Adam Ruins Everything – Why Partisan Politics Have Been on the Rise since the 1960’s


Conservative Republicans and Liberal Democrats They don’t agree on anything,
nothing gets done, right? Wrong. For most of
the 20th century, there was actually
such a thing as Liberal Republicans
and Conservative Democrats. I mean, can you imagine? It must have been like
Bizarro world! Me Liberal Republican. Me support
labor unions and wear shoe
on head! Me Conservative
Democrat. Me oppose civil rights. And me pee
out butt? (laughter) Now, yes, these two usually
still voted with their parties, but when something really
needed to get done, the Conservative Democrats
could team up with the Conservative
Republicans, or vice-versa,
and make it happen. Me think government
should not shut down. Oh, me agree! Functional government
am important! Good night!
It’s morning. Meow!
I’m a dog! (laughter) Comedy’s very stupid,
isn’t it? (chuckling) Now, during the period when the parties worked
this way, America had
our best century ever. We went to the moon,
we extended the vote to women and minorities,
and we won three major wars, two hot, one cold. Oh, just like the food
they serve in the cafeteria
where Ted Cruz eats alone. (laughter) So, what changed? Well, a big piece of the puzzle
is our old friend… (guitar strumming) …”el BJ.” Seriously, you guys aren’t
even gonna be able to say his name
the old way. After this, the emphasis
is on the “B” for you. So, the night he passed
his civil rights bill, LBJ turned to his assistant
and reportedly said… And he was right. There are a lot of reasons
partisan polarization increased in the second half
of the 20th century, but the Civil Rights Act
was pivotal in accelerating this trend. The Republican Party became
more and more Conservative and the Democratic Party became more and more liberal.

Political Correctness Can’t Beat Having Good Taste | Jeff Garlin


By the way, everyone has the license to disobey
political correctness. I feel that everything is about good taste
and self-restraint. My favorite comedian of all time is Richard
Pryor so I’m not a prude, but I think some things maybe you can say more eloquently. Some things you can say in a way that if you’re
intelligent you’ll pick up on it, and if you won’t, you don’t. Subtleties, nuance—that’s what gets lost
in the whole big battle of political correctness. I don’t believe in any political correctness. I don’t think even if I’m talking about like,
you say to me, “Who’s your favorite comedian,” or, “Who do you think is up and coming,”
and I name two male comedians, that does not mean that I think female comedians aren’t
funny or I don’t have a favorite female, it just means in that moment I thought of those
two people. Yet there are people who will have a strong
opinion on that moment. They would write underneath on the comments:
“Why aren’t you talking about the funny women?” Just because I didn’t! I didn’t make a blanket statement! So political correctness is wrong, is super
ignorant—super ignorant—and super partisan. Let me tell you something: I’m not a centrist. I’m not right. I consider myself a liberal, but not a lefty
if that makes sense. I’m liberal-minded in that I’ll vote for anyone
who is a good human being, whether they’re from the Green Party, Democratic Party, Republican
Party. For me it’s about humanity. And partisanship? I’ve got to tell you, I read everything
on the Internet and just as many liberals are as annoying as right-wing people. They’re all annoying, everyone with this,
“Be like me or you’re wrong.” People used to make a decision; they’d see
something and they’d decide if it was true or not. Now they base truths on their own truth. “I see what I believe as opposed to I’m
trying to believe what I see.” But even the term of fake news—fuck that. Fuck fake news. Fuck all these terms because they’re only
terms that are used by the douche bags. They’re not terms—I’m not saying you’re
a douche bag for saying it, it was a question—but the point being is: do you think I live my
day reading all sorts of material from the Washington Post to the National Review if
I’m interested, whatever it is, do you think that any of it I look at and go, “Well that’s
fake news, fake news. What about fake news?” I think these are just words that are thrown
at us, they’re words that are currently in the lexicon. They’ll be gone. It all changes, man. It does.

Liberal vs. Conservative: A Neuroscientific Analysis with Gail Saltz


So I think what’s really fascinating is
that there have been a number of recent studies looking at brain structural differences between
liberals and conservatives. And what’s been found in several studies is that liberals
tend to have a larger anterior cingulate gyrus. That is an area that is responsible for taking
in new information and that impact of the new information on decision making or choices.
Conservatives tended on the whole to have a larger right amygdala. Amygdala being a
deeper brain structure that processes more emotional information – specifically fear
based information. So it’s really responsible for the flight or fright response. And this
isn’t everybody. It’s not black and white and of course then, you know, what about all
of the people in the middle? But basically the study showed that if you just based it
on brain structural size different you could predict who would be a conservative and who
would be a liberal with frequency of 71.6 percent. 71.6 percent is a pretty high ability to predict
who is a conservative and who is a liberal just from brain structure. When you look at
what your parents were in terms of predicting what you might be in terms of conservative
versus liberal, that enabled you to predict in studies at a rate of 69.5 percent. So very
close. Not quite as good and why is that interesting? It’s because the brain is plastic. So the
question as to whether you have a brain structure to start with that informs whether you will
be a liberal or conservative or whether the formation of certain thoughts from your parents
for example shapes your brain structure. Because the brain is plastic and ever changing, particularly
in youth. So does thinking certain thoughts or predominantly let’s say utilizing your
right amygdala versus your anterior cingulate gyrus inform the growth of those areas and
therefore help you predict later who is liberal and who is conservative. So in terms of interpreting the meaning of
different sized structures for a liberal versus a conservative I think you have to look at
what that area is predominantly responsible for. So for instance for conservatives if
you’re right amygdala is enlarged and that’s the fear processing area you would expect
maybe choices or decisions or character and personality to be more informed by a response
to a fearful situation. So for example conservatives in fact in personality studies do tend to
rate higher in areas of stability, loyalty, not liking change, being more religiously
involved in terms of decision making, having that rate higher for them in making certain
choices. And if you look at liberals from a personality character standpoint you’re
going to find stronger ratings in terms of liking change wanting to actually base decision
making on new information, on science information. And so those differences are not surprising
in light of these brain structural differences. Being a liberal or being a conservative really
is not black and white. It’s really a bell shaped curve where, you know, someone who
considers themselves conservative may be far less conservative so to speak than someone
else who still calls themselves a conservative. And that bell shaped curve continues all the
way through where in the middle there may be a large group that calls themselves independents. What we don’t know is whether that has to
do with differences in brain structure and so would we see in independents, no one’s
does that study to say oh, independents don’t show any differences in brain structure or
any differences in say risk taking reaction. So we don’t know for sure what that means
but I think it’s fair to say that even when we looked at differences in brain structure
with a reliability of 71.6 percent that still leaves, you know, a very larger number that
don’t fit into that category. So, you know, where do they fall out? Are they more likely
to be independents in their mind? We don’t know the answer to that but certainly, you
know, these are not hard and fast rules. This is not diagnostic science and people who are
independent obviously have certain characteristics I’ll say of both sides are somewhere just
like they sound in the middle. I think by understanding what’s going on
structurally in the brain and functionally in the brain we can better understand what
informs people’s very strong opinions that ultimately inform our political system, right.
Because it’s one person, one vote. And in trying to change people’s minds I think
everybody has to look at what’s behind the ability to change a mind. Is it really changeable? When we look at voting and changing minds
and say political advertising you have to recognize that all of that new information
always comes in through the prism of your brain. Which means that what I say to you
versus you may be heard differently even though I’ve said the same thing. So it comes in
through the prism of does what you said make me nervous and afraid and therefore I’m
going to resort to my old standby I don’t want to change my decision? Or am I going
to hear the same information and say oh, that’s novel. I have a receptivity to novel information.
Therefore that’s interesting to me and I’m going to think about whether I might change
my mind based on that new information. I think that’s what the science is basically
saying to us that there are going to be some people who are going to hear the information
and retreat to their original thinking. And other people are going to hear new information
and say that really does change my mind. If we’re trying to have a society that will
work in its own best interest let’s say then we do want to be able to communicate
with one another. And so if you’re a liberal and say you want to talk to a conservative
about gay marriage you want to have in your mind how it might still speak to loyalty,
stability and religious belief in some way. You want to have those ideas inform your communication
as opposed to simply saying but, you know, this percentage of the population is homosexual
and therefore, you know, we should consider whether everybody should have those same rights.
And, you know, science shows it’s not a choice. It’s simply a fact you’re gay
or not gay. And therefore shouldn’t those people have the same rights? That’s not
the best way to appeal perhaps to a conservative on this issue. You want to appeal to them in terms of how
for example marital rules or history might be maintained and not really altered for those
who are in let’s say a “traditional marriage.” How it won’t interrupt the fabric for example
of their lives, of the rules that they adhere to. Those kinds of things would be more appealing
to them whether or not that might be the most appealing argument to you as a liberal. The truth is a conservative is more likely
to be able to appeal to a liberal using novel new information that is science based and
showing certain facts and allowing for it not necessarily to be purely religiously based.
That not be the rule system so to speak. By being empathically understanding. And by that
I don’t mean sympathetically understanding. I mean truly being able to stand in the other
person’s shoes and have some insight into where their brain is directing them and appealing
to that argument. So if you are a conservative you will want to appeal with new information
because liberals are more novelty seeking potentially. And often science based is a
good way to present new information. Part of what’s difficult in terms of what
I’m seeing now is that actually people are tending to double down on their own style
and what appeals to their own group of thinkers. And that is increasingly preventing the kind
of communication that would be important to our future so that we can’t so to speak
cross the aisle because it would require trying on for size the thought pattern of the other
group. And that’s hard to do. Let me say that is difficult to do. So if your amygdala
is screaming at you, you know, run for the hills or double down and fight it’s hard
to say well, let me take a step back and not have a fear based reaction but instead present
the science or present the new information. A good example would be that of gun ownership.
If I speak about gun ownership to a liberal group they automatically have thoughts probably
about, particularly if they’re in an urban area, crime and danger because statistically
that is what they have been privy to. The information has been given to them about how
many homicides are committed, who is, you know, dying by gun violence, et cetera. If I speak about gun ownership to a conservative
group they are more likely in their loyal stable way to think about a sportsmanship,
hunting with family particularly again if they’re in a rural area. Because that is
what they grew up with, that is what has been stable for them, that is the memory that they
have about guns. And so you can see how that’s coming from two completely different directions
perhaps the same word, gun. And that it is hard to stand in the shoes for example of
the other group so that you can come to make decisions about it. So, for example, the CDC has been prevented
from doing any research so that we could have new science about gun violence as a public
health issue by actually the conservative political group has said, you know, you can’t
do research on this area. We won’t call it a public health issue and therefore you’re
prevented from getting dollars and prevented from having research into gun violence per
se. And that comes probably from a fear position that if there is any new information that
sways opinion we will lose our loyal standing to something that we firmly believe in and
harks back to very pleasurable comforting memories from earlier life. So it’s very
complicated in a certain kind of way. You know the liberal group is wanting there to
be this research not necessarily to take guns away but to say we’d like to see the science
to validate whether or not certain things about guns are good for us or not good for
us. The most recent study looking at what is going
on in the brain in terms of politics predicted with the greatest value being able to identify
a conservative versus a liberal 82.6 percent. And this was a look at brain activity which
is different. You put someone in a functional MRI which his different than just taking a
picture. It picks up activity in a certain area of the brain. And found that when you
have them do a risky behavior and look at their activity in their brain conservatives
were more likely to light up in the fright and flight response area, the amygdala, and
liberals were more likely to light up in areas that have to do with social awareness. Again you could see how therefore this difference
would inform what comes to the mind of either a liberal or a conservative while either involved
in a risky behavior or even something that’s happening external to them but feels like
it might impact them in a risky way. And that was actually even more predictive than looking
at structure of the brain or what your parents were in terms of liberal versus conservative.

The Rise of Conservatism: Crash Course US History #41


Episode 41: Rise of Conservatism Hi, I’m John Green, this is CrashCourse
U.S. history and today we’re going to–Nixon?–we’re going to talk about the rise of conservatism.
So Alabama, where I went to high school, is a pretty conservative state and reliably sends
Republicans to Washington. Like, both of its Senators, Jeff Sessions and Richard Shelby,
are Republicans. But did you know that Richard Shelby used to be a Democrat, just like basically
all of Alabama’s Senators since reconstruction? And this shift from Democrat to Republican
throughout the South is the result of the rise in conservative politics in the 1960s
and 1970s that we are going to talk about today. And along the way, we get to put Richard
Nixon’s head in a jar. Stan just informed me that we don’t actually
get to put Richard Nixon’s head in a jar. It’s just a Futurama joke. And now I’m
sad. So, you’ll remember from our last episode
that we learned that not everyone in the 1960s was a psychedelic rock-listening, war-protesting
hippie. In fact, there was a strong undercurrent of conservative thinking that ran throughout
the 1960s, even among young people. And one aspect of this was the rise of free
market ideology and libertarianism. Like, since the 1950s, a majority of Americans had
broadly agreed that “free enterprise” was a good thing and should be encouraged
both in the U.S. and abroad. Mr. Green, Mr. Green, and also in deep space
where no man has gone before? No, MFTP. You’re thinking of the Starship
Enterprise, not free enterprise. And anyway, Me From The Past, have you ever
seen a more aggressively communist television program than “The Neutral Zone” from Star
Trek: The Next Generation’s first season? I don’t think so.
intro Alright so, in the 1950s a growing number
of libertarians argued that unregulated capitalism and individual autonomy were the essence of
American freedom. And although they were staunchly anti-communist, their real target was the
regulatory state that had been created by the New Deal. You know, social security, and
not being allowed to, you know, choose how many pigs you kill, etc.
Other conservatives weren’t libertarians at all but moral conservatives who were okay
with the rules that enforced traditional notions of family and morality. Even if that seemed
like, you know, an oppressive government. For them virtue was the essence of America.
But both of these strands of conservatism were very hostile toward communism and also
to the idea of “big government.” And it’s worth noting that since World War
I, the size and scope of the federal government had increased dramatically.
And hostility toward the idea of “big government” remains the signal feature of contemporary
conservatism. Although very few people actually argue for shrinking the government. Because,
you know, that would be very unpopular. People like Medicare.
But it was faith in the free market that infused the ideology of the most vocal young conservatives
in the 1960s. They didn’t receive nearly as much press
as their liberal counterparts but these young conservatives played a pivotal role in reshaping
the Republican Party, especially in the election of 1964.
The 1964 presidential election was important in American history precisely because it was
so incredibly uncompetitive. I mean, Lyndon Johnson was carrying the torch
of a wildly popular American president who had been assassinated a few months before.
He was never going to lose. And indeed he didn’t. The republican candidate,
Arizona senator Barry Goldwater, was demolished by LBJ.
But the mere fact of Goldwater’s nomination was a huge conservative victory. I mean, he
beat out liberal Republican New York Governor Nelson Rockefeller. And yes, there were liberal
Republicans. Goldwater demanded a harder line in the Cold
War, even suggesting that nuclear war might be an option in the fight against communism.
And he lambasted the New Deal liberal welfare state for destroying American initiative and
individual liberty. I mean, why bother working when you could just enjoy life on the dole?
I mean, unemployment insurance allowed anyone in America to become a hundredaire.
But it was his stance on the Cold War that doomed his candidacy. In his acceptance speech,
Goldwater famously declared, “Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice.”
Which made it really easy for Johnson to paint Goldwater as an extremist.
In the famous “Daisy” advertisement, Johnson’s supporters countered Goldwater’s campaign
slogan of “in your heart, you know he’s right” with “but in your guts you know
he’s nuts.” So in the end, Goldwater received a paltry
27 million votes to Johnson’s 43 million, and Democrats racked up huge majorities in
both houses of Congress. This hides, however, the significance of the election. Five of
the six states that Goldwater carried were in the Deep South, which had been reliably
democratic, known as the “Solid South,” in fact.
Now, it’s too simple to say that race alone led to the shift from Democratic to the Republican
party in the South because Goldwater didn’t really talk much about race.
But the Democrats, especially under LBJ, became the party associated with defending civil
rights and ending segregation, and that definitely played a role in white southerners’ abandoning
the Democrats, as was demonstrated even more clearly in the 1968 election.
The election of 1968 was a real cluster-Calhoun, I mean, there were riots and there was also
the nomination of Hubert Humphrey, who was very unpopular with the anti-war movement,
and also was named Hubert Humphrey, and that’s just what happened with the Democrats.
But, lost in that picture was the Republican nominee, Richard Milhous Nixon, who was one
of the few candidates in American history to come back and win the presidency after
losing in a previous election. How’d he do it?
Well, it probably wasn’t his charm, but it might have been his patience. Nixon was
famous for his ability to sit and wait in poker games. It made him very successful during
his tour of duty in the South Pacific. In fact, he earned the nickname “Old Iron Butt.”
Plus, he was anti-communist, but didn’t talk a lot about nuking people. And the clincher
was probably that he was from California, which by the late 1960s was becoming the most
populous state in the nation. Nixon won the election, campaigning as the
candidate of the “silent majority” of Americans who weren’t anti-war protesters,
and who didn’t admire free love or the communal ideals of hippies.
And who were alarmed at the rights that the Supreme Court seemed to be expanding, especially
for criminals. This silent majority felt that the rights
revolution had gone too far. I mean, they were concerned about the breakdown in traditional
values and in law and order. Stop me if any of this sounds familiar.
Nixon also promised to be tough on crime, which was coded language to whites in the
south that he wouldn’t support civil rights protests. The equation of crime with African
Americans has a long and sordid history in the United States, and Nixon played it up
following a “Southern strategy” to further draw white Democrats who favored segregation
into the Republican ranks. Now, Nixon only won 43% of the vote, but if
you’ve paid attention to American history, you know that you ain’t gotta win a majority
to be the president. He was denied that majority primarily by Alabama
Governor George Wallace, who was running on a pro-segregation ticket and won 13% of the
vote. So 56% of American voters chose candidates
who were either explicitly or quietly against civil rights.
Conservatives who voted for Nixon hoping he would roll back the New Deal were disappointed.
I mean, in some ways the Nixon domestic agenda was just a continuation of LBJ’s Great Society.
This was partly because Congress was still in the hands of Democrats, but also Nixon
didn’t push for conservative programs and he didn’t veto new initiatives. Because
they were popular. And he liked to be popular. So in fact, a number of big government “liberal”
programs began under Nixon. I mean, the environmental movement achieved success with the enactment
of the Clean Air Act, and the Clean Water Act, and the Endangered Species Act.
The Occupational Health and Safety Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board
were created to make new regulations that would protect worker safety and make cars
safer. That’s not government getting out of our
lives, that’s government getting into our cars.
Now, Nixon did abolish the Office of Economic Opportunity, but he also indexed social security
benefits to inflation and he proposed the Family Assistance Plan that would guarantee
a minimum income for all Americans. And, the Nixon years saw some of the most
aggressive affirmative action in American history. LBJ had begun the process by requiring
recipients of federal contracts to have specific numbers of minority employees and timetables
for increasing those numbers. But Nixon expanded this with the Philadelphia
plan, which required federal construction projects to have minority employees. He ended
up attacking this plan after realising that it was wildly unpopular with trade unions,
which had very few black members, but he had proposed it.
And when Nixon had the opportunity to nominate a new Chief Justice to the Supreme Court after
Earl Warren retired in 1969, his choice, Warren Burger was supposed to be a supporter of small
government and conservative ideals, but, just like Nixon, he proved a disappointment in
that regard. Like, in Swan v. Charlotte-Mecklenbug Board
of Education, the court upheld a lower court ruling that required busing of students to
achieve integration in Charlotte’s schools. And then the Burger court made it easier for
minorities to sue for employment discrimination, especially with its ruling in Regents of the
University of California v. Bakke. This upheld affirmative action as a valid governmental
interest, although it did strike down the use of strict quotas in university admissions.
Now, many conservatives didn’t like these affirmative action decisions, but one case
above all others had a profound effect on American politics: Roe v. Wade.
Roe v. Wade established a woman’s right to have an abortion in the first trimester
of a pregnancy as well as a more limited right as the pregnancy progressed. And that decision
galvanized first Catholics and then Evangelical Protestants.
And that ties in nicely with another strand in American conservatism that developed in
the 1960s and 1970s. Let’s go to the ThoughtBubble. Many Americans felt that traditional family
values were deteriorating and looked to conservative republican candidates to stop that slide.
They were particularly alarmed by the continuing success of the sexual revolution, as symbolized
by Roe v. Wade and the increasing availability of birth control.
Statistics tend to back up the claims that traditional family values were in decline
in the 1970s. Like, the number of divorces soared to over one million in 1975 exceeding
the number of first time marriages. The birthrate declined with women bearing 1.7 children during
their lifetimes by 1976, less than half the figure in 1957. Now, of course, many people
would argue that the decline of these traditional values allowed more freedom for women and
for a lot of terrible marriages to end, but that’s neither here nor there.
Some conservatives also complained about the passage in 1972 of Title IX, which banned
gender discrimination in higher education, but many more expressed concern about the
increasing number of women in the workforce. Like, by 1980 40% of women with young children
had been in the workforce, up from 20% in 1960.
The backlash against increased opportunity for women is most obviously seen in the defeat
of the Equal Rights Amendment in 1974, although it passed Congress easily in 1972. Opponents
of the ERA, which rather innocuously declared that equality of rights under the law could
not be abridged on account of sex, argued that the ERA would let men off the hook for
providing for their wives and children, and that working women would lead to the further
breakdown of the family. Again, all the ERA stated was that women and men would have equal
rights under the laws of the United States. But, anyway, some anti-ERA supporters, like
Phyllis Schlafly claimed that free enterprise was the greatest liberator of women because
the purchase of new labor saving devices would offer them genuine freedom in their traditional
roles of wife and mother. Essentially, the vacuum cleaner shall make you free. And those
arguments were persuasive to enough people that the ERA was not ratified in the required
¾ of the United States. Thanks, ThoughtBubble. Sorry if I let my personal
feelings get in the way on that one. Anyway, Nixon didn’t have much to do with the continuing
sexual revolution; it would have continued without him because, you know, skoodilypooping
is popular. But, he was successfully reelected in 1972,
partly because his opponent was the democratic Barry Goldwater, George McGovern.
McGovern only carried one state and it wasn’t even his home state. It was Massachusetts.
Of course. But even though they couldn’t possibly lose,
Nixon’s campaign decided to cheat. In June of 1972, people from Nixon’s campaign broke
into McGovern’s campaign office, possibly to plant bugs. No, Stan, not those kinds of
bugs. Yes. Those. Now, we don’t know if Nixon actually knew
about the activities of the former employees of the amazingly acronym-ed CREEP, that is
the Committee for the Reelection of the President. But this break in at the Watergate hotel eventually
led to Nixon being the first and so far only American president to resign.
What we do know is this: Nixon was really paranoid about his opponents, even the ones
who appealed to 12% of American voters, especially after Daniel Ellsberg leaked the Pentagon
Papers to the New York Times in 1971. So, he drew up an enemies list and created
a special investigative unit called the plumbers whose job was to fix toilets. No, it was to
stop leaks. That makes more sense. I’m sorry, Stan, it’s just by then the
toilets in the White House were over 100 years old, I figured they might need some fixing,
but apparently no. Leaking. Nixon also taped all of the conversations
in the Oval Office and these tapes caused a minor constitutional crisis.
So, during the congressional investigation of Watergate, it became known that these tapes
existed, so the special prosecutor demanded copies.
Nixon refused, claiming executive privilege, and the case went all the way to the Supreme
Court, which ruled in U.S. v. Nixon that he had to turn them over. And this is important
because it means that the president is not above the law.
So, what ultimately doomed Nixon was not the break in itself, but the revelations that
he covered it up by authorizing hush money payments to keep the burglars silent and also
instructing the FBI not to investigate the crime.
In August of 1974, the House Judiciary Committee recommended that articles of impeachment be
drawn up against Nixon for conspiracy and obstruction of justice. But the real crime,
ultimately, was abuse of power, and there’s really no question about whether he was guilty
of that. So, Nixon resigned. Aw man, I was thinking I was going to get
away without a Mystery Document today. The rules here are simple.
I guess the author of the Mystery Document, and lately I’m never wrong.
Alright. Today I am an inquisitor. I believe hyperbole
would not be fictional and would not overstate the solemnness that I feel right now. My faith
in the Constitution is whole, it is complete, it is total. I am not going to sit here and
be an idle spectator to the diminution, the subversion, the destruction of the Constitution.”
Aw. I’m going to get shocked today. Is it Sam Ervin? Aw dang it! Gah!
Apparently it was African American congresswoman from Texas, Barbara Jordan. Stan, that is
much too hard. I think you were getting tired of me not being
shocked, Stan, because it’s pretty strange to end an episode on conservatism with a quote
from Barbara Jordan, whose election to Congress has to be seen as a huge victory for liberalism.
But I guess it is symbolic of the very things that many conservatives found unsettling in
the 1970s, including political and economic success for African Americans and women, and
the legislation that helped the marginalized. I know that sounds very judgmental, but on
the other hand, the federal government had become a huge part of every American’s life,
maybe too huge. And certainly conservatives weren’t wrong
when they said that the founding fathers of the U.S. would hardly recognize the nation
that we had become by the 1970s. In fact, Watergate was followed by a Senate
investigation by the Church Committee, which revealed that Nixon was hardly the first president
to abuse his power. The government had spied on Americans throughout
the Cold War and tried to disrupt the Civil Rights movement. And the Church Commission,
Watergate, the Pentagon Papers, Vietnam all of these things revealed a government that
truly was out of control and this undermined a fundamental liberal belief that government
is a good institution that is supposed to solve problems and promote freedom.
And for many Conservatives these scandals sent a clear signal that government couldn’t
promote freedom and couldn’t solve problems and that the liberal government of the New
Deal and the Great Society had to be stopped. Thanks for watching, I’ll see you next week.
Woah! Crash Course is made with the help of all of these nice people and it exists because
of…your support on Subbable.com. Subbable is a voluntary subscription service
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And I am slowly spinning, I’m slowly spinning, I’m slowly spinning. Thank you again for
your support. I’m coming back around. I can do this. And as we say in my hometown,
don’t forget to be awesome.

Fix Money in Politics with MORE Secrecy?


we talk about campaign finance and the
destructive a back have money in politics on this
program all the time and Dylan Matthews over at Vox dot com
rode up us an article about an idea from Ian heirs and Bruce ackerman from
Yale Law their yale law professors and they are you more secrecy rather than less could be
the solution to the problem of money in politics and they say instead of strengthening mandatory
disclosure rules we should abandon them all together
where all donations are secret especially to the recipient in there insight is
listen for a quick quote proto work the paid off party needs to I am doesn’t need it’s necessary to know who has donated the money right
so in other words when we hear that Comcast and Time Warner have donated a
whole bunch of money to all the members of congress that will be in-charge I’ve I approving or or not approving their merger we say
well we should be that we should get money out of politics and blah blah blah what if they were allowed to donate
whatever money they want if they believe that senators are
actually doing good things but it has to be completely secret the
members of congress are not allowed to know that it was Comcast or Time Warner this
would solve two issues Louis number one we always ask well if both the donor and the recipients say no no the donations
art in exchange for specific actions pay if it secret then their donation
activity should not change whatsoever and the actions of the elected officials
should not change whatsoever it would allow us to explore that and it would obviously make it so that
you eliminate the chance these knowing quid pro quo is because
they don’t know who donated to them it’s a very interesting idea it’s an interesting one but it’s a naive
point because let’s face it there’s only about
a billion ways for these donors you I you know to let the people they’re
donating to know that it was them who gave them the money no question about it right so that debt
becomes the obvious issue which is Comcast can still say hey we gave you this much but then did then
it becomes much more obvious think about it in the system where there
is mandatory disclosure Comcast does it have to tell legislators
so if we have a system of secret donations
and then Comcast chooses to very directly inform the legislator anyway it now proves that these donations are
being made with the idea of specific kickbacks or
payoffs in mind so even that would be a better situation
than the one we have now all I’m saying the presumably this
notification would happen in secret and that the politician would not want
anyone to know how that day now that they know where this
donation came from I mean it could be something as simple
as that the Bank of America the address the number for the bank America
headquarters and a correlation between that and the
amount of money donated I mean they you know there’s really no way it to
stop it in addition to the secret part of it that I already mentioned the plan
would also give every registered voter in the United
States fifty dollars every election cycle to give to candidates for federal office
is whether they’re running for president senate-house they call these patriot dollars do
ackerman airs and when they were asked well why a
voucher they say with the vouchers the seat without the vouchers the secret
donation system mostly will just further entrench incumbents incumbents have been there for many
years their well-known and with with a substantial amount of
public financing a bit kind word describing it would be very difficult for a insurgents to win the donation vouchers
would mean that the source the the source if money
is also more democratic so you make everything secret and you give everybody 50 bucks which a
if its secret you might not feel bad or guilty about
donating to a third party and it would also further democratize
our system I think that that’s kind of a separate
part is interesting the idea but fixed amount of money let everybody gets to contribute to
candidates that seems incredibly impractical I think the biggest issue with this is
what Louis said which is that the donors will still have a way of communicating
that their donation took place but as a thought experiment it’s very
interesting that if all donations were secret would
corporations still make the exact same donations I think the answer is
obviously no which just confirms to us that the
donations are being made I obviously any idiot would realize this
the donations are being made to secure influence political kickbacks of course yeah it’s
gonna be a long time before we can fundamentally changes just this
is viewer supported independent media please support our program by going to
David Pakman dot com slash membership and becoming a member today

Every High School Principal Should Say This


If every high school principal gave the following
speech, America would be a much better place. To the students and faculty of our high school: I am your new principal, and honored to be
so. There is no greater calling than to teach
young people. I would like to apprise you of some important
changes coming to our school. First, this school will no longer honor race
or ethnicity. I could not care less if you are black, brown,
red, yellow or white. I could not care less if your origins are
African, European, Latin American or Asian, or if your ancestors arrived here on the Mayflower
or on slave ships. The only identity this school will recognize
is your individual identity—your character, your scholarship, your humanity. And the only national identity this school
will recognize is American. This is an American public school, and American
public schools were created to make better Americans. If you wish to affirm here an ethnic or racial
identity—or a national identity other than American —you will have to attend another
school. This includes after-school clubs. I will not authorize clubs that divide students
based on identities such as race, ethnicity, sexual orientation or whatever else may become
in vogue in our society. Those clubs cultivate narcissism—an unhealthy
preoccupation with the self—while the purpose of education is to get you to think beyond
yourself. This school’s clubs will be based on interests
and passions—clubs that transport you to the wonders and glories of art, music, astronomy,
languages you do not already speak, and more. If the only extracurricular activities you
can imagine being interested in are those based on ethnicity, race or sexual identity,
that means that little outside of yourself really interests you. Second, I do not care whether English is your
native language. My only interest in terms of language is that
you leave this school speaking and writing English as fluently as possible. The English language has united America’s
citizens for over 200 years, and it will unite us at this school. Furthermore, I would be remiss in my duty
to ensure that you will be prepared to successfully compete in the job market, if you leave this
school without excellent English-language skills. We will learn other languages here—it’s
deplorable that most Americans only speak English —but if you want classes taught in
your native language rather than in English, this is not the right school for you. Third, because I regard learning as a sacred
endeavor, everything in this school will reflect learning’s elevated status. This means, among other things, that you and
your teachers will dress accordingly. There will be a dress code at this school. And you will address all teachers by their
title, not by their first name. They are your teachers, not your pals. Fourth, no obscene language will be tolerated
anywhere on this school’s property. By obscene language, I mean the words banned
on radio and television, plus epithets such as the b-word, even when addressed by one
girl to another, or the n-word, even when used by one black student to another. It is my intent that by the time you leave
this school, you will be among the few your age to distinguish between the elevated and
the degraded, the holy and the obscene. Fifth, we will end all self-esteem programs. In this school, self-esteem will be attained
in only one way—the only way self-esteem can be attained—by earning it. One immediate consequence is that graduating
classes will have one valedictorian, not eight. Sixth, and last, I am reorienting the school
toward academics and away from politics and propaganda. No more time will be devoted to racism, sexism,
Islamophobia, homophobia, global warming, tobacco, or gender identity. No more classes will be devoted to condom-wearing
and teaching you to regard sexual relations as no more than a health issue. And there will be no more attempts to convince
you that you are a victim because you are not white or male or heterosexual or Christian. This school will have failed if any of you
graduate without considering him or herself inordinately lucky—lucky to be alive and
lucky to be an American. Now, please stand and join me in the Pledge
of Allegiance to the flag of our country. As many of you do not know the words, your
teachers will hand them out to you. I’m Dennis Prager.

Reddit Co-Founder Aaron Swartz Commits Suicide in Midst of Investigation


the david had mentioned that david dot
com welcome to the show hide and the one who is live underneath it can only the
everyone’s liking from the i love it when i wake up in the
morning and brocco bomber is president face book page and the we survive bush
he’ll survive obama face book page tragic story over the weekend about
reddit co-founder and sorts committing suicide in the middle of this controversial
trial over some documents that were i don’t even really want to use the term
stolen because even that is really kind of up for debate but will get to that uh… sorts committed suicide in new
york city used facing a possible because sentence
of a decades in jail potentially in a
million dollar fine over the i guess alleged theft of of journal articles with the intent to
post them online is the best way to say dat hang themself um… is brooklyn apartment just weeks before the trial is set to
start according to police his body was found by his girlfriend who
call the versions these services are in just incredibly tragic situation twenty
six years old co-founder of the internet website read
it where the david ackman show has been
featured a a couple of times and we’ve got a ton of traffic from that it’s a
place we look at uh… i would say daily just to see what
stranding and in news stories in different areas right he it was also the executive director of demand progress
which photos of what fit the pope and policy changes for civil liberties civil civil rights
uh… government reform etcetera and he was an advocate of making
information freely available online he cooperated with creative commons
unwanted information to cooperate with creative commons that he was charged
with allegedly stealing more than four
million academic journals from j store which is an archive of scientific
journals an academic papers and this was through
and open connection at m_i_t_ so he faced thirteen felony charges breaching site terms intending to share
downloaded files computer fraud wire fraud obtaining information for protected
computer on and on and on he uh… many say that the lawsuit
itself was completely unfounded now why because at the time that sports obtained these journal articles
he was undertaking a fellowship at harvard staffers center for ethics and this qualified him as many say for guest access to j store through the m_i_t_ connection
so the it’s it’s actually up for debate whether the entire thing was essentially
just a witch hunt or whether they’re religion amid charges
here now let me take even further uh… the incredible thing is that
sports had already essentially settled this directly um… uh… did this was unbelievable
heidi macgregor who is the vice president of marketing
and communication said that j store with content once they got the documents back
here’s a quote from her she said we stop the downloading activity mister schwartz was identified we secured from him the content that was
taken and received confirmation that it was
not and would not be used copied transferred
or distributed essentially this was a done deal according to that the the the
organization but that the matter the u_s_ attorney’s office said that
they were going to go on and investigate and they were threatening sorts the
decades in prison hefty fines and and he continued even though that individual the victim essentially said that they had already settled the
situation his family is blaming the u_s_ attorney’s office for his death aaron’s death is not simply a personal
tragedy if the product of a criminal justice system rife with intimidation
and prosecutorial overreach decisions made by officials in the attorney’s
office and at m_i_t_ contributed to his death i think that’s a from what i can tell so
far probably inaccurate statement but the plaintiff attorney max can
release said that there may not even a bit of violation of the law forget about
whether it was settled in saying it is by no means cleared of sorts
actually violated the computer fraud and abuse act um… recently the fourth circuit joined
the ninth circuit enough in alleging that violating the terms of service does
not constitute a crime in other words even though he did violate the terms of
service at that particular website that does not mean that it is a crime now i want to pose uh… uh… i
wanna contrast this contrast how parents sorts was prosecuted here with how the legal system dell with corporate america after the two thousand eight financial
crisis essentially no prosecutions of top
corporate figures and uh… this is an individual who was
trying to disseminate knowledge literally by making journal articles
available online against the terms of service of the website i understand but apparently not a crime and that to the u_s_ attorney’s office seems the
constitute a greater crime then it bringing down the united states
economy this doesn’t make any sense to me this really i understand this is one case it one tragic suicide one individual and we’re talking about it because he
was one of the co-founders of read it compare and contrast ladies and
gentlemen the vastly different uh… judicial philosophy is and moral
philosophy is that this represents this just sounds really like uh… like
a paranoid government trying to make an example of someone which i do you think i don’t know if you call it a which ends
and she was just one person but certainly uh… making an example of one person every can we say that is on i don’t know uh… it seems like what he
does take awhile to find out what really happened here but uh… we may be
jumping the gun a little prematurely into concluding that uh… you know he was sword of the he
felt that uh… tax and threatened to the point where uh… uh… he would
want commits suicide for that purpose alone i mean presumably if if the
evidence was that scant there he was actually committing any serious crimes
uh… his lawyer would have to hold on that on the cert certainly uh… it
there may be other factors your mental health factors that would explain this
very i don’t know what works in if there is no sorrow was going on here that this
situation alone with these documents is not what led him to commit suicide and and
it is that that we would be completely baseless to say that at any person being prosecuted like this would have
committed suicide that’s that’s not what we’re saying what we’re saying is that this does
bring to light and issue that really makes this question uh…
judicial priorities in this country

Why The Democratic Party Gets Compared to A Slave Plantation


Back! I re-floored my space her so I hadn’t been
here for a couple of weeks. So anyway, I’m back. Now… You might often hear blacks who’ve made their
exodus from the Democratic party referred to as having “left the plantation”. Can the Democratic Party actually be compared
to a slave plantation? Black Democrats probably won’t get the reasoning
behind some folks using the word “plantation” to refer to their beloved democratic party. The comparison, while possibly off-putting,
is a deliberate attempt at waking people up to similarities between today’s democratic
party and the past democratic party that was pro-whip, pro-chain, pro-cotton-picking, Pro-Jim
Crow, and Pro Ku Klux Klan. So, perhaps we should look at the similarities
between the old slave plantations and the party of the left. Perhaps we should consider the possibility
that black Democrats are being used for votes the same way that slaves were used for gathering
bundles of cotton. Yes… Consider that there are similarities. Perhaps, instead of looking at things as they’ve
been framed by the left, perhaps we just might think to Consider Culture. Being constantly reminded of our history in
America, blacks have often resorted to asking that the government pay reparations for what
was done in the past. If not in the form of reparations then in
some other form. Today many black Democrats look at the government
and feel that a debt must be paid for the oppression of the past. Politicians, Educators, and the media all
participate in delivering reminders about just how bad that past was. Much time is spent on teaching us about slavery,
and Jim Crow in schools, while incredible success stories like that of many of the slaves
who were able to start successful businesses and buy their own freedom go untold. Politicians remind their voting bloc how much
oppression is still going on today and how it’s rooted in the history of a racist America. The media makes sure to cover, over and over
again any event which they can label as a racist event and then compare those claimed
racist events to past events from the terrible history previously drilled into our minds
by teachers in elementary schools across the country. These participants serve to further this victim
narrative which labels those dastardly individuals on the right as victimizers who do not want
to help black folks. At least not in the way that Democrats want
to help. But then you have to ask what is it that the
Democrats are doing to help? This is where the rubber meets the road, of
course. Are policies, that paint blacks as needy helpless
creatures that only politicians are able to save by forcing universities and businesses
to lower standards… Are they truly helping or are they actually
harming us by making us dependent and presenting an image of blacks to the world that depicts
us as a group that needs the rules bent in order for us to succeed? History shows us very clearly how Democrats
thought of black folks in the past. Democrats were the ones who fought to keep
slavery going, While Republicans allowed blacks to vote and even become politicians themselves. Democrats, who were incensed by these things,
decided to form a terrorist group called the Ku Klux Klan in order to cause fear and hopefully
prevent blacks from voting. Democrats didn’t want black people to vote. Especially since they knew that no black person
in their right mind would vote for policies that kept them in chains. 100% of Democrats voted against the 15th Amendment,
which gave blacks the right to vote. The majority of Democrats also voted against
citizenship and abolishing slavery. The Republicans were the ones who freed the
slaves, putting the Democrats in a bad position, politically in the future. Especially once free blacks began to vote. And of course they voted primarily for Republican
candidates. So as years progressed, Democrats needed a
new strategy that would have blacks, once again, working to benefit Democrats. The Great Depression offered Democratic politicians
an opportunity to snatch the black vote relatively quickly. Perhaps they didn’t even mean to, but because
so many blacks were disproportionately suffering after the depression began, the government
was able to provide “assistance” as they began a new program to rescue American workers from
the fallout of the depression. THE NEW DEAL! Franklin D Rosevelt’s New Deal was created
and provided that relief in the form of public works projects like the building of roads,
bridges, airports and other projects that temporarily hired a large portion of black
workers, who were in dire straights at the time. Black republican politicians like Arthur Mitchell
were paid to speak out on behalf of these new programs and later saw opportunity in
switching parties and leading blacks towards the party that was providing all of these
new government jobs and benefits and at the same time lining his pockets. Blacks, who were thankful to have been given
opportunities to get back to work, saw FDR’s policies as the reason that they were no longer
suffering as much as they had been and understandably they began to also switch parties. But because this relationship was basically
based on a sort of dependency it, in my opinion, dealt a severe blow to Americans. Especially black Americans, who now were moving
towards government dependency instead of freedom and independence. It’s important to note that blacks were not
always willing to move in the direction of dependence. Frederick Douglass had a brilliant answer
when asked what the United States government should do for the Negro. His answer was firm and Swift, “Do nothing
with us! Your doing with us has already played the
mischief with us. Do nothing with us! If the apples will not remain on the tree
of their own strength, if they are worm-eaten at the core, if they are early ripe and disposed
to fall, let them fall! I am not for tying or fastening them on the
tree in any way, except by nature’s plan, and if they will not stay there, let them
fall. And if the Negro cannot stand on his own legs,
let him fall also. All I ask is, give him a chance to stand on
his own legs! “…… What Douglas and many others of that
era understood was that Independence was necessary to build strong families and economies for
blacks. And, due to this way of thinking, some blacks
did do well for themselves independently. Cities were built, towns were erected. Black success, education, and commerce became
more and more prevalent. As good as some blacks did for themselves,
there were still many who suffered from poverty and other social ills. But, perhaps that was part of the motivation
to move towards the left as well. Dependency has always been a motivating tool. Slaves, for the most part, were able to be
kept in bondage due to dependency. It’s the same method that pimps use on prostitutes. They often recruit their women in small towns
in the middle of nowhere and then bring them to a big city where they don’t know anyone
or how to get around. They keep them broke and provide them their
meals, clothing and housing. They tell them that anywhere else is dangerous
and that they will protect them.This causes the woman to depend on the Pimp. Likewise, slaves came from a far away land
and were brought to a new country where the land and soil was foreign to them as farmers,
the animals were foreign to them as hunters, the terrain was foreign to them as travelers,
and the food was foreign to them as a people who needed to eat. Even the seasons and weather would have to
have been vastly different. They would probably not have easily survived
without the knowledge that their captors had of the land and their masters reminded them
of those facts often. Dependency often made bondage more comfortable
than escape. Escape came at a great amount of risk. Some slaves felt better staying on the plantation. At least there they knew where their next
meal was coming from and where they would lay their heads at night. Even after freedom many stayed to work on
the plantations that they had served on as slaves prior to freedom. They depended on their masters, so why look
elsewhere for work and housing? Kanye West was harshly criticized for saying
that Slavery was a choice. However, if you really think about it, it
was for many slaves who were likely aware of options like the underground railroad,
but who chose to stay on their plantations instead. What is known is often the safer choice when
the alternative is the unknown. Today the unknown, for most blacks, is the
Republican party. Just like the underground railroad was a seemingly
dangerous path, the path to the right seems similarly daunting. Black conservatives, sometimes risk losing
careers and being ostracized from their friends, family, churches, and peers. The plantation is familiar. The plantation is where your family is. It’s where you get your sustenance. It can be your caretaker, your housing, your
career. It’s how you’re able to have a family and
raise your children. Freedom and independence is scary in that
it requires you to take responsibility for all of those things without any assistance. Is it any surprise that black liberals are
on the party of more government dependence? Black Conservatives, on the other hand, are
constantly speaking about freedom from government and less government handouts. Perhaps there’s a reason. Perhaps, in the mind of the black conservative,
government dependency is more like slavery. Perhaps black conservatives want to do their
best to be responsible and to stay off the plantation. I’m Chi Brown reminding you all to consider
rethinking everything you think you know. Instead of looking at others to pin the blame
on for black problems, instead Consider Culture. Remember to Subscribe, Comment, and Share. And if you like these videos and want to see
more, Consider donating a dollar or more a month to keep the channel up and running. For less than a cup of coffee once a month
you can help a small YouTube channel grow to be something larger and much more influential. Again. I appreciate you all watching and I’m Out.

Interview: Jordan Peterson and Dennis Prager at the 2019 PragerU summit


So everybody, when I never met in person– I never met Jordan Peterson in person, but I said to him when we met right before lunch something that is said to me by so many people who meet me for the first time: “I feel like I know you”, and I– That is the highest compliment, in effect. I now understand what a compliment it is when I receive it because I never gave it to somebody before you, and I– I have watched you for hours and listened to you, and read your book, and in fact, I didn’t just read your book. I heard your book from you. So I want to tell you something without embarrassing you, but I think I’d like to. You open your heart and your mind and so do I. When I was very young, I realized that God or nature had given me what I have called a “goodness detector”, and I knew, I always knew when I was in the presence of a good person because that’s all I really care about. I think brains are wildly over-rated. Wildly. That’s why I think you’re not bright if you join MENSA. Why you would want to announce to the world your IQ is so bizarre to me that I– I’m sure there are nice people there, but I I don’t understand it, but I always picked up that and I’ve always been right. It’s a– I’m batting a thousand essentially and when I heard you read your book, the passion comes from, “I just want to help people lead a better life”, and it’s really, it’s quite overwhelming. You didn’t just read that book. You… I won’t say you sang it, but I like that you use music. I’m very much into music too. So this is the man that I’m honored to have this dialogue with, because you’re– everybody knows you’re bright, but I know you’re good, so I wanted to state that at the outset. *applause* Peterson: I have something to say about that.
Prager: Good. That’s good. *laughter* Peterson: See I don’t think it’s true. I mean, this is why. I got motivated to do what I’ve been doing, and I’ve been doing what I’ve been doing for, I would say since about 1979 in one form or another because things take a long time to generate. And one of the things I learned in the early ’80s was that people have a great capacity for evil, and I didn’t really understand that of myself until the early eighties, something like that, after meditating on it for a long time, and so I would say, it’s not that I’m– I would never claim to be good. I think it’s dangerous. But I did become terrified of how terrible I could be. And I mean, I became terrified about how terrible human beings could be and that’s one thing, but that’s easy– It’s easy to confuse that with other human beings. You know, it’s a different thing to understand that it’s true of yourself. I often recommend to my students that they read history as a perpetrator and not as a victim or a hero and people very seldom do that and it’s no wonder, but I would say perhaps that I became terrified enough from learning what I learned that I tried to avoid the pathways that lead people to the dark places that they go, and there’s something in that that might approximate good. Prager:Yeah, it does approximate good. I would agree with that. *laughter* *applause* The parallels between us are so eerie to me that in my book on happiness, which came out of ’99, I actually have a chapter on the necessity of having a tragic view of life, and then I hear you speak of, like just now, this tragic view of life and ironically, if you don’t have that, you can’t be happy. So it’s just another example of this in that you’re getting this message out. If you want to comment on that, please, if not I’ll go on. You are such an– I watch you and you’re such an intense listener. I don’t know when you’re gonna react so… * laughter * Peterson: There’s this old idea You all know this idea. It’s an idea that’s expressed, for example, in the classic Disney movie, a classic Disney movie which I really like, called Pinocchio and you know when Pinocchio is attempting to free himself from the forces that manipulate him as a puppet and to become an autonomous being, he is required to go to the darkest place to find the worst, the worst monster and face that voluntarily, and in doing so, he rescues his father, and that’s a very old idea. I don’t know how old it is. It’s one of the oldest ideas we have in written form and and there’s no doubt that in its pre-written form it would be tens of thousands of years older than that, and it’s a very strange idea that you have to journey to the darkest abyss to free the spirit of your father. But there’s a reason for it, and it has to do with the tragic view of life, which is, that you can’t discover what you’re capable of being or withstanding, and those are the same things without — if you hide away from any of the things about life that are terrible but true, and the reason you can’t discover who you are without doing that is that only necessity will force that out of you, and I mean that from the perspective of learning, if you go work in a palliative care ward, you’ll learn to deal with death. You’ll learn the psychological strategies necessary — the steps. You’ll become more informed, but it’s deeper than that even. We know now from a biological perspective that if you put yourself in new situations, in new and challenging situations, that new genes turn on in your nervous system and code for new proteins that produce new neurological structures. And so, you can’t even be what you are fully biologically unless you expose yourself to everything that you can expose your self to, as you journey through life. The old idea of a pilgrimage was predicated on that idea, as is walking the Chartres Cathedral, the labyrinth. The idea that you walk the labyrinth in Chartres and you come to the center is that you traverse every corner of the world quarter by quarter, and then you come to the center, and the center is the center of the church, and it’s the center of the crucifixion. It’s the center of suffering and you can’t get to what that center signifies without having journeyed everywhere. And so, the tragic view of life is necessary, because it puts you on the journey that reveals to yourself who you could be if you were courageous, as courageous as you could be, and as truthful as you could be, and that’s equivalent to discovering, to reviving your dead father, because you are an ancient creature in some sense and perhaps one with a spark of divinity inherent in it, but you will never release that unless you’re willing to go everywhere that you have to go, because only necessity will call that out of you. And so you can’t be happy. You can’t be complete without… You can’t know what you could withstand. You can’t have any proper sense of self-respect unless you know what you can tolerate, and if you avoid everything that you have reason to avoid, but should nonetheless not avoid, you won’t know who you are and then you can’t live properly. Prager: You have said on a number of occasions, and on every occasion that I have watched you say it, not a single person in the panel, you often talk on panels, not one person has ever actually reacted to it. I totally get it. Nevertheless, it’s one of the most important things you regularly say. You live as if there is a God. Is that correct? Peterson: Well, people ask me if I believe in God. You know, I’m gonna release a podcast about that, because I answered that question for about two hours in Australia, because people kept asking me that question, which I really don’t like. I don’t like that question, and so I sat and thought about it for a good while and I tried to figure out why, and and then I thought, “Well, you believe”. I thought, who would have the audacity to claim that they believed in God, if they examined the way they lived. Who would dare say that? To believe, you think, to believe in a Christian sense — this is why Nietzsche said there was only ever one Christian, and that was Christ. To have the audacity to claim that, means that you live it out fully and that’s an unbearable task in some sense. I just debated Slavoj Zizek about a week ago, although it wasn’t really much of a debate. It was a strange event, but he said something very brilliant, and to me that justified the entire event, at least from my perspective. He talked about Christ’s moment of crisis on the cross, when he cried out to God that he had been forsaken, and what Zizek said was that what that meant was that the conditions of human existence are so tragic that even God himself in human form lost faith for a moment in the goodness of being. And I thought that was a remarkable observation, because, well, if God himself would lose faith under such conditions, what would you expect from normal human beings confronted with what we’re confronted by? To be able to accept the structure of existence, the suffering that goes along with it, and the disappointment, and the betrayal, and to nonetheless act properly, right, to aim at the good with all your heart, right, to dispense with the malevolence and your desire for destruction and revenge and all of that and to face things courageously and to tell the truth, to speak the truth and to act it out. That’s what it means to believe. That’s what it means! It doesn’t mean to state it! it means to act it out, and unless you act it out, you should be very careful about claiming it. And so I’ve never been comfortable saying anything other than I try to act as if God exists because God only knows what you’d be if you truly believed. I mean, if you think about it in some sense, that’s the central idea in Christianity is that if you were capable of believing, it would be a transfiguring event, a truly transfiguring event. And I know people experience that to one degree or another, but we have no idea what the limit of that is. So we have no idea what the possibility is within each person if they lived a life that was maximally courageous and maximally truthful. You know, because maybe you’re running at 60% or 70% or 20%, and at cross-purposes to yourself. God only knows what you’d be, if you believed. And so, well, I try to act like I believe, but I’d never claim that I manage it, because it’s a lot to manage properly, and you have to be careful about claiming to manage things that you can’t manage, and so that’s part of the answer to that question. Prager: It’s a great answer as it happens. * Applause * Prager: I’d like you to react to something that is very operative in my life. I just, and if you— I always tell people on my radio show: Totally feel free to say, “Sorry. I really don’t find that tenable,” or whatever you, however you want to react. My route as an adult to God has been completely circuitous. I have come through the the back door. As I wrote 25 years ago, “How I found God at Columbia.” I realized in the ’70s at graduate school at Columbia that I was being taught nonsense. Literally nonsense. Things that made no sense, and it drove me crazy because they were all bright. Bright people taught me nonsense. One day walking through Columbia, the only time I ever had— I wouldn’t say, I never had a theophany, but I did have an epiphany. All of a sudden one of the verses from my yeshiva education in Brooklyn, New York, the Cloistered Orthodox world of my childhood and I don’t use Cloistered and I don’t like Cloistered but I’m not using it at a pejorative way. I’m just explaining what I had, and all of a sudden, one of the verses that we said every morning in Kindergarten first grade and second grade, for the first time since second grade came to my brain. *Speaks Hebrew* Wisdom begins with fear of the Lord. Changed my life. There’s no wisdom at Columbia because there’s no God at Columbia and that has been— that is one of the ways I knew. Oh, without God, look what happens. Without God, look what happens morally, intellectually, in terms of wisdom, and my biggest reasons for belief in God are watching what happens when people don’t. So I’d love to have your reaction. Peterson: Is it C.S. Lewis? Was it C.S. Lewis who said that if you cease to believe in God you’ll start to believe in anything? Prager: That was the British guy… Peterson: Chesterton. Prager: Chesteron. Right? Yeah. Peterson: Thank you. Yeah. Well, that’s a… That’s a good way of looking at it. I mean if Catholicism, you know? I’ve gone through lots of Catholic cathedrals in Europe. And of course, they’re stunning creations but they’re gothic and strange and the doctrine is eerie, and complex and surreal and the Biblical writings are the same. You think of a book like Revelation for example. But I think that Catholicism, that’s as sane as people can get. You know, broadly speaking is that we need a metaphysic, a narrative metaphysic to hold us together, and it has to be predicated on something that’s transcendent and absolute. And if you lose that, then you’ll fall for something else. You’ll fall for something else, or you’ll fall for nothing, which is which is no better, and I learned that from reading Nietzsche and I learned that from reading Dostoevsky and this is the problem with the rationalists like Sam Harris and the atheists, Dawkins. Now they believe that if we dispensed with our superstitions, we’d all become Harris and Dawkins. * Laughter * Rational beings devoted towards the good, however we conceptualize that for rational reasons and I don’t believe that, because I don’t believe that we are rational beings fundamentally. I think we’re deeply irrational. It’s amazing that we can all sit in this room together without tearing ourselves into shreds. And I mean that. It’s really quite a remarkable thing that all of us, who’ve come from all over North America, can sit here so peacefully and concentrate on a single thing without any tension or trouble. The improbability of that should not be underestimated and the unlikelihood that that might be the case. And then the issue of God as well is that there has to be something of fundamental worth. There is something that you consider of fundamental worth! You know what? I think that regard for other people, for the consciousness of other people, for the conscious being of other people, is in that realm. If you’re going to have a relationship with yourself. If you’re going to be able to love someone else. If you’re going to be able to take care of your family and your community, you have to attribute to human beings, a value that might as well be described as divine, given that it has to be the the ultimate value that you hold. I see, it seems to me that it’s not unreasonable to associate that value that is intrinsic in humanity, with something that’s of metaphysically— that’s metaphysically real. That’s part of the structure of reality itself, and my sense has been that it’s… It makes… If you watch how people act when they’re acting properly, the hypothesis that there is divinity within us, that reflects divinity itself, is the only conclusion that makes sense that works. And so I think the evidence, I think the evidence suggests that. You know, you said, you look what happens when societies lose their bearings. It’s like, yeah, that’s what convinced me to the degree that I became a religious person. I didn’t… wasn’t as if I discovered God. It was more like I discovered Satan. I’d discovered the Devil and certainly believed that very powerfully. Metaphysically or not, you don’t have to read that much about what happened in Nazi Germany or what happened in the Soviet Union or what happened in Maoist China, what continues to happen in many places around the world, to be convinced that there’s a great darkness and it seems to me that if there’s a great darkness then there has to be a great light, and the first part of that is true beyond any hope of refutation, and the second seems to be a logical necessity in the light of the first. Prager: It’s a powerful line that you… I feel so obviously the same. I want to talk to you about the darkness. So, I’ve often said, all of my life, really, that we have a wrong metaphor in calling evil dark because it’s actually so bright that people can’t stare it in the face. The number of Canadian or American students at the most prestigious universities who could identify Pol Pot or even the Gulag Archipelago, let alone the Great Leap Forward in China, is so small. The knowledge of evil. It is now up to over a quarter of kids never heard of Auschwitz. It’ll be a half very soon. It will be three quarters in a generation. They don’t know evil. At Berkeley, I had a dialogue with two leftist students. My last question to them was, “Do you believe people are basically good?,” and they said “Yes.” And I said, “It’s so demonstrably wrong, that belief, that there’s only one possible explanation for why you hold it. Because you live in such a good country.” Peterson: Yeah, well, that’s the goodness of naivety, right? And it’s something that’s encouraged, you know, you encourage that by producing safe spaces around people. You produce that by sheltering them. You want to preserve that child-like innocence but once you’re no longer a child, it’s not child-like. It’s just childish. And that’s not good to be a 40-year-old child and to think that people are fundamentally good. It’s not— good is very difficult. It’s by no means the default position. What’s the default position? Entropy! Catastrophe, tragedy, malevolence, and death. That’s the default position. The good struggles up against that. That’s no easy thing to manage. To think of that is intrinsic. It’s an intrinsic possibility, but it’s not something that you It’s not something that… It’s not something that you can manifest without faith and commitment, and the more faith and the more commitment the better, and the deeper the better, and it’s the most difficult of things to do, and it is, it’s appalling to teach people the alternative. And I know that I speak of this clinically. You know, the people who are most prone to post-traumatic stress disorder are naive people. This is well-known clinically. There’s nothing about this that’s questionable or unorthodox. If you believe that people are basically good and that the world rewards goodness with good in return. If that’s your fundamental belief, that there’s not really any such thing as evil and you encounter someone malevolent, which could be yourself— Well, that’s often what happens to people who develop post-traumatic stress disorder, you know, they’re… it’s very common that people develop P.T.S.D. because they’ve done something so incomprehensibly, morally repugnant that it’s damaged them psychophysiologically, and they cannot recover. It’s very common among soldiers. It’s not what they saw, although sometimes it is. It’s what they did. They have no framework within which to conceptualize it. If you have no theory of evil, if you have no theory of good and evil, if you have no metaphysics, and someone malevolent touches you, you’re done. And so, telling people that human beings are basically good and that evil doesn’t exist makes them ripe fruit for the picking by the malevolent, and there’s nothing about that that’s positive. It’s mere cowardice masquerading as virtue. It’s the devouring mother from the Freudian perspective. I’ll keep you innocent. I’ll keep you young and naive and nothing will ever come to harm you. It’s like, precisely the opposite is the case in life. Prager: That is, why by the way, I truly… * Applause * Prager: That is why I truly believe that a 12 year old at a traditional Christian or Jewish school is wiser and more likely to be happy than a secular professor of philosophy who is 50 years old. Just because I knew, I went again to yeshiva, so half the day in Hebrew Jewish studies, half the day in English secular studies. I knew at 6, people were not basically good, because God said so in Genesis when he decided to destroy the world because it turned out rotten. So I knew at the earliest possible age, people were not basically good, and it not only affected my *Yiddish*, my worldview, it made me happy, because then I realized, “Wow, I’m meeting good people, despite the fact that people are not basically good. I really do have good people in my life. Am I lucky or what?” Peterson: Yeah. Yeah. Well that’s it. That’s a really good. That’s a really good point because, you see, when I said that it was a miracle that we can all sit here peacefully. Like, that is how I look at it. I think every day when I walk out into the world and it’s not rack and ruins and flames and floods, that it’s a bloody miracle. I mean it! That we hold this together, it’s not an easy thing to do, and peace, to think of peace as the default position is a form of deep insanity. Like, it requires work to maintain peace and you can’t be properly grateful unless you understand how unlikely it is that we’re not in the throes of World War 3. We’re not still in the depths of World War 2, that the Cold War is mostly over, that the economic conditions of people everywhere on the planet are improving at a rate that could only be described as miraculous, and that most things are going in a positive direction. If you assume that that’s normative, then you think well, that’s life, and you have no reason to to be wide-eyed, to have your eyes wide open in admiration and gratitude at the fact that the worst, which is frequently manifested itself, is not knocking at your door at this moment, because that’s the story of humanity, and not peace and prosperity. So here we have it, and here we should preserve it, and here we should spread it. We should do everything we can to live in a manner that makes that most likely, and we should do that because, well, you said, what did you say about fear of God? It’s like, throughout the Old Testament, you know, it’s one story after another that people develop societies and they become arrogant and they wander off the path. And as soon as they wander off the path, all Hell breaks loose, and if you’re fortunate enough to be where all Hell isn’t breaking loose, you should do everything you can to help ensure that we stay the course and walk the straight and narrow path. Prager: So I have a— * Applause * So, I have a very deep worry, in light of our absolute unanimity, if you could speak of unanimity among two people, but we’re so consonant in this. This is shocking how good things are, and yet in the United States, and I follow Canada a lot but let’s speak about America right now. In the United States, half, at least half of young people think they are living in a rotten society. Sexist, intolerant, xenophobic, homophobic, Islamophobic, racist, bigoted. That’s a SIXHERB. That’s my acronym for what I just said. This is frightening to me and I want to know is it frightening to you? Peterson: Well, you know, I always try to give the devil his due, and the idea that the West is a oppressive patriarchy, characterized by the sins that you just described, is true. You know, there’s, if we look through our history, personal or political, there’s no shortage of things to be appalled by. That’s not the question exactly, or that’s not the issue. The issue is compared to what? No, it was Churchill, this time I’ve got this right. * laughter * It was Churchill who said that democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the other forms of government, and I would say that about our societies is that, there’s no— We have every reason to be awake and cognizant of our errors. Whether they’re political or economic or personal, but compared to how it could be, and how it has been in many places and how it is most everywhere in the world and how it was for much of the 20th century. Things are so good here that it’s absolutely beyond comprehension, and so along with that, careful awareness of the flaws of the patriarchy, let’s say, should be an unbelievable gratitude that we could wake up in the morning and the lights are on and the the freeways are running, and there’s no starvation directly facing us, and that our children will live and that the probability that any one of us will die a violent death is negligible, and the thing that bothers me about… one of the things that bothers me about the modern university is the absolute lack of gratitude that characterizes its teachings. It’s like, it’s half the story, you know, it’s like people are oppressed by nature, and people are oppressed by culture, and people are oppressed by their own dark nate, their own dark side. It’s an existential reality, but you have to balance that. You have to understand that nature has its benevolent element and that’s what’s giving you life, and you have to be grateful for your culture, for everything that is provided to you, and you have to understand that people can be good as well as adversarial and malevolent, and you have to be grateful for that and there’s damn… There’s a damnable shortage of gratitude in the modern academy, and that’s based on a naivety or a resentment that’s so deep that it’s almost incomprehensible. A naivety, and a resentment, and a willful blindness to the reality of history that’s so deep that it’s almost incomprehensible. Prager: If I may ask you… It may strike you as absurd but I’m gonna ask it anyway. Except for technical knowledge, like medicine, or engineering, mathematics, obviously any of the Natural Sciences, law, if nobody went.. If all North Americans graduating high school decided, I’m not going to college, would North America be a better or a worse place? Peterson: If you took away the STEM fields? Prager: Yeah, taking away the STEM fields. Peterson: I think that universities, not colleges necessarily, I think that universities do more harm than good now, and I’m very loath to say that, you know, because I’ve been part of the academy for thirty years, and taught at great institutions, but the postmodern collectivist doctrine is so psychologically and politically toxic that I think that academia now does more harm than good. It’s not only what it teaches, which is the ideology, this ungrateful ideology which denies the existence of the individual. One of the things I might tell you just so you know this, is that, you know that you hear that there are debates about free speech on campus, about who should talk and who shouldn’t, and people think that’s what the debate is about. About who should talk and who shouldn’t. But that’s not what the debate is about. You’re not even scraping the surface of the debate if that’s what you think it’s about. The debate on campus is about whether or not a human being has the capacity to communicate intelligibly as an individual or not, and the answer for the postmodernist collective types is that there is no such thing as an individual, and therefore the very notion of free speech is absurd, because free speech is predicated on the idea that each of us have something to say that’s ours, that’s a consequence of our unique individuality, not our group identity, or the multiplicity of our group identities but something that– something that we have that speaks from our spirit, that can speak to the spirit of another and produce a negotiated peace, and that’s what’s being debated! The war that’s going on philosophically or theologically in the campuses is far deeper than you think. The entire notion of the reality of the individual, which is, I think, also the entire notion of the idea that human beings are made in the image of God most fundamentally, that is what’s being attacked. It wasn’t for nothing that Derrida called Western culture phallogocentric. Phallus for masculine, logos for logos, for truth and courage, and centric for centric. That was a criticism from his perspective. The idea of the sovereignty of the individual. If you don’t have the idea of the sovereignty of the individual, because there’s no individual, there’s no free speech. All you are is an avatar of your group interests, and if I’m not in your group, it’s not in my interest to let you speak. There’s nothing that we have to say to one another. There’s nothing but power. It’s a Hobbesian nightmare of group against group and that’s the postmodern doctrine, and so, it’s, to call it appalling is to barely scrape the surface. It’s an assault. It is truly an assault on the most fundamental principles by which the West is governed. It’s not surface level philosophy. It goes all the way to the bottom. This is partly why I’ve been concentrating on religious themes in my lectures, let’s say, because the argument goes all the way down to first principles. Is the idea of the sovereignty of the individual correct? The Western answer is, it’s the great discovery of the West. The Western answer is that’s the most fundamental truth. That is exactly what’s under assault at the universities. The reason that the collectivist types hate me is because I’ve got their number. I know what they’re up to. * Applause * And I think, further that, they do not wish to shoulder the unbearable responsibility of being a sovereign individual. So, not only is it— And that accounts for the cowardice, and that accounts for the attempt to weaken the spirit of the people that they’re teaching, by over-protecting them. They’re not willing to take on the responsibility, and that the fault has to lie elsewhere. And I think that’s a good judge of someone, someone’s character in general. It’s like: Well, the world is in the messy state. Let’s say, and the question is, whose fault is it? And the answer is: Yours. That’s the right answer. It’s not the patriarchy. It’s not some identifiable group. It’s not some structure that’s gone wrong, even though those things can go wrong, and that’s the other fundamental truth of the West. Is that, things would be a lot better if you were a lot better, and you have to decide if you’re willing to accept that, and you have every reason not to. It’s it’s a terrible thought. Don’t— With Solzhenitsyn I think, and this is a paraphrase, but it’s close enough, he said that one person who stopped lying could bring down a tyranny, and that, when I first read that, I thought, “That can’t possibly be true,” and as I understood it, I thought, “That can’t possibly not be true,” because the only thing that can break the spine of a tyranny is the truth, and the only person that— the only way that the truth can be told is that some individual tells it. And so it’s necessarily the case that tyranny is broken by the truth of the individual. But then the question is well, is it going to be you that’s going to do that? It’s no trivial thing. You know, people come and tell me very frequently, and they write me and they say “Well, you know, I agree with what you say and this terrible thing is happening in my workplace, and you know, I don’t know what to do about it. And I don’t want you to make my story public because of the potential for repercussions.” And I think, yeah, Well, I mean, I understand your position. It’s no joke – it’s no joke to stand up when the amateur totalitarians are knocking on your office door. But if you don’t, then sooner than you think it’ll be the professional totalitarians, and then you’ll be in this sort of trouble that, that unless you’ve tried to imagine it, you can’t possibly imagine. Prager: In the minutes remaining, I’m gonna ask you a few personal questions, as I did with the late great Charles Krauthammer at one of our weekends, Because people like, including me, are just fascinated. So here’s one: What was the city in Alberta you grew up in? Peterson: Well, it wasn’t a city. Prager: Exactly. Okay. Peterson: It was a little town. It’s called Fairview. It’s about 800 miles north of the American border. So, it’s a long ways up there. Prager: Right. So how often, if at all, do you think, when people stop you at airports and you go around the world lecturing, “Jordan Peterson from Fairview, it’s hard to believe.” Does that happen? Peterson: Well, I live in a constant state of disbelief. I mean, I’m dead serious about this. I think it’s a form of post-traumatic shock in some sense. I mean, my life in the last three years has been just a continuous series of surreal Impossibilities. I mean, on the one hand, I’ve been involved in a political scandal of some sort for a good year and a half. It was at least twice a week, and then for the entire three year period, it’s been at least once a week. It’s non-stop and sometimes it’s national, and sometimes it’s international, but it’s continual, and so that’s… I’ll give you an example. This is a funny little story. My son came over one day about a year and a half ago, and I was having a kind of a rough day because 200 of my colleagues at the university had signed a document trying to get me fired, and then they gave it to the Union and and the Union presented it to the administration without even informing me, even though I’m part of the faculty Union, and so I said to my son, “Julian, you know 200 of my colleagues today just signed a letter, saying that I should be fired,” and he said “Oh, Dad, don’t don’t worry about that. It was only 200.” * Laughter * But I thought, well, that’s where we were at, you know, was like, oh that’s nothing. That was a light day. *Laughter* I was okay, you know, and then, so there’s that, and and the fact that it doesn’t quit, that’s another thing I can’t understand. It’s like, you know all this blew up around me around Bill C16, and I thought, well, I’ve had my 15 minutes or my, then it was like, well, I’ve had my week, and then it was like, I must have had my month, and then… but none of that happened. It just kept expanding and expanding and expanding and expanding and expanding and every day I wake up and I think well, this is gonna come to an end, but it doesn’t. It just expands, and that just doesn’t seem credible in the least. Every time I come to an event like this, or I mean, when I was in Australia, I was speaking to audiences of 5,500 people, and it’s like: How in the world can you believe that? It’s like, you heard what I just said. Who in their right mind would come and listen to someone who just told you what I told you. You know? It’s so dark, and it’s so demanding, you wouldn’t think that people would line up for blocks and spend their hard-earned money, and and come because it’s a marital anniversary. That’s what they say. “This was our anniversary present to each other.” I think you people, you’re completely out of your mind! *laughter* And so, and then, I think too, you know that the state of disbelief is necessary, and maybe that’s an advantage to being older, because I’m too old to adapt rapidly, and this isn’t the sort of thing that you should adapt to, right? I should be in a constant state of shock, disbelief, because it keeps my head on straight. I don’t know what’s going on exactly. I don’t know why it’s the case that what I’m saying is so necessary apparently, but it seems to be, and I’m trying to figure out why. But I’m certainly not for a second, I think I take very little for granted, and I mean, I think I take even less for granted than you might think. I told you that I don’t take it for granted that you can all sit here peacefully, you know. And that is how I look at the world, is that if it isn’t burning in rack and runes, then I think it’s a bloody miracle and the fact that things have gone well for me, and that I’m still standing, which is also a miracle of sorts. You know, I mean, there are probably 30 different scandalous episodes, that had every, that anyone with any sense would have thought would finish me, and they’ve all backfired, and that’s also… *applause * I also don’t understand that. It’s like, I don’t understand that. I get attacked in New York Times, and my friends call me, who are New York Times readers, and they say, “You’ve had it this time, because that was the New York Times, you know, you’re not gonna recover from that,” and I think well, that’s probably true. I mean, I was expecting it to happen all along, and then I wait and then, you know, everybody clamors at me and then I don’t respond too much to that, and it starts to die away, and then all the supporters come out, and then there’s a hundred people who clamor and 10,000 supporters, and you know, here’s something I can tell you about my life that’s really remarkable. So, you know, if you just read the press, well, you’d have all sorts of ideas about me. I mean, you know that I’m a bigot in the broadest possible sense. And so, that’s, you know, racist, sexist, homophobic, ethnocentric, white nationalist, alt right, Nazi, Hitler, all of those things. And you’d think that there was just nothing but hatred. Although, I have been treated well by many journalists, but you could easily get that sense that I live in a world where I’m surrounded by hatred, and that is absolutely not true! It’s so not true that it’s… You know, there are lies and then there anti-truths, and an anti truth is even worse than a lie. It’s like the ultimate form of lie, and that isn’t what my life is like at all. What my life is like is that I travel with my wife and wherever we go, and I mean that literally, wherever we go— We’ve been to I don’t know how many countries in the last year. It’s like, I don’t know how many. 30-40, many countries. If I go down the street, or if I’m in an airport, or if I’m in a cafe, or if I’m in a movie theater, or if I’m in a mechanic’s shop, some person comes up to me every 10 minutes, and says, “I hope I’m not disturbing you.” And they’re very, very polite, and they say, “I’ve been listening to your lectures or I’ve been watching your YouTube videos or I read your book, and I was in this dreadful place six months ago,” and then they tell me a little bit about the particulars of that little corner of Hell they were ensconced in, and then they say, “Well, I’ve been trying to develop a vision for my life.” Or, “I’ve been trying to take more responsibility,” or “been trying to be grateful for my job, mundane though it may be,” or “I’ve decided that I’m going to try to put my family together, and make peace, and I’ve really been trying and it’s really working and things are way better, and thank you.” *voice crackles* And so, Well, it’s overwhelming to have that happen continually. It’s very difficult to believe, but it’s unbelievably positive. You know, I mean, it’s… if you could imagine, if you could ask for what you want today. You could have anything you wanted. You might think, “It would be lovely if I could live my life in a manner so that wherever I went in the world, perfect strangers would come up to me, one after the other, and tell me that they’re suffering much less, that their families are in better shape, and that their lives are on course, because they took they took to heart something that I was communicating.” That’s as good as it gets, as far as I can tell. * Applause * Prager: I really don’t want to ask anything else. I think this was so powerful, and if that didn’t prove my instinct is right, nothing will. Jordan Peterson, you are a good man. You are doing a lot of good. I thank God he made you. Thank you. *Cheers and applause* Thank you for watching this video. 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The Socio-Politics of Night in the Woods and the Rust Belt | Gnoggin


Night in the woods is a very interesting game. And not one that I would just recommend to
everyone. Though I enjoyed it greatly myself, it’s
not the kind of game that just anyone can enjoy. Though if you are around the age of 20, and
are at all depressed or empathetic or are wondering your place in the world, this game
is for you 100%. But one of the most interesting things about
this game to me, was Possum springs, the town the game takes place in, it is one of the
most interesting, unique, realistic, and relatable settings in a video game I have played. So yes, there will be spoilers here, but nothing
major. So lets learn about Possum Springs, and its
inspiration from the sad reality that is the Rust Belt. Now, maybe it’s just me and my west coast
education, But I hadn’t even heard the term Rust Belt until about a year ago. And as I think about this, I feel like this
video may be common knowledge to those who live in it, but for me and I assume many of
the rest of this side of the country, its all new information. But even though I had no idea what a Rust
Belt was when I first heard it, thankfully, I was able to piece together where it was
just by the name of it. It’s this area of the U.S, Mainly Michigan,
Indiana, and Ohio, but also crossing into Pennsylvania, Illinois, and western New York. And it gets the name rust belt because…
well, basically… it’s falling apart. The most famous city in the rust belt is of
course Detroit. So think of everything famous about Detroit,
but spread throughout small towns scattered across that part of the country. Here we see the modern ruins of a prosperous
past. In the mid-20th century, this part of america
was at its richest. Its factories and mines were pumping out products
left and right, and the big ones too. Coal, Cars, construction equipment, machinery,
steel, lumber, everything. And this is reflected in Night in the woods
well. Possum springs was a mining town. And the locals are proud of it. Spanning murals of their prosperous time along
walls, and erecting monuments. Their local sports team are the Smelters,
named after their once prosperous smelting facilities in the area. And the older citizens refer to the gold old
days frequently. These older citizens mostly would be from
the Baby Boomer generation, the time when this area WAS at its most prosperous, they
grew up in an ever-improving world of high middle class living. Only for things to come crumbling down in
their adulthood. “And the kids these days don’t understand
that things used to be better,” because they grew up at its worst. But why did it crumble? Well that of course depends on the political
views of who you are asking. Those on the right will often say it’s because
Taxes and regulations got too costly, which caused these businesses, mines and factories
to either shut down, or relocate to where it’s cheaper. And those on the left will tell you it’s
the greedy CEO’s moving out to where they can line their own pockets more. And in reality, it’s both, along with the
added factor of technological improvement. I mean, 1 miner with a machine can do the
same work in a day that 10 miners could in a week 60 years ago. And yes, it became significantly cheaper to
move these factories elsewhere because of regulations and taxes. But many, though not all of those regulations
were for saftey’s sake. Afterall Mines and factories are dangerous
places. So It can be viewed as greedy CEO’s wanting
to just move instead of spending money on guard rails and paperwork, but it also makes
business sense. Take me for example. Just a few months ago I moved out of california
because the cost of living is too high and they tax me too much. Being a Youtuber is considered running your
own small business. So I moved to Oregon for business reasons…
and because the weather is much much nicer here. Factories, especially at the time, tend to
have good wages. Supporting tons of middle class families from
1 person, usually the father, working there. So when these factories leave, suddenly these
middle class families are stuck with middle class bills to pay, but are stuck working
for lower wages at retail jobs… and thats if there are even any of those left! This is also reflected by Mae’s dad. He used to work in the mines, but now works
at a grocery store, and he hates it, Mae’s mom has to work now too. And it sounds like, despite their efforts,
something is going to happen to their house… They probably cant afford to keep it anymore. Beatrice and her father run a business together,
but recently had to drastically downscale to a small, worn down apartment, because they
simply couldn’t afford the nice house anymore. The rust belt is full of empty houses, especially
nicer empty houses, at least they used to be nicer. But all of the middle and higher class people
left, or dropped into the lower class, foreclosures skyrocketed, and most people could no longer
afford to keep their houses. The same goes for parks, schools, and businesses. Because if people can barely afford their
small houses and apartments, then they don’t have leftover money to spend at other businesses,
so those businesses dont make enough money to stay afloat, so they either fail, or move
out to a more prosperous area. LEaving the rust belt town even more empty
and worn down. At one point, you drive for an hour just to
get to a mall, a nicer place to shop and hang out, but even it is a bit run down and empty. This is the point in the game that resonated
with me the most, because this is happening across the country, not just in the Rust belt. Malls suck nowadays, at least compared to
how they used to be. And why? Well beatrice says it pretty clearly. Because of the internet. There are many articles and predictions from
economists that state that a “Mallpocolypse” is just around the corner. Multiple mall-chain stores can no longer afford
to keep running. They can’t compete with internet prices
and still pay Mall-rent. Malls charge a lot for rent, and haven’t really
adapted to the times. Most of them just don’t realize that they
are killing themselves. And while its hitting malls hardest, the same
thing is happening to outlet stores and small businesses in general. The internet is making them obsolete. But while this is hitting the nation, it hits
the rust belt especially hard, since its almost all they have left. Another point that gets brought up is that
the small local businesses are closing first, and they are being replaced with major chain
businesses, like the Snack Falcon. Seeing this made me relive a bit of culture
shock I had a year ago, when I first visited Oregon. I had no idea that so many local businesses
could exist in one area. My hometown of Redding CA is 95% chain stores
and restaurants, because the only places that can afford to exist there are the ones with
major backing. But the problem with that is, when you say,
buy a starbucks coffee at a walmart, most of that money is going to another part of
the country, where their headquarders are based. But when you buy a local thing from a local
store, all of your money is going to be used to further advance your own local area. You are supporting your local area. But at this point, the rust belt cant afford
to support local, because there are so few local businesses these days, only the major
chains can afford to be there. And so, its a cycle, and the people get poorer,
and poorer. And the effects are well shown in Night in
the woods. Firstly, everything is run down, but also,
there are Lottery ads all over. Notably, the poorer you are, the more likely
you are to buy lottery tickets. And lottery companies know this and prey on
the poor for their dollar. Lots of the young adults here, especially
beatrice, wished they could have afforded to go to college at all, but they can’t, Too
expensive. New technology is expensive too, and even
though this game takes place in 2017, most of the tech in the world is outdated, from
the early ot’s. People cant afford to keep up here. One of the most prosperous and well kept local
businesses in Possum springs is a pawn shop. Likely because the poor citizens are selling
their more valuable belongings to afford food. Another interesting yet obvious statistic
is that pawn shops also do better the more poor a particular area is. Also, the poorer it is, the more crime and
drug use there is. Which is also why the shadier of pawn shops
do well. And this is also referenced by Mae’s friend
Casey apparently being in the Meth making business. Another trait of the rust belt is sinkholes,
which is a recurring point in night in the woods too. Its why there is so much construction going
on, repairing the sinkholes. The reason sinkholes are such a big problem
in this part of the world is because of all the old abandoned mines just sitting there,
empty, slowly eroding holes underground. The surface ground can only stay up for so
long. And this segways nicely into the spoiler-y-est
part of the video, its about the underground cult which, thoery: im pretty sure consists
mostly of the city council members. Though they are the antagonists of the game,
I feel like they fit into the relatable category of villains. The ones that have a good point, good intentions,
and are relatable and understandable, but go about things in… not the best way. In this case, they discovered that a sinkhole
within one of the abandoned mines lead to, EHEM, an eldritch horror known as the black
goat, and when they sacrifice someone to it their town prospers a bit for just a while. So the connection between them and the city
council is obvious, they are the only groups you see in the game, and the both have the
same goal. Make the town great again. And there we go, I said it. Make the town great again. Lets go political. The way I found out about the term “Rust
belt” is the same way many other people found out about it. The 2016 US presidential elections. It was the unexpected twist of rust belt states
turning red that caused Trump to be elected. If you go back and look at these political
maps, its easy to see that while the rust belt contains a few swing states, they tend
to be bluer, the few times they go red is when the entire country has a very obvious
preference. But in recent years, people have been getting
more and more polarized, so most media outlets assumed these states would all be blue because
of their more recent history. Its why it was thrown left and right that
clinton had a 90% chance to win, and then she didnt. Because of the Rust belt, a part of the country
that is usually ignored. And while places like Buzzfeed and popular
tumblr blogs will tell you its because they are sexist and racist, (even though they dominantly
voted for Obama both times before, and have been blue for most of history… so how and
why would they suddenly become this….) Anyway… the real reason is much more complicated,
and much sadder than that. Its because this part of the nation is called
the rust belt for a reason. *Video Clips *I voted for that obamer feller
years back, I thought he would help* *Trumps going to bring the jobs back, thats all I
care about* And a few journalists covered it very well. This part of the country is experiencing all
of those problems I mentioned earlier and more. Politicians of all kinds always promise more
than they will ever give of course, but Obamas campaign in particular was one of hope, hope,
and change. Which is exactly what the whole rust belt
wanted at the time, and still wants, they hope for a change that will make their part
of the country, great again. And after Obama made those promises, and fixed
nothing… well.. Whats the point in voting for Hillary? One of the major flaws that political analysers
on ALL sides point to in Hillarys campaign, was that she offered very little change. She stood for basically everything obama did,
little more, little less. And since Obama did very little for this part
of the country, why would hillary? Meanwhile… Trump went out of his way to
appeal to the rust belt. Claiming that he wants to bring those jobs
back. Which is exactly what the people there want,
it’s what they want more than anything. And they can look past the flaws that the
media pounds upon constantly, because they see voting for him as the greater good. And even if he didn’t campaign in that area
exactly, many analysts still believe that these states would have voted for him. Because he still represents some form of change. At least something will be different, at least
there will be some, even if minor, some small chance that things will get better… And that’s all these people want now…
change for the better, instead of the constant decline, and instead of being ignored… And before the comments turn into a dumpster
fire for me daring to say anything remotely, vaguely, slightly, positive about trump. *ehem* of course he isn’t actually doing anything
to help much at all, in fact a few of the government programs that he is cutting the
funding from are programs *specifically* made to help that region do better. Welcome to politics 101, every politician
on every side promises more than they will EVER be able to do. Wow. But the politics of the region and even the
rest of the country are well portrayed in Night in the Woods too. Albeit subtly. Both the rust belt and possum springs share
a certain dynamic between conservatism and liberalism. The older generation is religious, with churches
scattered about. Christendom in the broadest sense, has both
a form of conservatism, and generosity involved, though not through liberal means. What i mean is, politically speaking, christians
and even just religious people in general, tend to vote more conservatively. Yet at the same time, tend to be involved
much more heavily in charity organizations, such as helping the homeless. And you’ll notice that the majority of the
characters involved in the church even remotely, are much older. Meanwhile the discussions you have about spirituality
with the younger characters reveal that they tend to go either agnostic or atheist. This along with the political ideologies we
know of in the game, such as bea being part of the young socialists, goes in line with
what is currently happening. Many in the older generations tend to be more
conservative in general, while the younger generation right now seems to be the most
liberal they’ve been in modern history. Part of it is due to polarization of course,
but its also because of..well… everything. Politics, especially in the broadest and generational
sense, tends to be complicated. Nobody is purely one thing, everyone is a
shade of grey. Near the end of the game we see Bea talk about
the old cult people wanting to gain back the “world of the past that barely existed”. Which is very accurate to how many younger
people these days see the older generation. You see on the news, older people talking
about their glory days, about their booming businesses, about Ronald Reagan, about a time
where they could walk into a store with conviction and get a job immediately. A time where things were only getting better. More than anything, the world you grow up
in and spend your young adult life in becomes your normal, it makes you who you are. So “kids these days, they dont know” does
have *some* merit to it. Kids these days grew up in a post 9-11 world
that was already falling apart, and ghost towns are all over the place now. This is the new normal, and many younger people
cant even fathom it being any different. Much like Bea, they have terrible childhoods,
working extra hard just to be able to eat tv dinners. “If only those business had stayed, then
things would be better. But they are gone now, those businesses ruined
everything, its their fault. Forget the business sector, capitalism ruined
everything! the government should help the social sector so that my life would be better,
so that its more fair.” And thus a socialist is born. This is also exactly why we have phases and
flip flopping political views through the generations. Kids grow up being raised by their parents
from 1 or two generations behind. Plus they grow up in a world that is being
mainly effected and controlled by the previous generation. And because most of us are little rebels,
at least on the inside, we want to be different, unique, so we go against that. While what classifies as conservative vs liberal
has changed over the generations, its notable that baby boomers were, for the time, very
liberal. But in turn, they raised generation X, a more
balanced but leaning a bit towards conservatism generation. By today’s standards though, both fall into
conservatism much more, and that factor, along with being raised by boomers and gen Xers,
the Millennial generation is the most liberal generation, possibly in history. The Main characters in night in the woods
would fall into the very tail end of this generation. And being raised in a more extreme environment
of any kind affects your outcome too, in their case, it makes sense that they would lean
towards the left. They are living in a falling apart city whose
older inhabitants are all much more conservative and, from their perspective, are stuck in
the past. And because the more conservative government
doesn’t seem to be interested in helping, well, it just makes sense to do the opposite. And tangential fun fact, the extreme left
views of Millennials and early Gen Z kids in general seems to be leading to the bulk
of Generation Z being the most conservative generation since the 1940s. At least according to political, pop media
trend, financial, and generational analysts. And speaking of analysts, not to jump on any
fear-trains, but I’ve read more than a few times and even did my 6-month-long final project
in High School on the prediction that California is going to become the next sort of rust-belt. Which looking at my home town, I can see 100%. The politics and policies that *definitely*
benefit southern california, are destroying northern California. And thus, more people and businesses are moving
out of california, and moving to states like Texas, Oklahoma, and Washington. But thats a subject I could spend on hour
on for another time. To summarize, Often times, people who live
in the area I do, the West coast, will have no idea about the problems in the rust belt. They are confused why and how they could even
flip flop politically so much, especially during the last election. And to those people I say, Check out Night
in the Woods. It’s easily the most accurate portrayal
of that part of the country. Desperate, yet strong and hopeful people of
a once-prosperous part of the nation. They are strong, and do everything they can
to stay afloat, arm in arm they raise each other up in their small towns. Though, through seeing the continuous decline,
some get desperate, and will overlook any crimes or misdoings if it potentially works
for the greater good of their area. Sure, you could say some are stuck in the
past, but at least they haven’t given up. And as on Ohioan, I’ve certainly experienced
a lot of this first hand. My home town was pretty much a cookie cutter
rust belt area. Oh hey, its Swankybox from the youtube channel
Swankybox which has multiple awesomely in depth videos about Night in the Woods, what
brings you here? Weeeeeell, you know, I just magically edited
my voiceover into your finished video! By the way, did you know that the stars and
constellations in Night in the Woods and its prequel games may have foreshadowed the events
of the game? I didn’t! But that sounds awesome! Looks like the developers didn’t only put
details into the Rust belt aspect, but the astrological aspect too! I’ll definitely check that out and encourage
my viewers to also! So what do all you think? Is Possum springs an accurate portrayal of
the Rust Belt? And did you expect a big lesson in politics
from a video about a game featuring cat-gods? Let me know down below, and until next time,
never stop using your gnoggin!