Robert B. Reich discusses his book, “The Common Good”, at a Politics and Prose event at Sixth and I historic synagogue in Washington, DC on 2/22/18.
Robert B. Reich has been one of America’s leading political thinkers since he served as Bill Clinton’s Secretary of Labor, for which Time Magazine named him one of the ten most effective cabinet secretaries of the twentieth century. A constant voice for social change, Reich is the author of 14 books, including the best-sellers Saving Capitalism and The Work of Nations. Now, he makes the case for restoring the idea of the common good to the center of our economics, our politics, and our national identity. The Common Good argues that societies undergo both virtuous and vicious cycles, and that the vicious cycle the U.S. is now undergoing can and must be reversed. Reich challenges us to weigh what really matters, and to join forces to save America’s soul.
Civic things but instead I worked for
the Democratic Party of Arkansas in 2014
I heard a lot of oh I love the
Affordable Care Act and I realized that
my health care is important but I just
can’t vote for people who kill babies
and I know that my mom has some
sentiments and I’m glad that she votes
this way even though she sometimes has
some issues with people that aren’t
necessarily like us but she says you
know if they’re gonna take away my right
to the right of choice I would never
vote for them and so I’m fine with her
voting for Democrats even though that’s
probably not where she would align
ourselves but how do we deal with people
I’m not sure you’re familiar with the
campaign talk you never engage of five
so when somebody’s like I’m just not
gonna vote for somebody because they
kill babies like you just you move on
how do we deal with people who are like
that um yeah I mean we’re seeing it a
lot with the gun debate I don’t want to
I don’t want a caricature certainly not
your mom but people who have one issue
and they feel deeply about it and they
think it’s the most important issue at
all and it is their litmus test for all
politics and all politicians and there
are going to be people like that and you
know I think it’s important to respect
their views and not to denigrate them
and I don’t want to get too much
involved in you and your mom let me just
say that every every Thanksgiving every
Christmas every you know my students
they a ganar about going home because
they always have an Uncle Louie or
somebody who voted for Trump or who is
just you know in the 19th century and
they don’t know how to talk to them and
I would say they’re really there there’s
something that I try to do and I don’t
do it well but it’s I call it eloquent
listening which is which means you you
really open yourself up to what they are
trying to tell you and you allow
yourself and give yourself permission to
possibly be persuaded and you repeat
back to them what they said to you so
that they know and you know that you
really understand them and that can be a
gateway to communication because once
people feel safe in terms of sharing
their deepest values they can then be
open to maybe if not reconsidering them
at least understanding where you’re
coming from that’s something we’re not
the other day, EJ Dionne praised a piece by Ramesh and me on the need to criticize Trump. I responded:Thanks.
That’s fine and I agree (and have been). But I think liberals should also think about how they invited the backlash that Trump rode. There’s plenty of blame across the ideological spectrum.
My tweet elicited a torrent of question-begging, self-righteous bilge from liberals who couldn’t imagine that liberals have any role in the mess that we are in. Assaults on free speech, the constant mockery and condescension from the commanding heights of Blue America, the refusal to consider any reasonable reforms to immigration, Hillary Clinton’s dynastic entitlement and contempt for “deplorables,” and the pushing of identity politics seem always to be noble do-goodery without a smidgen of overreach.
.. Michael Anton, who penned “The Flight 93 Election” back when he was hiding behind a pen-name, articulated very well in an exchange with me what millions of conservatives believe to be true:
The old American ideal of judging individuals and not groups, content-of-character-not-color-of-skin, is dead, dead, dead. Dead as a matter of politics, policy and culture. The left plays by new rules. The right still plays by the old rules. The left laughs at us for it — but also demands that we keep to that rulebook. They don’t even bother to cheat. They proclaim outright that “these rules don’t apply to our side.”
.. I disagree with Anton’s prescription — to surrender to identity politics and cheat the way our “enemies” do — but I cannot argue much with this description of a widespread mindset. Many on the right are surrendering to the logic of the mob because they are sick of double standards. Again, I disagree with the decision to surrender, but I certainly empathize with the temptation. The Left and the mainstream media can’t even see how they don’t want to simply win, they want to force people to celebrate their victories (“You will be made to care!”). It isn’t forced conversion at the tip of a sword, but at the blunt edge of a virtual mob.
.. Kevin Williamson’s views on abortion put him outside the mainstream. And he was fired from The Atlantic merely for refusing to recant them.
Meanwhile, extreme views on the left are simply hot takes or even signs of genius. Take the philosopher Peter Singer. He has at least as extreme views on a host of issues, and he is feted and celebrated for them. He is the author of the Encyclopedia Britannica’s entry on “Ethics.” He holds an endowed chair at Princeton. He writes regularly for leading publications. And he argues that sometimes it’s okay to kill babies, as in his essay “Killing Babies Isn’t Always Wrong.” “Newborn human babies,” he writes, “have no sense of their own existence over time. So killing a newborn baby is never equivalent to killing a person, that is, a being who wants to go on living.” He cutely asks whether people should cease to exist. (He ultimately and grudgingly answers “No.”) Oh, he also argues in favor of bestiality.
And he’s been profiled favorably in the pages of The Atlantic.