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tv   In Depth Cornel West Robert George  CSPAN  December 25, 2017 8:31pm-11:31pm EST

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>> that interoperability should you choose to respond on television than that could be of interest to you but of course everybody doesn't necessarily like the ads but that is how we move commerce. that is a central part of the health of our economy coming in the form of advertising. it will make advertising more meaningful and interesting. i just see the future for broadcast television very brigh bright. >>host: national association of broadcasters and the senior editor from communications reports. provider. ...
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broadcast television very brig. books including "race matters" and brother west living out loud. robert george has robert george and you meet the man sitting next to you? >> a little after he came to princeton were together and faculty seminars that we didn't know each other very well. and we interacted but we began teaching together in 2007 there is another story behind that but that is when the teaching partnership began. >>host: how did that begin
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professor west? >> there is a man named andrew he set up a magazine and was teaching a course and he asked me who i would like to have a dialogue worth that was a conservative. i said i would love to have a chance to have a dialogue with bobby george. we got together with a 45 minute dialogue based on the recording then when andrew left we continue to talk to her three hours and continued to talk and said we have to continue this conversation. so now we go 11 or 12 years all over the country.
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>> we had a wonderful time i have learned so much and vice versa it has been magnificent. he has been so good to me and my family. we aspire to that. >> so the meeting that began the teaching partnership we had the green light. >> they wanted to have a feature in each issue and i believe she was a religion major but they contacted brother cornell and he said he would like to interview me so
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that wasn't a conversatio conversation. so andrew came to me to sayay professor george, we are starting a magazine we would like interview the first interview to feature cornell last and we told him he could interview anybody he wanted and he wants to interview you. a i said let me get this straight. you can interview anybody you want and he wants to interview me? i said send the message back you tell professor west that professor george says i should be seeking baptism from you left left. >> and i did not catch that referencee with the baptism of
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jesus with baptism in the jordan river. [laughter] so we had that wonderful dialogue that was recorded then we went out to the car i am holding my hand on the latch for half an hour. >> been just a couple of weeks after that the senior members got a letter from the dean of the college saying we want to encourage senior faculty members to teach freshman seminars with more interaction more established scholars and the freshman. so when i saw that letter and the request that we teach these immediately it occurred to mee that we should have that
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conversation with steen freshman mom --dash 16 freshman once the word got out we would be teaching this together there was a big demand we had to read all essays to see which 16 we would choose an afterwards regis said we we will let the registrars office choose randomly then they decided they do it on first-come first serve and student had to sign up at 7:00 o'clock on a morningig and then of course they crashed the computer system. >> that is a beautiful thing about princeton so in terms of
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hands-on to write the senior thesis focusing on the undergrad those are wonderful places but with high quality undergraduate education princeton is number one i must say. [laughter] but i believe in the truth. >>host: we have invited you want to talk about your book you have written together. >> as part of harvard and university press we both like it but you have to busy guys with a lot of responsibility and obligations we have traveledig around so we will get
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to it. we had some interviews together. >> also princeton magazine. >>host: what you do in your book prof. george is you allow other scholars to rebut you in your review. >> that is how philosophy and education and learning works andscholarship works proceeds especially in the humanities and social sciences we live on -- we learn by presenting evidence now intellectual life where the field of philosophy began. to subject their views to
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criticism but cornell and i are old fashion socratic scholars that we believe in that kind of education. >>host: you also spend time talking about socrates and aristotle. >> absolutely. very much. he is a christian but we understand that richness and jerusalem to say deep education not cheap schooling but that makes us talk about the deep supposition you die when you give up those presuppositions to become more mature and more willing to grow and develop and it is
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very much a matter narrow wave you will still on of the fallible. >> is it fair to say your books are all about self-examination? >> but also the prophetic legacy of jerusalem. it is a matter of self surrender and giving jesus here giving himself at the deepest level. get is theu socratic legacy but of judaism
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and islam and so forth that is surrendering to something bigger than you. but we tried and we know as human beings that there is some human overlap. even as russell with the various issue. >> one of the points i make to our students is to render yourself capable of self surrender with our ultimate obligation and development is the great paradox to surrender
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ourselves but to get there to where you are capable of that you need self-mastery. and control your own wayward desires your own want and passion reason is in charge and appetite and passion reason is instrumental lies to create rationalizations for activities that can only harm us. how do we get to self-mastery? with the liberal arts education that is by subjecting ourselves to criticism challenging her own
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assumptions with her deepest identity forming and that is a big challenge because people don't want to do that. we tend to wrap emotions around conviction if we didn't we would never be motivated for justice of human rights or dignity but yet we wrap our emotions too tightly around our convictions. we abandon any possibility we become capable of but we should all aspire to. >>host: in your book you write laws do not make men moral only then can do that to do
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the morally right thing for the right reason professor west is that something you agree with? >> absolutely. but that is so badly needed with position and money and status with the quality of character that we call soul craft the ways to be human as it relates to various virtues and value so talk about moral character that is something a professional cannot teach you. something deeper about that self surrender and talked
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veabout one of the great questions why did socrates never cry and jesus never laugh? socrates never cried because it was self-mastery that is not the proper response to your mother's funeral that jesus would weep but socrates never cried for there was a love for wisdom but you have to outsmart socrates and make your way to jerusalem. and jesus weeps for jerusalem and laughter -- lazarus but they still have a role but that is not enough.
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because that shatters the numbness and the callousness and the indifference to let them know lowan and behold i know you attend a black church 25 years working in this place congratulations but the best of the black church is what? we are a people that have been hated 400 years but we teach how to love. that is high quality soul craft. making his way in his own tradition. >> any human being alternate faces the question what is the point of my life?
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what is worth doing or what is l worthwhile? that is in a certain culture to act in the context of that and react in that culture. so there will be powerful temptations because we're in a culture that reinforces the belief of the status and prestige and social standing, well, power. those are not bad things in themselves it depends on how you use it but the ultimate goal is to fail to see what is
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worthwhile with human rights. this is the mission for ourselves and for our students the integrity, honor, decency what are trulyy, fundamental making my fourth living what we should aspire to not just for their own sake for status or influence or social standing. that is a big challenge for those who are high achievers. those students are going somewhere they have futures and investment banking, lawyers, medicine but they really face powerful temptations to believe it is standing and influence and power and wealth looked up by
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other people is what really matters. but when you haven't even gotten close to being there until you have the strength of character the self-mastery for what is good is right tell try the line -- telling a princeton student you might recall going to stand up what you believe in. if you are truly open-minded that can mark you as an outsider to be rejected. now do you have the integrity to stand for that?
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that could cost you professionally because of education, social standing, your friends we remember how he died. >> they made him drink the hemlock and he was a martyr. he refused to go silent on the truth. he would play those apologies. that unintended he did speech. that will get you in deep trouble he does get in trouble in conservative circles left but he is willing based on his
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own commitment to be a person of integrity. i try to do that as well because it isn't a question of popularity we want to be nonconformist we want to be tied to a kingdom that is so much greater that the kingdom of god is within you but in this world with the domination and oppression to dominate the ways of the world. will you come to terms with it? to be nonconformist you can
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always feed into that self-righteousnessab. >> the problem generally is we tend to be tribal and tribalism is a problem and people expect to put with your own convictions and reflections lead you to a few on -- if you then you can be in big trouble. thatca is true of the conservative like me with the most recent presidential campaign.
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i don't want to litigate donald trump right here but i just use this as an example because i would not play for the team i got a lot of heat. i didn't want to elect hillary clinton that got pushed back from other people but cornell was in the same position he refused to support hillary clintoncl he got the same heat on the conservative side from the liberal side. but he would not yield. he would not say okay i will stay silent. >> at many times i've even arrested between the two of you? >> go to jail? he is the jailbird left laugh.
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>> i don't know mac down in ferguson i got a call from my brother. how much money? he knows i am broke. [laughter] with that is the love and respectt and support. >> i will tell you a lovely story in 2016 i was sworn in for the national religious freedom serving on the commission so i was sworn in by chief justice john roberts so i asked brother cornell if he could do me the honor to hold the bible for me.
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the wonderful people from upstate new york. >> is it around syracuse? >> but this bible was special from the harriet tubman house. the wonderful people there gave us the bible i could imagine what it must have cost her with an exclave of no money. >> absolutely. >> that they gave us in the chambers but as we were walking up the steps i am walking with brother cornell
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and as we walked past a couple of security police but then we continue walking in and i turned to brother and say what was that about? he says this is the first time i was ever to the supreme court not to get elected left laugh. >> that was martin luther king day. >> chief justice roberts was so gracious that was magnificent. >> there is a new 25th edition out of your book and in the new introduction cornell west you rightly live in one of the darkest moments
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of american history spiritual blackout and imperial meltdown. >> with integrity and honesty we have normalized our way of life and naturalized criminalityf making the crimes look as if they are natural. it could be a drone strike or wall street to engage in predatory lending so many different ways i call it four fight back because it isn't just a political issue but a moral and spiritual issue and only by example we need young people to say we still have
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love willing to fight and disagree not by abstract but the example. why? because the soul craft how many times did they work on television? obviously this. obviously that. that is a word from the in crowd to show they are part of the smart crowd but we don't believe in smartness we believe in wisdom. smartness was tied to richness no accident donald trump if he was really the smartest and the richest in the room. but his sign and symptom of a
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society that has idolized richness. >> five times as many drone strikes. so what happens is a spectacle can hide and can conceal with the morality and spirituality. not just right-wing or left-wing or center just spiritual substance is not ideology. so what i'm trying to say is we are in catastrophic times. . . . .
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the orphan, the widow, the poor, the immigrant, the muslim, the jew,he the black, the indigenous people and so on. that is a spiritual orientation. >> that book is very much about where are we 25 years after that i wrote the book and 93. >> i agree with the basics. now we agree with things like
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markets and in inequality in itself is a bad thing. i think our problem is not market economy. i believe in the market eeconomy. i think it has looked at millions of people and lifted them out of poverty. my critique is we have traded in a true market economy for a crony capitalism were big and powerful firms can use government to regulate competitors off the field. big firms can afford the price of regulation. cowhen it comes to economic equality, i do not mind, i eqthink there will be economic inequality.ll i don't have as a goal economic equality. i have the quality of the declaration of independence
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when it says that all men are created equal, we are all of equal worth, but i've chosen a career as an academic and i know that's not a particularly high paying field andququ i'm e could've gone to business school or law school and a lot more money. i don't have any problem as long as it's fair. my worry is not for a quality, economic equality, my worry is for. [inaudible] we have lost the prospect of upward mobility. i grew up in western virginia. i remained close to people my entire family. all my family, my high school friends, friends and relatives, this is donald trump country.
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they are feeling the effects of being neglected, of being left behind. they feel without bigotry or prejudice, but certainly on the basis of their own experience as if there is a cultural elite, a wealthy, powerful cultural elite that has only its own interest in mind. not the interest of working people and they have nothing but contempt. those were trump voters. i'm not one of those guys who condemn it. not a fan of donald trump and i wasn't from the beginning and i'll give him credit for some good things he's done. but still criticize him for some bad things he's done but i think it's a mistake to imagine those supporters of donald trump are racists and bigots and horrible people. they had legitimate reasons
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which no one in either party, the establishment of neither party responded too. donald trump reached out to them whether they were wise to look to him, we can debate that. i have debated that with my relatives and friends in west virginia, but he noticed those people were forgotten, were left behind, were looked down on and were held in contempt and war was waged on their economy. >> you agree with what he saying about the trump voters? >> there are those who are xena phobic and racist and sexist sexist and homophobic but that doesn't exhaust the whole group. there is a racist slice of trump followers. >> these arrows that you see sticking out of me, based come from the alright.
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>> it's a whole host of other things. there's also a slice of trump voters who had voted for bernie and who had voted for obama. you've got to keep track of that diversity. you never want to downplay the role of the vicious legacy of white supremacy in the country. there's no doubt about that. this fighting, it's so vicious , you cannot allow it to be the only thing you see. all you can see his white supremacy. that's always linked to something else, linked to predatory capitalism and slavery and jim crowe and homophobia and also. [inaudible] they can treat the philippines like their cockroaches because
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you got an empire. you've got to be very honest and telling the truth and brother robbie and i say look, let's tell the truth of who they are. they are a heterogeneous lot. many of them are suffering under neoliberal policies under barack obama, the top 1% got 95% of the income growth. i find that to be morally grotesque. i don't agree for wholesale economic equality, but i want a floor. i will focus on poverty. >> i was deeply concerned about making sure poverty is attacked. he's been trying to do that with conservatives. i try to do is barack obama and the others for the democratic party has had no major concern about poor people. streeten tied to wall and upward mobility for the professional and middle classes when it comes to working people who are poor
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and poor people not working at all, he's had very little to say other than some movement on healthcare and that's the market-driven healthcare program coming out of the heritage foundation established by mitt romney, a mormon brother who is not known for being on the cutting edge of fighting against poverty, but he is somebody who in the republican party did some decentt things in regards to healthcare. that's where the healthcare program comes from. we want to be honest about that. let us try to tell the truth about both of our parties, deeply narrow when it comes to these issues of poverty, jack kemp and the others putting pressure on the republican party, the legacy of martin luther king putting pressure on the democratic party and so on. i think the other side of this thing which you really have to be honest about is the market-driven corporate media that made donald trump the center of entertainment when i he made big money. one of the ceos made it very clear, donald trump is bad for the country, good for us. why is it good for you?
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revenues, readings. they followed every speech, every twitter, bernie sanders got like 20 seconds for every 30 minutes that donald trump got. why not have equal treatment. no, it's market-driven even in nthe media. thank god for c-span. can you imagine what the quality of public dialogue would be in this country without c-span? it depends just on corporate media, oh my god. fox news, msnbc, it's propagand propaganda. once conservative and ones neoliberal. we have dialogue with them and so forth, but we know, you're not gonna get the most balanced view out of sean hannity or the most balanced view out of chris hayes. they have their own agendas and you can't just promote your agenda. you've got to be interested in the truth. something bigger than your own agenda.
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>> that's how democracy survive. >> this is highly relevant in education. you have to tell the truth. let's tell the whole truth. too often one extreme weight washes american history so you take out the unsavory and the indigenous people, slaves, working people, labor movement , the other side tells an equally false history that this is the whole story, the whole story of the american experience is slavery, white's premises, imperialism and so forth. that leaves many of our young people to reject the foundational principles of america which are really what do make the country great. what's exceptional about america? we are human beings like others. were made of flesh and blood, we are dust of the earth, but, it's not us as human beings
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who are exceptional. it's the principles on which the country rested. it's the principles on which we were founded that it has taken a long time for us to live up to and we still don't live up to them fully and we probably never will fully live up to them because they are highe aspirational but they're capturing that wonderful, we hear it so often that it becomes cliché but we really need to stop and listen to those, we hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal, they are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.on a nation founded on this has the potential for greatness. we need to communicate that to our young people. we need to tell the truth. yes, but not imagining the history is just nothing but wars. when martin luther king appealed to the american people he did not take a french revolutionary attitude
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that we need to tear down that everything that came before it because it's corrupt and evil and we need to build something new that the video has ever seen before. no no. martin luther nau king looked bk to the american founding despite the words that i quoted were from a slaveholder. that did not prevent him from looking back and say the principal is right and good, now let's live up to the principal. our founders wrote a check, let's cash the check. let's make good on the check. that's what we need to do. we need to call peopleck back to our founding principles. >> and get your reaction to that but first i want to thwelcome our viewers. this is our monthly in-depth program where we invite one author on to talk about his or her body of work. this month, a unique situation. we have professors robert george and cornell west to for years, talk a course together. here are the numbers, here's the way you can interact with
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these two. 748-8200 for eastern central time zone, 8201 for those of you in the mountain and pacific. you can't get through on the phone line and you still make comment, several ways via social media including twitter , booktv, the facebook page, you can make it, right under their facebook.com/book tv, instagram booktv and finally, e-mail book tv at cspan.org. very quickly, will show you a few of the books these two had written beginning with cornell west. the 25th edition out, brand-new of his bestseller, race matters that was originally published in 1993. democracy matters came out 2004, brother west autobiography came out in 2009 and his most recent book is
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black prophetic fire 2014. robert george, a couple of his book, the class of orthodoxies 2001, conscience and its enemies, 2013 and conjugal union is one of his most recent books. what marriages and why it matters. we will begin taking those phone calls in just a minute. professor west, your reaction to what robert george was saying just a minute ago. >> i think his commitment to telling the truth and the condition of truth is always to allow suffering to speak. if we tell the truth, i was looking at a book the other day called the force of empires publish in the 1950s. he makes the point that the united states was a colonial enterprise like canada, like new zealand and australia and liberia and israel. there is a whole host of efforts of people who are skipping ugly conditions to
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arrive on the land and there's some other people there and you have to decide, do you coexist, do dominate, do subordinate, due in gauge in genocidal assault or whatever, but what's distinctive the united states is that it was a successful revolutionary effort to overthrow the empire rom which it came to fight against george the third with the grand ideal that the brother was talking about. those ideals have universal implications, but they still have these very ugly realities, you then have slavery, you then have white men who can't vote who don't have property, you have women and patriarchal households and gay brothers and lesbians who are marginalized and yet by appealing to those ideals in the context of the u.s. social experiment, we've been able to make some significant progress.
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how do you stay in contact with humanity of indigenous peoples, black people, women, gays, lesbians, working people, mexicans and so forth and so on. at the same time we have a long way to go, no doubt about that but it's a matter of just trying to tell the truth so we understand what are the impediments. what are the major obstacles. i think one of the things that brother robbie and i, we wrestle with because he defends the market economy in the right forse form, he's not for crony capitalism. he understands there's need for regulation. is that fair. >> absolutely. i believe in market economies in the history of this nation we resulted in him and monopolies and old appellees. [inaudible] the financial elites who have a disproportionate amount of power and influence with very little democratic
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accountability. but the market economy i can agree with to the degree of which has these regulations that doesn't allow for ways in which persons are thoroughly unaccountable. that has nothing to do with trashing them. we have brother harlan who is our dear brother. i was just with him this week. i had a debate on the palestinian question. he is one of the finest human beings you would ever meet her there's just no doubt about that. there's no doubt about it. were not talking about the character of a particular individual, there are some other friends of him who have much less moral character than he does, but it's a structure that were talking aboutut because they do not lend themselves to democratic accountabilities. >> doctor west, can't you just kind of put everybody in a tribe and talk about some of
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the isms you both decried a little bit earlier, is that fair. >> we talk about class were really talking about the ways in whichalk various forms of power are used and deployed. you can still keep track of their humanity as individuals and for example, there are certain individuals who are poor who choose immoral ways of living in the world. there's middle-class people who choose immoral ways predators well-to-do people who choose immoral ways. character,g about what kinds of choices people make but the structures that are in place are not reducible just to their character. structures have to be confronted as structures. you can have the most benevolent class of slaveholders in the world and slavery is still evil. because the structure of slavery isvi evil. we understand slavery, as a
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structure, to be evil. in that sense, we don't want to reduce structures to individual characters, characters can choose and those choices have moral weight and ethical residence. there's no doubt about that. it's a matter of keeping track of the structures. part of the fascinating conversations that we have is trying to deal with this complex interplay between structures and individuals. structures and persons. when he talks about making human beings moral. if you worked on the slaveholder to become more moral without the indictment of slavery, it's still not enough. would you agree with that. >> i agree. absolutely. >> have a few points to make. the first is, i think the last thing we want, we might disagree about this but the last thing we want is the socialization of government control and ownership of media production. i see that as aoc highroad.
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[inaudible] that's why i reject the socialist movement. >> oait could have a crucial role for privatete sector. >> while i do believe our market needs to be regulated, there should be some things that aren't for sale. >> i agree. there's a place for market value and a place for non- market values. you don't want market values invading nonmarket relationships. when it comes to recreation, this is very tricky. i want to minimize regulation. i think the only regulations we should have our regulations that are necessary but there are man many regulations that are necessary. if we overrate late we defeat our very purpose because what we do is we empower large enterprises who can use regulatory obstacles to prevent smaller competitors from getting into the competition so you need wise
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regulation and wise regulation will let the market operate to the extent that the market can a operate fairly and without exploitation without undermining institutions like the family that are not built on market principles. i think when we do that, then we do liberate the market to benefit especially less well-off people. that's what creates the social mobility, the economic opportunity that allows people to rise which of course is the greatest aspect of the american story, when you think about it, how many people have come from other lands as immigrants to this country with nothing but the shirt on their back and have become wealthy. i'd also want to point out there's nothing wrong with being rich in itself. >> it depends on how you come about it.
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>> think about how many people in this country are the children or grandchildrenen or perhaps themselves immigrants who did really come with nothing or very little and through hard work, initiative, willingness to take risk and have acquired great wealth and think of how many of them have become generous benefactors to every worthy cause, to the cause of justice in the cause of human health and the cause evof education. princeton and harvard are profoundly dependent on the generosity of people who have been blessed with wealth. >> philanthropy is not justice though. it is a force for good. >> yes,. >> it means there are power centers outside the control of government. >> but if the problem is, if ir example we agree that it's
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crony capitalism, it's predatory capitalism and then there's no regulation, then the week and the vulnerableti are really crushed. >> exactly right. >> away. >> it's not too undermine the market but it's to empower competitors to compete. >> not just monopolies but those new upstarts trying to gain a foothold in the market. the other crucial force is organized labor. even given this possibility of corruption. if workers have no say in the workplace, then for the most part, given the orientation of the elites, they're not going to be treated right. we see this in west virginia. if it weren't for those unions in the minds, they would be crushing.
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[inaudible] >> i think that is a very legitimate point. the corruption of labor. >> the corruption cuts across color, gender, nation, that's who we are as a species so we have to have. [inaudible] >> this fall i had just finished teaching a seminar at harvard when a colleague, where we looked at law in light of the teaching of the modern popes going back to louis the 13th, the tradition of catholic social thought, one of the things that struck me in reading through these documents again from 1891 all the way up through the hundredth anniversary which was pope john paul ii is that the popes are trying to find a way to avoid the errors on the one side of socialism and government control and the
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disruption of liberty that comes in light of that. that someone side. utt on the otherer side, the kind of capitalism that creates plutocracy where people can use wealth to squeeze out competitors, to get control of an economic situation so they can engage in exploitation. one of the things that the onpopes urge is trying to find ways for workers to participate not only in the management of businesses where their voices are heard, which will benefit bennet businesses as well as workers themselves but also find ways they can have equity participation especially in larger firms. i think that's a very good direction to try to go in. when workers are part owners of firms, that can only benefit the firm's and it certainly benefits the atworkers. i would much rather see us move in that direction than government control, then a socialist traction. >> this is where we learn from our scandinavian brothers and sisters.ulco
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norway and finland where you actually had workers on the board but when fundamental decisions are made regarding the destiny of the enterprise, the workers voices have some weight and some substance. michael harrington and the others tried to push that in the 1980s and it didn't go too far. i think right now we are living in a moment in which there is a crony capitalism at work. it is shifted, it's no longer industrial base, its banking and technology. it's a connection to silicon valley. it's a very intimate relationship. >> i was thinking of the civil liberties problems that are created when you have
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essentially a kind of new public square in the form of platforms facebook where people should be able to interact freely, but atrm the private for-profit business which is fine, i have no problem with that, and yet a facebook can exercise a lot ofof control over what is said and it can engage in censorship, then how far have we really respected civil liberties. monopoly has now placed itself in the position functionally of government exercising censorship and i know that there's a lot of conservatives were now very concerned, very worried about cases in which the conservative point of view has been censored from places like facebook and it's probably happening to people in other perspectives as well. i'm much more likely to hear from conservatives, but that seems to be a genuine worry if you have a case of monopoly or,
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if you have a truly competitive marketplace business will gravitate to the free flow of information, but we don't have that with firms like google and facebook. it will be a challenge. >> i've asked my friends and they say it's nearly impossible for radical voices to have a deep rooted. [inaudible] when it comes to the public square which is very much driven by these private companies. that is going to be a problem, why, one of the fundamental s questions is how do you bequeath to the younger dgeneration the best visions and the examples of courage to the other generations because without those milestones in the past, without us connecting to those milestones
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in the past, all they have to go on is the chaos of the present. the present is all about money , spectacle, status. that is the neoliberal soul craft and i say neoliberal because it's not just political. spiritual, it's moral and it tells young people the end and aim of life is to be successful in terms of material wealth, power and military might. it says very little aboutd greatness in terms of the quality of their spirit and the quality of their moral character. that's now, of any civilization because no civilization can survive if they lose sight of the rich examples of those who came before with a moral and spiritual heritage, not just a great example of success when it comes to money, status and
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power. >> can i say a point about this? i fundamentally agree with this but let me put it this way. we've got a wonderful form of government. our constitutionalree e systeme madisonian system has shown that you can make a republic work. that was an open question in 1776 and 1789 in 1791 whether the republican government could work because it had been tried in many cases before the ancient world. and failed. >> we've got a wonderful system of republican government. we have a wonderful constitutional system. i would like us to be more faithful to it. i think we often deviated when we shouldn't have. >> i think the market system is a good system. if we can push out the crony capitalism and really get a markets work as a competitive thing so that we get the benefit of better goods and
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services at lower prices, the market does its work of improving quality and reducing cost, that's a great thing. but, in the long run, you cannot sustain either republican government or the market economymy which are great benefits to our people, if you do not have a moral foundation. that moral foundation doesn't atst happen heard that spiritual formation, that moral formation, that sound understanding of what matters in life and what it needs means to be human being and what our obligations are, the market will produce that for you. nor will the system of government produce that for you. if it will be produced for you it will be by the family and the institution of civil society of religion and neighborhood and civic association that assist the family in its role as the basic transmitter of values of character to each new generatio generation, and we need to protect those institutions that civil society because beginning with the family, they really are
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the primordial department of health education and welfare. they do more than just diaper the kids and get them fed and off to school and so forth, they form them as kind of human beings they will be. that's what i mean by being transmitters of values. so look, the economy, market system and the republican form of government both depend on something that neither can produce. that is reasonably decent, virtuous citizens who can be good citizens of the republic, good participants in the market. if they can produce them, they rely on something else to do that. >> it's like in irene and clifton west. >> that's very true. hery much so. you talk about mom and dad and we can talk about guilt parenting, you're talking about persons who have been shaped by what the isaac brothers call a caravan of love.
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the love of truth and justice and neighbor. as christians we love our enemy but you don't try that on your own. granted, i think there's a whole host of atheist and agnostic brothers and sisters who have great spirituality and moral character. sometimes even more than we christians. i don't believe that level of holy is a pre-requisite for being a person of integrity print i know people of great integrity who don't believe in god, but as a christian myself, i know that i cannot without my sanity viewing myself as part of a great tradition of the hated people who taught the world much about how to love, and when you look at the histor history, what would've happened to the united states if instead of harriet tubman you had black versions of the clan. what would happen to america if in the 1960s you didn't have martin luther king jr. but you had a black version of the clan who when they killed
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the four girls in birmingham, the responses they still for white girls on the vanilla side of town. it was spiritual and moral character of black people that constituted. >> there would been a civil war every generation if you had black isis in america, there would be no american democracy because you can't keep track of all those but no, it was a moral, spiritual tradition that produced irene clough, brother cliff, when i was little and a gangster, before i met jesus. i still got gangster proclivity and i need them to keep me in place. right ring brother, left wing, whatever it is. but to robbie's point he is
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the linchpin. if you lose that spiritual heritage it will be a war all against all and they triumphed over socrates and it might make coercion of tremendous violence as opposed to a love of justice and a dialogue and an attempt at some sort of civilized society. we are reaching the point where we are running out of gas. we are running out of spiritual and moral gas in the united states. in the 40s and 50s and 60s, it was not a foregone conclusion in the way forward that african-americans would adopt would be a peaceful one of martin luther king. with his own conversion to islam and many others who pointed in another direction. >> you just have the soldiers coming back fighting hitler,
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this is racism and you come back to racism in america with jim crow, we know the story in terms of the double victory, the racism in europe, racism in america, we crushed the thugs in europe, thank god with the help of black-and-white folders together and the help of the soviet army. we come back home, these black soldiers were treated like second-class i citizens. all of them. >> what made that possible, i want to suggest what made it possible for afghan americans to opt for the path of martin luther king was a black church. that culture that produced irene and clifton west was sustained by the black church over all those decades and decades of slavery and jim crow and oppression, and i think people these days forget that. they forget the role that the black church
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played in sustaining african-americans and making it possible for us to make the progress we had made. as much credit as martin luther king deserves, it's not just martin luther king. it's not something that happened starting in 1961 or vein1965. this was sustained over generations. >> one footnote to that, this is where we get to the music because i think the black musical tradition is one of the, if not the greatest tradition in the modern world of moral and spiritual fortitude and by fortitude i mean diffusion of courage and i magnanimity. courage and greatness of character because courage can be anything other nazi soldier whose courageous against gangs but when you have character and greatness of character so that the mood music that came out of the black church, marvin gaye's and the dramatics and the whispers in
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the main ingredient, they would no longer always christians, but the music they were producing was still shot through with a love of thick that kept track of the humanity of others. like james baldwin who believes in church but the love ethic never leaves him in the black music has played a fundamental role in humanizing our relations with each other, much of it rooted in the black church but not always tied to the dogma of the black church.da john loves the christian dogma but it sure fits into christian love. that has played a crucial role in allowing the brothers and sisters to stay low and behold , these people have an intelligence that creates a imagination and a genius that speaks to my soul so white's premise he might be alive. even though it is alive, it might be alive. you can hear this brother played guitar and he plays serious guitar.
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brother robbie complacent guitar. very much so. he understands the role of music that flows from the church but also flows outside the church and not love ethic is still informing, you get into bruce springsteen. he's a blues vanilla brother to the core. he's connected to the black church, the black music that is rooted in what he does coming from the white side of town and doing it in his own way. fascinating relation to the spiritual stuff that we need in order to go forward. >> in your autobiography, you refer to yourself frequently as a bluesman. >> absolutely. >> but i'm first and foremost aa bluesman. he engages in lyrical expression of that catastrophe that does allow the hatred to have the last word. that's what blues is. debeaking says nobody loves me bye-bye mama, she might be jiving too. that's catastrophe at the highest level.
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how does he respond? with compassion, with a smile, emptying himself to connect to other people so that even when he's playing a guitar with lucille he is connecting on a human levelel to his audience, whatever color they are but he's coming out of jim crow mississippi genius saying his love ethic will not be stop with this guitar. you can hear robert johnson, that tradition all through his music and he's not the only one. we can just begin with the king of bb. you can talk about charlie yparker and stevie wonder, whoever and the role of music, i believe thee artist are the
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vanguard of the species and the musicians are the vanguard of the artist. but when your music gets commodified, when your music gets market ties did no longer has moral and spiritual substance. you know the spiritual crisis is intensifying. >> we've spent an hour talking, we will get our callers involved. is this at all similar to what your classes were like? [laughter] >> usually we have a text. with got plato's republic. >> that's true. >> a character in plato's republic earlier, we had texts that were bouncing off, now we have each other. and yourself, thank god, but in a classroom with got to deal with subject matter that the text provides. >> , which would this cost to attend this class? [laughter] >> princeton harvard, i think
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the tuition and fees are well over $60000, am i right? >> now of course, because of generous donors at these universities and the big endowments they been able to build which is a big issue about whether those and almonds, but because of that, there are very generous financial aid packages, large percentages of our students i believe we are well over majority certainly at princeton and harvard are receiving some financial aid and many are receiving large financial aid packages. i think a fair number of cases , it ends up being cheaper for a student to go to harvard or princeton that would be to go onto his home state university or one of his home state universities because of the generous financial aid that's available. the problem of course is that there are limited number of spaces at these universities and the competition for those spaces is extremely intense so places like princeton and harvard are only admitted 5.1% aof the students who apply. >> notable professors on the
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campus, are you encouraged to pfund raise. >> not really know generally not. i began becoming a fundraiser and i am one now. i do a lot of fundraising now. when princeton authorized me to authorize a program called the james madison program of ideals, that was back in 2007. were in the tenth year, it was a fellow of our program. this program builds on princeton historic strength in areas like political philosophy, constitutional law, american history to try to in which our students understanding of american ideals and the broader civilizational structures that made possible the american founding.
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now, because when i founded the madison program, the university made clear that while they would assist with fundraising, we would not be given an annual allocation from the university central count, i would have to raise the money each year for the program, and we are now up to, over $2 million annual budget. so i have to be out there raising money. our development office is very helpful at princeton i'm very grateful to them for helping me, we have some generous alumni who support us, we have foundations who support us, so because of that particular, unusual circumstance for me, i have become a fundraiser, but princeton didn't put any pressure on me too do that, i wanted to do something new. i wanted to introduce a program gave way to get to
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moral]. >> your charm and things help facilitate greater than very blessed to be a fellow. just, he has fellows who don't have economic support. i was a part of the fellow because i was teaching in the seminar and he was open enough to jointly support that seminar. you have some fellows receive financial support. i'm just glad to be there because i'm just in there for the dialogue. >> the madison program funded the course in princeton university. you can see, i'm not the ideal person to go out and raise money for an elite institution because i love to be part of
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the conversation, but a lot of times my critique can be so intense that they say to themselves, were not really sure this public face is the most effective in terms of being able to raise money. sometimes they do with their committed to a robust, uninhibited conversation, then i think we can get some conservators. >> i think a lot of people,. [inaudible] >> when i was on the guggenheim, one of the conditions i had was learning through the arts programam and michael and i had to make sure , you come in and institutions are and about the weak and vulnerable, institutions are tending to what they're about, and so i wouldn't mind, but generally speaking they would probably hold off. >> an interesting experience that i've had. when itak comes to my
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fundraising for the madison program at princeton, our donors, almost universally, including our conservative donors and many of our donors are politically conservative have counted it very much in favor of the program that we do the work that we do together. i got not a single complaint from a donor or anybody else about sponsoring his core/year and making him a fellow. >> and that was on martin luther king and other prophetic individuals. the work that we do around the country together, i find supporters of the madison program are just enthusiastic about that. this is what they want to see. they want to see this civil but robust engagement of ideas for the one of the people working together across all sorts of different lines. erabou w >> but we have to be together. i'm not sure they'd invite me all by myself.
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that's understandable. >> we had experience last year when we spoke at the american enterprise institute. it was wonderful and as we were walking out, we were treated so graciously. he said i'm not sure a progressive think tank what would have treated you as well as i been treated. i hope that's not true,av but, i do wonder. that's very true. when you have money and power and privilege, it might be easier to treat somebody nice opposed to folks who are pushed against the wall to the left is so weak right now. >> i don't see it that way. i feel the opposite way. the liberals are powerful. >> we don't want to confuse liberals and the left. these liberals are tied to wall street and expansion and
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drone strikes and surveillance and ways that we have to be very critical. >> gentlemen, we will get our callers involved. there on hold. we begin with a call from a ntngwoman insulin marilyn. you are on with cornell west and robert george. go ahead. >> i would like to call this a true spiritual serendipity. i just came out of prayer about an hour ago and everything seems to fit. the only question i would like for you to focus on is what you think about disavowing being in the republican and/or democratic party and file as independent with a more spiritual, truly spiritual stance? i do. [inaudible] >> we are going to leave it there and let cornell west answer. robert george, if you flip the switch on your box, that should turn on your audio.
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garrett will come in and take care of that just a minute. cornell west if you want to answer that caller, we will figure that out. >> one, i just want to thank you for your own spirit in terms of resonating with what we are trying to convey. as we know, spirit can go in so many different directions. i'm just concerned that when we talk about spirituality that is tied very much to social justice for the most vulnerable of our society no matter who they are. vulnerable in the world. therefore when it comes to choosing which particular political party, i think we ought to look at thehevu world through the lens of the most vulnerable. as a christian, that's what it means to me too look at the world through the lens of the cross. when you talk about looking at his own society through the lens of those who were o suffering, and that could easily lead toward you being an independent, very much so. i think that could be a sign of a certain kind of integrity because i think both of our
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political parties have just shot through with levels of myopia and cowardice and tied to big-money that is so sad and so disempowered. i think we need more independence but i don't believe in dictating anybody's choice. >> next up is ron in babylon new york. ron, good afternoon. we are listening to you. please go ahead. >> i wish that the values of love and caring for others and the liberation of self and the concern for others. i think that's something i really respect and people on both of you gentlemen have talked about and are champions of. the question that i have is you also have the principles of our country and believes in our country and the way the country was set up, and part
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of that is the congress and part of that congress is the actual compromise of the congress, the current tax bill, there are some good things and some bad things are not taxable. how does that deal with the idea of morality and love when indeed the road that we are on is an incremental road and a broken road and compromise sometimes has some bad elements. i have a question. >> thank you very much. robert the only kind yo thing you missed was the kind comments about this discussion but then she went on about the tax bill. >> i think the tax bill is a colossal failure when it comes to issues of morality and spirituality tied to the vulnerable. there's no doubt about it. you start flashing corporate
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rates with taxes, corporations are able to hire these very, very smart lawyers who create loopholes already. with the offshore tax havens already. now you're going to take all of it down to 20, i don't believe the conservative argument puts forward that if you/the taxes of the rich that somehow that's going to generate economic growth that will have an uplift for the most vulnerable. i do not see evidence of the and i hear over and over magain. i do resonate with what you said initially about the vulnerable, if you look at our tax, this particular tax bill through the lens of the vulnerable and the impact on them, it's a colossal failure. >> my own view is that we do need to cut corporate taxes to make our own businesses more competitive. we have among, if not the highest taxes in the world. this is a classic case of
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watching the sausage being made and watching it be made and yet there's a lot of compromises and some of them are very unfortunate. i have a worry, it was the worry that caused senator corker from tennessee to vote against the billto in the senate which is that we are further expanding the deficit. we are not dealing with spending issues. i think a lot of ordinary people get a small tax cut, a lot of wealthy people get a much larger tax cut. taxes will go up for some wealthy taxes, but not for others. it will be a complicated situation. at the end of the day, i don't think what we will have his fundamental changeuati. i don't see this as a big breakthrough and i don't see it as a big catastrophe. it will shift a few't things around but it's not fundamental change. what i would like to see is a
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rethinking of the whole system. that means tackling something that nobody wants to tackle and that is the spending side. also, and here and can introduce an issue that one almost never hears about these days, there's also the issue on the monetary side. we have had artificially low interest rates for a very, very long time, perhaps an unprecedentedly amount of time. we've never had such a time. of low interest rates. there are winners and losers as a result of that. we don't pay nearly enough attention to monetary policy and i think there really should be a serious robust debate about that, but again, it's not happening. i think what were getting this tax bill, at the end of the day after all the drain and dramatic speeches on both
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sides is not a lot of change, just relatively minor rearrangements. the reformat we need is not happening. >> both sides agree that for every $53, 53 cents out of the dollar, it goes to the military. when it comes to serious interrogation, very little talk coming out of either and that's tied to our form policy that often times does not have financial o accountability to the public interest. >> i believe in a strong military as you know, but the military has got to be accountable. >> too often it's just easy to say i've increased military spending, vote for me. i made our nation stronger, vote for me. >> money is taken and we don't have money fortr schools and decent housing and so forth. >> let's hear from barbara and
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oak bluffs massachusetts. good afternoon. >> hello, thank you. whoever said one and one doesn't make three has never encountered this particular roadshow here. hrabsolutely thrilling. thrilling conversation. i learned that mit put their entire curriculum online. i would like to ask these two to get the freshman seminar filmed online for pbs. it could be radio, it could be a podcast, just get it out here. the obvious tower o is so extraordinary. brother west is so warm and brother other is so cool and yet the words and the ideas.
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it's very important that we use means intelligently. [inaudible] to me the better meme to focus on is integrity. it's ahistorical. it's not connected to religion. i don't want to badmouth soul because of that magnificent thing that you did on the music, it's true, but for this younger generation, i'm a reformed jew. i'm inruge intellectual and we have to understand we are going to be here much longer and we have to figure out how to communicate this moral integrity thing to this next generation. it's not their fault they were oborn. >> were to leave it there more
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to hear from brother west and brother robert. >> brother other. i missed it already. i want toan thank our caller for that kind can' common. my own large undergraduate course which is a course in civil liberty is going to go online fairly soon. will do the first online version of that starting this spring. this is w an experiment for me. i'm hoping to make that work for my civil liberties course but a seminar is a different thing and it's a very special thing. we have wrestled with theli question of whether we should make our seminar more public. we've had a lot of reporters who vast to sit in on the seminar and do an article about it or clip-on a
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newscaster something like that and in the end we've always decided no. why have we decided no? when someone is in there watching and reporting or when you're online or when you're doing it as an online course, students know they are on display. the beauty of a seminar is that people, knowing that they're not on display are willing to experiment with ideas and speak their mind and try it thought out even if it might turn out it's not going to work and might even being bare sing. so to try to preserve the intimacy of the seminar, to try to make sure o students do not feel as if they're on display, in that format, we've optedpl against any broader involvement of people in the seminar, trying to make it more widely available. it's a shame because there is such magic in the seminar. we would love to share it, but we just haven't been able to find a way to do that.
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now we could shift to a different format. we could do a big lecture course together, but i'll let the viewers in on a little secret. you get to bigmouth showoffs in the classroom in front of o six or 800 kids, you lose some of the magic that you get. [inaudible] he and i teach a course at the law school called american democracy and we put each lecture on youtube and we been doing this for a long time. but that's the case where you have two persons give lectures, very little exchange because by the time were done, the class is over and so you miss the dialogical moment that's so very, very important that we just revel in because we learned so much from each other that we are empowered by each other and the students are able to feel that energy
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energy, ricocheting off our interaction. martha's vineyard is a whole lot of special place. our jewish sister here is in good company. in terms of soul craft, when i talked about the eclipse of the integrity, honesty, decency, generosity, she's absolutely right, we talk about it as a fancy term, i didn't make it up, this goes all the way back to plato in medieval social time all the way through our modern time, but the issue of integrity, honesty, decency, generosity, courage, fortitude, all of these t t needs not just be tald about. people have to see it exemplified, enacted on the ground day by day, grin by grin, touched by touch, left
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by laugh, movement by movement. could we relegate it to the purely personal sphere and just talk about things talk about the soul. i've heard this suggestion before and i know a lot of good people believe it. i cannot persuadee myself that it is correct. i think if we go down that route, what we will be doing, basically, is spending down the capital of our great religious, spending down the capital without replenishing it. so yes i agree with brother cornell and i agree that one
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not need be a religious believer to be a person of integrity. there's no question about that. can we sustain a culture of integrity, can we defend these ideals, can we make them meaningful for people including our young people. she's right to focus on our young people, they are our future. can we do all of that byni cutting off the roots? , by going silent about religion? do we have a way of defending our ideas of honor and ocintegrity on the basis of a purely materialistic idea of man of the human as mere material forces in a world exclusively made up of efficient and material causation where there's no soul, where there's no, no sense of a person of more than merely material. i'm dubious about this. i have very grave doubts about this.
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john adams famously grou said our constitution is for a moral and religious people will not serve well any other kind of people. that was not controversial in adam's day. it's very controversial in our day but even adams knew there were people who were skeptical about religion who were honorable people. co[inaudible] in there face of the natural human desires to gratify one's own need to put oneself first, to favor oneself and one's comfort over others, to seek honor and glory and fame and power and influence, how do you fight back against all that if we cut off the roots of our basic understandings of
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moral concept? >> i think of the last word in the other adams, henry adamsce education, the word shutter. what you do with the death shutter and the dread shutter and the despair shutter. all of us shutter, to be human is to shutter in the face of knowing you are on the way of extinction in terms of your body, knowing you may be betrayed by friends, knowing that you may be misunderstood and misconstrued, and known that you'll be scorned. if they allow us to come to terms to that, you can an deny that. you can escape and go to disneyland the sooner a later you have to leave mainstreet and live your life.
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if you work through that shutter and try to generatee some spiritual possibilities of learning how to love, learning how to take risks, learning how to be vulnerable and have a certain kind of openness to others, and without those religious narratives as a species, we know that it's been crucial, but on the other hand we also know were living in very thsecular times and that debate between t.s. eliot, you can't make it without religious tradition. here comes the checkoff thing not only some of the best peoplean aren' i know are not religious but religion has gotten in the way and promoted the hatred and promoted the hatred of non-christians. it's promoted to hatred of muslims with the various crusades and so on. so how do you wrestle with that set of issues in an honest way. it's a tough one. >> we can make a case, we can put things in terms of the dignity of the human being as
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a creature that is capable of rationality and freedom of the will if we believe in those things, but even stated in that way, it lacks the compelling this. the human being is made in the very image and likeness of god , of the supreme judge and ruler of the universe. having a transcendent significance, something that goesde beyond the material and the here and now. if in fact the truth is that human beings are just adams, molecules and motion and no more significance than a rat or an aunt, then we have to face that truth and be the best that we can with it. you can't transcend it without the religious. >> i'm not sure about that. you can have friendship and rich friendship that transcends individuals among secular's that takes them outside of themselves and is
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transcended, but can you give an account on that if all human beings are is material stuff and no greater significance than a rat run and, you can give no account of why human beings should treasure or betray a friend or make sacrifices for a friend or have integrity at great cost and be willing to sacrifice themselves. >> you can subscribe significance to friendship, even if you believe in nothing but these molecules in the relationship without necessarily referring to an external god. >> all that is to do is to not ask the question how is this possible. >> one would assume there's no odanswerer.
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even mark twain and some very atheistic but he's a spiritual being. he is rhetorical and metaphorical rather than anything of substance i'm just kinda think the strongest position against my own position to offer a lot. let's hear from our caller in inglewood, california. >> thank you for taking my call. here is the bigger picture. i'm very concerned regarding a potential military conflict between the united states and north korea. here is the exact question. can you identify any person or group ofso people that may have an acceptable level of integrity and moral character to carefully and peacefully
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guide us away from any potential conflict that can affect the entire world. i will hang up and wait for the answer. thankp you. >> thank you spent german. >> this is a very serious question. administration after administration has tried to come up with a way with dealing with north korea and with the dictators of north korea. all have failed. will president trump do any better? we can only hope so, but so far doesn't look like he's going to do any better. maybe worse. this is a grave situation. we have very little control. all we have been able to do so far is put pressure on china to put pressure on north koreab. that assumes that china is in a position to put pressure on north korea. we wouldn like to believe that and to some extent i think
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that is true, but i think it's limited. there's also the question of china's will to put pressure on north korea. that's very dubious to me. i wish i had a solution. in fact, i wish i knew what to do. yes, i can think of people i i would trust to manage the most difficult of situations, i have my own favorite people in politics, but it would be an enormous challenget for anybody and so far the record of administrations, republican or democrat, liberal and conservative has been a record of failure., >> it's a fundamental query. i wish that president trump had more of the poise and diplomatic maturity that we saw with president obama. i'm not one his been uncritical of president obama,
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but when it comes to his diplomatic maturity in his use of language and ways in which he tries to lower the temperature because this is an all or nothing matter and lo and behold we are in a completely different time and space end zone here. the kind of challenge of narcissism and hyperbolic rhetoric with president trump compared to the language of president obama, you have to acknowledge that and that might be it. [inaudible] 's not the answer to the question because i don't know set of individuals who can really trot out to help mediate this thing. i just don't't know. >> the only possibility that we've come up with is trying to work through. >> that's true. that's exactly right. maybe south korea may have some secrets, having connections with the north on they're down low and therefore
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be able to surface, but at the moment, we do not have an answer to that question and it's a crucial one in terms of impeding nuclear catastrophe. >> cornel west, you met your first president in 1968. >> who was it.nt >> my first president, he wasn't president at the time. oh, i met ronald reagan when my brother. [inaudible] he was the number 1 mile or in the country with uc berkeley. ronald reagan, we got a chance to interact with that brother, he was a kind and gentle person. i was very supportive of angela angela davis and very disappointed of what they did pushing her out of philosophy and we had a nice little dialogue about his views. >> you are a teenager at the time. >> i was in 14, 14 but i had been raised by my mom and dad to treat people kindly even if i had deep ideological
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disagreements. >> have you ever met donald trump. >> oh yes, absolutely. i met him years ago in atlantic city. he is exactly the same way then. narcissistic and insecure, all spectacle, very little substanc substance, obsessed with being the smartest and richest in the. the problem is he was one of the few white brothers in the room. the most part he had to keep his mouth shututrobl because wed a certain kind of predominance of style and pushed him to the margin. you couldd tell he was the same person who just never grew up. he never grew up, he doesn't feel as if he has any accountability or responsibility beyond himself and i would've never thought, if summary had told me then that he would be in the white houseee i would've told him to
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get off the crack pipe, there's no possibility he would be elected by fellow citizens memo hold, here we are in this mess. >> it's worth asking ourselves how did this h happen. the neglected people who are the trump supporters is a big part of that story. can i tell a story, this, brother cornell met ronald reagan long before we knew each other, but all tell you a little story about it. one of my brothers happen to be at a reception where he met former president bill clinton and he was telling me about this, my brother keith in charleston western virginia. keith had had a little conversation with the former president clinton and so i ask you, how did thatrent go. keith is a strong conservative like myself.
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he said well, it was interesting, he was so warm and so engaging and when he talked to me he made me feel as though i was the only person in the room so i was reporting the story to cornell and i told it just as i told you in the viewers right now i said is an interesting these politicians, they have the ability, they have this knack for talking to people and making people like them and making people feel as well the politician is talking to them and that the most important person in the world and cornell replied saying that i've met bill clinton on numerous occasions and he is just faking it. by being a master he is able to appear in certain kind of
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way. >> one of the things we like to do is ask our guests who some of their influences are and what are some of the favorite books the reading right now. here are some responses we got. ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪
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♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ >> we are back with robert george and cornell west in our new york studio. this is our in-depth program and sean in battleground michigan, you have been very patient. please go ahead with your question. >> actually, battleground washington, but thank you for this wonderful opportunity. doctor west, i have in my hand a book that you co-authored about 20 years ago called the war against parents. you co-authored it with sylvia. doctor, you reference the scandinavian economic model a for what is positive outcomes for family and children. the christian right and
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libertarian right have been marching arm in arm with the regulations and d unionization policies that devastate families. they have been catching hell. when you have people like charles murray writing book like charle coming apart for having poor moral fiber and someone likes paul ryan who claims to be a christian, he makes required reading. it seems to me the christian right god is not jesus. there is an entrepreneur type who epitomizes the kind of petty bourgeois mentality. i was wondering -- >> we will start with cornell west and robert george.nd >> when you talk about the
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christianwh right,. >> the variety of different voices, the american right as a whole has a deep suspicion of government playing a fundamental role in lives of everyday people that they can easily over look the ways in which government interventions into the lives of everyday people can be empowering as opposed to authoritarian and repressive. we have to keep track of the repressive effects of the government intervening but when you look to norway andf finland in other places, government can play a very important role to enhance liberty and well-being.
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the christian right suffers from a and the secular right can suffer from it. the judaic right, the buddhist right, the hindu right and so forth and so on. i had great fun writing that book and they've gone on to do magnificent things on issues of inclusion at the corporate level engage in les lesbians and other spread she is still going very strong here in new york the thousand were 20 years ago, the book the war against parents for the ways in which parenting is the ultimate nonmarket activity in a market driven society. >> other defense, sean's comment was highly ideological one but i kind of detected the dogmatism in it. i am not a fan. [inaudible] i'm a very sharp critic of iron brand. the whole of the christian righ right, most of the
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christian right, i have my own criticisms with some leading figures on the on the christian right as you might imagine, but charles murray and robert putnam and david and amber and others on the cultural foundations of the moral collapse that we see not only in minority communities and inner cities in place like that, but in appalachia, in the south and old west belt cities among white ieworking-class cities, the cultural foundations of that are real. they've got to be dealt with. we can go all the way back to 1965 when daniel patrick moynihan, then, just a young harvard professor who is working as assistant deputy secretary of labor, if i recall correctly did his study that show the art out of wedlock had risen to 25%. one hand could see what the
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consequences of that would be for this historically oppressed sector of our society that meant widescale fatherlessness and the link was he, despair, drug addiction, violence, incarceration and the vicious cycle. when moynihan warned about all that, warned where it would lead for his efforts he was labeled a racist. he was stigmatized. so peoplee in silent on cultural questions on that family collapse and moral collapse for fear of being treated the way he was treated. a very significant part of the problem was swept under the rug. the one thing he was wrong about was he thought it had mainly to do with race in w history of racial oppression.t we now know that is too simplistic on account because we are seeing the same effect happening where the family has broken down for similar
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cultural reasons in white working-class communities and appalachia and other rural areas. now we can make the mistake also of imagining it's only culture that economics has nothing to do with it. the other factors including racism have nothing to do with it, but that would be a mistake too. just as it would be a mistake to leave those factors out, it's also a mistake to leave other factors out. you can stigmatized murray and call him a racist. he is a libertarian. i am a critic of libertarianism, but in his recent work, calling attention to the disparities between the haves, the and the have-nots, black-and-white in the cultural basis and the importance of families and especially intact families and the success that people have as citizens in human beings, he is doing a service. so as putnam and so is wilcox
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and other sociologists who are finally calling attention to this. so my plea is just do not oversimplify. don't imagine that it's only culture, but don't leave culture out of it. don't shoot the messenger spread however much you don't like them, you deliver the message when the message is right. >> i would just add one point, if you think about legacy of the rabbi and malcolm x., accenting the moral lapse among elites, the moral lapse of wall street and ivy league institution and the journalistic elites, not dear brother, thing god, we are talking about moral actors that cut acrosss class. they go up, they go down, they go horizontal. is not just a matter of focusing on the vulnerable ones, thete plura poor whites are the poor blacks are the poor browns and so forth. what were talking about cuts across every neck and cranny
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in our empire. >> i think it also has to be pointed out that while the spiritual consequences of this moral collapse are born most heavily, well the spiritual conflicts are borne by everyone, and they're just finally calling attention to that. >> one of the things murray says in his new book is very often you see the rebuilding of successful culture, lower divorce rates, more family formation among educated and affluent elite things seem to be going in the right direction while things continue to go on the wrong direction for poor and working-class people. he says it's time for elites to start preaching what the practice, don't preach moral relativism when you're actually practicing moral
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lavirtues that are leading to successful life for you and your children. those who preach a message of family integrity, fidelity, uprightness need to actually practice what they preach. i think there is some truth to that. i think we need to call really on everybody to lead the kind of lives that will not only produce spiritual value, but also make the material better off. >> from roberts book conscience and its enemies, professor west writes the two greatest institutions for lifting people out of poverty and enabling them to live in dignity are the market economy and the institution of marriage, these two stand or fall together.
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>> i'm not sure, i certainly would acknowledge the importance of those two very much so, but we have to first examine much more closely what kind of market economy we are talking about. what kind of marriage were talking about. there's many marriages that actually need to terminate because of people t in violence or the indifference, callousness and so forth. one proceeds very cautiously, but certainly, what is the quality of each one of those ocategories? i think brother robbie would agree with that. that's one sentence. the question becomes let's look at the kind of market economies that can provide the requisite conditions for the flowering of our fellow tcitizens. let's look at the kind of marriages in a variety of different marriages. there are some very ugly p-trap goal marriages of abuse where there is no way the
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woman can live a life of well-being. that would be the first response to that particular sentence. : o : he other. if you destroy both of them then no one is going to flourish. i'm not defending every form of market economy. i'm, not defending every marriage. i've already said that it think the problem with crony capitalism is that it undermines the functioning. it prevents the market something with the market does well when it's properly functioning which is it increases quality, lowers prices for those her at the bottom of theo scale and enables them to rise. when i sit in a that's what i am interested in. and i want ad culture in which families function to transmit >> that families function to transmit their virtues and lead
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successful lives to be good citizens. so we really wrestle with the issue of gay lesbian brothers and sisters because of that notion if you call the same-sex marriage or a love that flows and always in our dialogue to be very cautious and careful to say as a christian he still loves gay lesbian brothers and sisters in the image of god to stay in contact with their humanity even as he is critical of same-sex marriage.
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i am very much one who supports love flowing. >> and then we get theological. with what kinds of resources that we can generate to support for theat argument. that is a serious matter. if there is some understanding of the biblical text and going about the same-sex marriages.
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these are the types of dialogues. and the preciousness the way wewe disagree in a relationship. >> that profound and inherent. >> but now in the areas of morality. and to be natural law.
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>> but that is way more central. but that fundamental issue to haveng opposite relations that those relationships be supported by culture that they can transmit and to resist that terrible temptation this is the me generation. and those that take that to heart. how can we empower them to transmit to their children.
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in a way to enable them to resist the temptation for what really matters in life. money power influence and wealth and social standing and respect. >> so many children how my parents messed me up the parentsy have been different and callous to have the fine countervailing way. >> that no-fault divorce that was going in the 60s people thought this would be for everybody this way the spouses could separate laissez burden
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on the court because of the public a thought it would be good for children because they thought it would be bad in a conflict situation with parents. but look at the work done by sociologists today working on the consequences and it has not been good for children. in most cases if there was not violence or abuse high degree of conflict look apparent sticking together. nothing has been done to encourage them to stick together. very little.e. h what have we done to provide cultural support? we make it easier for them to sustain. there is very little the government can do but the real
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work has to be done by the institution that was called the little platoon of extended family church, civic groups, from different ethnicities to support each other. that is the real work. and with the living wage and quality housing to channel the energies that would be a way like a scandinavian country the family could possibly.
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>> this is the role. >> so this enables people to provide things like music lessons and ballet lessons also if they want to choose private v with religious education now it is one that they pay property taxes it is increasingly expensive even in the catholic world. but now that means the cost of
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education and those who cannot afford to send their kids to catholic schools. so sometimes it is facilitating rather than providing. >>host: cornell west in robert george are our guest. here are some of their books. race matters 1993 now out again this year for the 25th anniversary. then democracy matters 2004. black prophetic fire 2014. the class of orthodoxy 2001.
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conscience and its enemies 2013. conjugal union. cornell west if somebody wanted to buy one of your books which do you recommend? >> there are so many other voices. >> that depends on a person's particular interest. then i recommend liberties and public morality. that is the book on the basis i was given tenure.
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i. >> reporter: that recently but if people are interested in contemporary issues like marriage and sanctity of life than the conscience of the enemies is my most recent book also with co-authors on particular topics of their interested on abortion or euthanasia i have a book i have written called embryo defense of human life. the people are interested in the marriage issue two of my former students that is called
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what is marriage? >> caller: i have a question. i'm trying to understand the obama presidency with a progressive agenda running as a candidate but never delivered on a large portion of that i am wondering if that was cause if the agenda wasn't the core belief if he was encouraged to pursue those beliefs or just the dynamics?
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>> i appreciate your question one of the revealing moments was march 2009 when he met with the leading wall street heads of firms and they told him they were wondering what he had to say and he said i i see in between you and the pitchforks but i rest assure you that i am on your side i will protect you. you have little to worry about. that is lack of courage and spinelessness that is what you tell the working people in the black people not wall street. that i will protect you and one went to jailom given the massive crimes committed with predatory lending and fraudulent activities it is
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very clear wall street friendly party in power and the same was true in terms of foreign policy with the elite in the state department and pentagon with those drone strikes so they remain in power. he brought it my dear brother larry summers. but at that time tied to deregulating of course it was clear the drone presidency was escalating and that progressive rhetoric and to become empty with poor people and working people. symbolically he was masterful to have a black face in the highest place of them american
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society meant not only progress with what we had but we were in power eight years. look around and the schools and the massive unemployment and incarceration he was in power for eight years? they are the ones whose careers took off and did very well. notoo at all. not just barack obama but to become cheerleaders. the same talking about martin luther king jr. to talk about poverty that is a great example of justice not worried
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about those drone strikes talking about justice consistently. the 500 fish it won't as precious palestinian babies barack obama did not say i am on my way. why? he was spineless and did not want to tell the truth. he is a politician and it is not in his interest so we ended up with anotherr politician rather than a visionary. absolutely he was elected twice. john kane? absolutely. mitt romney but they falld short absolutely.
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>> letting everyone in on a little secret, big business is not consideredd big government. >> wall street loves big government. small business people but big business benefits obviously doesn't have to do with president obama who i never met but i served in the bush administration on the presidents council and was in the white house advising him and i have a lot of respect for him. but with two or three other professors to talk about his memoir.
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so we were talking about his eight years then something that had just happened was the bailout and unprovoked by any of us he said just like talking to himself i hated to do that and i hated to authorize that. you don't bring government into hai bailout businesses that have failed because of their own practices. i am a free-market guy. and yet what can i do with the leading people on wall street those in my administration tell me if we don't do this with a 1929 stock market catastrophe what do i do? i had to authorize the bailout.
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wall street has tremendous influence in any administration republican or democrat. it could be in theory but if they wanted intervention it will be very progressive and very it is very hard to stand up against them and in president bush's case he didn't want to be the president presiding over the nextan depression wall street got what ite wanted. free-market was not in favor of the bailouts. wall street wanted it and wall street got it. >> that is a representation of martin luther king jr. that is based on his legacy even with president bush as a
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conservative you have to be courageous and sacrificial and service oriented for the week. if not just tell the truth. i didn't bailout the homeowners or wall street. and with those he was with me with the head of the urban league and a moderate. that was part of my critique of barack obama. he suffered too much heti paid the ultimateip price with neoliberal policies.
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if you want to be moderate to adjust to the status quo. to tell people the truth. to show up at a concert directing our green like it is pat boone. [laughter] this is who i am. quit lying about yourself this is what upsets me. that is the best part of the bad tradition. >> facebook twitter is the new nonstate powers that have a huge impact on societies worldwide with information. >> there is some truth in that. >> but i spoke earlier about my rules of monopoly and oligopoly with free-speech issues. and with those platforms. but i think people who call
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on -- care about the quality of our civic discourse. so to use facebook as ongoing incentive. to have serious discussions i called to the attention that the people with whom i haveome developed relationships because they are interested in the moral and political issues i am interested in. facebook and twitter will not go away we are not getting rid of them but to use those
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assets to counteract the bad things. >> but for example reviving the poor people's campaign. to use this technology with race and class and gender and sexual orientation. and then to use that same technology to bring together the crypto fascism to bring contentious attitudes to the palestinians that is upward
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mobility american style. i do see a black person with the not c's. but the confusion everywhere. but generally speaking it reflects who we are with the division and that is what we bring. >> that is exactly right. >> please go ahead with your question or comment. >> caller: it has been great listening to both of you i feel more than just informed by this conversation and educated but i feel my heart is healed a little bit so the
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call from others to figure out a way and i know professor george you said you were wrangling with the issue of seminars and the public but there is a way that to get you on television to get this out. to have these discussions to disagree with each other and the affection is important. so my question is so you were saying earlier with that american experience with those three elements.
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and that second pillar of democracy that has become so obvious in the last to have some deep problems in all three of those areas?nd i have been spending the last year where to focus my attention and millionse do the same thing so where do we begin? are there things we could be doing? >>host: thank you for your time. >> thank you very much for the kind comment.av i wrestled with this myself. i think all of us can do a service to the rest of us
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those who have a different perspective on basic issues. if you are not a trump person or critical of trump just to lecture them. but to understand where they come from. if you think he is attributing of those horrible elites? so in a personal way just tlisten. so listen. so to defend that signal with that divide i am willing to
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listen is a necessary first step. we are deeply polarized. look at the civil war and division over slavery but even without historical backdrop that deep polarization animosity and resentment americans thinking of other americans as villains. so if this precious experiment is going to survive we have to get past this and you can't talk to someone else so let's begin there. >> we begin with oneself.
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and also to exemplify in your thoughts and actions and organizationsza and the network. and through that music. but to touch the soul. as opposed to shaping the souls. to be spiritually equipped just to make money. people of all color dealing with crisis and catastrophe
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with style and humor that is what is missing. we need that in our own lives. with the left-wing movement where is the humor that allows us to laugh at ourselves and be better relative to who we are?e? everybody won't agree with you. but if a shutdown then they will a be even more divided. we are brothers for life and weoug will fight and struggle bt at that level that is just the way it is the matter how unpopular we become. that is the tradition we come from.
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they don't have a monopoly on integrity. so they are willing to be courageous. so most of human history iss of domination. s they are trying to disrupt .hat >> and he is a genius. different kind of rhythm but a very similar story. [laughter] >> one of the things that we tend to do is signal things to each other especially others in the group we are already comfortable into make clear we
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are on your side. we say things about other people but it is meant to strengthen our bond within our tribe. >> we need to be willing that as we do so well on the progressive side but some of these established orthodoxies don't worry signaling i am an insider where part of the in crowd but take the risk be an outcast that is something we have to live with it is much better to have integrity or do something to reform the situation than just live with the comfort because that is what people want to hea hear. >>host: have you ever been criticized for your friendship ? >> very rarely in my case i have to hand it to my conservative friends.
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very rarely maybe one exception on issues dealing with israel where cornell has been perceived as some conservatives as going over the line but i know in my heart there is nothing anti-semitic about cornell west. he once to see justice done we may have disagreements about policy and i want all my friends to understand no government doesn't make mistakes or is immune from criticism nobody is perfect. so now those are legitimate now there are some people that go over the line to use
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criticism of the israeli government and the state of israel with anti-somatic they want that to disappear off the face of the year. >> but that palestinian charter i think that is cause for sensitivity for people to say if you are strong supporter and still associateat with cornell west? people also know i have been one of the leading voices i think it is feared to say on the christian and conservative side on retaining the rights of muslims i made that a big part of my commission. >> in supporting the muslim brothers and sisters even the local muslim leaders.
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>> so that word tribalism but apart from that i am proud of my conservative friends who have seen value in what we do they do have great respect for him. >>host: have you been criticize criticized? >> sure. the left is a little more vociferous than the right. we wrestle on the abortion issueue the extended regulations and i tell them understand who he is. he is a human. to understand the conservative but then you can grasp his complexity because he calls himself a conservative in the stereotypical sense that there is no way a human being could
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have that complexity or orientation that don't conform to the stereotype. you have never met the brother. come meet with us or have a drink or some coffee. but that is the same sense. he says brother west says the occupation of the jewish brothers it is the same thing which is really occupation. the palestinian baby has the same value as a jewish baby and vice versa. humanity on both sides is how we proceed. we can disagree on tactics and strategies but the spiritual ondmoral foundations are in place. so we went to dallas to the academy with all the black
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people there not just at the personal and spiritual level but also with the framework that he provided that is empowering to them the only other brother in the room but the human connection was made and of course leadership makes a difference. >> i need to tell the viewers about this school in dallas texas it is a labor of love more lung -- no public funding they take prostitutes or drug addicts those that you think are lost with no future in jail or in trouble they take these kids and give them a first-class education. i don't know how they do with. >> out of love. >> but how they do this then they go to notre dame or baylor. >> you have geniuses like
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erica by do one of the greatest artists of our time allty beautifully black and brown. >> who is harlan crow? he has come up several times. >> he is in dallas a very generous donor for the black kids in dallas but it is wonderful to see the kids in ttheir uniforms to be taught not only classroom skills but the rules. and to be sensitive to other people's needs. >> at the end of the day it is
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a retail operation somebody teacher or parent or coach or a pastor working with individuals. >> i just got a message from my producer. you can just go home. it's cool. they got this.t [laughter] south dakota you are on the 14. >> caller: good morning gentlemen. >>host: turn down your volume. state your question we can hearau you. >> caller: what are your thoughts about rewriting u.s.
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constitution m is that equal for all people? >> i like the one we have but i do think from time to time reconsidering elements of the constitution itself does have methods for its own amendment so it does have the possibility of improvement but i think the fundamental structure of the constitution is a work of extraordinary genius. we would be making a bad mistake like if we overrule the separation of powers to make it delegated and enumerated for the t states governments a with federalism i
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think crucial dimensions that i don't want to see touched.t now thomas jefferson believed he wanted to have a new constitutional convention every 20 years every generation. i don't think that would be a good idea. the founders have given us a way to preserve something that was impossible to preserve before that time not only for the people but by the people. our problems have not come from our constitution. love excess of fidelity of principles but our problems, whether racism no matter what
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has been a lack of fidelity. have we honor the declarations principlesre we would have done away with slavery from the very beginning. it was our failure to live up the same is true with the separation ofil powers. the area i am concerned about is the seeping job legislator on -- legislation authority and the courts on the other side. how do they take responsibility to be accountable for legislation? we are not governed by our representatives or ourselves but by people we have never heard of and bureaucratic agencies and the courts on crucial issues so i want to come back to those constitutional principles with greater fidelity in the ones that we have. >> a wonderful book i just
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read called in the shadows of the american century that the point to live in the empire in which the executive branch eclipses the others to do things with little accountability but if that presidency goes hand in hand with the imperial america 42 countries and 140 special operation activities around the world it is like an empire so the question is can government by the people for the people survive in the face of an empire a of military overreach, corruption, a culture driven by market not concerned about public life or
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common good and who love law to be undercut by big money? that is a serious situation and with the writing of the nsconstitution talks about the people we are. that was still a proslavery document after the 1880s was still monopoly capitalism and when they got the right to vote and collective bargaining but they were 100 years ahead of us. so the same constitution with persons who are not prepared to fight for the working and poor people could be on behalf of everyday people.
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>> our military is imperial. >> men like my father or my father-in-law marched into germany they did not occupy a word not like caesar they defy lung -- defeated the nazi tyranny they handed them a democracy and the japanese people a democracy so i do think we need to be respectful to our military and veteran a lot are feeling disrespected these days. that is not good.
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i think we should all in colleg college -- acknowledge. but the rulers who too often don't have the vision required relative to the courage of the ordinary soldiers.n >>host: california go-ahead. >> caller. >> caller: good morning it is an honor to bee here if we did not have c-span i'm not sure what what have happened to us. but during the whole talk you talk about truth telling what kind of parents just but isis
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and the force of religion but theyli call that abraham's transition. so with sir abraham the muslims and jews and christians. then they will have isis and failed states like pakistan and israel and sudan and afghanistan they are all failed institutions and failed the because you encourage your
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viewersbo.h my version of the true said we have to face the fact that these failed institutions. >>host: i think we got your point gentlemen we have three minutes. >> i have been very truthful and when it comes to religion the greatest things that have ever been done but some of those most after the and horrible things and as far as we can tell it is sincere and horrible and unjust the religious fanatics believe they are doing what god
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wants. now the rest of the truth it has been done on the secular motivation. from any regime in human history with the nazi anti-communist. so to follow that balance sheet but to recognize good and bad things can be done in the name of religion but the idea of the dignity so they could have a different way to articulate.
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that all human beings have dignity then we will do good things and honor o people. >> we are just talking about the history of the species. but to push that back that people can be brought together and then to settle a tradition. that is the criminality. and only disrupted of love a love of truth and beauty and goodness and enacting that
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love with the organization and democracy with very difficult efforts with truth and goodness and beauty. but imperial democracies but in the end one life to live what are you going to do? how will that be connected to others? >> i would like to say something to parents. please, care more about the integrity of your children and their character and who they you do whether they get into princeton or ohio
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statest and go on to law schools for goldman sachs. those of the material futures. but do have character and integrity that is where they need to be. >>host: thanks for being on tv mom -- tv be met thank you so much. >> the book is race and class and politics what is this book about? >> washington d.c. and cities
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across the united states. and when he comes downtown moving to neighborhoods in those cities across the united states with poverty and public housing and forming the cappuccino city. and with that gentrification that has gone wild in washington d.c. which means 15% of of the lowest 2% has been gentrified. and then trying to understand that process and how to
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benefit the way one -- alive with affordable housing policies and not even though residentially displaced so and to make those communities that are sustainabl sustainable. >> so do they welcome them? >> there are so many properties that are not taxed in washington d.c. the city
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needs to get those residents to be the mayor in 2000 bring back 100,000 residents to the district. and cannot budget be spent in the way that is more equitable. and to be more equitably distributed? that could be seen in the future to broaden the social safety network so all people could benefit. they have grown economically so now it is time to put in the policy between the rich
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and the poor. >> what are some of the policie policies? >> so we have to bolster affordable housing. most cities and states don't even have that. to go from 100 million at 200 million. and then they start to gentrify so we have to go beyond housing. political and cultural displacement and microlevel segregation. those neighborhoods that looked diverse and with that mixed-race community. and to segregate and then to
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have mistrust. and to build those social bridges that affordable housing policy with community building. >> is washington d.c. unique in its housing? >> cannot know if it is unique how they handle gentrification but there is a magnitude that is pretty critical. in the '90s presented the 2000's over 52%. if you look at the most gentrified places in the united states portland oregon
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is number one dcs number two. there is redevelopment that is happening. >> what do you hope people take away? >> i hope they realize we don't want to replicate the old model from the 40s and 50s we did redevelopment but in the '90s through 2010 i hope we look at preventing residential displacement but moving beyond housing that will better the lives of the low income people. that would magically benefit the lives. that was the policy.
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and to see there is more similarity and that we really focus on housing to do the mixed-race communities t4 [applause] t4 . . . .

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