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tv   Book TV  CSPAN  July 19, 2015 5:00pm-7:01pm EDT

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certainly in the united states. one of the least appreciated aspects in american geography is the infrastructure that has been built to make this possible. none of it would be possible without roads. roads are the backbone on which the national economy is built. nothing moves without roads until you get the railroad and steam boats on the river's everything is moving by road. if you are not connected to the road. everyone and everybody when the trades are established and one
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was upgraded to a turnpike in the 1830s everybody wanted to have access because it meant you were connected. you were part of the economy not only the regional to national economy. the merchant on main street and lexington couldn't have been selling tea without the road. there is a much greater appreciation for the role of the road in people's lives established homes and businesses and who are able to conduct business because of the road. again, the idea is to take infrastructure in the road for granted. >> for more information on book tv presented lexington and the other cities visited by the vehicles go to
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>> publisher adam and mark argued that america's intellectual habits are in decline. in audible conversations can we begin to? >> welcome everybody. may i be heard? [inaudible conversations] have though everybody.
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link back i like a captive audience but this feels like a captive panel. welcome, everybody and thank you for coming. am i over amplified? welcome to the panel discussion on the state of the american mind. the fact that you have shown up proves that you have american minds. i want to begin by thanking the publisher of the templeton prize for commissioning to compile this volume and i also want to say a special note of thanks to mark the passing of our good friend whose idea it was to do
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this book. as you know jack died recently and was the head of the templeton foundation and the person who i knew somewhat, and it was my great pleasure to know him. he was a person of deep and serious interest and this book came out of the concern that he had about the state of america as a cognitive and intellectual enterprise to cause he understood as many of us in the room do that america was founded on the ideas and that american citizenship depends upon and delectable clarity and engagement and a grasp of the founding principles. we are born americans through our education and experience and
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through the way that we seek to embody the principles of the founding and the heritage in a variety of ways and fabric of our lives so a mode of things and appreciation to jack and now to the subject at hand. i'm going to begin by quoting a sentence that may be familiar to many of you. it's a sentence i grew up with written by my father and i hope i may be forgiven for beginning this way because yesterday was his 100th birthday and he is very much in my mind. i am an american, chicago born and i go at things as i've taught myself freestyle. the reason i bring this up is
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that was written by an immigrant, somebody raised in the slums of montréal in the addition of the french and english as an afterthought but as became an american and became a writer. he was a jewish writer, 20th century writer but above all considers himself to be an american writer. it's considered to be the quintessential american sensibility. increasing the latter part of his life when i became his son and in a way his student that is a privilege that i enjoyed, we shared concern about the direction of the country and what was happening to america.
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the focus for him was because he was a writer on the state of reading. what did they get out of it and it wasn't a question just if the novel would survive but whether the public would survive but there was a connection between the literary public and the idea of america as a self-governing society in which every person had a responsibility to think through certain foundational issues and questions for themselves. i want to turn to the introduction which is edited by myself and then thank him for carrying the ball and some of
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the sentences i will read are his and you can decide for yourself. a new man that acts upon principles must entertain ideas that form new opinions. tocqueville is to accept tradition only as a means of information and existing facts only as a lesson to be used in doing better to see the reason of things. we do want to say it is instructed and nothing that last is sacred sacred but the intensity of your own mind. i can't help but feeling this very american sensibility.
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what is the american mind it's nothing but a history. it wasn't fixed in the static it has certain characteristics that we've just identified and some of the major themes that we find are consistent in their mentality concludes. the american mind possesses specific knowledge and we must remember the declaration of independence and the bill of rights and the bible along with stories of the first colonists of the founding and the pioneer experience. we find religious and economic liberty to be fundamental constituents of the american
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mind. popular sovereignty, the idea of limited government and local control individualism balanced by the commitment to civic virtue and participation. >> these are all qualities - >> [inaudible] >> these are the ingredients of the american mind and character. we skip ahead to the question of are we still americans in the way we think and if not, why not what has happened? and our point of departure for this discussion is the closing of the american mind published by allan bloom in 1987 in which he summarized what he considers to be the threat [inaudible]
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you see the integrity of the american mind which i do not exemplify. he was a student and i was privileged to know him personally very well. he wrote the closing of the american mind of my father's kitchen table fueled by bottomless cups of espresso and cigarettes. i had been a student and i was in a year with his point of view. when he was preparing to publish
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the book that i have granted, i said what will happen when this book is published and do you think that anyone will pay attention and it would be just like the trial i will be accused of disrespecting the gods and corrupting the youth and that is exactly what happened but i never saw him enjoy himself more. he had the entire country at his feet as though he were teaching a national seminar that he put himself forward gladly and bravely to engage and do battle on behalf of what he considered to be the essential american outlook which he identified and it was about the threats to this american mind in this way of thinking and being that is american and he got a threat in the european materialism and multicultural movement which questioned the value of the
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western heritage and the value that the descendents to the tradition. the most interact thing to be co- interesting greek action started as a book editor that has been publishing for 26, 27 years and has always been interested in bringing up this issue. there was a buzzing comprehension. lot of incomprehension. what is this man talking about? and that in itself was revealing and it showed how far we have come from the integrity of the common culture and educational heritage. now it's 30 years later or they're about and concerns have
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been borne out farther and farther away from anything that we would recognize as a unitary culture and something that was recognizably connected to the founding and the american tradition and the cultural is practically lost so we can add this as a rearguard. to look back and look squarely. and we wanted it to be based on the facts and knowledge and quantifiable information to the extent it can be and to begin by
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giving inaccurate data accurate picture of the state of mind so we gather together a wonderful group of contributors all deeply versed in the fields of specialty and we ask them to contribute from their perspective and essay explaining what they see happening in the field of specialty, and one of the great privileges in the fun part of doing the book like this is the opportunity to bring them together. what we are going to do today i'm going to introduce it to each of our participants. they can each give a short presentation. we will have a conversation among ourselves and then we will open it up for questions on the
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audience and i hope that people will be engaged. i will begin with mark. for those of you that don't know him come he has a phd in english and has taught at emory university. he offered a number of books including the domestic generation how the digital age stupefied and jeopardizes our future.
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we ask the professor to look back on his publication of that book. we asked him ask that the subject of the essay, the provocative formulation would like to ask him to tell us what he means by that. it's simply the amount of knowledge that you have. it's been on the circumstances and lives and social lives.
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then you have to pick the next number based on the numerical pattern. cultural iq has to do with the content of your mind. beyond the immediate circumstances and for the american context how much do you know about the structure of government and about current events and how often do you find your mind. how much do you know what the history of american literature.
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we have the national assessment of educational process exam in u.s. history and civics such as the sat the aec tea for 12th graders in which you get passages and have to answer questions about the passage and they often contain knowledge information about faraway things and the more you know about the subject matter of the passage that better you will perform. the more that we get every time the naep is administered roughly 50 to 55% of 12th graders scored below basic on that exam ended and civics it's
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not as bad as that to get to proficiency. we are just - the sat reading scores now are the lowest they've been in 50 years the more knowledge you have and the better your writing will come off out of the writing exam. we are seeing no improvement in spite of all the money that has poured into primary and secondary education.
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it's been going up during the 20th century. they've been transferred over to the schools where they were used in the recent scholastic aptitude. it's not just the sat used in the college admissions to try to pick out those intelligent students that might not have all the advantages of other students. now the scores have been going up so that if you take a test in 1950_100. half of them are higher and half of them are lower so it is an exam each time if you score 100 today he would score 85.
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he would have been 115 in back in 1950 city american mind is getting better. the test is actually. one is coding and similarities where you might get some questions that show pictures of different patterns, some are shaded and some are white. so you have those abstract reasoning questions and there we see games for children and adults is 15 to 23 24 points. when we get to the areas where there is cultural knowledge
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involved there is one of the tests information how much do you know about the world, how much have you retained from what school taught you and there we see the lower gain taking place. in vocabulary we see lower games for children. we want to know my children got into a mediation when they go to college and why they flunk first-tier courses in composition and english forces but when we look over the last 50 years we are not seeing the 50 to 24-point gain for children we find that the vocabulary has only gone up four points. think about how much early childhood education we have and how much money is pumped into education in the 1960s the elementary secondary education act or instance process to be a huge disappointment.
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just a quick note on arithmetic's not abstract reasoning but basic calculations , adults have grown since the three points. we wanted we want to know why the math literacy is so low that this is a measure of that children have only gone up for two-point. in terms of information information is the biggest measure on the iq exams. we can attribute that to the media and the news and the websites.
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children have only gone up two points in spite of all of the media and better education. so the cultural iq, the more we move away from abstract hypothetical reasoning, critical thinking skills and towards knowledge that has to do with your country coming your history, the literary and artistic, political past and present, we are seeing more gain but the bar is going up slightly. and again, we have to put that in the context of all of the money and technology and access that we have today so this is a sore disappointment i would say. >> so in the essay, he makes a
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point that. moving away from the knowledge-based curriculum has produced several generations of students who neither know anything or can think. how does this make you feel about the future of the country? >> dot critical the critical thinking skills approach to the curriculum says we want to teach again the capacity to analyze and to evaluate and reflect. it really doesn't matter what material we are applying this to. shakespeare, okay you can do the critical thinking and tv commercials you can do critical thinking upon that too. what is the advantage of the curriculum? it ends all of the old troubling questions of the 1980s and 90s.
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we don't have to talk about the written work of literature. we don't have to have the old traditional versus contemporary debate which everyone came out of feeling tired and distressed. we are going to neutralize the content of what we teach and we are not going to say some things are good and somethings are garbage. no one came out of that debate happy so the critical thinking i'm saying that this was a tactic for getting out of the old cultural debate that teachers didn't like. we are getting critical thinking they gave them the freedom to do what they want in school districts become largely due with the one and we are going to make standards that don't say demonstrates knowledge of the early colonial history.
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there is a approach and that i think is just the genesis of the critical thinking approach. repeatedly on the youth of the american youth and in many ways have informed. people have been informed by the changes in educational policy and in the technology and general attitudes.
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it's in the social observers to be very frank about this. i have to confess we are not long on solutions. we will try to engage that and it is our hope that we will be able to engage in this group of people than beginning of a conversation about where to go from here and what we can do. one of the things mark raises in his essay on the cultural iq and this will come up again and again his parents and children need to engage with each other more. parents should sit and read the newspaper with their children and there needs to be more dialogue and discussion between the generations rather than allowing children to sort of pay attention.
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i want to shift to the public affairs at american university here in washington. his phd is from oxford and a jd from the university of virginia. his research interests focus on the intersection of religion, politics and law and the founding era and he is the author and editor including thomas jefferson and the wall of separation between church and state. daniel's essay is on the decline of biblical literacy. again i will mention my father. my father was first exposed to the new testament at the age of nine when he was in a war in montréal and he was given a copy of the new testament and it had a tremendous impact on him. later in life when i knew him he
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always had a copy of the king james bible open on the coffee table in the living room and he read from it continually. i grew up with a very lively sense of the importance of the bible to american culture notwithstanding my father was a jewish writer. he drew a tremendous amount of inspiration from the bible and the language of the king james edition has been a fountainhead of american culture and value so i'm going to ask daniel to talk to us a little bit about the significance of the bible in the american founding and history and what it wants or displacement means for us today. it's been mac let me just say in response to what you said it
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really is the king james bible that had such a profound cultural impact. i've been teaching college students now for a quarter century and i'm not very good in picking up on big sort of trends among my small sample of students. but there is one that seems very clear to me and that is over the course of my 25 years in the classroom by students and the students i encounter as they travel around the country are increasingly religiously and biblically illiterate. long gone are the days i could mention in class something like a damascus road experience or code of many coat of many colors and assume that my students would not what i was talking about with a low knowing the source. those days are gone in my experience. but let me just say biblical illiteracy is not only a malady of the students, it afflicts
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cultural as well. let. let me give you a couple examples or one example. on april 1 2013, "the new york times" issued the following correction of an article on poop put france's first easter message and i quote from the times an earlier version mischaracterized the holiday of easter. it's the celebration of the resurrection from the dead, not his resurrection into having. that isn't reassuring about where we are along the cultural elite. in my contribution to this volume i asked two questions. first lighted biblical literacy matter to the test generations of americans and the second does it matter to us today that americans are increasingly illiterate and my short response is that matters a great deal because the bible has informed the diverse aspects of cultural.
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where we come from we know something about the bible. it was followed by the puritans and came to the shores in order to build commonwealth. that is to say policies based on the reformed theology and biblical law as they understood and interpreted that idea. they were a people whose beauties and values and culture was shaped by the buck. and perhaps more important how they and subsequent generations thought of themselves into place in the world. this is true in virginia and new
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england extensively on the law unless there be any doubt they often include references to specific authority for the legal provisions they are writing into the wall. for centuries it was a central text in american education. take a look for example at the new england primer it brings with content. the bible especially was a highly effective tool for literacy education and everybody enjoyed the highest literacy rates in history. and the educated citizenry it was essential to the bold experiment and republican self-government. even the impact of christianity and civilization the educated mind must be acquainted with the
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stories. to a man of liberal education the study of history is not only useful and important altogether indispensable and with regards to the history contained in the bible it is not so much praiseworthy. in the letters and the arts and other components of western culture, absent the king james bible in particular the english-speaking world would not have known in the way that we think of it today wouldn't have known that paradise will with the progress or disputed or the gettysburg address. from the pilgrim fathers to the present day the bible played a foundational role i would argue in shaping american national
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identity and crafting the national mission defining the nation's place in the world. let's look in particular at the old testament account of the exodus liberation and the in the promised land and ultimately nationhood acted as powerful formative metaphors on american self-identity. this was a narrative that isn't only a part of that. and culture. and in the last third or so in the west 18th century.
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it's in the unfolding plan for humanity america's role is. with the blessings and burdens and among them are the responsibility to be the model for the world in a shining city on a hill. the themes of the liberation figure prominently in the campaign to the mid-19th century and they found similar expression in the civil rights movement a century later. the late political theorist had this to say and i think it captures the point i want to make. the increasing unfamiliarity with the bible makes it harder and harder for americans to understand their origins and morays were to put words into their experiences. they are likely to be literally and articulate. they articulate themselves to
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american culture. it also provides insight into the identity of the american people. for the shared points of reference in the common cultural vocabulary that would facilitate meaningful communications across the various social divides especially on the volatile issues like religion and politics. religious and cultural literacy lift the barriers to communications in the democratic society and how the citizens join in the conversations on how best to order public life and how to govern ourselves. given the pervasive cultural influence into the continued influence of christianity in the
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world and often contentious nature of religious controversies the biblical literacy is vital for the communications into valuable social engagement in the pluralistic society. thank you. >> thank you. >> one of the passages that is most relevant and important as i sit and listen to you the question that comes to my mind is in the increasingly secular society how do we make the case? i read the bible in the old testament in hebrew as part of my education i then read it again many times and had to go back to it in the course of my literary education because as you pointed out you cannot read milton or any of the great western works without knowing some knowledge of it even a song
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like turn turn turn by pete seeger joins on the ancient text so it's not a partisan issue that the civil rights movement largely from the that religious belief in the sense that everyone is created equal in the eyes of god, that you have a passage here that i thought was instructive because it goes beyond the literary concerns and you say there are many developments in the conflict is at home and abroad although not exclusively or primarily are difficult to comprehend without an awareness of the christianity that includes controversy involving just war, civil rights, definitions of marriage homosexuality origins of life
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and blasphemy without the biblical framework undermining those issues as they unfold in history people will not fully understand each other. so this isn't a question that you have to answer a loan but it's a question that we must take up in the society and a culture that has been secular in what world could we bring back the primacy of the bible as an effective part of our education? >> i think that it is the central to the ongoing conversation because yes we are an increasingly secular culture but there are large segments of the population that are still very much a biblical culture. if we can broaden the conversation beyond the shores it is true in the world we live
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today, christianity is exploding in certain parts of the world especially in the global south and if we want to have the conversations on these highly contentious issues, we have to be aware of the source and the origins people bring to the table so it is incumbent whether we are religious or not simply as part of the mission of education. >> thank you very much. i'm going to turn to produce nicholas who i think is well known to people here. he is one of the pillars of the institution. he holds the chair in political economy and as a senior adviser to the bureau of research and the visiting committee at the harvard school of public health
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and the global leadership council that the world economic forum forum and is a busy person. his books include the poverty of the rate america's entitlement epidemic subject that he will elaborate with us today. the title of the volume is dependency in america american exceptionalism and the entitlement state and to sort of prompt you, my question is how has the rise of the welfare state affected what we think of as the american mind and what habits have been lost what's new with new habits have been substituted for them? >> can you hear me? thank you for including me in this volume. i am happy to be in with this cast of intellects. i think that this volume is
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going to have legs and is a keeper and i'm happy to be part of it, so thank you. when i was a young man i was a little bit of an authority problem and one of the things i was skeptical about when i heard my older and better talking is how things were when they were young and so i suppose i had a little bit of an intuitive suspicion of the good old days argument. what i'm going to try to share with you in the next few minutes are some empirical facts about the way that life in america has changed during the period that i was a boy because i can show you
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that things have changed with respect to the relationship between the citizen and the government in a revolutionary fashion in a sense meaning overturning the old previous order and i can also suggest by some of the homework i'm going to share with you in the quest to deal with poverty and need we have inadvertently created some new problems that people didn't have to contend with back in the good old days. so this to start with is a very tv to cope - very comparative
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myth. there is a myth about poverty and an old-fashioned american myths about poverty. and people are poor because they are trapped in the station of the birth because the class ridden mobility lacking the place that a lot of americans want to get away from. the american myths about poverty is very, very different in that we have a land of self-reliance and enormous opportunities that people with willpower can rise from any station to life. it's part of the deservingly
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were and undeserving poor to be helped or they might be encouraged to change their ways but they are very different approaches to looking at the poverty question. >> so the important thing to know is that our modern welfare state in the u.s. traces its origins back to europe. its grandparents and antecedents come from bismarck and sweden and from the thinking of william and his social insurance report in the middle of world war ii to promise a welfare state to the british but keep on fighting and we have this transplanted onto the soil. we kind of came late to the social entitlement party as late
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as 1930 he had a smaller social welfare state than 1890. it showed the proportion coming from an entitlement programs by county, for populations by county where the color is darker, the portion of entitlement social welfare program and personal income is higher. you can see where appalachia is and where some of the native american reservations are and where the deep south is. but the darker the color the higher the proportion of total income coming from social
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welfare programs. i'm going to fast forward. just look at the contours and the colors. 2009. part of what we are seeing is a revolution in government. when i was a boy back when i was away the federal government devoted less than $1.3 to social welfare programs. it devoted over $2 to things like national defense and retiring the federal debt and things you might see in the constitution and also things that more traditionally might be described as government. today the federal dollar goes 60 cents out of a dollar to social welfare programs so we have had
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a revolution in the financing and attention and priorities in the governmental system but if we look a little further and we are not going to do a test, just trust me it's in the book you will see the chart. over the last 30 years there has been a 20 percentage point jump in the percentage of americans living in homes that get the government to benefit and almost all of this jump is due to recipients of the means tested benefits that one qualifies for by being needy or eligible for the poverty related programs. as of now over one person out
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of three is receiving at least one government benefit predicated upon being poor impoverished. this is striking when one considers over the intervening 30 years the unemployment rate has not gone up some educational has gone up into the and the overall income level has gone up so we have twice as many people being qualified as poor today as we have 30 years ago despite the trends. public benefits are supposed to deal with poverty public means tested benefits. between the ups and downs of
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means tested benefits recipients in the poverty rate one thought that would be very wrong because as you can see here when the poverty rate goes up the portion of americans getting means tested benefits go up and when the positive goes down the portion of americans getting means tested benefits goes up and the poverty rate goes up - you see where i'm going on this. this is the poverty rate. look look at unemployment also when the rate goes up the portion of americans on the means tested benefits go out and win the unemployment rate is down portions of the benefits go up. if you put these all together and do a little bit of simple statistics you will see that we have virtually no information value given to us by the business cycle with respect to the recipients of means tested benefits in america. there is a wonderful predictor however of how much of america will be taking and accepting means tested benefits and that
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is the calendar year with the predicted number of americans of means tested goes up between 232.4% between three to four percentage points per decade and on this trajectory we are on path to have a majority of americans on the means tested benefits in the not distant future. so there are consequences of this revolution in the country and. one trend that coincided with the explosion of means tested benefits has been the exit of men from the workforce. you will see that this blue line indicates the portion of prime working age men who are
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completely out of the workforce neither seeking work as envoy for unemployed and it has quadrupled since the beginning of the fraction of american prime workforce excess quadrupled since the beginning of the war on poverty. a very striking change. one thing also to note they have been proven for all groups in the united states. it's been hire for non-hispanic white men but the trends are exactly in the same direction and by the way, the portion of men who have opted out or that are not a part of the workforce today is higher and it in its class for african-american men just 40 years ago. 40 years ago you could have made the argument about this commission for african-american men seeking work.
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it's harder to make that argument for white men today. in the same token we can look at how it compares to some of the welfare state. i have cut this off in the 2008 crash because things got pretty sneaky after that. but there is a gap of the men in the united states that are completely out of the labor force in the 80s and 90s. we talk about the five weekend six week vacations people have and it's great that on a strangely large number of american men have 52 week vacations. [laughter] one thing that may be a temptation and a corruption for some is to take disability benefits. what this shows is the risk of
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dying during working age is between 18 to 65. we are healthier than we've ever been before. the red lion is the portion line is the portion of the workforce accepting disability benefits. maybe this can tell you something about behavior and arms and how this has changed. to conclude, we talked in the public square over the past many years about our endangered middle class in the united states, and we talked about globalization and skills and public policies and how ungenerous it is and about many other things. one thing we haven't talked about is the phenomenon of applying for and accepting benefits that are supposedly based upon the need and apollo -
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and poverty. with the american population accepting poverty need-based government social benefits at this point do we see an additional threat to the middle class mentality? i submit it is difficult at one and the same time to maintain the notion that one is a traditional self-reliant member of the american middle class in good standing and also to go out and seek the policy benefits. >> thank you. what would then drink - ben franklin say about that in this country? spirit i have to not say the first thing i thought. then franklin and the public virtue. [laughter] >> do what i write, not what i
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do. poor richard and his almanac would have had some pretty woeful writings and aphorisms about the wayward american dependent today. of course the american myth that i mentioned was a myth. it's partly true and as a way of kind of organizing the norms and presets and aspirations and objectives. ..
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>> that probably, i think, would be my guess. >> i would -- i'm sure you're correct. i mean, i would just mention what i think everybody here knows which is that in the founding generation and for at least a century or more thereafter there was a clearer sense that the health of our society and of our government depends on a certain amount of virtue in the citizenry. that's the idea of a republic. and so what we're really talking about from the point of view of the founders, using their moral vocabulary, is corruption.
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the corruption of the body politic. and i think, you know one of the things that you touch on in your essay that you didn't really bring out in your talk is the corrupting tendency of a massive state bureaucracy that views the citizenry as a clientele, a body of clients. and they measure the effectiveness of how well they're doing their job by how many people they serve like mcdonalds. and it's all very well for mcdonalds to serve two billion hamburgers, but for hhs or the welfare bureaucracy to serve me as a client as opposed to, you know, helping me to learn how to fish let's say, that has a corrupting tendency. it gives me, it has a it has a moral effect. and so, you know, the question is, is there any way to, at this point you don't seem very hopeful in your in your essay.
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it seems, to you it seems we've gone too far. is that how you feel? >> if you look at how other modern social welfare states have been, to some degree reformed or have their effects or had their characteristics overhauled, usually that has happened when the government has run out of other people's money right? so it happened that way in new zealand, and it happened that way in sweden. and there are a couple of other examples we could mention. we're a very, very rich society. the government's going to have to run through an awful lot of our wealth before we hit the
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wall, i think. i fear. and to, you know, whether it's good news or bad news, in addition to our fantastic national wealth we also for now, have the dollar as the sort of the international means of exchange. and as long as we do that we've got additional lines of credit that we can call upon before the piper finally has to be paid. unless we as citizens wish to do something different from what has occurred in other social welfare states and preclude or begin reforms before they are only forced upon us by exigency, we're going to have to have a national discussion and a national consensus about that. >> so we have to go broke, in other words. [laughter] >> that's the way it's happened everywhere else. but if you believe in american exceptionalism, we can do it differently. [laughter] >> a note of hope how
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uncharacteristic. [laughter] thank you very much. i want to introduce gene twanggy, professor of psychology at san diego state university author of numerous publications and books entitled "the far city sitend pellic," and "generation me." a parade of cheerfulness. the title of jean's essay is the rise of the self and the decline of intellectual and civic interest. i'm particularly interested in this. i have children in their 20s. i will refrain from commenting on what i might think about that. what interests me, jean, and i want to hear everything that you have to say about this subject but i was very struck by the contrast between what we meant by -- what americans meant by
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individualism in the past and what they mean by individualism today. i think that's a very interesting focus for our discussion but i want you to go ahead and just talk to us about what your findings are. >> okay. all right. so that's the cover of "generation me." no, that is not my stomach. [laughter] to clear that up. that's the narcissism book that was reflected. it was in mirrors. you could see yourself in the cover of the book on narcissism. so that was fun. yes. so how has our culture changed? we do have increasing individualism, more focus on the self, less on social rules, less on the group. however, this is perhaps a different type of individualism than we had in the past as adam just mentioned. it's it doesn't seem to be the rugged, independent individualism that we may have associated with the past such as good old john wayne here.
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what we're doing now is more like this. twitter, reality television. that's paris hilton wearing a shirt with paris hilton on it. [laughter] >> is she taking a selfie at the same time? >> well, we have the selfie right underneath her. you get the idea. one way to put this is that this is kind of delusional individualism. the idea -- which is very common now -- but thinking you're great is just as good as actually being great. or the idea that self-belief is enough. and if you think oh i've heard that, well believe in yourself and you can do anything. just one example of a phrase that's very common now. or very common in children's sports leagues everybody gets a trophy. the participation trophy. you show up, you get the trophy. you sit on the bench, you get the trophy. my them in -- my nephew has one
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of these it says excellence in participation. what does that even mean? i'm not sure. what effect has this had on actual people? there's a really great survey that's been done since 1966 that's enormous nine million people of entering college students and among the questions they start this way rate yourself compared to the average person your age. so we are particularly interested in things that dealt with skills. and around kind of a gentic individualistic characteristics. well known social/psychological effect in that these are going to vary in how people view themselves, so you're going to see a lot of variation things that are considered to be easy or subjective tend to be rated higher things that are objective and difficult lower. what i want you to focus on is the change from entering college students, the boomers in 1966,
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compared to the millennials or generation me, and that data's very recent, just from this past fall in 2014. so what percentage believe that they are above average in their intellectual self-confidence? a lot more now. social self-confidence, drive to achieve, leadership ability public speaking ability, writing ability which many college faculty would challenge -- [laughter] right, mark? math ability artistic ability and general academic ability. they have all gone up. okay. what about actual performance? mark mentioned some of this. the s.a.t. verbal is down. it only looks small because of the scale there. that's more than -- that's about half a deviation or more. math hasn't change add whole lot, and the total has gone down -- changed a whole lot. here we're looking just at reading and math, the basics, and they really haven't changed very much, as he said, in spite
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of all the money that we've poured in. point here is actual performance, unchanged or down. self-belief, way up. okay. we thought maybe is there a way to quantify this cultural belief in thinking that you're great and positive self-use? well, we realized that the more subjective feedback that a students get from their teachers might be a good way to look at that. so this entering college student survey asks about their high school grades. well here's the percentage who were coming into college with an a average. used to be less than 20%, and now it is more than 50. you see the same exact pattern -- >> [inaudible] >> yeah, exactly. high school students, you see the same thing. so it doesn't have to do with college selectivity. in fact, more students go to college now, so these numbers should go down instead of up. okay, maybe they're working harder to get those grades, but they're not. that's pretty much unchanged, the percentage of students who
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do ten or more hours of homework. so here's the question has that inflated sense of self in thinking above average crossed over into something that's a personality trait called narcissism and an inflated sense of self, or as my daughter defines it, narcissism is when you fart and say, "i rule." [laughter] she's right there. she's laughing at her own joke. [laughter] she came up with that herself. it is a more toxic form of positive self-use that tends to be core rated with problems in relationships -- correlated with problems in relationships problems relates to others -- relating to others. 25,000 college students who completed the standard measure the npi just so you get a taste of how this measures narcissism. here's a few of the items. if i ruled the world, it would be a better place. i love that, because there's always a few people that laffer, and the rest of the room is going, of course it would be. why is that funny? [laughter] i can live my life any way i
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want to. i think i am a special person. and notice this is something that's very common in our culture, to tell kids you're special. presumably to build self-esteem, it's actually narcissism. i have a natural talent for influencing people. we're working on updating this so we've got it through 2009. here is how college student scores have changed since the early '80s. about 17% answer the majority of the questions in the narcissistic direction, and now it is about 0%. 30. so it's not most of them who scored this more problematic level of narcissism, but there's also twice as many who do, and that makes the change look even bigger because those are the ones who end up in your office. [laughter] and they're the ones who when you tell them a they're not as great as they think they are will go to the dean, and that's where the problem usually begins. thank you very much. [applause] >> so i will, i would like to
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add something to what you have said, because as a parent, i find this very interesting. and also as somebody who works in business. i've heard i've encountered and heard from many people of my generation that the young kids coming out of college toddies play these -- today display these generational tendencies. what doesn't seem to get mentioned is, you know, whose fault is this if not ours? >> exactly. and i think that's a really crucial point because people say this to me a lot. they're saying, well, why are you blaming this generation? it's not their fault it's their baby boomer parent. in my view, i don't think we need to assign fault at all. it's a cultural change, and it's very pervasive. it could be that 50-year-olds now think they're better than everybody else, more than 50-year-olds used to. that's very, very possible. so this is a generational shift, but it is also a shift that has really permeated our whole culture. no, i don't think we can necessarily point fingers at
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just the young generation. the great inflation is another good example of that principle. that yeah, maybe the students were arguing over their grades, but so were their parents. and so were the teachers who thought, well, that might make the kid feel good to get an a. >> i have one hopeful note to add to this. my younger daughter who is a year out of college and is living with me and preparing to move on with her life has she brought all this stuff back from college and high school and all this stuff we're going through it, and she opened up a box of her trophies, you know? she was always very -- she was a dancer a gymnast, she did all kinds of things, and she as far ass to go through -- starts to go through these things and she says these i'm throwing away, because they're just, you know, for participation. i'm keeping the ones that are for real accomplishment. and so to come back to alan bloom, if i may what i think is, you know, as we worked on this book and we worked with our
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contributors and now we listen to this sort of litany of bad news, there's one thing that i take away from this encounter with my daughter that i think is hopeful, and that is that there is a human instinct -- and this is something that bloom focuses on -- to honor and appreciate excellence and greatness. our culture which has the emphasis on equality which has, you know, moved through american history with great power as any profound philosophical principle will do has under, has eroded or undermined respect for genuine greatness, and we don't see it reflected in our education in our culture in our, in our daily conversation. and yet the human being still retains a respect for it. and so if there's as i said,
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we're not long on solutions, but i personally feel that this is something that can be built upon, can be appealed to and is something that we as conservatives of various stripes really should make a consistent focus of our speaking, our writing, our teaching. and so with that, i would love to open the floor to questions. please. >> question for mark. >> we're going to bring a microphone to you. >> thank you. jeff steele with the american legion. question for mark. whether any of your graphs could be seen as a function of measuring rather than a function of what's being measured. in other words, were the number of people measured significantly larger over the time period, or were they always the same number
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of people? >> you mean jean's graph? >> no, yours. [inaudible conversations] >> okay. no, i don't think that it's a function of the sample size. i think that that's roughly consistent. and i would -- also about the n.a.p.e. exams the s.a.t. has gone up in recent years the s.a.t. number has gone down a little bit, in fact, and the
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. >> it's a threat to our common ability to have a civic society and a political system that functions. >> and i'll just add one quick survey figure. in 2000 23% of people said they read a newspaper. >> i think there's also a sense of, first of all intellectualism is hard, and we have a culture today that really shies away from that kind of from the kind of effort. i mean, you know, again, i have to say i grew up among people who were really intellectuals and intellectually accomplished people and i understood that in order to participate in a conversation with them i had to know something. my opinion wasn't valued just because i was there. and that's gone now.
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sir? >> with the adoption of religious norms help address this question of political correctness and moral relativism and, actually, a little -- and also maybe the extolling the individual because of their pure mind without these cultural norms. so do we have to go back to the old time religion? should we go -- yeah, go back to the old time religion. [laughter] >> i don't know how we would do that. does anyone have an idea? daniel you're the -- yeah we've done it before. these things do tend, do happen. they go in waves. i guess my, my personal response i just come back to the story that i told about my daughter. i think that i think young people naturally want some
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guidance structure authority a sense of grown-ups being in charge and allowing that -- sort of living, coming into a world that is ordered and run by mature people. i don't see a lot of that today myself, but i have some, i have some hope that that may that may work itself through. >> i would, i would welcome a third great awakening. >> i would add i think that religion does face certain obstacles in our current culture that are perhaps not the same obstacles faced by other forms of information and that's because there is a sort of a government policy arising out of what i would call an interpretation of the establishment clause that seeks to exing collude religion -- exclude religion from the public
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square. it's a little bit of a unique circumstance when it comes to especially christianity and bible. >> seven a wealth of interests. -- such a wealth of interests. please, over here. >> so bernard rico world bank. 26 years ago a i was a senior in college, business major and i read the book "closing the american mind," and your father's introduction was probably just as good as the book. one of the things that really struck me and almost wanted me to change my major and my father said if you change your major to floss my, which is what i wanted to do, i'm going to bring you back to community college. [laughter] and that's the dichotomy between american industriousness which is kind of in line with the teaching of the classics which was one of the biggest points, i think, of the book which i'm not sure is addressed really in this book. and the panel is fantastic but that was kind of the resounding message to me anyhow when i read the book 26 years ago. so i'm just wondering how much
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of an a impact, what kind of dichotomy, how do you think it will play out going forward american conservatives being people like myself who go to business school but don't necessarily have an opportunity to learn the classics, do it themselves on their own later on and just the general teaching of the classics and the dumbing of the american mind in that sense? >> we need to we need to spread j. paul getty's policy of hiring a lot of classics majors. and when getty was asked why do you do that, he said they sell more oil. [laughter] >> in the back, all the way. >> yeah. i'm cole aaronson, i'm an intern at aei. so a number of scholar -- somebody, i think it may have been mr. bauerlein, is that how you say your last name?
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listed a series of sort of principles of american society civic virtue individualism limited government, etc. a number of scholars, probably most famously alistair mcintyre in recent years, have suggested that these the principles of classical liberalism are actually not particularly reconcilable with the sort of christian view of the natural person that mr.-- i'm sorry, i can't read your -- i think may have been alluding to. do we have to sacrifice classical liberalism in order to recover a sort of view of the person as having a moral place in the world that can answer this kind of relativistic view that i think professor bloom was talking about in the closing of "the american mind." and how does -- what does that mean for american conservatives many of whom are classical
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liberals? >> anybody want to take that one up? would you like to, would you like to write a book on that subject? [laughter] maybe you should answer that question. what do you think? >> i don't know. [laughter] >> well, why are you looking at me? [laughter] well, it's an excellent question. i'm afraid you've sort of stumped us but it's a very profound question. i'm not -- i honestly don't know the answer to it, but it's definitely worth thinking about and maybe there should be a book on it. down here, please. >> clay ramsey, program for public consultation at the university of maryland and this is directs to jean. it's in the category of you mentioned earlier that you're perhaps a bit short of remedies and this is in the remedy area. i read in the financial times of research which i believe is
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business management research about the term "competent" as opposed to more high-flown kind of language about excellence in being a champion and so forth. and there's an entire lucy callaway piece about this piece of research. as i recall it, they found that those who aspire to being competent at something rather than checking the box that they were aspiring to be the best at something wound up performing the tasks better than the people who were trying to be, you know extremely good. so i'm wondering whether competence is a value that can be pushed forward in the pantheon of american values in a way that it hasn't been in a
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long time because we've are trying to be all these other things. you can't get hired by saying you're competent. you don't write in your resumé that you're competent. but i think there are a lot of people that are feeling there's often a dearth of competence now in american life. and so i'm really asking you whether you might have run across this in the literature that you look at and then more broadly whether you think this might be an interesting angle. >> yeah. i mean, it suggests we still have a lot to learn about motivation because there are certainly other psychological studies suggesting, for example you go into something and you say i just don't want to fail as opposed to i want to do really well those who say i want to do really well are usually doing better. but it is true that if you think of excellence as perhaps being the top 1% or the top 5% we do have to accept as a society that not everybody is going to be
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excellent, and that's okay. so to have an acceptance for being average being average isn't always bad. and i would, you know, also put out there that competence is a much better bar than participation. and it's a much better bar than you're special just for being you. so it's a good place to start. and if that is more motivating, all the better. >> and michael dukakis would be very happy to hear that. [laughter] yes. >> i'm bothered that our panel didn't offer a response to cole aaronson's excellent question and so that we don't have anti-intellectualism in america up here on the panel i'm a numbers boy not a committee on social thought boy, but i've got to take a crack at your question. [laughter] you know, i think that the distinction or contradiction between classical liberalism and a more biblical interpretation of the to virtues may be a
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little overblown. it is true that if you talk about objectivism and you mean classical liberalism by ayn rand that you have a little bit of problem with the text, that is truement but objectivism -- true. but objectivism is a freak show. [laughter] if you want to -- >> welcome to aei. >> -- if you want to talk about classical liberalism and get back to the text and get back to hayek or john locke you see much more of a consonance between the moral presumptions that i think underlie those texts and those ways of thinking. and of course there's a tension there, but there's not a war. >> yeah. you mentioned adam smith. remember that adam smith does the economics. also he writes a theory of moral sentiments okay? >> please.
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>> i'm juliana p be ilon -- pilon, i have three degrees in philosophy from the university of chicago so i could say that this is music to my ears with a caveat that more like a reck by yet. be. [laughter] -- requiem. i also want to say that your father was one of the best professors in the committee on social thought in addition to being a novelist. and those of us who had the pleasure of listening to him he wouldn't lecture he would just talk. it was extraordinary. i do want to not continue a -- [inaudible] session although that would be very very easy. the idea that there are some positive lights at the end of this very distressing tunnel appeals to me. and i want to say that among my most enjoyable experiences as a
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professor -- oh, i should have said i'm with the alexander hamilton institute for the study of western civilization. [laughter] so there has to be some hope here. [laughter] but some of my most enjoyable experiences have involved teaching army colonels and lower rank as well but the veteran community is an extraordinary pool of not only -- well, patriotic, highly motivated, non-narcissists who love to read literature. and i commend to all of you the interview recently with general savvy december. i think that we have a lot of people here who may not be able to write all that well initially, although they're quick learners. i think that this country will
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survive in greatness. we are yes, an exceptional nation. and thank you so much for this magnificent panel. appreciate it. >> well, thank you. and i think -- >> [inaudible] [laughter] >> well, okay. i think we have time for one more, so right here please. >> university of alberta. hello, nick. and question to nick and jean. given that much of the world looks to america for leadership what probability do you see of these trends spreading worldwide? and is there a preventive for that? >> um, sure. well certainly indications seem to suggest that this particular brand of american individualism is spreading. a lot of other countries are starting from a much lower bar. which is probably why they're
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occasionally eating our economic lunch. so it does seem that it's desperating though. i mean just like mcdonalds and coca-cola, this idea of thinking highly of yourself and we're going to focus on the self instead of social rules which has some advantages as well like equality does seem to be, to be spreading for good or for ill to the rest of the world. reasonably quickly. >> i suppose the fortunate fact is that an awful lot of other countries see the u.s. as having a wear in yous and stingy welfare state, and i guess i'd like to keep it that way. some countries have had premature welfare states like argentina and other latin american countries and they've taken little, you know, kind of like time off from the world economy as a consequence of that. [laughter]
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the -- [inaudible] of the american experience that i think other countries are going to emulate but i don't think for better or ill the social entitlement state is going to be foremost among these. >> and with that, thank you all very, very much. thanks to the panel. [applause] >> every weekend booktv offers programming focused on nonfiction authors and books. keep watching for more here on c-span2, and watch any of our past programs online at >> next on booktv, thomas burr and matt canham, salt lake tribune reporters who covered the 2012 election, talk about the relationship between the romneys and the huntsmans two of the founding families of the mormon church. [inaudible conversations]
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>> my name is terry orm, i'm the editor of the salt lake tribune and i'd like to say thank you for coming out tonight to our trip talk live event. we call this trip talk live because it's in front of an audience and it's similar to what we do every day on where we do trib talk where we talk about the news of the day with newsmakers. tonight we're going to talk about mormon rivals: the romneys, the huntsmans and the purr suit power -- pursuit of power, a new book that we're very proud of written by thomas burr and matt canham. this book, i feel, is the sort of long-form analytical
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journalism that the tribune is uniquely capable of doing in utah. and we're very proud of it. before we get started i just have to say thank you to a few people. i want to say thank you to paris gibson and the team of leonardo for all their work on this, and tonight we're on c-span's booktv, and i'd like to thank nick and matt of c-span tv. so without delay, i'd like to turn the microphone over to jennifer napier pearce and introduce matt canham and thomas burr to talk about "mormon rivals." again, thank for coming. [applause] >> thank you, terry and thank you again for all of you being here. we're thrilled to be with you. this is a great read if you have
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not read it. you're in for a treat. and i guess i'll start, gentlemen, congratulating you. a second book -- >> thank you. >> -- in a single year is quite an achievement. what mote said you to write -- motivated you to write this one? >> you know, we both worked together in d.c. for seven years. i actually moved back last year but before i moved back, we were thinking we wanted a big challenge, something beyond a sunday centerpiece. and we started talking with some friends, and we talked about how these two families don't tend to get along and is there something we can do, and a friend suggested why don't you write an e-book? we thought that was a fantastic idea. we thought 70 pages a couple months we're done boom. this was november 2013 and then like journalists tend to do, we wrote just slightly longer. it turned out to be about 380 pages -- [laughter] and it took 18 months. but what happened is we just found too many good stories, too many interesting tidbits that
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put it shorter when we didn't have to, it this was the first time in our life when we didn't have to write shorter. we went for it. >> how much input did the families have? well, how much access did you have, and how open were they to the idea of this book? >> i guess that depends on your definition of "open." i would say we spent hours and hours with jon huntsman sr. with jon huntsman jr. with abby hunting zahn -- huntsman. the romneys were a little more difficult. we were denied requests multiple requests for access to mitt romney or ann romney. we did talk to josh romney, but we also supplemented it with senior aides from campaigns with, you know, close friends and confidants, and you'll also notice there's, like, 30 pages of notes and sources in the back for all the research and documents that we compiled over that 18 months to find these great nuggets. so it was a long work to try to get some of these people to talk to us. in the end we got most of them.
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we have talked to romney beforehand, so it's not like we never -- he's not quoted from our own research in that, but the romneys did not really want to participate. >> well, the reason i bring that up perhaps our readers read a letter to the editor from karen huntsman that was published in the tribune a few days after the book came out, and she called the book "tabloid trash." [laughter] how do you respond to her? >> you know, i think actually our second printing we're going to put supermarket tabloid trash in quotes on the back -- [laughter] >> it's that juicy. [laughter] actually, you know, on something like this we respect the huntsmans and karen huntsmans' opinion. we're not surprised at all when something we cover doesn't like what we write. we're political reporters. this happens with a tremendous amount of frequency. if i wrote a book about anyone in this audience, and i might can be. [laughter] they're probably not going to
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like it, you know? because what journalists do we write -- what we do is we write who these people are, what they want to do in public policy and what they don't want you to know about. and that's the part they don't like. there's things that these people don't want you to know about. and they're not the most insidious things in the world but everyone has foibles and mistakes and missteps, particularly families that have been in the public eye as long as the huntsmans and the romneys, and we write about those things. we don't pull punches. this is journalism. i'm not surprised to see that some of the people in this book aren't huge fans. >> we actually heard more from the romney family. this weekend we heard from the romney world i guess i'd rather say where they actually thought that this was jonathan jr.'s idea, they thought he pushed this book. and spencer s wick who was kind of mitt romney's money guy gave us this quote responding to that that concept that junior was behind it and reading it
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verbatim: jon jr.'s jealousy of mitt romney has come to an all-time high. he should take a deep breath and be grateful he has a family that loves him and stop worrying that he's never going to be as successful as mitt romney. so if you question the premise of mormon rivals -- [laughter] that quote underscores the idea that they may not like each other. [laughter] >> well, let's get into it, because, you know, from the outside you look at these two these two men, they're powerful, they're both heavily invested in gop politics, they come from families of influence and wealth and yet they're not best buddies. why is that? because they come from a similar background as well. they have mormon roots and they share a genealogy which is something i didn't know before i read book. >> it actually goes back to the founding of the lds church in the 1830s that the first one of the first apostles was parker
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pratt, named around parly pratt. and he married 12 times. there was polygamy, of course back then. and is said to have some 50,000 descendants, of those mitt romney and jon huntsman jr. they're actually fifth cousins. and we go into great detail in the book just tracing that history of the family. for example, at one point, you know, the romney ancestors and the huntsman ancestors live inside the same small town in iowa. they probably knew each oh. this -- each other. and over time their genealogy their histories go back and forth. they know each other over time. they're not like, you know never see each other again. this actually kind of goes back to one of my favorite parts if i may read a little bit from the book real fast. >> yeah. >> since we're talking a little bit of history, the huntsman family settled in fillmore, utah, which was the territorial statehouse, and there was a man named james huntsman and brigham young -- this is family
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lore, of course -- brigham young once stops by and comes up to james, and he says what i really want to ask you is why don't you take another wife. james asked the prophet to talk to mary and get her permission. when he obliged, mary thought about it for a second and threw a cup of coffee in brigham young's face. [laughter] she says, this is my answer. brigham went out of the house or dried himself off and said james, you have all the wives you can handle. [laughter] >> yes. we also found fun stories about the romneys back in the day. miles romney helped bring the tabernacle. brigham young sent them all over the place. so they started in salt lake and almost immediately had to go to st. george. and miles a. romney actually fell building a window from a huge height and died. his son also cleverly named miles, was then told he had to go to st. johns, arizona, which is a very desolate place that had some, you know outlaws and
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you know you had some mexican immigrants, and you had this, you know, well, at the time it was mexico, but you have, you know, you have this mix. and they did not like these polygamist newcomers in their neighborhood. and miles romney was, you know the example of them. he was the leader. and this is a quote from the apache chief newspaper written by george a. mccarter, the editor, in 1884. he called romney a mass of putrid pus and rotten goose pimples, a skunk with the face of a baboon, the character of a louse, the breath of a buzzard and the record of a perjurier and common drunkard. we go on to write, something he'd fight throughout his life. this is a time when, you know, no coffee, no wine, it was not as strict as it is in the mormon faith now, that you're not
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supposed to have any. but it was pretty interesting times. >> so a lot of colorful history there, a lot of shared history with the families interwoven together. let's fast forward a little bit to more recent history and let's look at the political background of these two men. both of them had fathers who were very politically active. can we start with mitt romney's father george? >> sure. george romney ran for president in 1968. he was an automobile executive, a three-term governor of michigan, he was on the cover of "time" magazine, a very progressive republican. and the interesting part, before we go too much in the future, i want to talk a little bit about george romney's past, because his past is more interesting than your past, all of your pasts. he has a pretty interesting past. [laughter] he was born on a mexican polygamist compound and and at the age of 4 the mexican
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revolution with poncho via came storming through and he became a refugee. his family lost everything. they had to flee to texas and then from there they tried to build houses there it didn't really work out, so they went to idaho, and they tried to build houses and it didn't really work out, so they came back to utah. so george romney saw his family lose everything. it was a wild experience. he starts going to high school, he's a lath and plaster man for his father building homes on the side. and then he sees a pretty girl at a picnic named lenore and falls in love. and when this guy decides he wants something he really wants something. is so he goes on his mission comes back and finds out that lenore had moved to d.c., so he goes to d.c. but she's ahead of him in school so she graduates and then goes to new york to find an acting career. so then he's trying to figure out how to get to new york. he ends up getting a congressional job and is trying to figure out how to get to new york, and right before he does,
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she moves to hollywood gets a $50,000 contract with mgm which in that day is huge money. he was making $125 a month. she was making 50 grand. so what does he do? he gets the automobile association that he gets a job with -- he convinces them to send him to hollywood, and he finds out that she's on a date. so he drives in the car and follows her around and tries to tell her that, like, you know, i'm the one you should come with. she tells him it's never going to work out. of course, it works out. she ends up giving up the acting career at the time to move to detroit the more this guy to -- for this guy to work at the automobile association making far less than she was making, and he ends up just by the power of his personality and her ability to soften his rough edges to create this wonderful career where he just becomes an auto executive, and then he runs the constitutional convention in michigan where they change all the laws, then becomes governor
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and just skyrockets from there. >> that's a true rags to riches. >> it is. and, you know, mitt romney came in at the richest part. he -- [laughter] he missed most of the rise. and he loves everything about his dad's, you know status. he is, he wants to be his dad just in every possible way. so as a young person he wants to run an auto company because his dad ran an autocompany, and he wants to get in politics because his dad gets in politics. there were two people on stage his wife and mitt, he was the one most enthusiastic about being there. yeah he just loved it. >> and he, he had a relationship with the media pretty early in his life. >> yes. >> you write about his first gaffe in the media when george decided to run for governor. it had to do something with the
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fourth of july? >> this was at that announcement. right afterward reporters asked you know, what was going on, and it was shortly afterward the fourth of july comes up, and he's at an event he says it's really fun to be here in the united states for the fourth of july for the first time. [laughter] the eyebrow-raising comment was true. of the romneys had a vacation home in canada where they would celebrate the most american holiday each year. years later mitt romney would laugh about it. that wasn't a great line he said. it was not particularly the depth of my communications with the media. part of what i find fascinating is unlike today where politician's kids are not in the media, back then reporters often just went and talked to mitt romney. and and mitt romney appeared in the news on his own. here's a paragraph from the book. by this point romney was getting used to the spotlight. he was a spunky kid often at the
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governor's side, and he didn't shy away from reporters. he became a mini celebrity from michigan. when mitt had his appendix out it made the papers. reporters once wrote that he raised $2,000 for his dad from his neighbors. one detroit news story declared romney's son helps fight school fire when, actually he just pointed firefighters in the direction of a small blaze in the school building. [laughter] it was interesting, he just wanted to be a part of it, and he and his dad loved having him around. >> you said he idolized in his father. did he follow in his father's ideological footsteps as well politically? >> yeah, and that's interesting. you think of george romney, and this is michigan. there's a lot of unions and there's some significant racial diversity. so for a white republican head of a corporation, if you're going to be a successful politician, you've got to figure out how to ingratiate yourself with some of the people in the neighborhood, and he did a good job of that. at the time when george romney was a politician, the biggest
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issues were race relations and vietnam. you fast forward, mitt romney goes to byu then, you know, goes to harvard. and he stays in massachusetts. now, massachusetts -- like michigan -- is a liberal state. so if you're going to be a centrist republican and successful, you've got to figure out how to play nice. for him the issues weren't, you know the same as his father's. they ended up being social issues. they were abortion and gay marriage. now, how did he handle those issues? at the time what he said was on abortion, i just won't deal with it. i won't try to repeal anything, i won't stop anything, i'm not really excited about it, but i won't take any action. and on gay marriage he said i'm okay with everything except for gay marriage. so that at least was a step in the direction of people who were more on the liberal end of the scale. so yeah, they had similar start that is way. >> what about huntsman? he obviously was very close to his father as well k and we have
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a great picture of jon huntsman jr. tell us where he is. >> so this i got from the huntsman family. he is 10 years old, and he's in the cabinet room at the white house. his dad -- >> he's in nixon's seat. >> nixon's seat in the cabinet -- his dad was the staff secretary to the president. and essentially that meant at the time that jon huntsman sr. controlled every piece of paper that went in and out of the president's office. he controlled what people got paid who got to have a car, a limousine, who got to have the fancy offices. it was a pretty powerful position. but it also meant that you didn't get any days off because the president doesn't get any days off. the president needs his paperwork whenever he needs his paperwork. so on the weekends he would take his oldest sons which were peter and john and let 'em run around the white house. 10-year-old boys in these narrow hallways in the west wing where they ran into people, including the president, who would give them, you know golf balls and seemed to enjoy their company. it was his first experience with
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government, and if you talk to him now, you know, you don't really know who these people are, you just know they have high positions, and you respect you know, the job they do for the country because they worked all the time. his dad at this time while he was at the white house also starts his momentumsman contain -- huntsman container corp. which used sty profarm to make egg cartons -- sty row foam to make egg cartons. and afterward he moved back to california. he'd make his family go deliver these to grocery stores and try to make contacts with safeway or whatever the big grocery stores of the time were. and that was how he got started. and that business grew, obviously. and so jon huntsman -- >> that's an understatement. >> yeah. jon huntsman saw all of the growth. so the fam ally was doing okay but they didn't have anywhere near the wealth they have today when he was in those formative years. i think he was 15 when huntsman corp. made a deal with mcdonalds to make the big mack
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clam shell which -- big mac clam shell which netted them $8 million, a huge sum at the time. so he was in high school when his father starts making money. and he was in his mid 20s when his father becomes a billionaire. so one way to get under jon huntsman jr.'s skin is to say he was a rich kid. because he'd say, no, my family got that money later on. i know what it's like to be a normal person, be average folk. and a part of moving to utah when they came from california, the two things that were difficult for him was they were always very active mormons at this time, but being surrounded by all mormons was a little unsettling, you know? he was used to more diversity in d.c. and california. and being known was really unsettling. to have everyone at his high school say that's the huntsman kid, he's got the big house on the mown sustain was -- mountain, was really disconcerting for him. he tried to run for student body
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president, and those things didn't work. he didn't win either of those things. and so now everyone knows him and knows that he failed. he ended up going to the one thing he was really good at which was playing keyboards. he joined a band called wizard and dropped out of high school. now, you would think of that as a huge rebellion that would take his very successful businessman father and drive him absolutely nuts. i'm sure it drove him nuts but jon huntsman sr. didn't have a falling out. his band with actually bought them the band gear and came to his shows even though he hated the music. [laughter] and he bided his time. you know? just fully expecting that at some point this phase would end and he'd be able to help his son, you know, direct his son and he did. the band kind of ran away, he sent his son to germany to work at a factory. his son loved the idea of being in a foreign place where no one knew who he was. and then he got his mission call, and it was to taiwan and he was terrified. he was hoping to go back to
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germany, because he was already learning the language. he gets to taiwan and for him it was a complete awakening. not necessarily a religious one. he loved foreign policy. he loved learning about a foreign place and understanding why they didn't like americans. and at the time there was a big trade dispute. and he just fell in love with it. it was a place where he could be his own man. so one difference between mitt romney and jon huntsman jr. is they both love their fathers they both say their fathers were their best friends. but for mitt, he wanted to be his father, and for jon huntsman jr., he wanted to be his own man and still help his father. >> and yet he did help. if you look at the philanthropic efforts of the huntsmans jon huntsman jr.'s been there. >> yeah. he's run the huntsman cancer foundation. they've poured more than $400 million to the cancer institute in sam lake city -- salt lake city, and he sat on the board that led that. he's been very active in those
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you know, charities. all the huntsman family, obviously, are very proud of their father's, the way their father started in these philanthropic endeavors. their dad, when his company went public divvied up some stocks to every kid and said that's it. every other dime i owe i own i'm giving away by the time i pass away. so he's been working on that since. >> jon huntsman sr. when he made himself, he turned his eye to politics. >> right. >> for a time things were a little rocky. [laughter] >> yes. he, in 1988 he decided he was going to run for governor. this was at a time where norm bettinger is the republican incumbent running again, and he was challenged by democrat ted wilson, and the polls show ted wilson was in a huge lead. so jon huntsman decided he was going to save the republican seat and go in there. and when he did it surprised
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everybody. and the instability polls showed -- instant polls showed he was the favorite. what happened was there was an investigative reporter, and he saw the news that jon huntsman sr. is in the race, and he says who's jon huntsman sr. and how can this guy run for governor if i don't know who he is? so he decides to start digging into this. at the same time, they get anonymous letter that includes some information about a lawsuit, some old stories from "the washington post" about his time at the nixon white house accusing him of using his position to better his business. and so he starts investigating and he goes to california, and he actually interviews jon huntsman sr.'s uncle dean olson, who helped give jon huntsman sr. his start in business. and that business was creating styrofoam egg cartons. so what jon huntsman sr. ended up doing was he worked for his uncle and created a competitor to his uncle which obviously
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upset his uncle. they really didn't like each other. so his uncle gives this long interview, then rick scheckman comes back and sits down with huntsman sr. and the interview is contentious from the start. multiple pieces air. we have a lot of details about this in the book. multiple pieces air and the last thing people see is this clip we've queued up for you guys. >> yeah let's take a look at the clip. >> it's ready to go. actually, it's the next one, i think. oh, that's the right one? >> during our interview huntsman objected to questions about his past business dealings and public service record. >> here it is, i've been gone from the white house now for 17 years, and all of a sudden rick scheckman starts to ask me questions, half of which i've never heard of before. i guess this whole thing is really comical. rick, i think you've got your pound of flesh and now you can
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go back and do your thing with me. >> kutv news. >> some pretty strong body language there -- >> yeah. you know, shaking the finger in rick's face wasn't exactly the type of pr you want when you're running for office. shortly after this, jon huntsman sr. decides he's not going to run, he backs out. ..
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i am jon huntsman. i started out with nothing and build an international business with headquarters in salt lake city. i'm running for governor because i know how important it is to provide the children they very best education possible. i know how to bring more jobs and bring a stronger economy and that means lower taxes. i'm running for governor because i can lead you to the future that we deserve. >> he had a front-row seat and saw the politics. why in the world did he choose to get politically involved complex


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