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tv   Senator Ben Sasse Delivers Remarks at the Steamboat Freedom Conference  CSPAN  November 25, 2016 5:33pm-6:21pm EST

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steak, that is not a junk food. am glad to hear you are leaving people some freedom, i'm sure people would be satisfied with that. >> all the way in the back? going back to the discussion about unfair and deceptive , the courtsclaims use a reasonable consumer standards as to whether advertising is likely to deceive a reasonable consumer. this whole conference seems to be focused on kids and the vulnerabilities of children and advertising targeted to them. consumer standards i would imagine are based on adults you'd to a need -- based on adults. do we need another standard for
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different segment of consumers? my second question, if the parents are doing most of the purchasing, how from a legal standpoint are we going to protect children and their interests when they are not actually making a purchase and not necessarily deceived? >> that is a really good and challenging question. in this area of the law, and other areas of the law, and we think about a reasonable person or consumer, the first thing we have to do is figure out what class we are that reasonable person from. sometimes it is a narrow class, sometimes it is broad. we need people from all areas. sometimes we need a 12-year-old or eight-year-old. imagine, i know the courts have photos -- focused on
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a reasonable kid or reasonable teenager. i don't think that is an insurmountable problem, but to the extent you are focused on one class of individual and the harm is done to another, obviously that is not going to work. injury, the to the way of talking about this narrative you describe, there is a person who did something, and there is some other person in the chain, and then there is the person who got injured. what we are asking about is what are the permissible set of causes, how do we think about causation in that scenario? often in the long, if there is a third party intervention, that breaks the chain. if the third party comes in and do something in between the industry -- injury, you are not responsible. the question is, where in the law are we're going to describe the wrong or injury.
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people i talk to about this think it is a little crazy to say, the advertising for that project causes injury, that is to say obesity or blood pressure or health effects. on the other hand, if that did not cause that conduct, it would not spend aliens of dollars advertising. you're generating exactly the response that is wanting to be generated, and that results in injury or harm. what should we, do with that chain of causation? it is not an easy question. but i don't think it is an easy question on the other side, either. >> fec has industry of addressing in the 70's,
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marketing to children products purchased by adults. the do recognize that marketing is addressing the vulnerability of a child even though adults are purchasing the product. i think we are out of time. we are out of time, but thank you so much to our panelists. [applause] >> the white house christmas tree arrived today. it is from wisconsin. in accompanied first lady michelle obama as she welcomed the tree outside the north portico. ♪
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>> should we inspect it? our replacement kits. this is what happens when you get teenagers. one is asleep. this is what we have now. christmas begins, the holidays start. we are excited about it. congratulations to our award winners here. thank you guys. our work here is done. are you ready? >> that was easy. >> it is easy. the easiest part of the holiday season. happy holidays and happy thanksgiving. we will see you around.
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>> the christmas tree will be decorated over the next week and then put on display in the white house blue room in early december. now, republican senator ben sasse on values that he believes impacts policy on reform,
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education, and economic prosperity. sen. sasse: jennifer is a lovely lady. you would never know she is a sooner fan. in 2020 and 2021, we play again. nebraska and oklahoma start a home and away series. for those who are not from nebraska or oklahoma, you should learn why football centers in those places. i've never been here in the summer and i was nervous. the goofy photo of me shouting across campus, we have lots of moments where the college i used to lead almost went bankrupt in 2009, i don't know who i'm screaming to or why. the video i was afraid you would i learned to ski in
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steamboat. in 1980 i learned to ski here. i cannot imagine how hideous that footage must be. jennifer mentioned work ethic. i want to talk about that. that is not the center of what i want to talk about, but my children are here running around somewhere. they are supposed to be here. i want to tell a story. we will talk about pessimistic stuff, but i want to talk about something that is encouraging. when i decided to run for senate, we were worried about where we would raise our kids. i live in a town outside of omaha where i grew up. when i was a kid, everyone got out to walk beans in the corn. how many people know what walking beans is? you are aging yourself because it does not exist anymore. i'm not going to explain what corn is, because i
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am neither a geneticist or equipped to explain how cross pollination has advanced. you could create mixtures of seed corn, and i referd to corn as bisexual and set off a culture war on twitter. i'm not going to explain in any technical terms why corn needs ssled, but the short version is you want cross pollinated corn to pre-designate male and female rows. for many years, kids where i am from were shipped to the fields in the summer. it is by far the hardest work i have ever done. it is excruciating, ugly work. we used to meet at the local junior high and between 4:30 and 5:00 in the morning, and when
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you arrive in the corn fields, again, i'mng corn -- not supposed to call it bisexual -- but that has male and female parts and removing the male parts so you can only be pollinated by the tassel. the six rows that have the tassels, the field may have flooded. you will stand in water that is between ankle and knee deep. by 10:00 a.m. it will be 100 degrees. right now, when you're standing in the water pooled from underground, it is freezing cold. the corn is cold in the morning so you dress in sweatshirts and a ready-made poncho and wander through the fields. you start out freezing cold, and of course your buddies will
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tackle you into the corn so you will end up soaking wet. 10:00 a.m., you will have mildewed under your hefty bag. tch will get your bag -- di your bag and your sweatshirt, and most of these guys doing this from fourth grade to eighth-grade will end up shirtless. the corn drying out will cut you open and you will break out with what looks like poison ivy but is corn rash from your face to your chest. you will go through the field caked with mud. you get home at 2:00 in the afternoon and your mom will announce you are not allowed in the house looking like that. so you struck down outside, your mother hoses you off, you sleep for 12 hours until you do it the next day. here is the tragedy of technological development. machines are great at getting 97% of tassels. it is wonderful for the corn and the beef that is fed the corn.
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nebraska is the largest cattle ,tate in the union, take that texas and oklahoma. it is wonderful for lots of things except the decline of needing kids to do it. the work ethic that used to come with de-tasseling corn that used to be a full summer job is now a 7-10 day job. we were worried the kids would miss too much time in nebraska. we decided we would live in nebraska and i would commute. i go back and forth between d.c. and nebraska and i take whichever of our three kids melissa is the most sick of by the end of the week. i will girls are 15 and 12, our son is 5. i take whichever one mom is tired of as my travel date. we're still worried that this bi-local life would mean they would not have enough opportunity to do hard work.
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would they miss the de-tasseling season? this last spring, we took my 15-year-old daughter and shipped her to a ranch to participate in a cow-calf season. for those of you who know y, thereto oversimplifie is birth to weaning, pasture where they go to 900 pounds grazing, then phase three is feed lot, the last 110 days of life when you go to 1500 pounds. the first phase, birth to weaning, the cow-calf season, there's tons of work on a ranch. but it is a unique moment of high peak labor demand in march or april. our kids are pretty well behaved. i'm glad they're not here because i would point them out and talk about the parts that are not well behaved.
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my 15-year-old has just arrived in the back of the room. we decided to ship corey off for cow-calf season so there would be a compulsory reason to get up at 5:30 or 6:00 in the morning. there's work to be done. you have to check the baby cows all night. when a baby is born you match the mom to the baby to know who came from whom, because there is a difference in price if you cannot trace who came from where. you have to tag them, vaccinate them, feed those headed for the feedlots. we shipped our daughter off from march to work in the operation in north-central nebraska. this had nothing to do with me being a u.s. senator. i wanted to tell you good news before bad news. this had nothing to do with public life.
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this had to do with me being a dad and worried about the work ethic my kid was or was not going to get in an era where there is not a lot of work for kids to do. we live in a time when work is more separated than any point in human history. we shipped her off because i am a dad. we have a good relationship with our kids and they travel with me. i knew i would miss her and we texted during her month away. probably 3-4 times a day, i would get a text from her that was teenage girl ick factor about being around animal husbandry that was too good to pass up. i created a hashtag on twitter #fromtheranch with whatever she sent in. something about pregnancy check, i will not explain that because you are at lunch. something about the dogs that were formally wild ranch dogs
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that became her pets over the month and what happened when you castrated cows, or what happened to placenta, a word not often used on twitter. and i would turn it into a tweet. whatever my daughter told me about her work experience on the ranch. the good news, over the next six weeks as i traveled nebraska to speak at rotary clubs, anywhere i would go in nebraska, in the heat of a disruptive political time, there was a lot of chaos and discord, i wanted to speak about policy not politics. i knew politics was likely to come up. everywhere i went in nebraska, almost no one wanted to talk about politics at all. it turns out this #fromtheranch
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on twitter had gone so viral in nebraska that the only thing anyone wanted to talk about was my daughter on the ranch. they wanted to talk about how their kids could suffer, too. [laughter] sen sasse: it turns out the things that are more important to me than politics are definitely more important to them than politics. trying to figure out how to raise their kids, where to get work ethic, anxiety about the generational segregation of the kids coming of age, and if we are passing on to them the meaning of america which centers on work ethic, ranch experiences, and if they will understand why the rotary is the center of american life are more important than american politics. people across my state know that. i think that is true across the country. when we talk about the political
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cultural moment we are at and a little bit about the moment of economic disruption and transformation, i want to give good news. i think deep in the heart of the american people there is a tocquevilleian sense that it is not about the compulsory powers of the government. america is more country music lyrics than the federal registrar. people understand that in their hearts even if we don't have language to talk about it together. the title of our hour is america after 2017. the american idea. i want us to talk about that. what the american idea is. i want to flag the number 2017. i am not here to talk about the presidential election of 2016. the things the presidential election of 2016 are showing us
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are anxieties and issues and a lack of cultural transmission or cultural amnesia that is deeper than one particular presidential election. we will leave a decent time for question and answer, but i want to pre-flag something bigger than who occupies the white house, or presides over 1/3 of the federal government from january 2017-2021. i think the challenges in front of us are larger. first, i want to talk about what the american idea is. second, why this is such a disruptive moment. not the presidential election, but the era. the last 20 years or 30 years, and the next 20 years or 30 years. we live in a uniquely disrupted moment and the disruption is going to get larger. i'm a historian by background.
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what that usually means is you are a killjoy at parties. when people tell you this is truly unique, usually the historian's job is to say, actually there is more continuity than discontinuity. we are not special. usually we tend to think our moment is unique because we are narcissists. in this case, what we are going through is historically unique. i want to talk about the economic change that we think of as just mediation writ large is affecting all of our institutions. the disruptive moment and moments we are going through. i want to segment a few different subsets of what this looks like in the present. and then i want to talk about a national agenda, if we were having the larger conversation about what we need to do together and what is amenable to political solutions. first, the american idea. it has to be contrasted with
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something. i think ideas should be contrasted with identities. america is historically unique. america truly is exceptional. one of the tragedies in the last 3-4 years of this presidency was the moment in 2014, but echoed 2011 and 2012, when president obama was asked if he believed in american exceptionalism. do you remember this moment? you could see the president's wheels turning. the look on his face was "of course i don't believe in american exceptionalism, but i do not believe that is an acceptable political answer." he paused and said "sure" with a shrug that means the opposite of sure. the same way that i assume greeks believe in greek exceptionalism and brits believe in british exceptionalism.
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that actually is to miss the entire point. it was an intended humility to say, i don't want to say yes as if we think we are better than other people, but that is not what it has government. american exceptionalism is an historical claim about the american founding. american exceptionalism is understanding that what happened in the late 1700s, in particular 1787 and 1788 at the constitutional convention, was truly unprecedented in human history on any mass scale. our founders made an anthropological argument. they were saying something bold, even arrogant. they were saying almost everyone who came before us in human history was wrong about the nature of governance. think about that. the american founding is not
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just about a war in the early 1770's. it is not a disagreement with the brits in particular. the american constitutional convention was working out a document that finished a declaration of independence and worked out ideas that says we think most people in history have been wrong about the nature of governance. we think they are wrong about the nature of governance because they are wrong about anthropology. they don't understand the dignity of people. the american founding was a claim that rights come from god via nature and government is a shared tool to secure those rights. people did not believe that in the past. they believed that the world was broken. they were right. it looks like people would like to take away your life, liberty,
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and stuff, therefore we need government. this argument works. then they said the king is probably the only one that is truly free because he has a monopoly on violence and everyone else is a dependent subject and has to wait for the king to tell them what rights they have. the american founders said this is wrong. government does not precede the people, people precede the governments. we americans were supposed to pass this idea onto the next generation believe something different. we believe people are created with dignity and with inalienable rights. we think the government is a project to secure rights. government is not the center of meaning, it is a necessary tool. the founders did not put it in these terms, but it is useful
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when you pass it on to your kids, or i teach in schools, it is useful to have 2 different pictures in your mind, of an island surrounded by an ocean and an island surrounded by an ocean. then you figure out how to label the rights of the people and power of the government. the right way to think is different than most thought about it prior to 1788. they were outliers. greek city states and experiments with liberty in the late renaissance and early modern period in switzerland. these are cities with populations of 25,000. we are a nation of 320 million. at our founding we were 4 million. this is a bold claim about the nature of people, rights, and government is derivative on that. our founders said most people thought the island was the
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rights of the people and the ocean was the limitless powers of the government. we, the americans, our creed is to say that picture is wrong. we, the americans, our creed is to say that picture is wrong. the islands are the enumerated powers of the government. the ocean is the limitless rights of the people. think about why -- [applause] think about why the constitution is the most exceptional political document ever written. if you were given a quiz, what would you tell your kid that is unique about the constitution? what is unique is it is an exclusively negative document. the constitution is not that interesting in and of itself. it is interesting because of how limited it is. it is finishing the work of the
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declaration of independence which declares we think people have an alienable rights. the constitution says we will define the powers of the government since the people come first and together to define the government's powers. the constitution is exclusively negative. it is us giving the government power. where the powers end the shores of the island arrive and the waves of the sea begin, the limitless rights of the people. the constitution does not give you any rights. we talk all the time about these great rights we have, the first amendment, the bill of rights, how does the constitution not give us rights? these rights are outside of the document. our founders did this on purpose. why are all of the rights, constitutional rights, and
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amendments rather than the core document? the constitution and the bill of rights in particular exist to teach our kids why those rights we have, that predate government, are not things the government gives us. the founders debated, should we list any rights at all? they decided, no we shouldn't. what if the people get confused? maybe we should list the most important. they listed 10 to say these are the things that are truly invaluable if you need examples. the first amendment will be the prime place. the most important right? what is the first amendment? it is a dog's breakfast. it is a laundry list. freedom of speech, religion, the press, assembly, redress of grievances -- even lobbyists
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have a legitimate calling. you take this web of rights, speech, press, assembly, protest the government, and they listed these things as coequal first. the second amendment says government does not give you the right to defend yourself, it secures your rights to defend yourself. the 9th and 10th? it is another way of screaming there is no end to this list. they say if there's any right we did not list, you still have those. if there are any powers that were not given to the federal government the only governments that can exercise them are state and local. the 9th and 10th say the picture of americans have in their mind should the an island that is limited, the powers of the government, and an ocean that is limitless, the rights and
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dignity of the people. we live in a time where we have not passed that meaning. i'm not here to speak in a partisan way today. before this year began, my view was that most of the democratic party was post-constitutional, end justifies the means. government was synonymous with community. the remember that quote in the 2012 election? government is just another word for those things we choose to do together. no it's not. community is the word for the things we do together. government is another word for compulsory powers. government has the ability to take your freedom, tax you, do things that constrain and limit. government can never give life.
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it is not the thing that defines community. tocqueville, when he came to america, the founders knew they were creating a culturally plural environment and believed in individuals, entrepreneurs, and community, but they did not have historical examples. in the minds of europeans, we are religious zealots at the end of the earth, a bunch of weirdos. we win this war, but the british are really distracted. they are at war with france, they have a crazy king, they don't care that much so they hire german hessians. they never think the battle is over. in the european mind the war of 1812 is like soccer extended time. that is when they were going to
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put down the rebellion. we finally secure our revolution in 1814. 20 years later, there is unbelievable economic dynamism. they had no idea why this was happening. they thought, who are those weirdos who we just thought wanted to worship god in their own way and fight religious battles, now there is a transportation revolution, a canal revolution, preindustrial revolution where factories moved to different shops, but not old cottage industries. there is economic vitality in the new world. in the 1830's, europeans wanted to make sense of it. tocqueville, if you own the book, do not read it cover to cover. it is boring and redundant. shred it and leave it in five to eight piece chunks around your
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house like a magazine articles. that is how it was written. he was writing travel reports to make sense of economic dynamism in america. they said why are these religious zealots entrepreneurial? what drives this innovation and creativity? tocqueville said i will make sense of it. since they have economic dynamism they must have the best bureaucrats. he went to washington, d.c. to find the meaning of america. he says, this place is a swamp with people that are not innovative or interesting. not much has changed. he says i have to figure out how to make sense of the real meaning and center of america. there are 25 states and he travels to 2/3 of them and says i've found the meaning of
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america, the rotary club. the proto-rotary club did exist. the centers of volunteerism and entrepreneurialism is not for profit, not for profit, the steamboat institute, the way social ventures and philanthropy were organized. it is not just that we had disagreements, it is that they were going to build local institutions, churches, and synagogues. the meaning of america is found in the fact that the europeans used to think there was a continuism between isolationism and collectivism. there was statism and isolationism. if you cannot believe in government you must not believe in community. tocqueville says that does not make sense of these people's
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experience. they believe in a space for communitarianism, but it is voluntary. the meaning of america is persuasion, love, building a better product, creating a better service, persuading someone to marry you, join your church or synagogue. there is a civic mindedness not compelled by the government. today, we live in a time where the most horrifying stat you could use is that 41% of americans under 35 today, 41% under 35, tell pollsters they think the first amendment is dangerous. you might use your freedom of speech to say something that hurts someone else's feelings. that is the whole point of
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america. there are really big things that our forefathers and foremothers disagreed about, and they formed a community where those pre-political and trans-political things, more important than politics, can be haggled about by people that are voluntary agents with souls and wills that cannot be compelled to believe something differently. you cannot compel people to innovate and create jobs, services, and technology. that has to come from motivation, interest, love, a desire to serve a neighbor. we have done such a terrible job of passing that on to the next generation that president reagan, before he was the republican governor of california, ronald reagan out of the labor union organizing movement that traveled the rails
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to explain america to factory workers said in any free republic you are one generation away from the extinction of freedom. if you don't pass on the inheritance of what america means, you will lose it. that is what is happening. what is happening in the country is we are reaping the fruit of a decision, sort of, a drift in the late 1960's in the midst of lots of disagreements. some of it really important. the civil rights movement, the vietnam war led to important debates. lots of debates that were not as important as narcissists thought they were. it led to a decision to stop passing on a shared civic sense of the american idea.
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we are 2 generations into an era of kids raised with historical amnesia. at the same time, we are migrating across one of the greatest economic disruptions in human history. the historian in me is cautious of saying anything sweeping like that, but we are going through arguably the largest economic disruption in recorded human history. that word is important. there are four of economies, hunter gatherers, rise of agriculture, rise of the big tool economy, mass of urbanization, immigration, and industrialization, and whatever we are entering now. hunter gatherers, settled agriculture, industrialization and the big tool economy, and this.
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sometimes we call it the knowledge economy, the digital economy, sociologists call it the postindustrial economy. if this was industrial, this is the postindustrial economy. here is what it when the rubber meets the road where american families live. jobs are no longer permanent. it used to be the case, hunter gatherers, farming communities, think most of industrialization, you did the jobs you are parents and grandparents had done. in hunter gatherers and farmers, there is no such thing as job choice. it was becoming 7, 10, and 12 and taking on more responsibilities to earn your keep.
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gatherers became farmers, we did not know what that looked like. but 1820 was a disruptive time. as the father of 15 years old and 12-year-old girls, i understand why people were scared. if you think about urbanization and mass immigration, what was happening from the end of the civil war until world war i was a bunch of people working on the farm to doing a different kind of work. i will not nerd it out with too many stats, but one is 86% of americans worked on the farm at the end of the civil war. at the end of world war ii, 60% of americans live in cities. 85% on the farm to 40% in 70 years. people left the farm. farming technologies became more
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productive and you did not need as many workers. the rise of the big tool economy, push and pull to the city. people were scared. one of the most disruptive times is progressivism. it is not much more than the response of trying to remake society in an era of -- it turned out to be not as disruptive as people thought. once you got to the city, you got a new job which you had until retirement. there was an inflection moment where 15 to 25-year-old males moved into the city or left italy and ireland and came to new york or boston. when they got a new job, they had that until retirement. the social capital that used to be in the village, that tocqueville talked about in the 25 colonies that he visited, that tended to be replicated in
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urban ethnic neighborhoods. now, it is different. the rise of suburbia, the hollowing out of mediating institutions is mostly an echo of us going from an era as recently as the carter administration, i was born in 1972. my learning to ski moment was at the end of the carter administration in 1979 or 1980. average duration at a firm was 26 years. people changed jobs occasionally, maybe once. duration is four years and getting shorter every decade. we are entering an era where we are going to have to create a society of lifelong learners. no one has ever done that. we will have to create a culture
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where 40, 45, 50-year-olds who see their economy and jobs evaporate, they will have to be retrained and have the will and tools, social network, to get another job. right now, that doesn't happen. when you are 45, 55, and you are downsides come you never get employed again. qualitative survey data, not polling that says do you think the country is on the right or wrong track, but where a pollster says i want to talk to you for 15 minutes and tell me the top things you are worried about. qualitative surveys, in new hampshire and you asked people what they were worried about, nowhere on the top 10 was prescription drugs. today, in new hampshire, what are you worried about?
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and you do not died them -- guide them. opioids are number one. the number one issue in new hampshire when you ask what they are scared about, it is drug abuse in largely middle-aged populations. that is not accidental. we are going through a kind of economic disruption where there are lots of wonderful opportunity. do not hear this as exceedingly pessimistic. we are going through a time where lots of mediators, if you think about the travel agency business, or stock brokerage, music publishing, the way you get your news, what is happening as middlemen and middle women are being taken out of the equation. they were facilitating transactions. not adding value and you will get transparency and higher quality, lower cost stuff.
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in other industries, we don't know how to price for things that matter. editing is worth a lot. i'm not just saying that to pander to wall street journal people in the room. going from a world with too much central control of three media channels, to a world where it is everyone everywhere can offer stuff, what is likely to happen next is not higher quality journalism. we will have higher volume journalism and some will be good. we will segregate ourselves into lots of channels that are having more conspiracy theories coming than before. people will silo themselves into an echo chamber of things they already believed. that is not a healthy place to be. that conversation in journalism, media, and information technology is already coming.
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you can see it on college campuses. people do not have to encounter an idea they did not agree with without a trigger warning. if you do not encounter ideas to you to that already know, i don't know why your parents are paying tuition. it is wrestling with ideas you didn't know or agree with. it is important to distinguish in politics political polarization, which is a problem, but also political disengagement, a bigger thing that is happening among us. we tend to think because washington and political nerds are addicted to assuming the jersey you wear is the most important thing on yo policy position on any given topic, we are not representative of 320 million ic


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