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The truth about America has been obscured and deleted by the far American left. But in this week's Sunday special, we will be bringing it to you. Our show is sponsored by Expressive VPN. Your online activity shouldn't be public. Protect yourself and express VPN dot com slash men. As you all know, I have a new book out. It's called How to Destroy America in Three Easy Steps. And this week's podcast, Freedon Go Down Memory Lane with some folks we talk about.
What about America is worth preserving because that really is the battle right now. Is that between right and left so much as it is between people who wished for the country to continue and people who wish for the country to be destroyed? Well, if you wish for the country to continue, you have to find some points of commonality. In my viewpoint, that means a common philosophy, culture and history, a belief that the founding principles of the Declaration of Independence were indeed self-evident and correct, that you have natural rights, the pre-exist government, that limited government was designed in order to protect those rights, and that if the government were to invade those rights, you would lose its reason for being.
We have to share a culture, a culture where we tolerate each other's exercise of rights, even if we don't necessarily like how those rights are being exercised. We have to cultivate a culture of adventure and entrepreneurship where the only thing guaranteed is adventure. And you are basically expected to pick up the slack. You're expected to make the right decisions. We have to cultivate a culture where social institutions are valued and where we value our neighbors. Without that culture, all of this falls in on itself.
And finally, we have to share a common history, a belief that the history of the United States is the perfection of a principle is not, in fact, a headlong rush away from founding principle. We have to believe that American history is the story of living up to the principles set out in the Declaration of Independence, not the story of various groups clubbing each other over the head for purposes of power relations. If we believe that the country is going to fall apart.
But one thing is obvious. There is a vast group in the United States that is seeking to dissolve all the bonds that tie us together. There are normal conversations that happen between people on the right and the left about just how far founding principles extend, about just how much further we have to go. But then there are folks who just want to be the entire thing and acid. Is this what you see from the Robin D'Angelo crowd? This what you see from Ibram Kendy?
The basic idea being that the American system itself is deeply disgusting. The American system itself is rooted in brutality and evil and racism and bigotry. And the only way to fight against that is to tear down the system itself. Well, if we don't know what we're standing for, it can be very difficult to stand against the winds that are about to blow. Increasingly in the United States, we don't know what we stand for. Increasingly in the United States, our cultural institutions have fallen down on the job or been taken over by the disintegrations who wish to see all of these common ties fall apart.
I think in this week's episode, you'll see the reasons why we have to hold together. We're gonna see a lot of people disagree about a variety of topics, but they are all operating inside the rubric that suggest that the American flag stands for freedom. The Declaration of Independence was, in its essence, correct, and that the future of America lies in recognizing what we share rather than what divides us. We're bringing you the best moments from the last two years of shows with unique perspectives surrounding a topic and some of my own reflections on the collection.
This week, we focus on several guests discussing the things that unify and the things that break down America. Highlighting the aspects of America we must hold onto in order to take back the country and fended off from utter destruction. The topics in this video are also covered extensively in my brand new bestselling book, How to Destroy America. In Three Easy Steps, its crushing sales records is coming in at the top of every bestseller chart. If you want an antidote to divisive stupidity like white fragility and how to be an anti-racist head on over to Amazon or Barnes Noble dot com and pick up your copy today.
Now, before we continue, we're going to look at a couple of awesome responses we received from past guests. First, from William Lane Craig, who's featured in our Judeo Christian Values Collection. Asked about the chaos we're seeing around America the past few months, Dr. Craig says, quote, As we go through these tumultuous times, it's important for each of us personally to keep in mind the ethics of Jesus, including respect for all persons, love of one's enemies, turning the other cheek at personal insult, submission to governmental authorities and above all, love for God.
Dr. Craig, thanks so much for sending a letter. It's always great to hear from you. We also released a collection of favorite moments from the intellectual dark web. In response to her segment, Christina Hoff Summers sent this letter to us. Quote, Haven enjoyed your retrospective on the intellectual dark web. I was just thinking back to November 2016 when I replaced you as a YAF speaker at DePaul University who'd been banished from that campus by some frightened, clueless, pusillanimous administrators.
We hatched a plan to subvert the ban. You're going to sit in the audience and I would invite you onstage. Unfortunately, campus security nabbed you and forbade you set foot on campus. So am I to understand that if I take three steps forward, you'll tend to have me arrested. You create a problem, you will not leave the campus. Yes, OK.
So undeterred, he called my cell phone from off campus and invited me and the 200 plus audience to join you in a nearby bar. It had sort of a theater dungeon in the basement.
You want to hear me speak on the air? Christina, finish your lecture. Just head over the Green Room theater at point seven miles away and follow us there. Great.
OK. Did you hear that?
We're going to be happily marched off the little island of repression known as DePaul. You into the Sea of freedom called America. But now I'm worried about that sea of freedom. The sad fact is we may look back at our DePaul event as the good old. At least we had the dungeon. There seems to be a new level of Wolke fanaticism in safe space, neo Marxism permeating the culture, as Andrew Sullivan says. We all live on campus now.
Suddenly identity politics. And it's dreary. Mind numbing thought, annihilating lexicon, white supremacy, toxic masculinity, interlocking oppression is everywhere. Large swaths of elite journalism, Hollywood, Silicon Valley, even corporate America are not simply going the way of the campus. They are going full Evergreen State. So am I pessimistic? Well, not entirely. At least no sane person can any longer deny the existence of cancer culture, as Air Force vet Rob Henderson said on Twitter.
When people say there's no such thing as cancer culture, it reminds me of Season one, Episode five, when Tony Soprano tells his daughter there is no mafia. And as more people realize what is going on, resistance to it will grow. It's already happening. No movement so bereft of humor. Forgiveness, rationality, basic sanity can survive in the land of the free. For too long at least, I hope not. So keep doing what you're doing.
I'll see you on stage at DePaul. And this is all over. All the best. Cristina. Cristina, thanks so much for sending the letter. It's always great to hear from you. I hope you're doing well. We're going to jump in with our first guest, Tucker Carlson, in just a minute. But before that, we are so grateful for our advertising partners. I wanna remind you that this show can be brought to you mainly because our advertisers advertise it with us.
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That is the responsible thing to do. Go check out policy genius right now. Head on over to policy genius dot com to help you find the best rate. You'll handle the process completely. Soup to nuts will get you and your family protected. Policy genius. Dot.com. On the topic of free speech and a threat to it in the country right now, we start with Tucker Carlson. This past week, Tucker talked on his show about The New York Times releasing a story revealing the location of his family's home.
Tucker, like many of us, has been long harassed and threatened by people who disagree with him. Tucker is without a doubt, one of the leading political voices in the country. He's been the host of the Fox News show, Tucker Carlson, tonight for the past four years. This year, he became the highest rated primetime cable news show in the country. Before Fox News, Tucker was a host for programs at CNN and MSNBC totaling over 10 years of hosting cable news TV.
Tucker is one of most fascinating minds in American public life. There's so much that we agree on and so much that we disagree on. I think we disagree very largely on the role of government in American life, government choosing winners and losers. Is it the job of government to push certain social institutions at the expense of other social institutions? How should government be used in order to prop up certain institutions as opposed to general rules of liberty and then social and cultural institutions filling the gap the way the way that I proposed?
But one thing we certainly agree on is the neo Marxist left and their absolute willingness to destroy every hallmark of the country. Tucker is extraordinarily strong on that stuff. You and I are in total agreement on all of that for sure. In Episode 26, Tucker notes, the inversion of truth in the phrase diversity is our strength and how our ruling class has divided the country. Issue number one is sort of the free speech issue. People should be able to say what they want.
People should be able to lead their families, how they want to lead them there. We're in complete agreement. Right. And I think that, you know, the unity of the right is largely based on agreement on this particular point.
The idea that the foundational questions without which none of the rest is possible in free expression would be one. Of course, freedom of conscience. Right. And then you talk a lot in Ship of Fools, particularly about the threat to these sorts of ideas from a left that is focused on a sort of forced diversity. And you've been labeled racist by folks at Media Matters for this, of course, because they label everyone a racist. I'm a Nazi, according to Media Matters, because my yamaka, apparently.
But your viewpoint on diversity is basically, as I see it expressed in the book, that diversity is a neutral. It doesn't it's not good or bad. Inherently, it's not a value description. Right. And so where do you see the conflict lying between right and left on that particular?
So where I agree with you is that in a while, as I noted, I am distrustful of complex ideologies. Do think that you need to start with certain things that you believe are true and act on them if you want to get to the place you deserve to be. So what I just noticed, just as an American, and I'm not an intellectual, I'm a talk show host. So this is a very obvious thing that our national motto has been redefined to its mirror image.
So, of course, it was out of many one. And now it is. Diversity is our strength. So I think it's fair if you, without asking my consent, replace the core principle of our country. It's fair for me to ask if that principle is worth organizing a country around. So just ask the obvious question, is diversity our strength? And of course, like so much, they say it's not only untrue, it's the opposite of what is true.
It is never true that diversity is just like I'm for all kinds of diversity, but they're not our strengths. In other words, is it true in your marriage, the less you have in common with your wife, the stronger your marriages? We don't speak the same language. That's why we love each other. Is that true in your business? We don't know. We're all doing it to join a military. I know it's insane, actually. It's the opposite once again of what is true.
What is observably true. So I just noted that. And by the way, at the same time, I noted it as I did, you know, 50 nights in the past 200 nights, I made the case explicitly against racism, which is you are not responsible for your immutable qualities. You can't control your height, your hair color, your DNA, what your parents did. None of that is your fault. And you should not be punished for it or rewarded for it.
That is an argument against racism explicitly. And so for that, I'm a racist. It's like nine or 10. I'm arguing against all kinds of racism. I think it's a really dangerous way to see the world. And anyway, whatever, they don't mean anything. They say they throw at you the very things that they are doing in order to silence you. And I just happened for this brief window of my life to have the freedom to say what I think is true.
And I'm going to. There's a lot of talk these days about political realignment, and I wonder if it's not really political realignment that's taking place. But a hunkering down of the far left into the diversity, politics, identity politics, and then just the backlash to that, because it seems to me that was the real dividing line between Obama and Trump is not even on economics, where in some areas there's actually some sort of populist agreement. That's right.
It's really on these sort of cultural divisions where President Obama was was basically saying, well, we can be divided into various ethnic groups, all of whom have been victimized by America. And then we can create a coalition of the dispossessed to come back in and sweep into power. And the new demographic shift will will basically bully our boat all the way to victory. From now until the end of time. And then the backlash to that was, well, wait a second.
You know, you guys don't get to do identity politics when you've been saying that identity politics is what's wrong with America for generations correctly. So why are you doing that now? Well, as a practical matter, it just doesn't work. I mean, countries don't hang together by accident, particularly large, diverse ones. They don't have a majority in any category. So there's no you don't even have a shared language or history or culture. Why would you coalesce?
You know, why would you remain united as a country? And the answer, which I actually believe in, is that you could hang together around a common idea, a common set of beliefs. Here's what we're all for. But a ruling class and I do think this is the least responsible, most reckless thing they have done is they have not only failed to come up with what that set of common beliefs is, they have argued against the fact that it should exist.
And so, like, what they're doing clearly is I mean, it's not complicated. They're dividing in order to rule. Of course, the British did in India, but that's the shortest term thinking. And that's like day trader think. Do you want me to. Yeah. So what did what do you think is. Are those common ideals? You say that, you know, there's certain things that you think are just basic to being American. What are those common ideals?
I guess I'd start with the Bill of Rights. I mean, that's not hard to do. You don't I mean, since it is a founding document, it's the foundational document. And I think, look, you'll notice the book is long on diagnostics and short on solutions because that reflects who I am. And what I do is not a policymaker at all. I'm an observer. I'm not a deep, systematic thinker. Again, I'm a talk show host.
So I'm pretty good at telling you what I think is wrong. It's not as clear how you fix it other than go back to the obvious things like demand that everybody who comes to this country for economic opportunity, for example, or for the safety of our rule of law, also buy into the things that makes all of us Americans like. It's not it's not complicated, really. So, yeah, I would start with the Bill of Rights. Like, you have an absolute right, as defined in 1967 by the Supreme Court, but also by four centuries of tradition here in this country, which we inherited from another culture across the ocean to believe what you believe, unmolested periods and absolute right.
You can't violate my conscience. And that right is under assault, not by a political party, but by, in effect, a secular evangelical faith, which we're calling progressive or liberal or whatever it is not. It's a species of religion that seeks to convert by force and that is deeply anguished and concerned that other people disagree. So, like, I doubt you go home tonight and fret at any length over the idea that somewhere in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, someone distribution you want and should just me not thinking about.
Exactly. I'm not finished making. I can promise you somewhere in Williamsburg right now, someone is lying in a studio apartment fretting that in that, you know, the far reaches of Red Clay, Alabama, someone's not fully on board with the bathroom program if they're really bothered by that and they need to do something about it. So actually, it's an asymmetrical contest between one group that wants to affect policy outcomes and the other group that wants to convert by the sword.
So it's the religious people versus the political people. And I don't even think we acknowledge that most of the time. Larry is the host of the radio talk show The Larry Elder Show, which has been on the air in Los Angeles since 1994. He's the author of the bestselling book The Ten Things He Can't Say in America, amongst others. Just last month, a documentary Larry produced, Uncle Tom, was released. The film explores what it's like to be a minority within a minority.
A black conservative can find that film right now. And Uncle Tom, dot.com. I love Larry. Larry is just fantastic, actually. The first radio show I ever did was the Larry Elder Show. I was 16 years old. I was at UCLA. And there I hosted me on the show to talk about radicalism at the UCLA Daily Bruin. So Larry and I have a long, glorious history. I'm a big Larry Elder fan. One of the most formative people in my thinking when it came to libertarianism for sure.
In Episode 39, Larry discusses all the ways that President Obama, a full on disintegration, has contributed in dividing America and stressed our race relations. Looking back on this conversation, Larry sent us some thoughts. We're in a new place. When someone is respected and as respectable as New Orleans Saints quarterback, Drew Brees feels a need to apologize for saying he would, quote, never agree with anyone who disrespects the flag. The next day, he apologizes again and again the following day, and then his wife apologizes.
Whoever said compound interest was the greatest force in the universe never encountered white guilt. Where are we with this cancer culture? Some activists are petitioning to remove John Wayne's name from the John Wayne Airport because of remarks considered racially intemperate. Wayne made in a 1971 Playboy interview. In 1958, Martin Luther King wrote an advice column for Ebony magazine. A gay black teen in the closet wrote him seeking advice on what the young men considered his sexual confusion. King gave advice that today would be considered homophobic, if not abusive.
King told him to pray and consult psychiatrist Harry Truman without his support as president, the modern state of Israel might not have come into existence. In a 1911 letter to his future, wife referred to Jews as the Caillaud and New York as Kay Town and used a number of other ethnic slurs to cancel him. Trump was criticized for referring to Haiti and some African countries as bleep poor countries. President John F. Kennedy, according to a former New York Times investigative reporter, once derisively referred to some African countries as, quote, boogey republics to remove his name from JFK Airport here.
Larry and I discussed the recent surge in division and in intersectionality and refute the idea that America is a racist country. So, Larry, I want to ask you about a philosophy that seems to have taken over the Democratic Party almost wholesale. And that is the philosophy of intersectionality as as a precursor that I want to get your opinion on the legacy of Barack Obama, because it's my opinion that intersectionality really became a thing under the Obama presidency. People try to blame President Trump for the rise in increased racial tensions in the United States.
But if you look at the polls, what the polls say is that Americans were pretty optimistic across the racial spectrum before Barack Obama became president. Barack Obama became president. And then things started to sink pretty quickly. And I think a lot of that has to do with the fact that Americans elected President Obama under the auspices of he was going to be a great uniter, somebody who tried to get us beyond race. He, in his own persona, was unification of black and white, considering his father was black, his mother was white.
This is what he ran on. And then instead of coming forth and saying, listen, we can all call out racism together when we see it, but not every problem is a race problem. A lot of problems are just people problems. And maybe we should do that. Instead of him doing that, he decided to build an intersectional coalition around himself and then suggest the people who disagreed with him were inevitably racist. I want to get your opinion on on Barack Obama's impact on sort of the race debate in the United States.
You know, I was in the Boston arena in 2004 when Obama gave that speech for John Kerry and he brought the house down. I was with my producer. And Purohit were cheering. There's no blue America, there is no red America. The United States of America. There's no black mayors here. Yeah.
And I said to him, this guy's going to run for president. He's going to get elected. He didn't say a damn thing, but he said, well. And so Obama gets elected. And you're absolutely right. I believe that people voted for him in large part because they thought that he was going to put the nail in the coffin that America is a racist society. Finally, we can now move on. A number of people, I think, pull the lever for him because of that.
And he proceeds to do just the opposite. Before he became president, he gave a speech as a senator at a church in Atlanta. And he was talking about how much racism there is in America. And he said the generation of MLK, the Moses generation, has, quote, gotten us 90 percent of the way. They're called, quote, to realizing MLK dream of a society where people evaluate you based on content of character. And I thought that was reasonable.
90 percent, 10 percent of Americans believe I was still alive. Eight percent, believe me. Similary, he'll get it. Seven percent of adults believe that chocolate milk come from brown cows. Twenty five percent of adults say they're not sure. So you can't get much below 10 percent. And then he said, the generation, my generation, the Joshua generation, he said, has to get us that additional 10 percent. That was before he got elected, let alone re-elected, let alone back to back.
Attorneys general who are black. So I would think that 10 percent has been worked into just a little bit when he ran in 2008. You wouldn't find him and Al Sharpton on the same plane together. Second time he ran Al Sharpton come to the White House, something like over 70 times over the course of his of his presidency. The first opportunity that that Obama had to reconcile to do what people thought he is going to do was the Cambridge police incident.
You remember that the professor from Harvard had forgotten his dorky. He was on vacation, came home, realized and have his dorky. He and the cab driver pushed the door and broke into his own home. A neighbor sees this. Calls nine one one. Don't you want neighbors to do that? A cop shows up very politely. Ask Skip Gates to come out of this house and he constituted and says something like, I'll come out if your mama tells me to come out.
And instead of Obama going on television saying, look, Skip, I know your friend of mine, you and I've been friends a long time, but you have done exactly the wrong thing for for young black boys. Instead of being respectful, instead of responding to the request captain attitude, this is exactly why a lot of young black people are getting killed by the police because they look at this as a confrontation instead of following instructions. My father told me whenever I'm pulled over by the police, make sure your hands at 10:00, your right hands at 2:00.
You say yes, sir. Say no, sir. Make sure your paperwork is in order. And if you feel you're mistreated, get a badge number. Write it down. And you and I will deal with it while we're both still alive. That's what Obama could have said and should have said and did. Instead, he said the Cambridge police acted stupidly and the cops then realized that he was not on their side. And Obama fumbled around with that stupid bigot thing to try and walk it back a little bit.
But they also had he had several chances. Trayvon Martin. If I had a son, he would look like Trayvon. I don't know what that even means. And, of course, Trayvon Martin was found not guilty. And the jury said race never even came up. There were no blacks on the jury. But there was a black alternate and the alternate said he would have voted the same way. Not not guilty. And race was not a factor.
Obama gave a speech before the United Nations and invoked Ferguson. Now, this is why Ferguson was still being investigated. This cop was assumed to have been a racist. Michael Brown's largely had his hands up. Don't shoot. And Obama mentions this to a United Nations address and says we have our own problems, a place called Ferguson. Ferguson turned out to be a complete force, as you know. And the DOJ comes in, exonerates the the the cop, but nevertheless says that the Ferguson PD is institutionally racist.
And their biggest take away was this. 67 percent of the population of Ferguson is black. 18 percent of those who are stopped for traffic stops are black. Eighteen point gap. Ergo, racism. The Ferguson PD had two or three blacks. Outside of that, there were 50 whites. If that's true, why isn't the NYPD even more institutionally racist? Twenty five percent of black people live in twin. Ferguson's population of New York is black. Fifty five percent of the traffic stops or of black people.
That's a 30 point gap. Yet the majority of New York cops are either women or people of color. So how come that isn't it is more racist. And the answer is you can't do it by numbers. If you do it by differences and offending. And there's a report that came out in 2013 under the Obama administration by the National Institutes of Justice, which is the research arm of the DOJ called Race and Traffic Stops. And they looked at this.
Seventy five percent of the black voters admitted that they were stopped for legitimate reasons. And the commission found that differences in offending and differences in driving count for the difference couldn't find any evidence of racism. Years ago in New Jersey, black motorists were being stopped disproportionately by the New Jersey Turnpike, New Jersey troopers, and they were yelling and screaming about racism. Christie Todd Whitman ordered a study study, came back and said the faster the car, the more likely it is to be a black guy.
Couldn't find any evidence of racism. Didn't like the study. Didn't like inclusion. Threw it out. Hired a different person. Different methodology. Same conclusion. Sorry. Just not there. These things have been measured and studied over and over again. Reread every two or three years. DOJ conducts something called the Police Public Contact Survey. Have you been stopped by the police? How were you treated? Are you black? Are you white? Did anything happen?
Nothing. Not no pattern. It's just a lie. And so people like like Eric Holder, the NAACP of Barack Obama, have been perpetuating this B.S. lie. And in my opinion, they do it because they want that 95 percent monolithic black vote without which they cannot succeed. And a black started thinking of themselves as individuals and not as as an aggrieved group. You start looking at things like the crappy public school that I'm mandated to go to, job killing laws like minimum wage.
They would rethink their assumptions with the Democratic Party and their Democratic Party is deathly afraid of that. And that's why they have to malign people like Larry as Uncle Tom's and and slam other people as as racist because you cannot get ninety five percent of people to think a certain way unless you lie to them.
Well, speaking of speaking of that one, one of the ways that this this has been intellectualized is in this philosophy of intersectionality and the philosophy has been put out there basically that historically a lot of groups in the United States, specifically black people most of all, obviously have been victimized by the power hierarchy. The hierarchy was set up for that end. Then the only way to fight back against that power, hierarchy and institutions of power is to band together in groups that think they can get then get together themselves and then attack that hierarchy and tear it down from the inside out.
The only way, if you are on the top of the power hierarchy here, if you're a white male, for example, the only way that you get out of this unfortunate situation is by acknowledging and reading Tallahasse codes, apparently.
The problem with all of this is that in order to escape poverty, get to the middle class. If this has been studied by the left and by the right, and they agree, if you look at the Brookings Institution and the Heritage Foundation, they are diametrically opposed on many issues. But on the formula to get from poverty to the middle class, they all say the same thing. Finish high school first. Number two, don't have a kid before your 20.
Number three, get married before you have a kid. And they phrase it a little bit differently. But that's what all three of them have said. And if you argue that, as Obama did, that a kid race, a father is five times more likely to be poor, nine times more likely to drop out of school and 20 times more likely to end up in jail. That is the number one problem facing America. And if slavery and Jim Crow had this affect, how do we go from having 25 percent black out of wedlock birth in 1965 to almost 70 percent now?
I would think that anybody would argue we're less racist today than we were in 1965. So you can't attribute it to that. In fact, during slavery, a black child was more likely to be to be born under a roof with his biological mother and biological father. Then today, it is the number one problem facing this country, not racism. Take a magic wand and wave it over America and remove every smidgen of racism for the hearts of white America, 50 percent inner city dropout rate in some schools, 70 percent of black kids born outside of wedlock, as I mentioned.
Twenty five percent young black boys have criminal records. The CDC just said that a young black man is ten times more likely to be the victim of a homicide compared to a white person. And the number one cause of preventable death for young white men are accidents like car accidents. The number one cause, preventable cause of death for young black men is homicide, almost always at the hand of another black person. Chicago, a third black, a third white, third Hispanic, 70 percent of the homicides are black on black, and about 75 percent of those being are unsolved.
And we're talking about intersectionality.
Get out of here. Get out of here. Now, let's look at someone I admire who speaks to the experience of growing up, being taught the value and blessings of liberty in America. And later found herself in the debate over the historical symbols in the American South. Nikki Haley is perhaps best known as the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations from 2017 2018 under the Trump administration. She is governor of the state of South Carolina. From 2011 to 2017.
And she's the author of The New York Times best selling book. With all due respect, defending America with grit and grace. So, as you all know, Nikki Haley is my spirit animal. I love Nikki Haley. She's just the sweetest person on Earth. I just happen to know her family. Wonderful, wonderful human being and a true conservative in every sense of the word. She really thinks through the policies that she promotes and she's strong and stands up against people who refuse to give her the respect to which she is due, which is something that I think families should take note of when they report down in a couple of years when she runs for president in June 2015.
Well, Nikki was governor. A tragic shooting occurred at Mother Emanuel and African-American church in Charleston, South Carolina. A hateful shooter proudly displayed a Confederate flag on his manifesto. And as a result, Nikki made the decision to remove the flag from the state capital in this discussion from Episode 49. Nikki details that decision and explains why removing a Confederate flag is different than removing a Confederate monument. But first, listen to us discuss the virtue of hard work and patriotism.
She learned being raised by an immigrant family. Well, you know, first I was born in a small rural town in South Carolina. We were the only Indian family. We weren't white enough to be white. We weren't black enough to be black. My father wears a turban. My mom at the time was sorry. No one knew who we were, what we were or why we were there. And so growing up like that, I was always different.
I was always an other. And I remember coming home after being bullied. And my mom would always say, your job is not to show how you're different. Your job is to show how you're similar. And it's interesting because going through life, I've treated everything like that. So the same thing that happened as a five year old on the playground is the same thing I did when I was a governor. It's what I do as an ambassador is when you have challenges.
It's a lot easier if you will go through all the things you agree on first and then go to the challenge because it puts everybody's guard down and all of a sudden lets them relate to you a little bit more. And so those kinds of things really impacted everything I did. I started doing the books for my parents business when I was 13. I did not know that wasn't normal until I got to college. Now I know it's child labor. And I tell them that all the time.
But it was there that I learned the value of a dollar. You know, when times were tough in our small business, I knew that we had to hunker down. We got creative, we got lean and we had smart. And then when times were good, we never celebrated because we knew it wouldn't last forever. And I carried that whole mindset to my love of numbers. And that's when I went to Compson Go Tigers and graduated with a degree in accounting, went to corporate America and worked there for a bit.
And then I came back home to the family business and it was there that, again, my mom heard me saying how hard it was to make a dollar and how easy it was for government to take it. And my mom said, quit complaining about it, do something about it.
How did your family react when you said that you're running for office, your husband, your kids? How did they react to that? Difficult life. My kids were little. I think there were three and six at the time, so they didn't really know they would cheer on every time they'd see like a four by billboard, they'd be like Mom and they Jeremy and they were my only cheering committee because no one knew who I was. So Michael has always been unbelievably supportive.
He's never said no. He's never said don't do it. He's always said. Yeah, you can do this. You should go ahead so. And of course, my parents, you know, being immigrants, when you have immigrants, immigrant parents, they're so patriotic, they're so grateful. And my parents, literally, there was not a day that went by where my brothers, my sister and me didn't hear from my parents about how blessed we were to be in this country and how we had to remember that.
And so that feeling, they always encouraged us to do anything. My husband was always supportive at everything. And then the kids, I think, just went along for the ride.
So as governor of South Carolina, I think the first time that a lot of people saw you on the national stage was the controversy with regard to the removal of the Confederate battle flag from the from the Moore monument that was outside the state Capitol building, I believe. So maybe you can take us through your thinking on that. It emerged the whole controversy emerged in the aftermath of the horrible terrorist attack on the UN, the historically black church in South Carolina.
Take us through a logical next. I know that that raised a lot of ire on both sides. And obviously you had to take a tough position.
It was painful. It was absolutely painful. Here was on a Wednesday night, 12 people did what a lot of people in South Carolina did. They went to Bible study. Mother Emanuel is one of the oldest African-American churches. It's a beautiful church. And people, typically families for generations go to that church. And but on that night, someone else showed up and he didn't look like them. He didn't sound like them. He didn't act like them.
But they didn't kick him out. They didn't call the police. They pulled up a chair and they prayed with him for an hour. And in that last prayer, when they bowed their heads, he started to shoot. These were people who lived their life every day just trying to be good. They took care of their families. They had jobs. They went to church. It was what every South Carolinian did and the pain of that. And the fact that it was in the most sacred of places, that was the part I couldn't get my heart around, was when you go to a place of worship.
That's your with God. That's like that. That's your close. The closest feeling to God. And you feel the safest and you feel like you can let your guard down and you're your most vulnerable. And the idea that someone could do this in a church. Was just pure hate. And I remember going to my law enforcement director and I said, Chief, please tell me he had a mental illness. I so wanted him to say that. And he said he did.
So once we knew it was hate. I knew that I had to protect the state. But my bigger problem was I had to keep the national media out. They so wanted in on this. They wanted to define it. They wanted to talk about it in their terms. They wanted to talk about the solutions. And I literally had to just push them off and say, stop. We're going to have these funerals. We're going to give the respect to these families.
And during that time, it was a presidential primary. So all the candidates wanted to weigh in on it. So I was on the phone with the candidates telling them to stay out. But the beautiful part was that next day when the killer presented himself for the first time in front of Judge. Those families, unscripted, unrehearsed, not having talked to each other. Walked up, look the killer in the eye and forgave him. I mean, that kind of forgiveness through their pain.
They forgave him and prayed for him. And there's so many lessons that can be learned through that. And the people of South Carolina, they didn't protest. They had vigils. They didn't have riots. They had hugs. And so from that standpoint, it was a healing time. The problem was that the killer. Did a manifesto and the very picture on the manifesto was him standing there with a Confederate flag. So now the Confederate flag in South Carolina.
By many was viewed as heritage service and family history. There was a real traditional component to it. And then the others who know what is, you know, what people remember and slavery and all of those things, so you had this one group of people that saw it as a part of them, saw it as a part of their tradition. But literally, after I saw that image and that image went all over the world. I knew that something had to be done.
And so that next day we announced that we were going to bring the flag down. It was a tough debate. What made it hard is we had to have two thirds vote in both the House and the Senate. And, you know, it was just a matter of I think there was a little bit of. You know, just communication. A lot of prayer and just believing in the people in South Carolina. And so, yes, it was a tough debate.
What I made sure I communicated was a flag as a living, breathing representative symbol. A monument is very different. A monument represents a moment in history, a past moment in time. So I made it very clear to my state that the flag needs to come down because I don't want a single child to look at that flag and feel pain or see the killer's face or any of that. But we're not going to start taking down monuments because those are monuments we learn from.
That's how we make sure we never forget. So what we did on the monument side was an African-American museum went up a monument to the Mother Emanuel in tribute, went up. That's how that needs to be handled. If you take down the monument, you're not a racing history. You're just taking something down. The game proved the point when you didn't you just a race to lessen. To better understand American history, we have David Barton, a historian and the founder of Wall Builders, an organization that presents America's forgotten history and heroes with an emphasis on our moral, religious and constitutional heritage.
He's authored many bestselling books. He serves as a consultant to state and federal legislators and even helped to develop the history and social studies standards for states like Texas and California. Newsmax named him one of America's top 100 most influential evangelicals. Time magazine put him in the top 25. So meeting David Barton was super cool, especially because he brought a ton of historical items. I am a historic memorabilia nut. I mean, his collection is just astonishing and wonderful.
Literally, the only person I know whose collection is anywhere near this is Glenn Beck. But David Barton, I think even Trump says I also have his founder's Bible sitting on my desk at home. So we actually just heard from David. Barny sent us a letter. Here's what he had to say. Ben and I had an extensive discussion about the substantial positive impact of religious thought, belief and practice head on America's founding fathers. The overwhelming majority of the more than 200 of them, with only a few exceptions, were men of deeply devout and pious biblical faith.
It's a deliberate steps to ensure that America would never become secularist in education, government or the public square. But today, most Americans know so little of our history that they believe just the opposite, which has led to bad public policy. We are seeing the same pattern repeated, but the current attacks on our foundational cultural and historical ideas and symbols, many of the statues being torn down were actually early pioneers leading the fight against racism and had historic breakthroughs in changing the policies of their day.
None of them are perfect. But even Thomas Jefferson was the first to announce to the world that America wanted to end the slave trade. And he was the first leader of any nation to sign a law banning the international slave trade as a result of the efforts of so many founding fathers. America became the fourth nation in the world to ban slavery, making us one of the earliest anywhere on the globe. We want to tear down the statues of those who helped move the world in the right direction.
The portrayal of American history today is too often reduced to historically inaccurate means and ridiculously simplistic soundbites. Our historical knowledge affects our public policy. If our laws are built on an inaccurate view of the past, then they will be ineffective at best and onerous at worst. But if they are built on a foundation of truth, they can be effective in achieving good. David, thanks so much for sending that in. Obviously, our conversation was great to go listen to that in the back catalogue.
Part of it today from Episode 57. Dave and I discussed the Founding Fathers and their alliance and encouragement of religious thought. George Washington's warnings and wise words from his farewell address and the real meaning of the separation of church and state. One of the things that they're even talking about a lot is really important to me. I mean, I wrote a book that largely concerns this is the impact of religious thought on American founding thought. So obviously, you've you've mentioned it a couple of times.
You should hone in on it. There's this idea that's taught in schools that effectively America is a secular country, that it was founded along the idea of separation of church and state. And to this end, the First Amendment is is often cited the idea that you can't establish a religion and then forgetting about the second half, which is that there is freedom of religion. So what exactly, in your view, was the relationship of founding thought to religion?
How much did the founders rely on religious thought and what did they think in terms of governance and religion, how those two should be balanced?
They were very adamant that you do not separate religious principles. Now, doctrines are one thing, religious principles or something else. And so when they said there should be no establishment religion back then and establishment of religion was a state established religion. They had no trouble with religion. They promoted it. The first federal law that was passed dealing with how you become a territory in the United States is called the Northwest Ordinance. George Washington signed that on. On August the 7th of 1789.
That's how 32 states became states in the United States. And that law specifically says Article three, religion, morality and knowledge being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind, schools and means of education, shelter ever be encouraged. So to this day, if you look at constitutions like the current North Carolina constitution, you look at Iowa, Kansas, six out of it says forever in the public schools of the state, religion and morality would be taught as well as knowledge.
So they saw that as a mandate that you can't be part of America if your schools don't promote religion, morality. Now, which particular denomination? Now, we're not doing that, but the principles of Bible principles, of how we control ourselves, behave behavior, our morality all comes from there. And so they were huge into promoting that. I mentioned that there were two documents that just kind of turned me around. One of them was I actually got a copy of George Watch in 1796 Farewell Address.
And that's considered one of the most significant presence of speeches ever given. It's interesting that we have state laws from 1820, were that in 1820 you were required in states to take a written exam on four documents every year for the first eight years of school. And those four documents were the U.S. Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, the state constitution and George Washington's farewell address. You had to study that. You had to know that a written exam for the first eight years of school once a year.
It's interesting that in the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln actually issued a general ordered all the union troops, said, guys, if you're not fighting the enemy today, I want you spend the whole day reading George Washington's farewell address, meditating on his principles, thinking about what he said. Same happened to World War One. Woodrow Wilson read the farewell address. So we really thought this was significant. And in the farewell address, Washington is saying, OK, here we are at two terms.
I'm leaving. Retiring. You all know what we've been through. And he talks about economics. He talks about what happened, the revolution. And he says. And now, my fellow citizens, as I leave. Here's a few thoughts. And they're almost like warnings. I mean, one of the things he says is don't let the federal government get into deficit spending. Now, that's one of his great warnings. He talks about avoiding foreign entanglements.
And I try to keep sovereignty here and don't get tied in foreign wars. And so all this y stuff. But what he says, he says, of all the habits and dispositions that lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. He said in vain with that man, claim the tribute of patriotism. Who should labor to subvert these great pillars? So he goes out saying, Guys, anybody that tries to separate religion, morality from public life, from politics, they're not patriots.
They're trying to destroy the nation. Now, that's a big litmus test. And I was told that Washington was a great DST, that he was not a faith guy. And here he is saying guys don't. If anybody tries to take faith out of the public square, they're not a patriot. I'm good. Oh, my gosh. That's not what I was taught. And so when I read his farewell address, it really got me thinking. What else did I get taught?
Right. And so separation church and state is one of those phrases that the way we use it today, probably best way to explain it. The phrase did not originate with Jefferson. It originated back in the 14 and 15 hundreds. John Greenwood, a pastor in Great Britain, is probably the first guy credited with saying it back in the fifteen hundreds. And so they wrote about it for hundreds years before Jefferson picked it up. So he was repeating what historical writers had said.
But even in Jefferson's letter, which he wrote on January the first 18 or two. That's a famous letter of the court's quote today on separation church and state. That is two hundred and thirty three words long as three paragraphs. It's easy to put a footnote in any court case. And since nineteen forty seven, no quote, no court has quoted more than eight words. A wall of separation between church and state. That's it. Every court that used it before forty seven quoted the whole letter like Reynolds versus United States.
It's 1878. And every time they quoted the whole letter of Jefferson, they said, look, based on what Jefferson said, separation, church and state means you can't stop a public religious activity. And so we always kept religion in public life using the separation phrase until a case in 47 called Everson vs. Board of Education. And the court said all liquid, Jefferson said, separation. We can't have any religion. Life, no. Read the there's a reason they don't put the whole letter in there.
When you read the whole letter, it's obvious what Jefferson said because you had a group and Connecticuts and we're afraid the government's going to shut down our religious activities. Expression. He said no. There's a wall of separation between church and state. They will not stop your religious activities. That's not what we get today. So that's the kind of stuff that really started turning me over and saying I wasn't taught this. I got a whole different line. Even separation church and state.
And so if you go back and look at what Jefferson did. Oh, my gosh. Jefferson started church in the US Capitol Building every week. We had church in the capital by 1857, the largest church, Protestant church, United States, met in the capital every week. Jefferson started that. He invited preachers to preach at that church. How's that separation? Well, that's why we don't look at what he actually did or said. We just use a phrase from.
Next to take on some of the criticisms of American nationalism and to make the argument that America isn't simply held together by common ideas, we go to Rich Lowry from Episode 78. Rich began his career as a research assistant to Charles Krauthammer and was selected by William F. Buckley to lead National Review as editor in 1997. He's a columnist for Politico. He's a frequent guest on programs like Meet the Press. Rich has authored books like Lincoln Unbound. The Case for Nationalism Made US Powerful, United and Free and Legacy paying the price for the Clinton years.
A New York Times best seller, Rich, is one of most creative and intelligent minds in conservative circles. His defensive nationalism is particularly fascinating, especially because it's come under such bad odor in modern American society. If you say you're a nationalist. Everybody in the media simply says you're a Nazi, which is insane and crazy. Nationalism has an actual meaning and there's a lot of complexity to the idea. Rich and I have discussed this at length. We discussed it in our interview as well in that discussion.
Rich addresses criticisms of American nationalism and explains what a truthful history of the United States should look like, how the 16 19 project is unprecedented. What separates group identity from national identity and what truly makes us American. Let's talk about American nationalism, the cheap critique of American nationalism is that we're not actually a nation that we are, we're a set of different competing interest groups and that we have been bound together by fate or by military power, depending on how you see it.
But realistically, the idea of a common American nation that spans both slaves and slave holders, that spans Native Americans and the people who drove them off their land, that that spans oppressor's and people who were oppressed, that that is a fantasy or mirage and that it's history written by the winners. How do you respond to that?
Well, there's there's been American nation for a very long time.
And my contention is that it predates the revolution in 1776. I can't tell you exactly when the American nation arises, but it's sometime between the early 17th century with the settlement starts here and the revolution where you have people who become used to governing themselves, that have their own governing institutions. Most importantly, this colonial assemblies that are governing for 100 years. That's a very long time. You don't get the revolution if you don't have a nation prior to it that feels that it has its own claims and rights that need to be vindicated.
Now, the shortcomings of the nation. African-Americans are part of the cultural nation from the very beginning, but their rights aren't recognized by the government and the state and Native Americans are pushed aside by the American nation. So these are these are two shameful aspects of our history. And I spent a lot of time talking in the book how we need a truthful history of the United States that includes our sins. But it shouldn't necessitate lying about ourselves, which is I what what we see now in the 60 19 project, The New York Times and elsewhere, which is something I think really unprecedented in human history.
Usually the natural tendency is to lie about the other guy, lie about the other country to drag them down. We have people now who are dragging our own country down.
When we talk about people joining the stream of American history, being admitted to the to the the broader stream of American history in the case of freed slaves, for example, or Native Americans who who decide not to live in tribal reservations, which are a separate governed area. How do people join the American nation? Because if America is a credal idea, that makes sense. But if America is more than a creed, how do you join with a nation that has a separate history or a separate culture?
Yes, I think one of the pillars of the American nation is a cultural core, and African-Americans are contributing to that from the very beginning. I spent some time talking the book about how Southern culture is really impossible to just aggregate and certain important respects. What's the African influence and what's the European influence? Because it's all mixed up Native Americans. Again, a different case. They were pushed aside. They were excluded. And that's part of the original sin of this country.
But you're an American fundamentally by you learn the language, you adopt the mores, you thrill to the stories in the heroes, you honor the symbols and you believe in the ideals that makes you an American. And something I say and talks about this topic is if hypothetically tonight take a tourist metaphor. An African-American meets a white American on the streets, on the stairs of the Paris Opera House, they instantly have more in common than anyone around them. It doesn't matter where their ideologies are different, their politics are different, where they are from this country.
They have a common language, a common mode of dress. Likely common cuisine tend to like the same kind of food and a huge stock of common cultural references. And I just don't think you can minimize the importance of that to what it is to making an American. So, yes, the creed is important. And as part of that and the culture and the creed interact with one another and support one another. But it's not just a creed entirely.
So philosophically, what separates group identity from national identity? So we can say that that, for example, black Americans obviously are part of the American story. But there are some black Americans who say, well, we're not. We were left out of the American story. And our chief loyalty lies to the black American story, which is different from the general national American story. And trying to pretend that we are just one part of a broader American history is is selling a short why should loyalty be to a nation, in some cases, a nation that victimized the group too long as opposed to the group to which you would, which seems closer to you in terms of proximity?
Well, I mean, I think there are overlapping loyalties, right? We're all loyal, most of all to our family. We might have an affiliation. You know, if you're an Irish and American, you might be particularly have a connection to Ireland and St. Patrick's Day and aspects of that language and culture. But ultimately, I think we're all in this together and none of us are what we are. If it if it weren't for this country and being born in this country is something.
None of us are responsible for. It's just an incredibly gratuitous blessing that we're here. So for me, that's that argues for loyalty to the nation. Now, African-Americans, it's much more difficult case because they were treated unjustly for one hundred and fifty years, horrifically. You know, I've been reading up on slavery because I've been arguing with some of the people who wrote the 60 19 project. And The Atlantic Passage is something it's almost impossible to read about it.
So nauseatingly horrifying. But the story of African-Americans is of loyalty to this country. The the emphasis on African-American has to be American. And the lead essay, New York Times 60 19 project, I think was actually moving and correct on this topic. Participated in every American war, even when they had no rights returning or returning to a country that was going to oppress them. And it's very moving anecdote in an essay where the author describes being a little girl in school and the teacher has some project where all the students are going to point to the country on the globe that their family is originally from and her her and her African-American friend.
They have no idea. They have no idea where to point because they're so American. Exactly. Because they're so American and because of various factors, including that we didn't import many slaves here compared to Caribbean islands. And our immigration policy was racist. And we didn't welcome African-Americans for that reason. If you're an African-American and your family didn't emigrate fairly recently, your lineage in this country is way, way, way back. And in that sense, you're more American than any of the European American neo-Nazis in Charlottesville, for instance.
I get into the philosophy of conservatism in Episode 56 with the great one, Mark Levin, host of The Mark Levin Show, one of the most respected political radio shows in the country. He also hosts Life, Liberty and Levin on Fox News hugely rated show. He was the first editor in chief of Conservative Review, and he's authored several New York Times bestsellers, including his latest on freedom of the Press. Prior to his radio and TV days, Marc served as an adviser to many members of President Reagan's cabinet, eventually becoming chief of staff to Attorney General Ed Meese.
Mark was awarded the American Conservative Union's Ronald Reagan Award for his work at Landmark Legal Foundation, an American conservative legal advocacy group where he served as president. I'm a longtime admirer of Mark Levine. Meeting him was one of the great thrills of my young life, and becoming a colleague is an even bigger thrill. Mark is one of the most intelligent commentators on the political scene. He knows his founding philosophy down to his marrow. He understands the law and he understands the threat from the left.
Frankly, I'm honored to be considered a colleague of my friend Mark Levin in our conversation. Listen to us discuss the fight to define conservatism. What we need to teach every American narrative shift away from appreciation of our founding and how the Declaration of Independence, as originally written, is what enabled this country to abolish slavery. I don't think Donald Trump is a philosophical conservative. I think he's come to his conservatism as a matter of practicality and in some ways principle.
And so I don't think he's anymore a principled or philosophical conservative than George W. Bush. George H.W. Bush. I think they've really been, too, in the last little over century. Would be Coolidge and Reagan. But other than that, I can't think of any. Just off the top of my head. Not Nixon. Not Ford, not Eisenhower. Certainly not Theodore Roosevelt and Harding and so forth. So I don't really hold that against him in terms of him promoting that kind of an agenda from a philosophical point of view.
But I think it's kind of not our job, but our responsibility to try and explain that to a lot of people, what these policies are, our philosophy and so forth. I even think a lot of so-called conservative websites and magazines have lost their way. They're fighting with each other about what conservatism means or they've abandoned it in some ways because they hate Trump or they'd love her or whatever the situation is. I, I feel right now the intellectual conservative movement is very weak.
I really do. I think you and I and others try to present that case. But it is different, a broad based perspective. It's quite weak. And I think that's a problem because some people are abandoning it. I'm not sure why 100 percent. I'm very troubled by some who've talked about conservatism all these years and then all of a sudden say, well, what are the what is it ever done for us? And I said, let me tell you what it's done for you.
Nine o'clock tonight, I want you to go into one of these supermarkets where I live. They've a place called Wegmans. I don't know if they have it in California. It's as big as a football field. And I want you to walk down every aisle, 10 different types of toothpaste. You can get battery operated toothbrushes or handheld, soft medium. And I want you to go to the meat section and I want to see how many types of meat.
The chicken section. Go to the wine section. Wine from all over the. Just look. Stop telling me conservatism doesn't work and capitalism doesn't work. We are the we have more material things in this country. And any king or queen had 200 years ago, we get on an airplane, we fly across the country. That's not socialism. That's not big government. Those are airplanes. It's technology. That's creativity. And we complain whether they have peanuts or pretzels on the plane or whether we're sitting on the tarmac for an extra half hour.
Right. We need that. We need to put things in perspective. The things we have in this country, almost no other country has certainly two thirds of the world doesn't have. What do you think millions of people are trying to claw their way into this country? Because why? Because. Because the middle class is is under attack. Because we have systemic racism. Because so we're not socialist enough. Now it's because of all the other reasons. And so part of it is the responsibility, the individual citizen.
Honestly, I don't look to the president, the United States or a senator or politician of a kind of tell me this is what you need to think. One of the things that we need to continue to teach people is think for yourselves. That's a good thing. Learn freedom. Most of the stuff I've learned about the Constitution. I sure as hell didn't learn it in public school. I've learned since I've been in school. And that's a good thing.
The learning process goes on and on and on, but not again. The first chapter. Liberty A.. I say one of the reasons why we don't really appreciate liberty because we're surrounded by and one of the reasons we don't appreciate what we have is because we're surrounded by it. And so we get caught up in really stupid arguments. Our focus is so off. And then we had D-Day, the anniversary. Seventy fifth Henry the other day. And I play these old clips from World War Two.
And you really know your patriotism is just through the roof. And you see what how tremendous this country is in the sacrifices people have made for this country. So I think it's really on each one of us. More than a president to really explain liberty and conservatism and constitutionalism in this president doesn't do that anyway. Most presidents don't do that. Like I said, I can think of two who basically did. But I will say this strongly in support of the president.
He doesn't preach the other two how rotten America is. You know how racist America is, the wage gaps in America. I mean, I and, you know, people can't get health care in America. So he's not one of them. And so. And at his core. I know he loves his country. This is one of the things that's been troubling me so much about the Democratic Party. I make a distinction in my language routinely between leftist and liberal liberals or people I disagree with on politics.
Leftist or people who want to shut down the debate are interested in polarizing people specifically on the basis of race for political gain. And it seems like the left has taken over completely. The Democratic Party is interesting. I was watching with my wife an old movie the other night with Colbourne, yesterday with Judy Holiday and Broderick Crawford, and the movie is from 1950. It's an incredibly patriotic film and the entire film is basically William Holden showing Judy Holliday around the city of Washington, D.C. And she he brings her to see the Constitution and Declaration of Independence.
They go to the Jefferson Memorial and he's telling her all about the wonderful founding philosophy. And I turn to my wife and I said, there's no way this movie gets made today because the entire narrative of the left has shifted. Even in my lifetime, I'm old enough to remember when the Democratic Party actually still at least paid lip service to the foundations of the country and talked about how wonderful founding philosophy was. And now it seems that the narrative is dominance in the Democratic Party, that the founding philosophy was effectively just racism, sexism, bigotry and homophobia dressed up in fancy clothes and then sold to people.
And that, well, we really have to do is cleanse the palate, get rid of all these documents and start afresh. Obviously, it scares the hell out of me. And I'm seeing young people who don't know anything about history buying into it. How do you combat all of that?
You know, the institution that is that they really needs to be dealt with in one form or another is education, public education and universities and colleges. And you and I fund them. The American people are funding our own demise. Somehow people get tenure, not all, but too many, vast majority in our public schools. The NEA, the HFT and our colleges and universities, they get tenure and they are people who reject our founding principles. I mean, I always wonder how many battles of the Civil War actually taught my school.
Each battle is so incredible, so unique. Many panels of World War Two, how many battles of the Revolutionary War do kids do they know at Lexington and Concord? These are things that would inspire patriotism and support for the country. Instead, you're right. The founders had no positive characteristics. They were slaves. So they must be dismissed. And it was Abraham Lincoln who did the greatest job of explaining the founding and the founders and did more for African-American slaves in this country than any left wing professor or any leftist on TV that you can imagine.
He led the Civil War. And what Lincoln said in 1858 and beyond. And he loved the founders. He said those men wrote the Declaration of Independence. There's not a word about slavery in the Declaration of Independence. Every individual is created by God, unalienable rights, he said. So the men, those men knew that slavery was wrong. But they also could not create a country because certain states like Georgia and South Carolina weren't going to go for it.
But they knew that their children and their grandchildren would have to address this. That's why they wrote the Declaration of Independence the way that they did. And he says it's their writing, their constitution that will enable us to smite this because otherwise we wouldn't have had a country. And you still would have had states or colonies with slavery in states and colonies without it. But history is not taught. It certainly wasn't. When I was in high school, I still got the same pablum, the same left wing agenda.
They have managed the progressive movement to really control ideologically virtually every instrumentality of our culture right now. And that's why we these culture wars, whether it's the courts, whether it's whether it's the bureaucracy, whether it's education, whether it's the media, we always start with the progressive foundation and we're always on defense trying to respond to these things. We've got to do something about colleges and universities. And I think we the people need to start speaking with our wallets.
And states need to start withholding funds. You're going to be subsidized, will not be subsidized so much. Make sure when you send your kid to college, if you're involved in that decision, that you don't send them to an indoctrination. You know, just because it's an Ivy League school doesn't mean they have to go there. There's other schools out there where they'll get a more traditional education and so on. But this is something I've been thinking a lot about.
Maybe one day I'll write about it. Give it more focused thought.
But it is a huge, huge problem to end with an uplifting guest from the show discussing some of the aspects and values that all Americans can and should get behind. Let's go to episode 41. Arthur Brooks, Arthur is the former president of the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank committed to defending human dignity and building a freer world. He's now a faculty. For Harvard Business School and Harvard Kennedy School, he's written The New York Times Best Sellers.
The Road to Freedom. How to Win the Fight for Free Enterprise. The Conservative Heart. How to build a fairer, happier and More Prosperous America. And several others. Arthur Brooks is legitimately the nicest person in the entire world. When he writes books about how we should be nicer to each other, you think, who is this guy and what sort of saccharine nonsense is this? And then you read the books and they are filled with content and depth.
And it turns out that Arthur is just a deep, abiding, loving person, just a wonderful guy. Also happens to be a classical French horn. You'll find out very often. I'm a classical violinist. At some point we'll have to play duets. Listen to us discuss finding commonality between all Americans and recognizing the blessings of capitalism and our free enterprise system. In your book, you talk about we've talked a little bit here about the gradations in terms of who is worthy of contents of the Taliban, worthy of contempt.
But, you know, in the United States, the idea is that we are well, we think that we may be enemies. We're actually not enemies. We're brothers in the long in Lincolnian formulation. I want to ask if that's really true. And the reason I ask that is because as certain people on both sides become more radical, I think right now the left is moving in a radical direction faster than the right, as Donald Trump is actually in policy, somewhat of a moderate Republican.
The left seems to be moving pretty dramatically in a far left direction, including embrace of democratic socialism. You talk about these sort of moral values that you still think unite Americans. What do you think those moral values are? And are you are you overstating the case?
Do you think that we have more in common than we may actually have in common? I may be overstating the case, but I want to air on that side. Why? Because one of the things that I've noticed is that leaders throughout history who are truly aspirational, they're not populist. You know, populism is fundamentally not leadership. It's followership. It's basically and you've made this point a hundred times, like I stole this from Ben Shapiro. But there's there's a parade going down the street.
A populist is a guy who says there's a parade. I better get out in front of it. They need a leader. Leadership is something that says there's a better future. Can you see it? There's a guy who teaches at Harvard Business School named Daniel Goleman, and he talks about authoritative leadership, which is not you must come with me. It's not coercive. It says. Do you see a better future?
Do you want it that maybe people don't want it? But in point of fact, you have to look at the horizon and you have to look at the moral horizon. I have to say this is something better and to hold Americans to their highest and best values. That's a good thing to do. Are we there? No. Am I there? Not every day. But I want to be there and I want America to be there. And so I'm looking for what I think is the kind of moral DNA of this country.
And the moral in this country unambiguously believes in the radical equality of human dignity. Why? Because you make this point, your new book, everybody's got to get this book because it talks about how how these how these Judeo-Christian values, these Western values are a gift to the world people, even if they're not religious. I mean, when a lot of people watching us were atheists, were secular completely, but they believe in the equality of human dignity.
Why? Because we have a culture that's based on the idea that each one of us is made in God's image. God is worthy of respect. That's the essence of dignity. And so each one of us is worthy of dignity. That's what Americans actually believe. Furthermore, the reason that the, you know, the people came here in the first place is because we believe in the limitlessness of human potential. So let's call Americans the dignity and potential.
Are they living up to it? No. Will they ever live up to it? Completely. Now, in my lifetime. But I'm going to work in a social movement and an intellectual movement and an immediate movement. I'm going to work with you. We're gonna work together to try to help Americans live up to those standards, even though we haven't hit them yet.
I mean, I certainly agree with all of that. I wonder if they're active opponents to some of that. And the reason I say that is because you put a you point out Jonathan Hights, moral matrix. Jonathan's been on the program, Professor Height, and he and we talked about the five factors, maybe six, if you include liberty, which he added later. And you talk about how conservatives and liberals still believe in a couple of them, this impassioned interna, compassion, fairness.
But even those ones, as Professor Height has recognized, are seen in almost diametrically opposed ways. So fairness for conservatives is fairness in the meritocratic sense, the idea that we all have equal rights, but that the outcome is not going to be equal. And fairness for many on the Democratic side is fairness of outcome, which is directly opposed to fairness of meritocracy. Right. When it comes to compassion on the right side of the aisle, the value system tends to be while compassion is me helping you find a job, develop a skill set, care for yourself and compassion.
On the left side of the aisle is how do I create a system whereby you don't have to care for yourself, whereby we are caring for you? That's the that's real compassion. So if that's the case, then even the most basic values, the ones that are necessary for us to be playing the same game, so to speak. Have those been radically undermined or do you think that there are bridges that can still be built? I think there are bridges.
And the reason is because let's take something like fairness, where the right really does focus on meritocratic fairness. It's don't take something that somebody else earned. And the left really does focus much more redistributive fairness. The idea of redistributing somebody has more. Somebody has less. The person has left less, needs more. You take it from the person who has more. OK, I got it. But that doesn't mean that you and I who are guys on the center, right or on the right, don't believe in any redistribution.
That's wrong. You believe that there should be a welfare state and so do I. I mean, I believe that the free enterprise system, one of the greatest accomplishments ever, the free enterprise system, was our ability to support people we've never even met. It's incredible thing that no system in history has been able to accomplish this because of capitalism, because the largesse that came from capitalism. That's such a blessing. I'm so proud of it. And that means I believe in some amount of redistribution.
I'm just more meritocratic in that balance. You know, I know a ton of people on the left. I have tons of friends and family. I mean, I used to be a musician and college professor. And I come from Seattle, Washington, for Pete's sake. I know a lot of people on the left. And and they don't they don't think that merits. Garbage. They think that marriage is great because they want their kids to achieve and they're kind of proud to live in a country where people can start companies and do great things.
They just they want a little bit more redistribution. Now you find radicals. And when I say this, I mean the set approximately of any kind of the seven percent of people who are true. Polarizing radicals in this country who don't see any common ground. But if ninety three percent of us give or take. I actually do believe that there can be some common ground that we can work together in some way, shape or form, that I'm going to be bridging that meritocratic redistributive divide.
And I'm going to be really forgiving. I may be as generous as I possibly can to the people who don't agree quite as much with my meritocratic values so I can try to get some fairness that bridges that gap.
And I think it can be done. And this is why I love your new book so much, because it really spoke to me. It reminded me this epiphany I had in my late 20s when I was studying for my bachelor's degree. I took economics for the first time and I and I learned this crazy thing that 80 percent of the world's poverty had been eradicated since I was a kid. I thought that hunger was worse. I thought that the world was worse.
And furthermore, I thought capitalism was great for rich people and bad for poor people. And, you know, I grew up in a Left-Wing environment. I knew nobody who cared about economics or business. But I was learning that two billion of my brothers and sisters had been pulled out of poverty since I was a child.
And I learned that it came from five things, five things, and it all economists left, right and center. This is not controversial stuff. This is not the propaganda. Five things pulled two billion of Ben and Arthas brothers and sisters out of poverty since 1970 was globalization, free trade, property rights, the rule of law and the culture of free enterprise spreading from America all around the world. I thought, you know, my favorite composer in those days was Johann Sebastian Bach.
You know, the greatest composer ever lived. And he was asked near the end of his life. Why do you write music? His answer was the Aymond final end of all music is nothing less than the glorification of God and the refreshment of the soul. I thought to myself, how can I answer like Bach? I wasn't answering like boxes a French horn player in the orchestra. I thought, I want to do something that glorifies God and it refreshes the lives of other people.
And I became an economist.
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