tv Reflections on Richard Nixons Legacy CSPAN March 11, 2017 11:55am-12:46pm EST
out there that we want try to change yours by force if you don't try to change ours. >> sunday night at 9:00 p.m. eastern on "afterwards." tv,ext on american history ben stein, a former speechwriter for richard nixon and gerald ford, or flexon extends time in the white -- reflects on nixon's time on the white house. he talks about his initiative it israel in southeast asia and speculates about what next in my think of our current clinical landscape. the richard nixon presidential library and museum hosted the event. it is about 50 minutes. afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. i am william baribault. i'm the president of the richard
foundation to richard nixon foundation and i welcome you to this speech on a nice, sunny day. today, we celebrate what would've been president nixon's 154th birthday. 26 years ago, this museum was opened. and i would like to thank all the generous benefactors who made this new library possible, which was opened last october. it has already been visited by more than 25,000 people since their opening in less than three months. [applause] william cowan would like to thank all the generous benefactors who made the museum possible, and i would be remiss if i informed each one of you that our work was not far from over. i need each of you to sign up for membership or contribute online. i also invite you to stay engaged with the nixon foundation by signing up for our newsletters and emails on our website at nixonfoundation.org.
there you can learn more about our goals and dive deeper into president nixon's life and times. our speaker today is given praise where praise is due. his grounding role as the economics teacher in ferris bueller's day off. [laughter] [applause] give praise where praise is due, right? is by far the most widely viewed seen in economics history and has been ranked as one of the most 50 most famous scenes in movie history. he was the cohost, along with jimmy kimmel, of the comedy central game show, win ben stein's money, which won seven emmys. he writes columns for the american spectator and for newsmax, and is a regular commentator on fox news and cbs sunday morning, as well as a frequent commentator on cnn.
he has also written or cowritten nearly 30 books. perhaps less known is that the got his start in politics working in the nixon administration. ben's father was chairman of president nixon's council of economic advisers. one of the most senior members and the nixon administration. he joined as a speechwriter and wrote, among other pieces, the message to congress outlining president nixon's proposal for health care reform in 1974. there is no more a loyal friend around. we are lucky to have you with us today. ladies and gentlemen, ben stein. [applause] ben stein: thank you very much. it is a great pleasure to be here. i have been in this room so many
times. possible, is it possible not to have those incredibly bright lights shining in my eyes like i'm getting the third degree by the chicago police, if they do that anymore. it is a real honor to be here. i start out every thought by richard nixon -- first of all, thank you so much to the people of the foundation and library, thank you very much. god bless you all. e, always great to see you. the very first thought that always goes to my mind, blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called children of god. and let me tell you about why i love richard nixon, not like, not admire him, even though i do like and admire him, but love him. so did my mother and father. in our household, richard nixon was a god. my interest in richard nixon started when i was seven years
old and he was running for vice president with dwight eisenhower. i read a child's biography of richard nixon and identified with them after he said he was always being picked on as a child. maybe every child does. my neighbors in silver spring, maryland, there were a lot of old commies that hated nixon which i can never understand, but even at that age, i made a vital connection about richard nixon's enemies. they picked on him because he was sensitive. he was a vulnerable human being, he was not tough like ike or mr. trump. he was not a typical politician with escape. -- with thick skin. he was a poet, and intellectual. when enemies hit him, they could sense the pain they caused. like all bullies, they delighted in that pain. at every stage of his life, he was a sensitive boy in the schoolyard, and i identified with that.
very closely linked, there was something about richard nixon that avoided conflict. maybe because his mother was a quaker and that had a lot to do it there, but for whatever reason, richard nixon was a born peacemaker. it started a big way, after, not before he was vice president under dwight eisenhower. it is little talked about, but the main entrance he used to defame maccarthy, who had gone after off the rails starting with good ideas come at the main instrument that dwight eisenhower used was, vice president richard nixon, who did the job with extreme finesse. he with the peacemaker, even when he ran for president in 1960. there are many people, historians way beyond my league, who believe that mr. nexen won the election and it was stolen from him in illinois and texas.
they just asked how many votes they needed and they gave it to him, but mr. nexen declined the jobs and educate collection in order to avoid a conflict in the cold war. it is hard to imagine a modern-day candidate doing that, but it happens. it happened because richard nixon, the peacemaker, refused to make his own ambition more important than his love of country and peace. while out of office, after 1960, 1961, he prepared himself for the future by traveling around the world and meeting world leaders. he learned about them in war and peace. he learned much from charles de gaulle, whom he loved and thought was an impressive guy. he thought of him in some ways he hadm because th come to office when his country was in shambles, conflict in the street, need for a peacemaker, make peacened how to
and pulled the country together. he ran against hubert humphrey, a thuginely great man, not or bully like some politicians today. i respectfully quote for my friend, johne and remember whathts, the 1960's were like. riots, walks, -- sorry, and the accompanying riots at berkeley with the people's park in san francisco, the riots at san francisco state, the riots at columbia, riots over school busing in boston. still, one of the absolutely worst ideas in the history of american education.
the assassination of martin luther king jr. and robert kennedy, the war in vietnam and its escalation and the gift from the two preceding democratic presidents and their liberal think tank advisers, the smartest of the smart, the best of the best, give us this and more in vietnam. on the streets and in the living rooms, this revolutionary turmoil felt like flesh and blood. the country seemingly was running out of control, and it was in this situation the american people hired richard nixon to make peace. despite the hostility of the liberal left and media, that is what he did. again, that was richard nixon, the peacemaker, making peace at home. let's think. as john reminded me, there was term where both houses he controlledd boat, and it was jaw-dropping. first and foremost, despite an
elderly uncooperative congress and totally uncooperative media, he slowly but surely ended the war in vietnam. it is hard to believe this, but at the time mr. nixon took office, 300 americans were being killed per week. .here was no end in sight through skills, negotiation and the willingness to use the stick and carrot, richard nixon brought the north vietnamese people to the table, got our prisoners before home and ended american occupation of vietnam. in 1975, when people ask why it took so long, the answer is -- please, don't record all of this , at least some of it [laughter] the answer was what nixon said himself, that the u.s. effort totally sabotaged by the congress after nixon the office
shows the world that the u.s. would not be pushed around once it had made up its mind to fight, and we were until congress proved otherwise, a trustworthy ally. saigon fell, true, and the u.s. had put up a fight and the communist had to pay a huge price if they wanted to fight us again. generation of peace. that is what richard nixon wanted to bequeath the united and that iserica, what he did. the real stars are the ones who gotten the and and defended their families because they are the backbone of the country and the free world. it is with their sacrifice that we got a generation of peace. let's think about what we got from mr. nixon. he shocked the world by traveling to china to meet mao zedong. you make peace with china by
showing the russians they could not win the cold war, and thus made possible the end of the cold war and the end of the is union.t he crafted the strategic arms first limitation treaty with russia, one no one thought possible during the height of the missal rage. only nixon could do that. only nixon, because no one doubted his hostility to communism, and no one doubted his resolve. he played politics with the survival of freedom. nixon used to say over and over, and only he could go to china and end the war in vietnam and start strategic arms, toxin treaties with russia. after he performed these foreign policy miracles, he was doing breakthrough domestic actions. on a political level, nexen with withage learning -- nixon
unwilling help from the created and made a southern strategy, which rocked the southern states into the gop cap. this was something no one that could happen, but the haters would say that these americans were dead wrong. the justice department often desegregated thousands of school districts. when richard nixon took office, after brown v board of education, desegregation was up in the air. by the time he left office, there was no more segregation. he also created the philadelphia plan, which was the first federal plan that has requirements for minority workers and contracts for the workers and by far brought a bigger piece of the american pie
into the lives of the african-american and hispanic workers. by his belief in the future and by leaving healthy legacy to america, he created the largest environmental program in the u.s. history, the clean air act. every american breeds more freely today because of that -- brief more freely because of that law. its effects are visible in terms of health and hospital admissions can be filled every day in every city in town. he started the environmental protection agency and the council of environmental quality and used this mammoth work on creating more sustainable lakes, rivers and shores in america. he had also other great initiatives that were not enacted but laid the groundwork for later enactments. he said to congress in late 1973, the very first comprehensive national health care plan, a plan that was simpler and less expensive than obamacare. this idea was simple.
a sickly, identify which americans cannot afford health insurance and then send them a check to buy health insurance. snatch theneed to information included back together again. he was allowing free choices that still leave no american without health care. this was an amazingly far-reaching bill, and as a young man, given the task of running -- writing this and standing up to congress, it would have worked wonders and save lives. senator ted kennedy killed it out of sheer malice. he later admitted he had no reason to do it other than he hated richard nixon. and it was a mistake. you may ask, did he do anything else? yes. he had the first comprehensive energy plan, the plan that includes every element of every other plan that every other president has set up since. it is amazing to see when i see
president obama set up a plan alternativell have energy sources, wave and wind power, all to lead us off the dependency after the horrific experience of the arab oil embargo. every single initiative every president has proposed since 1973 was based off of nixon's proposal. he made mistakes in the economy, no doubt. wage price controls, and the complex and counter directed system, they were serious mistakes, genuine mistakes, but very small mistakes in the big picture. here's the question about nixon. if all of this was so great and he did so many great things, why did so many great people in the pundit and academic and media and hollywood world hate him? this is the key question about richard nixon, and the one that is most depressing about human
condition. i have a very smart sister, rachel, three and a half years older than me but looks much younger. [laughter] ben stein: she said to me, many years ago, the simple truth about life, you are a basic human being and it is not such a hot item. despite richard nixon's accomplishments and all he did for peace, he was hated. why? partly again because he was the sensitive kid on the schoolyard and they could read his distress when they attacked him. his pain was like blood to sharks. it drove them wild for the desire with more blood. some of it was his anti-communism. that may be a small part of it. he did take down the left. but far more, it was a psychological phenomenon. his enemies hated him because
they could hurt him, and hurt him they did and make us lose in indochina and get millions massacred, that was the price we paid for getting rid of nixon. but i want to give you a supreme example of the wildly untruthful, unfair way rn has been painted by the media. every few months, "the new york times" will have on its front or something that has been discovered in the media, some snippet of someone saying anti-semitic remarks. some claimed richard nixon was an anti-semite. the truth is so completely different. he surrounded himself by jews and appointed jews too high offices in politics since his first days in politics. santo burns, my father at the white house, he had a jewish general counsel, who was also a
good musician, a top jewish foreign policy advisor, and dr. kissinger. what more do people want him to do? convert? [laughter] it is incredible. he used a few country club cliches in private, but when it came to action, he was the best friends the jewish people had ever had. he was above, by all else and esteem, the savior of israel. israel,pt invaded [indiscernible] in their own flat foot in this and missiles supply supplied by the soviets. the usualrs nullified air superiority. these egyptians in syria were seemingly about to take jerusalem. gold of my ear had our delay.
suicide pills for her to take. richard nixon, accused of being an anti-semite, went to israel's defense in a way that no president ever had, acting with the help of dr. kissinger, and -- that andat today within hours, they showed up on battlefields and israel could not lose or be forced to use the nuclear option. we came very close to nuclear war in the mideast. when they crossed the red sea and surrounded the egyptian army and surrounded cairo, the russians hinted they were about to send paratroops into fight the israelis. nixon saw their bluff and went to devcon two, a state of military readiness, and told the russians we reduce every means to stop in. russians back down. a cease-fire was signed among
israel.d soon after, the only lasting peace treaty in the middle east was signed. moreesident has ever done for the state of israel than richard nixon, not even close. truman did not send arms. lyndon johnson did not look a finger. john f. kennedy, darling of the liberal jews, did not lift a finger to help israel. only richard nixon. his help goes on a biblical scale. i don't care if nixon uses every anti-semitic term in the book and the fee walked around in a just operating the form, if he saved israel when they were in danger, he is the best friend the jews ever had. [laughter] -- [applause] along comes watergate. what was watergate? it was an intensive and badly botched cover-up, no doubt. but we never learned why the burglars were going to the
democratic national committee headquarters. there was nothing in there that would not be in the front page of the "new york times" anyway. but going into the headquarters was not starting a war in indochina under false pretenses. it was not leading us into a world war while we were unprepared. it was not refusing to bomb, or assassinate the leaders of sovereign states, or bringing call girls into the white house. [laughter] it was a cover-up and lies were told. compared to other mistakes presidents have made, it was pretty small. certainly, it was not enough to drive a peacemaker from office and torment a man whose only goal was a generation of peace. the real story of richard nixon is not about what nixon's psyche is like. he was a peace lover. the story of nixon is what led people to hate him so much. that is the interesting story.
let me switch gears because i have so much to say about nixon. have to do it my old friend jim bellows -- how many of you remember the herald examiner in l.a.? [applause] times my boss for a long and said, the way to give the speeches tell them what you're going to tell them, tell them, then tell them what you told them. [laughter] anyway, let me start with something rarely discussed. what it was like to work at the nixon white house. i started they and again i had a , november 1973. pretty good idea that mr. nixon would be kicked out of office. the steamroller of media hatred was rolling along, but i believed in him and i loved him so much and i knew that is my job but it didn't stop me from working there. with were byworked far the most accomplished, funniest and most dedicated people. and i have worked with very
accomplished people at law school, and they were all amazing. the geniusrk with bob marley at the wall street journal and george miller, and the supersmart, the people that i used to work with in hollywood, who are not so funny anymore. [laughter] ben stein: people at the white house are the only ones i stayed in close touch with over the years, my boss, his boss ray price, and the old school cast. didn't make the many smarter. my hero, peter flattening, greatest and bravest men honor, beside my in-laws. they were really amazing. two brothers, both silver star, long-term connection with rn. all these people have been long-term connections. we had a great research staff. there was a lovely woman,
intelligent, became a successful lawyer named ann morgan, a german rocket scientist, her father, anyway, we won't talk about that. worked under a very smart guy. everyone was available for the needs of staffers. there,ys before i got the uniquely gifted bill safire, a man of generosity in every way , talent exploding off of his lips and fingertips, a super genius. since he departed from this earth from several years ago, here is my neighbor in california and dear friend, the ling loyalty and still on the scene in southern california. more than anyone else, john coyne, who i have already mentioned, a breathtakingly good
writer and my amusing, insightful, neighbor on the other side of the house. m is in the class by himself in terms of interest and knowledge. he is a cynical writer. it has been over 40 years and we are still very close friends. i communicate with them almost every day. their judgment is almost always infallible. they're the only colleagues i ever worked with that i still stay in close touch with, and we all had a great attitude up until the very last moments. we believed in it, trusted him. at first we thought he wanted a generation of peace, so we thought it was a slogan he worked in his speeches, but we came to believe that he really meant it. none of us had any doubt that he was the best possible man or president. nothing that has happened since
1974 has changed that believe. we saw him as a man of peace and a statesman, but also as an incredibly kind man, and some powerful democrat said, how could he be a genuinely bad person if he had daughters like julie and tricia? we worshiped him. john and that especially worship julie and tricia. always elegant, mrs. richard nixon. [laughter] in comparison with other recent first ladies. [laughter] [applause] i don't think there ever was a day with my colleagues that i did not feel proud to be there. no one i have ever worked with has ever provided so much laughter and good humor, even in the darkest moments. we never thought rn was guilty of anything meaningful. his accomplishments were peace and a far outweighed anything bad. an incredibly special
treat, which has been a legacy in my life. my father worked two floors above me, and i could block up two flights of stairs and i hdld spend a couple hours media eating lunch with him and talk with them. i only feel sorry that my sister did not get to have a similar experience. i was a happy guy at the white house. , had gone from the worst job trial law, to being a speechwriter and now an immense amount of time has passed. 43 years since president nixon has left office, and i stood just a few feet from him. look it up on youtube, rn farewell to the white house staff, and there i am, a much, much thinner version of me, my mother and father sobbing their eyes out, my dear friend pat came with tears in her eyes, and
mr. and gave an astonishing speech. you will never hear a more honest speech in your life. you will never see a real life soul being tortured and tormented in the flames of his haters yet coming out of it with immense dignity and poetry. ixon did not live in the age of covering up his pain and with makeup. when the speech was over, i can still recall walking out of the room with tears in my eyes, walking out of the doors of the east room, and then on to the truman balcony to watch the helicopter take off. i was sobbing. man, a man from south carolina, a really great man who i think is a special hede representative, i think was 42 and i was 29, so he seemed very old to me. [laughter] he put his hand on my back and said ben, it will be all right. we white house staff rallied
around to help each other. and iflanagan helped me, was brought up to new york to be columnist and julia and david and i became friends. that same afternoon that nixon resigned, i did something that all of us speechwriters do, which is to meet with groups of high school and college students touring the white house, and it happened to be a group of israeli high school kids, and they were terrified of what would happen to israel without .r. nixon they still love him in israel, and they should. as i have said, he saved their lives. underof water has passed the bridge since he left office in the record of his work as a peacemaker is astounding, incredible. , am an economist by training and economics, as we know it,
really no one misses. [laughter] but i am interested in the use of numbers. in the 43 years before mr. nixon became president, about 96 million -- million human beings were killed in wars and revolutions, civil wars, genocides all over the year. if you count the years from rn's birth in 1913 up until his inauguration in 1969, 126 million people were killed by violence. i do not think any of them wanted to die. in the 43 years since he left office, roughly 11 million have died, obviously way too many, mostly civil wars in the third world. that is a very large number. the difference between the hundred million killed in the 43 years before nixon took office and the 43 years since then when 1/10 of that number have been killed, that is a glorious achievement.
how did he do it? he was incredible in forming new history. he did not just learn about the world by watching tv talk shows -- [laughter] not that i am knocking anyone who does it. he read books and talked to world leaders. he talked to mao zedong, josh do e gaulle, and he read prodigiously. he knew history and about the congress of vienna. he knew there were only three major powers on earth, and perhaps only two superpowers -- the u.s. and the ussr, and only one of the superpowers was a free country. he knew that freedom would not survive, human dignity would not survive without a strong american playing an active role in the affairs of the world. there is an incredibly famous line it one of the books that every human being must read if he or she is allowed to read, andthat is the book "1984,"
in it, george orwell says if you want to imagine a future of the human race, it is a boot stomping on the human face forever, and richard nixon said that would not be the world. if he had anything to do with it. he knew there was genuine evil in the world and only the usa could stand up to it. were no longerce -- britain and france were no longer major powers. many times i got to visit rn after he left office, he would say this thing over and over again. he would say, there is nobody else to stand up for the least of humanity in the world except the united states of america. he did not want to retreat in the little america. he wanted a big america that would be well armed and aiming at peace, and a strong america that would not allow communism to expand if he could help it. it was his view that there had to be a power balance. as i said a moment ago, by 1971, there were only three major players, and the strongest militarily might have been the ussr, but it could be counterbalanced by the u.s. and
china together. that would be a power balance that would make the russian leaders think twice before they acted. when rn offered the hand of friendship to mao zedong in 1972, he created a world in which russia, as it was then known, the ussr, would have to make peace. a strong america and nato on one side and a fiercely independent china on the other. the arrests had been for a long time have to them. -- the rest had been for a long time game. the ussr, as we later learned, was on the path to oblivion, and china was on the road to capitalism, all with one masterstroke engineered by rn and dr. henry kissinger. the populace of china at that time was very roughly one billion people. about 650 million of them have been lifted out of dire poverty and into something passed
that is an achievement that nobody else could even consider. there came to be something that i would call and imagine has been called this many many times, something like the nixon doctrine, which said we would not let the ussr expand and the u.s. would help any nation whose independence was threatened by the soviets, and it was for this in many ways that rn rescued israel. he did admire israel, but he did not want a soviet project the -- proxy, egypt, to hurt israel. he saved israel. made the soviets think twice and termed israel into a long-term entity. i say again a lot of time has , passed and a lot of water under the bridge now, but what is our world today except the lasting structure of peace that nixon left us? yes, america had to leave saigon in a great hurry, but america is that vietnam has now largely capitalist nation and friendly
to the u.s. outside of cuba and islamic terrorism, rather have an enemy in the world that would bring more against us even -- against us. keep your eye on iran. we have good patterns, but nobody seems to want war with us now. we have had a huge accomplishment, and there is never one single cause. a big one is the peacemaker, richard m. nixon. by knowing the power of diplomacy, strength, stuff, and audacity, he put us on the path to a long stretch of peace for -- enforced by the usa. the lasting stretch of peace was not just a slogan. it was a real thing. as mr. nixon said in his farewell address to the white house staff, and i strongly recommend you watch that in this brilliant, brilliant theater and brilliant psychology. we look to the future. the structure of peace could use some reinforcement, some nails and some varnish, but we still have the structure of peace that
richard nixon, henry kissinger and the millions who served in uniform created. what was the legacy of richard nixon? i last night as my friend again and he put very simply. very, very poignantly for the era in which we live right this second. politically, he gave a meaningful voice back to the silent majority, those medical -- those middle americans dismissed by the political elitist who recently sent donald trump to the white house. his international achievements were historic, terminally altering the lives and recalibrating the balance of power in the world. domestically there was a host of programs and policies that were a well articulated national energy policy and a wealth of , programs that formed the basis of today's environmental legislation. both domestically and b doleationally, as bo
put it we have all lived through , and continue to live in the age of nixon and our country is , immeasurably better for it. it is that of rn's legacy, richard nixon was a break, -- rafe inspired man who lived , his country and served humanity. despite many painful reverses, his life as a success story because he overcame the malice of his detractors and his own shortcomings to leave a legacy of peace. he has been vindicated by history. i can't help the better than what john does so in with a couple of thoughts. ladies and gentlemen, when you goes to sleep peacefully in her tonight, think of what john f. kennedy said. he has a good speechwriters. "we ask god to go to work for us and for our great country, but on our earth, god's work must be our work." richard nixon did that work, and
earned the highest praise. blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of god. when people ask while i am still working toiling for richard , nixon, i think of this conversation i had with a friend in the beginning of august 1974 when so many were turning their backs and richard nixon. ken says something that has been on my mind ever since. he said i will never turn my back on the peacemaker richard nixon. thank you for having me here. [applause] ben stein: thank you, thank you very much. thank you very much, thank you very much. thank you very much, thank you very much. you're very kind, thank you very much. thank you very much. thank you very much.
if some people have some questions, it would be my great pleasure to answer them at your leisure. you are going to call on people? william baribault: thank you again, mr. stein. ben stein: you are very welcome indeed. william president nixon was a : great advisor, more specifically an advisor to those holding office. what key pieces of advice do you think you would give to president-elect donald trump and president obama, for that matter? ben stein: it is interesting. this brings up a kind of sore spot with me. several years ago we wanted to write a book called "what would what wouldabout nixon do about all the foreign policy and domestic challenges we face. we wrote a proposal -- i will get your question. [laughter] we sent it to a few publishers, and nobody nibbled at it.
some fellow recently did some research and came up with a brilliant discovery that richard nixon had some interface with a woman who had some interface with another person during the 1969 paris peace auction. -- peace talks. that made the front page of the new york times and has become a big, big book. if it is a slam at nixon, it's published right away. if it is praise, no one wants to hear it. so what would nixon tell trump? get good advisors around you. the fact that there are billionaires does not make them particularly brilliant people. [applause] the skill of making money is a totally different skill from the skill of being a diplomat or a general or head of the pentagon or any skill involved in government. i think he admires greatly
people who make money, maybe even too much, and i think you should be thinking of people who have more skill in government and more background in government, and i do not believe that a person who is tarnished and ruined by having served in the government. i greatly respect people who served in the government. witness these great men and women in uniform. i do not think he should sigh -- shy away from them. he should take his time. he does not need to rush anything. four years is a pretty long time. also i would say the media -- mr. trump, the media is going to hate you and don't all of you and treat you like dirt no matter what you do. get used to it and pretend like you are on a far-off planet. they don't even hear you. i think mr. trump should be i think mr. trump should be saying, talk to the hand because the hand don't want to hear it.
william baribault: to your left. >> mr. stein, thank you for being here. i have the pleasure of living on the street, so i enjoy this place frequently. as an economist and someone active on the tv and news circuit with some of your fellow economists, comment on the status and state of current economic knowledge and thought. i have seen you -- we have all seen you tangle with a number of people over the years that do not seem to appreciate classical economic theory like you do, and i would just appreciate your comments on the status of current economic thought. ben stein: that is the question. as i said in my remarks, economics is in a shambles. we don't really know a lot of things we thought were eternal. why it is that with the creation of a huge amount of money and very easy credit since the crash of there has been almost no
2008, inflation. we don't know. waiting people were traumatized by the crash. we think maybe. frank imposed strict limits but we don't know what it was. i see no good reporting on the economy on television at all unless they interview warren buffett. if they get buffet on, he knows a lot -- it's interesting. even buffett, a super genius and i'm proud to call him a close friend, he is a genius on an incredible scale. even he does not have an answer to this serious economic problems we face. we have one giant, enormous, mega problem and that is the underclass who refuses to learn skills, refuse to get off their ass, refuse to get off welfare, refuse to go to work here in how to get the people motivated to learn skills and go to work? i do know what the answer that is.
mr. buffett does not know what the answer to that is. i don't think mr. trump knows what the answer to that is. it is not widely reported on tv or in the media because it is considered politically incorrect to bring it up. i would say that coverage of the economy on television, by and large is pathetic. william baribault: back of the room to your right, sir. back of the room to your right, . >> thank you. i'm a chicagoan. my father was a democratic precinct captain for 30 years to i know the democratic party and what it has done, but i am appalled what has happened to california. i feel like we are living in a gulag where the government is oppressing us at every turn. what advice do you have for those of us who want to fight this. not escape it, but find it and -- fight it and defeat it? ben stein: give up.
[laughter] ben stein: i'm 72 years old, and i think we live in the least free america we have ever lived in in terms of political correctness, the ability to stand up and say what is on your mind. there are certain topics that are completely off-limits. you cannot say them at all. you cannot even breathe them. i have a son who is 29 years old. he is an mostly threatening to report -- if i walk down the street and say while there is a pretty girl walking down the street -- he is endlessly threatening to report me for sexism. [laughter] ben stein: and that is the way it is in america today, and the government has something to do with that. i think the idea that the government can prosecute you for any kind of political incorrectness is outrageous. it is unbelievable. it is incredible. the wall street journal -- i read a good editorial couple of days ago about the atrocities in
chicago are those for african american kids tortured that white disabled kid and make them say terrible things about things, and put his head in the toilet and stab him. the wall street journal very quickly set these are not hate crimes. hate crime is a political concept. they should be charged with attempted to murder him, they should be charged with attempted murder and not hate crimes. [applause] ben stein: i would like to see an end to that political correctness in the government. and every other sphere. i would rather be called a kyke every day of my life then see the kind of political correctness we have now. something else has a question. >> hi, my dad came over on naval boat from the philippines. my question is kind of threefold. one, i believe -- i just turned
50 -- that there is more racial tension then there has ever been before. like, i had my purse checked out there, and no one else did. i'm just joking. my question is that why is that isis -- what do you think isis -- that hatred, why are the children of our country being able to be brainwashed? ben stein: i don't know, this is a good question. >> this is what i think it is, and i am wondering if you think richard nixon would have a light on this subject. ben stein: i think richard nixon would be appalled by any kind of racism in policy. in terms of what people are saying to themselves and their friends and families he , would want them to be able to mn wellthing they da please but in terms of policy he , would be horrified. it is true, that you are the only person who had your purse checked, that is terrible. i don't know why. >> that was my question. ben stein: oh.
i already answered that question. i have no idea why. you have another question. >> my question is do you believe are country is more vulnerable now today than it was 50 years ago based on the racial tension and isis and that fear mongering? ben stein: i think there has been a lot of fear. that we have been involved in a war against terrorism for 16 years and don't seem to making much progress has been very maddening and frustrating, and i think in terms of racism and stirring up tension in the country, the fact that president obama did not just get up and say look, i'm on the side of the police, that is it. i'm on the side of the police, that is it. the police enforce the law, i am on their side. [applause] ben stein: ok, yes sir. >> mr. stein, anticipating the
repeal of obamacare, what is your recipe for replacement? ben stein: the recipe mr. nixon when i had a full head of black hair was a good plan. survey the population see who , cannot afford to buy health care from whoever sells that, and give them a check to buy a policy. i think this idea of breaking everything down into a million pieces and trying to do back -- glue it back together has not worked. william baribault: ladies and gentlemen, ben stein. thank you very much. [applause] ben stein: thank you very much. thank you very much. thank you very much. >>