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Linz's Mario Book—Updated!
It is morally defensible to establish a nation-state built around maintaining a specific and exclusive ethnic population
Total votes: 11
Yaron Brook and Amy Peikoff Discuss Immigration Without Linz
Submitted by edpowell on Thu, 2017-03-23 22:15
This is a complete transcript of the discussion between Amy and Yaron about immigration that occurred on Feb 10, 2017 in lieu of the promised debate between Linz and Brook. Brook himself is such a weasel and shifts his position on this issue over and over again depending on the circumstances and audience that I thought it was valuable for a complete record of his remarks be made and made public so that appropriate analysis and criticism can be made of them without actually having to repeatedly listen over and over to the audio recording, which is mind-numbingly painful to listen to. To be honest, Brook makes a few decent points among his rationalisms, insults, ad hominems, and arbitrary assertions. I may do a full analysis of these remarks some day, but that will have to wait until I have a little extra time. Note that this is not a pure transcript as interruptions and stutters have been edited out, but it is close as humanly possible to write to represent what they both said that day. Any errors are mine and mine alone, though I have carefully listened and tried to make sure everything is as correct as possible.
Amy: So let's just dive right in if you're OK with that because we have such limited time here. There's a couple of meta issues and then we'll go to the substance of the issue of immigration itself and the first meta issue is whether you've changed your position on immigration over time? If so how have you changed it, should that even matter very much as it seems to some participants in this debate?
Brook: Well I think it's a silly question, if we are not allowed to change our minds in Objectivism what's the value of that? The question is what is the truth? But yes and no I would say; I have not changed my mind on immigration in any kind of principled way, but reality has made available new concrete situations that I did not take into account when I first discussed immigration. I think the first time I discussed immigration formally was in 2008. For example, the mass immigration into Europe by Muslims was not something I considered and I don’t think anybody considered in 2008, that kind of mass exodus so that was not something I treated. Now does that change anything I said in 2008 debate? No. The fact is that I still believe in screening for terrorists and what the nature of that screening is, how that's done, I've never really articulated. I would say it needs to be more aggressively done and then I would now have an additional point – and you can ask me about this - What do you do if there is a massive movement of people, millions of millions of people on your border clambering to come in? What would happen – for an advocate of open borders - how would we deal with that?
That’s a new wrinkle and the principles by which we would do with it is the same: You still have to have the same kind of considerations, you just have to think about these things and I'm not going to talk about my critics but you really have to think about these things and so I don't think that in essence anything has really changed. I also think there is a lot of confusion out there in terms of the difference between my view of immigration in a laissez-faire capitalist world and my view of immigration today and how we get from where we are today to the way immigration should be in a laissez-faire, it would be like asking me, ‘Yaron, because you believe that in a laissez-faire world there should be no social security and indeed, you believe that social security is immoral, does that mean you believe that tomorrow we just do away with social security? And the answer is no, and it's the same thing. There are transitions and then the interesting question is how do you transition? But let's agree on the end state and what I find horrifying and disappointing is that there is so many people can’t even agree on the end state; then we can debate how we should do it today and how we can transition to the end state but I thought the end state was settled in Objectivism, so that’s one issue. I don't know if it's a meta issue but it certainly is one.
Amy: I mean just the issue of the changing your mind on a topic. I think in some cases you have been taken out of context: So in one sense you were talking about immigration in general, in another sense you were talking about the issue of Muslim immigration at a time of war in particular and you could be interpreted as having had two positions but I didn't interpret you that way at all.
Brook: I would rather not get into a discussion of the more prominent articles out there that have criticized my position. I don’t think they’re worthy of it.
Amy: We're going to stick to the substance and I appreciate that we're going to do that because the next meta issue is what we're going to call ‘tone’ and you and I are more than familiar because we've been the target of some of the disrespectful tone from the pro-Trump anti-immigration side of the debate. But what about your side or ARI side, has there been in your view some unwarranted usage of terms like being xenophobic or racist? This is a very difficult and controversial issue and there are a variety of viewpoints represented even within the Objectivist movement and I think some of these are because people are legitimately distressed about the world being in effect on a fast track to the Dark Ages. So some people have said maybe ARI should publish something that addresses thoughtfully and respectfully without using necessarily….there is some xenophobia and racism out there but not everybody who disagrees with open immigration is xenophobic and racist, so maybe address these various positions that people have taken.
Brook: Of course firstly I agree that we should we should publish something and we will at some point; there's a lot to publish, there's a lot of stuff to do, so we will be publishing something on this and I intend to talk more about immigration and try to clarify a lot more. This is part of that effort, today's interview, but I don't remember and if somebody wants to correct me I'd be happy to look at it; I don't remember ever making or anybody at the Institute ever making broad statements about Objectivists who disagree about immigration. I think that in the debate over immigration as conducted by Republicans and as conducted during this and previous elections, there was much xenophobia. I argued that and I stand by that I have no problem, but I don't remember a broad statement that everybody who disagrees with me on immigration as a xenophobic or racist and yes some of my critics, when we have debated on Facebook about these issues have come across as xenophobic and racist – Objectivists – and I have called them on and so be it. So I don't regret the fact that I find some of these people dishonest and xenophobic and racist but I've done it with regard to particular individuals when they have made particular statements that I think justify that characterization. So if they don't demonstrate this…I don't think I've made blanket statements and you know I'll apologize if it turns out that I have because I don't hold those statements. I think some people who I value a lot like Leonard Peikoff, we disagree on immigration, so I would never make these arguments in a blanket way that would include him for example.
But let me also say this because I think this is important: I don't think this issue is that hot, there’s complexity here, there's a lot going on particularly given the state of the culture and what our policy should be today, but I find that most of the arguments with regard to this… I don't find many really interesting complex issues here that really need to be addressed. I find that people … there's one or two issues primarily security and then there's the issue of voting which are somewhat complicated. I don't think they’re that complicated. So particularly with regard to the endgame that is particularly with regard to what should be immigration policy in a free market; I don't find that particular hard. Now I disagree with a lot of people on this so maybe it's harder than I think it is but I think people overstate the complexity and hardness. Now I've given talks on Objectivism is hard to apply and maybe this is one of the categories under that and so maybe I should take back what I just said, right? And then let me just say this: I think given the abuse and the unbelievable disrespect that I get out there on these issues, I've been unbelievably patient with people.
Amy: I agree.
Brook: So it's pretty amazing to me that kind of stuff that people are saying given everything that I've done and given my history. So it's not that I'm talking about topics I know nothing about whether it's Islam, I mean how many of these people have actually fought the Islamists, actually killed them, actually been engaged in combat, actually sat down with dinner with Muslims and been in their families and lived with them and how many grew up in and been told it might explode and blow off your hand? You know the context…and have studied the whole Islamic totalitarian movement as much as I have or stood up after 9/11 and debated this and had people arrested in the audience because they tried to attack or go death threats of decapitating me and my family? I mean it's just unbelievable to me is that people in Objectivism would just….I mean we can disagree but the level of disrespect and the level of debate has been horrible.
Amy: It’s dismaying and that was something that I talked about on the show on Wednesday. Again in some ways I understand and it seems that people on both sides of this debate, both the pro-Trump and the anti-Trump, they are both seeing the end of the world, right? So some people think that Trump is you know the sign of the end times and then some people think that Trump is the only person who can save us from the end times and it's in that way to me understandable.
Brook: So can I do a plug for my show? My show tomorrow will deal with that question: Are we at the end of times and if we are what caused it? Is Western civilization going to die at the hands of Islam? If it’s going to die, what’s causing that death? Are we indeed on the brink of annihilation? But I think like on most of these issues there's way too much emotion and too little objectivity applied to these kinds of discussions.
Amy: So thanks for that and yes, I want to tune in tomorrow as well. Let's get into the substance of the issue itself and the way I would propose is we do sort of a sliding scale. So we talk about what would immigration policy be in an ideal society? What would immigration be in sort of a mixed economy situation which we may be in right now or are we on the brink of collapse or disaster as some people think that we are? Maybe we need to take extraordinary measures, maybe, depending on what your answers are and then the questions are in each of these kinds of three scenarios, do you stop people at the border at all? If so what would you stop them for and on what grounds? Possible grounds on which you could stop people have been either they’re Jihadists or other people who are at war with us and we can talk about how strict that should be in a time of war. Criminals of course, people who are carrying highly dangerous and highly contagious diseases, people who will be a financial burden or people who will compete for our jobs. So for example, Trump is planning a huge H1B visa restriction that is perhaps going to kill some very productive companies in our country. Then finally people who hold or likely will spread and/or vote according to the anti-rights ideologies whether these ideologies are religious or secular, isn't the culture some sort of a real entity that maybe we'd be entitled to protect? These are the various grounds that people have proposed for keeping people out at the border and again we could look at this in an ideal society, in a mixed economy society or in the end times disaster society.
Brook: Sounds good to me.
Amy: So you want to start with ideal?
Brook: Sure, so I think within an ideal society this is fairly simple. So the role of government is the protection of individual rights. Period. So there's no culture there, there's no anything else because culture doesn't violate rights, speech doesn't violate rights, what violates rights is action, is physical actions, the use of force. So what the government is there to protect us is from people who might and are going to use force against us. Part of the rights of individuals include the right to move, the right to get up and act to improve your life by crossing a border, a border doesn't change the fundamental nature of one's rights. So absolutely, in a free society a Mexican has every right to get up and cross that border. Now the government does have a wall at the border, so I do not believe that the border between Mexico and the United States or the border between two countries is exactly the same as moving from one city to another, so I disagree here with Harry Binswanger. The role of government is to protect our rights and as such it needs to act in certain ways to guarantee that it can do its job. For example, it needs to be able to know generally who's in the country and if there are new people in the country, if there are a lot of new people in the country, that affects resources, it affects the way they enforce the law, it relates to the press that might exist and since there is a border and since other governments are protecting or supposedly protecting the rights of citizens in other places, the government cannot just assume that it knows that the people coming across the border does not represent a threat. So I believe everybody at the border needs to be stopped, everybody at the border needs to be questioned, everybody at the border needs to go through some kind of screening but that screening is only to assess the risk to the individual rights of Americans that this individual poses. Again there are three big categories and we can discuss mass migration afterwards hopefully but then these three categories: 1) they are an agent of a foreign country or they are an agent of a terrorist organization or they are advocates for the violent overthrow of the US government or they are in away at war with the United States of America; that is their goal in coming to the United States is warfare, it’s to kill Americans or to overthrow the government. Just like we would arrest people like that if they were inside the United States, we're going to stop people like that from entering the United States. Pretty easy, pretty straight forward.
The second category is criminals. Again I think pretty straightforward: We would arrest them in the United States and certainly we're not going to let them into the United States and, the third is bearers of contagious disease, what is a contagious disease? You'd have to really study the thing and when it's a contagious disease it’s a risk for the individual rights of citizens. So in a situation where if they were in the United States they would be quarantined then you're not going to let them in if they carry that kind of disease. You’re not going to let them into the United States in order to quarantine them, which would be absurd. You’d need expertize for that and there would have to be laws written about that and so on and the government should have a role in infectious diseases so that you would have an agency that could define these kinds of things. So those are the three broad categories when you wouldn’t allow somebody in.
Now let’s take some complexities: So what do we do now with generally with Muslims? It's so hard to tell who are terrorists and who are not. But if we lived in a rational society, if we lived in a laissez-faire country, Islam - and I stand by this and I know people don't agree with this but you know, what can I do? – Islam would not be a threat to the United States if the United States was a proper self-respecting laissez-faire capitalist country. We would have so defeated them in the Middle East; we would so have demoralized them. There would be a threat and to the extent that there was a threat it would be relatively small and minor it certainly would not be an existential threat to the United States. Again you do the screening and if you have to do special screening to Muslims that’s fine, and even during the time of warfare, the United States would have declared war against Islamic totalitarianism, against the jihadis by definition given that it was a laissez-faire capitalist kind of country it would have declared war and as part of a declaration of war you can certainly expand the banning of the immigrants, because you're not sure who is a foreign agent who is not, who is really a terrorist and who’s not and for the period of the war and only for the period of the war you can do thinks like ban all Muslims, or ban all people from certain countries but first there has to be a declaration of war that defines the beginning and the end and defines clearly who the enemy is and I would be all for that to expand the restriction on entering the country for that period of time. But let me again say that this war I believe would be very short, it would be very decisive and it would completely crush any terrorist element that really was going to come into the United States and if anybody wanted be told on how I would execute the war you can look at Elan Journo’s Winning the Unwinnable War or you can look at my many, many talks about this. But it would have to be a comprehensive war but given the nature of the enemy this would not last very long and it would be definitive.
So let's take another scenario which people raise, this idea of mass migration. So let’s assume there was a civil war tomorrow in Mexico and 40 million Mexicans started marching towards the US border. What would we do? Well first you can't just let 40 million people cross the border first because we said I believe that we should vet everybody and that takes time, it takes resources and you wouldn't have the resources to do 40 million and you'd basically stop them from crossing the border.
Amy: By the way, who should pay for that screening? You talk about resources.
Brook: I don’t know, I haven't even thought about that, I mean potentially the immigrant themselves right? But it's not clear because you're defending the individual rights of Americans so Americans would pay for it. In a laissez-faire capitalist economy that doesn't matter it's such a small cost, it's trivial.
Amy: I mean it could be that the businesses here who want to do business with them would pay for them to be screened?
Brook: But what if they want to come in as a tourist? But what if they want to come in in another way? So there are many reasons why people might want to come to the US that have nothing to do with work and screening still has to happen. I think at the end of the day the US would have to do it because it's part of the government's job in protecting individual rights of American citizens.
So let's take this mass migration: So the screening would impossible but then second 40 million people entering the United States all at once would clearly violate the property rights of Americans. I mean, where are they going to live? Where are they going to sleep? If they cross the border they're going to definitely cross over into private property which means that they’re going to trespassing and remember in a laissez-faire capitalist economy all land and all property is owned privately, so that’s definitely going to have to be stopped because they're going to be in violation of the individual rights of Americans. Now those within the 40 million who have a hotel room in the United States or have a friend that invited them or have a job waiting for them in the US would get priority in terms of screening, they would be screened and they would be allowed in. But you wouldn't just allow 40 million people to cross over the border and enter the United States. Again, a big chunk of that has to do with the fact that they would be violating property rights in crossing over the border. OK I think that…does that cover all the scenarios?
Amy: Yes, and again to be clear we’ve now covered all the scenarios in an ideal society, a pure laissez-faire society, but nonetheless there's going to be these contingencies of either people at war with us or sometimes someone across the border from us are going to have their own civil war and try to send us a swarm of people over, and you say that, yes you do believe in stopping, but stopping for only very limited purposes in that type of society?
Brook: Well…but if 40 million people are coming across and I'm not saying Mexico sent them, I’m saying it's a war and they’re running away and they want to come, they're refugees. But don't have an altruistic obligation to bring them in, the property holders in the United States cannot have their rights violated because refugees need shelter unless they invite them in. So those who aren't invited in by specific individuals and have a place to stay and are not going to violate rights would be screened and let in. But it's unlikely that you would all at once be able to screen 40 million people and all of them would have a home in the United States, this is something that would take probably years and hopefully by then that civil war in Mexico would be over and most people would go back to their homes. But if over many years 40 million people immigrated into the United States, I for one do not think that's a big deal.
So there’s one other issue about a laissez-faire society: So what if those 40 million people ultimately come in to the United States, what about American culture? What about the politics of this laissez-faire country?
Amy: Well that's what I was going to add.
Brook: The first response should be, ‘that’s not the role of the government’. It is not the role of the government to preserve the culture, it is not the role of the government to decide how these people are going to vote and what's a good vote and what's a bad vote, what's a right vote and what's a wrong vote. Note that in a laissez-faire capitalist society you've got a strong constitution, voting is not that important because you have real separations of government from the rest of our lives; the difference between the parties or individuals running would be small. Who cares in terms of voting?
But I would add this and I've always argued this: I think that in that society but as well as today, I think there should be a clear difference between people coming here whether it tourists or as people working or that come to live here and people become citizens, I think it should generally be hard to become a citizen. I think voting is something that you have to prove that you know what you're voting about. So if you want to have some kind of ideological test with regard to your knowledge of the principles of America, the structure of American government, but a real test not the kind of test they give today, then have it for citizenship. Make it very difficult for people to become citizens, I would even consider not making first generation immigrants into citizens although that would excluded me, it would have excluded Ayn Rand, it would have excluded a lot of people from becoming citizens but that's fine, but you wouldn’t have excluded people from coming here to live.
So I think you have to separate citizenship from that but more importantly than that what I think the people who are worried about culture would feel about themselves - and I'm trying not to make a generalized insult here and it’s not insulting - but it really is a lack of confidence, any kind of confidence, in a good culture and that good culture’s ability to assimilate people and the source of this could be – I’m not saying it is, don't say I called you a racist but (some of you guys) - but it could be racism, a form of the determinism where you say, ‘well people from Mexico can never be like us Europeans’. But that's what it is, it is racism and it's wrong and it's a deterministic view of human nature. They can have the right ideas, the right ideas are not determined by genes, and they are not determined by our racial or ethnic background; they are determined by whether we're willing to think or not to think, whether to engage our minds or not to engage our minds and that has nothing to do with racial characteristics.
So I have unbelievable confidence in the ability of rational people to bring about the assimilation of new people into a rational culture. I think that's certainly true, I mean just imagine what a world would be like where we had laissez-faire capitalism. This is partially a lack of imagination; I mean think about the kind of people we would be surrounded with, think about 300 million people in the United States and what ideas they would have and what kind of life they would be living, and how rich we would be and how prosperous and flourishing and happy and all these things that we would be if we truly lived in a laissez-faire capitalist society, and you’re worried about immigrants? Or you’re worried about Muslims? I wouldn’t be worried about anything; we would we would defeat any threat thoroughly, systematically and quickly and we would easily assimilate anybody who came into this country relatively quickly. Look how well America assimilated immigration in the 19th century when it wasn’t a perfect country, when it was when it was still a troubled country and it brought in people from all kinds of horrible backgrounds. Now, did it assimilate everybody? No, but why are we worried about those who don't assimilate? They’re such a small percentage of population. It’s a free market, they can’t leach off of anybody else, they either return to their own country or they die.
Amy: So how about the idea though that however good a constitution is written it's always going to have to be implemented by people and eventually if you have an influx and you have a substantial minority of people with statist idea’s that eventually that's going to start affecting the government, in fact that's been the reason for perhaps our decline? No matter how good the Constitution is, no matter how great your starting point, there's free will and people with different ideas and potentially over time it could be eroded.
Brook: But that gives way too credence and way too much power to evil. So it assumes that evil is efficacious; bad ideas win out historically over the long run and that's just untrue and Ayn Rand talks about this quite a bit. The only reason evil wins is when the good doesn't show up and again we're talking about a culture that is adopted Objectivist ideas and has a constitution based on those ideas so even better than the Founding Fathers. So consistent, philosophical, they are intellectuals fighting for the good openly, the media is oriented towards reality and fact and I mean this is an unimaginable culture, it’s not like 19th Century America which was still dominated by Christianity and altruism and all this mixture that the founders left. We are talking about a consistently laissez-faire capitalist world; there is no risk of evil ideas dominating. Sure you’ll get bad guys if the good guys become lazy then yes, if the good turns its back and doesn't defend itself then yes. But that would happen anyway, maybe immigration would accelerate it but it would happen anyway that we would decline but if it really was a laissez-faire Objectivist civilization I can't imagine how you could be afraid of anything really literally anything. We could take on anybody at any time, anyway, just think of the how of ideas and particularly the power of our ideas; our ideas promise a chance, you think Marxism has a chance? I mean they would fall by the wayside and people would drop those ideas in an instant to embrace the kind of ideas they we’re advocating when they saw how efficacious they were and remember these are people who are coming to America. Why are they coming to America? Because they're escaping the stupid ideas they grew up with, I mean the same year that people come here and they hold onto the old ancient idea is ludicrous. Yes they vote Democratic and we could have a whole debate about the difference between Democrats and Republicans and how legitimate that difference really is. But the idea that the people who come here are the best in their culture; these are people who want to change, these are people who want a different life, these are people who are escaping some bad thing whether it is economic bad or culturally bad or religiously bad, that's why they come here; even today, never mind if we were truly laissez-faire and there was no welfare state and there were none of these things. To me that is such a non-issue in a laissez-faire country.
Amy: In a laissez-faire society the government wouldn't actively be involved in trying to bring refugees in the way it is today, it’s not the proper role of government to say, ‘OK we're going to bring in x number and we're going to go grab them and use our tax dollars to pay for them’.
Brook: Fund them, subsidize them, support them. I mean, no government should do that. In terms of refugees the position is even today, we should not be subsidizing them. If somebody can come here on their own merits, if some non-profit is subsidizing them or some individual is subsidizing them then we do the screening and we let them in, just like we let anybody in but the government has no business doing this.
Amy: So now we’ve got the mixed economy situation where if people come in they can immediately start voting for more bad things, we have people encouraged to come here who may just be interested in getting on welfare benefits, we do have a government who is actively trying to bring in a certain quota of refugees and maybe they’re going to slide on the screening requirements and put Americans at risk in order to bring refugee populations here that will have a dangerous to us. Does any of what you've said change in this mixed economy - not total disaster on the edge of the cliff - but where we are today on the most optimistic?
Brook: Well I mean I think the way we advocate and what we advocate for doesn't essentially change because what we're advocating for is a laissez-faire capitalist economy, we're advocating for individual rights so the goalpost is still where it is and that’s where we want to get to. Just like even though I don't believe that social security should be eliminated tomorrow, I do believe it should be eliminated and I will argue vehemently that it is immoral and a plan should be put in place to do away with it, the same with restrictions in immigration. I would still say they are immoral and a plan needs to be put in place to do away with it as we approach.
Now nobody's going to take my plan seriously, and I know that just, like nobody's taking my plan seriously about social security but it is incumbent on Objectivists to make a moral case about the morality or immorality of government action and about how to transition from where we are today to the end game. So immigration is just one more issue, just like in foreign policy. I argue that that we need to eviscerate, go to war with Iran and Saudi Arabia and crush them and eviscerate them and nobody is going to do that, it’s not going to happen and indeed when I have said, ‘well since that's not going to happen, let me argue for a compromise position, a middle ground like let's go Iraq instead of going to Iran or Saudi Arabia and hopefully something good will turn out from that’. I was mistaken, it turned out to be a disaster the war in Iraq and I wish I'd never advocated for it because it turns out that when you live in a mixed economy almost anything the government does is going to turn out badly and the last thing I want is to give my government more power when I know they're going to do it poorly.
So do I want to give the government more power to control immigration when I know that they're going to do it poorly, that they're not going to screen out real bad guys, they're not going to screen out and they're going to use it in the end to screen out good people, there are going to be horrible outcomes, negative outcomes, from this? No I don't want to give the government any more power than it already has: I don't want to grow the government, I don't want them building walls, I don't want them hiring more agents to go after me at the end of the day or after people like me who are going to be immigrants in a future. We are for shrinking government to its essential function which is the protection of individual rights. So in terms of what we argue for, we need to argue for open immigration and then we need to be able to make an argument of how we get there. So we're not going to have open immigration tomorrow, so what are the logical steps going from where we are today to open immigration?
So I would say things about this scenario today: 1) Muslims should be screened more vigorously. We can't ban them because we haven’t declared war but they should be screened and I hope now… by the way the executive order that Trump signed is awful because it includes certain elements of screening that have to do with your understanding or your faithfulness to the founding principles of this country; that's the kind of screening I don't want this government or any government in a mixed economy to do, because they're going to screen me out one day because I don't abide by the founding principles as they understand them. So I want the screening to be screening about violence, about their propensity for violence, their sympathy with violent ideologies and don't …. Someone is going to say that Islam is a violent ideology - well but there are Muslims who interpret it differently and if they interpret Islam as being non-violent and they're going to come here and not going to be violent you have no right to stop them, you have no right to screen them out based on that. So they have to be proponents of a violent version of Islam, a violent ideology and how you do the screening and all that, you know the Israelis do a very good job profiling, we need to do a lot more profiling in America, profile people who are real threats and not let them in. So that's one component.
The second component: We need comprehensive immigration reform, not little fixes here and there that’s the ridiculous view that the Republicans have, it’s stupid. What we need is comprehensive immigration reform and I would have part of that comprehensive immigration one, more intense screening, second, anybody who can find a job in the United States gets a five year visa, renewable if they keep that job and their employer still wants them. There's no issue here of economics because if you understand economics immigration is clearly a benefit economically even in a mixed economy immigration massively creates wealth. The field of economics is unequivocal about this question, even with a mixed economy, even with the welfare state. Now particularly if they are coming for a known job; so put in place a mechanism that if you have a job, you can't come to the United States, not unless you're a tourist, but you can't come to the United States unless you have a job and that job could be any field, it could be picking apples, it could be a high tech. That's another thing that I find funny; people think that if we open the borders tomorrow we would get a bunch of third worlders from depressed countries and the fact is that if we open the borders tomorrow what we would get mostly are Europeans and Israelis, the Chinese and most of them would be engineers and entrepreneurs and people who wanted to really…. if you open the border tomorrow with Sweden, Sweden would empty out of much of its population, they don't want to live in a cold pathetic place and many of them are entrepreneurial and many have still have that fighting spirit. Yes, they’re socialists but if they came to America they would abandon that pretty quickly and they would start businesses. So we only think about a certain type of immigrant instead of thinking about the fact that 50% of successful Silicon Valley startups that were started had at least one founder who with an immigrant and you could go on and on and on about the benefits of immigrants to the US economy.
So if you can find a job or if you have money to invest in the US, so in other words if you're going to be self-sufficient, if you're unlikely to be on the welfare state then you should be allowed in and again, granted the screening, the intense screening for terrorism, Islamic sympathy, criminality and infectious disease. So you get a five year visa, it is not a passive citizenship and at a separate date, you could say after being here 20 years you can apply separately for passive citizenship. That would require a whole new screening and maybe an intense test or maybe we exclude that from first generation immigrants and we only apply it to second generation or whatever. That's a technicality but the point is that these people would come in, they couldn't vote for many, many, many years probably for a whole generation at least, but they could work here and we would respect their of movement, a right to get a job, we’d respect the rights of employers in America to go overseas and bring in employees. I mean again, why do we want the government to give the government more power, more control over who we employ? Don't we as Objectivists want to reduce the power the government has over employment law? I want to hire a bunch of Mexicans for my plant, how is it the government’s business who I employ in my plant and who I don’t? Or if I want to invite people to spend some time in my hotel, how is it the government’s business? I mean isn't this private property? So again once there are screened for not violating individual rights and once screened let's say in a mixed economy for not likely to be immediately on the welfare system, then it's not of anybody's business and then with regard to refugees the same would apply. If you can come in here because a NGO is funding you or because a philanthropist is funding you and you pass all the screens; welcome to the United States. But if you will be depended on the government or if you will require a subsidy…you know, that's one of the subsidies that should go. Now the government subsidizes so many things it's hard to single this out as particularly disastrous of all the things government does is subsidizing refugees the most upsetting of them? No, not if the refugees are properly screened.
Amy: This kind of covers the mixed economy situation and it sounds like the main kind of thing that you were wanting to address in that mixed economy situation is the issue of voting, and you would say that even in the ideal society there wouldn't be the right to vote for quite a long time anyway?
Brook: Voting rights are not important rights, they are not a fundamental right and citizenship - there's a difference between living in a country and being a citizen in a country. The whole issue of what is a citizen, what isn't a citizen, how do we treat citizens differently than non-citizens? Again, there's an enormous amount of kind of legal complexity there that I think many people just brush aside and take for granted but it is a complex issue and it is an issue that the government has a role in deciding because citizens’ rights are protected in a different way than a non-citizen’s rights are protected and again that is a definition from legal philosophy to figure out exactly where the borderlines are and so on but citizenship is a different, I think, barrier than immigration. I don't think that you should be equalized and then people say, ‘well the left would never allow you to have people come in but not grant them citizenship’. Yes, but we’re assuming if the left has power then of course bad things are going to happen for them but then if the right have power bad things are going to happen, so we are assuming what should be our advice to the world not what will happen if the left controls things, if the left controls things they won't listen to our advice on anything, so add another thing to the list, and that’s true by the way for the right as well. So the same thing as 40 million people appear in your border; again there's no way you're going to let 40 million people in. First of all by the criteria of jobs they couldn't qualify and by the way…so here is the transition plan from this to laissez-faire which I think you always have to express, you can't just say, ‘here is my immigration plan for today’, you have to say, ‘here’s my immigration plan for today and here’s how I'm going to slowly shape change it as we move toward laissez-faire’. As you start dismantling the welfare state, you start loosening the requirements of work so that ultimately because there's no welfare state there’s no requirement for work. So it's a matter of slowly loosening the reins, you know, ten year visas instead of five year visas, different kinds of jobs or whatever, I mean you can think about the details another time. But again, a lot of this stuff you have to be cognizant of the details and the specifics this is not just abstract theory that we are talking about.
Amy: Now in the mixed economy situation where you do have to be concerned about people coming here and becoming dependent on welfare and other things, the freebies that the government offers, could you see a necessity today where people would say, ‘well we really need a wall because we've got this welfare magnet of other things that the mixed economy is drawing people here’, and that's why there's this clamor for a wall that somehow a wall adds something in that context that it wouldn't add in laissez-faire?
Brook: The whole wall thing in my view is stupid; I mean what do you need a wall for? There's no mass immigration into the United States today, there hasn't been for at least ten years. Any significant net immigration into the United States - illegal immigration into the United States – indeed the most credible statistics there are and there are no really good statistics on this, but the most credible statistics suggest that there's been a net migration out of the United States in terms of illegals returning to Mexico and returning to Latin America, partially because the Mexican economy has done pretty well be and they don't really want to live in the United States and partially because the United States economy didn't do well so they left. So the whole hysteria about border security, things are falling apart, is just that – it is hysteria, there's no statistics to back it up. There's no problem of illegal immigration that anybody can actually point to concretely and actually explain and look if you – and again I'm going to insult some of you, but tough – if you guys are reading Ann Coulter and just accepting everything that she writes, it’s like reading Paul Krugman and accepting everything that he writes, you're just as dishonest as that, it's no different. She is corrupt, she will produce false news if that serves her purpose, just like Paul Krugman will lie about economics if it serves his purpose on the left. There's no difference in terms of in terms of methodology between the two; you can't trust what Ann Coulter produces in statistics, her statistics are almost always shown to be bogus. The way she calculates the 30 million illegal immigrants in the United States is so laughable and ridiculous that you can't take anything she says seriously because she is a complete and utter partisan; she has an opinion and she will manipulate the data for it. The same goes unfortunately for Michelle Malkin who has written this awful book on H1B visas, it is so deceptive, it is so dishonest these books and yet I know Objectivists who read this stuff and just take it as if it is, you can't read anybody out there today without being critical, without questioning, without asking for sources, without going and checking for yourself and investigating this stuff and yet as long as it is confirms my bias I know that this is true, right? That's the perspective of so many people that means, that people are losing any kind of sense of objectivity and we're seeing that in the culture. We are also seeing it within Objectivism, this whole idea of, ‘there is no real reality’, or, ‘there is this false news of the left and false news of the right, and there is no truth’, and it's scary. If you want a sign of the real situation in civilization, in society, it’s the fact that people have no respect for objectivity anymore and that even some Objectivists; I don't know if it's because they're not objective or because they're just too lazy to do research. Look at the research, look at what actually is said, I could over and over again even with regard to Muslim immigration in Europe, the number of times that people use bad or false or misleading or just straight out shabby statistics in order to justify their argument is pretty horrific and then and without taking into account the source of that data. So you have to be very careful in how can you use this stuff.
Amy: So I think all of what you're saying makes sense in terms of the mixed economy; there are some adjustments but you're always going to be saying this proposal that I have right now is in the context of working toward an ideal immigration policy that you're going to have in a laissez-faire society, there are some compromises that would be made just because of today's context. What about if it's on the brink of disaster, if we let all of these Muslim refugees in and/or people who are all going to come and vote Democrat, then we've got a generation, two at the most, and our country's toast and people are saying we just can't let these people in who are going to destroy us.
Brook: So here’s the question: So if you say because we're toast, we're going to ban immigrants and we're going to grow governments and we are going to give government more control and more power, you think we’re not toast? So we're going to be toast anyway if that's who we really are, we are going to be toast, let’s arm ourselves to the teeth, find a bunker somewhere and prepare for the end of times or go to New Zealand like some high tech guys are doing and which I've been proposing to do for a long time. So you want to die this way or do you want to die that way? I don't have a very strong opinion about that; you want to buy a few more years by limiting immigration fine but don't pretend for one minute that this is in order to save civilization, this is to give you a few more years so you don't have to deal with the end of times that is coming. If things are that bad, if that's what it is you’re not buying enough time to make a difference because you have brought yourself to that.
This is my whole objection to Donald Trump's way of thinking and I’ll talk about this a lot tomorrow. The reason we are failing is not because of immigrants and not because of Muslims. The reason that Muslims and immigrants have such a high potential impact on our culture is because we're so rotten from within. So my whole focus is let's fix the rot from within and in my view immigrants can help us fix the rot from within if we take the right perspective. So if we take the perspective of when an immigrant comes in we tell them how wonderful this country is and how they should adopt its values and do that. I can't imagine Objectivists arguing to expand the role of government, increase limitations, build walls and do everything that's against our long term project in order to buy a few years and I know some people do, I think Leonard has this approach. I can't think in those terms, to me I think it's a wrong analysis of the world that exists today, I think it's a wrong analysis of the threat that immigrants pose and how quickly we’ll deteriorate. If we took all the energy we spend on immigration and focus it on trying to improve Americans I think that's a much better use of our energy, much better use of our focus, much better use of what we have to do and I mean a lot of people are going to make fun of me, but I look out of my window and I travel all over the country, I travel all over the world, I drive all over America I fly into godforsaken airports all over America, I meet people, I gave more talks at tea party groups. So people say, ‘oh you only meet with students so that's biased’. No, I’ve spent lots of time with tea partiers and I've gone to where they live all over this country. The country is not falling apart, America is not dead, America is not on the verge of seizure and dropping dead, there is not carnage in the streets. If you look at murder rates we're still at some of the most peaceful times in American history even with the latest increase in crime that's happening in places like Chicago, the country as a whole is still unbelievably peaceful. We’re unbelievably wealthy, we are unbelievably rich, we eat good food. I mean, what are we afraid of exactly? The world is coming to an end in a sense but that end is driven by ideology, it's not driven by immigrants, it’s not even driven by politics. It doesn't that matter that much who gets elected as President of the United States.
Amy: How about the idea though that yes it's crippled by ideology but politics right now is through the government education system controlling what ideology is dominating and again if we have a whole bunch of the wrong people here voting for the wrong policies we get common core indoctrinating everybody further to bring in the statists even more and it's just going to get worse and worse in fact maybe that's what got Trump elected if you want to talk about from the other side. So politics is affecting ideology.
Brook: So let's kick out as many Mexicans as we can and then we'll get voting where people vote for Donald Trump and the next Donald Trump and this is better for America? This is better for freedom? You know so people say, ‘oh, Donald Trump still will be better than Clinton’. Maybe, we'll see in twenty years whether he was better than Clinton. I'm just not convinced that we should adopt sweeping position on immigration based on the idea that the right as constituted today is better than the left. I think they're both bad and they're both scary and what I want to do is limit the amount of power government has on us and I truly believe that if the Republican Party wanted to win they could change their message and get easily a majority of Latino voters; I don't think there's any evidence to suggest that Latinos will not vote Republican when Republicans have a sane policy towards Latinos.
So this whole idea on immigration and not only that but if you allow more immigration, if you're more friendly to immigration as I said Swedish entrepreneurs would come here now, it turns out they turn leftist as well when they go to Silicon Valley, now that's a real problem. So maybe there's something else going on here that causes people to be leftist and has nothing to do with immigration and maybe we should deal with that. I don't know, I just find let’s deal with the real problems, let's deal with the with the fundamental philosophical problems, let's not advocate for more government, more government intervention, more government control to buy us a few years in other words, let’s sell us souls in order to buy a few years so we do what? This is a long term struggle, what are we going to say in twenty years to the Ayn Rands of the world and here I am exaggerating a little bit, who didn't get into the United States because we put an immigration ban on and built a wall, all in the name of preserving the American culture that is rotting away from within in any way?
I mean I would rather get a few more scientists and a few Ayn Rands and a few more Yarons and Elan Journos and the rest of the immigrants that are here at the institute and yes, for every one of those 100,000 Mexicans or Latin Americans or whatever, but you know I think we're worth 100,000, so I just can't see such an orientation towards doom and gloom that my very physical survival requires that I build a wall around this place. I mean I could, the day could come, but let me also say this; walls don't work, immigration restrictions don't work. If millions of people actually really wanted to come into the United States; first of all there is no wall today and they’re not coming but let's say they really wanted to come, they would find a way, they would get on boats just like the Cubans got on boats and came to Miami. They would fly into Canada which allows Mexicans to come in with very little screening and then they would cross the Canadian border where there's no wall. They would find ways; they would build tunnels, they would blow up the wall, they would find ways, the idea that a wall protects you is so nonsensical and so anti-historical. I mean Israel has built a wall, are there a lot fewer terrorist attacks in Israel? No, every day almost you pick up the newspaper and you read about it a knifing attack or a car attack. Why? Because they go around the wall, they find ways to get in. You cannot seal your country off and if you do what kind of country are you? I mean, who are you? Is this the America we all want to fight and defend and stand for when we're so afraid of immigrants?
Amy: Here’s the question, because what some people are advocating for is that in effect….well first of all some people do that as part of a kind of a smear on you, they say, ‘oh well Yaron lives in a gated community and so therefore he doesn't understand the horribleness that’s coming to us in these end times because of the danger from some of the immigrants’. So in effect they’re saying, ‘why can't we have restrictions like a gated community for the entire country’?
Brook: Because it's not a gated community; a country is not private property. We don't own the country. This is social contract thinking and it's wrong, this is what Ayn Rand rejected. Under that kind of idea we could have a welfare state, why not, it’s voluntary, you vote for it? ‘Oh, there’s a minority that is being forced…’ to hell with them! The whole idea of a social contract is something that Ayn Rand rejected – the role of government is to protect the individual rights of its citizens period. It's not to defend our culture; it's not to advocate for …indeed, Ayn Rand believed in a separation of state from ideas. The state itself has no ideas, the state has no economic policy, the state has no immigration policy separate from the need to protect individual rights. Just like in economic policies, it doesn't have economic policies separate from the need to protect property rights as apply in economic decision making. So you again you have to think from fundamentals now I have to say something about the gated community, I’ve already said some of it.
I mean this is so stupid and so insulting and so dishonest. Anybody who says this is just being dishonest. As you know Amy, as my wife will tell anybody, I spend more time on the road than I do in my gated community. So first of all I'm constantly interacting with Americans, with foreigners and immigrants and children of immigrants and all over the country from all parts of life from all segments of society. So this idea that I'm somehow…I mean this whole problem of viewing me as a rich guy in his gated community that’s in such a Marxist approached. You’re dictated by your economic position; your ideas are determined by your class, that’s pure Marxism. Objectivist who raised this is so, so ridiculous. But beyond that I wasn't born into a gated community. I immigrated into the United States with very little, with basically enough money to pay tuition and two semesters. You know we had nothing when my kids were growing, when we brought up our kids, nothing. I was living off of a student salary basically and getting a little bit of help from my father in law. You know I worked hard, most of the money I have today was it was not even generated from the Ayn Rand Institute; it was generated from my financial activities. So I've had two jobs, my entire life as an adult, I’ve work more than one job. So these people to claim somehow silver spoon in his mouth who lives in a secluded thing…and again remember where I come from. I come from the Middle East: I know Muslims, I know Arabs, I worked with them, I employed them, I've been to their homes, I’ve fought them, I’ve bombed their homes, I've destroyed them. You know you’re talking about some naive American who's never traveled in the world, who's lived in Irvine California his whole life, give me a break! I bet you that the people writing this were reflecting in a sense their own perspective; what do they know about Muslims? What they read in books. What do they know about America? What Donald Trump and a few crazy websites tell them about America. How much have they traveled around America, have they been to every single State in this union, have they hitchhiked through America which I have done? I wonder how many of them have hitchhiked through America. Of all the people in the world to come at with that particular accusation, you got your wrong target guys. So the idea of America as a gated community is a negation of Ayn Rand’s political philosophy.
Amy: In a gated community…I've seen an argument about, ‘well right now we have gated communities and in each of those they have their own little government within the gated community. They have a little board or whatever, the community board and they have their CCNRs and all this’, but all of that those are contractual agreements that are enforced by a government and each of the people who live in a gated community governed by CCNRs each of those people have explicitly signed on to the CCNR. So regardless of whether you think you could start for example like a Galt's Gulch or even an entire country, suppose you could, you could you know have a government that is coextensive with a community where there's all the CCNRs above and beyond just the protection of rights and everybody signed on at the outset, the total territorial jurisdiction is co-extensive and suppose the government agrees to do it? Suppose you do that? That is not what the United States is now right?
Brook: That is a wrong view of government; it is a wrong perception of government.
Amy: There’s the private…all the little private enclaves…?
Brook: CCNRs are governed by the rules of contract, they can only apply to very specific things relating to property they cannot for example, restrict my free speech, the cannot for example, restrict other rights that I have. They cannot be contracts that violate the American Constitution or violate the court's view of what a contract is in a free society. My guess is that you CCNRs today in America are probably broader than they would be free market because I think a court system is not as objective as it should be with regard property rights.
Amy: Suppose you could create a Galt's Gulch, and so you have a subdivision, a neighborhood or whatever and everybody who's going to live in that neighborhood has to take the oath, I swear by my life, my love etc. Couldn't you do that as a matter of contract so it is not like they’re inflating themselves but they all agree to take some sort of an ideological oath or a test or whatever. Couldn't you do that?
Brook: No you couldn’t - you couldn't unless you owned all the property.
Amy: You own the property, there’s a covenant that goes with the land so people who buy a piece of land within this they agree to take the oath.
Brook: But they can’t buy it because you own it. If they bought the land then on their land if they want to be altruistic they can be altruistic, you have no jurisdiction over them as a private community.
Amy: Covenants do go with the land. So for example you know if you buy in particular neighborhoods they tell you can only paint your house x, y or z boring colors.
Brook: I get that but that's what I'm trying to say is covenants are very, very limited and should be very limited. Indeed I think they probably would be more limited under objective law than they are today and you cannot have a covenant that says, ‘if you want to buy a property in my neighborhood you have to hold these ideas’.
Amy: Well what about Galt’s Gulch where Midas Mulligan said, ‘OK people, everybody who comes in’, because he owns the whole thing right? ‘So everybody who comes on has to take the oath’.
Brook: Galt’s Gulch is fiction, it is not reality, and there is no government. Basically Galt’s Gulch is an escape from anarchy and these are people and they can do what they want, but if somebody violated the covenant by acting altruistically on their piece of land, I mean what could be done? If there was a real government there what could be done? Nothing could be done to them in spite of the fact that they’d signed the covenant. You cannot have a contract that says, ‘I’m going to believe x for the rest of my life and act accordingly’, that is not a contract based on the idea of…. now you know more about the law than I do but I don't think that can be a contract. I think people take that analogy of Galt’s Gulch out of context, completely out of context.
Amy: I agree that they take it out of context but my position would be; suppose you could - an entire country where the territorial jurisdiction of the country was coextensive with an entirely privately owned plot of land that you could burden with (as we might call in the law) all these CCNRs, these covenants that go with the land such that anybody who purchases any of this land or is on a lease on any of this land, they would all be restricted by some CCNRs and the CCNRs could be up to you, you have to take the oath right? Maybe. But regardless of whether you could do that and then the government is just enforcing this contractual agreement that exists but no government as such government never gets its authority from consent like contracts do, government is just enforcing the contract and everybody who have agreed to the contract. United States today we do not have that, we do not have a territory that is coextensive with something that's governed by CCNRs where everybody has been signed on it and is obligated by; we just don't have it.
Brook: That is absolutely true but I have to say that I think you'll hypothetical; there is something fundamentally wrong there. For example…
Amy: It’s a pipedream; I’m just saying that's what it would have to be.
Brook: No, philosophically it’s wrong. For example, a contract has to have a sunset, contracts can’t be unlimited.
Amy: Of course, covenants that go with the land can't be forever and it might be that you have explicit renewals and all that.
Brook: And again I don't think you can have a covenant that dictates people's ideas or people’s alliance to particular ideas, or what they do on their land. You can have it if you’ve got a covenant that can apply to the color of your house but it can’t apply to what you do on your land, what kind of sex you have in your in your bedroom; you get a covenant that covers that. That is a violation of my rights as a human being and the government has to say this contract is invalid if it covers those kinds of things. It’s the equivalent of a contract ….
Amy: What if there is a contract of employment that says that you can work at my whatever it is that you can never drink alcohol and we have the periodic testing and if you ever…
Brook: Even when I am not working?
Brook: I doubt that's a legitimate contract, this is a completely different conversation.
Amy: So we could disagree about whether this ever should happen but all I was saying is that it would have to be a really outlandish scenario to govern an entire country like a gated community it would have to be very outlandish and it's certainly not what we have in United States today, so what you'd be doing today is you say I want to impose the costs of a gated community on the entire country even though everybody has not signed on to anything like a CCNR, that's what you'd be doing today if you were trying to govern our country as a gated community.
Brook: That's right. Yeah, I think that's right I think the whole idea of comparing a country to a gated community is a complete fundamental misunderstanding of Ayn Rand’s whole political theory.
Amy: Right, because I mean you can't get the authority of law from contracts, from consent first of all, and the authority of law comes from the fact that it protects individual rights and protecting individual rights is only against the initiation of force and you know you talk about screening for the various purposes related to that. So you think we've covered the gated community argument well enough?
Brook: I think so, I'm sure people are going to have objections and people are going to not agree but that's fine. I mean, I'm happy with what we’ve covered.
Amy: There was a little bit of a complaint that if you say certain things they are incredibly stupid but it's a position it's not the people. You’re not saying that the people are stupid you’re saying a particular position is incredibly stupid.
Brook: I’m sorry, this is the way I speak, they are going to have to live with it, but yes, if a position is not a good position and if I'm exaggerating in speaking then I apologize to anybody who might be offended by it.
Amy: There are a couple of questions that were more in general if you have time? We got about ten minutes on my clock here for my show. One, Tim asked, ‘do you have any words of encouragement or I guess maybe praise is what he means for the president for something he has actually done? Is there something that you would point to for Trump that you would say, OK, that was good’?
Brook: No, and I say this because….
Amy: How about Ajit Pai at the FCC? What about that?
Brook: Well we'll see what he does, right? So there are going to be concrete things that this administration does that are good and there were probably concrete things that the Obama administration did that were good and maybe the Trump administration will do more good things than the Obama administration did and more good things than Clinton would have done. But it's a bad administration, it's fundamentally flawed, their approach to the world is wrong, you know? So yes, they're going to do good things. So you know the global warming stuff sounds like they're moving in the right direction although they keep backtracking on stuff so we'll see what happens, they’ve already backtracked on... I thought his taking the phone call from Taiwan was a good thing, right? And then today I heard on the news that he’d reaffirmed the One China policy so is sucking up to the Chinese again.
Amy: Wow, he’s sucking up to the Chinese? Wow.
Brook: Of course I mean why would you believe anything this guy says? I mean in many respects to do what he's doing is unprecedented in terms of the fact that he is a - if you can be - a consistent an ideological pragmatist. There is no truth there, there is no agenda there, it is whatever will work in the moment that is what will get done and I think that's a horrible administration even if it turns out that part of the time you do good things because part of the time even bad people see that good things work part of the time. Pragmatists see that. So I know a lot of people are complaining, I don't say anything positive about Trump, yes I don't, because I think fundamentally at the core this is a really, really, really bad administration and nobody else will call them on it, nobody else will call them on, Republicans won't do it, Democrats do it but they do it in such a skewed horrific way. That means it’s up to us Objectivists to say, here are the really bad things about this administration, here is what is objectively bad about them’, and yes they're going to do some good things but - and they'll always be up but when I say that they've done some good things - and I think the same thing was true when… it's amazing to me how people tolerant of bad things done from the right and intolerant of bad things done from the left: Bad things are bad things, and we're not right, we’re not left, all of these people are collectivists, we’re individualists, we need to criticize their collectivism. When they do something good we need to say, ‘yeah this is good for these reasons but they did it for these other reasons and the reasons are bad’, and we need to call them on the reasons even if the good is good so everything he does is going to be from a collectivistic perspective and in that sense everything he does is bad but …
Amy: We’re pragmatic or something too right? Just kind of whim-worshippy as well sometimes?
Brook: Yes, but it's all a whole framework for this administration and in particular as long as Bannon is involved it’s collectivism, I mean it's a dedication to collectivism in a way that we've never seen from the right, this is even most dedicated to collectivism administration I have ever…Now again, if Bannon leaves at some point maybe that will change because I don't know what Donald Trump actually thinks but so far everything they've done has been motivated by a collectivistic view of the world even when they do good things. So you want to deregulate why? Not because it lifts a burden off of the shoulders of individuals, not because force is evil, but because it's good for the economy and if something else is good for the economy….why do we want to cut taxes? Not because it's my money keep your hands off of it but because cutting taxes is good for the economy. There used to be at least…you know Ronald Reagan at least said, ‘government is not the solution, government is the problem’. It was at least recognition in the past by Republicans of the evil of collectivism, the evil of statism, even though they fell into it all the time. With this administration it’s collectivism with no apology and that's why those of you who expect me to say nice things about this administration; it ain’t going to happen unless they realty shift their perspective and I doubt that would happen but even when they do good things I will recognize that and then criticize the hell out of them in spite of that and look, nobody else is going to do it, it’s us Objectivists or nobody. Let's carve out the individualist perspectives to the world, let’s make that our hallmark instead of praising Trump the collectivist, let’s fight against Democrats and Republicans and people say, ‘Yaron, you don't want to win’. I can't win, I'm a realist! I know we're losing, and Trump is not a win, Trump is a defeat. So I want to win but I realize that in order to win I'm going to have to attack everybody in the entire political spectrum that exists today, from Donald Trump all the way to Elizabeth Warren, they are all bad guys and we needed to differentiate ourselves really rigorously, consistently and constantly from them so that one day we can really win.
Amy: I agree. The way I put it with Trump, I don't know if you've heard of that book? There's a book, He's Just Not That Into You and I say Donald Trump is just not that into your rights, individual rights are not in animating principle for him at all and in so far as the founding principle of our country individual rights is not an animating principle for this man, he's dangerous and that's all there is to it. So I think you've answered the last question which is would Rand have supported Trump?
Brook: It’s not an animating principle for any politician but the difference is that some of them give it lip service. So if Ted Cruz and many other Republicans at least give lip service to individual rights in the Constitution and that's better than nothing, and Donald Trump never mentions the Constitution and there's a reason - because he doesn't care! He wants what he wants and he will use whatever mechanism: This is why he can call a judge, ‘a so-called judge’. You can criticize a legal decision without undercutting the legitimacy of the process. He wants to undercut the legitimacy of the process, he wants to undercut the very nature of American government, he is - and I've said this all along – he is naturally an authoritarian. Now he can’t get away with it as we're seeing right now with the judicial system that's his instinct, his instinct is to tell you what to do and you do it because that's how you want to business. You don't vote, you don't take it to the judge, you run the business the way you want to run a business and he's going to discover that the American system of government luckily for all of us, does not allow a president to just do that but he will undercut it, he will undercut the legitimacy of the whole process and he is going to continue to do this by the way he speaks, by the way he Tweets and that has long term really bad consequences.
Let me also say this: My job as I see it is to really, really, think long term about the battle for civilization, about how to win the battle for civilization and that's the responsibility I have; it's not about politics today, it’s not about what's going to happen in the next four years, it's the consequences of what's going to happen in the next four years for the future of civilization and our ability to save civilization. I consider Objectivism the only hope civilization has. That means you have to think about what a president does not just in terms of right now, but in terms of long term consequences and that's where Donald Trump really scares me. Where does this administration lead to? Again, we’ve gotten a long way from immigration so….
Amy: No, and that's fine because again we were in the section on the general for Trump. I’m going to address the one guy in the chart room that said Trump mentioned the Constitution when he put forward Gorsuch, that’s because he was prompted. Gorsuch was at the top of any GOP generic list for an appointment. We got you know got half a loaf with Gorsuch and then we'll see how that's going to turn out in the long term.
Brook: I mean Gorsuch is about as good as any Republican would appoint and Gorsuch would probably been at the top of the of any Republican president, there’s nothing special, there’s no special Donald Trump feature to this and look, he needs to appease a certain part of his base and he's trying to appease different parts. He’ll build the wall to appease some people, this ridiculous ban on some Muslims but not others, some countries not others is to appease another part of his base, Gorsuch is to appease the Federalist Society part of his base. He is covering all his bases, he's doing politics which is what presidents do. Yes, and even in his race once in a while he mentioned the Constitution, but you clearly get the impression that that is not anything he's excited about and he cares about or anything that he really knows very much about.
Amy: He’s just not that into it and Yaron we are out of time, I’ve only got a minute left so everybody needs to listen to your show tomorrow here on Blog Talk Radio. What time is that on?
Brook: That’s 11.30 Pacific time in the morning Pacific time and I'm going to discuss whether I think Western civilization is dead, dying and more importantly what are the causes of that death, and I'm going to try to alleviate some of the panic that's out there but more importantly focus the battle where it should be which is on ideas rather than on things like, ‘the Muslims are coming – we’re all going to die’! Which I think is silly and ridiculous and nobody takes Islamic terrorism as seriously as I do, but you also have to think about whether that's an existential threat to America and what are the real existential threats to America, and the real existential threats to America are at Berkeley, they are not at Saudi Arabia.
Amy: Thanks so much Yaron, and I’ll see you tomorrow.
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