tv After Words Jonah Goldberg Suicide of the West CSPAN January 1, 2019 4:29pm-5:30pm EST
are available to watch online at booktv.org. and today we're bringing all of the top 10 most watched book events from 2018 according to booktv.org. sixth is the syndicated columnist jonah goldberg, tribalism, populism, nationalism are threatening american democracy. >> up next on booktv's "after words" indicated columnist jonah goldberg argues that tribalism, populism, and nationalism are threatening american democracy. he is interviewed by jon podhoretz. "after words" interviews nonfiction authors about their latest work. >> host: jonah goldberg in your book, you posit that, that
everything that we take for granted, every freedom that we have, every economic advantage that we possess as americans and as people of the west, all of these are actually a radically new development in the history of humankind, number one, and and number two, are unnatural. that western civilization as we understand it, or contemporary american western democratic civilization is unnaturalwhat do you mean by that? >> guest: so, first of all, great to see you, john. >> host: following the brian lamb model we never met each other and even though we're old friends, do a podcast together and constantly exchange insults on twitter and all that.
>> guest: saved your life in prison. >> host: i want to hue to the c-span. >> guest: i appreciate that. right, so, part of what i'm trying to do in the book is get people, not so much, sort of say i have all the right facts, i have the perfect version of what happened in human history and all that, i'm not claiming that. i'm doing something a little different. i'm asking people to sort of tilt their head a little bit and take a step back and look at the world around them with fresh eyes, alien from another planet eyes and. a big part of my argument to simply say, human nature is a thing, right? it's a constant. one of my favorite definition of conservatism, human nature has no history. by that i mean if you take a baby from today, a baby from new rochelle, send it back a thousand years to be raised by
vikings, it will grow up to be a viking and rape and pillage the countryside. if you take a viking baby growing up in new rochelle, it will grow up to be orthodontist. as he said, every western selfization is invaded by bearbarbarians. we call them children. the place where children are born into at first is the family. that civilizes them into kind of a culture. then other institutions play that role. of -- but if you just take it as human species, c-span studios is not natural. this is not our natural environment. our natural environments are 250, to 300,000 years, semihairless aprils foraging fighting for food, killing each other with spears and rocks. we were not apex predators until recently. take a jar of ants, dump it on virgin soil on alien planet or
continent or something, the ants will instantly start behaving like ants. they will dig tunnels. set up colonies, whatever ants do. if you took humans and cleared them of all our civilizational education, put them in their natural environment, we wouldn't be having conversations about books or doing podcasts. we would be teaming up into little bands and troops, defending ourselves against animals and other bands and troops. that is what our actual at that nature is. that is the point of "lord of the flies." "lord of the flies," you have the kids pinnacle of western civilization at the time, kids from a british boarding school, almost instantly you put them back into the natural environment, they go tribal, superstitious, carry spears, attack each other, that's humanity. and so if capitalism were natural, if property rights were natural, if individual rights were natural, if democracy were natural, they would have showed
up a little earlier in the evolutionary record than 300 years ago. that is really where the only, really only time they actually show up in a sustainable way, basically in lake ex16 hundreds england and coming to america. >> host: you say in the epilogue of the book, you make the point that all, for thousands of years, according to every serious economic student of human history, for thousands of years, there was a effectively zero percent economic growth on the planet earth. >> guest: right. >> host: people lived on equivalent of somewhere two to three dollars a day. >> guest: everywhere. >> host: everywer on the planet. subsistence existence when it meant to be human being. >> guest: right. >> host: there were spurts of creativity, moments of intellectual creativity all
that, but this was the fact. >> guest: seems to counter intuitive to people. we have wonderful history about rome, china, all the rest. the rich people left cool stuff. they left words and written stuff and aristocrats left stuff but they were living off of the wealth created by subsistence farmers and all of the rest. were very small stratum of actual humanity. >> host: then you say around the late, in the 1700s, basically, if you were to draw a chart showing human progress, at least economic progress, the chart's like this. here is the beginning of homosapiens, right? goes like this, goes like this, goes like this. then it goes like this. so that, as you sigh, 96% of people on earth were living on $2 a day. >> guest: 2 or $3 a day.
>> host: 2 or $3 a day. that number is 9% on earth today. so we have 90% of humanity. humanity is three times, three or four types, there are three or four times more people on the planet than there were in 1750. so we have this, and we think, because it is in our nature to think this is our parents, grandparents, everything else. we think that this is the what it means to be human, to live with free speech. you have certain level of income. even if you're poor, all this stuff about how the poorest person in america today is, it is not clear that the richest person in america in the year 1900 would want to change places because he could get septic infection and digest guest right. >> host: just walking down the street. that is not what like is like
now. we think natural order of things, this thing, this period of 300,000 years is what people really are and that we have built this thing, has been built to undergird our wealth, our freedoms. and it is precarious, in part because it's new, right? and then also it's precarious because it is a construct of ideas and within it, and against it, is a construct of ideas that looks at this and says, as you do, this is unnatural but rather than you, you say this is unnatural and it's amazing. >> right. >> host: it is astounding, greatest thing that ever happened. this makes me really uncomfortable. i don't feel like this is authentic and real. you call that romanticism. you want to lay out this
conflict. >> guest: yeah, so, one of the people i'm deeply indebted to is the economic historian mccloskey. she runs in her books, several of them, bourgeois virtues, bourgeois dignity. she runs through all the theories where the miracle happened. the miracle -- the reason i say these things are unnatural and reason why the first sentence of the book there is no god in this book. i'm not saying i'm an atheist. i'm not an atheist. is to say part of what i'm trying to do persuade people, you and i both agree on this, art of persuasion something being lost in our political discourse these days. so i'm trying to model best behavior, trying to persuade people. you can't appeal, you can't say, well, we have all the great
stuff. we have america because god wanted us to have it. you can only appeal to authority when everybody appeals to the authority, so much left or progressive or liberals, so much of their touch steens are secularism, science, evolution, these kinds of things. if i make arguments from god, they're like, i don't need to listen to you. what i'm trying to argue, argue on their terms. according to the most generous understanding of the left, what does the left care about? they care about income inequality, care about the material care for the poor and tolerance and inclusivety. literacy. go down the lists, if you have a sincere argument and things they care about, say why they're liberal, they would say these things. i'm trying to make the point, all of these things, get better
because of liberal democratic capitalism. not just that we get richer. we live longer. literacy goes through the roof. we're much more tolerant. part of my problem with, the suicidal part of my analysis here is that, because, first of all we take the miracle for granted as you say before. we're born into it. we assume the way the world is supposed to work. we take it for granted. we don't defend it. but also because capitalism is unnatural, it, it angers our inner primitive. and, if you do intellectual, if you read intellectual history, going back to at least russo or even further this complaint about capitalism enlightenment, commercial order is constant one. takes new forms in every generation, like one of those episodes of the guy light zone,
a guy wakes up, every time he wakes up, different actors play the same characters over and over again. it appears in different masks over time. rousso is largely credited with the father of romanticism. >> host: the french philosopher whose work really begins to take shape around 1750. >> guest: right. >> host: he is responding in great measure to the philosophical tradition that began with thomas hobbs in 1650, revolutionized by john locke. >> guest: adam smith. >> host: adam smith was contemporary of rousso. he lays out the idea there are natural liberties. the purpose of civilization, of a civil society, is to protect the individual's rights. >> guest: right. >> host: this is totally new kind of idea and rousso says
hold on a minute. that is is not the purpose of society. the purpose of society is to enrich, allow people to live authentic, natural lives right? >> guest: famous scene he describes himself, where he is on his way to visit his friend in jail and he find as, totally different, sometimes translations are little different but find as flyer or advertisement for an essay-writing competition, asking the question, have the arts and sciences improved morals in the state of man or something like that? and the essay title was almost surely rhetorical, right? sort of like finding an essay competition at bryn mawr or kenyan, saying, does diversity make us stronger? you're supposed to come out with a clever way of saying yes. this essay, have the arts and
sciences made us better. rousseau looks at this, he has a solemn road to the damascus moment. he passes out. he wakes up, drenched in his own tears. he is a bit of a drama queen and it occurs to him all of a sudden, this is basically the essence of his view, we have got it entirely backwards. it is very much, sort of inspired by his calvanist upbringing and his christianity. he is has a classic religious tale, we started in golden age, golden age of noble savages where we were individuals. totally not true. and that society has corrupted us. science corrupts us. and he says, man is born free but everywhere he is in chain. the first person who put up a fence, protecting property, saying this is mine, was the first guy to, original sin of mankind is private property.
very different than loch, right? so rousseau east whole or i rentation, why he is the father of romanticism, there are other people you can call the father of romanticism, he deserves it more than anybody else, arguing from his own personal feelings. to say my feelings are more authentic than your facts, right? that personal authenticity, is, the highest bar, and that emotions tell us so much more. that is so much what early romanticism was. embracing sort of wild side of our nature. felt the enlight endment was pushing away. he makes another leap only can be realized when everything is in perfect harmony. the cult of unity, right? so society, everybody in society has to be working together towards the same ends. general will rules everything. the contrast between locke and
rousseau. the roots of our labor belong to us, we're individually sovereign. rousseau, individual is primary, private property is evil and morality is determined by the group. but the reason i bring this up, i actually reject this idea of doing this as intellectual history because we don't get these ideas from locke and rousseau. we have the impulses in us. >> host: from the very beginning of the miracle, which is the term you haven't quite defined. a term that describes this bizarre fact that, a door, they say in column i wrote about the book, something happens in the late 17th century, early 18th century a door is opened, into human possibility. and human creation. and 300 years later we're flying to the moon. you know, we've invented a
worldwide communication system. you know, the things that we can do, who we are, how we live, how long we live, our health and all of that, are things things would be unthinkably unimaginable before the door was open. >> guest: sound like heaven on earth if you described it to somebody 500 years ago. >> host: so the miracle starts. and the countermiracle. the counterargument against the miracle happens almost -- >> guest: simultaneously. >> host: simultaneously because these are the two sides of humankind. >> guest: that's right. differences of between loch and rousseau is really a divide runs straight through the human heart. we're all a little tribal. we have sense of belonging that we're part of a group more than individual. we all want to have, sort of, subscribing to things that give us meaning in ways beyond our
own individuality, and we're all lockean. we want to be recognized as unique person in the universe, make unique contributions, pursue happiness, inherent tension in our hearts and inherent tension in civilization. part of the suicide part is that, romanticism never went away. this compulsion, this rosseauian idea is not natural. this doesn't feel related. we need something more authentic. it comes up in every generation in different performs. cain take the form of populism. can take the form of nationalism, or range radicalism. communism, socialism, these are reactionary tribalism in the sense they're trying to restore that sense of social solidarity that we missed. and this is a fundamental flaw of capitalism. it is inevitable because,
capitalism is the greatest system ever created for peacefully improving the state of mankind in a cooperative non-violent way. one draw back. it doesn't feel like it. it is so unbelievably efficient at the cooperation, that we just, we don't notice the cooperation. and so. one of my favorite essays, you know this as well as i do, one of the greatest essays in history of libertarianism, leonard reed, called, i pencil. written from the per speck of the pencil. i'm a number two pencil, right? the two takeaways from the thing, every college kid should read and take away, one, he says, first of all, you have all of these people, he says my rubber comes from indonesia, my wood comes from canada. , my tin comes from argentina and my zinc comes from zinc land. all these people, different gods, different faiths, different languages, different
customs, different heritages, working seamlessly all around the world to produce a pencil at a fraction of a penny, whatever it cost, right? the second point take away from it, no one knows how to make a pencil. even pencil manufacturers don't know how to make pencils. they put together the last bits of ingredients to make the pencil. there was a guy who did, an exhibit in england a few years ago called i toaster. a guy made a toaster from scratch. so he like mined the copper. he forged the tin, galvanized the rubber, took him like, maybe eight years. >> host: yeah. >> guest: it was really crappy toaster. cost a couple thousand dollars. the beauty of capitalism. it gets everybody to work together. marx was right about this, alienation. capitalism is inheriting
alienating. boy to shrumpter only works if you have society and family that can provide meaning for people. if the yearn is not there, we look for meaning in earth oinks this, tribalism. we came to call these in the world of postwar sociologygy, mediating institutions. there is the government. there is the individual. there is the mass of individual. if there is nothing between them. government will either inherently drive to restrict and, you know, sort of tyrannize the individual. and that, institutions exist to create both richness, personal richness and, involvement and connection, and to, prevented you from being swamped by the mass or by the tyrant.
and those meaning institutions of one which is really not meaning institution because it is an institution that precedes society is the family. >> guest: right. >> host: you have your church, neighborhood, your union, communal organization. you know, your bowling league, whatever -- >> guest: friend. s. >> host: all these things. suicide of the left has to do, with a lot of weakening of these meaningful institutions, partially as a result of some of the corrosive effects of capitalism. partially as a result of an idealogical assault on them, that is oddly from the perspective crazed romantic authenticity addict, right? >> guest: right. >> host: who says these institutions are robbing us of our authenticselves.
the family abuses us. the church abuses us. does these terrible things to us. all these things are -- so they're bad. but it turns out you attract them, you go after them, and some pretty lousy things can start to happen. >> that's right. part of the problem we essentially have, autoimmune syndrome in this country, where, the antibodies of the body politics are attacking all the healthy organs. joseph slum peter, predicted end of capitalism, predicted children of industrialists and capitalists would become intellectuals would be dedicated to destroying capitalism. he turned marx on his head but got closer to destroying capitalism. shrumpeter makes the point,
relentless capitalism kind of like water seeking its own level. it doesn't stop at destroying bad customs and institutions. erodes all the customs and institutions. i think the family can with stand problems of capitalism as well. institutions can with stand the problems of capitalism well. the aren't part of the prediction, romantic thing where the way we teach western civilization today, the way we teach american history today, always negative stuff. howard zinn. >> host: author of people's history of the united states, one of most assigned. >> guest: widely huged history text in america. >> host: deliberately idealogical reading of the united states, suggests from its very origins the government the united states was more oppressive than liberating.
>> guest: systemic persecution. he says openly. >> host: professor of brown. >> guest: i'm writing history from the perspective the slaves in the carolinas. from the women here. from the coal miners there. irish there. always guys who are victimized. i have no problem with teaching that stuff, right? but here's the thing about flipping people's perspective on this. yes, it is hugely important to talk about how we had slavery in western civilization. but the fact is every civilization had slavery. what is interesting about slavery in western civilization we got rid of it, right? slavery is not actually natural in the sense we're talking about. only comes after the agricultural revolution because when we lived as know maddic tribes, slaves were heavy resource. killed the men and took women and children. there wasn't a lot of slavery when you couldn't put them to work. slavery comes with the
agricultural revolution. since then, 11, 12,000 years, there has been a lot of slavery everywhere. and what people don't seem to understand, the reason why we should be horrified and why we should teach about slavery in america, because of grotesque moral hypocrisy of it, right? we preached about all of us equal in the eyes of god, all men created equal, we didn't live up to it. the reason we should teach bit, that hypocrisy illuminates the ideal. instead what we get from have zinns, and romantics, the very rue sownian argument, that the idea itself was a con, oppressive, intended to enslave people. this idea there are lots of people, i quote someone in the book, there are lots of people who think racists to quote martin luther king saying judge people by content of their character, not the color of
their skin. my telling, the amazing thing about the founding wasn't they got it perfect day one. it is that they dropped basically these mental algorithms, put them in writing, the logic this idea of human equality, human dignity, inherent in the declaration of independence, took time for it to work its way through american consciousness. lincoln, gettysburg, he invokes rewrites understanding of our country, to live up to the ideals. martin luther king century later said the founders wrote this country a promissoriry note, all men, white men, black men, are created equal, deserve to be treated with inalienable rights, blah, blah. what he was doing there, appealing to the ideal. appealing to the best self of white america, right? all of civilization, all rhetoric is the story we tell ourselves about ourselves. the best version of ourselves.
he was appealing to the best version of ourselves. that was incredibly compelling. today that whole version is sort of in tatters because there is, identity politics part of this, people are basically saying, you can never get past your whiteness. all white people are racist. white privilege, white supremacy, demonizing white people, celebrating all these other differences, saying a simulation is evil. melting pot is evil. saying essence of identity politics so i can reduce a vast, diverse population of people to a single historical grievance based on their skin color. that to me, one of the things i found fascinating working on the book, is trying to find all of the things if you were visitor from mars, would you see more continuity today than you would see change. and this identity politics bit of it is deeply human and normal, right?
people say you have to be taught to hate. data is settled. you have to be taught not to hate. we have inherent distrust of strangers. babies are born with accented cries. they almost instantly like people of their, race of their own mother, right, their own parents. you have, paul bloom at yale, done amazing work how much of this stuff comes encoded just in babies. there is basically moral sense in them. hugely wired, is friend versus foe, stranger versus kin thing identity politics is another variant of human tendency to form airy stock consider sis. they got rid of titles of nobility, right? got rid of a notion of a blood plod aristocracy, they thought it would come black, because of accident of your birth, be considered better or worse than
somebody else. and that is identity politics says. simply virtue of accident of your birth, these people are more deserving, less deserving than other people. and, that is deeply pernicious to the sort of core principles that make the miracle wonderful. >> host: so. the suicide then, is the overlay of a set of ideas, that you and i and people like us, people are who would read this book, the man from mars would come to read this book, overlay we think they are destructive, overlaid on top of a system that is an extraordinary achievement. then the question is, since it is, you 250, 300 years old. that's a long time.
i mean -- so amazing thing. or you can say, 250 years old. as you say in the book, all of human, if you say, if you took all of humankind and said it was, all of humankind's lifespan were a year, all human civilization or progress was in the last 14 hours on december 31st. . . >> one of the reasons they say yeah, and then it's okay for people to express that there part of this kind of group and america can take it
. you can take this criticism. is that they don't think that it's fragile. they just assume that individual liberty, you know . they'll get to keep their stuff. there will be a revolution but they will get to keep their stuff whereas in the revolution there always the first to go. the fellow traveler is always the first to face the chopping block so this is the really interesting aspect of the suicide question i think is there are these new ideas that have come up. we don't respect arctic history, don't teach our history, we don't teach the glory of the articles, that this thing that you have is something that happened because a bunch of people at a certain point saw something about how life could be lived and so the forgetting of that , we will lead inevitably to its disintegration.
or, you know what, we can take it. it will be okay. we are going through a bad patch now but we're going to come out of it and it will all be fine and i think we all balance a little bit between these depending on the day. depending on whether it's some horror story where you go where done, we're finished . somebody beat up charles murray's escort on a college campus and you're like okay, the dark ages are upon us, nobody can speak freely anymore or look at this, this is amazing. we are about to have three percent unemployment in the united states . >> i agree and i feel a little bit like newcastle talking to you about judaism but there's a reason why judaism has survived for these thousands of years . what is the official number? 3000.
>> the jews worked reallyhard to keep memory alive . you read the passover and it is, it's thousands of years later and we're still expressing gratitude for deliverance. and gratitude is part of my argument. that if you don't, first of all, i think conservatism is gratitude. you say these are the things i'm thankful for and you want to preserve, conserve them. pass them on to your children and i also think a lot of liberalism properly understood is based on that kind of gratitude, that kind of liberalism seems to be having trouble these days , not to say conservatism isn't. and so i started to say this before.
mcclatchy deals with the explanations people use for where capitalism comes from and she's overwhelmingly persuasive in knocking them down. i'm less than 100 percent bought in to her explanation but it's better than almost anybody else's which was that this works, it's the way we talk about ourselves, the way we talk about the world around us, rhetoric . and for all of human history, certainly almost all of western european history, innovation was considered a sin because our economics was dominated by guilds, the monarchy which took a bit off the guilds ended by the church which also took atake. the established powers, the establishment of guilds , nobility and church did not like any of the goobers of europe. innovation was considered a sin, and then for weird bottom-up reasons, this bourgeois thing starts to
emerge where innovation is celebrated, where all of a sudden the idea that the fruits of your labor belong to you gets out of the bottle and it only happens in england. and it happened in england but england is weird. there have been places that have had innovation before, thechinese had printing presses long before europe did . but time and again, the established powers shut down innovation because it was destabilizing to the status quo and because england had a weak central government, never had an authoritarian monarch the way france did, never had standing armies, all sort of reasons, this genie gets out of the bottle in the way we talk about ourselves and for me, a big part of the argument is that if we don't talk about this stuff, we will forget about it.
that's what the bible says, remember this happened. remember is not a translator's honor, it's an activity. it's not recall, these are things you physically have to do and we don't do any of that right now in our culture . this is on your point about how recent all of this stuff is but i write in a footnote, think of it this way. my father was born when oliver wendell holmes was on the supreme court. holmes fought under lincoln. he was working on a farm in indiana when john quincy adams was born. in 1775, he was the boy that heard the gunfire at the siege of washington. washington was born in 1732. that's five lifetimes. you want to make six, washington's father was died at the right age of 48, 14
years past the average life expectancy for an englishman at the time. six lives and even then it was just getting started. economists say for most of man's life, he left no better on two legs than on four and there's another guy i can't remember points out that the average english citizen in material terms lived no better than the average roman citizen did. the steady state of poverty was unbelievable and in just six lifetimes, all of that changed . there are pubs in oxford i've been to that are older than us. that's 1300s. the striking thing that comes up whenever we, if you take say that 2016 election. which is something we can deal with toward the end of the book and the question of what our current political situation tells us about where the west is.
that we have these two narratives. we have, one of them is pretty solid, it's the trump narrative and the democrat narrative shifts to, dodges around largely because it decides to center itself on the trump narrative and the antithesis so trump says america is lost, america's got off track. we've done everything wrong and there are all these people who have been left out and i'm speaking for you. i'm your boy. you got nothing. and your salary stinks, your financial situation stinks and encoded terms, your cultural dominance have been taken away from you. and it's not they are, it's not right and i'm going to take it back. then you have hillary clinton and the democrats you remarkably first time in my lifetime or since really from
the democratic convention on start going this is, this country is great. this country is, i don't like to hear donald trump running down my country. this is terrible. michelle obama eight years earlier said the first time she was proud of her country and now their world haggard. you're running down my country, you're walking on thefighting side of me . so trump makes this sort of final appeal to white america. let's say and the democrats become universalists. even though they are the party of identity politics. that is everyone proportional representation by race and gender in their political convention and all that. and so trump is maybe effectively the first really
successful national identity politics politician. but it's an identity politics that the identity politics people never expected would be identity politics which is the great danger of identity politics which is the majority or the plurality decides that it is going to act as though it is an oppressed minority, there's no telling where that leads. >> i think that's right and it's amazing, if you look at the polling, everybody thinks there oppressed right now. >> a demographic group that doesn't feel like they aren't oppressed or demeaned or set upon by the other people. and look, i historically and i think you do too, i have considerable sympathy for a lot of the people in the trump coalition who feel they
are put on. the way in which our popular culture or are sort of campus culture consistently and relentlessly denigrates flyover people for want of a better word. done owners, churchgoers. their god and their guns and worshiping their crazy sky god or hunters. and i think some of that is, i think some of those feelings of cultural resentment are legitimate in the sense that they are being put down upon. you can get away with making fun of those people and our coastal elite culture that you never could forother people . and but i also think and there's something that's controversial the left these days. that whenever you talk about
the left having some responsibility for the backlash that led to donald trump , they get furious. we didn't vote for this guy. this is the way the republican party's been going for a long time and there's all of that. i certainly can be of the republican party. but you can't go around saying you know, yes, all white people are racist. you can't talk about how it's amazing how the white working class, blue-collar guy joe lunch bucket was the centerpiece of the democratic coalition from fdr until the day before yesterday. i've heard joe biden brag about that the votes came from, the union guys and archie bunker was the democrats. >> the second they vote for donald trump, they're all champions ofwhite supremacy. they're all racist . the day before the 2016 election, the electoral college, what was it called?
the blue wall that they had in the electoral college, they celebrated it. the day that worked against them and all of a sudden it's aninstitution of white supremacy . and the point i'm getting at is you can't demonize people forever and expect them to say oh my gosh, you're right. i'm horrible. what people will do is say my dad was a pretty good guy. my grandfather foughtin world war ii . my great-grandfather, he fought for the union and the civil war. white people get some really good things in this country. they'll get defensive, that's the normal human response. and so now we're seeing increasing numbers of white people identifying, saying their core identity comes from being white was not the case. 25 years ago, 30 years ago
when pat buchanan's protest candidacy arose in 1992 against george w. bush. and i started hearing in certain precincts of the right, i worked at the washington times at that time and there were many people on staff who would end up working for buchanan and populating early trump stop and they started talking about being european americans. this was startlingly while in an erotic at the time, this is ludicrous. it's one thing to say you're an american jew as we both are. just make up two percent of the population so it's a definingcharacteristic of my life . not quite enough to me to say i'm just an american because this is a very big thing but it's also, i do it because that's the idea. but they, then europeans were absolutely. they were attempting to don the mental of an oppressed
minority while being a majority. that was a forerunner to what's happening now where white americans still constitute. >> 67 percent of the electorate. >> but the idea is somehow that they, the only way you get ending in a society that is itemizing in this fashion is to retreat into a sub tribe. >> and have agreements. >> and i think this is a huge problem and again, i'm all for calling out the problems on our own side but this is a problem that is a cultural problem and the left, the
commanding heights of most of our culture, to say they have no role in this cultural problem is bizarre. i'm not trying to scapegoat the left, i'm trying to persuade them and i'm the house boy at npr now.i do want to say one thing because i hear this from trevor noah and i hear this from a lot of the people on the left, it's funny. in the subtitle is the rebirth of tribalism, populism, nationalism and identity politics is destroying american democracy. all liberals agree with the nationalism and there with me on the tribalism but they get furious at the identity politics and i've done a lot of conservative talk radio and their with meon the anti-politics . >> you're never going to get rid of ethnic politics. i've got no problem with politics, from ben franklin talking about the germans to the irish in tammany hall. it's not necessarily always a good thing. it can go too far and all the rest but it's very different than this identity politics
thing which is essentially trying to create an abstraction. of you know, that i can all i need to know about you i can tell by some abstract adherence to something and one of the things that makes it so great is that we have many different identities. one of the things about the title mind is that all politics was personal in our national environment. the tribe or the troops or the two or whatever you wanted to call it was our nation, our family. it was our politics. it was our spirituality. we worshiped our group. the group was relation to god, all the meeting was backed up on each other and one of the great things that had a downside that alienating that comes with modernity is instead of stacking up all the meeting, we spread it out and so at one moment you can be in
church and another moment you can be going to the movies and another moment you can be limited to your job for your family and we split up these sources of meaning and that's one of the things that makes this possible because it gets complicated with the role of institutional pluralism but if you have enough buy-in in different institutions, you're willing to create this open space for other people to have different points of view. in the tribe, everyone's got to agree on everything and we are losing a lot of that in our politics. >> guest: amy hsu has written a book called political tribes and she posits what america can be again is that the definition of being an american is that what you are part of his called the supergroup so that your tribe can be part of the larger tribe. which is, tends not to be a rule of tribes. if you're an israelite, you
essentially want to kill them all but the supergroup -- but the problem here as you talk about the spreading out of these institutions, you also understand that for yours to remain healthy andfree and to be what it needs to be , you can't coach on the other guys different from you because you're giving them permission to come in and go at yours though it's also sort of a mutual defense agreement where there's a dmz. there's a cultural dmz, don't attack me and i will attack you so the question is, your argument is that keeping our history and creating a space in which we allow our children -- you and i both have teenage children and we're going through this experience of having them educated without this, that we need to give them the
tools to feel the gratitude for what we have, even if they don't want to accept the ideological basis of the miracle. but also to say get in the time machine, go back to the 1600s and see how many minutes you couldsurvive . >> as opposed to living now. >> this is, i keep distracting myself on this, the best suicide part is that i don'tthink mccloskey fully appreciates this. anything that can be created by words can be destroyed by words . and we seem to be doing a pretty good job of doing that. and the reason why it's fragile is the only thing that differentiates us from the jungle are the institutions that were born into and our institutions are in bad shape . and starting with the family. so people keep asking what do
you do about it? what are your policy suggestions and i don't do a lot of policy in here but one of the things that i do say and that i really firmly believe is that we need to shove as much power to the most local level possible for a bunch of reasons. primarily the first is so much of this resentment and is tribalism and all the rest comes from this sense that has its roots in capitalism and politics, has its roots in media, there are lots of places where this comes from this sense that there are people out there controlling my life. i have no power over mylife, people are making decisions for me, conspiring against me . the system is rigged, you keep hearing this. and some of that is paranoia, not true. some of it is totally legitimate but it's the way you fix it is if you send as
much power over people's lives and some of the most local levelpossible , you know who the powers that be are. you see them in the play, you see them at the baseball game. and so there's an accountability fix in there. you can't claim that powerful unseen forces of globalists are doing everything. and sometimes when people talk about globalists, they make it sound like that at age 13 every globalists bar mitzvah but you still have culture war fights but the advantages, the winner has to look the losers in the eye the nextday and see them. they're going to be the parents of their students friends and all that . that creates a certain amount of humility and a certain amount of open heartedness to these kind of questions . and also, it's people don't live in the united states of america, that's one reason why nationalism don't do what
people wanted to do in america. americans don't live in the united states, they live in this neighborhood of cleveland. this cul-de-sac in san diego. they live in communities with human beings. there's an upper limit to the number of people that you know as human beings and it's 250 people and that's where all of real life happens is with other human beings, virtual communities art communities. they're only five things that give us happiness in life, martha brooks as a listand i mess it up but it's faith, family, friends, experiences . jeans because some people are born miserable after and the thing earned success which is not necessarily or even often money. this feeling that you made a difference in people's lives, that your expected to make a contribution and government
can't give you earned success. it can increase your net worth but it can't increase your self-worth. the only people that can give you earned success are the people who love you or respect you and that have to be done at the ground level and getting people more resources to find that where they actually live is i think really the only answer and it has to start with the family. mary wrote a wonderful piece for the weekly standard how identity politics is an offshoot of breakdown of the family because a tribal desire to feel like you're part of something doesn't go away and if you didn't get those feelings satisfied in your family or your community, you look for it in abstractions. a lot of these four can idiots on the right who think that they'll find meaning in their lives by calling themselves aryans or whatever and it's all deep and shabby and the way you fix it is by reaching out to actualhuman beings . >> you say that you start by
saying this is a book about god. god is not faster in this book but to conclude where we began, you nonetheless referred to this kind of seismic intellectual event. 350 years ago as a miracle. and they say in the pages of my magazine couches, that a miracle is a supernatural event because it's an event that otherwise wouldn't have happened. the word miracle is an interesting one because what suggests and this is also a thing with gratitude, even though this is a book that is not atheist but it does not ring got into it. >> what you're supposed to do with a miracle is kind of gone at it. and realize gratitude is one thing but there's something
awesome about a miracle. a miracle is something awesome and this simply laying out the facts of what happens to mankind over the last 250, 300 years and to say this these people in england for whatever reason had written, i'm not england and ireland , >> had these ideas, had this common concert of, we wouldn't, we wouldn't be here. >> i don't know where we would be.we would be in some shadow waiting. but and so there is that aspect to this that i as i read the book. >> i think i read it twice. >> it's just a kind of awe-inspiring thing that this thing was created.
i went to see sartre, the cathedral in france and you walk through it andit's the greatest building on earth . you're like, i can't believe they did all this, how did they do that? was this done?they didn't even have our tools, they had nothing and that's what suicide of the west, even though it is a depressing title. but it made me feel that you know, we are witness, we are living witnesses to a thing that is without precedent. in the world. >> i appreciate that and that is where i was going. the miracle part for me and i know we have to wrap this up at the miracle part for me is supposed to suggest divine intervention is we also call things miracles that are inexplicable and part of my argument is that no one intended thismiracle to happen. it was an accident . and i by virtue of the fact
that it was an accident and it was created not through human will but through this weird convergence of contingency, we should be all the more grateful for it because our reaction should be oh crap, i don't want to mess this up. and have a certain amount of reverence. the story of the golden egg is always a story of greed, it's really a story of gratitude because no matter what version it is, this was giving you this treasure and you ask it for more and it says i can't and either out of rage of entitlement and resentment or out of an arrogance of intellect, they kill. when what we should be doing is helping protect it from everybody. back off, man this dose is valuable and we don't do enough of that and that's what i'm trying to convey . >> so easily this book is building a cage. >> guest: that's exactly why everyone should read it.
>> host: it would take eight years to build that cage if you didn't have 200 partisans around the world . >> guest: and i'm going to get mexico to pay for the cage. >> you are watching book tv on cspan2 and showing you the evidence of 2016. journalist jerome corsi is fifth on the list. he argues there's aneffort to thwart the presidency of donald trump . >> up next on book tvs "after words", journalist jerome corsi argues there's an effort to work the presidency of donald trump. he's interviewed by sharyl