agriculture. [laughter]
in into weber gets this job russian roulette. they think it was the obama was so bland. but managing weakness is hell on wheels. i better stop here. [applause] >> host: you teach philosophy in georgetown house election of donald trump make your colleagues more sympathetic to your case against democracy correct. >> makes them more sympathetic and in general the public.
the evidence was the npr interview mike couple of years ago and people were against it calling in saying the opposite. so with isn't headed isn't to the point that i would be right but there is a is a problem and we need to talk about solution. >> so of us talking about hillary clinton. >> i did not predict that trump would win or a trump victory but my worries don't depend upon blacks it but it is true generally speaking left-leaning as he becomes to power. >> of course, libertarians have said that not to give the president so much power.
>> absolutely. most people don't care about procedural constraints but checks and balances and believe they are an opposition when they are in power they want to get things done look-alike the antiquated one robot so people are not very principled about their commitments. >> that is true lot of times i heard david axelrod saying a filibuster is a way and one that will not change he sounded much more sympathetic to the filibuster to limit the power than he would have been eight years ago. >> yes. >> host: so the thesis of your book most voters are not smart enough for informed enough? >> guest: yes.
looking at voter behavior or voter knowledge at 65 years and it has remained constant 65 years ago they didn't know anything even though information is that our fingertips they hardly know anything. so if you take that american electorate with the election studies the top 25 percent of voters but the next middle 50% and they do worse
that is the electorate for those that stay home know even less so that political formation doesn't change how we vote. >> host: political information after all you want your plumber to no plumbing and your doctor to know medicine. , like them to know the effects. so with that analogy if i have a stomach pain i know that i want the pain to go away but that doesn't give me knowledge how. have to go find inexpert. even about stomach cancer have to know how to treat it that is also true of
political problems. maybe they are vaguely aware people need to be better even those basic facts paid delano's those statistics or the structure of the economy or things are getting better or worse. so that reasonable outcome preference they know where they want the country to go but to figure out policies that you want implemented and what leaders to advocate requires some degree of knowledge vice said there is a lot of crime one candidate says great i will increase the drug for with stop and frisk and a number of other things that i will reduce licensing requirements, that does not tell you how to
pick between the two you have to know about social science and which will work better so to have a better knowledge of basic facts and mostly they don't know that or the required knowledge if in power they generally don't know that in requires knowledge of social science of economics what will happen they don't know that. >> host: just knowing a lot of things doesn't get the answer. you may disagree on a lot even though you are educated you and the conservative princess -- professor princeton disagree even though you're both well-educated. >> but that doesn't necessarily lead to agreement but knowledge does make us a difference from behavior the collective
preferences of democratic politics was published and he asked the question how do the demographics affect their behavior nephew were high in come or low income? and looks at the information if you ask them who they are or what they know then you can determine to a intern who affects them but it isn't guaranteed by the method but to become better informed by the of the demographics and they moved and we can look at that median voter but interestingly the other people have done similar
kinds of tests with the same results so yes we may disagree but in general high information voters are more in favor of immigration or free trade for criminal-justice reform. plucking up the deficit rather than taxes it doesn't really go to a democratic republican or libertarian direction in this nuanced. >> host: although adenosine mike the libertarian direction i think if you understand the world better you vote libertarian so that confirms me but. >> to be generally informed is more economically the quiver terry and then the actual public but it doesn't go although way if anything
maybe more pro welfare who advocate personal liberty but will not dismantle the welfare state. >> host: to some extent is the consensus over the country is. we have a welfare state but we understand it is very expensive with more or less free trade, moving in the direction to would mitt more people to political and social society and all of those things are kind of the consensus so maybe that is the way things happen and. >> medium uninformed voting is not as dangerous where phillip affluence and influence when people in the
public disagree about which topos -- possibility of in come they five the president will side are likely with a lawyer present but george bush was more likely with the 10% to but if it is the smaller democrat who once democracy to work for high income voters are highly information voters and they have completely different sets of policies also pro free trade and free rights below information for orders say substantially below its
part of what is happening is they carry more weight if you are high information voter because this is what the median voter does not want. we think maybe this is explaining why democracy over performs to do with the average person once but among those bureaucracies and the politicians they use those policies that our better. >> host: you describe three kinds of citizens who knew call hotbeds' and hooligans correct. >> these are the types that make it easy how they think if you have never seen the lord of the rings a hotbed -- a hotbed does not care about the onside world they just live their lives they
smoke their life but the political equivalent of the hobbit doesn't have a firm ideology does not pay attention to politics and is not participate digest want to leave their of life on average that is the hobbit. the riverbed to a soccer game in another country read actually care about soccer there are sports fans who are rabid. in they tend to consume a lot of information to tell you about the plays that to place 40 years ago and the statistics but they are extremely biased. so if you talk about tom brady and avesta of the country regarding
deflategate but you have the same information but it is just a very biased they are highly information people or those who know a lot about politics but they ignore or reject information the members of the political teams are seen as rivals they participate a great deal but the process information in a rational way. but the falcon -- vulcan is willing to give but believes it is in because advocate the rule of the vulcan but other who think our democracy is supposed to go have in mind how we would
work but in fact we have the hobbit hooligan. >> host: but are there any vulcan correct. >> some people are more vulcan than others. they tried to do things that make them behave. they frequently try to get ahead with those who disagree. box suggest to name the name eye thing he is very vulcan like. so the test is can you explain the other peoples ruled. >> be in ideological caring test where computers simulate being human if you cannot tell the difference in the computer is intelligent but are you able
to particulate the way they advocate that position back? soleil political scientist at penn wrote daybook call here underside the questions what she finds that if you are a democrat why would anybody be republican? because they are stupid and evil that predicts you are involved in three or more causes. if you say i'm a democrat but let me explain it to can articulate that means you don't give money to causes or participate so the i information people are true believers then we have the hobbit who vacillate back
and forth. the ideal democratic citizen who tries to reach compromise we do have people like that they're just not that into politics. >> and the message was you don't want the vulcan to make decisions you want those that want more than pure rationality? >> maybe get reaction is if you are fighting a clear non -- clean non but i and not so sure with trade policy that people ask why don't they give a do very well. for my use economic issues a lot because that is what i know about is not that the public understands the economist point of view or rejects it but they don't
even understand why the economist is in favor of trade in the first place of the complaints is that it leads these people behind they don't know how to test it that we're just biased to think in a zero sum term because so much of our history that we not built cognitively in a large market economy and people don't understand that people that our different from them , don't trust them or don't interact with them to see them as dangerous that worked with the hunter-gatherer's try but doesn't make sense for the current world. >> is it unusual for a philosophy professor to
nobody economics correct. >> yes. maybe it is the program that i came from the philosophical gore made the university of arizona they do well but they are weird that it is very common to concentrate on political philosophy the intersection of politics philosophy and economics that methodology before you go to philosophize about institutions you should know how they work. that is true to say why would anybody disagree but but i undoing ideal theory to figure out what it was lookalike if people were all angels so i don't have to know how institutions work but that moral utility curved then they handed over to the social scientist.
but in my own experience the class that i will teach tomorrow we will spend half a semester. >> that is useful. >> probably the most famous thing that was ever said was a rather be governed by the first 2,000 people in the boston directory than the 2000 people at the harvard faculty. ru sufficiently vulcan like to see what he would say that? >> yes. one of the worries people have if you talk about alternatives that day are the guy alibied bad ideas and for that reason maybe they just don't know what they talk about and the
average person will do better. they might be right about that i rather be governed by the harvard economics department over the first 2000 and the phone book. that may be the philosophy would take the phone book. >> you argue for something aristocracy that you did not invent the word but it is new enough it is not in my dictionary but it means more of those who know is hell secure on the opposite side. >> what buckley gets right if you concentrate in the hands of the us extremely educated there is potential for real distortions. people believe bad ideas and reinforce them with each other.
so that is why we are worried about the harvard faculty as a whole but there are certain departments role they do is propagate bad idea is don't do serious work they just pontificate back-and-forth. so he is right about that but democracy has bad incentives critical knowledge is low on average and lower than and ignorance but if you spread out your power vary widely and concentrate in the hands of very few, then you may have different types of distortions and political power is spread out widely not those of with ph.d. or in other reformation and not
to give a voice to everyone in the country. >> host: maybe it is my a mistake to propose a that way because the harvard faculty are people that our high on cognitive skills and very well educated and they all have p&g's as a profession but there are very smart people and even more smart people and that are well informed that not academics so you do not argue that academics should rule but well informed people should have more of a role to choose our leaders and policies. >> that's right. look at the basic political knowledge a bachelor's degree predicts you only do little bit better. so if you think of democracy
everybody gets the = voice. and they are so described on the ground they're supposed to beat ignorant living here but they can still vote but this is the term coined that any type of political system that is apportioned according to acknowledge. so nobody advocates that it is a thought experiment. so then they advocated representing the government that perhaps those who had more knowledge her credentials but the ignorant
voters don't carry the day but if you could pass the basic political knowledge to identify the candidates into were three fax then you have the right to vote. you could add a system of the enfranchisement lottery hickey padding elections and normal campaigns but you will select 20,000 people but only if they first undergo an exercise in they have to deliberate with one another. you could have a system that is interesting that laws are passed through the legislatures but experts
have the right to veto the of law so the council of economic advisers veto power in the same way that the supreme court has legislation to call it unconstitutional and also supermajority also the system where everybody votes to the demographic information you take the knowledge and pick which candidate you wonder which policies you pervert and with that data you can determine what would happen to the barry can public. what would they have preferred? and you do that from bmi and public. >> in this book i am not advocating but i don't think we've known enough to know
better so the book is to convince cheryl it is not inherently just simply a procedure to have a just outcome and if we are able to find a better tool or procedure. >> is the electoral college a form of aristocracy? >> large amount of debate right now is if you go back people say things like cities and states that don't have power others talk about reinforced slavery but some of the people who advocate say this is day one of final check with the president
could be if they pick a really bad person this is one last check as somebody who may be better although originally the people were perceived not to know who did greatest would be of the original 13 states but they would know the smartest men in the colonies were at that point so they would elect those from their states with a broader understanding for the whole country and then those people would choose the up president and that seems like a form of graduated democracy ideally to end up with people who knew more to make the final decision. >> es. in never worked out that way we always had the us system would dare not litter of the
voting for president but they are voting with is perceived to be that president and the electors will just rubber-stamp there has not been any actual check. >> but to have vaughan of populist it has never been that way of probably never will. >> host: in your book the famous suffragist elizabeth cady stanton sees the vote as affirming the full citizenship and dignity of women and you say she is wrong but if groups of people are excluded or let's assume not that women or blacks don't vote, aren't they being treated as second-class citizens until they feel that they are? >> this is a big question
now spend many chapters disentangling what goes in here but one part is when you get a vote does that make you more autonomous? i think it is no. you don't move from being a petitioner so your chances should not matter if you have one or not. that is the built-in democracy groups matter. not individuals. so to systematically exclude the negative things to happen but with that demographic objection suppose you have a bed to
the problem because you are tested for the affected the demographics this would only applied to the enfranchisement kind of system. even then i'm not so sure for a number of reasons a lot of people say then it's unacceptable so if you think this is unjust it shouldn't be a favorite of democracy, period. you care about fairness in a democracy as a matter of fact the voting public isn't representative of the people as a whole. they are more educated than the people as a whole even in the systems in australia that still holds because not everybody votes and in fact you have these
electorate as much skewed as it is here further attempts to win office is high information people and the system we talked about before tends to privilege the political preference over others but doesn't look at the median voter that the higher income privileged voters than what you might call persistent minorities never get a say. let's say you are a native american and it can ignore the preferences over and over again it doesn't matter what you think even in the current election this is a system over minorities despite a. it's based on what percentage of the votes they get.
that's the system it was fair and everyone had a chance. fairness doesn't get you to democracy. then you are under my site asking how will you weigh fairness versus the quality of the outcome it performed better than the democracy so 3% more growth per year in over 100 years it would've been more than the democracy.
they have better attitudes towards the justice reform. i talk about this lately when you go back in the '90s and say what informed voters want it wasn't these punitive measures it might be the criminalization. suppose it is much better than the democracy that it's in some way unfair to saving resulting equal it is better than the democracy. it should be titled against the presumption in the democracy.
they view the democracy has three chairs. i don't think that is true. the political power makes you are off and enriches you and makes you a better person. no system can work better than the democracy and that is thrown around like i don't think we know that yet. they create bad incentives and leaned to this ignorance and as a result they get the government the way others might and it's worth thinking seriously about alternatives and investigating but we can't do that as a society until we get them over the view that it is inherently just so aside from i don't talk
about thi this in the buck but e from the other systems we may think about their certain systems for people like alexander and records that advocate but then in some way enrich them and make them more informed and we get better politics. people bet on belief and vote on the values. there is a book i forget the author but you could read it and it will talk about how the markets work and why they are more informative than any other system. the law professor at george mason advocates in his book democracy and political ignorance he wants a radically
decentralized system which there are different policies and it's made to be very easy to move one place to another and ideally it will lead to better politics. you published eight books in eight years. how do you do that? >> guest: i try to write for 20 hours a week. that's pretty much the secret. >> host: you have a job and children. how do you do that? >> guest: you are an academic and every day you walk and you havin youhad e-mails that become famous. if you write an article on trump u. will get 300 pieces of hate mail today i found out recentl.
you have to prioritize over other things. i don't work in an excessive amount but also in the situation i don't teach many classes, and teaching classes i've already prepped before so i know what to do and i don't have to read your material or study more. i don't spend a lot of time on the small things and they make sure i spend roughly four hours writing up front and do everything else later. the secret for me what i am almost done with and halfway through, i think i'm just beginning and the things churning in the back of my mind and i can move them on a conveyor belt so when i'm stuck on one thing rather than not doing much work i can move on to something i'm halfway through and then i figure out what needs to happen over here and i moved
back. >> host: should we expect each more books in the next eight years? >> guest: i guess i'm on track for three more over the next three years so we will see what happens. >> host: having written one book i can't imagine having that many ideas and finding the time to do them all. there's another book by political scientists that generated a post headlined. is it good for political leaders to think that way? >> guest: yes and no. this is a hard question. we spend a lot of time thinking about how the people work and they have an incentive in ways
they are destructive so to some degree that can be dangerous because people have genuine problems and they might ignore them. on the other hand they understand that for example it's really strong and the public doesn't like it if they don't understand it so i think that is the way to think. i assume the populace is stupid and the answer is they are not stupid in their daily lives people are quite smart and capable if you give them a chance. i don't want the government running your life or your life for me i think people are good at running their own lives because it's different if i make
a bad decision i pay the consequence and if they a good decision i will reap the reward. in democracy how yo you've overe vote doesn't matter. imagine we are having a class the professor has 210 million students and she announces at the beginning of the class it is basic political information and you're not going to get your grade i'm going to average them all together and everyone will study the same. they say i wouldn't study at a all. it's not that they are dumb that they don't care and they don't care and don't think much about it because the incentives are wrong. partly they are not that interested. i know my vote isn't going to defect the election but i think
it's important and it's my job. as you said i had in my pocket a felon with all of the knowledge in the world and i'm assuming i could learn a great deal but i have no interest in doing so and i haven't done so and you probably wouldn't want to be running a music venue so the question is people that have little interest in politics and policy and haven't taken the time either because they are not interested or as you say they know it won't make a difference should they be making decisions of who should run the government if it is the question at the heart of your book. >> host: we look at what they know and its policies and it seems like what they do advocate is even they only know more so i think the things they press for in general they don't know what
they are talking about. in our daily lives, we can't afford to accept very many dilutions. across the street and see what appears to be a mack truck bearing towards me i might have a fantasy that optimist prime my childhood hero. but if i indulge that i will be punished by reality. i can't afford to indulge in the division. you and i agree a lot about policy and what should happen but if we are wrong about that it has no effect on the world. maybe it helps us to some degree but it doesn't offer anything the system is set up to involve people to be misinformed.
it's what we do that matters. from the libertarian plaintiff view they systematically make bad decisions. when they sa say there is a 15-dollar minimum wage it means we will arrest you if you pay less than that. if they say we are going to war in iraq they will arrest you if you don't pay your taxes. that is an argument against the government make decisions rather than against democracy because people make bad decisions through the political process let's take as many out of the process as we can. >> guest: the idea if you
believe in the authority then you basically have to be an anarchists. they refuted before the united states was found we could talk about the variations of that most people i think accept it just shows would be justified on some other ground. there are reasons stripping them of their power. i avoided watching it as an libertarian leaning book and if you are a conservative who takes
up over the social democracy if you are a libertarian anarchists then i try to convince you but then the demography should pick up so i myself advocate and want this to be natural on the best form of government. >> one of my favorite movies is animal house and one of my favorite quotations is where he says if the fraternity system is guilty and we are not going to sit here and listen to you badmouth when i read page 72 of the book i wanted to know do you hate america or just fraternity's? >> and the book i have this
analogy to how they are like college fraternities and when they are from the democracy they are often defending the ideal form of democracy. this is how it should work and that's like saying here's how they should work in the ideals and mission statement and if they did that today would work really well but they don't fit the ideas were work that well. i don't hate america. i dislike things they've done and it is a sort of passed with the degree of injustice and we would have a sorted future as well and there are things we are doing right now compared to other countries that do things better or worse there's a difference between how we approach each other and the final chapter the editor thought
it was a bad idea. we think of the market introductions and we are a vast web of the competitive aspect applying for the job and competing and it seems like it's competitive but you and i agree it's a system of mass cooperation if you tak take dependent you are holding in basque how many people participated some of th, the ans around 15 million so we benefit from them getting their way and in general our lives is a positive interaction where people's games don't come at my expense would help me and vice versa but when you get to the politics i think things change. one problem is because we are so
biased the tendency is to be if you are my enemy i don't like you. it is pretty disturbing but even worse than that politics takes the sphere of the possibility and it narrows it down to a few things where we are basically forced to be against each other. you and i are taken and put in a contest it's not that i inherently hate you but now that we are put in the pit and given the weapons either you kill me or i kill you then i'm forced to fight you as a result it's a monopolistic and they have to live with it.
finally, there is one of the reasootherreason to dislike othn they are voting into that's because they don't do it competently. you were being tried for a capital murder trial and let's say the jury doesn't pay attention to the fact is that the case did they find you guilty and flip the coin but they find you guilty because they don't like you personally. or they find you guilty and were paid off. they foolishly believe that you were one from underground it's trying to take over into thi ans the way of getting back at you. you have a reason to hold in contempt for what they've done to you. they are exercising massive amounts of power to deprive you of life, liberty and happiness at gunpoint literally and they are doing it and competently. there is reason to despise them.
if the king made his decision with misinformation we would have reason to despise the king for taking so much power over us in such a capricious and careless way. so i think in the same way we have reasons to look at it as a whole like you are giving a significant amount of power and exercising in a capricious careless way. we have some reasons to being great at one another for that. it's not that people are bad. jim buchanan said don't be romantic about it it's not good versus evil and i think the democracy creates bad incentives. one of the criticisms that i think has been common particularly in the conservative literature is based on the quote democracy can only exist until the majority discovers out of
the public treasury. but you don't think that is an accurate criticism of democracy. >> guest: when people like hamilton, madison and the founders were writing about this, it was largely self-interest of the voting and what would happen is that we would bargain with one another, constitutional republic. the philosophers don't think that is interesting perhaps but in the republican form of government he will b we will ber the self-interest but ideally we will reach compromise. it was a reasonable hypothesis but to my surprise it is a huge empirical literature testing the claiofthe claim are the voting selfishly and they keep finding the answer is no. every time someone got the answer they felt that can't be right is tested in a different way.
then there's 50 papers showing the same thing. so then it's not the fact of the national interest, but they vote for what they perceive to be all touristic concern and they've already voted like doing the wave of a sports game or the sense of justice. given that people are selfish in their day-to-day lives and until you think about the incentives if you are a selfish person that doesn't makitdoesn't make sensen the first place. if i win i will give you $10 million. doesn't mean it's worth my while to vote for him.
chances are so small and the chance of me getting into an accident are so high selfish thing to do would be to play video games or write a paper. if people are going to vote they tend to vote to express what's good and what's right. >> host: one of the favorite documents says to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men driving the power from the consent of the governed. does our system rests on the consent of the governed? >> guest: it is completely misleading. i have a whole section on this and i think about a transaction like i call up sleepwalke sweet.
i say i want a guitar and bass end is to me. that is a typical transaction. think about how the government works. they send me the guitar and say we are giving this to you then we demand money. you have to perform some action. if they ask if i want a guitar and they say no i don't want one, that and the deal. if i send them the money and they don't send the guitar that is the transaction that would be fraught so then does it look like buying a telecaster, not really. regardless of what you say there is no word that signifies the consent.
there was a case in dc rigorous people breaking into the apartment, come help me and then she sued and it went to the supreme court and they said the government doesn'thatthe governu protection just people in general so it isn't like a consensual transaction they might say by choosing to remain here that may be true of someone like me. maybe you can make the argument that someone like me is consenting but they don't have the right to go somewhere else and they were not easily allowed to do so.
so we are stuck where we are and the fact that we remain shows the metaphor for thi this in th7 hundreds imagine that you've been kidnappe kidnapped in a pin the middle of the ship and the captain says either put up with my new rule or you can leave, jumping overboard in the fighting. that is effectively the deal most of us have. if you don't like the government rule, go to the ocean. you don't have any meaningful choice. >> host: it seems we are unlikely to replace the democracy so if that is the case, what is the main value that readers should get from the book? >> guest: and try to push everybody should vote and that is a dangerous way of thinking for the informed voting.
the other thing we can think about are there alternatives that might work better so bryan caplan talks about was if we paid people into voter achievement exam we can incentivize people to learn a little bit more. it isn't a secret and it doesn't have the value. it is a hammer, that's all it is. producing outcomes you should be in favor of looking for ways to improve or replace it if we can. >> host: thank you for the interesting conversation.