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tv   Summer Reading with Rep. Jamie Raskin D-MD  CSPAN  August 19, 2018 11:39am-12:01pm EDT

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and tours online by going to c-span3 and selecting cities tour from the drop-down all the page or by visiting c-span3, cities tour. >> also follow the cities tour on twitter for behind-the-scenes images and videos from our visit . handle is at c-span cities. >> book tv recently visited l to ask members of congress what they are reading. >> before asking you the first book which i love which i will people go out and get his call tyrus by susan greenblatt. subtitle is shakespeare on politics and it's this character profile of all the tyrants in the shakespeare place. so there's richard the third and people who maybe work originally tyrants returned
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iraq like king lear but he's trying to look at what are the common personality traits and political hires that surround tyranny. and so there's kind of a logical disregard for the feelings or even the reality of other people and what they're going through. there's extreme pathological narcissism continuing everything from one's own perspective and needs and insatiable appetites to their sadism and are relished in only other people and ridiculing them and mocking them. then there is a systematic contents for the law and for rule and there's an idea that tyrants trample all norms, all matters, all forms of civility and civilization. so mention a single word
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about any current political leader administration or political party, but it's enormously insightful about what's going on. it describes enablers, polluters, people who surround the tyrants and possible for the tyrants to continue what he's doing and when i say, it is basically a man. i suppose lady catherine comes closest to being a tyrant but she in the final analysis is an enabler of macbeth and there are just certain repeat character flaws that run very deep and then the big question of course is what happens in society allows us particular character type torise to the top . why do they get to for so long do what they're doing because before this finally society rises up and says no and there's an excellent discussion in coriolanus in
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which greenblatt says basically what you've got is kind of old school style politicians where everybody makes fun of who end up being the savior of society, who are able to assemble society and assemble opposition to a tyrant and you generally look down on what politicians do in terms of delivering social security checks for their va benefits or help people get a passport but in reality, that's where those people live. you can't put the narcissistic fantasies of the few against the material needs of the many and i think that is a basic and ultimately honorable esteem of democracy so it's a great book. it's a fast read, it's enjoyable, fascinating for people who like shakespeare and for people who are not yet shakespeare fans.
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>> are there any particular passages from this book that you enjoy? >> there is a great chapter on fraudulent populism that is the desperate tyrants is someone who pretends to be on the side of the common man but in fact has contempt for common people and travels the needs of common people and so that's one i could read to you but there's actually a nice chapter about character: matter of character and i thought i would read a little passage about something that he perceived in all the tyrants in the shakespeare place. the tyrant is not merely indifferent to the loss, he hates it and takes pleasure in breaking it. he hates it because it gets in his way and stands for the notion of a public good that he holdsin contempt . he divide the world into winners and losers, the losers as far as he can use them for his own ends, the losers are rows only his board. the public good is only
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losers which you like to talk about as winning so i found that instructive passage about shakespeare's tyrants and about the psychology of the tyrants to have contempt for most people and then the people he doesn't have contempt for our people that he feelsthemselves are bullies and the tyrants can use to getwhere he's going . >> what else are you reading ? >> as you can tell i haven't had much chance to read fiction. i want to get back to stephen king when i can but we are living in tough times i'm sticking with political philosophy for the summer and i'll everybody to think i'm too boring here's a great book by richard call the sweeping sovereign, the invention of modern democracy and professor makes a fascinating argument. he says today we think of sovereignty in government is
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basically the same thing, we think that there's so expensive but original modern political philosophers like hobbes and john locke distinguish trust and sovereignty are the offices of the ministration we set up in order to do the people's business but the sovereign in a democracy are the people. we the people are beautiful and the most important words of the american constitution, we are sorry and then we set up a constitution and it might have limitations and failures as it did when it was first written. until we got to the civil war and the reconstruction and then excluded women until we got to the 19th century and so on so it's not necessarily the constitution should always be glorified or idolized but it's the idea of the sovereignty of the people and we are constantly expanding and deepening our conception of the people and really who is sovereign so relating it to today, so i
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think maybe the highlight of this whole trend since i was elected is in january 2013 was a great women's march on washington because it was a moment not of government and public policy or partisanship or any of the common was a moment of sovereignty where all the people reassert piracy of we the people, the idea that government belongs to the people and people are sovereign and government runs away from us or this or that leader runs away, the people have the power to reign it all happen.>> thank you richard for writing. i wish i'd written that one. there was a day when i used to write books, now i write speech but that's the way it is. here's an old favorite of mine, ordinary places . by judith sklar who is the great sensational luminous
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political philosopher. in the 20th century and she was my professor and my deepest advisor. but she wrote a book that was all based on just a passage in a month essay he wrote an essay about capitalism and said in france, we love to deploy. because it makes us feel better about ourselves because they are able to look down on these people eating people what he said in the logical work that been done on apple's , we record maybe two or 300 people who were killed but he said here in france we participate in religious wars between the catholics and protestants where hundreds of thousands of people are slain routinely and we don't even. we just kill them for ideological reasons. so i don't know that we
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should necessarily feel superior to the camels get in the way we behave only to mention the most atrocious crimes that we committed as a civilization. it is not even to get into the ordinary places of civil life and they are the mentioned, cruelty, hypocrisy, trail, misanthropy and snobbery which were five ordinary vices that he mentioned in passing so professor scroll this book about the ordinary vices and she basically makes the argument that liberalism begins around the time of the french and american revolution as a rebellion against one specific device and that price is cruelty which liberals basically established as the worst device, the paradigm likes
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because it's about the intentional infliction of pain on people or animals who have less power than a person who is exacting the cruelty, who is inflicting cruelty. all of the other vices have something to say for them and they exist kind of on a spectrum so she makes this argument which is kind of a moral and philosophical infrastructure of liberalism and i view it in some sense as a complicit critique of john rawls because ralston made the argument that liberalism begins with the idea of the original position and kind of the arrival position that you don't make things better for the most well in society until you make it better for the least well-off so liberalism really begins as a review of cruelty and that's why we've got the
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eighth amendment ban on cruel and unusual punishment and the amendment of the constitution why the great civilizing movements of our history have targeted cruel, manipulation, exploitation like the movement for women's rights which is about a from the cruel hardships of being subject to other people's power and control and so on. so anyway, she the chapter on each of the vices and i think there's at least an implicit argument that conservatism holds out not cruelty but betrayal as the worst device and hypocrisy, as conservatism is upset with hypocrisy and the argument historically against kenny kennedy. here's this rich guy who says he's all about helping the poor but look at the life that he leads. you get some of that in the
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cruelty of nancy pelosi, there's something hypocritical about being a person who has well yet is committed to the solidarity with workingpeople . and she says look, hypocrisy is just the distance between our self-professed ideals and the way that we live in everybody's case, all of us have some degree of hypocrisy. none of us ever lives up to the best we can do in the most literal sense that and the easiest way to not be a hypocrite is to have no ideals at all and nobody ever accused hitler or mussolini of being a hypocrite. they were infinitely cruel but theywork hypocrites , they told us what they wanted to do. for liberal hypocrisy is certainly a vice and sin but it's one that's kind of built in to the society where people have some values or ideals and it should be the organizing principle of your politics as maddening and
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infuriating as it is. it certainly as a member of congress i see how maddening and infuriating it is to me to see people proclaim the importance of value family values in support the separation of parents from their children or look the other way when one of their colleagues is having an affair or trying to get an abortion or whatever. it's infuriating but ultimately it's not a very good guide to moral and political judgment. cruelty and reducing the amount of cruelty and painand suffering is a much better guide . so anyway i would love to, i could spend all day talking about that book but that's a masterful book that i think everybody should check out who's interested and sklar is a great unsung hero of civil philosophy. i another favorite of mine, radical equations by bob moses. bob moses of course was a hero of the civil rights movement was born in new york, grew up in new york and
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was a graduate of philosophy in harvard when in 1960 he opened up the newspaper to see pictures of students from historically black colleges sitting in restaurants and most hotels and he said they looked the way that i felt. he said i knew i had to go south so he made his way to the belly of the beast, to mississippi and he met with a man named ramsey more who was the president of the cleveland mississippi branch of the naacp and was a vice chair of the statewide and double acp and he said he wanted to get involved in making life better for the african-american population which was basically living
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under a regime of social and political apartheid and economic clause i slavery . and most said he went down with expectations that he was going to be involved in sit ins at lunch counters and restaurants and hotels but more said look around. you are in a congressional district that two thirds african-american and none of the black people here can vote and of course they could vote during reconstruction but that ended after 10 years with the termination of reconstruction, a nonunion troops out in 1876 and since then it had been grandfather clause in literacy testing and kkk night riders so black people were basically driven all the voter rolls and he said if you want to help we will register people to vote and bob moses almost got himself killed several times going door-to-door. he came up with the phrase one person , one vote.
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that came out of the blood sweat and tears of the civil rights movement and the nonviolent coordinating committee in the 1960s and moses work led to the student nonviolent coordinating committee, the freedom summer where many young people lost their lives including goodman trying to get people registered to vote but it was for their sacrifices that we got the mississippi freedom democratic party and the challenge at the atlantic city convention which open up the democratic party and we got the voting rights act which was instrumental in opening america . our last republican president abraham lincoln talked about the government of the people that we started as a slave republic of white male property owners. but it's been through social struggle and constitutional change that america has opened up and i love radical
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equation that tells the story of this young philosopher magician who went south and created the freedom summer and now has gone back again to literacy which he thinks is the new civil rights struggle everybody has access to math and science and technology. >> i'm all done. this is a great book that my daughter, gave me called this is an uprising by morgan market paul taylor, how nonviolent roles are seeking the 21st century and it's a fascinating book because it attempts to develop a taxonomy of protests. and political organizing. so it basically said two kinds of models for progressive political organizing in american history and one model is the small a ski model of
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organizers who embed themselves in communities and build strong organizational structures that are able to go out and fight for things with a stoplight or stopping a highway from wrecking a community or health services or what have you. and then you contrast that with another model of organizing which might be defined by doctor king and the broader civil rights movement. which was about mass organizing, mass mobilizing around specific explosive events. when i like the attention of the country and increase the possibility for big people's understanding of what's wrong and allow for the creation of legislation like the voting
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rights act of 65 or the civil rights act of 64 and ultimately comes to the conclusion that you need to have a interchange between the patient's long-term work of democratic political organizing and people communities and then being alive for the moment we see that most recently the kids from parkland who after the massacre down there decided that they were not going to be passive victims and they were going to control of an agenda which they saw basically that have been forfeited by adults that were in bed with the nra and they were going to create a movement and they did that, but they needed to have the long term organizing muscle and expertise of the brady campaign and daddy and her group and every town and so on so it's always going to be a coalition between people who are alive the spirit of the moment with people who are embedded and working in communities to build democratic power but this is an uprising, it's a fascinating book and of course, paints rights of man and common sense, because
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these are times we need, pain who was the great radical democratic agitator and revolutionary of the american revolution. common sense and he wrote but crisis at the time of the american revolution and everything was looking iffy, people didn't know which way was going to go, people tyranny was inevitable and democracy couldn't take hold, we cannot builddemocratic institutions . he rallied the country with his essays with his documents and with the crisis and with common sense though everybody should repair to those. i'll leave you with words from, pain in prices set i'm going updated so it doesn't offend the sensibilities of the modern clients. these are the times that try men and women's roles.
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men and women's souls, the summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will shrink at this moment when the service of their cause what everyone with stand with us now will win the favor and action of every man and woman for all time, tyranny like hell is not easily conquered but the more difficult the struggle, the more glorious is our victory . >> send us your summer reading list at the tv on twitter, instagram or facebook. >> ..
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shares his thoughts on race and america turkeys interviewed by democratic congressman hakeem jeffries of new york. "after words" is a weekly interview program with relevant guest host interviewing top nonfiction authors about the latest work. >> host: it's an honor and privilege to be with d. l. hughley, a comedian, author, radio show host personality, social commentator, extraordinaire. i'm particularly pleased to have a chance to spend the next hour or so talking with you about some of the issues we continue to tackle in america, in particular through the lens of his most recent book, "how not to get sho

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