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Download the PayPal app today. Terms and conditions apply. Hello, hello, little revisionist historians Malcolm Gladwell here, as some of you may know, we just had a contest revisionist revisited to celebrate the fifth anniversary of revisionist history where we asked you to vote for your favorite episode. And now that the results are in, we thought we'd play the winners of the next few weeks to whet your appetite for the upcoming season, which begins Oscar very soon, June 18th.

[00:02:07]

Ready in the bronze medal position from season to a good walk spoiled my completely intemperate attack on the private golf courses of Los Angeles. I'll be honest with you, I thought this one would win because I think the most fun revisionist history episodes are the ones with all kinds of wildly different ingredients, like not a souffle, but some kind of crazy stir fry. And this one was the stir fry of stir fries. The episode covers, among other things, my obsession with running Bob Hope, a long riff by a philosopher on the paradox, The Ship of Theseus, plus a visit to the tax authority of Los Angeles County, even a cameo from one of my oldest friends, D.R.C. landscape architect, who provided expert commentary on the tree species and exotic varietals at the Brentwood Country Club.

[00:03:01]

This episode had legs. I only have to mention golf courses on Twitter, which I do all too often, and my feed goes crazy. But the guy who said, sure, I could run on his golf course so long as he could practice driving on my running trails, which I thought was kind of funny. Then there was a time I was sitting in a coffee shop in Houston. Alderwoman with perfect hair pulls up in a brand new checked out Range Rover, dressed in a golf outfit clearly on the way to the country club.

[00:03:31]

And she says, Are you Malcolm Gladwell? I say, yes. She says, I love revisionist history. And I disagree with everything you say, which is a statement I want on my tombstone. And now we're in the age of social distancing, which gives my golf course obsession a whole new meaning. We're all supposed to keep six feet apart, which is really difficult when everyone trying to get some fresh air is crowded into the same sidewalk. Meanwhile, there are massive tax subsidized private golf courses in the middle of every American city full of beautiful green spaces that are totally empty.

[00:04:08]

Problem, meat solution. How hard is this? In a minute, we're going to play it again just to get the golfers riled up one more time. I'm putting the finishing touches on season five, which again debuts June 18th. I have very good feelings about this season with lots of stir fries. I'm a little obsessed with one of the second Warboys most famous generals, Curtis Emerson. May I have an episode about a lost Bengoa, another about smog, the Dragon, and another about one man's crusade to reform student council elections?

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It's going to be epic. But before I go to my things first, I want to encourage you to sign up for the revisionist history newsletter at Pushkin's FM so you can follow all things wonderful and revisionist. And second, at the end of this episode, you'll hear the short trailer for season two of Pushkin's podcast, The Happiness Lab, with Laurie Santo's. Season one was a smash hit because Laurie is just so good at explaining the latest science of the mind and in telling you how to use it to improve your own well-being.

[00:05:15]

Who doesn't need that right now? Season two helps us understand bad habits. What makes a super altruist and more? It's great, trust me. Expressing gratitude is a key component to happiness, so and for now with mine, thank you, revisionist historians out there. I'll be back soon with all the other winners. But for now, here it is. One more time. A good walk spoiled. I have a friend who lives in Brentwood on the west side of Los Angeles between Beverly Hills and Santa Monica.

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Here's a little pool house in his backyard. And I stay there whenever I come to L.A. kind of like Kato Kaelin.

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If your memory for O.J. Simpson esoterica goes back that far anyway, my friend's street dead ends on San Vicente Boulevard, the central east west corridors in L.A. and on the other side of San Vicente is this absolutely gorgeous golf course, one of the many private country clubs that L.A. is famous for. If you drive down Wilshire Boulevard into Beverly Hills, 10 minutes east of Brentwood, you go right past Los Angeles Country Club, which costs maybe a quarter of a million dollars just to join.

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That is if they'll even consider your application.

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There's Bel Air Country Club, just north of UCLA, which might be the most beautiful golf course in the country, Hillcrest of Pico Wilshire Country Club in Hancock Park. I could go on there everywhere. Vast, gorgeous and private. The one near my friend's house is called Brentwood Country Club, and it has a tall chain link fence around it, which goes almost all the way out to the street, living just this narrow, rocky dirt track. There's no sidewalk.

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And since there aren't a lot of places to run in Los Angeles, tons of people run around the Brentwood Country Club on that narrow dirt track. And there's one thing that always bothers me every time I run that route. Why do all the runners of West Los Angeles have to squeeze into this narrow, rocky little track? When is a huge, magnificent park just on the other side of the fence?

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My name is Malcolm Gladwell, and you're listening to Revisionist History, my podcast about things overlooked and misunderstood. This episode is about the problem with Karl. I hate golf. And hopefully by the end of this, you'll hate golf, too. I'm sending you would die days, OK, who is a very successful landscape architect, Santa Monica, and we're on the corner of 7th Century and Burlingame and we're looking into the Brentwood Country Club. And the first thing I see is barb wire.

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Looks like a couple of layers of barbed wire. This looks like a it looks like the Berlin Wall. I think they want us to get in there. What do you what are we seeing? We're seeing a little closer here. What's that stand of trees? Do you know what those are? That looks like Silcox in the foreground. And then I see a Sideris Dederer, quite lovely. Lots of larger trees, which are unusual in Los Angeles because there's so little open space.

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Yeah, there's some pinus canaria and this looks like a redwood in there. I don't think Disick has ever played a round of golf in her life. That's exactly why I wanted her opinion. I wanted someone objective to tell me what it would take to turn this place into a park. Well, first of all, I would get rid of the two layers of barbed wire. We were the whole Eastern European feel east. Your German field would have to be corrected.

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I mean, that might be some people's stag, but it's not very welcoming.

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Yeah, the typical golf course is 200 acres, give or take. It's a lot of land. You have to landscape it, mow it, drench it in pesticides, keep the sand traps perfect. I read somewhere that when a fancy golf course rebuilds its bunkers, it typically takes about 389 truckloads of sand 389 just to keep everything nice and white and fluffy.

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But at the same time, because golf involves launching a potentially lethal projectile at great speeds across enormous distances, you have to severely limit the number of people on the course at any one time. Typically, a good private course can handle no more than 72 golfers at once. So that's one golfer per 120000 833 square feet.

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Can you imagine if basketball had the same population density as golf? I did the math. If basketball was played according to the geographical requirements of golf, a basketball court would be 30 acres. Picture that that had to play on motorcycles.

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OK, another fact about golf rich people really, really like it, they're obsessed with it in a way that there just isn't any parallel for ordinary people because serious golfers are super anal about their scores. We can actually quantify their obsession in order to calculate their handicap, basically how well they're playing relative to other people at the country club. They all post their results on a database maintained by the United States Golf Association.

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So we have a record and it's a gold mine to be able to calculate your handicap and track it through time.

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You log into the system either at your course or on your home computer.

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I'm talking to an economist at Miami University named Lee Biggerstaff. He's interested in the habits of top corporate executives. If you have the corner office and a multimillion dollar stock option and a Gulfstream five, does that make you more or less likely to put in a hard day's work? The USGA database is of serious professional interest to a guy like Biggerstaff.

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And you input where you played and what day you played on and what what your score was.

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And, you know, after a certain number of rounds being played, the USGA indicate what your handicap is, your level of skill, which allows you to compete against other golfers of different skill level and kind of normalize against that.

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You know how you always hear that CEOs play a lot of golf. Bigger steps inside is that the USGA database allows us to know exactly how much they play. All you need to do is cross-reference that list of scores with a list of the CEOs of America's largest companies. So that's what he does. It takes forever.

[00:12:09]

By the way, it started when I was a PhD student, and so there certainly was a multi month process. So it's not something that I honestly want to repeat in the near term. Just it took a lot of collection time there. How can you not love this?

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Surely this is why God invented graduate students. Biggerstaff begins with the names of the heads. The top 1500 publicly held companies in the U.S. 363 of those 1500 turned out to be so obsessed with golf that they enter their scores into the USGA database.

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What you're seeing on average is 15 rounds a year. It's kind of the average CEO is playing that amount of golf, but it's a heavily skewed distribution. Right.

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So we have a lot of people that are playing very little golf and then we have a tail where we're picking it up, you know, the top quartile of what we're looking at, which is twenty two or more rounds per year.

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And if you go to the top 10 percent of biggerstaff sample, the CEOs are playing around at least thirty seven times a year.

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A round of golf is a good for four and a half hours, so if you play 37 times a year, that's more than 160 hours on the course, the equivalent of five and a half weeks of work.

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By the way, these are understatements, they don't include the time spent driving to the course, warming up, getting changed, having a drink doesn't include the hours spent practicing shots on the putting green or the driving range or all the rounds you play that you don't enter into the database, like if you're only playing nine holes or playing a fun round. So the real time is probably way higher. Biggerstaff then goes on to show that the more golf a CEO plays, the worse his firm does, and also that the more golf a CEO plays, the more likely he is to be fired.

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In other words, this isn't a harmless habit. It's a dangerous habit. Remember the Wall Street investment bank, Bear Stearns, they went bankrupt during the mortgage crisis in July of 2007, right when the crisis was beginning. The CEO of Bear Stearns would often helicopter out from Wall Street on Friday afternoons to his exclusive course in New Jersey to get around in before sunset. Even when his company was collapsing, he couldn't stop playing golf. Out of President Donald Trump's first four months in office, he visited his own golf courses 25 times.

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One week he played three times.

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You would think he would be at the office learning how to be president, reading intelligence briefings, draining the swamp. No, he's golfing. It's an addiction, right.

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Because the definition of an addiction is a self-destructive habit. Just think if I said to you that an important employee of a major organization made lifestyle choices that caused him to miss enormous amounts of work, harm his performance and put his own career in jeopardy, you would say, whoa, check that guy into rehab. That's golf, crack cocaine for rich white guys. The highest in the sample, one hundred and forty six hundred and forty eight rounds recorded in a single year, which I mean at that point, that's a tremendous amount of time spent on the golf course.

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You thought I was engaging in hyperbole, didn't you? That I was using the word addiction metaphorically? One hundred and forty eight rounds a year is a round of golf every three days. And that would be if it was kind of uniformly distributed across the year.

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It's know golf certainly has a season where it's a little bit more intense in terms of the summer versus the winter.

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And you can't tell me what what what country. I want to know what company is.

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Yeah, we're just with this data, given it's somewhat sensitive, we're unwilling to to name out CEOs.

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I can't believe you won't tell me. I mean, here we have an activity that is incredibly expensive, that is organized in just about the most extravagant manner possible. And at the same time, this expensive habit is incredibly addictive to the point that there's a chief executive out there of a major American corporation who plays an average of one hundred and forty eight rounds of golf a year and is so completely unselfconscious about that fact that he posts all 148 rounds on a public database where it can be analyzed by graduate students.

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So what happens to rich white guys with a dangerous, costly obsession? Do they burn through their life savings paying for their addiction like ordinary addicts do? Please give them a little more respect.

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By the way, this is my 15th year in television. Imagine that 15 years of me, the longest stomach test in the history of Chauvet. You could argue, I would say in the 40s and 50s, there was no one who was more widely popular in America than Bob Hope.

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I'm talking to Richard Zoglin, Bob Hope's biographer. I think Bob Hope has been a little forgotten in recent years. But in his day, he was huge.

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Every late night comedian who does Stand-Up monologue at the beginning of the show owes a debt to Bob Hope because he kind of invented that thing, a stand up comedy monologue that sort of took note of what was going on in the world, what was going on in Hollywood, what was going on everywhere. And he was just the voice of America, I think, for a long time.

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Bob Hope is a crucial part of the story of golf in America, although I'm warning you, things are going to get a little complicated, which is sort of the point, because you don't get to run the world for as long as rich white guys have without being pretty wily and some of their best and wiliest work has been on the golf course.

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So there's a principle in property tax law called highest and best use, which is that one of the ways you figure out how much to tax a piece of property is to estimate what it's best to use might be. For example, if I have a one acre plot in the fanciest part of Manhattan that I used to grow vegetables, I can't say to the city that land is worthless. It's just a vegetable garden. No, the city is going to say we're going to value that one acre and tax it as if it had an apartment block on it, because that's the best use of land in the fancy parts of Manhattan.

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Now, if you've got a vast golf course in the middle of Beverly Hills or Brentwood, highest and best use makes you really nervous because plainly the highest and best use of land in the middle of one of the most expensive and densely populated cities in the world is not a private golf course. So years ago in 1960, California's country clubs realized they have to act or they're going to get taxed into oblivion. They get together and they propose an amendment to the state constitution that permanently exempts them from the highest and best use standard.

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They want the vegetable garden to be taxed as a vegetable garden. If you think about it, this is seriously audacious private golf courses are these massive, opulent gated playgrounds and membership is often restricted. In Los Angeles in 1960, a lot of these clubs didn't let in Jews. They certainly didn't let in black people except to work in the kitchen. Yet they wanted a constitutional exemption to ordinary property taxes like they were some kind of public amenity. How can they argue this?

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They don't. Not really.

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They just bring in Bob Hope, who, in addition to being the most popular entertainer in America, is also an obsessive golfer, obsessive. I might as well level with you.

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I spent so much time in sand traps, they sent me citizenship papers from Saudi Arabia. Oh, I love to hear the whole.

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Bob Hope once wrote an entire book just devoted to his golf game called Confessions of a Hooker, in which he estimates that he had played on 2000 different golf courses over the course of his life.

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He belonged to the Lakeside Country Club in L.A., near where he lived to live the life of the prestigious. Yes, I think so, yeah.

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The genius of picking Bob Hope is the face of California's country clubs. Is that his whole persona, his whole act was about being everyman. He's self-deprecating. Half his jokes are about how he's not part of the ingroup, even though, of course, there's no one more in than Bob Hope.

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Isn't this wonderful being here in California? I just love it. Look at that guy. That's the only place in the world where you can get four seasons in one day. I want to tell you that this is the we better hurry will be it'll be snowing before the third hole. Let's move on. All right.

[00:20:37]

So how did the Bob Hope for Gulf campaign do in 1960? It wins. The proposition passes and is added to Article 13 of the California Constitution, where it remains to this day in order to win a set of privileges for the very wealthy.

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In other words, California's country clubs turn to a man who symbolizes the common man. I mean, when is it ever happened that a TV celebrity wins a sweetheart deal for his rich golf buddies by posing as a friend of the common man?

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If you get my drift.

[00:21:09]

I have a confession to make. I'm obsessed with running. Most days I finish work and go for a run in the evening where I do hills in my backyard or head out to the track. I think of my running time is my moment of reflection and restoration. And over the past two years I've been running a gear made by Tracks, a New England based brand that makes some of the most functional and beautiful products on the market. Even before they decided to advertise with us a Pushkin, I was a track Smith guy turned on my friends on just to track.

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There's nothing to lose that's simply safe. Dotcom slash Gladwell. To take me back, just to totally understand, Prop 13 properties passed in 1978, and what are the principal stipulations of proposition? I'm in a big conference room in the Los Angeles County Municipal Building. One of those beautiful 1930s office buildings that are all over downtown Los Angeles. There are four people on the other side of the table there from the L.A. County Tax Assessor's Office. I'm on my quest to figure out why Brentwood Country Club isn't just a big park that I can go running through.

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And I've decided to start with the people who run the tax system.

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These are serious folks, deliberate, thoughtful, their promise to help me.

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You'll have to guess what they really think the tax rate is, that is one percent of the value as opposed to a variable rate, which it was before.

[00:24:58]

The man speaking is Brian Donnelly. He's talking about the most famous amendment to the California Constitution, Proposition 13.

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The property's only get reassessed with when there's a transfer or a change of ownership or there's new construction. Those are the primary parts of it.

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Here's what he's saying. If you own a house every one or two years, typically the value of your property is reassessed by the city or county where you live. So if your house doubles in value, the local government will raise your taxes accordingly. That's the way property taxes work. Except in California, Proposition 13 said that for tax purposes, the value of any piece of property in California is frozen at pre 1978 levels. And the only way that property can be reassessed at its real current value is if the property is sold.

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Or, to be more specific, if ownership of more than 50 percent of the property changes hands. In other words, California has two kinds of tax payers. The Post 1978, people who pay normal property taxes and the people lucky and old enough to be living in the same house they owned in 1978, who pay a tiny fraction of their fair share.

[00:26:12]

You know, I've got family members who've owned their house since 1969 and they're paying, I think, the taxpayers about ninety thousand dollars or something like that houses in that neighborhood. So for six hundred. So it's so they're paying a lot less. It's the it's the property conundrum, which I'm sure you've read about.

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Please understand this system is insane, totally crazy. I mean, just think of all the reasons why someone might deserve a big tax break.

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I mean, the sick, the poor, they have tons of young kids. They've made a big investment in their business. The state of California says, no, we think the most deserving group are people whose property hasn't changed hands in 40 years. OK, now imagine that you're a private golf club.

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You did that spectacular bit of jujitsu with Bob Hope in 1960, which means that you don't pay real property taxes.

[00:27:08]

Gift from God, No. One.

[00:27:10]

Then comes Proposition 13 and you get a second gift from God, because Proposition 13 says that those already artificially low property taxes are now frozen forever at 1978 levels, so long as your country club does not change hands.

[00:27:29]

And that last part is crucial because if you have a change in ownership, then you have to pay real property tax like every other longsuffering California taxpayer who hasn't been in one place since 1978.

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So the country clubs of Los Angeles all hanging by a thread. They continue to exist only so long as a tax system perceives that they have not changed hands.

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And for years, everyone assumes they haven't changed hands.

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I mean, Brentwood, L.A. Country Club, Wilshire, all the major golf clubs were all founded before 1978. But then a neighborhood newspaper called the Los Angeles Garment and Citizen runs an article.

[00:28:16]

January 16th, 2010, in which they say, wait a minute, most private country clubs in Los Angeles have what's called equity ownership. They're owned by their members. When you admitted you get a share, when you die or quit, someone else takes your share. So over time, if enough members die or quit, isn't that a change in ownership? That question was put to Rick Auerback, who was then the head of tax assessment for L.A. County.

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I think the quote was kind of funny for me. He said something about, let's see, on most issues, we haven't heard at least the question asked before. He said he'd worked in the office. Thirty nine years, but this was a new one.

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So Auerback refers the question to the city's lawyers. They put their best and brightest legal minds on it for six months. And on June 2nd, 2010, the county's tax court issued a solemn four page ruling. They conclude no country clubs haven't changed hands. If you're keeping track, that's the third straight up gift from God that allows private country clubs have gotten in the last 50 years.

[00:29:20]

I was talking to someone who was a member of our country club and I said, what percentage of the members of Bel Air today were members in 78? And he said, you know, 10 percent. So why isn't that a change of ownership? Right. If I had a chance to dig through this a whole lot since I got it out of the file the other day, but they kind of get into it. It's they're saying if there's no one event that is that is more than 50 percent of a transfer, then it's not each of those little individual slices or not a change of ownership on their own.

[00:29:55]

Did you find that argument plausible? Well, yeah, that's yeah, that's that's where are implementers of the law. Unions know.

[00:30:06]

Well, you know, I could swear as I looked across a table at Donelly and his cohorts that they were twitching like they desperately wanted to say something but had to bite their tongue.

[00:30:17]

You know, it's like, you know, that famous paradox I forgot with the ship. You the question is, if you change, if you have a ship and you change the sex and ancient Greek thing and you change one board at a time is at the end of the day, is the ship different? That's what this is.

[00:30:35]

The thing I can't remember is a Ship of Theseus, the famous thought experiment described by the Greek philosopher Plutarch roughly 2000 years ago.

[00:30:45]

Plutarch says Imagine Theseus is sailing on a ship and one by one he replaces every one of the original planks that make up that ship with a new plank until every single piece of the ship is new.

[00:30:57]

The question is when Theseus, which is sure, is he sailing on the same ship as he was when he left or a new ship? One view says it's a new ship. This is called the Myriad Logical Theory of Identity. The identity of something is the sum of its component. Parts change the parts. You change the thing. On the other side of the argument is something called spatiotemporal continuity theory, which says that an object can maintain its identity so long as the change is gradual and the form or shape of the object is preserved to the changes of its component materials.

[00:31:35]

I think you can see where I'm going with this. The city's lawyers take a second view so long as a country club replaces its rich white guys gradually and so long as each new rich white guy preserves the form and shape of the rich white guy he is replacing. Then the private golf clubs of today must have the same existential status as the private golf courses of 1978. Collections of rich white guys from the standpoint of the L.A. County property tax system possess spatial temporal continuity.

[00:32:09]

At this point, I realized I was in way over my head, tax assessors were not going to be enough. I needed an actual philosopher. So I called Marc Cohen of the University of Washington to get to the bottom of the question of whether large groups of rich white people possess ontological permanence.

[00:32:29]

Here's an argument that favors the spatiotemporal continuity theory. The idea that what makes the the ship persist through time is one and the same is that it moves smoothly through space time.

[00:32:45]

One plank is removed and thrown overboard and a replacement plank is installed, taken from the cargo the ship has on board. So when it arrives, it doesn't have a single part that is identical to any of the parts that started out with. And so there's no point at which you can say, aha, now we have a new ship, a different a numerically different ship, so that if you have that sort of argument in mind, you think, OK, the spatiotemporal continuity criterion is the correct one.

[00:33:14]

Forget about requiring that all the parts are the same.

[00:33:17]

But Cohen is not finished as a philosopher. His job is to consider all the scenarios raised by the Ship of Theseus conundrum. Like the museum counterexample.

[00:33:27]

The museum example goes like this. Suppose the ship is is in a museum of ancient ships and a gang of crooks is trying to steal this ancient ship and it realizes it can't just haul it out in one piece, they would easily be spotted. So they come up with a clever scheme.

[00:33:46]

They sneak in every night and steal the ship one board at a time, one plank a day. So the museum doesn't realize what's going on.

[00:33:54]

By the time they're finished on day number and they have all end parts of the ship removed, now they reassemble them and put it on the black market. They're selling Theseus, this ancient ship for a pretty price, and they've left a replica behind in the museum. I contend that in this case, when you describe it in this way, it seems as if this ship has been stolen piecemeal from the museum.

[00:34:25]

Cohen's point is that there's no simple answer to the Ship of Theseus problem. You can go around and around and around. That's why it's a puzzle. But do you see what the lawyers at the L.A. Board of Equalization did?

[00:34:38]

They just waltz into a philosophical conundrum that has bedeviled some of the best minds in the world for 2000 years and declare victory and say, oh, it's definitely option one, spatiotemporal continuity.

[00:34:54]

The problem, as it stands, is irresolvable, and you only come to a conclusion that makes any sense to you if you place it in a in a context in which there is something sort of extra metaphysical, something pragmatic that helps that tilts you in one direction or the other.

[00:35:16]

So what's the pragmatic, extra metaphysical consideration here? It's that Los Angeles ranks near the bottom of all major metropolitan areas in the United States in terms of public parks. There's Griffith Park off in the northeastern corner of the city, which only a fraction of the city can even get to. And then there's basically nothing except these massive golf courses, which are both closed to the general public and subsidized by the general public. Do you want to know the size of that subsidy?

[00:35:46]

I asked around a guy I know knows a guy who's a member of the L.A. Country Club. That guy's back of the envelope calculation, was it? The club's land was worth about six billion dollars, but that was a couple of years ago.

[00:35:58]

Then I heard from another guy who said that they now think it's worth nine billion, nine billion under normal circumstances, the property taxes on that much land would come to about 90 million dollars a year. Do you know what L.A. Country Club actually paid after you add up the Bob Hope exemption and the spatiotemporal continuity ruling, 200000 dollars, give or take. All right. Let's do the math together. They should be paying 90 million. In fact, they're only paying 200000 dollars in property taxes.

[00:36:33]

90 million minus two hundred thousand dollars is eighty nine million eight hundred thousand dollars. That's how much the taxpayers of Los Angeles subsidize one of the swankiest country clubs in the world every year.

[00:36:47]

Well, I want to bring up something else that comes to mind here, which is that the spatial temporal argument taken out of philosophical context strikes me as being. Can sometimes be really troubling. For example, it's a very I mean, I think there's something fundamentally intuitive about it, and I don't mean that necessarily in a good way, that it you know, that we get the fact that we call the Hudson River, the Hudson River, even though the Hudson River is at every second.

[00:37:22]

Changing, it's like, you know, the waters of saint boats go down, it, you know, it's never that you never looks the same way twice ever. But we continue to call it the Hudson River. But it strikes me that even in a political context, this kind of thinking can be used to perpetuate inequality and injustice. Interesting. For example, what is the what is an aristocracy but a political formulation of the spatial temporal? Continuity principal.

[00:37:53]

Right, it is something like that, and it's it's troubling in precisely that way because they're saying circumstances can change and the holders of the privilege can change. The the father can die and the son can inherit the peerage. But the peerage remains intact. It has this quality that's independent of all that's going around it and that's yes, where the were the identity of the object confers, for example, a right or a title.

[00:38:23]

And if it's considered to be held intact and in by whoever holds it at any one time, then basically that removes change altogether from the realm of of what matters as far as as ownership is concerned.

[00:38:40]

Yes.

[00:38:41]

So the 17th great grandson of the pier still has all of the rights and privileges, even though so far removed from the rights and privileges as they attach to the original holder of them.

[00:38:56]

So there is there is something that is unfair and anti egalitarian about the way this principle can get applied to the golf clubs of Los Angeles are essentially aristocratic institutions.

[00:39:15]

Exactly.

[00:39:21]

I think someone needs to tell Brownwood in L.A. Country Club and all the others that if they want to hold spatiotemporal continuity privileges, they have to give something back, take down your barbed wire.

[00:39:33]

Your members can play golf on weekdays, but evenings and weekends belong to the ordinary taxpayers of Los Angeles. Let them come and enjoy the greens and fairways that they've been subsidizing for generations.

[00:39:47]

It's worth remembering, by the way, that the most famous golf course in the world, the home of Golf St. Andrews in Scotland, is open to the general public on Sundays. In Toronto, the fanciest golf club is Rossdale Country Club, right in the middle of the city. But the golf course is only private in summer. The rest of the time it's open to anyone who wants to go for a walk or play Frisbee or go cross-country skiing. Canada and the United Kingdom, I would point out, are governed by a queen.

[00:40:16]

They have an actual aristocracy, but somehow they figured out a way to have their fancy golf courses be democratic. It's only on the corner of San Vicente and Burlingame that golf remains an instrument of medieval privilege. I mean, when you fly over L.A., the green space that you see is cemeteries and golf courses and golf courses. You don't see parks. We don't have a park like, say, San Francisco's Golden Gate Park or New York's Central Park.

[00:40:46]

Central Park. Daisaku and I are standing outside the barbed wire of Brentwood Country Club, peering through a fence we're trying to spot. One of the privileged few permitted a walk in the park on the west side of L.A.. I see one guy. I see one that's unbelievable to Saturday afternoon. Sun is now coming out.

[00:41:07]

No more wait. Now we're standing on the running track and there's someone running up. Now, there are more people on the this narrow dirt track than there are typically on the golf course.

[00:41:21]

Let's see if we can still see any kind of. I'm still looking for a golfer. I'm not. Oh, I see one there. You see one. Yeah. That's very exciting. Yeah. And next time I'm climbing the fence. Maybe we all should. Russia's history is produced by Mislabelled and Jacob Smith with Camiel Baptista, Stephanie Daniel and Samara Martinez. What our editor is Julia Barton Flon. Williams is our engineer, original music by Luis Guera special thanks to Andy Bowers and my old pal Jacob Weisberg.