Skip to main content

tv   Kevin Williamson The Smallest Minority  CSPAN  September 21, 2019 8:45am-9:31am EDT

8:45 am
largest free literary event in new york city and then from october 11th to the 13th it is the southern festival of books in nashville. the following weekend the boston book festival welcomes 300 speakers and the wisconsin book festival anticipates 15,000 people in attendance. later in the month tune in for live coverage of the texas book festival in austin. for more information about upcoming bookers and festivals, you can watch our previous festival coverage, flip the book fairs tag on a website, >> kevin williamson of the "national review" your latest book is called "the smallest minority: independent thinking in the age of mob politics". in this book you write that i come not to praise democracy but to bury it. what do you have? >> i liken reject the idea of somebody becoming better or more important and more respectable because more people adhere to it, a certain idea,
8:46 am
certain point of view. often, being a writer right now writers are treated as politicians, sometimes people will say who do you speak for, who is your constituency? the represent and i will say nobody. i'm not running for office. we live in a time of politics as team sports and the team sport aspect of politics has displaced almost everything else, all the other intellectual content and policy considerations and now it is tribe on tribe action and the question of who's gaining is bigger. i don't think having a bigger gang is something that tells you whether an idea is good or not and the fact that 50% of the population plus one likes something to me is more likely to mean it is wrong that it is right to be honest. if you watch broadcast television a look at the bestsellers list. >> great big crowds of people i don't trust. >> the original sin of the
8:47 am
journalist is his or her desire to be liked. >> yes. i think it is -- i do a lot of things that freedom fest where you can shop for opportunities to invest in gold coins and things like that and there are a lot of writers particularly journalists who are unable to resist the urge to play to the crowd, deliver applause lines, engage in constituent service, that sort of thing. they act like members of the house of representatives running for reelection is what they are like and i understand the desire to want to be popular to an extent because we've got to sell books. that's how you pay the bills and you can sell a lot of books, it is financially better than selling only a few books but they want to be popular the way presidential candidates are popular. they want to have devoted cultish followers and to be
8:48 am
part of that world. a cliché that is true, in britain, journalism is part of the literary world and the united states, journalism is part of the political world and that is true and i think journalist in the state act too much like politicians. >> host: you spend quite a bit of time on social media in your book. you don't spend time on social you personally. >> i don't use any social media. >> host: you talk about social media. i want to read a paragraph. if you've ever been to the monkey house in one of those downscales, the way you imagine bernie sanders probably smells faintly. you know what these particular monkeys are like. they jerk off and slink who all day. generally using the same hand for both and they don't do a lot else unless there's mcdonald's all day. jerk off, sling who, jerk off, sling who, jerk, sling, jerk, sling, twitter basically. >> twitter is a lot like that.
8:49 am
i think -- i don't think social media is the cause of our current toxic, i hate the word toxic, distasteful political culture, social media is like alcohol. doesn't change who you are underneath that makes it, lowers the inhibitions and willingness to express -- i use to live in this place in india, covered up with monkeys because you can't miss with the monkey for religious reasons and i got to dislike it because new york subway rats and higher iqs making them a little dangerous. i think this tribe ballistic social media driven political culture reduces us, makes us less human and brings out the inner monkey in people and causes them to behave in the same primitive self gratifying
8:50 am
ugly fashion. >> hasn't social media allowed everyone to have a voice more than we did before? >> that is the problem. not everybody needs a voice. in principle it is good everyone is allowed to speak. i'm a free speech absolutist. i'm glad people can do what they want to do but the truth not just with social media but the internet in general is a lot of people don't have a lot to say. a lot of people don't have anything interesting or useful to add to the conversation but still feel the need to participate so that is where you get a culture of talking points, clichés conspiracy theories and the rest of the stuff that fills up the space because people feel compelled to speak and they don't have anything really to say. this is an old idea. the british philosopher wrote about individuality is a burden to some people who aren't well-equipped to make the most
8:51 am
of it but still feel the demands of it so they feel they need to participate as individuals, they need to participate in this conversation in this exchange but doing so is not something they are particularly well-suited for and not something they particularly enjoyed. it is more of a burden than an opportunity for a lot of people. >> is the smallest minority that you refer? >> the smallest minority is the individual. that the line i stole from iran's, i took it from her because she doesn't deserve it. it is a good line but she's not a very good writer i don't think. she is a good writer who misused her talents, could have been a very fine novelist but wanted to write propaganda instead. i borrowed that from her. the problem with our culture the way it is in politics right now is we can't interact with one another as individuals, we interact as representatives of warring tribal groups, enhancing the monkey like to
8:52 am
swinging. >> you are the tribal groups? >> team red and team blue, liberals and conservatives roughly, republicans and democrats. these are short answer broader social groups i think. we've got a largely but not exclusively coastal urban left-leaning progressive culture, we've got a largely rural and exurban left right-leaning conservative culture and the conservatives feel like they have been robbed of power and diminished and the progressives feel like they haven't been given enough because they live in what they believe to be the most important places and they've got an argument for that. one of the weird things about conservatives, they spend $about let's make america great again, the parts of america that are really successful and influential, like silicon valley and wall street hate these places, in hollywood, you have a culture industry and other things, so there's this sense of the 0-sum status game
8:53 am
between these groups and the president is from team red, team blue is damaged and feels humiliated and the president is with team blue and team red feels the same thing so they go nuts. that is part of why we have these inexplicable swings from bush to clinton to bush to obama to donald trump of all people and this is not the result of a political culture that is being driven by policy or reason or anything else, it is pure tribalism and pure identity politics. >> we seem to spend a lot of time being outraged. >> we do. i think that's performance art and partly group therapy. i don't think anyone is nearly as angry as they pretend to be or they are angry but not angry about politics but other things. largely status anxiety. it is a weird time for a lot of people in rich parts of the world in the sense that financially, economically, physically, medically better off than we have ever been
8:54 am
better status is less fixed than it used to be. you don't keep a job your whole life, don't associate yourself with a big corporation and stay with it for 40 years. that lack of certainty makes people nervous and anxious and when people feel anxious about the status they look for new sources of status and new sources of meaning, new sources of addictiveness. family doesn't do it, there's been a decline in religious life and family life, people are more mobile than they used to be and move a lot so there's politics, particularly tribal form of politics, my team versus these other guys as a source of meaning and status and a place in life where their values are played out and expressed and i think that is the source of the a, not because people are really mad about whether the top tax rate is 39% or 34%. >> one of the things you say in
8:55 am
your new book "the smallest minority: independent thinking in the age of mob politics" is both progressives and nationalists come from the same tap. >> yes. it is -- collectivism for lack of a better word. the idea that we gain value in groups rather than as individuals. it is a primitive way of looking at the world. it is the same intellectual shape as racism, it comes from the same place, the desire to find something to which to belong to give meaning to oneself that is larger and broader and hopefully immortal or closer to it. >> you have a word in here i want to ask the definition. archilochus he. >> this comes from the greek term that goes back to plato. essentially it means mob rule but it is a particular kind of
8:56 am
mob rule. i didn't want to do is just that phrase because you talk about mob rule people think about big crowds of people having riots and lynchings and things like this. this is really more when the mob leans on institutions whether it is churches or things like that to do their bidding for them. to say what the law says, what rules are what is right this is what we want and we expect these agencies and institutions to comply with it so we've seen a lot of it in the emergence of the employer in political discipline. this isn't especially in the case of people like me who are professionally involved in political ideas, people managing starbucks or work at fast food restaurants or people who have jobs that don't touch on public affairs or politics
8:57 am
in any particular direct way who nonetheless are being chased out of their jobs are having unapproved and unpopular political -- >> jamie more? >> the google guy is a good example of that and examples are the key to the thing. because they make examples of these sorts of people and other people just never express themselves and learn to keep quiet and learn to conform and so we have this terrible culture of aggressive conformism and intellectual homogeneity that makes it difficult for us to deal in a useful productive way with complex problems and the complex thinking that needs to be done to deal with it. >> the social media aspect of the mob add on to this group think? >> it is a loaded gun. it is a tool that enables either bad behavior or good behavior to be propagated more quickly and efficiently. it can be used for good things are bad things like any other
8:58 am
instrument, any other piece of technology. social media makes it a little worse in the sense that people don't go there to learn things, they go to get affirmation and you get affirmation, the angrier, more personal, more ad hominem, more outrageous you are and i know as a writer occasionally i write something well reported and thoughtful and nobody reads it or a smaller number of people read it. the number of people who read a particular story a and every now and then i will write something angry and this guy is stupid and here's why and 1000 times as many people read those stories. if you are looking for that kind of feedback and the desire for popularity. you are going to go in that direction, going to be more outrageous, angrier, more emotional, more ad hominem because unfortunately that is what people respond better to. >> have you been the target of
8:59 am
a social media mob before? >> i did sort of famously work at the atlantic for three days and fired for having not so much for my political ideas although it was nominally over that. it was more about again these internal status games of people thinking this is not a conservative outlet so if we hire this conservative he has been elevated and status somehow and we are diminished and that is what that was about it the atlantic but i came up with my ideas about abortion and capital punishment and transgender issues and those sort of things. if it wasn't one thing it was going to be the other. it was less about i can tell you was less about my political ideas because i believe the new york times wrote 9 stories about that affair and no one ever called me out on what i thought about anything. it was about my opinions, you would think they would want to know what they were. >> you got hired, did you shop at the office? >> i did. i wasn't originally going to work from their office in the watergate building.
9:00 am
it is funny for a writer like me to walk around the watergate building. i would spend some time. i went to washington and spent three days at the office there. >> what was your experience? >> a lot of institutions like that are strange because the culture divide on this stuff is very strongly generational. there are a lot of older very left-wing senior editors at the atlantic who were mystified by people calling for me to be fired over having right-wing political ideas, we knew you were right-wing monster when we hire you and that is why you are here. so the older folks on the staff for a lot less angry and outraged at all this sort of stuff and it was largely knuckleheads in their 20s, a relatively small group i think, it was strange because i think none of the people at the
9:01 am
atlantic. the situation in the atlantic was entirely given by stefan turley. it wasn't about social media stuff. that was the pretext but no one ever spoke to me about it, no one ever said let's talk about this. jeff goldberg, the editor there, right before it was supposed to happen, i can't put you in front of this group. i'm ready to go, let's do it. so that was that. >> what do you write that got you fired to q >> nominally. >> host: had you written it prior to q >> i only wrote one article for the atlantic and it was how libertarianism is an unpopular idea that nobody likes much. that was fairly uncontroversial. it was a discussion i had on twitter years before i went to
9:02 am
work for the atlantic so i'm opposed to abortion. i think it should be criminalized. i'm opposed to capital punishment but i argued in the past if we're going to have capital punishment we shouldn't do this creepy medical thing where we do it through lethal injection and put him on a gurney in a hospital situation. of the state is going to take logic to do so in a forthrightly violent manner. we should use a traditional form of capital punishment like hanging or firing squad or something like that. these things came together as kevin wants to hang one who had abortions which is not exactly a fair statement of my views on the issue but -- >> who instigated the attacks? >> partly folk like media matters, kind of professional left-wing pressure organizations, people on staff were the more significant ones. i don't really know who, never get to speak to people about it.
9:03 am
>> you write in your newest book the smallest minority that social media's mob politics with many heads. you talk about something called instant culture. what is that? >> the ways in which we of lowered the amount of work we are willing to do to engage with culture. this placement of books by twitter, displacement of essays by 120 characters, displacement of long commitments to deal with political ideas and other kinds of intellectual development, religious ideas with what is going on right now in the second coming in this minute. it is a substitute for real culture. it is the world of reality television in social media and instantaneous transmission of things that don't really last and a shallow, snarky sarcasm driven way of this mode of communication which i think can
9:04 am
be fun and useful for short periods of time but it is like if you had a world in which political 1-liners delivered on late-night comedy shows were the only form of communication you would be losing them and we moved in that direction. >> communication is only incidental to social media. >> yes. social media is not about exchanging ideas. it is about getting nice feedback, people paying attention to you. willy loman, attention must be paid. people go there for affirmation, confirmation, to be told they are doing the right thing, to be told the people they don't like are evil and wrong and the political equivalent of adolf hitler and all the rest of it. they don't go there to learn things from you don't go to twitter to say, hayek had interesting ideas about the use
9:05 am
of information in a market it and why socialism wasn't able to avail itself of that exchange of information and therefore take central planning difficult. that's not why you go to facebook or twitter. it is why you go to books and i wish people would spend a little more time with books. >> we have a president who has used twitter once or twice. >> we do. >> what does that say to you? >> my last book was called the case against trump which was ineffective apparently. i think donald trump is the perfect example are in some ways of the moment in which we are in because obviously nobody, no serious human being voted for donald trump because of his subtle and sophisticated policies. that is not why people went to donald trump. there are fine reasons to vote for donald trump as i wouldn't myself but if your conservator and you say donald versus hillary i choose donald okay, fine. that is a defense of will idea but people want to trump as a
9:06 am
mascot, trump has a kind of wrecking ball and trump as as the tribune, there are these people and their the swamp, in washington in new york, and they are ripping you off and condescending to and i'm going to go and make things right and i'm going to do so by writing mean things about them on twitter and giving them demeaning nicknames and things like that. people who voted for this guy and made him president of the united states because they liked the way he gave people schoolyard nickname central people on twitter, that is still why they like him. this is why i am skeptical about the value of democracy. it is useful because it is a utilitarian matter because it is a substitute we have for war, hitting each other on the head when you have a
9:07 am
disagreement but it can also bring out what our founding fathers called the passions. they didn't like the word passion. they like the word democracy either. trump is the mascot of the democracy john adams warned us about. >> host: quote, procedural democracy is a convenience. it has authorized the chimps in the electorate and gives us an alternative to ritual combat for the chimps in office. >> guest: there are certain decisions we have to make collectively. we are the libertarian festival a lot of iran's people are walking around. i've written about individuals, that's not how societies organize. there are certain things we have to decide is groups. there are good ways to go about it. we can fight about it and whoever wins gets to decide which is how we did things for
9:08 am
a lot of human history. we can have votes about it, we can use the law which is a useful piece of social technology we should probably rely on more. democracy as a convenience is when we get together and say we have a real disagreement how to handle state healthcare. we are going to vote and choose people to work out that on our behalf and try to stick together through it because it is the only way to go about it. democracy ever sacrosanct thing, sanctified in the idea that this is important because people endorsed it and this is what democracy produced, democracy produces bad things. if you had to vote on slavery in the 1800s they would have voted for slavery. >> host: where did you grow up? >> guest: in texas. my mother was a secretary at texas tech university and her husband was janitor at a school. >> you consider yourself a
9:09 am
classic conservative? >> in a sense i suppose. i grew up reading william f buckley and why i wanted to become a writer and i think of myself as being in that tradition. in many ways i think of myself as what we once would have described as liberal in the sense i believe in things like free-trade, individual liberty, limited government, rule of law and those sorts of things. hayek would have columns of a liberal or in the sense they would have used in britain in the 19th century or to some extent the way it is still used in europe. i'm not a conservative in the sense that i have a particularly reactionary taste in culture, i don't think the eyes he and harriet world of the 1950s is some sort of golden ideal although eisenhower, i would like to get back to political settlements
9:10 am
there. i don't subscribe to any particular bullet list of ideological precepts. there are some things where i'm very conservative and some things were pretty radical libertarian and some things in which i'm a sellout eisenhower republican who is happy to see change happen slowly and incrementally. >> are you part of the republican establishment? >> i quit the republican party in 2006 over arlen spector which in retrospect seems quaint. the great thing about this rhetoric about the establishment which makes me laugh, at a dinner party some years ago, the dinner party they accuse you of going to hosted by media figure, a guy was talking about how antiestablishment he was and the establishment hated him and i think you are the chairman of the state republican party in your state, you are the establishment, you can't be antiestablishment! a couple weeks ago i spent time
9:11 am
with well-known political activists, names you would know, some of the highest offices in the land and they are talking antiestablishment this and that and the other, you folks are the establishment. so i got to be a member of the republican establishment. >> how would you define donald trump's politics? how is he doing? >> he is lucky in many ways, in some ways better-than-expected and in some ways worse. is better in the sense that thank god he is lazy and unambitious so things like choosing judges, he just outsourced to the federalist society which is great, he is being advised on economic policy by people like kevin hassett, "national review" colleague, larry kudlow and other people he would talk about being part of the swamp in any other context. he has some good people around him. some useful things on education and the regulatory things.
9:12 am
his tax or form bill was not perfect by any stretch of the imagination but there were some reforms. a classic republican bill written in the usual republican way by the republican establishment and all he did was sign off on it and that, he comes to power talking about illegal immigration and trade and republicans, the first and last thing they want to do is a business tax cut which they got done. he didn't get any of the immigration stuff done while his party nominally controlled both houses of congress so he's ineffective in pursuing his own agenda. in many ways is worse than expected because i thought at some point he would sit down in that chair and go i am president of the united states, i better grow the hell up and start acting like an adult and he just didn't do that. he ran off in the opposite direction so i think in terms of foreign relations, trade policy, international relations in general, national security to some extent he has been
9:13 am
pretty bad. he had a lucky run of things in some ways, the economy has been doing pretty well that also makes you a hostage to it. if your argument for yourself is the stock market has done well while i am president then you got to worry what the stock market will do in september and october before the election and if i were betting my own money on it right now i would just marginally better on him getting reelected if only because i think the democrats will probably nominate somebody who is incompetent. even more incompetent. >> putting this time in history, are we better than we were 40 years ago are we more outraged? i'm not using my words very well and i apologize for that. where do you see us in history
9:14 am
right now? >> reporter: the best time human races ever experienced. we are wealthier, we are more free, we live longer, have better health, better house, better beds, better taken care of than any group of human beings have ever been in history of our species. in the last 30 years we've radically cut poverty around the world, got rid of all sorts of diseases and we've done it in all sorts of ways. the rotary club, group of guys who get together for lunch once a week through local small business guys decided some years back let's get rid of polio. that we can do that and they more or less have. unfortunately for afghanistan and pakistan, in every measurable way human beings are better off right now than they have ever been which is widest range we are so upset and so angry and so anxious. those benefits have been the result of big brought global economic and social changes that are to use a popular word disruptive and people dislike disruption. people would rather in many
9:15 am
ways have their lives piece stagnant but predictable rather than improving but dynamic and insecure and uncertain and i think the benefits we have seen and the rage and lamentation are really the result of the same phenomena in which we call for lack of better word globalization. >> host: is free speech under threat? >> yes and no. as a legal matter not at all. first amendment jurisprudence is in really good shape thanks to a whole bunch of republican judges on the supreme court, these evil conservatives who look at the first amendment and say it says what it says. i remember reading articles about scalia in the flagburning case and people who were surprised scully a ruled in favor of flag burners and against that statute. is a conservative, he must hate you guys, someone asked about it and he said i paid you guys, i would put them in the face of
9:16 am
the first amendment says what it says. the problem for free speech isn't a matter of law although i think that is worth keeping an eye on because law does follow culture but right now it is primarily a culture thing. we are legally free to speak in ways that even 10 or 15 years ago in the sense that very restrictive campaign finance laws which are license on political speech have been repealed and that sort of thing. but do people feel more free to speak their mind? i don't think that is the case. i think if you are a hairdresser in houston, texas and you are on facebook and about to join houston hairdressers for donald trump's reelection 2020 are going to think twice before you hit that join button because it could cost you your job and it could cost you other things, all sorts of social relationships. that is not always necessarily a bad thing. we are grown-ups responsible for what we do and say but the
9:17 am
fact that we developed this exclusionary political culture that says if you don't have my politics i'm going to see to it you can't work, you can't participate in the economy, you can't have a normal life does make people hesitate to speak, not so much people like me because ideologues and people who write for publications with particular deck of view or a particular team, we always have outlets. i got fired by the atlantic and wrote an essay about it the next week in the wall street journal. life is fine for people like me but if you don't have that kind of ability, who doesn't have that infrastructure, your free speech really is being constrained realistically in ways that don't have anything to do with the government or the first amendment but have to do with how we act as people and what kind of culture we are. >> are we under them in a sense of facebook, twitter, google? >> yes in a way.
9:18 am
>> one of the ways people communicate today. >> there are all sorts of ways to communicate. facebook is less important than people think it is. twitter is a lot less important than people think it is. twitter have a cultural footprint because of the kinds of people on twitter which is journalist and media figures and things like that. they really enjoy that instant feedback and i get why and understand why, but you can still write people other, you can still write a book, you can still do all sorts of things rather than use those to communicate. the irony a of our time is the american progressives who have always been the enemy of corporations see themselves as being critics and adversaries to business and business culture are essentially making the culture of the hr
9:19 am
department, fortune 500 the national political culture, this is what you have to be able to satisfy and participate in public life in some way. we see that from companies like facebook, twitter and google but also companies like nike and goldman sachs and jpmorgan which take an increasingly assertive attitude toward what their employees do in their private lives and take an increasingly progressive view of what is acceptable and not acceptable. i think, obviously if you are someone at apple you are less likely to lose your job for radical or offensive left-leaning speech than radical or offensive right-wing speech. that is pretty clear. progressives were the enemies of corporate culture right until they got their first taste of corporate power and now they want to use businesses and particularly employment as a means of political coercion.
9:20 am
>> host: what is the art of the smallest minority? what is your organization? >> the book, you mean? it is kind of starts off with two sort of personal essays, literary essays in a way, one is about a shakespeare play coriolanus which i like a great deal, one of the great anti-mob characters in literature where he ends up getting destroyed because he will not kiss up to the roman mob when he tries to things go wrong and the fast -- the last chapters a similar essay about satan as a literary character, and milton of statements, i will not serve. he is the guy living on his own terms, he's a tragic character who made some bad decisions. he is still in a sense a hero.
9:21 am
the middle part of the book deals particularly with political and social ideas that have to do with why people are so angry, where this culture comes from and why they can't speak to each other as individuals but only as representatives of warring tribes. there are political ideas, it hits on some literature and occasional things. a third of the book is footnotes which is the real book, kind of profane and angry. a running commentary on the book, a few books in some ways. and then putting notes on what i am thinking about. >> host: do you enjoy sitting around by yourself in writing? >> i do. i'm a little antisocial i suppose.
9:22 am
i write a lot. i figured out a couple years ago i write 1 million words a year half of which i publish so i write usually an article every day for "national review," every issue of the magazine in the new york post, books about politics, a novel i'm finishing up, i've written a few novels i never published and it's probably a good idea because they are not very good. >> host: eight to ten hours a day? >> know. it depends. i can typically write what is going on today, here's what i think about a column in a couple hours. i have trouble writing for more than 31/2 hours. i need to take breaks sometimes, i will do 2 or 3 in a session. there are days i will write 12 to 15 hours and days that i will write 3 and it kind of depends. i suspect it adds up to more
9:23 am
than a full-time job but i don't think of it that way. because it is enjoyable and it is a privilege to do it for a living. >> the antisocial part of it. do you enjoy book tours and interviews? >> guest: i do. i am someone who is interested in political ideas, ideas about why our society is the way it is and people who come out and want to talk to me about this stuff are interested in those things. that is the one guy in every group, let's talk about the jews or something. there's one in every group but 99% of people are interesting. "national review" we do these events, how we keep the magazine going and people who come out for that are interesting people and they come because they want to meet the writers but it is as much fun to meet them and there are
9:24 am
people who unlike is typically our business owners or executives or people who have been out in the world doing something other than writing about it and that exchange i find very useful. i like meeting people who are interested in the same things i am and having conversations about it but i also like going home -- i don't go out a loss i guess. i'm generally not much past 930. >> the smallest minority is the name of the book. mister williamson writes one of the conclusions i hope the reader will take from the some of the arguments in this book is the hypothetical evils are generally preferable to real ones. >> the arguments that are made for the suppression of unpopular political speech usually aren't forthrightly arguments, they are usually about public safety. facebook talks about this a
9:25 am
lot, mark zuckerberg talks about this, but if we allow the expression of certain kinds of ideas, opinions or stories this will hurt people in some way. sometimes you get a real case for that. this is why we keep people from publishing certain kinds of information about how to build a nuclear weapon. you can see that, pretty good case for it. still hypothetical but a pretty big hypothetical. then you get things like if you refuse to go along with this person's convention of using pronouns because you have different ideas of transgender issues than transgender people are is psychologically fragile and have higher rates of suicide and so this constitutes an act of violence and we must suppress it. twitter for instance with an accountant things for using the name of transgender person they have given up even if it is still legally their name. there are people who really come down very hard for referring to bradley manning as
9:26 am
bradley manning in articles about how bradley manning was going to change his name to chelsea and wanted to be identified as a woman and that kind of thing. it wasn't people trying to make a political point trying to describe what was actually going on and it was not good enough for these issues and the harms are very hypothetical. so yes, it is absolutely the case that transgender people suffer higher rates of suicide and addiction and violent crime and also to other things that these are real problems that should be dealt with in a forthright kind of way but the idea that someone writing about these issues who has nonconforming views about them as i do in some ways is going to in danger people in some direct and meaningful way and therefore we should suppress that speech on the grounds of public safety is to take a very distant hypothetical and elevate it in importance above something that is a real evil which is suppression of speech and suppression of speech should always be understood as an evil even when it is very bad speech, even when it is not
9:27 am
your communist, suppression of speech and communication is bad on its own terms and this is where people on the left particularly younger ones right now, they don't believe that. they believe suppression is good on its own terms. this is the punch a nazi thing, make these people afraid to speak in public but, it expresses itself in unlikely ways like my lovely anapolis doing a talk at berkeley. when fascism lands in the west it is not going to be my low. i guarantee you. it's not going to be a publicity hungry second-rate day writer from the uk. it's just not. not a public danger. and coulter or at least the character she plays on television which i don't think is actually her is not a danger to public safety. charles murray who is a
9:28 am
controversial guy, an important social scientist and writer on social policy in our time is not a neo-nazi, not a threat to public safety, not a white nationalist, not the things he gets described as being, kind of a liberal democrat. but still people meet him on campuses and other things with violence and calls to have him for bidden to speak and this is just not a morally or intellectually defensible position. >> host: the cover of the book, birds dropping nuclear bonds. >> guest: i never understood the nuclear bombs. the idea was world war ii propaganda posters with bombers going out, twitter birds doing that. i wish i could take credit for that. that's not my idea for the cover. i went back and forth on it but i decided i like it. >> host: kevin williamson, his latest book is called "the smallest minority: independent thinking in the age of mob
9:29 am
politics". independent thinking in the age of mob politics. thanks for being on booktv. >> thanks so much. >> you are watching booktv on c-span2 with top nonfiction books and authors every weekend. booktv, television for serious readers. >> this weekend journalist michelle nelkin offers thoughts on us immigration policy. for utah republican congressman jason chaffetz argues liberals are trying to undermine the trump presidency. kate black in june rafael discuss how women should run for elected office and tomorrow we are live from the brooklyn book festival. critical thinking, the 2020 election. lgbt q issues and more. check your program guide for a complete schedule. >> a look at some of the events booktv will be covering this week.
9:30 am
on monday we will be at the gerald ford presidential museum for garrett draft's history of september 11, 2001. on tuesday at the loft in portsmouth, new hampshire, philosophy professor michael lynch will examine how the internet has changed people's attitudes towards the truth. thursday look for us in cleveland at the 84th annual book awards. .. >> facebook or instagram. [inaudible conversations] >> good evening, everyone. my name is nancy bass wyden, i'm the owner of the strand -- [applause] laugh that's nice of you. for a little bit of history, the strand was founded in 1927 by my grandfather, benjamin bass. it was part of what was


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on