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tv   ISI Conservative Book of the Year Award - Yuval Levin A Time to Build  CSPAN  August 2, 2021 5:40am-6:05am EDT

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months ago. >> like any good they've revenue projection showing everything is going to be great. >> weekends on cspan2 or intellectual feast every saturday american history tv documents america's story and on sunday book tv brings you the latest nonfiction books and authors funding for cspan2 comes in these television companies and more including spark light. >> the greatest town on earth is the place you call home. at spark light it is our home too. right now were all facing our greatest challenge. that is why spark what is working around the clock to keep you connected. for doing our part to make it a little easier to do yours. >> spark light love these television companies support cspan2 as a public service. >> now on book tv more
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television for serious readers. >> good evening my name is johnnyft i'm the president of the intercollegiate studies institute. i am pleased to welcome you to our annual conservative book of the year award. in this year's winner, as you've all leaven. the author of the book time to build from family and community to congress and the campus. however he committed to our can revive the american dream. i met him about five years ago i've been a longtime fan of his work. once an isi weaver fella who introduced me too him by e-mail. i was a young fan. i listen to his podcast, i read his book, i showed up at his office very eager with a notepad of about 30 questions printed tried to make my weight through the questions and about 45 minutes predict peppered him with questions about edmund burke, about
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rebuilding associations and civil society. and i think he thought it was amusing and endearing. i was a student sitting at his feet. and at thede end of the conversation he told me i had a big job in front of me. which at the time i just become the executive director of the conservative. about four years later this summer he said the same thing to me of a big job ahead of you when i came to isi. one of the things i love is that he really takes a lot of young conservative leaders under his wing. he mentors them, he speaks with them in there so many young people in d.c. who really got connected to each other got connected to careers and jobs because of the work he does. i personally only debt of gratitude has been a mentor and a friend. some of the deepest thinkers
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makes aa refreshing case for a bottom up vision how to restore, revive and rebuild america by supporting and renewing our local institution, our churches, our schools, voluntary association and i think that is exactly the message we needvi today. also is very insightful on higher education. i am sure he will share this tonight some insights on how isi could do a better job educating for liberty and college campuses. he joined eight procedures group of book of the year award winners including bill mcclay, brad burger, daniel hanna, philip hamburger, charlie taylor and many others. he is the director of social and cultural constitutional studies at the american enterprise institute prettye also holds the chair in public policy there. he is founding current editor of national affairs and senior editor of the new atlantis
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distributing editor to nationall review. please join me in welcoming and congratulating our seamtr gas,. [applause] [applause] >> thank you very much john i appreciate that. i remember very well the list of questions was very daunting to look at when you walked in the room a check by them one by one parent quite sure i offered no useful answers. i was very impressed. it is really a great pleasure to be here. enormously humbling to see so many friends gathered here. to be able to appreciate isi, what it's done for me since i was an undergraduate coming to isi program. and what he does denver sell many people like me who would look for substantive look for community and trying to make a their way through it often hostile culture.
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be connected to the ideas that are essential to us as americans. we're just talking c at dinner about energetic isi is now part howow much great work it is doing. how great the publications are. this is a high water mark for isi. i am enormously grateful for it as most people are. and of course thank you so much as extraordinarys honor. especially given the other fantastic books you may have past year but even among the other finalists book by chris caldwell, robert riley, and i can tell you bradley watson i'm sorry, i can tell you having read them they are all better than my bookok. i am not ashamed to say separate i'm grateful for whatever clerical error temporary insanity has landed me here rather than those authors. i cannot think temporary insanity. really, to me, it's always
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been the great antidote to the serial bouts of insanity that it added up to the life of our culture in the last few decades. isi is stood against temporary insanity in for permanent sanity's. the kinds of permanent sanity's that are required to sustain our culture. it's rooted in a sense of the worthiness of our inheritance and in the worthiness of the civilization has been passed down to us. rooted also in a sense that gift is so valuable because it can enable us to deal with permanent human problems. the ones we always face. our culture has been a long train of insanities because it forgets those problems are durable and we have learned from the ways in which they have been dealt with by wise men and women over centuries of millennia. that we know better now we don't need the institutions andre the rules and the
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convictions and the paths of truth that those prior generations have fornv us. isi reminds college student people that mostly that reminding they didid not invent the human condition. it was here before them, they have something to learn how people of understood it and made the most of it. the hunger for meaning that they feel is not new either. and that there are ways of feeding that hunger that are a lot better than the kind of thin rule they're often offered where they are for that act of reminding, reasserting, reapplying truth in times of what conservatives are for. it is often countercultural because her culture taoism mass exercise and self harm. but being countercultural does not mean it's not progressive on the contrary culture presses us over and over to regress to the pre-civilization barbarism and to resist that pressure is
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exactly to make real progress possible. that, i think is a core insight of conservatism. it's what it means to say it is a conservative book. means it's a book built upon understanding of the human person that is maybe of noxious now but as conducive to true culture. to the genuine precondition for the flirting of the human person. suggested it to say fewpe words here about the book. on the off chance somebody might not have read it among you. but the argument of the book into the conservative insight and suggest how it applies to the predicament we find ourselves in part of that briefly a promise. it's a book rooted in an idea
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in need of genuine culture a lot of conservative books to begin her and on the face the book you're doing a great honor of honoring here ends with that conservative insight. doesn't start out ass conservatives taken by the hand and show them something of a different way they would show. the argument begins from eamericans contemporary social rights. a crisis that anyone with eyes that see canon see. we live in a divided and dysfunctional time on a trouble presents itself not always it can be measured by the tools of economics but in relational terms was a breakdown of sociality ultimately may be best understood as a breakdown of institutions.ul what are institutions? ire think of them basically as
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durable social i forms. where thehe structures of human atsociety shapes and contours of what we do together. some institutions or organizations have something like a corporate form, university, hospital school of business further technically, legally formalized. many are durable forms of another sort maybe their shape bylaws or norms and rules, but without that corporate structure of the family after all is the person in first inform us of every institution of society. we talk institute of marriage or professing, the laws of institution. they are durable is certainly essential. flash mobs are not. but most important what is distinctive on institution is that it is a form in the deepest sense the pretty form is ae structure, a contour, what is the shape of the whole the organization speaks of its purpose isp and function so a
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social form, institution is not just a bunch of people. to pursue a goal to advance an ideal that gives each of them a relation to the other. that means that institutions by their nature are formative of us. they structure our interactions. and so they structure us. they shape our habits, expectations that ultimately shape our characters in our souls. they helped to form us. thatat formative role has a lot to do with how institutions relates to that social crisis we are living a through. we think about the role of institutions in america now we tend to start their loss of trust in them. that is a trend we hear a lot about, it's a cliché members are very easy to find across a very wide array of institutions in the branches of the national government to corporations and labor unions to professions and media schools and universities. americans have beenn losing trust in institutions for long time now. that loss of trust but do we
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actually mean part of the answer is it the sense of their confidence but whether they are really up to the task they claim forhe themselves. the core of the answer has to the formative character of institutions. we don't think they are forming trustworthy every significant institution has a pouring task in our society educating children, we do that by establishing a structure and a process they form those people to be trustworthy gives them a particular form andm makes them into an accountant, lawyer or journalist or member
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of congress a mother or a priest. we trust people when they take that form seriously. we let it shape them into something they were before. a lot of that formation takes the form of setting up boundaries that are taken seriously. institutions empower us by constraining us. i trust in accountant not because he understands the role but there things in accountant would not do. and so i have some confidence in what he does do. i trust a journalist to the extent any off us could member a time when we trusted ahe journalist. because that person by some process of verification correction. i lose my sense form and constrain that individual. that kind of loss can happen in a variety of ways. a lot might involve plane corruption. it institution it fails to form trustworthy people and instead asked to shield their
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misbehavior. a bank has its customer and member of the clergy abuse asas a child with that kind of gross abuse of power undermines public trust in institutions of familiar form of corruption. it is not new there plenty of examples of it in our time but there's examples at any time. it is not exactly explain or loss in institutions now for another related in a different way which it institution can lose our trust is one fails to impose an ethic of the people in it altogether. does not seem to see that kind of formation. when the people in the institution no longer see it as a mold of their character or behavior but the platform ofch themselves to raise their profile, to be seen. we don't think of our institutions as informative but performative. when political institutions or stages for performative outrage. when university becomes a virtue for virtual signaling when journalism is indistinguishable fromm activism.
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the not asking for a trust just our attention. the book lays out congress the executive society and religion to think to the role of social media in that process looks at a role all of that is played the character of our elites. think through some steps we all might be able to take to push back just a little against thosese trends. those kind of steps involve an assertion of personal commitment and responsibility. they involve asking the great unasked question of our time. given my role here, how should i behave? not just what do i want or what do i need, as a member of congress a teacher, a scientist a pastor or a worker, orco a parent, what should be doing here? in the end of the book argues me too ask this kind of question because we need to recognize that we require formation in order to be capable of freedom.
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that is, as they say, core conservative insight. the human person is made in a divine image but is born ready for freedom, crooked or followed, prone to advice or sin. that person requires formation in order to be free. if that person is properly formed, he is capable of extraordinary things. the opposite view is a poor progressive premise now. the human person is born free but everywhere is an chain by oppressive institutions. set person requires liberation in order to be free rather formation. a huge amount hinges on the purpose of a far purpose is to sustain institution or to liberate the individual paired almost everything hinges on that question. it is certainly the core of what we have come to think of as a cultural war in our society. it's why the court institutions of formation, family and the church, school, the university or all subjects of intense controversy. slight argument about our need
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for formal is, it's about which side is right and wrong. in these sense the aim of this book is to begin from everyday experience of social crisis and to walk them toward an understanding of the fundamental anthropology. but here, among friends, take that anthropology is the promise too. i think it's possible to also read the book in the other direction and have it shed little light on our moment in a different way. i am jewish so i like to try to read books from right to left from the end to the beginning, from the premise of conservatism begin with an understanding that imperfect mpnature is at fault for our society with the commitment
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the trouble or institutions are experiencing is not just a function of some vague and generic cultural, it is a function in particular of the failure to grasp the nature of the human person and the implications of that the life of our society. will bemoan the culture war with the premise and priority of the left of the culture war are important essence of fault for what is gone wrong. in the path to recovery depends upon a reassertion of the other side of our side of the conservative side. recovery reassertion though, depend on her being more persuasive, more effective,, more successful in shaping the next generation. i would say by the way it is not quite a coincidence the argument of the book can innocence be read both forward and backwards. it's framed in something like an eccentric circle when the person left of its nine
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chapters about the broad contours of a cultural. the second and the next-to-last about the importance of personal eformation. the third and seventh chapters about politics and civil society. in the fourth and sixth are about media and social media. the middle chapter, the fifth chapter the part of the book is the heart of the case. that fifth chapters about the university. it is not by coincidence that the university is at the core of the argument. oh close with this because obviously it let's me return to isi's essential work. the university of the center of the crisis in part because it is the source of a lot of our societies most terrible ideas. this is a a crisis of terrible ideas. but that the center two is where the elites reform efforts the kind of crisis of elite formation. it's also at the center because of what the university canni and must be. a place we can come to understand as citizens and as
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a nation. the ideal something to fight for. not to summon to fight against. and defending some space for it to persist, some room for us to be heard and sorta be persuasive incentive offer some portion of the rising generation somethingng healthy or nourishing that what they're being n fed now, that is what success can look like. it's important to remember that kind of humble modest yet ambitious idea of success. this is a moment where the shenanigans of parts of the left can easily drive us crazy. we have to be careful not to go crazy, to keep ourselves focused on the formation of the rising generation. this has to be of the sensitivity : : with the sensitivity to the inescapable fact solutions begin with us however deeply we might understand the roots you cannot diagnose your way to a cure so even if the problems we faced solutions have to begin with others or
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at least thinking how we >> when a free society thinking about how wege can swayed and therefore we can makens will be offered more appealing or attractive to others. enough about that now. and so how what if we have offered some of the work attractive is not being more, it can be very appealing a moment like this but it does mean that meeting people where they are. and starting with her extended what is going on, and walking them right pretty confident that they will see why they should go if we chose them. and that surely means avoiding despair in the effort to do so. despair is terribly of putting, especially to serious younger people. the more importantly it's a mistake, it is unjustified and the failure of and gratitude. s-lowercase-letter to begin not with the depravity of the status quo, but with the potential for
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renewal that's apparent in her disinterest. now with the complaint but with love and promise. we start with what others side does wrong, let alone blitzen wrong. we can really only reach the already persuaded. and to reach the persuadable we have start with what we have to offer. we have a lot to offer. conservatives are appealing when we show the generation wide their inheritance and how it offers access and resource wisdom injusticeor and sanctity and happiness in these young americans clearly want all of the things we do but they're being told that their inherence offers none of them and then it's up to us to show them otherwise. we should always ask ourselves, are we doing that. and i size doing that in doing it in the center of the action in the belly of the beast and tethe universities that were cannot be more important. and above all about of thank you for this and thank you for this recognition for his humbling honor for the chance to see so
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many friends ever the chance to talk to you all, thank you rated. [applause] [applause] [inaudible]. [inaudible]. >> here's a look at some of the best-selling nonfiction books according to the los angeles times. topping the list is michael collins examination of this psycho active properties of certain plant and this is your mind on plant. followed plan sites, michael wolf report in the finalist of the trump administration. after that is radio host mark who argues in his book american marxism, that mark is the ideologies in american institutions. and next journalist james
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account in the science of breathing and also breath, and wrapping up our look at some of the los angeles times best-selling nonfiction books is michelle memoir crying. and some of these authors have appeared on book tv, and you can watch the programs anytime a booktv.org. weekends on "c-span2" are an intellectual feast, every saturday, you will find events and people he's going on up and for nations cast on american history tv on sunday, book tv brings you the latest nonfiction books and authors. this television for serious readers learn, discover, explore i'm a weekend "c-span2". >> look now at some books being published this week. and right matters, it is retired

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