tv Mugambi Jouet Discusses Exceptional America CSPAN May 6, 2017 1:00pm-1:33pm EDT
plants. people can see a pattern on the floor. this collection is important because it plays a vital role in shasta county an important part of preserving culture of our county. >> c-span, where history unfolds daily, in 1979 c-span was created as a public service by america's cable television companies and is brought to you today by your cable or satellite provider. >> well, now we want to introduce you to a stanford law professor mugambi jouet.
>> unlike barack obama i was actually born in kenya. i move today paris where i grew up and when i was 17, i decide today move to the united states for college going from paris, france, not to paris, texas, but to houston, texas and i decided to stay in america and write about paris and other western nations. a >> how did you end up in houston? >> basically my parents went to the university in america. actually my roots are an american decent. my parents met at colombia in new york. that influenced on the education available in the american institutions and i wanted to broaden my horizons and move to the united states for college but also the first time i came to the united states i was 8te year's old, i came to california. i was with my father who became a profess or here and fell in love with the united states and going back to france i kept thinking about america, culture,
history, politics, literature, arts but definitely when i finished high school i was keen on moving to the united states. >> why did you stay?hy >> there are so many things that i love about america, universities, best place to write about. after college i went to law school, i became a public defender, a human rights lawyer defending the rights of poor people in the nation's criminal justice system and ultimately i decided to become academic and now an opportunity to work at the university. >> professor jouet is america unique, is america is exceptional. >> a lot of people misunderstand and people think that it means
that exceptionallist and it's wonderful, superior or outstanding. america is an exception objectively compared to other western democracies. for example, america is today the only western nation to still have the death penalties or to lack universal health care system and these are assets of what american exceptional but they are not inherently good or bad or it depends on what people think of the death penalty or universal health care. what i argue in the book, is extraordinary polarization of american society today, the dimension meant because americans are clashing on a broad-raping of issues which are not controversial, such as people can have a basic right to health care, whether special interests should be allowed to spent unlimited money on political campaigns and on lobbying. whether clay mite change is a scientific reality or a hoax,
whether women should have a right to abortion, whether contraception should be covered by people's health insurance, whether to teach only sexual education or comprehensive education in southern schools. whether to have the death penalty, whether to have mass incarceration. these are issues at the heart of the u.s. political debate and again they are not controversial or much less controversial and makes america either better, or worse. >> do you have a point of view?
>> american society is different dimensions of american exceptionalism and it threatens to undermine the contributions that america has made of spreadi of democracy and human rights throughout the world. there are four factors that are at the heart of my book, fostert conspiracy theories, the spread of false information as are political strategy, also the christian fundamentals and very hard line jews on issues andern radical, for example, universal health care is accepted other parts of developed world such as japan but america is close to
the issue because of peculiar which makes them very suspicious of government authority and finally, the role of the racial resentment in american history, it's not because americans are more racists and europeans, not at all, america in many ways is ahead of other western nations in this area but america much longer history. by far, the racial proportion, 38% and therefore american institutions have been much more shaped by not only racial discrimination but racial divisions which is one of the many factors that have led tot l the intense modern america. we often talk when we talk about political america, red america and a blue america, or a purpler america, have you found that? >> yeah. >> what are the differences? >> there's rising contrast
between the north and south and a lot of people might say, well, everyone knows that but what's interesting is when we look at comparative angle it's not exactly the same thick in othern nations, if you leave paris for rural regions of france, you might meet people who are more conservative and by the same tone amsterdam but unlikely to meet people who are in favor or universal health care and abortion and some of the greatest evils that human kind has known, by contrast these are common beliefs. we look at the data that's not only huge regional contrast within the united states, it's also a contrast out of partisan level nationwide. even conservatives in blue states tend to take a very hardo line position on broad range of issues and the perfect examples
are rudy giuliani and the christies yi blue state republicans who have a supported donald trump even though they took a very hard line stance on many issues during campaign. >> mugambi jouet. here is how you can do it. 202 is the area code. our phone numbers are on the screen, and they are 748-8200 ie you live in the east and central time zones. 748-8201 for those in the mountain and pacific time zones. we will begin taking your callse just in a minute. it is that liberal america is closer to europe and other parto of the west that conservative america on many of its political social and moral valls. -- values. it is conservative america
that's an exception in the modern western world. >> exactly. conservative america are outliers in the western world because of a very different -- the role of government and human rights. and in many ways, americaniberal liberals -- issues as universal health care, the right for abortion, gun control, et cetera . >> is there a connection on how to explain brexit and marine la pen, preelection today or thatnc donald trump is the president of the united states. >> the parallels between american democracy and evolution of european nations specially
the rise of the far right and immigration, a form of pop swlism on both sides -- and when donald trump won a far-right european leaders were ecstatic. there are a lot of differences still between the u.s. and other western nations because many more sources and forces of pop orization -- polarization in modern america than democracies. nativism and the two are intertwine because the eu is accused of opening up borders and enabling immigration and also undermining the sovereignty of european nations and both immigrants and the eu have
scapegoated for nation's policies. if you look at u.s. debates, yes, illgration and nationalism sources of divide however, many other issues that are at the heart of the u.s. that are not controversial but much controversial elsewhere in the west. universal health care, gun control, abortion, climate change, the theory of evolution, you name it. >> let's hear from viewers and let's start with a call from jacob in wisconsin. >> i would like to ask the author that the former embassador from pakistan ofsc britain he received intel that the cia was actually oiling people alive and this is a long history of torture and i'm wondering and at home we killedh
dr. king, "the new york times" agencies actually assassinate dr. king so i will leave it at that and maybe you can comment and i'm just wondering how much free are we really than anyoner else else or lie that every government is being told more. >> what do you want to do with that? >> that's a great question.ri overall america has made a major contribution, the spread of democracy and human rights throughout the world, it's really to understand that -- that america is the first western democracy that emerged from, even though the founding fathers were not perfect men, they introduced a concept of individual liberties that were models for the nation. that being said, america has always been a nation of contradiction including human rights. african-americans, a lof questions, and i would say -- when we look at interesting
america, interesting contrasts. >> host: lily from los angeles. >> caller: hi. thank you very much. professor, i want to know have you ever lived or visited an american indian reservation for a substantial period of time? >> host: why do you ask that question? >> caller: because he talking about liberties. >> host: all right, thank you, ma'am. >> guest: i've not had a chance to visit an american indian reservation but have visited the equivalent in other parts of the western world such as australia, and new zealand, and any book i do talk about how the birth of american society was also synonymous with great hardship for maybe people, including native americans, there was a
phenomenon called manifest destiny, the westward advance over the united states in the neighbor of liberty and paroling and also meant that native americans lost their land and we know that many of them were massacred and mass atrocities during that period. >> host: if manifest destiny a unique trait of america? >> guest: yes and no. so ever since the time europeans came to north america, there was the idea that it was a special land that could be molded interest an ideal society and that was true for the so-called new world, that other europeans discovered. the founding fathers in many cases felt that providence was on their sound as they founded the american democracy we have today, and still in 19th 19th century there was another period with manifest destiny where the country started expanding westward but that was really a repetition of these long-standing ideas about mesh
american greatness and uuniqueness and fought in american exceptionalism is part of that. it was redefined from a concept meaning that america is an exception objectively to mean a faith in american superiority and this redefinition occurred around the time of barack obama's presidency because the references to american exceptionalism skyrocket about the time that obama was elected and many republican leader accused own on of not believing in american exceptionalism and trying to transform america in europe and canada that a sociality agenda and at the same time others some politicians were accusing barack obama of not having american values some went a further step and claim that obama does not have a american identity and conspiracy theories that obama is not a real u.s. citizen because he has a forged u.s. birth connect and
the tierpy of socialized medicine and this has made quite a major role in shaping the political debates today. >> lecture at stanford law school. the first book is exceptionalst america divide americans from the world and each other and belery is calling from georgia. go ahead. >> my concern has to do with people calling themselves conservatives and evangelicals and who believe it's fine to have as many guns as they want and not have very much regulation of them and not having anything that would violate their second amendment right. and on the other hand, they do not believe that women should not have abortions.
to me that's hypocrisy to me. -- >> thank you, ma'am. >> that's a great question overall what's interest if you look at the evolution of american conservatism is fep -- phenomena that is basically the republican party has moved dramatically to the right in the last 30 years than much more to the right than the democratic party has moved to the left and much of that shift is explainedi by the weight of radical antigovernment attitudes specially market fundamentalism, the idea that big government and regulation are at the heart of all social economic problems and as a way to heal america's difficulties is to get the government out of people's lives, but, of course, at the same time many of the people,
advocates small government in favor of policies that wouldnt preclude women from choosing whether they should have abortion, whether people should be allowed to marry a loved one of the same sex, a contradiction, contrast between this idea of a small government and the weight of the government in making decisions for americans. >> kay mierna. delaware. >> yes, i have a two-part question. i wondered from the professor who is your favorite american political leader from the very beginning of our nation? >> and what's the second part of your question? >> the second part was, i was interested in what his feelings
were since immigration is one of the major central discussions of today, why the middle eastern countries have not accepted many of their fellow citizens who were -- who were fleeing these terrible wars although they have common, culture, language and religion? >> kay, very quickly, can you answer those two questions, what's your view on immigration and who is your favorite political leader of all time. i think our friend kay is gone, professor jouet is up to you. >> that would be franklin and eleanor roosevelt who led america to victory in world war ii and to great steps with the new deal with social contracts
and build a more equal society. in fact, what's interesting as well as is that many europeans today when thinking about resolving europe's economic difficulties, we will point to roosevelt new deal as a great model and in terms of immigration, all nations need to do more in terms of accepting refugees from the war-torn middle eastern countries specially syria, countries that in the region as kay mentioned but also european countries and the united states. >> can you expand a little bit on the refugee crisis, what's happening in europe, what's happening in north africa and in africa and the mediterranean? >> so right now europe is very divided with the surge of influx of refugees from different countries including syria and beyond and destabilized european politics by favoring the rights of far-right european parties
who believe that the european union which promotes open borders and freedom of movements is responsible for letting so many people into the country and we have seen the same thing in the united states when mr. trump has said that no refugees should be allowed to come here, but what's interesting and what many people tend to forget is that actually this is a relatively new phenomena in that european institutions have been much less shaped by racial and ethic divisions than the united states because europe had largely white population until the surge of immigration in the post world war ii era. universal health care, the universal european court of human rights in 1959 were created when european nationshoo
were homogenous and by contrast in the united states, large minority of african american, not to mention, of course, native americans here and therefore much more radialized. they don't necessarily think of something that would help racial or ethic minorities or poor people, they think of something that's good for everyone whereas in the united states some many people are hostile to university health care is because they tend to think that it's only for minorities on welfare instead for a greater good. >> next call for mugambi comes from john in laurel, new york. >> thank you, i have a two-part question, if i may. the first part is how would you explain that united states is the most open society probably on the face of the earth with
information available literally at your fingertips and at the same time we seemed to be uninformed and related to that. second-part question, is why is it that so many people in this country seem to vote against their own interests? >> it's a great question about really important to mention american history, ironically, it has great roots in the burst of modern democracy in the united states. so even though the founding fathers were very men, highly intellectually and extremely well educated in a broad range of areas, benjamin franklin and thomas jefferson being well versed in science and debating in scientific experiments. following the birth of the united states, development of populist conception of education
equating education with elitism and the fostering the notion that common sense was just good enough and people did not really need to be educated and that fostered receptivism to conspiracy theorist, misinformation, to deliver spread of false information for political reasons and the historical roots of the great paradox that you mentioned which is that america is a country with great universities, madeer tremendous contributions, so many great american thinkers and writers and at the same time we have great skepticism of education including amongst somt of the nation's leaders. >> you were raised in paris, and over here it's liberty and freedom, it's a different concept completely, isn't it? >> yes and no. >> different approach?
>> what's really interesting is that america and france are both nations born of enlightenment ideas and, for example, benjamin franklin and thomas jefferson were embassadors to the united states to france and they were mingling in circles of french enlightenment and french philosophers and so did other founding fathers like james madison. but the american revolution actually proceeded the french revolution, 1776 and 1789 and to french revolutionaries they appoint the united states as a great model of what to do. america and france have taken different paths, they have a common -- they have common origins as nations, universal ideas of freedom, of equality and human rights. >> let's hear from kathy up in santa barbara, california, hi, kathy. >> hi, i would like to ask the
professor where did his ideas come from, how did they develop, because you are european, because you grew up in france or your experience as prosecutor in the united states or -- the idea that you're familiar with the rule -- rural areas of france and netherlands and the farmers there don't get so upset about health care, so unique, where did your ideas come from?wi for the bulk of my book is basem on detail research and history, law, politics, economics, now and then i add my own personal experiences in america and europe but all of this is based on qualitative and quantitative evidence and data.
elizabeth, usa -- austin, texas, here is the book, exceptional america. go ahead. >> yes, thank you so much for letting me call. i wanted to let the professor how much i'm enjoying what he's saying today.haha i also wanted to ask, have you researched the effect of the -- of other countries' ruled by a king or equivalent having king ruling history versus the u.s. which really never had a singl e king and -- our accepting government rule and our difference of social values such as the health care system and welfare, that sort of thing. >> thank you, elizabeth. >> it's an excellent question and evokes some of the themes that the french writer would say to america in 1830's that
america hasn't had history of monarchy and explains whyon americans have had -- have more equality in their early years and why democracy spread differently than in europe but what's also interesting is that even though there was more freedom of economic mobility in early american history, it change that had with industrialization and in the 20th century. even though america was land of greater equality back then, by the 20th century, the relationship had become the opposite. today social economic mobility is higher in western europe than in the united states. >> let's hear it from page who is calling in from indiana, pennsylvania. page, you're on book tv. >> hello. my question for the professor is do you see where in the united states in decreeing the political and cultural divide
here that we are currently experiencing? >> thank you, ma'am. >> that's important for americans not to demonize and defriend people of different political or social sensibility. at the same time the great obstacle in resolving america's difficulties is not only they are great divides on political and social issues, but thathe there's also a great factual divide among americans, that relates to what i mentioned.fa the way of antiintellectualism, conspiracy among oring in american society that tends to distort the entire political debate. people cannot agree, for example, that climate change is real and so many people people that believe that it's as hoax or conspiracy theory created by a scientist, there's no way people can agree on a a potential solution to the
problem. so to find a way forward, there must be a common nucleus of facts. >> when it comes to religion, public displaying faiths which exacerbates culture wars by infusion religion into politics. >> that's another major dimension of americanbut is a exceptionalism. 5 to 10% of the american population but also americans are very divided over different conceptions of christianity. .. st between nonbelievers and believers but among christians themselves, so i'm the one hand approximately 40% of americans could have views towards religion and another 40% tend to lead towards christian fundamentalism which
can lead in the middle the creation of some >> and doesn't only shape people's views towards religious questions like creationism or abortion or gay rights, it shapes a lot of people's thinking about the economy or crime and beyond because it tends to shape a very hard line black and white, anti-intellectual authoritarian mindset and explains why people who are not -- who are very devout, say, conservative evangelicals, identify with donald trump. even though he's not religious, the world views in many ways. >> a first time author and first time guest to book tv. here is the book, exceptional america, what divides americans from the world and from each other, we look forward to having you back on the air. >> thank you