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tv   Book Discussion on The State of the American Mind  CSPAN  August 3, 2015 6:30am-8:03am EDT

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>> values, culture was shaped by the book. perhaps more important and subsequent generations of americans have thought of themselves in their place in the world. the first laws that were crafted in british north america drew extensively on mosaic law. they were writing into their laws. if centuries it was a central tax in america. take a look at the new england premer. the bible specially the king james bible was a highly effective tool for literacy education. they enjoyed the highest literacy in american history.
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education more generally. in an educated citizen was essential. given the impact of christianity. an educated mind must be acquainted from the stories symbols and sacred text. adams had this to say, to a man of education to study history is not only useful and important but indecember -- indispensable. it is shameful to be ignorant of it. the bible has informed the letters, arts and other components of western culture. absent the king james bible, the
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english would not have known paradise laws, negro spirituals. from the pill grum fathers to founding fathers crafting a sack -- sacred national mission. lets look at the old testament accounts. promise land and nationhood have acted as power metaphors in american identity. american embraced a specific narrative about themselves. narrative about chosen people who were led to a promise land with milk and honey. it was remained a part of the
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nar ti -- narrative. this national narrative americans with the sacred purpose. new chosen people in a new promise land was that there was something extraordinary exceptional about america's place in role. americans' role is carried with blessings and burdens. a shining city on a hill. the themes of bondage liberation in the campaigns of mid-1900 century. williams had this to say. it captures the point i want to make here. the increasing unfamiliarity
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with the bible make it harder and harder to americans to understand. unable to relate themselves to american life and culture as a whole. not only enriches one's understanding but provides insight to the identity of american people and civil law. let me just say in conclusion in an increasing fragmented society which citizen's lack common knowledge, a common culture vocabulary that will facilitate meaningful communication
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specially religion and politics. help citizens to join in conversations about how best to order public life and govern ourselves. given the bible culture influence, the nature of religion controversy biblical literacy is vital in a society. >> thank you daniel, one of the passages in your essay is relev ant and important. how do we make the case? i -- i read the bible in the old testament in hebrew as part of my jewish education.
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i then read it again many times and had to go back to it and also new testament in the course of lit -- literary education without knowing some knowledge of the bible even turn turn draws upon a biblical text. drew religious belief. you have a passage that's instructive. it goes beyond the sphere of literary concerns.
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you say there are many developments and conflict abroad although not exclusively or primarily about christianity. this includes controversies voling just war civil rights abortion life. without the framework people will not fully understand each other. so how -- you know, this isn't a question that you have to answer a alone. in a society at least in our culture, in what -- how -- in what world could we bring back a bible as part of secular education? >> it's essential to an ongoing civil conversation because
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there are certainly large segments of the population that are still very much a biblical culture and for which biblical ideas inform their view. it's certainly true in the world we live today. christianity is exploding specially in the global south. we're going to have to be aware of the source and or -- origins whether we're religious or not to be aware of -- of biblical ideas and to teach them in our classroom. not as an exercise but simply as part of the mission of the education. >> thank you very much. i'm going to turn to nicholas
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who is well known to the people here. nick is one of the pilars. he's a senior adviser harvard school of public health, he's a busy person, books poverty of poverty rates a subject that he will elaborate today. dependency in america and to sort of prompt you, my question is how has the rise of the welfare state affect the way we think of the traditional mind, what new habits have been
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substituted for them? >> adam, thank you adam and mark. can y'all hear me? thank you very much for including me in this volume. i'm happy to be with this all-star cast intellects you put together. this as a volume is going to have legs. thank you. when i was a young man, i was a little. one of the things that i was skeptical about when i heard my olders talking was how things were when they were young and so i supposed i had a little bit suspicion of what we call the
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good-old days argument. what i'm going to talk about the way america has changed during the periods since i was a boy since i was a young man because i can show you that things have changed with respect to the relationship between the citizen and the government in a fashion revolution in the literal sense meaning overturning the previous order. i can also suggest by some of the homework that i'm going to share with you that in our quest to deal with poverty and need, we have also inadvertently created new problems that people didn't have to contend with back in the good-old days.
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so to start with, kind of like a mappic comparison of myths. myths may have true in them but they are kind of myths. there's a european myth about poverty and there's an old-fashioned american myth about poverty and the european myth about poverty is that people are poor because they are trapped in the station of their birth, because of the class-ridden mobility lacking nature of the sorts of places that a lot of americans want to get away from, or at least their ancestors want to get away from to come here. the american myth about property is very, very different, is that we have a land of self-reliance.
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we have enormous opportunities that people with will-power and courage can rise from any station to any other station in life. and poverty has something to do with the deserving poor and undeserving poor. the deserving poor to be helped or undeserved might be pitied or change their ways. so the important thing the know is that our modern welfare state in the u.s. traces its origins back to europe. come from sweden with policies and from the thinking william
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beverage mid -- middle of world war ii. social entitlement party. but we did join the party and we joined it with abandon. i'm going to show homework on this and see what the implications might be. so this is a little map which tries to show the proportion of income coming from entitlement programs by county. populations by county where the color is darker the proportion of entitlement social welfare
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program and personal income. you can see some native american reservations are. this is 1969. i'm going to fast-forward 40 years. just look at the contours on the colors. 69 2009. 69, 2009. part of what we're seeing here is a revolution in government. when i was a boy -- back when i was a boy the federal government devoted less than 1 dollar to social welfare programs. it devoted to national defense
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the post office and retiringtiring the federal debt and also described as government. today the federal dollar goes 60 can he notes out of the dollar to welfare programs. we've had literally a revolution in the financing and attention and prior priorities of our federal government and system. if we look a little further we're not going to do an eye test here, trust me it's in the book buy the book, it's in the chart. over the last 30 years there has been a 20 percentage point jump in the percentage of americans living in homes that get one or more government benefit and almost all of this jump has been due t recipients of
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means-tested benefits. benefits that for needy poverty-related programs. as of now, over one person in three is receiving at least one government benefit predicated upon being poor or the employment rate has not gone up or overall income level has gone up. we have twice as many people proportionally being qualified as poor today. we have defined poverty and need upwards.
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in theory public benefits are supposed to deal with poverty. public-tested benefits to deal with poverty. but if one thought that one would be very wrong. when the poverty rates goes up, the americans benefits tested goes up. when the poverty rates goes up -- you see where i'm going on this? look at unemployment also. when unemployment rate goes up the proportion of americans on means tested benefits goes up. when the unemployment rate goes down the proportion of americans means testing goes up.
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we have no information value given to us by the business cycle with respect to the recipients of means-tested benefits in america. that is the calendar year. with every additional calendar year the predicted number of americans of means tested benefits goes up by .3%. we are on path to have a majority of americans on means-tested benefits in the not too distant future. so there are consequences of this revolution in our country and i'm not going to make
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connections there. it has been the exit of men from the work force. you have seen up here that this blue line, this blue line indicates proportion of prime working age men. 25-54 who are completely out of the work force neither seeking work as unemployed or employed. it's quad -- it has been for all ethic groups in the united states. the exit from work for african men has been higher than non-hispanic white men, but the trends are in the same
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direction. by the way, the proportion of white men who have opted out or not part of the work force today is higher than african men 40 years ago. 40 years you could have made the argument and discrimination. it's harder to make that argument for white men today. by the same tone we can look at the u.s. compares to some of the welfare states. i have greece in late 30s. but there's a big gap there's twice as many, twice a large of proportion prime age men in the united states that are completely out of the labor force as in greece. we talk about the five.
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strangely large number of american men have 52-weeks vacation. [laughs] >> finally one thing which maybe an attempt of corruption to take disability benefits. the blue rise of dying working ages. we're healthier than we've ever been before. the red line is a proportion of the work force. that's higher than ever before. what is wrong with this picture please? maybe this can tell you something about behavior. to conclude we talk add in the public scare over the past many years about our endangered middle-class in the united states. we talked about globalization
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skills public policy and many other things. one thing we haven't talked about is the phenomenon of applying for and accepting benefits that are supposed to be based on need and poverty. with 35% of the american population accepting poverty -- need-based at this point. do we see an additional threat to the middle class mentality. thank you. >> thank you nick. so what would ben franklin say about the strait of public
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virtue in this country. i have to not say -- [laughs] >> i think we're pretty. do what i where and not do what i do. when poor richard and his al -- would have had some pretty wonderful the way american were dependentent today now, of course, the -- the american myth that i mentioned was a myth. i mean it's partly true and the european myth is partly true but is a way of kind of
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organizing new normals. one of the things that poor richard, deserving and undeserving poor. the idea that everyone could qualify for public assistance, i think would have been absolutely to ben franklin, not just ben frank -- franklin. that would be my ges. >> i'm sure you're correct. i would just mention that what i think everybody here knows that in the founding generation for at least a century or more or after, there was a clear sense
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that the health of our society and government depends on have you virtue that's the idea of a republican and -- republic, what we're talking about is corruption corruption of the body politic and i think one of the things that you touched on your essay is corruptive tendency of a massive state bureau -- how well they are doing their job by how many people they serve like mcdonald's. it's all very well for mcdonald's to sell 2 million
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hamburgers. that has a corruptive tendency. it has a moral effect, and so, you know the question is, is there any way to at -- at this point you don't seem very hopeful. to you it seems that we've gone too far. is that how you feel? >> i think the inadvertent consequences of the attempt to aliveuate need are very stark in america today. if you look at other mod -- modern states have been reformed or have effects characteristics overhauled usually that has
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happened when the government has run out of people's money. it happened in new zealand and sweden. we're a very rich associate. -- society. the government will have to run through our wealth before we hit the wall. in addition to our fantastic national wealth we have the dollar of the international means of exchange. and as long as we do that we have additional license of credit that we can call upon. unless we as citizens wish to do something different that has occurred in other social welfare states and preclude or begin
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reforms before they're forced upon us, we're going to have a national discussion and con sen us about that. >> so we have to go broke? >> that's the way it happened everywhere else. we can do it differently. >> a note of hope. thank you very much. i want to introduce jean, professor of psychology in san diego university. the nar -- nar -- >> rise of the south and intellectual interest. i'm particularly interested in
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this. i have children in the 20s. i will refrain from commenting on what i might think about that. what interests me, and i want to hear everything you have to say about the subject. i was struck by the contrast what we meant -- what americans meant by individualism in the past and today. that's a very interesting focus about discussion. i want you to talk about what your findings are. >> all right. know that it is not my stomach. that was reflected. you could see the self-ton cover about narcissism. yeah, for how has our culture changed. we do have increase
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individualism. it doesn't seem to be do rugged independent individualism. what we are doing now is more like this, twitter reality television, that's paris hilton wearing a shirt with paris hilton on it. >> is she taking a selfie at the same time? >> well, we have the selfie right underneath her. you get the idea. one way to put this is delusional individualism. the idea which is very common now that thinking you're great is just as good as actually being great or the idea that self-belief is enough and i heard that believe in yourself and you can do anything.
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it's just one example the phrase that's very common now. very common in children's sports league, everybody gets a trophy, if you show up you get a trophy, if you suck, you get a trophy. my nephew has one of these. what does that even mean? i'm not really sure. how does it affect individuals? what effect on actual people? among the questions they start this way rate yourself compared to the average person your age. i'm better than other people in this trade. we are particularly interested in things that deal with skills and around individualistic characteristics. well known psychology effect.
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you're going to see a lot of variation based on things that are considered to be easy, subjective, i want you to focus on the change from entering college students, boomers compared to generation me. what percentage believe they're above average? well, a lot more now. drive to achieve leadership ability, riding ability, which many faculty would challenge right, mark? some change more than others but they have gone up. okay. what about actual performance? mark mentioned some of this.
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the act went down. math hasn't changed a whole lot and the total has gone down because of the verbal. national assessment progress, we they really haven't changed very much in spite of all the money that we poured in. actual performance unchanged or down self-believe, way up. is there a way to quantify in thinking that you're great positive use where we realize the more subjective feedback that students get from their teachers might be a good way to look at that. here is the percentage that are coming to college with an a average. it used to be less than 20% and now it is more than 50. you see the same exact pattern
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-- yeah, exactly. high school students you see the same thing. more students go to college now. these numbers should go down instead of up. okay, maybe they're working harder, but they're not. 10 or more hours of homework. here is the question, has that inflated crossed over into something that -- not necessarily clinical or as my 8-year-old daughter defines is when you farther and say i rule. she's right there. she's laughing at her own jokes. he came up with that herself. we did about a hundred samples who completed the standard
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measure, n pi. a few items. if i rule it had world there would be a better place. that's funny. [laughs] >> i can live my life any way i want to. i think i am a special person, and notice this is something that's very common to tell kids they're special. i like to be the center of attention. here is how college students change since the 80s. how big is the change? about 17%. now it is about 30%. so it's not most of them who scored but twice as many who do
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and that makes the change bigger than it actually it is because they are the ones that end up in your office. all right, thank you very much. [applause] >> so i will -- i would like to add something to what you've said. i find it very interesting i've heard of people from my generation that the young kids coming out of college toddies -- today display characteristics. whose fault is this if not ours? >> exactly. people say a lot. it's not their fault. it's their baby-boomer parents.
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i think this is a chul churl -- cultural changes. that's very possible. so this is a generational shift but a shift that permeated our culture. the great inflation is another good example of that principle that yeah, maybe the students were arguing over the grades but so were the parents and teachers. >> i have one hopeful note to add to this, my younger daughter who is a year out of college and getting prepare today move on with her life, she brought all this stuff from high school and we're going through it and opened up a box of trophies. dancer she did all kinds of
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things. these i'm throwing away because they're just, you know for participation. i'm keeping the ones that. ones that are real accomplishments. there's one thing that -- that i take away from this encounter with my daughter that it is hopeful. , there is human instinct to honor and appreciate excellence, our culture which has emphasis on equality and moved through american history with great power has eroded or undermind
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respect for greatness. we don't see it in our culture and yet the human being still retains a respect for it, so if there's -- as i said we're not wrong on solutions, i personally feel that this is something that can be appealed to and something that we as conservatives of various stripes really should make a consistent focus of our speaking or writing teaching. and so with that, i would love to open the floor to questions please. >> for mark -- >> we're going to bring a microphone to you. >> thank you.
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question for mark, whether any of your graphs could be seen as a function of measuring rather than a function of what's being measured were the number of people measured significantly larger or were they always the same number of people? no yours. [inaudible conversations] >> verbally. >> okay. no, i don't think that it's a function of the sample size. i think that's roughly consistent and i would also about the exams sat has gone down a little bit for the
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sliding scores. i think we're good on -- on the end. >> thanks for kicking the tires, though. can you bring the microphone? thanks. >> first of all, thank you. the title of this was anti-intellectualism and i wonder whether in the country you're sensing a hostility towards intellectualism, towards to thinking whether that's now viewed as leadist coastal just a general feeling. >> yes please. >> i can tell you if you look at some of these big surveys that have been done of young people high school and college students, there's an enormous decline in por ken -- percentage
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that say they read books. that's one example the rest of the panel could input on. >> it's a threat to our common ability to have a civic associate and political system that functions. >> one quick survey figure, in 2000 half of american adults said that they read a newspaper their previous day. it could be print or digital that number is down to 23%. >> intellectism is hard and we have a culture today that really shies away from that kind of effort. i mean again, i have to say
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that i grew up with people that were intellectuals. i understood that in order to participate in a conversation i had to know something. >> will the adoption of religious norms help address and actually a little -- and also maybe the individual because of their pure mind without these cultural norms so do we have to go back to the old-time religion ? >> it should be.
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i don't know how we would do that. i guess my -- my personal response, i just -- i come back to the story about my daughter. i think young people natural want some guidance, structure authority, a sense of grown-ups being in charge and allowing sort of -- coming into a world that is ordered and run by mature people. i have some hope that it may work itself through. >> i would -- i would welcome a third-grade awakening. >> i would add that i think religion does face obstacles in
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our current culture that perhaps not the same obstacles faced by other forms of information. it seeks to sort of exclude discussions of religion from the public square. it's a bit of a unique circumstances when it comes to christianity and the bible. >> please, over here. >> so 26 years ago i was senior in college business major and i read the book american mind and your father's introduction was as good as the book. one of the things that really struck me and wanted me to change my major my father said if you change your major i'm going to bring you back to
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community college, it is kind of in line with political thought and teachings of the classics. the spanl -- panel is fantastic. i'm wondering how much of an impact, how do you think it would play out going forward conservatives like myself that go to business school and have the opportunity to learn the classics and the general teachings of the classic and american mind? >> we need to spread policy of hiring classics major. how do you do that? they sell more oil. [laughs] >> in the back.
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>> i'm an intern at aei. somebody -- i think mr. boar -- bauerlein, is that the way you say your name? they have suggested that the principles of classical liberalism are not -- sorry, i can't read your -- it maybe been alluding to. do we have to classify classical
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liberalism in order to cover a view of the person of having a moral place in the world that i think professor was talking about in the american mind. what does that mean for american conservatives which is more classical liberals. >> anybody want to take it? would you write a book on the subject? maybe you should write a book. why are you looking at me? the next question you sort of stumped us. it's a very profound question. i'm not -- i honestly don't know the answer to it. but it's definitely worthying about and there should be a book on it. down here, please. >> program for public consultation from the university
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of maryland. it's in the category that -- you mentioned earlier that you're perhaps a bit short on remedies. i read in financial times of research, i believe business management research about the term competent as opposed to more high-flown language, excellence being a champ own -- champion and so forth. there's an entire piece of research. as i recall it, they found that those who aspired to be competent at something rather than checking the box that they're aspiring to be the best of something, wound upper forming the tasks better than
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the people who were trying to be extremely good. so i'm wondering whether competence is a value that can be pushed forward because we've are trying to be all these other things. you don't write in your resume that you're competent. i'm -- i'm really asking you you might have run across this and more broadly that you think this might be an interesting angle. >> there's other studies suggesting that, financial --
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for example saying i want to do very well. but, it it is true, if you think of excellence you think about being the top 5%. that's okay. being average isn't always bad. ii would you know, also -- competence is a better bar. it's a good place to start. if that's motivating all the better. >> happy to hear that. >> i'm bothered that our panel didn't offer a response to
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cole's question. i'm a numbers boy but i have to take a crack at your question. i think the distinction or contradiction and more biblical interpretation maybe a little overblown. it is true that if we talk about objectivism, you had a little bit of problem with the text, that is true. objectivism is a freak show. if you want to talk about -- if you want to talk about classical liberalism or get back to adam smith or get to john, i think underlie those texts and those
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ways of thinking. of course, there's a tension there but there's not a war. >> yeah, you mentioned adam smith. remember that adam smith does the economic, he writes theory of moral sentiments. >> please. >> i'm juliana pillan, i have three degrees from the university of chicago. i could say that this is music to my ears. i want to say that your father was one of the best professors in addition to being a novelist, those of who us who had the pleasure of listening to him, he wouldn't lecture he would just talk. it was extraordinary. i do want to not continue
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session, although that would be very easy, the idea that there are some positive light at the end of this very distressing tunnel appeals to me. among my most enjoyable experiences as a professor -- i should have said i'm with the alexander hamilton institute for the western civilization so there has to be some hope. some of my most enjoyable experiences have involved teaching and lower rank as well. ..
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>> the world looks to america for leadership. what probability do you see of these trends spreading worldwide? and is there a preventive for
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that? >> sure. well certainly indications seem to suggest that this particular brand of american individualism is spreading. a lot of other countries are starting from a much lower bar which is probably why they're occasionally eating our economic lunch. so it does seem that it's spreading though. just like mcdonald's and coca-cola, this idea of thinking highly of yourself and we're going to focus on the self instead of social rules which has some advantages as well, equality, does seem to be spreading for good or for ill to the rest of the world. reasonably quickly. >> i suppose the fortunate fact is that an awful lot of other countries see the u.s. as having a pen your rouse and stingy welfare state, and i guess i'd kind of like to keep it that
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way. some countries have had premature welfare states, like argentina and other latin american countries and they've taken little, you know, kind of like time off from the world economy as a consequence of that. [laughter] there are aspects that i think other countries are going to emulate, but i don't think for better or ill is attorney entitlement state is going to be foremost among these. >> and with that, thank you all very, very much. thanks to the panel. [applause] [inaudible conversations]
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>> you're watching booktv on c-span2 with top nonfiction books and authors every weekend. booktv, television for serious readers. >> next on "the communicators," representatives diana degette of colorado and jim langevin of rhode island discuss the internet and cybersecurity. then remarks by veterans affairs secretary robert mcdonald. after that live a preview of pope francis' visit to the united states. >> c-span created by america's cable companies 35 years ago and brought to you as a public service by your local cable or satellite provider. >> host: and this week on "the communicators" we're going to talk with the congressional co-chairs of the privacy caucus and the cybersecurity caucus in congress. first up, representative diana
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degette, democrat of colorado. she serves on energy and commerce committee and she is the privacy caucus co-chair. representative degette when it comes to technology, where do you draw your personal line between privacy and security? >> well, i think that most people who are putting information onto the internet whether it's their social security number or other personal information they think that it's going to be secure most of the time but unfortunately as we've learned all too well in the last year, no american is really secure from cybersecurity breaches. >> host: so what -- is there a solution in congress? is there a remedy of any type? where, what can we do to protect that information? >> guest: well, of course both private companies and the government keep trying to keep up with these hackers, but we've
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seen attack after attack. the most recent attack, of course, on office of personnel management, but also in private industry -- target, home depot, so many other private corporations have had customer information stolen. and so what we've realized is we can try very hard to keep ahead of the hackers but what we need to do is think about how we minimize the need for customers to put their private information onto web sites. with the opm situation, for example, did they really need to take social security numbers for people who were just applying for jobs? and don't you really want to element -- to limit that to information that you really, really need? so that's one thing is we need to really think about minimizing the amount of personal


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