Speaker 0 00:00:00 Hello everyone. Welcome to the 160th episode of the Atlas Society asks, my name is Jennifer Anju Grossman. My friends call me Jag. I am the c e o of the Atlas Society. We are the leading organization introducing young people to the literature and ideas of Ayen Rand in fun, creative ways, including graphic novels and animated videos. Today we are joined by, uh, two guests, uh, one who's gonna be joining us in a moment. Um, but, uh, you'll see we are joined by Armstrong Williams, someone I actually met over 30 years ago, and I want you to meet him too, as well as Dr. Ben Carson. Uh, before I even begin to, uh, introduce our guests, I want wanna remind all of you who are watching us on Zoom, Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube. Go ahead, get started. Type in those questions, get in the queue, and we will get to as many of the questions as we can.
Speaker 0 00:01:04 So, uh, as mentioned, Armstrong Williams, uh, he is a conservative political commentator, syndicated columnist, entrepreneur, and c e o of Howard Stirk Holdings, one of the largest broadcast television owners in the United States. He's host of the Talk Show, uh, the Armstrong Williams Show, and author of several books, including Reawakening Virtues, restoring What Makes America Great, what Black and White Americans Must Do Now, A Prescription to Move Beyond Race. And, uh, he also co-authored recently the book Crisis in the Classroom, uh, with Dr. Benjamin Carson. Uh, Dr. Carson will be joining us again momentarily. Uh, of course, as many of you know, he is a retired neurosurgeon, academic author and politician who served as the 17th United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, uh, from 2017 to 2021. He is host of the podcast Common Sense with Dr. Ben Carson, uh, and leader of the American Cornerstone Institute. So, uh, Armstrong, thanks for joining us.
Speaker 1 00:02:24 It is so good seeing and reconnected with you. You have no idea how, um, I was just, I'm, I was just always proud of you. Uh, you and I were young innocence, running around the nation's capital, trying to plug into whatever could help us sort of define ourselves in terms of what our purpose would eventually be, how we could contribute, make the world better. You always wanted to make the world better, and obviously you're doing it with resounding results. So I'm so honored that you would have me on your, on your show today.
Speaker 0 00:03:02 Well, I am honored to, uh, that you would join us. Um, I, I, I'm gonna get to it in a moment, but, uh, you know, one of the threads between us, of course, is, uh, is Boyden Gray, and, uh, he and I were worked together in the Bush 41 White House. And, uh, I, I think basically he considered you his best friend. And, um, you guys got together regularly. And so we're gonna talk a little bit about that because, uh, the Testament testimonial, um, tribute that you wrote for him, uh, as as he passed away recently, was really quite moving. But neither of us wanna cry. So let's, uh, start with something else. Our audience always enjoys hearing a little bit about the origin stories of our guests, and you've got a particularly interesting one. You were raised along with your nine siblings on your parents' tobacco for farm in Marion, South Carolina, and ended up, uh, finding a mentor in Senator Strom Thurman of all people. Um, so tell us a bit about your journey and some of the early, uh, influences that shaped your trajectory.
Speaker 1 00:04:13 Well, obviously, you know, the most important influence were my parents, the best department of housing Irving, the best Department of Housing, education and Welfare. I had grown up was my mother and my father, um, a father that I trusted, I admired and I wanted to emulate. My parents were entrepreneurs, they were ranchers, um, um, thousands of head of swine cattle forests, sheep, goat, 250 acre estate that continues in our family today and has since doubled in ownership. And, you know, Jennifer, it was early to bed, early to rise God first. Um, you know, um, I, I learned entrepreneurship from the land. You know, entrepreneurship is like a garden. You plant many things, whether it's small grain, cotton, okra, beans and cucumbers. And you plant many things in the garden and there's no guarantee what is gonna produce for you, and it's gonna bring about the production and the cash cow.
Speaker 1 00:05:30 Uh, and sometimes nature is not always kind to you. And so I learned that sometimes you have to plant many things in order for something to catch root. The growth for sometimes for a lifetime, sometimes it grows for short term. But my father, I've always taught us that you must have five different businesses if you want to create truly success in the marketplace and create wealth that you can pass on. So my father always told us that you needed to have five businesses that were totally unrelated, but also they taught us the value of hard work, discipline and, and the importance of an education. You know, you, you and I both know that intellectual gap and education as well before the child ever enters kindergarten. And that too much of what is called education today is little more than an expense of isolation from reality is what education.
Speaker 1 00:06:28 But when I was growing up, you know, education really meant something. And, and it was the foundation of every nation's success, you know, our failure. And it, it is what produces upstanding citizens. My father said, no matter what I teach my boys and my girls, if you want to be an an upstanding citizen, if you want to help lift people out of poverty and catalyze changes, um, you, you gotta seek to sort of put a spot on the, on the realities of what happens if you don't get a quality education. So I always had books in my hand as a kid reading, whether it was, um, Emily Dixon, uh, Shakespeare, uh, Booker t Washington, up from slavery, uh, Abraham Lincoln, uh, the founders and Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson, and using reading the Classic. And so I was able to travel to many places as a kid through my books and through reading.
Speaker 1 00:07:23 And there was such a joy. And so reading helped prepare me for the classroom. And, and I had parents that not only that read to me, but I had to read to them. And so my parents always told, felt it was important that we learn different languages cuz they felt that someday we would travel the world. But my father always believed that the foundation of it all was entrepreneurship. And fortunate for me, my story is not a rags to wealth story. I grew up in a, in a, in a very upper middle class family. There were 10 of us, but any of us that did well in high school and wanted to go to college, my parents paid the money out of their pockets, um, for us to get a four year education where we would graduate without any debt. So I, I can never talk about my parents, um, enough because they loved us.
Speaker 1 00:08:11 They loved us conditionally, of course they whipped our butts when we were needed. But when you idolize and respect your parents and not some stranger and not some social media where they're lax and dislikes and whether they like and dislike you, your whole self-worth and self-esteem go up in the flames. It's so fragile. They gave us something that's lasting. And even though my parents sleep the day, the values, the work ethic, the sacrifice, how you treat your fellow man, how you don't get caught up in race, even though racism and segregation and slavery and day jury segregation existed, that doesn't need to be your narrative. Look for the good in America. Look for the good in yourself. Look for the good in people. Cuz everybody needs people to move along in the progress in the world. And those people comes in all kinds of boxes.
Speaker 1 00:09:00 You don't, uh, isolate someone because they look like you or don't look like you. You don't embrace them because they look like you and don't look like you. You embrace people who have character that you can trust, that share your value system, that share your vision of the world. So I never grew up in a box that limited me, cuz my parents would not allow that. So education has always been a two. So I'm always thankful to my parents. And I'll never forget when my father wanted me to meet Senator Strong Thurmond who became my mentor. I said to him, I said, well, daddy, everybody thinks he's a racist. My father said, forget what people, what people think he is, he probably could be, but you have a chance to change that narrative because the way I raised you and your self-worth and how you feel about yourself, you never know what you can do with these people.
Speaker 1 00:09:46 Get to know people for yourself. Don't base it on somebody else's opinion. And so when I met Senator Thurman, I said, I always heard you were a racist. He choke up. He said, well, you seem like a bright and confident young man when you finish high school and in college, come and intern for me. And then you decide whether I'm a racist or not. And so I it all because of my father, cuz my father gave me the confidence that I don't need to judge Senator Thurman by somebody else's narrative, judge him by my own interaction. So I was able to open myself and it was one of the best decisions that I made cuz everything that I've learned about politics, everything I learned about political instinct and about our constitution and the way our three branches of government work all started with Senator Strom Thurmond.
Speaker 0 00:10:30 Amazing. Uh, so as I mentioned, you and I first met back in 1992. I had left the Bush 41 White House. I was working for Arianna Huffington right after her husband had won his congressional seat. And that is how we originally met. Now you were already a rock star back then, but since then, your star has, uh, risen astronomically. Perhaps you'll share a bit a about your path to becoming a broadcast media mogul.
Speaker 1 00:11:07 You know, listen, ev every life has a story. I, I, I don't, I think, um, there is nothing unique about success. I think there's something very unique about failure is that anybody can fail. Fail anybody can be poor and destitute. Um, anybody can get angry and kill someone. And anybody, woman, if they wanted to, they, they can have babies outta wedlock. People can steal, they can lie. But you know, when you have a deeper faith or something that you believe in greater than yourself, you feel you are responsible to more than just yourself. You know, I can't go out and lie and cheat my way through life. You know, when you lie, you rob someone of the truth. When you steal, you rob someone of their good. Um, so what I wanna do is sacrifice a lesser good for greater good. My parents taught me, you earn what you got.
Speaker 1 00:12:05 There's no such thing as a microwave. Success. Success and creating wealth and creating everything is long term. You gotta build it one block at a time. And sometimes a wind may come, it may blow it away, but as long as you've got the, the, the, the instincts, and as long as you've got the preparation, as long as you have the where it all that you know how to build, and you learn how to build it for yourself, you can build it again and you can build it better. So success is long term. So I always felt when I started on this journey, it would take me 20 years. My father said it would take almost probably 20 years to build it to what I wanted. And so I didn't want to take shortcuts. I'm not interested in doing anything illegal. I want to do what is moral, legal, and ethical.
Speaker 1 00:12:50 I didn't want to take shortcuts. I wanted to build sustained success and sustain wealth. So, you know, I started out, um, and um, you know, Richard Pryor really gave me my break because when I worked in working with Senator Thurman, he got me an appointment at the Department of Agriculture with John Block. And they asked me to put together the Black History Month program. Now, my father always said, don't ever lie to anybody. Put you in a box. You are more than just what you look like. Let people get a chance to see your skills that you can, that you can write, that you're very good in the wood shop. I've always been very good with Woodcraft. I can build furniture. And I still continue that today by having a wood shop. And so it's not enough. My father felt was to get an education in high school, you needed to create a skill for yourself.
Speaker 1 00:13:37 And so my skillset, in addition to my education was building wood, the wood shop and also welding. I learned how to weld. So my father said, A man should always get his hands dirty and you learn how to use his hands. And so I, I kept developing and building upon those skills. But the success, you know, I started out, I was involved, uh, when I was able to squirrel away so money cuz my father always said, squirrel away, whatever you earn. And I started doing this since I was 18, you put away 20%, you tell no one about it, you just scroll it away so that money is growing for you. And you know what the force multiplier fact is once that money grows and grows in the years pass by. So I was able to buy into the Toyota dealership and orange, uh, um, county California bought into wow dealership.
Speaker 1 00:14:22 And from the Toyota dealership, I was able to buy in the TA world, which was an international company. And from that I was able to buy in into Disney, um, in, uh, orange County, California. I once had an interest there. And then I started buying real estate. I started buying properties. And then when the Berlin Wall came down in Germany, a group of investors, because I had the money, we bought hotels, Chateau Za and um, in, in, um, St s near Monaco Edge Village in, uh, the south of France. And then the sonnet and Mayorca, um, Spain, and then Casa de Larisa in Porter Lar. So we got into the, uh, hotel space, the hospitality business. And then I got into art collecting fine art rare pieces. And the value in those pieces just quadruple because, you know, I always had an instinct. I studied art.
Speaker 1 00:15:17 It was something I was very interested in. And when I would travel around the world, I would always go to the museums. So I got into art. And so what I'm laying out to you are the different, the five different businesses that my father taught me and grow the business, grow, the art, the hotels, um, uh, and then the real estate was different from the hotels. And then when my mentor, well boy, gray <laugh>, yes boy Gray had been telling me for years that I needed to meet David Smith who was involved in broadcasting. Cuz Borden was saying, you need to do commentary on David's platform, but we could never make it work. And so one day during the White House correspondence dinner, I went to the Washington Times reception. You know how those receptions are, everybody had their little room, the a I remember. And we're just running around like chickens with our hands cut off.
Speaker 1 00:16:08 And I went in and there was this guy just standing alone in a corner by himself. And I went over and we just started talking for 40 minutes. And I said, why are you standing here all by yourself? He said, because I don't wanna be here. And I said, wait anyway, by the way, what is your name? He said, David Smith. I said, you gotta be kidding me. So, uh, a few years later, there was an opportunity that came along from the Barrington deal where they had these things called sidecars, where they could not have duopoly in the same market. So he said, you know what? You really understand creating content, because I was already producing content for their platform. I was on the air. He said, man, you are more than just a content provider. You, you are a businessman. He said, you should become a broadcaster.
Speaker 1 00:16:49 I said, what? That's crazy expensive. And, but I had squirrel away because you can have the opportunities, but if you can't afford em, they're gonna go to somebody else. And so he offered me this opportunity, uh, and when he first offered it, I said, no, I'm not spending that kind of money because, uh, I'm just not. And then Jen, here's the thing. I wasn't so sure I could run a network station, a network of stations. I was not sure. And so he left it alone. And a couple of years later, he came back the, um, w the cw ww m b affiliate in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, where I grew up. And my family still watch was up for sale. And he said to me, he said, I got a deal you cannot offer, you cannot refuse. And he said, you have an opportunity to buy the television station in your hometown. Of course, millions of dollars. But I squirreled away. And I said, yes. And then he said, well, you just cannot buy one. You gotta buy more than one. So they also sold me the N B C affiliate, w e y i in Flint, Michigan. And so that started 14 years ago, my entry into the broadcast world.
Speaker 0 00:18:01 I am so fascinated by that story. And I, uh, hope that the young people that are watching us today are taking notes. Um, because, you know, people like to say, oh, well, this one is lucky, or that one won the lottery. But I prefer, uh, branch Ricky's, uh, observation that luck is the residue of design. And, uh, you've gotta be ready for the opportunities. You gotta show up. Um, you gotta remain consistent. And, um, and th this is, you know, your story actually epitomizes that. You know, going out, being entrepreneurial, even in your social relationships to show up, to talk to people, and then to seek out people that will be, uh, people of good character and wisdom that can be
Speaker 1 00:18:48 Friends. And also save and also save your money. Cuz you never know what is gonna be of great value to buy something that's worthwhile. I mean, you gotta be able to protect your money instead of wasting on things. You gotta have something to show for it.
Speaker 0 00:19:01 All right, we are going to dive, uh, in shortly to your latest book, which is Crisis in the Classroom. First I'd like to turn to an earlier book written during the heated months fo following George Floyd's death and the protest and the riots that ensued. Uh, the book is what Black and White America must do Now, A prescription to move beyond race. And in it, uh, you write, I do not believe that race exists in any objectively discernible way. Would you unpack that for us?
Speaker 1 00:19:43 You know, um, this is fascinating because, um, I grew up in the deep South. My parents certainly, uh, were hampered by bigotry and racism. Our brothers and sisters who it is touched their lives, but not in a great way. They talk about it. But, you know, I've never experienced discrimination or racism. It has never impacted me. And Jennifer, if it did, I was not aware of it cuz I was too busy trying to build my own life, build my enterprises, continuously work on my character, work on my, my faith, and trying to, you know, the biggest hard work you do every day is work on yourself 24 hours a day. And when you work on yourself 24 hours a day, the world around you generally improve. So I've never had, you know, and listen, I'm in some very unique businesses, the hotel business, the broadcast ownership business, which is a private club.
Speaker 1 00:20:40 It's a very Clive private elite club. And you know, when people realize that sometimes you can bring a, a better mousetrap to the marketplace, and sometimes you have ideas that really make sense, no matter what they may be, you have the capacity to change them. So while I may have met people who may have had that in their hearts, either, it dissolved itself, but it never had an impact on me because I've always believed that I don't allow people to find me by their ignorance, by their shortcoming, and by, um, their insecurities. So I see Dr. Carson's in the background. Oh, great, I'm so glad. Cause we're gonna get somebody else to talk too. I don't mind. But I'm glad he's getting in on the discussion. So, so no, but it does exist, but it exists in people's heart. But there are a lot of things that exist that hold people back.
Speaker 1 00:21:33 Drugs, alcohol, I mean, yeah, that may be one thing, but it's, but people give so much power to it. Everything has to be about race. It's just like, uh, the latest decision by the Supreme Court. How are you going to accept someone at a university based on race and reject them based on race? I mean, how is that gonna happen? And then you got this, uh, um, law 8 52 in California that's moving around, not right where you are, where they want to give prisoners in their sentencing who happen to be black, the forced judges to consider race in their sentencing, to give them less of a sentence. Well, well listen, does race minimize the damage and the harm that done they've done? The families, when they commit crimes, I mean, what are you setting up here? What are you doing is further dividing this country?
Speaker 1 00:22:20 And so are you saying, because if you're not black, you still get the maximum of the sentence and your sentence is not lessening. I mean, it's just, I mean, it's almost insanity when you think about it. Yes, there is real racism that exists, but it is not the source of all your problems. You can use it as an excuse. You can use it as a handicap, but it should not paralyze and put you in a position where you believe that you cannot achieve or at least give your kids or yourself a better way of life in this place we call America.
Speaker 0 00:22:51 Uh, indeed. And there's a lot of other insane recommendations that are coming out of that task force, including wanting to end child support debt for, uh, black single dads. I would seem that would be pretty hard on the, uh, the, the kids <laugh> that, that need that support. But, um, anyway, I'm gonna take a break from that and welcome, uh, Dr. Ben Carson. Uh, it's really an honor. I'm so glad that you were able to join us. I appreciate it. Um, Armstrong and I go back over 30 years, so we've been having a good time. But we were just a
Speaker 1 00:23:30 Baby.
Speaker 0 00:23:32 We were both, uh, but we, we, I wanna turn now to, to this book Crisis in the Classroom that you too, uh, co-authored along with Benjamin Crump. It's a very unique collaboration. Um, maybe, uh, Dr. Carson, if we can start with you, tell us a little bit about how it came about and, uh, how would you describe the different perspectives that, that you bring to, uh, the crisis in education?
Speaker 2 00:24:03 Well, uh, in our discussions we've known each other for, for several years, and, uh, obviously come from different political perspectives, uh, to put it mildly. But, uh, all recognized that there was such a serious problem going on, particularly in our public schools in many of our inner cities, uh, that it was going to affect the whole generation and our entire country in a very negative way. And we need people to understand that this is not a Democrat issue or Republican issue. This is an issue that involves the very survival of our nation, and that's why we decided to collaborate on it.
Speaker 0 00:24:45 Um, was there any particular impetus that led to, to this book other than obviously yes. The larger, uh, crisis. I, I, I know, um, Armstrong talks a bit about Project Baltimore.
Speaker 2 00:24:57 Yeah. I spent 36 years in Baltimore, and, uh, I'm very familiar with the, the system there, uh, both the political system and the educational system. And sometimes they don't work to, uh, strengthen each other. Uh, for instance, uh, you may remember the No Child Left Behind Initiative. Well, there were a number of schools in Baltimore that were utter failures. They were not educating the children. So under the program, the children were gonna be transferred to schools where at least they would make some progress. And, uh, many of the political leaders in Baltimore blocked them from being able to do that. We want our own failing schools, you know, and, uh, you know, un until you can take that kind of mentality out and, uh, achieve some degree of responsibility, uh, right now, it doesn't matter whether the kid's pass or fail, you get the same recommendations, you get the same salary, the same benefits, and, uh, you, you've got to find some kind of way to tie, uh, progress and achievement, uh, to what people are doing.
Speaker 0 00:26:13 Right. Um, Armstrong, uh, you, you write in this book that quote, race plays no role in our failing education system. Uh, there is one color that governments and school administrators care about the color of money. What did you mean by that?
Speaker 1 00:26:33 Well, you know, the failures, um, of our education system and marginalized communities have led to dis outcomes. In fact, those students are more likely to drop out of a high school or disproportionately at higher rates when compared to students living in non marginalized communities. And, and when you talk about, um, this issue of race, many of these school systems, if you look at places like Baltimore, uh, run by superintendents who have to be black, happen to be black, the educator education board happens to be black. The mayor happens to be black. And so the, the failing is dismal. So obviously, am I gonna say, uh, that, uh, these kids are failing because of the leadership? It happens to be, right? No, the leadership has to, is failing because so much of education today is about, it's not about individualism. It's about, um, placing everybody inside, inside the same box.
Speaker 1 00:27:36 Um, the teachers' unions are more interested in a system instead of what works for the student, what gives them enthusiasm for learning. And so what happens is, is that these teachers unions are set in the curriculum controlling the school boards, controlling the teachers, controlling what's going on in inside, inside of the ca classroom. And so the consequences of these educational failures lead to crime, drugs, usage, and sustained poverty. And these failures are, are, are, are just robbing our young people of any opportunity, Jen, to pursue their dreams and compete, uh, in this global workforce. Hampering social mobility, tyling economic growth. Because you know, when you ask why there's crime, you ask why there's sexual trafficking, why you think there's mass incarceration, because these kids don't have real self-worth. They don't really have real value. And some school systems. Now, you can only fail a kid once if that kid fails the third grade, that kid cannot repeat that failure again, you've gotta keep passing that kid along.
Speaker 1 00:28:38 You have a lot of these kids that have become ghost kids. Um, the school get paid, gets paid around 15,000, $7,000 a kid. But in many of our investigations, we found that the kid has not been in the classroom for two years and the school is still getting paid. And are you telling me that the school did not realize this kid is not in the classroom? And then, you know, you gotta investigate these educational failures, engage parents and other key stakeholders, and work towards goals that will result in changes to better these educational systems for our kids. And so these kids are victims. So they go through this school system, they have no self-worth, they have no skills. Some of 'em can't even read. Just think about this, Jim, 23 of the Baltimore school systems, 23 of them, no kid was proficient. Less than 1% of the kids were proficient in English, math and reading.
Speaker 1 00:29:30 How is that possible? How can you ask yourself in the United States that is just incredible for something like that to happen. And you find more and more it's just that there's not that priority about the kids. And then you have these kids, and this is why I and Dr. Carson are advocates of school choice. And many of these teachers face violence. They feel threatened. They, they feel like they're living in a crime community. A lot of times when some of these kids, and when they call on their parents to try to put discipline in place, the parent takes the kids' side. They want to, they wanna smack the, the teacher down. They don't have to ask how you can make this environment better by strategically working together. No, it's just, I mean, sometimes some of these schools have become worse on it. This is why for parents, if a school system is failing your kid, you should be able to have a voucher to take your kid outta that classroom, to put that kid in a place where, where he or she can learn.
Speaker 0 00:30:25 You know, it's interesting, uh, Armstrong, back when we met each other, and I was working for Arianna Huffington, you might recall, she had this thing, it was a little new age. She kept on talking about critical mass. And once enough people, uh, you know, come together around certain ideas that that things can change. And, uh, Dr. Carson, I mean, it seems like we are reaching a critical mass with regards to school choice. Uh, these past couple of years have been called sort of the moment for school choice. Of course, we had that, uh, unfortunate reversal in Pennsylvania with the governor Josh Shapiro campaigning on school choice and then, uh, caving into the, the teacher's unions. But, uh, what, what do you think, uh, has, has driven this, um, real kind of flourishing of various school choice charter school homeschooling Sure. Initiatives around the country?
Speaker 2 00:31:24 Well, since, uh, 2020, the number of home schools has doubled. And, uh, the charter schools and the, uh, parochial schools are bulging at the seams. People trying to get their kids in because they see what's happening, uh, to our children. You've probably noticed some of those men on the street interviews where they ask people just basic questions like, you know, what countries bordered the United States? And, and they're like, uh, Cuba, China, you know, they have no idea who fought in the Civil War, Spain. I mean, they, they don't know anything. And when people are dumbed down like that, what happens? They become very easy to manipulate. If you look back through history, when countries have switched from free to communist or socialists, one of the things that's done is you dumb the population down by making them very, very docile. It's a real problem. But I'm encouraged by the number of people who are attentive now, the number of parents who are getting involved with school boards, uh, with their city councils. They wanna know what's going on. Now they're being characterized by some of our, uh, federal agencies as troublemakers. But they,
Speaker 0 00:32:51 Terrorists.
Speaker 2 00:32:52 Terrorists, exactly. Uh, they're doing exactly what parents should be doing because children are naturally curious and they're very impressionable and their brains are not fully developed. Those brains are not fully developed until they're in their twenties, and yet they're asking them to make complex decisions. Uh, they're inserting, you know, all this trans stuff and kids aren't ready to deal with that, that I'm not sure many adults are ready to deal with. But children certainly are not able to deal with that. They can barely decide what they want for dinner, much less, you know, what their gender should be. And, uh, to put all of that burden on a child is just totally unfair. And I think a lot of parents realize that, and they're making the sacrifices that are necessary in order to move their children into other environments. But the, the fact that several of the governors are courageous enough to move forward with school choice and carving out mechanisms whereby the money can follow the student, uh, I think is a very good start to solving this problem.
Speaker 0 00:34:02 Well, um, we are gonna turn to audience questions in just a moment because they are definitely queuing up. And I'm gonna get in trouble if I doesn't, don't bring our audience in, uh, soon. But I wanted to also touch again on the role of the teachers unions in, um, your book, uh, you both advance some bold solutions, uh, to counter the corrupting influence of teachers unions, including extending the same regulations that prohibit government contractors, uh, from making political donations to, uh, unions representing public school teachers. Um, Armstrong, you also advance an idea that I had not heard about before, uh, learners unions and, uh, using those as a counterpart to teachers unions as a way for students to make their voices heard. So I, I'd love if you both might touch a little bit on, uh, how to kind of shift this paradigm where, you know, really the, the education system should be revolving around the child rather than, um, public union sectors.
Speaker 2 00:35:16 Well, interestingly enough, if you go back and you look at the congressional record on January the 10th, 1963, you'll see, read into the congressional record, the 45 goals of the Communist Party, uh, for this country. And one of them was to gain control of the teacher unions and be able to use them for indoctrination and for political purposes. Uh, so this is not something that's of recent origin. This is something that's been around for at least 60 years.
Speaker 1 00:35:53 You know, I, I wanna mention, I know, I know we're going to cause, um, you know, you know, crisis in education was really, um, project Baltimore, uh, been doing these investigations into the Baltimore City schools. And what they found, Jennifer, that Dr. Curtis was very aware of was very alarming. And we just also wanna mention that along with Dr. Carson and I, Ben Crump, the world renowned civil rights leader, was also co-authored this book with us because he wanted to rise above partisan politics and show that we all can come together to write about and put in place measures that can help resolve this issue. Cuz we realized the government cannot do it. And so when you look at the Baltimore City schools where students were counted as present, which I mentioned earlier, earlier, despite not being in class, they were being passed on to the next grade level.
Speaker 1 00:36:58 And just think about this, graduating with zero point 13 GPAs, I, I couldn't even comprehend him. Zero point 13 GPAs. And so it's complete failures of educators and leaders within the educational system system, which prompted, um, project Baltimore. Then the, uh, lawsuit was filed by, um, Giovanni Patterson and his wife. And then Crump decided not only to be a part of it, but to also be a part of this lawsuit. And it's the first time in the history of the United States that a judge has granted such a lawsuit to go forward where you are suing the system for not giving the taxpayers dollars or true return, particularly on the education of their children. So what we do, and Dr. Carson and being crump are part of this through my broadcast ownership and my shared relationships with St. CLA broadcasting, we, we do these series of town halls to engage and inform parents, and ultimately a lawsuit against the school district brought change and to educate the kids, but not only in Baltimore, we gotta do this all across, across this country so that they may, they have the best opportunity and they should have, like, we have the best opportunity to compete in today's competitive workforce.
Speaker 1 00:38:20 And without that, these kids are triple crippled for life. You could see you to see the crime, the drugs, because why they feel they have no other way of making a living. I mean, you are talking about a crime. It is a crime against our children. When you think about these kind of numbers and the GPAs, it is criminal behavior. And these teachers should have held accountable. If you're paying a superintendent almost $400,000 a year, there should be some kind of attachment of results of these kids at least graduating with at least 2.9 and 3.0 averages. No, superintendents should stay in place if, if you have 23 schools that that cannot read proficiently, uh, in math, in math in English, cannot do basic math, cannot do basic, cannot do basic grammar. And you are still rewarding that these kids continue to fail. I mean, listen, this is unacceptable, especially in this place we call America.
Speaker 0 00:39:21 All right. Okay, we are gonna go to your audience questions now. Um, but I just, uh, have been enjoying myself so much. Usually I don't have two guests, so, you know, give a girl a break. Um, Scott asks a question for Dr. Carson, have you been, uh, treated as persona non grata by the establishment society like many other former Trump advisors?
Speaker 2 00:39:45 Uh, there's no question that, uh, that goes with the territory, uh, but probably
Speaker 0 00:39:52 Do that going in there, <laugh>.
Speaker 2 00:39:53 Yeah, but, but not to the degree that, uh, that I, I would've thought. Uh, I've, I've never run into any hostile people. And a lot of times when people have an opportunity to actually hear what you have to say, uh, it completely changes their mind because they've been given propaganda. They've been told that you're against them. You don't want them to achieve that, you're part of this establishment. And then when you begin to explain to them, uh, what needs to be done in order to get our children to achieve at a high level, and how we can use data and actual statistics. And, and also I wanna make the point that, you know, we, we talk about the teacher unions, but there, there are many very good teachers who are wonderful PE people. But the reason you see such a high dropout rate of teachers during the first five years is because they are controlled. They are told what they can do and what they can't do. They can't use their creativity, the very things that made them wanna go into teaching. They're not allowed to use those things. So you see a lot of teachers quitting early on for that reason.
Speaker 0 00:41:08 Great point. All right. On Instagram, Adam, the giant guy, 2019, just has a comment, been following Armstrong Williams for years. One of the great modern American thinkers. Um, okay. And then we have a question from Jackson Sinclair on Twitter asking, how do you counter young people when they say that the opportunities of their parents are not available to them? Do you hear that kind of, sort of pessimism from
Speaker 1 00:41:40 Well, they don't, they don't have the work ethic and the values and the discipline of their parents. Uh, I mean, these kids wanna work remotely after Covid, COVID destroyed a generation of entrepreneurs. I mean, what Covid has done, they don't even have listen, the way we work. I mean, people think people who are successful can just lay back and take it easy. But we work just as hard today to keep what we have and share it with us others, as we did to earn it. They just don't have that same value system. They don't have that same get up and go, they don't have that same hunger. There will always be exceptions to the rule, but social media, ro cast media, entertainment, um, um, this woke culture have robbed these young people of common sense of what it takes to live and continued the legacy of their grand, of their parents and their, and their grandparents.
Speaker 1 00:42:34 They just don't have it. I'm sorry, young people. I mean, I, I I read stories all the time. Oh, I don't, I'm exhausted from being at work. I didn't expect to work these long hours. I need a break. I'm having mental illness. I need to go see a therapist. Our generation never thought about no therapist. We never, and then you got, and then you have this mentality today when the, when a young family have kids, then the father needs to take off maternity leave also for two or three months. Oh, you kidding me. That would've never been thought of with our generation. Society has really dumbed them down. And the reason why they feel they're not gonna be as successful as their parents because they're right. They don't have the chutzpah, they don't have the hunger. They didn't live through the times where we had to struggle and fight for everything.
Speaker 1 00:43:20 They don't know what it's like to struggle. They get a little scratch and they wanna quit. And many of 'em wanna move back home because they're afraid to live on their own because they don't understand that that character is built in the struggle. They just want somebody to give them a life, a life, uh, ride a, a life jacket to say, we'll protect you. Come back home to mommy and daddy and then when you feel you can come back to the marketplace, you go back. We don't have men and women like we had with our parents and our grandparents regard up. They're just not here. And it's only gonna get worse.
Speaker 2 00:43:51 Absolutely. I would, I would very much emphasize, uh, what Armstrong just said there. Um, you hear a lot people talking about the wealth gap between blacks and whites in our society. And there is a wealth gap. There's no question about it, but it, it's not about black and white. Because if you look at Nigerians who immigrate to this country, Ghanaians who immigrate or just about any group that emanate immigrates here, you don't see the wealth gap because they haven't been indoctrinated to believe that they're victims. Look at the Vietnamese vote boat. People used to see them out in front of the 7-Eleven sweeping the ground, and then the next thing you'd see 'em pumping the gas and then they'd be behind the cash register and then they own the place. I mean, they recognize the opportunities that exist, not complaining about them. In many cases, you have four or five families living in one house and then they gradually move out. You have to plan, you have to strategize, and you have to be willing to work.
Speaker 1 00:44:52 And also when you talk about the entrepreneur, they're always talking about buying and these politicians about the rich are too rich, they make too much money, all this wealth. But do they, do they ever talk about the services we provide and the jobs we create? Do they understand what we do in the marketplace? All they talk about is take it away as if the government is some kind of machine and they're humans like everybody else. They can tell me how better to spend my money and resources than somebody who actually earn it. Are you kidding me? They's high thievery. They have no idea what they're talking about. Go and create something one day and see how you feel about the government trying to take it away from you cuz they don't feel you deserve it. And so they need to take it and share it with their, what they call the poor. We do the best job of taking care of poor look at Dr. Carson, his Carson Scholarship through his philanthropy. In fact, I think we need less government regulation and oversight. I think the marketplace correct itself when it makes money cuz they understand the punishment of what the marketplace would do. But what, what is there to hold government accountable when they screw up and spend your money? And there's nothing to show for it. It's just absolutely insanity.
Speaker 0 00:45:59 Yeah. What you said about, uh, the, and I'm glad that neither of you are pulling any punches in terms of saying, you know, it's there for you. You gotta be entrepreneurial and you've gotta work for it. And instead what we see are things like, uh, you know, TikTok, trends like bare minimum Mondays or Lazy girl jobs. And uh, you know, I think also I had on this show, uh, Jean Twangy, she's one of the leading experts on generations, and she also, uh, observed that a trend towards Overprotecting kids led them to being, uh, very kind of risk averse and, um, looking for security. And, you know, <laugh>, as you, as you know, especially Armstrong, you, you need to take some risks and, and, and you're gonna fail and you're gonna learn by failing and learn by succeeding. So there's no getting around that. All right. Uh, question on Zoom from Raja para, maam. Uh, what are your thoughts on diversity equity initiatives, d e i initiatives and, uh, the the new quota system, I guess, uh, Raja is calling it that is popular in so many comp companies today?
Speaker 2 00:47:17 Well, you know, it's a, it's an interesting, uh, thought diversity is a good thing. Inclusion is a good thing. Equity, not so much equality. Yes. Uh, and I don't think anybody's against, you know, having, uh, everybody have an opportunity to do things. But when you begin to force the issue and when you fail to recognize the progress that has been made, then you do things that don't make sense. You know, in my lifetime, uh, things have changed dramatically in this country. When I was a kid and a black person came on television in a non-sterile role, it was a big deal. You called everybody into the living room, why look at this. And, uh, you know, now you have black admirals and generals and CEOs of fortune 500 companies and heads of foundations and university presidents and the president of the United States. I mean, gimme a break to say that we haven't made tremendous progress. It's ridiculous. It's not nirvana, but we've made enormous progress and we should continue to build on that progress, not try to destroy it by creating inequality for other people to say that this is how we even the playing. Phil.
Speaker 0 00:48:32 All right. On Twitter, Tara oh oh six asks a question for both of you. Do you think race is talked about more today than 20 years ago, or Armstrong, I would think even 30 years ago to, uh, when, when you and I first met? And is that a good thing or is it a bad thing?
Speaker 1 00:48:53 You know, uh, I'm a broadcast owner and one of the things that we realize in our businesses is that we shape opinions. We help people define their thoughts and their value system. And one of the things that we stay away from are the subtleties. I don't need to have someone on TV who's white and put on under their name white conservative. You never see white conservative, you never see Jewish conservative. You just see conservative. But yet when they're black, they say black conservative, a black liberal, a black dis, they, they always wanna reduce blacks in the most professional ways to erase. And so the media pushes this narrative and people buy into it. And even when you have these situations that our friend, um, Benjamin Crump finds himself in, where there's, uh, white police officers and black victims, the issue is all, well, they beat this person because they're black.
Speaker 1 00:50:01 They don't ever talk about the behavior. They don't ever talk about their crime. They don't ever talk about what led to it. They only actually see their action. And if you look at it, I mean, there are white kids and Jewish kids and Latino kids get their brains beat out by law enforcement every day. But no one talks about that because no one cares because they are white. And so what the media does is make people believe. And if you are weak enough, and if you don't study, and if you're not an independent thinker, you begin to believe, well, while if I'm driving, I have to be careful because if I'm driving while I'm black, it's dangerous. Well, well, Dr. Carson and others I know who's not Dr. Carson Drive all the time. And that's not what happened. Law 95% of law enforcement is not gonna stop you because of your race.
Speaker 1 00:50:44 Okay? And everything is not about race, but it's what the media feeds us. It's what the woke community, me feeds us. Cuz why? It's a business. Somebody is making profits off making you believe that you cannot succeed because of, of, of, because of your race. And because law enforcement targets people, law enforcement can be out of control. And so the issue is, it goes back to the responsibility of the media. So when we do stories, you will never hear me say something about this is some kind of black commentator, a black president candidate, just like when they described Tim Scott, he's a black conservative. Do they describe Nick Haley as a white conservative? They just say, no, she's the former governor of South Carolina, but always given titles to blacks who are successful. Justice Thomas, the Black justice on the Supreme Court, well is John Robert the white justice is the Lady Kagan, the white woman, ju what is it? They always ascribed that the black. So it makes them feel as though they're separate and apart from the tapestry of this country. So I blame the media, the media's talking about it much more. And so others feel obligated. But Lee, that's where the woes begin and where they end.
Speaker 0 00:51:54 Dr. Carson, do you feel the same way?
Speaker 2 00:51:56 I I, I couldn't agree more. I remember, uh, one of our white friends, <laugh> from Australia, called and said, why are the police killing all the black men? Uh, because that's what they hear. Now, you know, after the George Floyd incident, it seemed from the media that black men were being killed all the time. But you know, that paragon of conservative thought, the Washington Post said less than two dozen black men who are unarmed or killed by white policemen each year out of more than 55 million encounters. So of course anyone is a tragedy, but the numbers are minuscule. And as Armstrong said, it happens in other races too. There was another case that was almost identical to George Floyd near that same time, but it was a white individual. The police had the, the knee on the neck and then a head, he was saying, I'm gonna die.
Speaker 2 00:52:59 I can't breathe. And he did die and he couldn't breathe. But you didn't hear anything about that story because it didn't fit the narrative that white policemen were killing all the black men. And uh, this is, we, we placed way too much emphasis on race. And I can tell you as a brain surgeon, you know, when I open that head up, I could be somebody from China or Africa or England or South America. You won't know the difference because the brain is what actually makes you who you are. It's not your hair or your skin or your nose shape.
Speaker 0 00:53:34 No. Uh, since we joined you, you joined us a little bit later. I didn't get to talk as much about your origin story and I, um, would love to know my father is a cardiologist. He was chief of cardiology at uh, U C S F. And um, I would be interested in knowing what influenced you to become a brain surgeon
Speaker 2 00:53:57 <laugh>. Well, you know, I was never interested in anything more than, than being a doctor from the time I was eight years old. Wow. I used to listen to the mission stories about missionary doctors and I wanted to be a missionary doctor then I wanted to be a psychiatrist. But when I got to medical school, I was just blown away by the things that the neurosurgeons can do. And I got so interested in that and people were saying, now you don't wanna be a neurosurgeon. That's the wrong field for you. Because at that time, there had been eight black neurosurgeons in the world. Wow. But you know what? I got a secret. God does not dispense talent based on race. And I took the neurosurgery like a duck, takes the water. It was just a perfect thing for me.
Speaker 0 00:54:42 Well, well amazing. Tell us a little bit also, Dr. Carson, about the American Cornerstone Institute and, and the scholarship work that you do and how Yeah, our audience can help.
Speaker 2 00:54:53 Well, absolutely. Uh, American Cornerstone, something that was, uh, started uh, a few weeks after the 2020 election, cuz I thought I was just gonna retire, sit back and play golf and enjoy life. But, uh, looking at the direction that we were going in as a nation, I realized I wouldn't have any fun watching my nation go down the tubes. So my, myself and a number of outstanding people at HUD got together and, uh, created the American Cornerstone Institute, which emphasizes those cornerstone principles that made us into a great nation, our faith, liberty, community, and life. And we also have a little Patriots program, which helps the children, uh, to learn how wonderful it is to be a citizen of this country and what our actual values are and what our real history is, the good, the bad, and the ugly. But the fact of the matter is, if you look at it objectively, this is a heck of a lot more good than there is bad and ugly.
Speaker 2 00:55:52 And we have all these people trying to build everything around slavery and things like that. Uh, that's a a, a minuscule part of who we are and what we have done for people in this country and around the world. And, uh, all of these programs are absolutely free of charge because we get people to underwrite them. When people go to the website, they see the cartoons and, and all the stuff, they say, wow, this must be really expensive. No, it's absolutely free. American cornerstone.org and little patriots learning.com. And then with the Carson Scholars Fund, which has been in existence for more than a quarter of a century now, uh, we reward children, uh, starting in the fourth grade with actual scholarships for extremely high academic achievement and humanitarian qualities. They have to be both smart and they have to show that they care about other people because Hitler was smart, Marquis thought was smart, but they didn't care about other people. And we need to start developing that kind of leadership, uh, in our country. And we have more than 11,000 scholars, uh, now, and we also put reading rooms in all over the country. These are places that no little kid would pass up with beautiful reading material in them. And we incentivize them to read books. And in the beginning, you know, they're going after the prizes and things, but it doesn't take long once someone starts reading to realize this is really quite entertaining and very fulfilling and it has a profound impact on their academic performance.
Speaker 0 00:57:28 What are the ages that you're, uh, focusing on? Both the reading rooms and the scholarships?
Speaker 2 00:57:34 Scholarship starts in, uh, grade four and, uh, continues through high school, uh, with the reading rooms, uh, starting with, uh, pre-kindergarten and, uh, right on up. But, you know, many studies have shown us if you get a kid reading at grade level by grade three, it completely changes the trajectory of their lives. And that's why children who come from more affluent families tend to do better because the emphasis is on things like reading. And a lot of kids from poor neighborhoods don't have that. We try to fill in that gap, but we need to continue to work very hard to do that because it will have a profound effect on our country. Because we only have 330 million people, we have to compete with China, which has three to four times as many people. We compete with India, three to four times as many people, and more emphasis on education. So we have to change this dynamic soon. We don't have a lot of time. It's very important.
Speaker 0 00:58:39 Fantastic. Well, um, encourage everyone watching to check it out. We're certainly gonna check it out at the Atlas Society. Um, we of course are en en engaging young people with the ideas of Ayn Rand and since, uh, young people's daily reading for pleasure has plummeted, uh, since the 1970s, 85% to just 12% of young people reading on a daily basis for pleasure. We, we've gotta get creative and how we counteract that trend and, and our graphic novels in our pocket guides are, are one way to do that. But I think they're probably for, uh, more like teens, um, rather than, than, uh, the third graders. But, um, but we'll see. Well, gentlemen, we've come to just about the top of the hour. Um, I wanna give both of you any opportunity if, if there was something that you wanted to touch on that I failed to ask or any closing thoughts?
Speaker 2 00:59:34 Well, I would just say, uh, I, I wanna thank Armstrong for, uh, initiating this project as so important that we all recognize what we have to do. But the other thing I just wanna emphasize to the audience, that we, the American people are not each other's enemies. And we have to avoid the trap of allowing those who want to divide us on the base of race, age, income, political affiliation, gender. We can't allow them to divide us because that's the only way they can bring this country down. And they know that,
Speaker 1 01:00:12 You know, come into
Speaker 0 01:00:13 That.
Speaker 1 01:00:14 You know, I'm just so proud of Dr. Carson. Um, it's just, just a, just a good human being. He and his wife can, and also Ben Crump for lending his credibility to crisis in the classroom. You know, so much about the world today is about materialism and greed. And particularly if you read in the media, you know, we forget that the best part of the world are just good people. Good people like Dr. Carson, good people like Jennifer Grossman and good people like Ben Crump. It's not about left or right. Sometimes a label supposedly tells us everything about an individual. And sometimes we get so wrapped up in the Republican label and the Democratic label when they do things that we don't agree with. We sacrifice our values, our virtues, and our integrity, the support of label when we know it goes against our value system and what's best for this country.
Speaker 1 01:01:15 And so, you know what I, I'm just so glad that I understand what freedom is, and that is something I share with Dr. Carson. I'm free. And freedom doesn't come from men, it comes from God. It comes from how you live in the most quiet moments of your life when nobody's watching how we treat each other, pray for each other, help people by just a smile. It's not always about money and resources. Sometimes it's a handshake and giving a listening ear. And sometimes we forget about the best part of our character, of giving ourselves in a selfless way. And I will never give up on America because I see the good through my broadcast what Dr. Carson does, what Ms. Grossman is doing. I see the good in America every day, and the Bible tells us if we find the good, praise it. And so as freedom comes from God, freedom is not free. It's not for the faint of heart. It takes just as much to maintain it as it did to establish it. And we must celebrate and protect these freedoms at all costs. But in the end, when it's all said and done, it's what we've done for our creative, not for ourselves, and what we've done for our fellow man that matters. Cuz all this materialism, it passes away. But what we do to make the world ba better through books and through movements, it lasts for generations to come. Right.
Speaker 0 01:02:31 Amen. Well, on that note of, of benevolence and, uh, gratitude and individualism, I want to thank both of you for joining us. Thanks for, uh, this fantastic sobering book, crisis in the Classroom. Uh, the links are on all of our feeds. Go out and get it today. Read it and, uh, and check out, uh, Dr. Carson's podcast and Armstrong Williams podcast. Thank you both for joining us. Thank you. And, uh, also thanks to all of you who, uh, who joined us and, and asked so many lovely questions. It didn't get too quite as many as I usually do, but, um, a lot of good ones there. Make sure, uh, if you enjoyed this video, if you enjoyed the work that we do at the Atlas Society, please consider making a tax deductible [email protected]
. And be sure to tune in next week. Uh, I've got the week off. Our Senior scholars Steven Hicks and, uh, professor Richard Salzman will host a special current events webinar to discuss recent news from an Objectiveist perspective. See you then.