tv Republic CSPAN July 3, 2017 8:31am-10:01am EDT
afternoon everyone. good afternoon. my name is michael barone, i'm a resident fellow at the american enterprise institute and it's my pleasure today to welcome to aei professor cass sunstein. he's the university professor at harvard law school. he formerly was professor of law and political science at the university of chicago for many years. he was the administrator of the office of information and regulatory affairs commonly known as oi from 2009 two 2012 in the obama administration. he has written more than a dozen books and i'm happy to say that he has a number of times at aei and we consider him a good friend of aei. and easier today to talk
about his latest book which is called #republic. i think that a reader would not have pronounced the word that way 20 years ago but it's an important and interesting book so please welcome cass sunstein to aei. [applause] >> is a drill to be back here. you all do amazing work and i've learned so much from what's produced here, legal and regulatory matters and i really you on the half of billions of people who you never will meet and read what you produce. i'll tell you the origins, the unlikely origins of this book.
i was last or first for the last several years to live in the waldorf towers, which is pretty heady stuff for a country boy from massachusetts and i lived there because my wife, samantha powers, ambassador to the united nations and that's where the ambassador has lived. for the first few months, the people at the waldorf towers would greet me in the morning and evening by saying hello mister power, good evening mister power, how are you mister power. and that was fine except that one of them had become quite a good friend after several months in the sense that i knew him and talk to him every day and it was a little awkward that he was calling by a name other than my own so i said to him after a few months of some embarrassment, that it's cass sunstein, you can call me mister sunstein
as you choose but my name is cass sunstein and he looked at me with incredulity and he said that's unbelievable. he said that's amazing. you look exactly like mister power. [laughter] and that was intriguing to me in the sense that he was not an irrational person. he was updating basically his beliefs based on the new information and he believed it was more likely that there were two people who looked exactly the same walking around his building and that the ambassador's husband had a different name her. and given his prior beliefs, that was not irrational. it turned out to be wrong but it was not irrational. okay, here's the united states of america in many respects today where people
are serving their correctness and the falsehoods emanating from the other side. this has implications not only for our capacity to handle problems that cut across people's ideology but also it affects people and how they think about one another, so much so that there is a phenomenon, partyism which isn't as ugly as racism but in some respects is larger. the number of people who would be unhappy if their child married someone of the opposing political party is higher than the percentage of people who would be unhappy if their childmarried someone of a different race . i'm amazed by this finding a few years ago, tried to find out weather would be people
would be more unhappy if someone married someone of a different political party than of the same sex, we're not there yet but we are getting there. which suggests that the intensity of partyism is growing rapidly and as of 2017, it's immensely higher than it was a couple days, a couple years ago, probably a couple days ago to but a couple decades ago when people basically didn't care if their child married someone of a different political party and this is showing up in other measures of animus, so that people actually discriminate in employment decisions against people whose political party is different from their own. here are some issues where partyism is causing problems. whatever you think should be done about infrastructure, chances are good that something should be done
about infrastructure and the intensity of disagreement between republicans and democrats is relatively modest on that issue and yet nothing's happened yet. eight you nf is technical talk for authorizations for the use of military force. to get an authorization for the use of military force in areas where the level of consensus across immigrants and republicans is high is really difficult. with respect to immigration and judges, we could have much more agreement than we are observing , the nuclear option taken by the democrats first and now the republicans is testimony to the difficulty of moving beyond party affiliation as a way of producing generally agreeable rental results. in washington, my job in washington, i noticed in some meetings with people of a political party that i will not name a fairly sharp
disagreement between their privately expressed moderation and their publicly expressed moderation, and i should just say i served that between both political parties with a kindof ointment plea , that it was the case that our privately expressed moderation if publicly expressed would not cost us our jobs. and the extent to which people complaining of that risk were also complaining of the effect of social media on their capacity to retain their jobs if they expressed moderation. that was very, it is very visible to them. i'm going to tell you about three empirical studies which are not involving the
internet precisely but which are replicating, i think in an experimental setting what is happening every hour of every day on twitter and facebook. the first experiment comes from colorado and the idea was to get people from boulder which is left of center together to discuss climate change, affirmative action and same-sex unions and to get people from colorado springs which is right of center to do exactly the same thing and we did a reality check to make sure our colorado springs participants were right of center and are boulder people were left of center and not amazingly, they were. what we did was to record their anonymous views privately, have been deliberate together to a public verdict on these issues and then to record their anonymous views privatelyafter they talked with one another. what interested me as one of three authors of the project was only one question : how
their views shift in their anonymous pre-deliberation statements to their anonymous post deliberation statements? what would those discussions do to how they thought about the three issues when they were recording their judgments in a way that no one would ever see except the experimenters? here's what happened. three things. people in colorado springs got more unified than they were before they started to talk. before they started to talk, there were some people in colorado springs who thought i'm kind of worried about climate change, maybe we should have an international agreement . not after the discussion. there were people in boulder who thought affirmative action has some problems. i think it's a form of race discrimination. there is some diversity in boulder springs. after they talked briefly,
that diversity was crushed. in their private, anonymous statements, the second thing that happened was they got more confident. the people in colorado springs of same-sex union, some of them were sure they didn't like them so much but they were cured. after they talked, they were sure. the third thing that happened and the most disturbing and i think illuminating is they got more extreme. in both sides. people in colorado springs were to the right. the people in boulder were to the left but they were like, here. this range. after our little experiment, they were here. they were operating in different political universes and their private, anonymous views. what i just described, a very artificial experiment, that's what social media constructs. a capacity to create the functional equivalent of our experimental groups. why did this happen?
i've seen the tapes of the discussion. we could roll the tapes if you wanted and here's what you would see in real time. first, in colorado springs, the place where they started kind of skeptical about a climate change treaty and in the end, a very, very skeptical, the number of arguments in their discussion that supported the international treaty were few. that's not amazing, that's a statistical inevitability. the number of arguments that opposed an international treaty were numerous, also an inevitability given the initial distribution ofviews. if people are listening to one another and human beings typically do, they would end up more skeptical about the treaty after they heard the various arguments . and in boulder, exactly the same thing happens in the mirror.
that is, on affirmative action some people didn't like it very much, most people like it plenty. the arguments that supported it crushed the arguments that undermine it and people thought oh gosh, most of the arguments are supportive of it. that produced confidence, unity, extremism.the second thing is slightly more subtle and you could see this in real time and each of us can see this in our daily lives, whether the issue involves what products to buy, what people do like or what political view to hold on an issue. here's the phenomenon. most people who don't have a ton of information tend toward the middle. they become tentative because of humility. when they view as corroborated by members of the human species, the humility diminishes, they become confident and more extreme. so confidence increases by corroboration and you can see that in both cities and corroboration makes for more intensity of commitment to
the view. and that helps account for the finding. the third involves reputation. peopledon't want , in a group of people who tend to think say affirmative action is great, they don't want to look like a racist or idiots in front of each other so they end up saying i think like affirmative action plenty, even if they privately didn't 10 minutes before and then in their private, anonymous statement of view it would be very awkward to say what they said publicly, they don't actually believe. so their private view lines up with their public view. here's the second of the three studies and this does not involve professors or think tank people trying to constructsomething. this involves the world . and it benefits the study from a serendipitous fact
which is on three-judge panels of the united states, court of appeals panels, the possible composition is reagan, reagan, bush appointees, obama, obama, equipment appointees. obama, reagan appointees and bush, bush, clinton appointees meeting three are appointees, 3-d appointees, to the ny are appointees, to ours and won the appointee and that's it, that's all they can be possible. here's the headline finding. while the political party of the appointing president is a pretty good predictor of how a judge is going to vote in an ideologically contested case, not fantastic but pretty good. the political party of the two other judges of the president who appointed the two judges on the panel is at least as good and often a better predictorof how that judge is going to vote . got it?
you want to know how judge x is going to vote? don't ask whether obama or trump appointed judge x. do ask whether obama or trump appointed the other two judge sitting. here's the most dramatic finding. while in the aggregate data there's about a 13 percentage points different and the likelihood of a real liberal vote between an r and d appointee, roughly 13 percentage points which is concerning not catastrophic from the point of view of the rule of law, the likelihood of a liberal vote on a dvd panel is frequently 30 to 40 percent higher than the likelihood of a liberal vote from a judge on in our rr panel. that is to say a the judge on the panel is phenomenally liberal voting patterns and in our judge on and our panel shows phenomenally conservative voting panels with a phenomenal mean just compared to how they vote in aggregate.
what makes that a startling finding in my view is that a d on the d d r panel, the d's have the votes. it involves whether the epa's regulation is lawful, they can do what they want. they've got the votes.why is it that the d's on d d r patterns show more diversity? i think it'sabout information, at least in part. what are they hearing? ad , that's boulder. and are on and r panel, that's colorado springs and what makes the statistics not expected is that what we are observing is legal professionals, judges who learned it in the law answering not a political question but a legal question and even so, the selection through random draw into
something like an information cocoon produces systematically more extreme results. the data i told you i think actually understates the magnitude of the phenomenon. we justcollected votes , my we i mean a team of law students who if they're not in mental institutions now, i'm very relieved because counting many thousands of votes, that's not fun. they did it nonetheless. what i didn't ask them to do because it's much harder is to explore the relative extremism of the opinions, rather than just the up or down vote so we're asking did a woman when in a sex discrimination case, did an epa regulation get upheld or not? that's what we're asking. we're not asking what's the reasoning because there's every reason to think on a d d d panel, what was the
technical law professor term if you're unfamiliar with that. for omg, okay. okay. here's one other story of updating, you heard the waldorf story which is explanatory of some of what happened in colorado.the other story about dating comes from star wars and i did a little book on star wars so i researched star wars and there was a debate between, forgive me, do you think you would hear something about star wars? this seems very surprising or terrible, one star wars story. the debate was between lawrence kasdan, a great american screenwriter and george lucas on killing the main characters in return of the jedi and lawrence kasdan said you've got to kill luke skywalker and george lucas, lucas, luke. he said luke isn't going to die.
then kasdan says leah, leah has to die and george lucas says leah is not going to die, you don't go around killing people and say we will kill yoda. he says i'm not going to kill yoda, he died on the way but comes back and kasdan gets kind of, in his sole he gets real and he gives a speech about art. and he's saying i'm saying the movie has more emotional weight of someone you love is lost along the way. the journey has more impact. taking about culture and art and lucas says very quickly, one sentence . i don't like that and i don't believe that. now, notice the beautiful architecture of the sentence. not liking proceeds and probably helps account for not believing. the waldorf story, my friend
didn't particularly dislike the idea that i had a different name from my wife. he didn't believe it, it just seemed that couldn't be true. here it's about theemotional commitment proceeding the belief . okay. here's the last study.how good-looking do you think you are on a scale of 1 to 10? if you would, think about it. i have some news for you. that's you. okay. now what do you think, having heard my news for you? let's do a second experiment, asked the same question, how good-looking do you think you are? i have news for you, that's you. okay, here's what the data suggests. that people are asymmetrical updaters in the sense that good news has a much bigger impact than bad news. if people estimate that they
are a six on the scale and then some credible outsider says you are actually an eight, they say i'm a seven or eight, i've learned. if they say they're a six and a credible outsider says i'm a four, they say that's not true, i'm a six. people believe the good news, not the bad news. if this is true for many personal things with respect to the risk of having diabetes, insomnia, infertility, being vandalized, being trapped in an elevator, having a mouse or rat in your house, that sounds a little like doctor seuss, apologies for that. the information processing regularity is good news people will update more reliably with then bad news. bad news, they will say that's noise. good news they will say oh, okay. so we know there is an
asymmetry and it turns out to have neurological foundations. there's an identifiable part of the brain that blocks updating with respect to bad news and if you zap it, then the good news bad news effect disappears. what i was interested in and am interested in is how this works for political information. here's what we did. we got initial studies which i will tell you about, this has been replicated with more people. we got 300+ americans, recruited them and sorted them intothree groups based on their answers to questions about the environment . strong climate change believers, weak climate change believers and moderate climate change believers, creative names for our three sons and the data we got is
not surprising in terms of their anticipated warming. strong believers think by 2100 we will go to 6.3 degrees fahrenheit, the moderates 5.9 and the week 3.6. the only thing that's interesting there is that the week believers are not at one or zero, they are at 3.6. that's probably roughly where america's bottom percentile is. here's what we did which is internet relevant in trying to figure out how people process information. with now quite large samples, we randomly assigned people to one of two conditions. in the good news condition, you're not going to have a mouse in your house. you are better looking than you think. we told people actually scientists have come in with terrific news. the climate situation is better than they thought. the likely increase is 1 to 5 degrees and stuff like that, people are seeing on twitter and facebook or the wall street journal all the time. yes? we gave the other half bad
news. scientists have some tough information for you. it's worse than we thought. 7 to 11 degrees and people are getting back on twitter and facebook and the new york times all the time, yes? so there's realism in that fruit flies like experiment. what do you think would happen? the week believers in climate change are like the people with respect to appearance and this is the bottom terse file. getting the good news, their estimate fell by a full one degree from 3.6 to 2.6 and given that the baseline is low, 3.6, that falling is very dramatic. they really updated getting the good news. getting the bad news, they were unmoved. zero impact. now, in terms of social science, that's not going to get any prize because it fits
witheverything you've heard before, just applies it to politics . it is i think politically explosive, suggesting affordable care act administration, there is a bottom tercile will treat good news as very informative, gun-control and bad news as who paid them? our top tercile showed exactly the opposite pattern. these are the strong climate change believers who are panicking but they are the most worried top third of america. they were far more moved by the bad news then the good news. getting the bad news, their average estimate jumped by two degrees. getting the good news, it fell by less than half of that which suggests that systematically, people who are really scared of climate change will be jumping in
terms of their level of fear when they get new scientific information suggesting things are bad, and they will be dropping just a little bit when they get good news suggesting the problem isn't as large. what you've just heard i think is basically a really simplified version of what happens on social media every day in real time where people are getting both versions of our interventions and where a bunch of people are reacting asymmetrically in a way that is opposite to the way a bunch of other people are reacting. what's the expectation for this last study which i find the most intriguing of the three? we don't know. one possibility is i don't like that and i don't believe that. motivated reasoning. the other explanation is that people are just updating in a rational way.
it's like the waldorf towers tail in which people are thinking given my prior conviction, it's going to get really hot.i here's science suggesting it's not, there must be identical twins walking around. that can't be true. exxon must've paid them and there are others who see the bad news and say that an environmental groups climate science, quote unquote, i don't believe that whereas the good news is more credible to me and that is not a motivated reasoning story, given your prior convictions what you've learned from the new information. almost done. they spoke, 2016. our success is built on
getting people the stories that matter to them most, this is a direct quote. if you could look through thousands of storiesa day and choose the 10 most important, what would they be. the answer should be your newsfeed, it is subjective, personal and unique and defines the spirit of what we hope to achieve . really? what they are speaking about is an architecture of control in which either algorithms or individual choices are creating ddd and rrr patterns and that being celebrated as a democratic society. jane jacobs, the hero of my little book wrote a great book on the death and life of the great american cities in which he urged that in great cities like washington or new york or berlin or paris or small city versions of these, that many of us come from you may have a degree of
homogeneity but in all of them there's an architecture of serendipity. you will come across people ofdifferent ages, different skin colors, different backgrounds, different tragedies, different joys, different aspirations , different failures and you will see them in the course of a week . they will enlarge you . they willdisturb you . they may change your day and possibly your life. and what jacobs was really urging is that a great city is like a stream of information and the beauty of that is that it's the opposite of the facebook vision of an architecture of control. it's something that is full of unanticipated, unplanned, unchosen encounters that turn out to be in her view the lifeblood of freedom in the democratic society. last bit is from jacobs forerunner, john stuart mill . jurists of liberty and
self-government who urged it is hardly possible to overrate the value in the present low state of human improvement of placing human beings in contact with persons dissimilar to themselves with modes of thought and action unlike those with which they are familiar. such communication has always been and is peculiarly in the present age one of the primary sources for progress. thanks. [applause] >> i want to thank professor sunstein. mister power, for a very interesting and illuminating presentation. let me upon a couple questions for you to sort of take off point or something. you write in #republic that
things have gotten worse in this respect in the last 20 years, that technology, social media have exacerbated what you portray as a problem of people being unduly negative in responding in that way to each other, polarizing and being isolated in these silos and hospital silos if you will. you offer some solutions in the book . but what if there's a nudge to which people don't but? to use a phrase, you don't advocate the government regulation of the internet. can you give the listeners an idea of what solutions then, how hopeful you are. you say at one point people should be polite to each other. that's a lot of garbage. >> okay, so there's a great psychologist who would have won the nobel wise prize.
he studies an optimist because it's irrational and pessimistic, he says if you're a pessimist you suffer twice, first when you are sad about what's going to happen second when the bad thing happens so in terms of hopefulness about the future, absolutely. in terms of solutions, the book is maybe and in autobiographical points to my cheerful star wars book, it's basically a problem focused book rather than a solutions focused book. in terms of what can be done, there is something about providers of information. there's something about individual lives, our culture and construction about what each of us not to let's talk about providers first and then culture. if you are running facebook, you saw from 2016 there's something seductive and
intuitive about what was said there. that was written by somebody extremely intelligent and who also has a value but it's not the right value. it's not the full value. and from facebook's public pronouncements, they are rethinking this to death so you could easily imagine facebook experimenting with let's say a serendipity button where you press something and in your newsfeed comes a random draw of things that aren't necessarily what an algorithm or your own behavior would have selected.that would be worth experimenting with or something else which is actually blossoming not to my knowledge on facebook itself but through private-sector creativity is an opposing viewpoints button where you could click on it and then you would get a certain amount of stuff that comes on your newsfeed, just things
that say differently from what you think and it could make you very unhappy that you click the button. that's why are they sending me this nonsense, or it could make you think, these people are even sillier than i thought and it's good to know that or it may make you think they have some ideas which are not unreasonable, i'm glad to hear that so those would be two things to experiment with. the second approach, that is the use of our rhythms to expose people to lots of stuff. that'ssomething that there are about 12 out there right now , some of them are startup, some of them you can download tomorrow. facebook, whether it would move, i'm using facebook as a placeholder for social media generally. it looks like the leadership of both is providing a service to which it has an economic commitment and the service to which it has in
the large ideological commitment, not in the sense of political thinking people can connect with their friends across geography and communicate with their children or with people who had an instant high school, that's fantastic and there's something that's admirable about that. they also i think our alerted to the fact that they're having an increasingly large democratic function. shouldn't play favorites or try to make kings but they can think that one of those things they are doing is something like what the great news providers of the 1950s did you get 's if they start curating things, facebook employment-based is about 80, 95 percent democratic. then they curate fairly? >> the word curate is ambiguous. if they curate it in a way that makes a particular position, that would be objectionable for any number of reasons it would not be in
their economic interests so there are people who curate along ideological lines and they're allowed. facebook certainly shouldn't do that so for instance, one of the problems that facebook's newsfeed is part of an facebook is not the source of ideological polarization in america but it can be helpful rather than harmful. the problem is people are often sorted into information cocoon's that fit with their pre-existing predilections. some people who are so sorted actually have aspirations that are different from their own behavior tuesday at 10 am. they would like to see other stuff. and if their newsfeeds look like that, they would be happier with their week . so try it, they could do that. >> certainly websites i
consult regularly have a certain amount of smart people who write about things i don't know a lot about and who link to opposing views with fair regularity. which doesn't describe the whole universe. you describe the jane jacobs description of greenwich village, hudson street in the 1950s, this diverse area. go down hudson street today, 90 percent of the people you encounter are all of one political belief, there in one silo or we could describe it with fair accuracy. if another place where you find that is a place where you've spent most of your professional career, universities. universities today have speech codes, restrictions. they're shouting down violently attacking speakers. the administrations are not doing anything about this except putting slightly and saying how much they hate the
speakers do, putting their own charles murray here at ati. work universities one of most close minded silos go growing up? i grew up in a republican suburb and i went to a democratic university called harvard, that's how they lured in the stronghold for nixon in 1960. nowadays the typical student goes from the 50 percent republican or democratic summer and goes to a 92 percent university. our universities part of the problem rather than the solution? >> there's an empirical question here and the data is impressive but i'm a little at a disadvantage because i spend most of my career at the university of chicago which on two counts is different from the picture you describe. one of which is it's been a national leader in opposing the idea of any kind of politically driven speech code in the administration of
the university of chicago has stood for principle, my co-author and just still left the center is, yields to no one i think i think it may be fair to say that your own dealership shows a fair degree of civility and openness to ideas. >> thank you. i do think that if any academic identifies himself or herself in a way that is very ideologically describable, they're not doing their job because it would be amazing if suppose you are a political scientists, if your views on 12 of the leading issues today, on everyone lined up with one of our current political parties ? that would be amazing in a bad way. so i want to make one other point which is that i think in this way as well as in the
no speech codes way model and i'm completely with you on charles murray. free society or even an unfree society, the way he was treated is a disgrace so unfree society should be free and unfree society should not treat people in that disgraceful way but also at the university of chicago, the number of people who are, the democratic party's paul nonsense and still think that is significant and the intellectual leadership in the two places of the university of chicago that i know, the law school and economics, they come from the right and my current teacher at harvard law school, many of the top people there are either right of center or could not be described as left of center and that's 92 percent number you get, that's alarming. >> is there an awareness of the problem that needs to be saltier at the highest
academic levels or is it that a got $32 billion, the heck with worrying about it my general reaction to this, it's undoubtedly a product of my experience over the last six years so our country has a number of challenges. 40,000 people died on the highways in 2016.that's an increase of infrastructure is in great, our unemployment level while down remains too high. our national gdp growth isn't high enough.this is a problem of persistent poverty and inadequate preparation, those remain serious. and i'll tell you, a good thing and i'm not going to continue but you get dressed, you could add your own preferred candidate, they have serious problems and
there are things on which the united states could make much more progress than it has so our educational institutions, they are the pride of the world. we have the best and the contributions to knowledge are providing whether it is involves computers or basic science or even economics. that's really something, we are the best there is so my focus i think academics particularly focused too much on universities and studies import but the main problem hailing america today isn't about what's happening over the left. the main problems are people dying prematurely for y or z reason. >> in #republic, perhaps even in the title work subsidiarity for the principle of deciding decisions to the extent
possible, a more local rather than federal or national basis. you have the cultural divisions that are unbridgeable, does it make sense to have washington decide transgender bathroom behavior? that has to be a national or for the state legislature at raleigh or for the city council in charlotte to decide that issue? can you give us some of your thoughts on what areas that might be helpful to do and other areas where it's not a good idea? >> it's a great question so there's an old political science paper called gag rules in democracy and the theory is on issues on which people are kind of at loggerheads, they might just not talk to each other about those issues and just proceed on issues on which they can talk. >> this is when you hope
uncle bob wouldn't bring up politics. >> exactly. this is a brilliant insight and is closely connected to your point. my thing is financial government is going to break out over x or y issues where it's going to inflame everybody , then the argument for having states and localities sorted out their own way is strengthened and that's not addressed in the book, the book isn't about what level of government should solve various problems it's a reasonable and i think fair inference. it's a point that is the idea that where we are inflamed with each other and this paralyzing thing may be the safe localities to appoint to the last part of your question is a guess whether the point is decisive or just one of seven considerations depends on the area so in the environmental context, if certain states are polluting other states, there's an
argument for a national solution to prevent the interstate crossover. so the first mission of the environmental protection agency in principle should be not to set ambient air quality standards were each state, but to make sure each state doesn't create adverse environmental impacts on other states and there's a rule from the epa called the cross state rule which follows that theory. so the environmental issue probably a good one to think what levels of water pollution also, what levels of reduction and aggressive national minimum might make sense given states capacity to handle that themselves and where do we have the problems the state can handle given that one state is adversely affecting another? it might be nationals already
have capacity to figure out environmental impacts which would suggest some minimus but in some context very plausibly the minimus should be less aggressive. the transgender one is interesting, the question would be whether we should think of the transgender issue as sufficiently subject to reasonable doubt, that a national solution makes no sense or whether we should think of it in the way that most people now think of race discrimination as one where there's you know, a characteristic which is not legitimately the basis for mistreatment and the transgender issue isn't one to follow a lot of out of the question would be in which bennett falls so there are areas that even fall under the rubric of discrimination where thegovernment doesn't bed . this is some people who think of a more capacious notion of
what type of age discrimination the federal law does and maybe they can do that in california if they are worried about that thing but we don't want a national age discrimination thing that has that degree of let's say provocative miss given the some people think that age discrimination, that's life and in california, you get where i'm going. so the fact that it's a moral issue doesn't necessarily mean didn't centralize the solution. you got a strong point and if we took some demands where the federal government is at loggerheads and just put it in the states and localities, then the intensity of central blockage would of course diminish. >> that's almost an implication, one of justice ginsburg's pre-supreme court statements on abortion suggests that in fact that if roe v wade had not gotten a single national standard,
this would not have been as great an issue. >> i think both mary and glendon who worked at the vatican under president bush and justice ginsburg are correct in saying row against wade was a blunder to national life issues on which dates with their diverse values were resolving in different ways, in ways that involved thinking. >> we had many of these, i had the thought reading your book that maybe these problems are not new. if you go back in time between a period where you can see the passage of the radioactive 1930 which that state is herbert hoover becomes a federal regulation of electronic communications media and the repeal of the fairness doctrine in 1987 which you say in the book was warranted, at least at that time as an intelligent policy decision and should not be
revisited. you have in this country nothing of it i call universal media, you have everybody listen to the radio to just a few stations. everybody went to the movies, daily movie attendance, 1930 america had 130 million, 123 million people, average weekly movie attendance was 100 million, every week. >> that's a universal medium. television in the 1950s and 60s, incidentally, president reagan and one of the reasons for his political success his witty political career entirely in all three of those media, radio, movies and television.he embodied and spoke naturally the language of universal media, common national values of movies, those things that us and provided a common language. that's the technology has clearly changed that but prior to 1930, we were living
in an america which was not as connected as, did not have as prevalent a universal culture. can you think of any lessons on how to cope withthat , that might occur to you from that other america? >> thank you for your question and it helps explain probably the saddest statistic that exists which is that gone with the wind, star wars, a new hope as the inflation-adjusted box office winner. you don't look particularly sad to hear that statistic . >>. >> gone with the wind which depends on racial views we don't like. >> i think it's a great movie and i love the movie and the book is phenomenal and fascinating but star wars should be number one. >> still, you give the right explanation which is there
was a time when everyone went to the movies and went to the same movies and while star wars was released at a time when there was less diversity than there is now, there's a neutral reason that gone with the wind beats star wars. it's not better, it's not more popular. it was produced in an era of more universal media. that wasn't the answer you are looking for so you're clearly right historically that we have an era of, i like the term universal media. sometimes that providers of information in that era which is receding have been referred to as general interest intermediaries. that was short it time in human history and its weakening. and then the question you ask is what can we learn from the prior era? the only thing i would add is that in terms of challenges we face in a way they are
more intense than that, even if the level of universal experience is not lower now than it was then. he caused the ability of each of us to find 1 billion people who think exactly as we do, that has no precedent. though if you think that somebody, name your least favorite politician should be in jail and it could be somebody who most people love . who if there's someone who most people love? michael jordan. most people love michael jordan. you think he should be in jail, that maybe an exception but the general proposition, you can find 1 million people would agree with you, that person should be in jail and in the other times where we didn't have it. >> this is the athens state, you're throwing him out of town. >> completely so the ability to find a very large number
of people who think whatever you think and to do that in one second,that is , it's great in a way, especially if they don't think exactly what you think, you can learn something from the them but to find yourself in the cozy's place in the world of people who will afford by your let's say eccentric view, that's different from any time where you might find 14 people or 24 to agree with you but it's a little like the colorado experiment not with groups of sex but with groups of 700 and you know, then the unity extremism confidence loses ground. >> that pre-1930s thing also featured a little something called a civil war. we got a national issue, slavery in the territory that people were unwilling to compromise on and you had,
you pointed to a number of unsolved or insufficiently addressed public policy areas that i think most people would agree to varying extents extends with you on, you see a threat as big as that, as big as or what are the big dress you are seeing that might keep you worrying at night. >> so the civil war reference is great because it points out something about lincoln that i think is not sufficiently prominent in public celebrations with lincoln and that is lincoln was an opponent of slavery for all of his adult life in a kind of uncompromising way but he was not an opponent of eliminating slavery for today, for much of his adult life and he found no contradiction there.he said the fact that a majority of
white people want slavery is highly relevant and whether they are wrong or right actually is relevant. >> on the issue of what to do today. the fact of their intense views, that's a block. and it wasn't that he thought they might be right, is that we have to combine clarity on the principle with brian and chisholm about how to get there in a way that's respectful of what other members of the human decency think so with that relationship between pragmatism and principal that has defined his thinking about slavery, he was not able to avoid a civil war. i don't think we are in danger of anything like that so the closest thing keeping me up at night is thinking that there are human tragedies all around us, probably everyone is listening to this can think of one in his or her last 20 years.
that might be in my case my mother died of a brookings associated illness and that's not the worst. people here have had worse. and for a large percentage of those, if we had a well-functioning market or a well-functioning process that didn't fall prey to what i'm describing, the tragedy wouldn't have happened. so the recent news about 40,000 people dying on the highway, that's salient if you saw five of those families, that was 40,000 probably wouldn't be a dry eye in the house and that's what keeps me up at night, there are many problems that republicans and democrats have good solutions to that they could resolve but that their ability to work with one another is compromised not because they don't want to, because they're afraid they're going to lose their
jobs. >> well, our elected system is invariably an adversary system and its built in to be that way and the in the sort of confidence that competition is in the economic marketplace will more often than not. >> but is there an adversary systems and their adversary systems. >> there are systems where you know, the potential of someone i admire, senator is willing towork with people , democrats on name five issues. and the capacity of people similarly situated with senator hatch to work together without endangering their electoral prospects is much worse than it was with social media as a contributor because they know as soon as they say i'm working with that person on that issue, twitter is going to go crazy. and it works for both democrats and republicans. >> i think we saw that in the vote on justice for such.
views is that extended family thanksgiving day, christmas, other holidays. but on the other hand, our extended families and somewhere getting smaller. you have fewer children pick that means your children have fewer cousins. do we know at all what's happening to those extended family discussions? i had one where we had socialists, we had a variety of people. my parents were eisenhower and lyndon johnson voters. how's that gone the way of everybody going going to the same movies every week. that's a great question. that data and other domains is consistent with the hypothesis that the degree of diversity at family get-togethers is smaller than it used to be. but i don't have the data that nails actually that particular
issue. there's been geographical sorting along political lines, that is way higher than what was found in decades before. what's unclear at least from myy understanding of the data is whether family members have enteral disagreements. what we're finding in the party is suggesting that there's less enteral disagreements. >> the debate at the beginning of the data on, you know, do you have your son marry a republican? >> if your uncle as a republican and you are democrat, unless you dislike a uncle you probably are not going to be alarmed. so the data is consistent with the hypothesis which i don't know to be true, which is that there's been a diminution on that account. >> let me conclude by remarks by quoting something that occurred to me that i propose that earlier question about the
historian was at northwestern for many years, wrote his book the segment of society, he said over most of american history, and is looking at 19 center, early 20th, americans lived in small social units, primary circles of identity values, associations and goals. americans could live together because they lived apart. is that too much of a resigned, we just have to kind of live, you get an extreme example, the american conservative, a book out called the benedict option we says people of religious faith, traditional christian faith, i believe he's a roman catholic, should just wall themselves off from this vicious larger society, vicious as he sees it.
and wall themselves and their families off, make their living since some ways when you're not participating in what he regards as a corrupt and lascivious society. he's an interesting and serious person and his model is the founder of the saint benedict, the found a benedictine monasteries. >> so as someone buried in the catholic church to a catholic woman, a marriage that was arranged with the help of the catholic u.s. ambassador to the vatican, marrying, helped get it authorized who was gracious enough to do that. i'm really glad catholics have not wall themselves off. two of my children, they would be my children at least, they wouldn't exist. so i couldn't disagree more strongly with that statement,
and the reason is that there are very few things that are un-american but that actually is un-american, when we understand america to be an nation that celebrates the capacity, people with very different foundational business to live together with not just geniality but with something approaching love. and that's a pretty christian thought as well as an american thought, so i have a different doctrine. >> let me open this up to the audience for questions, and with people with microphones who can go around. i would like to ask you to identify yourself and your organization or association, which siebel you come from. greg, start off with --
>> my name is greg, i'm a big fan of yours. i'm president of fire, a political liberal but who also times fight and culture wars think it's stereotyped as a conservative. but i'm working on a book right now, very interested in polarization so did you see the recent study or survey people were talking about in response to your book that talked about how that older people, the people least likely to use the internet are actually more polarized than younger people? i think the fact it into a torrent was one the reason why you that -- >> i have read the paper tickets by two excellent people whom i really admire pics of the paper finds that the growth in polarization has been greatest among older people, and young people especially likely to use the internet show a lower degre of increase in polarization over everything.
-- a recent time. it's a very gross account, not in the sense that it is disgusting. nothing disgusting about this paper, but operates with real aggregates pics of the question is what hypothesis particularly are they testing? so the hypothesis is that those who use social media are more likely to be polarized than those who don't. their paper does falsify that hypothesis. what we don't know from the paper is whether social media use is a polarizer among those who do use social media, the paper doesn't test that hypothesis. what's going on with the older people who have gotten more polarized we don't know. something is happening there. >> isn't it usually true that older people are more likely to have a fixed party identification and young people, all other things being equal?
>> ait might be bought the drum of the paper is that older people are showing more split now than they were in earlier speed more likely to watch cable news. >> that's fair. there's nothing in the paper that is inconsistent with -- what's think of this book? "#republic." there's nothing in the paper that is inconsistent with "#republic." social media contributed to political polarization. particularly for those people who are politically very engaged, who are self sorting. that the book has a ton of papers, not by the author, by others that is supportive of that thesis. so let's call it the gross paper, to which you refer, gross meaning aggregate data. it's a very interesting paper but it's in no tension at all with the things that you and
professor height and others are concerned with. >> okay. another question, the lady in front. >> thanks for your presentation. i just wonder, you mention a democrat and republican. now i'm thinking just in our society as a capitalism, people use money as nature of your achievement or your value, to do next step. before in the '50s and 60s people just thinking about what do you want to achieve to improve the society and essence it would reform, but now people, the think about reform is how do you achieve to get most money as high as ceo? so i just wonder instead say how we want to improve the society
and improve the two-party system, do you think instead of people say don't talk politics or religion, don't talk about parents because they are -- what steps do you think we have to improve our system, so democratic party can really improve our society rather than to extreme? >> first point i'm a big fan of capitalism comes to the fact that ours is a capitalist system is a source of pride. second, in a capitalist system, it is never the case that social value is uniformly associate with how much money people are able to obtain, and i mean the word never literally. eddie to look at people are
greatly admired, a lot of them don't have a ton of money or if they do they are admired for their achievement not for their money. so that you that the people who end up admired in various communities come it depends on what their characteristics are. some people admire them for the money, but that wouldn't be the median person. you're great, you built that, or you figure that out, or you help people, or there's a fantastic company. steve jobs is greatly admired easy admired because he's rich? no. he's admired because he built sensational products. the idea that in the 50s people were more admired for their achievements and in the 2017 more for their money, that is theoretically possible but i don't know of any other evidence that it is true, that in the 50s joe dimaggio i think was
extremely admired. >> some of these baseball players were paid $10,000 a year. >> not a whole lot of money but even if he may play he was joe dimaggio, not rich guy. 56 consecutive games with hits. that was his achievement. in terms of what to do, i would not focus on capitalism. i would focus on private practices that are not inevitable, many of them very recent, that our contributors to the problem. in terms of government more macro, subsidiary is one approach would make sense. in other domains, this is a very contestable view. madison and hamilton's conception was we want a deliberative democracy where there would be people whose job
it would be to kind of figure things out, specialists and experts, and they would be ultimately accountable to we the people but it would be like referenda on their actions day by day. they would be knowledgeable and virtuous and he would do stuff. maybe that is an enduring inside. if you want to do something about problem ask to all the people who actually know something about problem ask, move on it whether it's food safety or traffic safety or infrastructure improvement. they wouldn't be the only people, we the people would be the ultimate arbiters, but they would have some space to do stuff pics of the fact that in the united states you can eat and not be afraid of getting sick or you can mostly drive ane afraid of getting crashed into. that's in part a tribute to capitalism and in part a tribute
to the madisonian vision, let's say. >> in the back. >> good afternoon. it's a pleasure to meet you. my name is todd. i'd like to ask you from your perspective of being a renaissance man, which has quite a few pitfalls because you know so much about so many different things. but if you're in a job interview right now, if someone were to ask you what has been your greatest hit, not just selling books but in the sense of being able to exact change that was discernible, that people could say you did change my life are you cost me to do something different. is there anything you can think of off the top of your head that you are conscious of that you actually affected some in that way. >> with you know the song 22 by taylor swift? i wrote that song.
[laughing] i don't know. i think when i got to work in the government there were some things that i got to participate in that i hope are helpful. so one thing that a lot of people have experienced is the global entry tsa preprogram. i don't know if i would say that my greatest hit. i certainly wouldn't say that it's mine but i got to purchase but in it. and there are programs that involve life-saving from various problems that people are potentially subjected to that i got to participate in. there were some people who were around and i got to help with that. that's not as good as 22, but -- >> i would have to say as a tsa project and global entry travel you probably saved or helped to
save maybe 40 hours of my life, so thank you. commissioner. director i guess. >> i am in the silo. my question is about the judges study. i don't know if you consider this, but i'm what you thought about how senatorial quota could affect it. that's been expanded greatly in the last administration, though -- i believe if you look at the more bush appointees in the fifth and more obama appointees in the fourth and second which would then make because of the central quota, the republican appointees more moderate and democratic senate states, and
democratic appointees more republican so that would affect the outcome. >> it's a great question. so there are two different issues. issue number one, is judicial voting behavior affected by whether judges are sitting with people appointed by the president of the same party as a president who appointed them? and our data suggests that basically that happens every circuit works of the patterns we describe our uniform across circuits. there was one, i think -- >> across party. >> and across parties. completely uniform. we're not detecting any differences in the extent to which a democratic judge will vote more liberal, literally with a number of democrats on the panel. so there's almost an iron law where the percentage of liberal votes grows with the number of
democrats on the party, on the panel. and it works for democrats and republicans. so that find is uniform. there is one panel when we got some noise in the data picked as i recall it was the sixth circuit with republicans were not affected by the democrats and the democrats are not affected by the republicans and that seems because they really don't like each other on that panel. >> the fact that they hired a food tester. >> at the -- your point is a different point which is the senatorial courtesy could be an ideological moderator. there's some data that supports what you say in a time of senatorial courtesy at one point i compiled the data on this we didn't find any logical differences so start between democratic and above can appointees, and the public has something to do either with the fact senatorial courtesy or with the fact that the issues were
not splitting people as much as they are now. >> or were not splitting the parties. you had the phenomenon in the civil rights revolution were the strongest pro-civil rights federal district and circuit judges were republicans appointed by president eisenhower. >> completely. so keep in mind you are asking about whether senatorial courtesy can be a moderator of ideological division. the answer could be yes, not necessarily. that would be independent of the question which is kind of a social media question, are we observing movements when people are in something like an echo chamber. >> what blogs do law professors read? there are lots of law professors can but which ones, which law logs do you pay attention to? you say a couple of them in the book. >> i pay attention only to two, and that is the conspiracy which is quite good, their authors are
very strong, and it's not a law one but it's just, i don't think i'm a renaissance man but more a law professor guy. but tyler is -- marginal revolution, great. on everything, tyler is interesting and inventive. and he's not a lawyer, but has a lot of interesting things to say about law. i am today down on blogs. not in the sense that they're useless but do you know the word what's your take? that's a really bad phrase, isn't it? if you have a take on something chances are you shouldn't say it. and blogs, i take -- >> i take is your attitude our response. >> so your take is, i know this because i've some friends who i
admire who write on twitter from i take this, and a read and they really intelligent and what they produce is all my god. it's so super speed is one rule i have tried to develop if i read the headline can which sometimes -- i can write the whole rest of it in my head. i'm not going to bother because already know what they're going to say. i have my own response to the argument. >> most law professors that i know spend very little time with blogs, but bullock is very much worth reading and tyler is always worth ten times the amount of time it would actually take to read him. >> parsing some of his prose the other day got to be a little tricky. let's see, we have other questions. let's have this young man here. >> ian mason, breitbart news but wanted to ask you about a public forum doctrine and its potential
application to social media. in addition to the prohibitions usually on harassment and other speech, most social media networks have pretty strong both written code and measure to combat so-called hate speech. could that passive potential application to the viewpoint neutral requirement of the public forum doctrine? >> you're talking about the doctrine of the first amendment doctrine. >> let's separate two different ideas. one idea is that the streets and parks or public fora in the sense they're open to expressive activity, even if people don't want them to be. so the public forum doctrine says that subject to time place and manner restrictions comes you just have to have that stuff open. and that's a very unusual first amendment doctrine because it's not about protecting against government censorship of dislike speech pickets about providing spaces where people can
communicate. that space, any time and when he she gets in office, closes a public spaces. and that's different from censoring disagreement. so the public forum doctrine seems to be a kind of, what is it, outlier in our free speech tradition. it applies to separate the various ideas, not just to content discriminatory restrictions but also neutral. if you set the streets and parks are not open for expressive activity between 2 p.m. and 5 p.m., that would probably be struck that even though it's content neutral. or if you said something that would be viewpoint neutral, which is you can't use the word war on a public forum, that would be struck down like that. it is content-based but it is viewpoint neutral. so the public forum doctrine is about spaces.
then there's the ban on content discrimination which is actually a little tricky. there's a per se ban on viewpoint discrimination. content discrimination must meet a big burden of justification but it might be okay. so if you said you can't use certain, the hate speech is viewpoint neutral but content-based. so if you go up to people and say something that's predictably going to produce violence, then under the existing doctrine that can be regulated. what counts is hate speech is a very narrow definition, so if you go in someone's face and think of the worst things they can be that will result in violence that can be regulated. but if you say something like the political person who you like best is a crook and god had a bad day when that person was born, that's pretty hateful but
it's not hate speech. so the question is does hate speech very narrowly defined, is regular ball anywhere, followed form or not? want to expand it from the very narrow legal conception of hate speech, salute to the ordinary language conscription of hateful communication, then no regulations will have, and that's, you know, any abstract that's a good because notwithstanding i think the concerns we have about instability -- incivility to abandon civil speech would not be very civil in a society which treasures robust and often inflamed political discussion. >> this gentlemen, last question. >> thank you. i am actually a former social
media researcher and now i am into tech policy in d.c. i work for a think tank called the american action forum. i want to push back on something and ask a question about effectiveness. you talked about serendipity as a way within social media as way to combat this polarization. that seems to me the venture talk about our serendipitous in their own way, that when you get these people who are in boulder as compared to colorado springs in the same room they go even more extreme even though there more middle as far as the results concern. seems to be the same thing as the serendipitous project in some way that you suggested for social media. so given what we know, what you think is effectiveness of that going to be and other remedies? the more and more i look at this i'm just not sure what the most effective remedy is. >> okay, good. first, you are picking up on it ambiguity in the word
serendipity, and second you are picking up on lack of clarity about what remedy would be effective. by serendipity i actually mean something a little more particular than the word, which is exposure to ideas or points of view that you never would have selected to see and that don't necessarily fit with your antecedent abuse. so in that view if you as a boulder person serendipitously find yourself in a row with a zillion people from boulder, and just work out that way because of how, where people marched on tuesday at 4 p.m., that is serendipitous but not in the sense that i mean. so i mean serendipity, like you're reading the daily newspaper and you see some story about turkey and you don't interest in turkey and you thought it was food, but there's an authoritarian crackdown there and that could change when you do -- what you do that day. over the course of a human year,
change a nontrivial number of peoples lives. actually tried to do something about that. that's a topic or it might be a point of view, you might think, to give an example, university of chicago people, i remain in many respects want are fond of, you might think about the minimum wage that shows you it's throwing a significant interest to a lot of people out of work, and you might start night liking the middle -- not like in the way to so much and that might affect your attitude and how you talk to one another, which might have some policy implication if the number of people as enough. that's the idea of serendipity. we don't have a word -- the germans probably too because that particular serendipity and the precise sense. in terms of effectiveness, if you feel adamant that, take your
preferred issue, that the holocaust happened, adamant on that, and then you read stuff that says actually it didn't happen, that's not going to change you. and for many people, many political issues are like that. so that which is not inconsistent with the date is that many americans on a wide range of issues, they don't think of issues as like the holocaust. they might think of them about obamacare, they might think i love the and nothing is going to change me. or i don't like that, nothing s going to change me. but even there you might think i love obamacare but i read something about some provision is causing a problem and i don't like that, or you might think as many people do i like obamacare but the idea of of calorie labels at chain restaurants, at
least the data suggest that the decent thing. so the effectiveness notion that you are right to press on, the first approximation and is where people are not like george lucas with respect to death of luke skywalker, meaning not going to happen, then something might be moved. and notice if you want in return of the jedi, yoda did die. made some progress. >> i want to thank you for a very interesting presentation. [applause] [inaudible conversations]