tv Book Discussion on The Art of Being Persuasively Correct CSPAN December 6, 2015 3:00pm-4:01pm EST
last year "capital dames" by cokie roberts about civil war women. thanks for the last three hours. >> guest: so good to be with you, peter. thank you so much. and thank you to your very kind viewers. >> c-span, brought to you as a public service by your local cable or satellite provider. >> greg gutfeld is next on booktv. he says his book, "how to be right," is designed to help conservatives deliver fact-based, persuasive arguments. [applause] >> good evening. my name's --
[inaudible] i have the honor of being the executive director of the reagan presidential foundation. [applause] oh, thank you very much. thanks for coming this evening. in honor of our men and women who defend our freedom around the world, if you would please stand and join me for the pledge of allegiance. i pledge allegiance to the flag of the united states of america, and to the republic for which it stands. one nation, under god, indivisible with hinter and justice -- liberty and justice for all. [applause] >> please be seated. okay. greg, if i could have your attention, greg, this may come as a surprise to you, but before you arrived here this evening, we conducted a three-question survey of all those who came
here tonight. most of the people. and the first question we asked as they came through the door was whether or not they wanted to hear a long-winded introduction of you by me? [laughter] one that, you know, recounts all the successes you've achieved in life -- >> [inaudible] >> i know. [laughter] well, and it would also include the previous bestsellers you've written, the models that you've dated -- [laughter] who, you know, who you're wearing -- [laughter] and the fact that you are star on "the five," your show on fox. we have about 700 people here this evening, and only three said they wanted us to do that. [laughter] okay. so the second question we asked the audience was whether they wanted to spend an evening politely listening to you drone on and on -- [laughter] in a well-crafted speech. they said that sounded nice, but like so many other speeches, they felt the odds were that by
the time they got to their car, they weren't going to remember a word you said. [laughter] >> [inaudible] [laughter] thanks for having me. >> seventeen people voted for that. but when we asked the final question; that is, how many in the audience thought i should just take a seat, briefly interview you and then let them ask the questions, well, we had 600 voted for that. [applause] so majority rules. but before we begin, in the interest of full disclosure, we found in that same survey that 227 people thought they were here to see dana perino -- [laughter] [applause] what are you going to do? ladies and gentlemen, with no further ado, please welcome to the reagan library mr. greg gutfeld. [cheers and applause]
>> here? yeah. i forgot. always with a dana perino joke, huh? when you can't think of anything, you've got to bring up her and her dumb dog. lovely dog, her lovely dog. [inaudible conversations] it's not a real dog, and we know it. [laughter] so i have to tell you the whole background of the dog, where it came from, who it really is? you know it's brian kilmeade, right? [laughter] it is. he has to shave every day before he does "fox & friends." very little man. >> all right. before we get into the book, it's inevitable, somebody's going to ask, so i'm going to ask it anyway, your take on what happened in paris. >> well, i, you know, if you watch my show on sunday nights, you realize it wasn't on last night, it was preempted. and, you know, i spent the weekend, basically, in a ball of
fury, as i always am, actually. [laughter] nothing was any different. and the attack made it worse. but i had written a monologue for my show, and the show was preempted. and i taped it anyway, but no one has seen it because it wasn't aired except, i think, it was on judge janine. but it's -- i don't know be anybody saw it, but i thought that i would just read you my monologue -- [applause] it's a 70-page haiku. [laughter] and i'm doing it in esperanto. [laughter] all right. actually, it's fairly serious, but that's why i make jokes, because it's too serious for me to actually fathom it, so that's why i make jokes. this paris terror attack reveals a truth many have known, but western leaders have been refusing to admit. we are at war.
instead we watch those elected to protect us transfixed by identity politics, fears of islam phobia and microfractional upticks in celsius. as i've said before about terror, it's not a wake-up call if you go back to bed. [applause] it's not enough for temporary promises of solidarity or putting john lennon's "imagine" on repeat. it is a war that wants us. we no longer have the choice of talking our way out of it like a skittish hostage in a bank heist. and so we need four things. first, we need a leader. someone who -- [cheers and applause] i'm not used to applause during monologues. [laughter] the first thing we need is a leader, someone who understands the threat, is happy to state it
by name and is ready to commit to its destruction. this is someone who understands the adult conclusions that steer national security and surveillance, someone who understands that freedom and security coexist. they do not clash. this leader must have no truck with edward snowed -- snowden unless he's tied up in the back of it. [laughter] sorry, libertarian friends be, this guy is bad. this is a leader who knows that terror change, which is the increase in mayhem when technology trumps climate change. forget climate change, remember terror change. [applause] and this infantile, urgent global consensus devoted to warming must instead be focused
seriously on terror. to track evil, we need coordination, communication, borders, sharing of intel and leadership that inspires the world. the second thing we need is a people. we need a country that pulls itself out of its self-obsession, its politics of me. we need a unified citizenry, one that finally realizes the pleasant world that they've grown used to denigrating is about to come to an end unless they act. three, -- three and i went four. i also have an extra finger with me. you never know. [laughter] three -- [laughter] it's like a stunt finger. three. [laughter] a media, a sober-minded industry whose priorities are based on
authentic but not be symbolic concerns. enough solemn portraits of the whiny coeds weeping over hurtful words, imagine if -- [applause] imagine if during world war ii instead of covering adolf hitter you focused solely on the book a boo bangs of veronica lake, that's a reporter amplifying cry babies over islamic terror. they're missing the story of their lives. [applause] it will cost them their lives. four, a defense. four -- [laughter] a defense. i'm not talking about a national defense. that goes without saying. we should have the strongest, greatest, you know it. nor do i mean gun ownership which also, by the way, goes without saying. let us not forget that the cops
usually end up arriving there after it's already happened. we need to protect ourselves. [applause] the kind of defense, the kind of defense that i am talking about is a new education, a mentality in schools that teaches self-defense needed when terror or mass shootings strike. we must make our soft targets harder through security, barriers and most of all, mentality. we have to think differently. i say this, by way, not to judge others' responses when it comes to terror. i have no idea how i might act. but regarding my own personal need to change my own behavior as a citizen, i have to play a role in knowing how to stop something awful. the cops can't be everywhere, so it is up to all of us to be like that vendor in new york who stopped a car bombing in times square. we all have to be that person.
the word would be vigilance, but i came up with a new word called villagence which is vigilance in your village. i'm beginning to have second thoughts about that word. [laughter] but the fact is s.w.a.t. teams and the military burst into buildings knowing one of their own might die. and the passengers on flight 93, they did the same thing, and they did it because they knew, ultimately, that that was the only choice they had left. and they did it for the betterment of our country. they saved, who knows, thousands of lives. so it's time that we accept that choice as a country, because it is the only choice we have left. that was my monologue. [applause] >> thanks. so one question related to the
topic. you know, as everyone knows, i'm sure you must know in the last two days the media's been reporting that one of the terrorist attackers slipped his way in through the refugee flow coming from eastern europe and the mideast. and obama just said yesterday that we should not, quote, somehow start equating the issue of refugees with the issue of terrorism. and i just wanted to get your take on that given that according to the president we should be obligated to take tens of thousands of such refugees. >> it's always that reflex that he relies upon when something like this happens. however, that reflex is missing when it comes to gun crime. when there is an act of gun violation, it's not like he says, whoa, let's not go after all people with guns. he does the precise opposite. [laughter] he becomes this strident superhero about gun control. but he has, he doesn't have that
same emotion and strength when it comes to terror control. terror control, to me, is more important than gun control, because gun control generally targets people who are law-abiding citizens. and we are about targeting violent people who want to end our life. look, i am, i am for an open society and a strong border. the metaphor that i always use is, you know, when -- you can't sneak into disneyland -- [laughter] i've tried. [laughter] i try to tell them that i'm, like, one of the employees at it's a small world -- [laughter] they, but i'm too short. [laughter] but you can't sneak into disneyland. there's a gate. there are walls. you can't get in. america is the earth's disneyland. everybody wants to come to this magical kingdom. and who can blame them?
i mean, if i was -- i'm lucky that i was born here. if i was born in pakistan or syria, hell, canada -- [laughter] and i love, and i love canada. i love canada. but what i'm saying is i don't blame people for wanting to come here. but that does not make us, force us to relinquish any responsibility about our security, about looking at the people that are coming here. you could have both. the greatest people in this country come from other places, and some of the worst people in the world are born here. let's face it. i would like to trade a few. [laughter] trying to think offhand -- [laughter] how many people we could get for keith olberman. [laughter] or -- [applause] but anyway, my point is the border, for us, is just like a
fence around disneyland. it just makes perfect sense that there are people climbing the fence to get in, you find them. you figure it out, obviously more difficult than that. but you have a process. and without a process, what you're seeing is what's happening now in europe. you have open borders, and they don't know what to do. i mean, it's terrifying how many people might be there who wish harm on their country. you have an invading army now. you have an invading force that is blended into the community. and god forbid, you know, you voice any alarm about it. i was watching msnbc -- not by choice -- [laughter] it's mysterious how at every gym in new york that's the only thing that's on. [laughter] they let off an -- led off an hour of news with online back lash. and i'm thinking, god, i wish that was our problem. i wish that our problems were online. i wish our violation and our
death -- violence and the death and the mayhem that we incur every day or every month was online. i mean, how insidious. my god, they're saying horrible things about you online. yes, because of this terrorist attack we immediate to discuss your feelings d we need to discuss your feelings because they're saying bad things about you on a message board. [laughter] i know. we have therapists nearby. [laughter] that's not a problem. that is not a problem. but we're live anything a world where that is almost perceived as an equal problem as the actual physical threats to our lives. on campus they are equating that words are now seen as violent. we have conflated words with actions. it's crazy. it's crazy. i think about, you know, i'm at the reagan library, and i was saying this to my budly on the way over here -- buddy on the way over here, how would ronald
reagan figure this out? i mean, he would figure out isis. he would figure that out pretty clearly. but how would he figure out the native opposition, the opposition here? how could he stomach the idiocy from the people that are here telling us that we must meet hatred with love and that we must worry about, you know, we must worry about how we articulate our outrage as opposed to responding to evil. i don't know what he would do. it'd be just like bill and ted's excellent adventure. [laughter] when they show up and they're, like -- george washington's, like, what the hell happened? but this was only 30 years ago. how much has changed? >> yeah. >> a good movie. [laughter] second one, not so good. >> having read your book -- >> thank you for that. >> yeah, no problem. [laughter] >> by the way, one important thing about book, as you notice, there is absolutely no cloth or paper cover, so that means if you take it on the airplane, people see what you're reading.
[laughter] you can't, you can't take it off. [laughter] and hide it. [laughter] i know what you do. go ahead, sorry. [laughter] >> well, you come right out in the book, and you say, look, this book is all about making you better at saying what you think. and so as i read it, it was kind of like a self-help manual in a way. >> yeah. >> i just wondered if, you know, is that conservatives are too tongue-tied? they can't get their arguments across? >> i have no idea what you're talking about. >> yes, you do. [laughter] >> yes. first of all, it is a service book. i come from a background in service. i worked at men's health and, you know, in the '90s during that horrible time when all you read about were abs, that was me. [laughter] three steps to flatter abs, you're welcome. [laughter] all those headlines, it was made by four guys in a room who wanted to kill themselves -- [laughter] for five years.
sos it is a self-help book. it's based on a couple of premises. number one, whenever i do book signings, people ask me how i do my monologues and the goal of my monologues on "the five." t they like them because i pick an idea that might be kind of complicated, and i try to boil it down into 80 seconds so that i can have one persuasive point in that monologue that allows you -- it's like i gave you a rhetorical weapon in case this comes up. so every day, like, it can't just be something that i find funny or upsetting. in that monologue i have to have something in there that you can use that's serviceable, so when it comes up in a conversation, it's there. it could be a statistic, it could be a moral reason for the belief that it has to be -- if i'm not giving you that thing, then i've failed. and people ask me how i do that, and i thought it would be a great book idea to explain how you're able to persuasively be
correct rather than just be correct. because the thing that drives me nuts is i have plenty of friends in which i agree with -- we agree on everything. but the way they articulate it makes me not want to agree with it. they take up a fairly cogent point, but they get angry or emotional, or they don't attach facts or reason to it. and they ruin it. this happens a lot with immigration. immigration is a winnable issue for us. not when it's married to nativism. and so my goal is to strip away shrill anger and emotion from our arguments. i would be a hypocrite if i were angry and emotional, because that's the thing i always make fun of liberals about. conservatives aren't supposed to be angry or shrill, they're supposed to be sharp and prepared and funny. and i think that we need more humor. and that's why i wrote the book. the other reason why i wrote the book is i say it i think in the
first chapter, i say that the left is really good at selling deadly ideas, and the right is really bad at selling great ideas. and i don't know if it's the right's fault, because i think the ideas are so great that they work. and when that great idea works, you forget about it. so we take it for granted. whether it is law and order, police, i mean, like, let's face it, the reason why there's this reaction against police isn't over simply police brutality, it's because we've become used to this amazing, dramatic advance in crime reduction for the last 30 years. we have seen a reduction in violence crime like -- violent crime like we've never seen. it is only when you have these long periods of success that you are able to rip apart the things that bring you success. and that is why conservatives have a hard time. like, we, you know, what makes -- what frees countries?
free markets, capitalism, spring opportunity. we have no need to explain it, because we think it's natural and because it's working. meanwhile, we have a socialist running more president. how can that be after a century of socialist hell? or present-day venezuela where toilet paper costs as much as a suit made of toilet paper? [laughter] ask me how i know later. [laughter] anyway, my point is this: only in contemporary society can socialism be romanticized and capitalism be demonized when capitalism has freed billions of billions of people and socialism has imprisoned so many. [applause] >> you know, the one theme that seems to run through almost all of your chapters, greg, is that conservatives don't do their homework. you know, there's an obligation to do homework. what do you mean by that? >> you know what? it's not that they don't do
their homework, they have to do more homework. global warming is a good example because if you are skeptical about what you've been told -- see, my skepticism of global warming isn't about science because i read the stuff. i read it constantly. and i be hoof you to -- behoove you to find the experts so that when you are faced with that kind of conflict, that argument that you have the data that suggests the pause or the slight increases are, could be a rounding error or, you know, just a tiny, incremental -- like, what do you call it, it could just be a percent of error that you get in science. it is important that you have the data so that you can argue. and you don't have to argue with emotion be, you can argue with a smile, with data points and stats. and it's actually a lot of fun to have that with you. so i think it's very important. i don't think we are less, i don't think we're less prepared,
it's just that we have to be more prepared, because the left doesn't have to be prepared. remember, the left argues from the arena of compassion that they care more than you do. and you have to have the facts that show that their beliefs are actually more harmful than yours, that you can show that their belief in a welfare system is actually more dangerous. you can show that over the last four or five decades that we've seen cities falling apart. the cities that are in the biggest trouble run by liberal mayors. you can show that liberal policies are painful to people. you have that as your fact base, and you can't lose. >> you wrote with a really neat twist. i'll quote you directly. you say when a liberal asks you why are you a conservative, simply state so you can be a liberal. and -- [laughter] what did you mean by that? >> that's like, that's end of a chapter where i was trying to
show people how to explain why they're conservatives, because you're always going to have a friend, especially in college, who says how can you be a conservative? republicans, they're stodgy, they wear ties, they own 40 pairs of khakis, and they eat babies! [laughter] half of that is true. [laughter] but anyway, the point is in order for a liberal to get what he wants, a conservative has to build something. and i think i used the example of minimum wage. it's like you have, you know, you have these people demanding i want $15 might be mum wage -- minimum wage, but they weren't there when you were starting your business. so you need a conservative to decide to start a small business, to hire people, to sleep on the floor while he's trying to not even make a profit, just trying to break even. he's not even taking a salary. he's putting, he's hiring people to work in this little
restaurant. finally this restaurant is kind of thriving, and he might make a profit, and then this person shows up and says we demand an increase in minimum wage. and he's like, well, wait. i -- where were you? i've been doing this for, i took ten years. these people are happy. if hay don't want to work here -- if they don't want to work here, they don't have to work here. no, we demand it. that can't happen in reverse. the person has to build a business, work his ass off, hire people in order for the liberal to come in demand their cut. i say the left is the mafia in -- [inaudible] [applause] liberalism is the barnacle on the conservative boat. [laughter] all of the principles that you, that you have from the moment you wake up in the morning to going to bed are absolute. they're objective.
they're not relative. they're -- when you're trying to do your job, there are standards that you follow. there's no mamby-pamby liberalism or how you feel when you're trying to build a car or write a song. a song has a distinct melody, and it has notes. when you're a chef, you have a recipe. and if the recipe isn't followed, the food is terrible. you have to make it, everybody has to make it right. those are conservative principles which are completely sacrificed when that person who is a chef or a musician steps out of his profession and starts thinking about politics. he just divorces himself from it. he has no idea that none of those, none of these liberals' beliefs would exist if it wasn't for the conservativism that you put inside your daily life every day to make thingses work. i mean, you know, you know best way to get to work every morning. you know? liberals are, like, well, who's
to say that's the best way? [laughter] it's like, you could go, like, that's kind of really rude. what about the other ways? like, when you say you're going to take that way, the other way -- i mean, that's like totally violating my safe space. [laughter] when you say, okay, it takes you 11 minutes to get to work this way and it takes 45 minutes and you're saying that's better just because it's shorter? [laughter] i mean, where -- i don't understand that. i mean -- [laughter] so it takes three times as hong to get to work -- as long to get to work and you're going to be late, but why is that worse? [laughter] that's how, that's what happens if you applied liberal thinking to actual life. that's to how life would be. you would never be able to make judgments. i mean, imagine baking a cake from a liberal, like, you know, why that? why can't i put more sugar in that? [laughter] well, it's going to -- i want to cook it for ten minutes.
let's see what happens. [laughter] i don't even know what that, i don't even know what that voice is. [laughter] >> it's a good one. >> i think i channeled, i don't know who i channeled. [laughter] it was reagan from the exorcist. not ronald reagan -- >> yeah, the other one. >> the other reagan. >> when i read this in the book, i thought, that's it. i figured it out finally. what makes you as interesting more than anything else, and i'll quote, you said my simple, perhaps sole tactic has always been to extend liberal beliefs to absurd levels. i push the obvious until the argument can only the tip in my favor. and explain that. >> yeah. i, you know, it's funny because i, like, answered -- that was, i just did that with the -- [laughter] >> yeah. >> i'm trying to think of to, oh, jeez, there was a really good one in the book that i used.
[laughter] what chapter are you on? [laughter] well, for example, animal rights. one of the first articles i ever wrote was for the san francisco chronicle in 1989 after i'd been, i went to an animal rights concert, and i guess it was the b-52s or something, and i started thinking, wow, i wrote a whole thing on bacteria rights. ..
so you are killer of broccoli. but the opinion is we're high on the food chain. this is what people -- by the way, this is not to say you should be cruel to animals. i go back and forth about meat. while eating it. but when people talk about -- being inhumane, they are eating living thingsment you take the animal rights to its furthest territory, which would be vegetable rights. it's going to happen.
and i think i -- even with identity, the fact that now we can self-identify, we had a white female activist claim she was black. we had a white male activist claim the was black, "black lives matter" or something like that. i can't remember. and what stops us? i want to -- why can't i be -- i don't know -- an aboriginal unicorn? what is keeping me from self-identifying? because right now your feelings trump that, in the world of identity. no one can tell you what you can't do. and so why not just take that and all self-identify as whatever we want in the end that will completely deflate the movement and turn into it the joke it is. and i am a unicorn.
>> let's go to the audience. if you have a question, raise your hand, but don't ask the question until you have a microphone in front of you. >> some things offlimits. not about dogs -- well, nothing about a dog. i had a dog named jasper, so didn't totally rip me off. >> right over here. jukes good evening, mr. gutfeld. >> good evening. >> good evening, sir. >> strange seeing you here again. it has been many years. >> no, only -- >> i thought you said you'd never come here. >> only been since march of 2013. >> well, close enough. give us your question and be gone. >> i'll do that. my name is katherine. my family owns a bed and breakfast, and being from
california, going to santa monica college, i'm surrounded by people that are very ignorant of world problems, and then at the end itself, we find -- the they don't want to believe that politics can be in good. and my question is, it seems that a lot of people in america where they're ignorant of the world's problems and don't want to admit there's evil, and then all the young people are frustrated about things that don't matter. so my question is do you think it will pass or is it the beginning of a bigger problem? >> i think it might have always been like this, but we don't know because we're living in this now. yesterday, trending on twitter, was mtv stars. i don't know what it is. that was a day after the paris attack, the number one trending thing. today on twitter every single
trending item, which reflects what people -- twitter is a bathroom wall for the vacuous. which is why enenjoy it. but i like to go on there just to yell and scream at the world, but every single item there was not about paris. and i think politics doesn't become part of your life until it actually affects your life. it's like nobody understands taxes until they see it taken out of their check. and then suddenly there are run -- they're republicans. it's so funny. it's why you become a republican later in life. drives me crazy. i'm going to good off on a tangent here, but somebody on the five in the left seat -- they all blend -- geraldo
beckle. they said something like, greg -- talking about taxes and economic inequality, and they said, but, greg, you're loaded. and i go, what -- wait a minute. i'm 51 years old. so i'm thinking about this, about life. this is the fallacy, that people have on the left, that people who are conservative, republicans, somehow block the need for money. they're just rich. we didn't spend 30 years climbing a ladder and doing really dirty work to get where we were. when i was in my early 20s, i can remember my salary at american spectator, $12,000 a year. that was like -- takehome of 700 bucks a month. at prevenges if was 22-5, then at intel, in the 30s. it wasn't until 2000 i started make something actual money.
and the government didn't care about me until i started making real money. i didn't exist. and now i'm hated. it's as though when you're wealthy -- unless you're born into it, most people 0 who make money made it after years and years of hard work. and you have right to complain about it. you have a right to complain because you have the hoyt behind you that got you there. it's like when people say, shut up, there are people out there that are struggling. yeah, that was me. i astrossing. we were all struggling once, and i'm trying to tell you, i'm an example of how to get out of that. did i answer that question? perhaps. >> a good answer. over here.
>> hello. i had a question. the stabbing at merced, the stabber was shot and killed on campus. of cows, course, he used a knife so not a lot heard about it because it wasn't a gun. so my question is, they jump on the gun band wagon whenever something like that's happens. when are people going to start talking about mental illness and the ebb mental illness problem in our country and not being taken care of properly. >> there's a lot of ways you can go with that. there's different kinds of mental illness and i'm not sure it's mental illness leading -- >> you look at statistics, these shootings aren't on the rise. it could be because -- i have friends believe it has to do
with overmedication. i don't know about that. but i look at the statistics and i wonder if it's just because we -- here's my feeling on it. we are creating copycat crimes through media attention of things. when the police -- let's say there's a teen suicide. the police usually urges the press in that area not to cover it because it create as copycat effect. auto erotica asphyxiation, appraisers act, pops up now and then. they don't talk bat it because they don't want people to do it. these are things you don't do. you don't cover, for fear it height be replicated. something we completely suspend when it comes to shootings. when you look at a lot of these killers, we find their obsession with previous spree killers. they found they have a scrapbook
they're obsessed with the guy that got the most victims. this is a regular thing. and always on "the five" i say the media is complicit in this business, because we immediately stop everything and we focus all of our attention on that, and that is the reward. that is the reward for the first person seeking attention in this lonely, alienated, horrible life. this what a loser does. a loser says, my god, can get attention by taking out all these people and that's what he does, and we still give them the attention. so i feel it's a combination of factors. having said that, i don't think we do enough for people who are mentally ill. we let people out of institutions and not -- and by virtue of rights. it is not incumbent on us to help them because it's their right to roam the streets and be sick.
as somebody who lives in new york, it's a horrible thing. we need to help these people and putting them in prison isn't the right way to do it. >> over here. >> hello. >> hi. >> i grew up in san mateo -- >> congratulations, what street? >> i live near aragon high school. >> i used to run by there i lived by hillside. aragon, played a lot of 1:00 -- soccer there and had good tennis courts. >> you're welcome. >> i never really like aragon. didn't carlos sana'a go there? >> yes. >> guest: yes, he did. >> neal sean went there. >> from journey, and karl los santana. >> that was before my time. >> your time is up, sir. >> thank you. aragon is responsible for downey. just want you to know that. at least it's not starship.
>> i also went to berkeley. >> oh. oooo. when did you graduate. >> 1974, well, you weren't there when i was there. >> no. how did you grow up in a lace like that go to a college like that, and be in an environment where all of the thought was left wing thought and get to your current level of wisdom? >> copious amount of familiar suit cals -- pharmaceuticals. actually, it's easy to be a liberal when you're young because it's just like being in high school. all the romantic notions are not based on fact. they're in this cloud of emotion so it's easy to be a liberal when you're in high school, and i probably was and probably a liberal loud mouth because i was
just as obnoxious as i am now but i was liberal. you didn't have to think that much about it. i worked for the nuclear freeze briefly in order to get extra credit for a class at high school. that meant getting signatures for the nuclear freeze, which was to ban the transport of nuclear weapons in california, like in the late '70s and early '80s. i didn't care. i just wanted to get -- they can move you a half grade if on a sunday you stood out in front of a church and collected signatures. i decide that but i didn't think about it. it was also -- it's easy to be a liberal when you're young because all you have to say is war is bad, love is good, and why can't we live in peace, because as a young person you don't have to connect the dots. just say one thing and everybody goes, isn't that sweet?
i got berkeley as kind of a liberal, and within -- within i guess six to 12 weeks i completely switched because i was at the finish line of liberalism. i saw what my beliefs had created and it stunk. and i don't mean that metaphor include. there were some definite hygiene problems going on. bancroft and durant, as you well know. even after that it got worse. people living in the trees in berkeley. that's how bad it got. can't get people out of your trees because that would be wrong. there were tree people, people. but that -- i think what interesting about when you're young, you have no idea there's another side. there was no other side because we never talked about politics in my home. we had abc, cbs, nbc, and this thing called pbs, which i watched for monty python but
other things were strange. you didn't have any idea there were other things out there. i didn't know there was a thing called conservatism. i just knew there was this mainstream liberal thought, and i didn't even call it liberal. just the way things were. until a friend of mine, patrick fleisher, was subscribing to o'american spectator "and" national review. "and theirs a section in" national review "called" this week and week and the back of american spectator, there was at column, wisdom from liberal magazines and they put a funny headline on, this week was a riff on ridiculous stuff, and i thought this is weird. they're making fun of stuff that nobody is making fun of and it's okay to make fun of. it blew my mind so quickly that
applied at the national journalism center to be an intern at the american spectator. in arlington, virginia. it was like somebody opened a window in your brain and said, get out of where you are. come with us. they're crazy. all it took, though, was another side. somebody to show me that there was something else out there. you just need that one person two do that, and do it in a good way, friendly way, not a pushy way. and that is what my buddy did. i don't e the american spectator was after oversized -- weird illustrations and all these amazing writers like p.j. o'rourke, and and joe queen and tom wolfe, really was influenced. >> hi, greg, this is elizabeth brown, we used to work together
at intel. >> oh, my god. still working out, i see. >> yes, and i used to make 23,000 back then. >> i remember. >> i was making more than you. >> i remember you at the energy center, working out. you were teaching arrow picks -- arrow -- arrow picks. i was teaching kitchen class and you gave me my name. >> host: kitchen vixen. >> we did an interview together for -- you said you should be something sexy, look kitchen vixen. >> that's the kind of wisdom you get from me. be the kitchen vixen. i lost track of you after that. you ended up on fox news. i want to know how you made it to those different venues. >> it's interesting because most of the stuff in my career i didn't plan on, which i always
think is a great piece of advice. if you just move forward and work hard, sooner or later you end up where we're supposed to be. on fox news what i do is no different than the editorial meeting at meantel, where we would talk about the issues of the day and put in a magazine and i would crack jokes. that is mapped on to things i did in high school in the back of homeroom where i ma make jokes and be stupid. who enough i created a profession out of bag wise ss. but it's like you -- like the transition was more like, i guess, kind of like the world kind of found out where i was, as i kept moving. i mean, if you think about how it happened, it's very strength. i was at maxum in london, and the reason why fox found me is because of me agreeing to do the huffington post, because matt, a writer, said he couldn't do it so he hooked me up with air ran
na, and then she asked me and i got to now andrew breitbart. he launched the huffington. we got close and he told people about me, then i meat -- met a guy in a bar, sounds weird. from fox. how i had to end that sentence to talk about a show and that how it happened. so you fall forward into these things and that's how i ended up at "red eye" and then "the five. "wasn't an active career pursuit. just something that naturally happens if you keep saying yes to work. >> in fact you covered that. >> that is true. there's an entire chapter on my resume, which i will read right now -- but it's that.
i decided -- a lot of people like me -- when i was young i didn't know what i was doing and didn't know how to get where i was going. it was sort of miserable so i tried to figure out by tracing my steps how it's possible to get from a to z. because everybody wants to get from as to z-don't want to get a to b to c. i'm talk ben when you're young you. want the thing right then but don't know how to get there and you don't realize there are all these steps in between that you should be doing and happy your doing and it take a breath and not think that it's a race. i thought it was a race. i was constantly thinking it was a race until i got to be -- got happy and figured out what it was. >> hi, greg. my wife and i discovered you late one night about 2:00 a.m. on a show called "red eye --" >> i thought you were going to
say in a certain parking lot. discovered you at 2:00 a.m. late at night in a parking lot. you weren't wearing any clothes. >> one of your frequent guests back then was andrew breitbart. and i noticed that the two of you really had a lot in common, not only were you able to dismantle the fallacy of progressivism, and do it with a sense of humor, and you also had pretty good taste in music. you both start off as liberals and did that have something to do with this? were you pretty happy that you came from that background and got the cultural side of that? and if so, i'm also curious in your opinion what are your three most underrate bands of the 1980s, you can't say the crans. >> that the -- you take away -- >> i'll give you a second. but i al wanted to know, can you tell us more about andrew on the personal side? we miss him a ton.
[applause] >> when you talk about -- when you answer that question you have -- inevitably creates some criticism that is necessary about conservatives in general, that we have to admit, and that is we are conservative and we are repulsed by crass pop culture but within crass pop culture that's awesome stuff and we have to stop rejecting that sort of thing because it's actually good. i think that what you're getting at. andrew hi and were both into subversive music and we loved the -- we'd run into conservative where i work that aren't familiar with the music i listen to or the movies i see and it's not their fault. just that the natural
inclination to resist thing that are risky, and i talk about it in my book, that the left tends to be -- take more risks in all areas, whether it is pop culture, sex, drugs, you name it, except for business. they don't take risk with business. that's on the right. but the right is more conservative so they're more interested in more traditional types of music and points of entertainment, and i believe that has to change. that andrew always said that politics is downstream from pop culture -- from culture, and he is right. if you see the way the world works. if you can master the culture, you can master politics, and i i think that's why president obama has been so successful among young people. he speaks their language. oddly, i think trump has that in a way as well. his pros are also his cops.
very troping pros and also really bad cons. one thing he hays is a cocoon around him that is from pop culture. he is an entertainer so he can get away with saying things that other politicians can't say, because they have -- he says i'm an entertainer. i say things. what aim going to do, and people go, yeah, it's trump. maybe that's not so bad. maybe it doesn't hurt to have a politician who is immune to the same hyper sensitivity they used against all our politicians are so to long in a weird way they has the obama museumity. obama hey the immunity for being an historical first. if you went after him your were branded a bigot so he had this incredible cocoon around him to make it to the white house helped it he was articulate and charging and smart and i have to say funny. he mastered the world of pop
culture. trump kind of does that now. to your point, though, it is important, as breitbart and i talk about endlessly, we have to invade pop culture. we have to join bands, you're young. you have to write for magazines. you have to get involved. you can't separate yourself. you have to go in there so people know you. as for three underrated '8 sod -- '80s bands, i like gang of four, even though their communist. i listened to them a lot. i'm going to hate my answer. wire. i love wire. another british band. let's pick -- i just say, x. from l.a. there you go. last year billy zoom was here at the reagan library. you're fan of x, the band. >> great. up here in the balcony.
>> hi. i am nicolas, and i'm in sixth grade, and my question is, -- >> how tall am i? you're -- you're already taller. i get it. >> my friends like bernie sanders but i want them to like ben carson so what do i do? >> do the deserted island question that i always do. imagine that you are on a plane and you're either on a plane with bernie or ben, and the plane goes down -- you're the only survivors. so you're on this desert island -- deserted island or desert island -- desserted island. i go back and forth on this. it's deserted island, not a desert island.
some island don't have desert so hat to be a deserted island. anyway, deserted island, ben carson, deserted island, anywhere sanders, desertedded island bernie sanders, we're going to -- whatever we find, we're going to split equally. we got to listen to each other. we got -- do you have any skills? no. you're on this deserted island with ben carson. might have some extremely conservative views about guy gays, virk religious views you might find different, but he can operate on you if you fall on a sharp object. who do you want on the deserted island? somebody who knows how to do something, and hat spent decades figuring out how to do something, that is lifesaving or
somebody who has been running for office since 1972. that's a good -- actually the deserted island metaphor, you can probably use with any right or left. i think. except for howard dean because he is a doctor. >> last question -- >> i shouldn't have allowed that. >> time for one last question. >> first of all, thank you for being here at the reagan library. >> thank you for having me. >> also, reagan being what i feel is one of the greatest presidents in modern history, my question to you is, can you tell me with any specific person running for republican candidate or the top few who you think would be the best, and also, --
excuse me my french -- beat the liar running on the other side? >> how dare you call martin o'malley a liar. this is a very weird time. let's face it. you're watching governors who, in their title, they govern. and they're not winning. it's amazing. that is the definition of your occupation, is to govern. if you look at florida, if you look at texas, these are bigger than most countries, and we are not impressed anymore by this. i'm not sure that's healthy. i think that we owe governors a chance to explain their successes and this gets -- i may not answer your question but i will say this. i am sick and tired of the i'm mere conservative than you are mentality.
it's driving me crazy the name-calling. this seems to me relatively new. i don't remember this under reagan. you had -- sure, you had annoying liberal republicans like bob packwood. you had -- arlen specter, liberal republicans but you knew they were liberal republicans. not everybody in your party is a liberal republican because they disagree with you on ten percent of the issues. reagan said, if we disagree 25% of the time, you're 75% of the time with me, and that's how it should be, and i think it's really dangerous that we are -- we're in competition amongst ourselves to prove who is more right than -- it is weird. calling people a rhino