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tv   Book Discussion on In the Arena  CSPAN  May 14, 2016 11:00pm-12:01am EDT

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that's a look at some of the author programs book tv is covering this week. many of these events are open to the public. look for them to air in the knee fur chew on book tv on c-span2. [inaudible conversations] >> welcome, to our heritage foundation. we welcome those who join us on, for all the guests in house we ask last courtesy check that cell phones and other noise-making devises have been muted as a courtesy to our
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speaker. our interviewers are always welcome to send comments simply e-mailing speaker at and we will post for everyone's future reference following today's program. hosting our events james who serves as vice president of our katherine and davis institute for national security and foreign policy. graduate of west point and 25 year veteran of the army serves as adjunct professor at georgetown university and served as professor at defense university. he serves on the board of trust years at the marine corps foundation and advisory boards for the west point center of history and the hamilton society and operation renewed hope. please join me in welcoming jim fano.
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>> pete is not only a great friend but define it is definition of great american graduated at presentation tone -- princeston and harvard. two bronze stars. working with fox news and so having -- having put his life on the line i'm not sure what possessed him to write this. in the world in which we live you write a book about who we are and who we should be. it just seems old fashion but those who have walked around and
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walked by the roosevelt statute and seen of of the quotes and remember not just he is legacy that deciding who we are to being a republic and democracy that maybe there's not a better time for this book around i certainly applaud pete to share his thoughts. so pete is going to talk and then we will take q&a. if you would wait for the microphone, if you would raise your hand for pete to recognize and wait for the microphones, state your name and affiliation, that would be awesome. we will do that, sometimes we start later at heritage but we always end on time. with that, please join me in welcoming the author of in the arena. [applause]
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>> well, jim, thank you very much. the heritage foundation, i'm grateful for this opportunity. you got the book early, you engaged with it and i appreciate that and offered to host. this feels like a family reunion, basically in this audience and i thank all of you for being here, so many wonderful faces, people that i have known and worked with and folks online thanks for sticking with us. first i want to thank a bunch of people by my former colleagues at concerned vets, i'm great thafl you are here. i wrote this book from 4:00 to 8:00 a.m. in many mornings while working while running cva and it was what we did at cva that was an inspiration for me and i think you will find that it's a call to action that is exactly the call to action that is the organization. it was always a pleasure to work with you, i appreciate the work that you continue to do from jay and bill and sarah, tal and dan,
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amber, emily, kevin fred and even my brother phil who is in the front row here. i want to thank all of you and, of course, who was earlier with us, kate, she told me you have to write it and i took her advice. i'm glad that i did. i also want to thank my very good college buddy who is here and acknowledged in the book. this book literally would not have happened with nat, without him teaching me to write, argue, pulling me back from the brink of absurd things that i put on the pages of publications, that was the content editor and for good reason, thank thank you for your help on this project. so many others that are not here, my wife, boys, who i dedicate the book to.
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southern names of the north. and i also want to recognize david vilavia, author himself and also encouraged this project from the the very beginning. to the book itself, when i was in afghanistan and guantanamo bay i carried a quote in a black frame, teddy roosevelt's arena, you'll see it. it's the quote, it's not the critic who counts but the man who is actually in the arena, who strives or, comes up short again and again because there is no effort without error and shortcoming but does actually strive to do the deed and knows great enthusiasms and spend himself in a worthy cause who knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and if at worst
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fails, place shall never be with those cold and timid solds who know neither victory nor defeat. it's a famous quote. many of you heard it, many probably motivated as well. this book is not about my life. i'm not a state senator from illinois. this book is always not about teddy roosevelt. of course, it channels historic speech but it's not about him, i'm not attempt to go litigate his life as a conservative i'm very aware of progressive lurch and what he gives in candy with -- candidacy with woodrow wilson. it's a call to action.
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to me is meant to inspire motivate and remind americans of every generation what makes america special and that it is worth fighting for and some of us carried a rifle and many in this generation still do, but you don't have to carry a rifle to be in the arena and it's our job to instill in every generation the principles that perpetuates what is an experiment in human freedom. you see, if the 21st century isn't an american century, then the 21st century will not be a free century. it's just a fact. you look around in the world today there are threats, ideologies around the world are quite different than ours and a quote, something i put in the book throughout is the phrase history is not over, history is never over and all we have to do is look to western europe today to realize that when you decide to gut your military to pay for your welfare state and you forget who you are, you have a
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tendency to end up riding the way of history as oppose to shaping it. if getting off to a good start is important, then no one is more responsible for the 20th century being an american century than teddy roosevelt. charged up san juan hill, great white fleet around the world, chief for american involvement in world war i. if you remember woodrow wilson wanted peace without victory which i think would be quite difficult and very looking peace than we have today. in many ways the 20th century on the back of teddy roosevelt. why then -- as i think about it, when i read the entire roosevelt speech that's when i really woke up to the power of the quote. the quote itself is powerful. the quote is motivating but it is in some ways, there's no value assertion in the quote. it's being in the arena, but
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what is the arena and what does it mean, it's not your arena or you do you argument, there's the what arena for this exceptional american experiment that was gift today us 240 years ago and has to be perpetuated in every single generation. we all know the regan quote. you have to fight for it in every generation, it doesn't get past to generation. difficult reality on a daily basis, you see the quote is one quote of the larger speech citizenship in a republic. roosevelt gave it in front of 3,000 elites in paris, when i read the speech for the first time after just looking at the quote and never really thinking about the context i was blown away. it is sort of unpc before there
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was pc, to me struck me as the road map of what we need in america today in order to restore our republic. why should i stand up and declare what i think -- what i think the direction of america should be when instead i could chanel a fantastic speech, a historic speech that has timeless resonance today and reminds us of the very ingredients of republics that are required in every generation new york city matter what, no matter we have twitter or facebook, the ingredient's are the same. he says the average citizen must be a good citizen if great republics are to succeed. the average citizen must be a good citizen if great republics are to succeed. not great rulest or even great citizens necessarily heroic citizens in every moment, good citizens that on a daily basis
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in a gritty way, personal way understand what it takes to keep and make america the greatest country in the world. you see good citizens are the only aneck -- anecdote to big government. good citizens that understand why america is exceptional and special they are the thin line between freedom and and tierny we understand that it was just that, an experiment. in fact, europe sort of laughed at us, a piece of paper, a constitution that's going to stand between you and a tyrant, you are going to hand over power peacefully, there was a sense that it wasn't powerful. they understood a balance of power which checked the nature of humans, pride, ambition.
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they understood freedom of religion as oppose to freedom from religion. they understood amendments like the first and the second are indispensable to free peoples, ability to articulate which roosevelt talks about in the speech, tolerating very different opinions, that's tolerance and the second amendment the right to bear arms and protect yourself. and also understand we are country of laws if not men. so he talks about good citizens and good patriots in the speech. good citizens at home and good patriots in the world, and that's really the breakdown of the book, it's intentionally in that order because i talk a lot about talk in fox and elsewhere, foreign policy, military and national security, there's a lot to talk about but you can't talk about american leadership until you talk about restoring an maintaining citizenship. if you don't understand who you
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are and what you believe and you don't educate in every generation, you can forget about attempting to be the leader in the world or attempting to project power and controversial in places. what is a good citizen? it's not just voting or jury duty, it's not protesting necessarily, those are ingredient's of what we do in republics of what citizens do. roosevelt points out that it's the gritty, civic virtues, he use it is word efficient which is usually a word we think of when we think of lightbulbs and starting pitchers, you don't think of it when of citizens. who are you you as an individual and what do you do before deciding how others live and he uses the first principle is work. earned success. the willingness to keep a job and provide for your family. the second is fight.
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spirit for man and woman, holding your own. you see a bike-helmet culture when we should be thinking about female in the middle east. we teach our kids to be wimps. and we need to be willing to stand up for and fight for the things that we believe in whether it's on a battlefield or here at home. the third is large patriotic families, demographics, roosevelt wrote about demographics and what i use often is of an afghan interpreter that i spent, not radical, he's in the united states today, he would risk his life for me and i would for him. and he -- we were talking about faith, religion, christianity islam, pete, it's inevitable that islam would overrule the world, the prophet foretold it.
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we are having ten kids and you are having one. when you look at western europe today, when you look -- i mentioned they're gutting their militaries to pay for their welfare state, when you forget who you are and you don't demand allegiance from populations that separate themselves and then have ten kids while you're having one, that's how london become it is most popular name in london becomes mohamed for new-born boys. and for us to think that things like that just go away, is willful blindness and so western europe whether it's 25, 50 years from now is going to look very different. it's not an antimuslim phrase or statement, it's a reality because they don't do integration, they vent done that well in western europe that's not the melting pot that american has been so far. and then things like the migrant crisis only accelerate problems we see there and as many of you
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know europe is a preview of america. second chapter of the book is about france and what we can learn from france that was frankly formerly great republic that decided to give away status by making very intentional decisions at home and america can learn from that. now we have massive advantage that is our revolution was different than theirs but still a lot to learn. the first aspect you can put is character whether it's faith or believing in something greater than yourself, george washington religion and morality are indispensable in for republic. i'm not talking about social conservatism and in the book i -- as a former -- i still am a social conservative in many ways, campus and college, you go to war, you learn some things, you see some things and you realize there's other things in
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my mind that are a more important priority. i'm not talking about pro-life issues. i think that's a fight that conservatives should couldn't to fight every day of the week but i think we obsess over things like same-sex marriage and inhibits the ability to talk about the real challenges facing families, the real challenges facing parents and kids in our culture. then he talks about after you focus on yourself looking outward, he talks a lot about equal opportunity which should be, needs to be the star of conservatives and republicans, the left, of course, is the party of equal outcome. if we are not -- if we don't strive daily to be the party of equal opportunity, then we will miss the mark. and i think it's fair to say republicans and conservatives and in many ways have missed the mark for a long time talking about marginal tax rates when people's mine sets are very different and are seeing massive shifts in economy and the way lives are lived. we have to have clear eyes and
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not just unburdening regulations and problems for those -- pushing back against dependency for those at the bottom, but also making sure that those at the top play by the same rules. it's the regulations, it's the tax code, it's the lobbyist that, of course, rig the system so that those at the top are able to gain to their advantage and in many ways block out those who would otherwise have social mobilities, the left talks about income inequality all of the time. what we should talk about social mobility. is the ability to rise. the ability in this country to have every opportunity that your parents or others had in previous generations. you have to start with citizenship. he always talks about what undercuts good citizens and it's citizenry focused on rights instead of duties, citizens ri that believe that men are perfected and citizenship that is invested in moral relativism
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and there's no right or wrong, of course, we see that on the battlefield today. there's no reason why "the new york times" had to put it 32 straight days in the row. there's no home team in america. the american press or other places today because it's passe that america is good and we support the causes that we undertake even though controversial. roosevelt talks about -- he says at the end of the republic commences which is what we have seen whether it's left, right, black, male, young old and we have seen classes and genders pitted against each other which is toxic to the body politics and you start with citizenship,
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because without citizenship you can't be the good patriots on the world stage that you need to be. you guys have all seen the -- i don't know if you've seen the bumper sticker, think globally act locally, it's a popular environmental bumper sticker and i think roosevelt would rip that off and say, think globally, think lobing ally, act globally, remember who you are and be willing to act globally in defense of those principles which are indispensable that america is good, america is worth fighting for, america is truly exceptional and america has been a force for good in the world. sounds like a very basic simple question.
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i talk about iraq surge. the line of freedom and journey often times decided in those really difficult moments when half of the country or a lot of people want to take a political route, let's pop smoke and leave this difficult battlefield and then the other half says, no, this is the exact moment when you need to be willing to double down, when you need to be willing to take the fight to the enemy and i have never been more proud than january 10th, 2007 when george w. bush announced surge in iraq and did the right thing, he said, the future of our security depends on the battle of the streets of baghdad and ask yourself today if he was right and unfortunately, of course, he was, and the surge did work and it was successful and al-qaeda in iraq was largely defeated.
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political progress was happening. by january 2010, joe joe biden was declaring achievement of the obama administration, achievement that he happened to visit four or five days ago, they took for granted the stability and the gains that were made through greedy decisions in a dark moment and assume they would perpetuate themselves without understanding out central defeating islamist was to their narrative and our narrative. are we the paper tiger that osama bin laden said we were. would we retreat for every conflict or are we able to show forefathers and that's not a call for fighting every boogie man on the horizon, it's a recognition that the lesson we should learn from the last 15 years, the lesson we should learn from iraq is that resolve works, not that all the middle eastern wars are terrible and
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just not get messed up there, that's it. we should -- and the did i feel part is the narrative in the republican and democrat moving to the wrong direction and what i basically do a couple of chapters is make the case that the iraq war is a war that we should learn from of what to do in the right moments as oppose to run from and i think republicans and conservatives should stand confidently in every form they can and point across the aisle to hillary clinton and barack obama and joe biden and say you're the reason isis is proliferation, it was mean retreat that created those seeds and it's your policies that advanced chaos in the region and there's any numb -- there's obviously a more complex situation when you unfold every layer of that but ultimately a lack of military will, and a lack of political engagement.
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we simply decided that we were over iraq and today we have as roosevelt warned us in the speech, the first president of the united states that considers himself a citizen of the world and roosevelt talked about that in 1910 warning against those who see themselves first as citizens of the world whose international feelings for humanity swamps national feeling. in fact, those citizens of the world are usually the worst citizens of their own country because they point out a humanity without focusing on what makes in the republic's case worth fighting for. i call the foreign policy, a coexist foreign policy. another bumper sticker. does it make you throw up in your mouth when you see it? [laughter] >> that is an example of -- of his mind set. it's not the coexisting is bad, coexisting is good, coexisting
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is a means, not an ends. just like engagement is a means and not an ends. for this administration, when asked, he said it is to engage. engage is not a doctrine, it doesn't mean who you are and what you believe in. what you have is a series of progressive elites that went to princeton and harvard. a lot of know obamas but big believers in the state, what we can accomplish if we build a international institution, eventually forced to emerge from idealogical cocoons. and what happens when the world still doesn't want to coexist with the leader as progressive as obama, what if isis instead of wanting to coexist is wanting to chopping the heads of
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christians or iran is cheating on it and will have a bomb like north korea after that deal, what about the islamic state pushing gay men off of a building in iraq the same day that the white house is lighting up the white house in rainbow? what if they don't want to coexist, what instead of hitting a reset button the bike at a -- dictator in russia is drawing the line of eastern europe? they're not an campus anymore in the student lounge. they're the commander in chief and the things they learned on campus, will, turns out the bad guys in this world aren't interesting in coexisting or engaging on those levels. rather than recalling out -- rather than calling real threats, obama, clinton, cery
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and others look for mutual understanding for groups and facilitate as graduate students. they work for peace agreements that have no attachment to military realities on the ground. they declare the need to negotiate without preconditions, they unilaterally withdraw without carrying what happens. they declare no boots on the ground. they apologize profusely for nonsins. they seek the moral high ground by leading from behind and they declare the use of violence, of course, just so 19th century. they try to coexist with a dangerous falling backward and surprise, surprise. it doesn't work. the result of last seven years, what do we get, interventions,
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noninterventions, negotiations, high-take raids and they don't understand because america's leadership doesn't believe in america. it doesn't believe in the use of america's powers for freedom and security in the world. we get incoherence like the ben laden raid and swap. we get a white house that the world doesn't recognize. what do we need to do? we need to lead, acknowledge that without america there is no leader of the free world, and again it doesn't mean we have to be the policemen in every corner but we have to be the sheriff and say our interests are important to us, we need to be willing to crash the islamic state and unleash hell on them and recognizing that they're a
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vicious enemy that the longer they exist, the more vulnerable we are on every front. we need to standby, we still speak for freedom. as i talked before, we need to be willing to talk about things like the iraq war and the book talks about comparing iraq to afghanistan, i didn't serve in libya and i went to afghanistan wanting to believe that we could surge the way we did in iraq. afghanistan is biblical times with ak-47's, what you can accomplish in afghanistan is different from what you can accomplish in iraq. read the memoirs of the secretary of defense. they were never invested there which is a moreal sin. anynever sent the amount of troops your commanders wanted and you told the enemy you were going to leave the minute you did.
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it would be a joke but it's not -- it's not funny and that's the problem. the problem is we also have an electorate today see >> whatever it is, but every
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single generation is going to have to contribute to this generation at every turn. we are not cogs in an american empire. we are engaged, good citizens in an ongoing experiment. we literally stand at the doorstep, at the foot mat of another woodrow wilson who teddy roosevelt famously tangled with. a man who said on multiple occasions and was derided for saying he was too proud to fight, too proud to fight vicious enemies in the world. of course, obama emanates the exact same sentiment today. teddy roosevelt, when he was agitating for american involvement in world war i, a friend called him the bugle that woke america. in fact, he tried to lead, he tried to lead the roosevelt division, actually, to world war i which, ultimately, never happened, but he wanted to lead from the front again. we must be awoken again today. our kids in educational institutions, our families to how critical that incubating capacity is, to, as i said, our
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educational -- and i have a policy chapter in the back of the book that talks about simple recommendations. it's not meant to be a conservative carte blanche. i didn't write about every issue, but i wrote about citizenship, equal opportunity and american leadership and five simple things in each category that i think would go a long way in trying to restore some of those things in our country. i want to thank all of you for being here. i want to thank all of you for being in the arena in different capacities. i look out here, and i see people engaged in this town, fighting for things america represents. it can be a demoralizing fight these days, but i would encourage you to go back to founding documents, go back to historical speeches like this to be reminded of what our country represents, of the types of men and women who have perpetuated it. so before you read book, maybe you want to go to the back of it and read the speech. it's reprinted in the book itself so that you can make your own judgments about the speech.
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but a trigger warning, it might urge you to actually enter the arena if you are not already. thank you. [applause] any questions? friendly or other otherwise? yes, ma'am. >> if you're permitted to -- thank you very much. if you're permitted to answer a question like this, i was wondering if you could give us some ideas of your thoughts about donald trump's insistence that the war in iraq was a mistake. are you able to comment on that. >> >> sure, uh-huh. >> thank you. >> i had commented about it on national television many times, so i'll repeat what i said there. no, i take, i take issue with his characterization of the iraq war. i think that, this book, in fact, in many ways is a pushback against that narrative. i don't think we should be
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following in with the code pink, narrative of the war, which is what it is. it may feel politically expedient to answer that way to begin with, i be i think -- but i think it's much more politically powerful and principled to argue that, hey, even if you didn't like how we got into the war, ultimately, finishing it properly is really important and has massive implications. and that george w. bush surged and had a successful strategy, and this president gave it away. so if you want to look at the carnage of isis in iraq and syria, point to the abandonment of iraq and the abandonment of a red line in syria, and that hangs on the neck of barack obama and hillary clinton. so i, it was, you know, interesting this campaign, iraq, has been difficult to litigate for a lot of people. jeb bush, it took him a week to figure out where he wanted to be on that issue. there have been very few moments where with i've been proud of republicans on their articulation of iraq. marco rubio was asked about it, and he said it was not a mistake. iraq was not a mistake. and i remember just sitting
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there saying, finally, at least somebody won't cave in to, i think, that narrative. hopefully, the reality is that whoever the next commander in chief is whether it's trump or cruz is willing to truly unleash total war on the islamic state. and so what i do take issue with is the way people characterize ted cruz and donald trump's whether it's carpet bombing or the willingness to unhandcuff the enemy, is their focus is on doing whatever it takes to focus the islamic state, not we want to find a way to kill civilians. carpet bombing is not targeting civilians. carpet bombing is if we know where the headquarters of isis is in raqqa, we're going to bomb it even if there happen to be some homes nearby. or when we're looking at the fuel trucks leaving to turkey to sell on the black market we're not going to drop leaflets. we're going to bomb the oil trucks.
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i think it's a difference of disposition, for sure. mr. sean reilly. right there in the back. sorry. >> how you doing? >> doing all right. >> good. [laughter] a question about you talked about the social issues, and you said that, you know, on some of them maybe there are, there's some kind of obsession. and i don't completely disagree with that. i think in a lot of ways it seems like it's been fought and it's kind of water under the bridge in a certain sense. but then you mentioned the illumination of the white house, right, with the colors. and i think that there's a certain sense in which a lot of -- the rest of the world does not agree -- there's a lot of the world that does not agree with the united states on that issue. when they look at the way that that is being litigated in the courts and lack of magnanimity of the victors in those struggles, they're motivated to
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push back against us. and when our foreign policy looks like we're going to be promoting those sorts of things against their will, it seems like we can't ignore the social issues here at home especially when, in the light of that kind of foreign policy. >> that's a really good point. well, i also, you know, would note the hypocrisy of divesting from north carolina but headquartering anywhere else in the world where being a homosexual is illegal, right? hypocrisy is rampant on issues like this. my argument is more about the amount of focus and energy that should go to it here at home. and i think to your opening statement, in many ways that issue was whether you think it was lost or won, it was lost in the culture long before it was anywhere else. and so it almost feels like and is a dead horse that conservatives could be tempted to continue to beat which prevents us from making far
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more -- not far, but very legitimate arguments about, say, marital divorce rates with kids or out of wedlock births, things like that that really should be a focus of tight-knit families and keeping them together. instead, we're dismissed by, you know, the media, the left, the everything as bigots and una able to make a lot of those core arguments that need to be made. but, yeah, does that mean that's the way whole world looks at that issue? absolutely not. there are plenty of conservative quarters in this world who look at us sideways and say -- and it just affirms for them, right, the absolute immorality of america that is totally decadent. and so that's a balance that has -- i just don't think it's a point of emphasis at any level. i don't think we should be trying to make a big issue of it here, and i don't think we should be attempting to impose it on anywhere abroad as well. mr. nathaniel hoops. who also was my bunk mate for
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four years at presenceton. princeton. we did sleep in bunk beds. [laughter] you like that intro? >> i do like it. i thank you for the book. it's fantastic. just talking about the citizenship, i think one of the things that a lot of us outside of the whole political fights that we continue to have on the role of government and the iraq war and social issues and so forth, i think one of the things that probably a lot of us feel as troubled by the sense of breakdown of just overall social cohesion in the country whether it's, you know, too much time staring at the phones rather than talking to your neighbors or whether it's just, like, the sense in the schools that there isn't the kind of -- citizenship isn't being taught. >> uh-huh. >> citizenship, you know, sometimes like you say it's more than just voting or basics. it's also about just engaging with the broader community in a way that says, you know, i care
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about my community. like, i care enough to want to know my neighbors. and i guess one of the powerful things that i'd love to hear what got you inspired to talk to, about citizenship with where you grew up in minnesota? >> yeah. no, it -- as i was writing and researching and thinking about this, i ended up -- i've never thought of my parents as inherently political or politically involved. in fact, you know, they weren't partisan. we didn't talk about the republican party or democrats in high school. frankly, in college was really the first time i was introduced to ideologies and perspectives in a meaningful way. but when i started looking into the speech, i started to realize what good citizens my parents really were. they always worked hard, never asked for handouts, never made excuses. my mom watch withdogged the pta -- watchdogged the pta and watchdogged the local curriculum
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which really embarrassed me as a kid because i couldn't go to certain things at certain times because she was paying attention to what was being taught in the classrooms. in the book i don't impugn small families, i just make the case for large, patriotic families, and they raised a family full of boys that they told to be competitive and go out there and dust it off and love your cup. and i ab stork toed -- absorbed, i wasn't from a military family, i absorbed a lot of that from basic rituals going to the memorial day plaid in minnesota and watch the world war ii guys -- i get the chills just thinking about it. the korean war vets and the vietnam vets and the gulf war guys. because it's a town of 500 in southern minnesota, the parade is like this long. [laughter] but the whole, the whole city stands, the whole city is there, everyone issa luting, clapping, and then, of course, it ends at memorial park down by the live because this isn't veterans day,
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it's memorial day, and we're memorializing those who gave their lives from this tiny little town in southern minnesota which could be replicated anywhere across all 50 states. so they didn't sit there and preach or beat into me read the constitution. it was sort of -- which is part of learning citizenship, by the way with. but it was just sort of an infused sense of what it means to be a productive contributor to this country. and, of course, the fourth ingredient that roosevelt talks about is faith and character. and that's -- and as much as i may have wanted to rebel against it at many points in my life which i write about, the reminder that there are things greater than you that someone in my case, you know, died on the cross to redeem you for the sins that you will have in this world was something that i carried with me and kept me humble and reminded me of who i was in this fallen world. those are the way more important ingredients than sending our kids, making sure my kids get to go to princeton or harvard. which, of course, is wonderful and great opportunities and open
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tons of doors. but the more important piece is whether or not they come out of childhood and school and everywhere else as good citizens. so we actually, i'm from a public school, i went to public school all my life. i'm a big believer in public schools, but i worry i'm going to have to deconstruct eight hours of every day they learn in school something very different. so we find a way to pay a modest tuition to send them to liberty classical academy which is a little christian academy up the road from us, and we drive them every day, where they learn patriotism, faith, civics and classics. and they may not have a great basketball team which i'm a little worried about and football team. [laughter] liberty's not known for its gridiron skills. but i feel like they'll be infused -- the world today is much different than the assumption that in small town forest lake, minnesota, you're going to get infused with those community values the way that i was. and i think our educational systems and our culture and our media have been captured in so
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many places by moral relativism, by whether it's progressive elites with a very different view of what we should be emphasizing with our kids. i was even tempted not to include a whole lot about how do you infuse citizenship in a public school level, because it becomes so political about how you teach founding documents, how you teach the founders. and in the world today where different people with different ideologies control that curriculum, you could see it descending quite quickly into a different narrative of citizenship and the constitution. so my recommendation is founding documents, original documents, talk about original documents, talk about, you know, reading the constitution, the declaration, the federalist papers, things like that and discussing those is a great place to start. i also talk about home schooling. in fact, one of recommendations here is making home schooling more robust and possible. i mean, when i grew up, you met home school kids, you thought they were kind of weird, right? oh, man, they're not socialized. that's not the case. i know so many wonderful home schooled kids who have a
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great -- are wonderfully grounded, wonderfully educated and are amazing citizens in this country. and if the public schools are not an alternative because you feel like your kids aren't being educated or you can't afford a private school, then we should make things like home schooling more possible, easier, more streamlined as an option. and i think -- so it's, to me, it's, there's a lot that goes into the education of the formal nature of citizenship. but it's more about trying to remind -- and what roosevelt wrote about was gritty, homely virtues of everyday life which are not sexy and, you know, may not be cool on facebook, but they're really important. >> thank you. hey, pete, i'm peter sommerville, we're crowd funding business loans for the next generation of awesome -- [inaudible]
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small businesses. kind of tailing off the last question about just how we influence culture, i remember when i was going through my marine corps training down at quantico, i'm come up to the mall on weekends during the height of the iraq war, and there was very little sense of public awareness of the veteran community. we're 40 years into an all-volunteer military which is great in many ways, but it seems like families i know either there's no one, or there's ten. cousin, aunt, uncle -- >> sure. >> -- who served. how do we influence that culture to keep that sort of red-blooded americanism alive? >> sure. i'm not a fan of something like universal service because i think it devolves into massive government growth, and eventually you're serving for things very disconnected from the original idea. but i do talk about a more robust sort of decision point through selective service, this idea that what if we made that little envelope you send back when you're 18 actually
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meaningful, so at that point you're making a real decision about, hey, do i want to serve in the military? and here's the benefits that would come from. bernie sanders is running around talking about free college. well, the military already gives away free college. there's plenty of ways you could incentivize whether it's through, hopefully, simply through the tax code or through educational benefits or others real service and investment so that kids are making decisions. and then it's honored that, hey, wow, you took that step to be a part of the minuteman corps or something where maybe you're not in the military. how many of us know people who are wonderful patriots who, if they could, would add themselves to a list and make sure they stay physically fit every year, and they could say, hey, i'm prepared to go if my country needs me. the step before the draft, right? i think a lot of people would do that, because they would feel skin in the game to say, hey, if that big moment comes, i'm ready to carry a rifle for my nation. i think there is an interim step there that would be a pretty
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interesting way to tie people a little bit more to service. but you talked about vets, which obviously is a passion of mine. a lot of people here from concerned vets. a lot of what i talk about in the book too is the way that entrenched interests in washington and entitled crony classes protect the way, protect what they have. and prevent any real, meaningful change from happening. and, of course, a lot of the work i've done and a lot of people here have done is at the department of veterans affairs. there's no better example of that crony status quo than the v.a. and the ongoing efforts of concerned vets for america, efforts i was involved in are met by, met by a brick wall for those who were supposed to be for things that reform systems that are broken. and here we are two years after the scandal, and things are no better. in fact, many places they've gotten worse. vets have a choice card, but they don't have any choice. no one's being held accountable at the v.a., and who's stopping it? the white house has no say in
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this. the v.a. is, of course, going to stifle reforms and bob mcdonald, while a nice guy, has been an utter failure as the v.a. secretary. you've got government unions, someone tweeted at me last night that in here i talk about civil service reform. well, you're damn right. in fact, it should be across government, but let's start at the v.a. and make sure that those who work in our government are held accountable. that if they're not doing a good job, they can be fired. that's a pretty basic principle. accountability's how you change cultures, but government unions have a grip on that. and then it's special interests. and you want to talk about establishment this or establishment that, we hear that word a lot on the political spectrum. special interests exist everywhere including in the vet space, and it's traditional veteran service organizations here in washington who are up willing to change, who want to get invited to the white house cocktail parties and play nice with everybody at all times that stifle things like basic choice, things like accountability. and then they impugn and attack
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their opponents at every turn because that's what the left does. they can't -- they don't have an argument, it's always another five billion for the v.a. if you want some fun reading, read a 29-page document focused just on me by other organizations. basically, it's a hit list of everything i've done in my life because they don't want to argue the merits of the issue or issue a report like we did at concerned vets, they just want to attack the opponents and say we just want to privatize it and shut it down. that's why things don't change, and it's hard to be a good citizen in that environment, because it's easy to get along. and you can take that example throughout every spectrum of government and every level of government, and it -- every place you're going to meet resistance. every place there's going to be a critic. every place you're going to fail, and then you going to fail again and again. and all they want you to do is quit. all they want you to do is quit. at every level. the school board, the local government wants you to get, the v.a. wants us to quit because
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then we can all keep our jobs, and everybody can live fat and happy, and nothing will have to change. that's why people are ticked off in this country today. nothing changes, and everyone overpromises and never delivers. and what this book, i hope, will help do is remind people that the fight is worth it, that you're never going to get it in the first try, you're never going to get it in the first month or the first year. it's never the first bill. it's going to have to be the sustained iteration of the truth of what works, and then the advocacy behind it as individuals and organizations. and having the courage to believe in america. to believe in what it represents. not cower from those who have a new idea of what it means. and i think a document like roosevelt's speech is a great pathway to remind us of that kind of thing. >> all right. so let me just steal the last question. >> yeah. >> other than fixing the v.a., what is the thing that we as citizens could or should be doing for our veterans particularly as it attaches to that issue of citizenship? >> i think the first thing is --
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and we've talked about it, actually, here in this auditorium once before -- is recognizing and raising awareness about issues facing the veterans' community without stigmatizing them. and making sure that we acknowledge challenges facing vets, but we don't create the caricature that they're ticking time bombs who are inevitably broken, good and damaged goods. it's empowering them through any number of vehicles, through education, through opportunities, through small business financing. it's recognizing that these guys are going to be -- guys and gals are going to be the future leaders -- they're going to rebuild our country. they're going to rebuild our communities, our civic organizations, our schools. they're the core of people in america that understands what it means to serve something greater than themselves. they've been in an arena that's highly controversial with a public that didn't quite support them the whole time. and they found a way to get it done. and, frankly, get it done quite successfully.
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so i'm confident that them and their families and those who come around them are in some ways provide the nucleus of the types of folks that are going to get out there and make sure that the 21st century is an american century as well. because it's not -- i used to say this on the defend freedom tour for concerned vets all the time, it's not going to be your neighbor who's, you know, down in the basement playing, you know, worlds of warcraft and watching tmz. they're not going to do it. they're literally not. they have no idea. they're sort of just existing in this country without a sense of where it comes from and why it matters. it's going to have to be those of us who do. and if we do so tepidly or we do so saying, yeah, america's kind of good but, you know, then we're going to get steamrolled. so if you don't educate them, remind yourself what makes this place special and that our founders truly did something exceptional, then you will get steamrolled. so education up front is the beginning, and then finding the courage -- and i think vets, obviously, have shown that
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couraging in one capacity. >> so before i ask you to join me in thanking the author of "in the arena," there are books available outside, and pete will stick around a bit if you'd like your book signed. thank you again for coming and please join me in thank our author, pete hegseth. [applause] >> thank you. [inaudible conversations] >> here's a look at some authors recently featured on booktv's "after words," our weekly author interview program. peter marks remembers the career
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of the late aig ceo who turned the company around during the height of the financial crisis. aol co-founder steve case told us how emerging technologies are reshaping the internet. and sue klebold, mother of columbine high school shooter dylan klebold, discussed mental health and how she dealt with the tragedy. in the coming weeks on "after words," a discussion on criminal justice reform and 19 years in prison. tamara drought will talk about america's new working class and its potential political power. also coming up, senate majority leader membership mcconnell -- mitch mcconnell will look back on his life and career in politics. and this weekend don watkins, fellow at the ayn rand institute, will argue that measures to alleviate income inequality actually end up hurting low income americans. >> the real insight of the enlightenment thinkers of the
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founders was each of us is equal in that we have equal rights. the government is to be our servant, the protector of our rights. but what happens when it protects our rights equally? what happens when it protects you, your freedom the same that it protects mine? we're going to create different amounts of wealth because we have different abilities, we make different choices, we, you know, some of us want to go and become a teacher. and for us, that's what a successful life is whether we, you know, go up from where our parents were or down, that's what a successful life is. other people want to be hedge fund managers. other people want to start new companies. you're going to get inequality if we have equal freedom. >> "after words" airs on booktv every saturday at 10 p.m. and sunday at 9 p.m. eastern. you can watch all previous "after words" programs on our web site, >> when you have a statute that's about men and women being
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equal in the workplace and you're dealing with a very real, physical difference between men and women, what does equality look like? does it mean treating men and women exactly the same, men and pregnant women exactly the same as if pregnancy weren't in the picture? or does it mean taking account of pregnancy? and that's caused at one point, i mean, it still has lingering effects today, but at one point that caused a serious rift in the feminist community that's covered in chapter five. but in the early years after title vii was enacted, courts and the eeoc did not know what to do about perhaps. they were is confused. the eeoc finally in 1972 issued a guy -- guidance in '72 saying, okay, you know, firing someone because she's pregnant is illegal. erasing her or seniority while she's out on leave having a baby, that that's illegal.
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and the supreme court also had a decision about that. you know, those kinds of punitive measures. there was another case that went to the supreme court about a woman who was a teacher who they, her school district enacted a rule that after third or fourth month of pregnancy, the teacher had to be out of the classroom because she had to be on leave. she couldn't be anywhere near the kids. so those kinds of restrictions were struck down. but where the court really got gummed up was when it came to things like should pregnant women be able to participate equally in a paid disability leave program that they had in place for everybody? so the guy who's out for a while getting cancer treatment, the woman who's out for a while having her baby, he was getting a paycheck, and she wasn't. that was at general electric. and that went up to the supreme court, and the supreme court actually found in general electric's favor. they found that sex -- pregnancy discrimination wasn't automatically sex discrimination because there were plenty of women who never got pregnant.
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so this wasn't a distinction between men and women, this was a distinction between pregnant and non-pregnant persons. [laughter] and so background for swift, and congress enacted the pregnancy discrimination act in 1978, the general electric decision was in '76. and the pda definitely cleared things up to an extent. but the two cases that are in the book about pregnancy, well, three cases that are in in the k about pregnancy are all after the pda, so it didn't quite clear everything up. >> you can watch this and other programs online at >> when i tune into it on the weekends, usually it's authors sharing their new releases. >> watching the nonfiction authors on booktv is the best television for serious readers.


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