The Atlas Society Asks Wanjiru Njoya

February 08, 2023 01:01:02
The Atlas Society Asks Wanjiru Njoya
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The Atlas Society Asks Wanjiru Njoya

Feb 08 2023 | 01:01:02

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Join CEO Jennifer Grossman for the 139th episode of The Atlas Society Asks, where she interviews libertarian Senior Lecturer at Exter Law School Wanjiru Njoya about her views on social justice through a pro-capitalistic, individualist perspective as written in her book "Economic Freedom and Social Justice: The Classical Ideal of Equailty in Context of Racial Diversity."

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Episode Transcript

Speaker 0 00:00:00 Hello everyone, and welcome to the 139th episode of the Atlas Society. Asks, my name is Jennifer Anju Grossman. My friends call me Jag. I'm the c e o of the Atlas Society. We are the leading nonprofit, introducing young people to the ideas of Aran in fun artistic ways, like graphic novels, animated videos. Today we are joined by Professor Juan Nagoya joining us all the way from, uh, the uk where it's past 10 o'clock at night. So we thank her. I'm gonna introduce her, but I just wanna remind all of you that are watching, you can go ahead and ask your questions live, uh, whether you're joining us on Zoom, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Facebook, just, uh, go ahead, start typing in those questions and we will get to as many of them as we can. So, uh, once you enjoy is a senior lecturer at the University of Exter Law School and a fellow of the UK Higher Education Academy. She is an outspoken critic of social justice and a thoughtful speaker on issues of race, uh, rights and economic opportunity. Her recent books include Economic Freedom and Social Justice, the classical Ideal of Equality in Context of Racial Diversity, along with her forthcoming redressing historical injustice, self ownership, property and economic equality. One zero. Thank you so much for staying up late and joining us today. Speaker 1 00:01:45 Thanks so much for having me on. It's great to talk to you. Speaker 0 00:01:50 So, first, our readers are always eager to hear our guests origin stories. Would you tell us a bit about where you grew up, um, any early influences, books, mentors that led you to pursue an academic career and your particular field of research and publication? Speaker 1 00:02:12 Right. Yeah. I'm happy to, uh, talk to you about my path, which was mostly in Kenya, in East Africa. So, uh, that's where I grew up. Went to school and went to university, did my first law degree at the University of Nairobi. And, uh, I think, I think it was pretty, uh, standard for people, my classmates and my university mates to be very interested in questions of economic development. I think that's pretty typical in a third world country. People, uh, think about why some countries are poor and others are rich, and what are they doing differently, uh, what difference do institutions make to our prosperity? And we used to talk about all these ideas, uh, amongst each other and think about how what we were doing in our different fields could fit into that. So that's my sort of background, and that's why I'm interested in ideas of liberty and property rights. Uh, for me, it's very practical, you could say, uh, in terms of thinking about what works and what makes people able to live a prosperous life. Um, so in terms of, yeah, Speaker 0 00:03:33 So it wasn't really any kind of aha moment or a book. It was really just coming out of the practical study of, Hey, uh, what, what do countries like Nairobi need? What kind of institutions do they need to, uh, promote greater economic growth? Speaker 1 00:03:52 Absolutely. And my experience, uh, thinking back to high school, uh, university people talked about this all the time and debated it all the time. Like we were saying earlier, this didn't used to be controversial. So people would write to the newspapers, for example, saying, you know, this worked much better in colonial times. What's happening to the trains? You know, nobody thought that that was controversial or shocking, or it, it wasn't politicized the way it is now. People would openly debate what works, what doesn't work. Um, so that's where, uh, i, I came from. And I would say apart from questions of economic development, we also read widely. We read anything, because again, that wasn't the thing that we have now where people think that it's a political decision, what you read. So I read, I read I rand, I read, uh, Laura Engels Wilder. I read all these books and thought nothing of it. It's interesting now looking back and thinking how, uh, how those early reading experiences may have shaped the way we look at these debates now. Speaker 0 00:05:12 When do you feel that it started to change? I know when we were just chatting a moment before we got on the show, you said, you know, the, the questions that you're asking these topics would not have been controversial 15 years ago. Uh, so at what point, cuz you've been teaching for quite a while now mm-hmm. <affirmative>. So maybe tell us a little bit about that in terms of how your, uh, academic career evolved and, and brought you to the UK and when you started noticing a change. And do you think it's confined to Western democracies like United States, Canada, and, uh, the uk or is it even now kind of bleeding over into places like Nairobi? Speaker 1 00:06:03 I think for the most part, it's confined to Western countries, and in fact, it's coming from Western universities for the most part. I mean, there are other influences around it, but I think that's really what's driving it. And, uh, when did I notice the change? So when I first started, when I first, uh, came, uh, to England, uh, so I did my first law degree in Nairobi. So when I first came to England, I was coming to graduate work. And, uh, no, there was, it was, none of this was controversial throughout the time I did my, uh, graduate work. As I say, I was interested in, uh, economic issues. I did a lot of corporate law and corporate governance. You know, nobody, we, we read all the law and economics debates. Uh, it, it, it, in those days, the debates were between, uh, neoclassical economics and orthodox economics. Speaker 1 00:07:05 And I would say that carried on, uh, possibly through my first, uh, as far as I remember in my first teaching job, I taught in Oxford for some years. And, you know, people taught whatever was of interest to them and followed whatever theoretical approach seemed interesting. And there wasn't the politics around it that we see now. When did I first start noticing the change? Possibly? See, it's hard for me to say because I'm not sure whether it had already started running and I just wasn't aware of it because, uh, one thing that I must confess is that there's a whole racial element to it as well, where I think if you're black, it's much easier to say some something without getting into trouble. So it's possible that it took me longer to notice what was going on than many people. Speaker 0 00:08:06 Is that, you know, I, I've heard that argument before, but do you think it's also possible that there's greater pressure to remain loyal, uh, to your tribe and to not, uh, diverge from the accepted narrative? Because when, you know, I see people we've had on our show, like Camille Foster or our senior scholar, Jason Hill, uh, you know, and others that they almost are doubly excoriated for not kind of, um, agreeing with what they're supposed to believe in. Speaker 1 00:08:54 I, I, I would say that's definitely true, and I've experienced that writing about colonialism and, uh, equality law. Yes, for sure, people will attack and say, why are you saying that? That's not what our side or our people, as opposed to say, but because for most of my academic career, I wasn't writing about these things. That's what I mean, I, I didn't, you know, I wa I was teaching corporate law. There was nothing controversial there. Nobody said to me, what's this? This whole idea that every field of study, every academic field has to talk about identity issues and identity politics. Quite recent, I would say. So for a long time, you then, it didn't really affect people who are not in that field the way it does now. It affects everybody, I would say. Speaker 0 00:09:48 All right. Well, I'm gonna encourage all of you who are watching, go ahead and type in your questions. This is a really wonderful opportunity. So, um, as if you start filling in those common sections, I'm going to get to as many of them as we can. But now I wanna turn to, to, uh, some of your work and ideas. Um, professor Nagoya, you've discussed in the past how focusing on race too much, uh, can lead to division. So how do you respond to the sort of post-modern, uh, identitarian Pol politics crowd who say colorblindness is now a form of racism? Speaker 1 00:10:32 Um, how would I respond to them? See my, where, where I'm coming from and maybe, uh, was clear in some of the things that I said earlier about my background? It never used to be the case that identity politics had to infect everything. So anyone in, I don't know, computer science or medicine or I don't know, the natural sciences wouldn't have to worry about racism, colorblindness, all this sort of thing. It just wasn't part of what they were doing. So the reason why I've come into that debate is trying to say, not everything has to be about race. You know, if you are teaching mathematics or physics, you don't have to talk about Isaac Newton's race, and whether he was a white man, <laugh>, that's nothing to do with the law of gravity or whatever. So that's where I came from. Be, uh, resisting this idea that racism or people's race or people's identity has to be part of everything. Speaker 1 00:11:35 Because increasingly, we have people who believe that it has to be part of everything. And that if you don't talk about Isaac Newton being a white man, that you are, I don't know, you are ignoring whatever they say, you are ignoring race. So that's why I came to this from, so people who say, well, let's talk about colorblindness, to me is still irrelevant. If I were teaching mathematics, I'm not a natural scientist, but if I were, I wouldn't find it necessary to say, let's speak colorblind to Isaac Newton. That's nothing to do with the matter. Right? So I think whether you are saying race matters, race doesn't matter. The fact they're trying to embed race and everything, to me is completely wrong. Now, in terms of colorblindness and the idea that you should talk about people's ideas and not their race, I'm wonder, yeah, Speaker 0 00:12:35 What are some of the best ways of, uh, from a legal perspective, legislative wording to ensure that that people are held to the same single standard under the law? Speaker 1 00:12:50 We went wrong already, is my view. And this is what I've written about, um, especially in my book, economic Freedom that I, that you were, you showed earlier, I think we went wrong in the civil rights, uh, legislation when we went beyond guaranteeing that everybody had the right to own property to buy or sell property, and the right to enter into contracts and to enforce contracts, that was absolutely important because as you know, there was the time historically when depending on your race or your sex, you couldn't own property in your own name. You couldn't buy yourself property, you couldn't enforce contracts. So that aspect of the civil rights movement was very important. Where I think we went wrong was when we started to accord preferential treatment based on, uh, discrimination saying these groups, uh, should be protected against being discriminated against. I think that was a step too far, because when you say people have a right to buy and sell, that's not the same thing as saying that when they go into the market to buy and sell, they ought not to be discriminated against. Speaker 1 00:14:16 That's a completely different thing. And I think we went wrong at that point. And, and that's what, in my view, we should scale back on. Everyone has a right to offer their products for sale on the market, but nobody has a right to force anyone to buy or to force anyone to sell to them. And say, because of my race, because of my sex, you need to sell me your house. It's ridiculous. And, and to me, that's where we went wrong. So when you asked what legislative protections or what would be the best way, in my view, the best way is to scale back and get rid of all these extra special groups and special protections and anti-discrimination law. Uh, so in, in my book, I write a lot about, um, Richard Epstein's book for Forbidden Grounds, where he sets out this argument in detail as to the point at which the civil rights law went wrong, 1964, and how important it's to scale back on that. We can't, we can't fix it, <laugh>, the, the way to fix the problem is to get rid of it. Speaker 0 00:15:30 So you had trace like to use a con, a current controversy, uh, here in the United States, the Masterpiece cakes, where, um, people are a activists in fact are trying to force, uh, a particular baker to make cakes that go against his religious beliefs. And, um, you would trace that back to 1964. Speaker 1 00:16:03 Absolutely. I mean, it's been creeping since then because in 1964, it was race and sex. You know, we didn't even have all these new groups. So the Baker case that you, uh, that you mentioned, I think the first people who said, we want our cake baked, that was discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation. And now we have new grounds, which is discrimination on grounds of gender reassignment. That's what we call it in the uk. So we have all these new groups, and it's turned from, I have a right to go and buy and sell in the market into, I can force people to transact with me. Not only can I force someone to bake me a cake, but I can force him to put, you know, the image that I want, the decorations that I want in the cake, which have to be just so, and he has to do that, and I can force him that that's wrong. It's absolutely not what equality is supposed to be. Speaker 0 00:17:11 All right. Well, speaking of the market, I've got a question here coming in from YouTube, and, uh, I'm going to dip into these throughout the show so that I don't get too far behind, cuz we only are gonna be on for an hour. Being a little bit mindful of, uh, wonder's time over there, um, as we progress through the evening, uh, Vishnu Vahan on YouTube asks that he feels there should be some amount of restrictions in capitalism to prevent monopoly and to protect people from exploitation. Rand said, no, there should be no restrictions at all in capitalism. Professor, do you have a view on this? Speaker 1 00:17:59 Um, so I'm going to look at those as two different things, monopolies and exploitation. So in terms of, in terms of monopolies, should we restrict capitalism to prevent monopolies? I'm not an economist, but as far as I know from a legal perspective, when people have monopolies, usually it's not because of capitalism. It's because they have special regulatory, uh, advantages. You know, when you say you need a license or you need, uh, you know, statute, statu, three co corporations, things like this, the structures that are creating the monopoly are not free market, uh, activities, but they are special measures that people have lobbied for from the government. You know, we need special protection in, in this industry in order to, so if you think about the gas, water, utilities, trains, electricity, things like that. Uh, so, um, I would question, let me put it that way. Speaker 1 00:19:06 In, in, in relation to monopolies, I would question whether it really was capitalism that had created the monopoly. Okay, so, um, in, uh, in relation to exploitation, see, this is the thing, what do people mean by exploitation? So often people mean I am underpaid and overworked. Oh, we all feel underpaid and overworked. I'm working longer hours than I would like to or than I should, uh, for a lower wage than I should. That's what they mean by exploitation. Do we need minimum wage laws to protect people from that? No, in my view, because then what you end up doing, uh, is, is creating disincentives for employers to hire more people. For example, just to give the example of the minimum wage. So you end up boosting wages for the people you're trying not to exploit and making it harder for people to get work in the first place. Speaker 1 00:20:11 So I, I know that all these laws are well-intentioned, you know, we'll, we'll introduce this law and that will make people not to be underpaid and will introduce working time restrictions, which we have in the UK so people are not overworked. And then what you face there is the law of unintended effects where you don't create the result that you thought you hoped you were going to achieve with, uh, the law you're creating. But, um, I, I know these issues are complicated. So what I would say, <laugh>, in summary, it's a question of, and Thomas Soul has written a lot about this. When you introduce regulations and laws, you shouldn't just evaluate them based on your intentions. You know, oh, here's a good law that will bust up the monopolies, or here's good law that will prevent exploitation, but you should also evaluate their effects. Does it work? Does it create the outcome you were hoping for? So that's what I would say. Speaker 0 00:21:12 Got it. All right. Uh, we have another regular from YouTube. My modern golf asks professor, people often point to poverty as to why capitalism has failed. What do you think the actual reasons for poverty are? Getting a lot of economic questions and know you're not an economist, but, so feel free to pass on, on any that come along. Speaker 1 00:21:39 I, I'm not an economist, but Thomas, so is an economist and he's talked about that a lot. I would recommend to anyone to go and read his work where he says, and I would agree with this from my own experience growing up in a poor country in the third world, in sub-Saharan Africa, poverty is the natural condition of society. In fact, it's been the condition of society for hundreds of years before the rise of capitalism, people were poor. People didn't have enough food to eat, people didn't have books to read or medicine or any of the things that we take for granted today. So the idea that this was caused by capitalism is not historically accurate. People have been poor until the rise of capitalism, mass markets, uh, consumption that made people able to improve their material conditions. This is well documented. I mean, I would just refer anyone to Thomas Soul's work if they want to see this. Speaker 1 00:22:50 It's capitalism that has, uh, made people rise out of poverty. So now people say, well, but no, look, it's capitalism. We've got all this inequality, and then they're talking about inequality and not poverty. So I would say it's really important to distinguish between poverty and inequality. Capitalism doesn't produce poverty. It lifts people out of poverty. Now, if you say, well, but it creates a lot of inequality, um, sure, it makes some people get very, very, very rich. And then when you compare them to people who aren't as rich, you might say, look, there's a huge gap and so many anti-capitalist, you know, people like Thomas Chei, it's not poverty that concerns them, but inequality and gaps. What's the gap between the average wage and the highest wage? That's really what they're concerned with. And that's not poverty, that's inequality. Speaker 0 00:23:49 Right. And that gets not just economic issues, but philosophical ones. And what is your perspective on life? And are you primarily concerned about measuring yourself against others, or are you focused on your own needs and your needs of, of your family? And what's motivated you? Is it ambition, achievement, productivity, or is it envy and resentment? Exactly. Speaker 1 00:24:20 I talk about envy a lot in my book for exactly that reason. Speaker 0 00:24:24 Well, let's, let's get into that a bit because that, uh, obviously is a huge theme for us here at the WL Society with our drama life. My name is Envy, and Iran talks about it as well as, uh, hatred of the good for, for being good. So, uh, would be interested in, in your take. Um, we, we also, uh, I don't know if you're familiar with the work of Rainer Zeidman. Um, he is a, a, a German, uh, sociologist, and he has done these studies. He's created an envy co coefficient, I believe, um, in which he takes a series of questions. And he's gone across to different countries all over the world, us, uk, uh, throughout Europe. And he measures how people respond to different questions about how they, um, feel about, uh, the wealthy feel about the successful. And, uh, you know, based on those questions, if you're, you've got a country where more people are more likely to say, oh, they worked hard, or, you know, they, they accomplished something versus, oh, they cheated, or what have you. Speaker 0 00:25:44 That those countries have a higher, um, envy coefficient. And he found that, uh, Europe had much higher env co coefficients. The UK and the US were relatively lower. Uh, but one thing that he found just disturbing for us here in the US was that whereas in Europe, the older generations were less envious than the younger generations. The younger generations in Europe had more admiration for entrepreneurs in the us It was the opposite, and it was the, the younger people that were more likely to, to feel envious. So talk maybe if you would, if you have any thoughts about, uh, that relationship and also, uh, in terms of your work and how it relates to social justice. Speaker 1 00:26:47 Um, that's really interesting, uh, what you described about the trends in, uh, in envy. And, um, I think what you're describing about the US is the same in the uk where we find, uh, I've certainly seen this, haven't read any studies, but they've written about it in the newspapers from surveys with younger people showing, as you say, higher, uh, higher degrees of envy. I I think that it, from what I've seen in the universities, I think it correlates to the, the ideology that's becoming dominant mm-hmm. <affirmative> where we are always comparing and saying that it's unfair <laugh> if some people have more than others. Uh, and so, so that idea that envy comes to be seen as, uh, that the more envious you are, the more concerned you are about social justice. So when you are making demands that you want what other people have, there's that feeling of righteousness associated with it. Speaker 1 00:27:55 And I think that could be, uh, an influential factor because it, it, it used to be that it, I mean, envy is a human, uh, vice, uh, humans, humans are given to feeling envious. But I think it always was for hundreds of years that if you were envious or jealous, you wouldn't feel proud of it, and you wouldn't feel that that made you more really superior. You would feel ashamed, and you would try not to be so envious, and you would try and teach your children not to be, you know, jealous. It's come to be seen as a virtue now that it's associated with social justice, and that the more you talk about what other people have, the more you can virtue signal. I think I have even seen, I I, I came across this when I was writing my book, academics who said, say that envy is actually a good thing because it makes people alert to injustice. So I think this may be one of the factors that's causing the shift that you describe. Speaker 0 00:28:59 Next week, uh, on the show, I'm gonna be interviewing Jonah Goldberg, uh, about his book, suicide of the West in, but she talks about the need to cultivate gratitude as a kind of, um, antidote to envy and resentment and also gratitude to motivate us to tend to our garden, to tend to these institutions that are very unique and that have, uh, en enabled the great enrichment and enabled the creation of wealth and the expansion of opportunity. But what also struck me in his book was he said, uh, I think Hebrew was relating advice from Charles Murray, who he said, when you set out to write a serious book, you need, you'll know you've succeeded. If in the course of writing it, you change your mind about a few things. So I would love to pose that question to you to see if in the course of writing your book, you also found things that that changed your mind or, or things that surprised you. Speaker 1 00:30:15 Wow, that's a, that's a great question. First, first I want to say I agree with, uh, the point about gratitude. Um, in fact, at the same time as people think that envy is a good thing, they have succumbed to view gratitude as a bad thing where people, you know, poke fun at you if you express gratitude. So I think that the two things go together in terms of, uh, your other question about changing my mind as I've written the book. Oh, yeah. Oh, yes. When I started <laugh> writing this book, I, I, I just thought to myself, well, hang on. You know, there's, there's another way of thinking about equality. We, we don't all have to view race as essential to equality. There, there could be another way to look at it. And I started out, uh, with the utilitarian, uh, neoclassical, uh, analysis, which say, you know, anti-discrimination law doesn't work. Speaker 1 00:31:21 It imposes costs that outweigh the benefits. So that's where I began thought, well, you know, we can just weigh the costs and benefits of this, and we can say it doesn't always work. And as I read more and about the kind of philosophical issues that we are discussing, I read Murray Rothbard's, uh, egalitarianism as a revolt against nature, and then I really started to sit up and think, actually, this goes much deeper than a cost benefit. You know, equality law doesn't work. And it goes much deeper into the types of, uh, questions you are asking about, uh, what we value most, what rights are important, uh, and a defense of liberty, you could say. So yeah, I, I certainly came to these much deeper philosophical issues as I, as I wrote the book. I didn't start out the book thinking I would talk about any of that. Speaker 0 00:32:22 All right. Well, we are halfway through our conversation and, uh, I've got dozens of questions that have been piling up from our audience, uh, whether they're in the UK or abroad or here. Uh, people want to ask you questions one, so it's good. Um, yeah. So, uh, on Facebook, Alex Stenner, uh, says that he's heard that critical theory originally came out of law schools. What are your thoughts on the origin of these arguments? Speaker 1 00:32:59 Yeah, they've come out of, at least in their, Speaker 1 00:33:03 In their, the way that we see them applying, uh, now having taken over the entire academy. Yeah, that's come from the law schools, from critical legal theory, I think they called it, which, which has been running in law schools for a long time, except that it was not in any way mandatory, and not everybody did it. That is the main difference that we are seeing now, is that it's become mandatory. And they, they're saying all first year law lawyers have to do it, and people have to do it in order to qualify. This is going to be really, we're all going to notice it when all the lawyers and judges are all critical theorists, which never used to be the case. And now it's spread to all the humanities, social sciences, and even the natural sciences. That's the concerning thing. Speaker 0 00:33:57 Certainly I think that now that we're seeing, uh, for medical schools, Speaker 1 00:34:03 Yes. Speaker 0 00:34:05 And, you know, if you want to choose your doctors based on your relationship with them, and, uh, whether they're really good at their specialty, um, as opposed to their ideology, I think that is concerning. Okay. Um, Kim, kind of an economic question, so feel free to pivot if you want. Uh, on Facebook, Candace Morena says, socialists soften state that socialism has never been fully implemented, wasn't real socialism, but Candace says, it seems like capitalism has never been fully implemented. What are your thoughts? Speaker 1 00:34:50 Uh, so in, in my book that's coming up now, the, uh, redressing historical injustice, I, I, I, I talk a lot about that because I discuss the morality of capitalism, and I want to defend capitalism, not just on utilitarian grounds, that it works, but also on moral grounds because of its connection to human liberty and human flourishing. And for that purpose, I had to define what capitalism is. Uh, yes. The minute you try to define capitalism, it's, it can contents to sound as if one is simply saying real capitalism has never been tried. But I don't think that's what it is. It's, it's about how you define capitalism. So I distinguish between cronyism, you know, people think, oh, you know, just, just get your friends together and give them favors, and that's capitalism. And no, that's not capitalism. Um, muralism as well is not capitalism. Speaker 1 00:35:53 So I think just a socialist would define what socialism is. You would want to define what capitalism is, and if you, if you define it as, uh, property rights and free exchange, then, then no, you wouldn't say it has never really been tried. What, what you would say is that it, it is more or less free at different, at in different places and times. So in, in some jurisdictions it's heavily regulated, and in others it's less heavily regulated. So I think what people mean when they say it's never really been tried, what they're really saying is that markets can be more or less free, but we don't tend to see absolutely free markets anywhere. They're always regulated. I think that's what they're trying to get at when they say that it's not, it's not to say that it's never really been tried. Speaker 0 00:36:55 Yes. Well, it's, it's interesting, uh, reading, uh, previous book that I had mentioned, freedom's furries about particularly Rose Walter Lane and Isabel Patterson growing up on the frontier and going from an era in the late 19th century where they never had any interaction, very, very rare interaction with the government to the thirties and forties in which government became a constant presence Speaker 1 00:37:30 Yes. Speaker 0 00:37:31 In, in people's lives. So, um, I I, you know, we can look to, to periods in the United States history when we were much further towards the scale of yes, what one might mean as, as real capitalism. Of course, what we see is, while the absolutes as Professor Nagoya points out, uh, may not exist, of course, you know, we would probably argue that they, they do exist in terms of, uh, pure socialism in, in certain totalitarian dictatorships around the Speaker 1 00:38:07 World. Mm-hmm. Yes. Speaker 0 00:38:09 But, uh, that when you go towards more capitalism, you tend to have certain consequences and results than when you tend to go more towards more socialism. You have other consequences and results. Speaker 1 00:38:24 Absolutely. Speaker 0 00:38:27 All right. Uh, John Johnson asking Professor one Zero, uh, you mentioned that identity politics is coming mainly from the universities. It seems to be associated with the rise of critical theory in academia. How do we reverse this trend, given that most of the professors, at least in the US, are influenced by this Marxist philosophy? Speaker 1 00:38:56 I'm, I'm afraid, I don't think it can be reversed. I don't think you can say a lot of people I are in denial. They think, oh, you know, you will just tell, you will just tell the neo Marxists to stop being neo Marxist. And they will just, no, they won't. Why would they that, that that's what they believe in, and that's, that's what they want to do. And they think that's a good way to fashion society. So they're not going to stop. If anything, they're just going to ramp it up. And then people say, oh, well, you know, I've seen what they're trying to do in Florida, you know, we'll ju we'll just ban it or ban critical race theory, you know, then, then we'll, well <laugh>, you know, I commend Florida for trying, I think, I think trying is better than just throwing your hands up in despair and saying, you know, it's hopeless. Speaker 1 00:39:48 We're just give up and let them. So, so the idea is that you, you can just ban certain ideas that come from critical race theory, like white privilege and say, teachers aren't allowed to teach white privilege. Whether that will, in fact work remains to be seen. Because I think that a lot of this identity politics has become linked to specific labels like white privilege. So you can ban the phrase, you know, you're not allowed to teach white privilege, but any neo Marxist can easily teach the same thing without using that phrase, because they would say, you know, diversity is our strength, and, you know, we want to make sure everybody has their equal opportunities. They can still get the identity politics in there. So my view is that if you really want to uproot it, we cannot have special classes of people that are privileged by law. As long as you have that, you are going to see the identity politics rolling out, you can ban a phrase here and ban a phrase there, but the, the basic framework is still in place. It's like playing whackamole, I don't know what you call it in America. Speaker 0 00:41:13 <laugh>. Yeah, it works. You Speaker 1 00:41:14 Know this Oh, <laugh>, where you, you know, they'll come up with a new phrase and you whack that and they'll come up with a new phrase and you know, you, you take a whack at that. So for example, you now you see less reference to white privilege and people talking more about white supremacy and, you know, a thing that they just generally call whiteness. So <laugh>, so you, you, you can Speaker 0 00:41:42 The word scale, Speaker 1 00:41:44 Yeah, Speaker 0 00:41:45 They're fungible. Speaker 1 00:41:47 Exactly. Speaker 0 00:41:49 But it's interesting that your, your remedy is, is that we actually need to get to the, the legal root of it and, and, and not defang the law from giving people special privileges, given different groups, special privileges. Speaker 1 00:42:07 That's where it started. And that's, we have to go back to the root, otherwise we are just changing superficial things. Speaker 0 00:42:17 Yeah. I mean, just even, even look at the, the names, uh, that, um, the American left, cuz they called themselves progressives, and then that, when that kind of got to be out of vogue, they called themselves liberals, and then they, the back to calling themselves. I don't know, I, I lost track of what it is now, but, you know, it just changed the language. You certainly see a lot of that. Speaker 1 00:42:42 Yeah. Speaker 0 00:42:44 All right. Um, let's see. Who do you want to, uh, David Gordon asks, professor, what do you think of the Austrian School of Economics? Who are your favorite writers from this perspective? Speaker 1 00:42:59 Um, so I, I, I, I got into the Ost Austrian School of Economics, uh, out of an interest in egalitarianism and how we could argue against it, and Murray Roth's, uh, egalitarianism as a revolt against nature. So that's, that's, uh, so, and then from from there, I started to read about, um, the importance of, of, of liberty in, in, in the way that we understand the role of, uh, capitalism and free markets. Uh, and, and, and the idea of thinking about economics, not just as what enables us to maximize productivity, but also what enables us to, to live freer and more fulfilling lives. So, so I, I, I then, uh, also in my first book, uh, drew a lot upon, um, Luv me's, uh, liberalism, the ca the classical tradition of liberalism. And, uh, so I, I think those would be, and, and then I've, I've, I've looked at other, uh, economists writing about economic development in, in that school. But more, I would say out of, out of an interest in how we understand theories of liberty, in my book, forthcoming redressing, uh, uh, redressing historical injustice, I draw a lot on, uh, Murray Rothbard's, uh, ethics of Liberty, where he talks about, uh, justice in historical claims, how do we know whether the root of property acquisition is just, uh, so that's, that's, that's another book that's influenced me. So that's, uh, that's my brush of Australian economics. Speaker 0 00:45:11 Well, that, that's pretty, pretty impressive. And just in terms of, of your forthcoming book, uh, any predictions on, on when the publication date will be and what's the best way for us to keep track of you and, and that, Speaker 1 00:45:26 Uh, so they're saying may the publisher, it's published by Paul Greg McMillan, and they're saying it should be out in May. That's the projected, uh, publication date. So it's in press, Speaker 0 00:45:39 I hope. Oh, exciting. Be, Speaker 1 00:45:41 Yeah. No, very exciting. Yeah. Speaker 0 00:45:44 All right. Here's another question cuz we haven't really gotten to this, uh, from Instagram, James Alex solos asks, is the question of reparations a uniquely American issue, or does it come, does the conversation come up in terms of British imperialism? Speaker 1 00:46:04 Oh, well, it definitely started in America and it's being driven by American discourse on reparations for slavery. That's, that's what's driving it. But it has spread. And yes, it's in the uk uh, being framed as a claim for reparations for colonialism. It's spreading around the world, even to countries that never thought about reparations. But, you know, reparations is money is free money. So yes, it's attractive when you say to people, oh, you can have some reparations. Yeah, they're going to say, fantastic. Where do we, where do we claim? So it is spreading. And recently we had a debate in the UK as well about what they're calling climate change reparations. So the argument is that climate change was caused by the industrial revolution, and England started the Industrial Revolution. So they need to pay reparations to third world countries. What my comment on reparations in general, I talk a lot about this in my forthcoming book, but my general comment is that it's a social welfare occupant for financial support. Speaker 1 00:47:28 So people are saying these groups should get social welfare support based on their race, and these other groups should not get that social welfare support because they're not the correct race that deserves. And the same with countries. So certain countries are poor, so we we're just going to transfer money to them and we're going to call that reparations. And I think if there's going to be a debate about social welfare support or foreign aid, it should be an honest debate, not calling it reparations and trying to create the impression that it's to redress historical injustice when there is no cogent argument given for why we are addressing that particular historical injustice and not other types of historical injustice. It's a straightforward wealth, uh, welfare transfer, which should be debated on those terms. Speaker 0 00:48:33 All right. Kathy Hoke on Facebook asks, professor, after your upcoming book, addressing historical injustice, self ownership, property rights and economic equality, what do you know what you would like to write about next? Speaker 1 00:48:50 Yeah, so next I would like to write a more sustained defense of the idea of liberty, individual liberty, which has been implicit, I think, in all the books that I have written, but I think I haven't directly addressed it, and that's what I would like to do next, because that's what it comes down to in the end. We can debate the meaning of justice and how to achieve it and the importance of property rights and how to protect them. But I think in the end, in the end, we want to defend liberty. We want to defend individual liberty. Now people say it's individual liberty. People say, oh, that's, you know, they call it hyper individualism and that it's just selfishness. And, uh, and it, it's, it's about not caring about the welfare of other people. So these kind of loose and lazy debates about liberty, I, I would like to write something more about that. And, and the idea, people say, well, if you're poor, you can't really be free because you can't afford anything. So I think these, um, these are claims that I would like to address in more detail. Speaker 0 00:50:08 Fascinating. All right. I think we could take one or two questions, uh, left before we're going to have to start giving the floor to one zero to maybe cover some things that we haven't, that she'd like to wrap things up with. But, uh, we had a couple questions about a narco capitalism, thoughts on it. Obviously, objectiveism is, is not, uh, pro anarchy. We, we believe in, in law, uh, to, to protect individual rights. But, um, what, what are your thoughts? Speaker 1 00:50:49 So in my latest book, redressing, uh, historical Injustice, as I say, I follow Mary Roth bat's, uh, ethics of Liberty. And, uh, the argument in the book draws in its conclusion to, uh, some questions about anarchy, which I link to exactly what you are saying, ideas about the rule of law. So, and, and what, what I'm trying to say there is that people say we need the rule of law, but we've actually come to a point where what people mean by law is tyranny. So you could say we want to, uh, uphold the rule of law, but people use that to defend tyranny. In fact, I I compare, uh, examples where the so-called upholding the rule of law is used to undermine property rights. You know, for example, one example I give is, uh, the law, they just passed in South Africa called Ex Appropriation without Compensation. Speaker 1 00:52:01 So the law says that you can seize people's property without paying compensation, and that is the law. And the danger is that if you say we're just going to follow the law, we have many examples from history where we see that that only ends in tyranny. So I, I question whether following the law in itself, uh, is defensible. And I talk as well, when I raise questions about anarchy, I question whether we need the state to protect property rights. Because in fact, what happens in a case, and again, I give the, uh, example of South Africa, it is not the state that people rely on to defend their rights. The state, the state doesn't defend anybody's rights. The state only defends itself. And, and the people who are in charge of it, and people are left to build their own roads and keep their own roads in repair, build their own bridges, uh, build their own hospitals, build their own schools, and have their own private police force. So they pay taxes. And supposedly you need a state to do all this, so they pay taxes for that. But if the state's not doing it, they have to spend their private money doing it. So people say you need a state, but actually that is not what experience shows. So, um, that's, that's actually the, the question that I raise at the end of that book. Speaker 0 00:53:42 Well, we are gonna be, uh, waiting with bated breath for that to, to come up. And, uh, sounds like in the course of that, working on this forthcoming book that you're thinking has also shifted as well. Speaker 1 00:53:57 Absolutely. Speaker 0 00:53:59 All right. Well this is a, a good one I think maybe to to end with, cuz uh, you and I were talking at the top of the show about how the academic environment has changed. And so Anna Tuva on Facebook says, um, that she feels like a lot of opinionated people, uh, on the left expressed themselves through activism, through protests, and that on the left, the pressure to conform is very gray. How can people who are more individualist oriented, how can they feel connected with each other, support each other, uh, especially in an academic environment? Well, Anna, I would say first come and join the Outlet society and be a part of our community and our, our events and, and our, uh, happenings. And you'll feel more connected and supported. But uro what about for those in academia? Speaker 1 00:55:05 For those in academia, what? Oh, I don't know. I think everybody's borrowed down trying not to get canceled. I mean, it really, that's the state of affairs and people, people are afraid. There's, there's a lot of fear. How can people, I mean, even reaching out, I think people are afraid to do that as well, afraid to reach out because it's, it's sometimes when, when you're under attack, even reaching out to other people is, uh, seems risky and hazardous. I think. I'm glad you mentioned the Atlas Society. I think the only way, I don't think there's a way to do it within, I I refer to institutions as woke captured. I, I, I'm not sure how you can do that within a woke captured institution. Some people say, well, you can mount a takeover. I don't know how you can do that. You can certainly form new institutions. I think that's probably a better way. Speaker 0 00:56:17 Yes. And I think that we see that there are increasing efforts to, to do just, just that. Speaker 1 00:56:24 Yes. Speaker 0 00:56:26 So any final thoughts? Uh, any reasons for optimism? Speaker 1 00:56:36 Yes. Speaker 0 00:56:36 Anything in, in the books that we didn't get to cover that, that you'd like to make sure that people understand? And hopefully that will encourage them to, to pick up a copy. And, uh, Speaker 1 00:56:48 I would like to end on an optimistic note. I think it's very important to be aware of the scale of the threat to liberty. And so I've talked a lot about the threats and you know, about the scale of the problem, but I don't mean by that to say, oh, it's hopeless. We should all give up and just not bother. Because I think that in the end, liberty flourishes if people value it, and, you know, continue to believe that it matters. And, uh, and, and to continue. I, I mean, not, not, not even at work or in institutions, but even in families and to your children, speak to your children about liberty and to your friends and your neighbors. In the end, Liberty will flourish. We, we shouldn't be in despair because the institutions are woke, captured. We should be hopeful for the fact that human beings want to live free. It's, it's, it's in our nature to want to live free and that will never die in us. So I think the thing is to, to place our hope and our optimism in that idea. Speaker 0 00:58:07 I think that's a beautiful note to end on. Uh, as we say, if you can't spread the courage, then at least don't spread the fear. And we believe that the Alice Society, that courage is contagious. Yes. And so if you want to live in a world with less fear Yeah. Then if you're able to, or go ahead and take a risk and get out there and go a bit beyond your comfort zone and, uh, say, you know what? I think that's weird. I'm not on board with that. I don't think that's cool. I don't think that's fair. And, um, you know, you'll, you'll be surprised that you will find that there are so many others that agree with you. Yeah. Sometimes, Speaker 1 00:58:58 Yeah, sometimes just saying no to something that's ridiculous and other people will rally around and say no together with you. So, Speaker 0 00:59:08 And I love it. All right. Well, thank you. Thank you so much, GWE Drew Anna, we're, um, very much looking forward to your new book. Perhaps we'll have you back to talk about it then. Are you going to put any of these on, uh, audible? Speaker 1 00:59:23 Oh, yes. I, I, I should, I should. That would be, I should look into that. Yeah. Speaker 0 00:59:28 Yes. We've got a huge, uh, au audiobook contingent, uh, in, in our community and in fact the Atla Society. We have sort of a, almost a model for how to, to work within the system to get those done. So you and I chat offline. Yeah, that Speaker 1 00:59:45 Was great. Yeah, Speaker 0 00:59:45 That'd be great. A cheat sheet about how to do it. So we'll be happy to help with that. So thank, lovely talking Speaker 1 00:59:51 To you. Thank you so much, and thanks for all the great questions as well. Speaker 0 00:59:56 Yes, fantastic. Uh, very not woke, but very awoke and alert crowd joining us. And Ron, thanks for staying up late with us and have a good evening. Um, I wanna thank all of you who joined us today. And as always, if you enjoyed this video, if you enjoy the other work that we, uh, do here at the Atlas Society, don't just be a passer by, uh, invest in our work, even if it's a small donation, uh, you can go to the atlas society.org to make a tax deductible donation. Uh, and then as I mentioned previously, be sure to tune in next week when the, uh, co-founder of dispatch Jonah Goldberg, he is also for Atlas Society fans. He is the Cliff Asne chair at the American Enterprise Institute. Many of you know, cliff Asne is on the, uh, Atlas Society Board. So I am looking to forward to talking to him about suicide of the West. So see you next week.

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