Defunding Leftist Colleges: Current Events with Kelley and Salsman -- December 2021

December 16, 2021 01:01:44
Defunding Leftist Colleges: Current Events with Kelley and Salsman -- December 2021
The Atlas Society Presents - The Atlas Society Asks
Defunding Leftist Colleges: Current Events with Kelley and Salsman -- December 2021
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The Atlas Society Current Events Panel: Join The Atlas Society Founder David Kelley and Economist Richard Salsman as they discuss new movements to defund leftist practices in universities, and also talk about criminal law and lawlessness surrounding the Rittenhouse and Arbury trials on the 83rd Episode of The Atlas Society Asks.

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Episode Transcript

Speaker 0 00:00:01 Hello everyone. And welcome to the 83rd episode of the Atlas society asks. My name is Abby Beringer, student programs manager with the Atlas society, the leading nonprofit, introducing young people to the ideas of iron Rand and creative ways, including through our online seminars, animated videos, and graphic novels. Today we'll be discussing current events with two of our Atlas society, senior scholars, our founder, David Kelly, and economist Richard salesmen. We will also save time at the end to take some audience questions. So throughout the discussion, please type your questions into the chat on zoom, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or YouTube today. Our two topics will be defunding the left and criminal law and lawlessness relating to the written house and Arbery trials. So I will hand things over to Dr. Kelly. Speaker 1 00:00:55 Thank you, Abby. And hello everyone. Um, our first topic, um, has to do with academic life. Um, it's an in particular, um, issue that has come to the fore recently with some relevant news. Um, but let me give a little background for a long time. Uh, those of us on, on, on the so-called right, the libertarian conservative movements, uh, have had a, uh, uh, significant strategical of defunding the left. Uh, now we're not Marxists who believe that ideas are simply a reflection of underlying economic factors. Uh, no ideas that are dominating the universities now and, um, feeling the left have a long history in the realm of ideas they've been buried from philosophical trends over, um, centuries. However, money is what makes the vehicle go. It doesn't set the direction, but it doesn't fuel the engine. So to speak, uh, left wing think tanks, um, have, you know, generally had much higher revenues than conservative libertarian ones. Speaker 1 00:02:06 It's been a topic of complain for many years and the, um, and of course they get money from government, um, in many, in many different ways. Um, but today the, um, the gorilla in that zoo is really the universities where the entire left wing woke so-called, um, uh, outlook of identity politics and, um, uh, equality and other, um, core tenants of that view. Uh, those have really taken over in universities and on in the last few years, they have, they've just in a qualitatively new way, spread outwards into the culture at large, even into business, um, organizations, corporations, um, but a Bray of hope, Ray of good news. Um, well actually let me go. Another piece of background before I get into the news. Um, and I'm, brand's last speech in 19 80, 1 of called the sanction of the victim was the speech to a group of business people, uh, mostly investors, um, and she casts to get business people who gave unthinking support to universities without asking what the universities are teaching or whether what they're teaching is at all compatible with the values that drive business and support the capitalist system in which they flourished. Speaker 1 00:03:39 Um, she said, and this is a quote, it is a moral crime to give money to support ideas with which you disagree. That's actually, um, uh, echoes something Thomas Jefferson said long ago, uh, and she continued, it's a moral crime to give, to support your own destroyers. And along the way, she also made the point that there are, there is a small minority of, uh, people who passionately believe in freedom and in capitalism, working in academic academia against huge odds and the, uh, unthinking support from business to the universities, uh, as that large leaves that, uh, make only makes it worse for that small remnant who could be fighting the good fight and actually deserves some financial support. So that was her message in 1981, it's taken 40 years so to speak, um, who are the wealthy alumni of campuses wealthy, largely because of their success in business and finance, um, to wake up, um, the risks and news, um, is a creation of a new, uh, organization called alumni free speech Alliance. Speaker 1 00:04:58 This was a announced in a wall street journal article in October that got a huge amount of attention. And, um, the Alliance is it's a kind of a consortium of, uh, free speech advocates in different colleges, but the list of colleges is really striking. The initial members were, um, Cornell university Davidson, university, Princeton, university of Virginia, Washington, and Lee. I mean, those, those include Ivy league and, uh, other powerhouse places. And since, since then, um, MIT has joined, um, Yale is joined that at, at each of these schools, there is a group that's Oregon of alumni that's organized and what they're doing their mission is to, um, uh, promote the idea of free speech, academic freedom, and viewpoint diversity. And I think of those phrases is important. Free speech by itself wouldn't mean anything if everyone were, if the only people speaking were all of the same mind, we need, um, intellectual diversity as well and free speech among the, um, across those, um, intellectual and political divides. Speaker 1 00:06:16 Um, and they say, look, alumni are among the only groups who actually care deeply about their schools, but are not, don't have vested interests in that like administrators and pattern repeat itself. Uh, and it, I think it's a very promising, um, uh, initiative. Now there are other groups in that have been longer active for a long time and, um, try and reverse trends in academic life, the foundation for individual rights in education fire, um, the, uh, uh, American council of trustees and alumni also business for decades and national association of scholars. And they've developed a great number of resources then, which they're making available and working closely with this new Alliance, but the alumni activists, um, kinda hit the schools, uh, where they, who, where it hurts because they can withhold their funding, um, alumni. Um, overall, according to the numbers, I've found alumni contributed some $11 billion to higher education across the board, um, in, uh, 2019. Speaker 1 00:07:33 Um, and that's the second largest, um, source of voluntary giving apart from student fees. Uh, the first, the most that it's second only to, um, foundation support and foundations are pretty much helpless. So, um, overall this voluntary giving us a pretty small part of, uh, the revenues of universities, but at the margin, it, it, it, uh, it makes a difference. Plus at private schools, major private university, like Princeton or Yale, um, they rely for annual revenues to a large extent, sometimes over 50% on their endowments on, um, uh, reducing funds from their endowments, which are there themselves as a result of prior gifts from alumni. So, um, every school I've known anything about has a pretty large, um, fundraising, um, activity among the alumni to keep them involved and keep them giving. Um, so, um, we'll see what this happens. I don't want to get too excited about a piece of news, but this is, uh, something that, that I think hits the nail on the head. Speaker 1 00:08:43 It hasn't been yet yet. Um, so that is something to support and watch, uh, for those of you who are interested in the name again of the group is the, um, alumni free speech Alliance, just do a Google search for that. And they are recruiting, um, looking for, uh, individual alumni groups at different schools to join the Alliance. Um, and hopefully, so if you were active as an alum, um, I would urge you to take a look at this. Um, so that's one, one of the, um, indications of some push push back against the cell phone free speech and the woke conditions on campuses. Um, there are some others, um, Richard and I were talking about, um, the new university, uh, university of Austin located in Austin, Texas, which is private and has some interesting aspects to it as well. Richard, do you want to, you know, more about this than I do, Speaker 2 00:09:58 Sorry about that. Also, just to build off what you said, David, this trend is interesting because the research I did on the concept of academic freedom itself, this might interest you and the audience at that, um, about a hundred years ago during the quote unquote progressive movement, when faculty started shifting to be more anti-capitalist. I mean, it still wasn't predominantly that they were bothered. Uh, they started allying and they were bothered that the trustees of, uh, these universities were largely capitalists the world, largely wealthy alumns and business people. And the, you know, as you can imagine, the business people at the time were generally more favorable do capitalism. So they argue for academic freedom on the grounds that they, and, and by the way, by pushing left wing stuff, the trustees were starting to fire some of the professors. So both the tenure system I found, and the call for academic freedom was really initiated by the left about a hundred years ago, because they were getting pushed back, uh, precisely the kind we're talking about now. Speaker 2 00:11:10 And so it's, it's very interesting because now the groups that you're finding, you know, that you're locating, they're doing it in the name of academic freedom. They they're the ones saying, wait a minute, there's no academic freedom. And our monies should go to that in some way and influence it in some way. So I think that just that shift itself is so interesting because now the tables have turned completely by now the campuses, especially in the social sciences are largely anti-capitalist of various stripes, and it's not like the business community of the alumni community is predominantly capitalists. They're not, but there's enough of them. I think you're right, that they're starting to gather, which is interesting. I wanted to mention another group, which is more among academics, which academic freedom Alliance FAA. And that's an interesting group because it, it's largely very prestigious professors from prestigious universities like Princeton, Harvard, and elsewhere. Speaker 2 00:12:04 And, uh, they come from all parts of the, uh, academics, uh, political spectrum, if you will. Robert George is the main, uh, person there, the law professor at Princeton, quite influential, I think he was, uh, Ted Cruz's professor, uh, and they have joined it. There's only about 200 of them that have signed the, the mission statement, uh, publicly. I, I, I, and others at duke have signed it, but it's, they're just looking for academic freedom within, they're trying to, uh, press back on cancel culture and things like that. And the suppression of free speech on campus. We have had speech codes on campuses for years, as you know, but, uh, fortunately there's been exposure of those. There's a grading. I think it's fire that it has a grading system, David, right, but they'll grade each college, uh, green, red Amber, you know, based on whether they're, uh, favorable to free speech or not, uh, Speaker 1 00:12:57 Yeah, less there Richard, they are released a more comprehensive report, a free speech, college free speech rankings, which they did big, big study in coordination. Speaker 2 00:13:10 Yes. And I have heard through the grapevine of cases where colleges, you get worried that they're on the bad side of that list. And then they look into what exactly is happening. Is that the speech codes on campus? Is it the ratio of professors who are, you know, in one part of the spectrum or not, is it, uh, hounding people off campus on campus for, you know, for speaking on campus and things like that now that the university of Austin Case is interesting, here's a full here. This is about three or four months old, a bunch of professors that basically said, we're not going to try to change the current universities they're too far gone. So we're going to leave and form our own university. Now this one's at the university of Austin, Austin being Texas. And it's a question about whether it will get off the ground or not, but there's a lot of interest from a lot of professors who, again, not necessarily all pro capitalists, but many of them accomplished from prestigious universities from all sorts of disciplines, worried again about having their speech, uh, suppress. Speaker 2 00:14:12 Now what's interesting to me is there's it. And when you think about it, there's two, there's two strategies. One of them would be infiltrate or, or influence in some way for the better existing, uh, institutions. And the argument for that of course, is they have this trailing, uh, reputation. That's hard to deny. So, so even a parent, for example, imagine a pro capitalist parent, who's trying to get their kids through school. I mean, they may send them knowingly to Yale or a Harvard knowing they'll get left wing stuff, but the credential is very important and the credential itself like credentialism or whatever you want to call it is still unfortunately an important thing. And it's something that employers and others, uh, you know, still look to. So for example, you could go the other route and send your kid to Hillsdale. College Hillsdale known is known for not taking a dime of government money, uh, and also teaching, you know, constitutionalism, uh, pro-America style pro capitalist stuff. Speaker 2 00:15:14 But, but it is not as prestigious. Now, the other example would be George Mason university. That was an existing university that was enormously changed from without, but not the entire university, just parts of it, including the law school and elsewhere. And it's interesting that it got the reputation for having that bias. And so even at places like GMU, all the scholarship is great and the backgrounds of people are great. They too get maligned and, and, uh, uh, derided for being a GM, you know, for being GMU or so now if we call plan B start your own university, um, it is interesting. I, I think if some of these, first of all, if the university of Austin succeeds, I mean, it could in five years be a really good, great case study and succeeding and it could lead, I think, so it's a positive thing to more such universities. Speaker 2 00:16:09 And, uh, so I think it's a good thing. I would say something about the funding and the strategy when, when Ram said what you did in 81, it's interesting by saying, you're sanctioning your destroyers. I mean, one approach would be to withdraw the sanction. In other words, stop funding your enemies. And that was her notice. That was her focus. But I think there's, I think that's okay, but there's a limit to how successful that will be, especially if they won, they don't care about funding. They really do care about the ideology and having the monopoly, but then too, there's a very bad trend toward government funding, the schools. And it isn't just things like medicine and other things. It's the NSF national science foundation and elsewhere will fund social science stuff as well. So it's, well-known, for example, in environmental stuff, there's a bias in the funding one way. Speaker 2 00:17:02 And so that that's a problem where even if you withdrew your money, um, it could be easily displaced by money's coming elsewhere. So I think another thing we should talk about or consider is the success or failure of a free market ties pro capitalist tribes, trying to fund an endowed chairs or centers. So now they're making a positive case for here's some money, please teach, please teach capitalism. As we know, there's a lot of success in that in the last 15 years that hadn't been seen before, but there's also a lot of pushback and bringing the topic back to academic freedom. A lot of the pushback there is back to a hundred years ago, you're, you're paying for bias and we want academic freedom. We don't want it. We don't literally want don't your money. Uh, you know, because it's coming with these strings attached, so I'll stop there, but Speaker 1 00:17:58 Very delicate, um, balanced, uh, with some legitimacy to department like a philosophy department saying, well, we make our appointments based on merit and, um, the, uh, to fill positions and teaching responsibilities that we need filled. And so we're not going to sell the seat, but on the other hand, you know, they're, they like money and especially, uh, you know, I've, I've been hearing for going back 10 years or more that at least at, uh, public universities, like university of Arizona, where I've dealt with a number of people out there, the state was cutting back on funding. So they were desperate for, um, initiatives, new sources. Um, but anyway, um, big topic. Um, Abby, do you want to, um, pause here for questions? Yes. Speaker 0 00:18:55 We've got, um, from David Varga on Facebook, where is the line? If there is one where we need to walk away from these quote unquote traditional institutions and focus all of our energy on something new? Speaker 1 00:19:11 Well, I think that's a real judgment call. I mean, there are many ways of pursuing, you know, we can talk about a broad gravity of trying to, um, uh, fight, um, install and, uh, ideas that admin installed and perpetuated by, um, increasing, um, constraints on freedom of speech, but the, um, the best tactic for doing that. There are probably many tactics that possibly could work. I don't have, uh, a notion of a bright line here where, uh, where we cross that we, when we cross it, we should just go entirely independent. I don't know, Richard. Speaker 2 00:19:56 Yeah. My own thought is the, uh, as to what, when, when he says something new, I mean, if you mean new universities, that's what Austin's trying. If you mean now there are other cases where, you know, Peter T a ladder program, I think he still has it, uh, paying college students not to go to college and, and funding them, you know, taking like half of what they would have spent in college and launching them on some kind of venture business, uh, uh, proposition or something like that. Very interesting. So there are case studies, and of course there's also famous case studies of dropouts doing really great, like bill gates, a Harvard dropout, I think Zuckerberg dropped out, but those are entrepreneurial cases where whatever they're doing at school, they get bored with school understandably, and then go off and do their venture. But it's not because they're pro capitals. Speaker 2 00:20:42 We know that those guys are not pro capitalists, but still, I think that just the general, which is building, which I never saw even 10 years ago was why should I get a college degree? What's the point of that? Uh, why not vocational schools now that the Obama and Biden administration that are crack down heavily on for-profit vocational schools. So they don't even like, they don't leave it like that. It's an alternative opposite be going to college. And then they want to make community colleges free. Um, and community colleges are probably the most closely, you know, competing with the vocational colleges. They're just more ideological. So, um, uh, but, um, yeah, if you mean, uh, Mike, is it Michael by new and walking away? Um, I think the, I think the idea of the prestige or credential value of these university is declining. And when that's put up against these exorbitant costs, um, eventually, and you do see this, the enrollments are way down, even in some of the more elite universities, but the acceptance rates are when you see an acceptance rate of like 8%. I mean, the demand to get into these schools is enormous. Speaker 0 00:21:53 Um, and one other question from Jay, uh, David, to what extent do you think the cancel culture is driven by the belief that some ideas are so evil, they can't be tolerated versus ideas that are either false or simply undermined intellectually. Speaker 1 00:22:13 Hmm. I think there's a large share of the, of the former. Um, and because you, you know, a rational person can, um, regardless of how strong his own convictions are, is not threatened by so many disagrees. Um, and if he's in the context where ideas are being discussed and he's learning and extending, um, that can be a real source of, of, um, gain of knowledge, at least an understanding of the spectrum of it, of opinion. But the shutdown really does come when, I mean, there's some, let me qualify this. There are some cases that, um, you know, as an astronomy department will never hire in astrology, that's just bad science it's. So that's a case where the much Ripley, false ideas, we're not gonna pay any attention. It's not worth our time. Um, but when you find people, um, regarding ideas of individualism, freedom, marriage, uh, hard work as, as signs of white supremacy, a complete bias, and they wanna not willing to argue about it. I think it's because they regard that as evil. And, um, you know, so I would, I would say that the cancel culture, that's what it's the view that people are, are, uh, uh, is those videos are evil, is what's driving the cancel culture per se. Speaker 2 00:24:00 There's also been a trend away from tenure, interestingly enough, toward appointments and, uh, multi-year contracts, which, uh, all else equal of course, would not immunize the professor as much. So the whole concept of cancel means you already have a job, and now you're being hounded by either, by the way, it's students, it's not other professors, it's really students who often will hound these professors out. So this self-censorship going on, but I have noticed by the way, this is a good and bad, I suppose I have noticed in, in academia, David talked about, you know, astrology versus astronomy, David, they do still hire Keynesians, which to me is the equivalent of astrology. So, uh, I wish I wish this were true in all areas, but, um, there, there, I have noticed that there's a, more of an acceptance of a libertarian type academic, rather than a conservative who's overtly religious. Speaker 2 00:24:58 And that quick, that one doesn't bother me as much because I want there to be rationality and objectivity through and through in all of the fields. Um, and so to the extent libertarians come in and they're just making a really good case, you know, for John Lockey and type rights or Nozick type arguments for limited government, that's a lot closer to our position. And frankly, I've noticed that it's a lot more acceptable so long as you do the scholarship so long as you're not just, you know, winging it. And, you know, being an idealogue, uh, so-so credentialed, hardworking publishing libertarians do survive in the universities to some extent. And in some cases they're just hired as tokens, but so what their token, we have, you know, we have our token libertarian in the department or something like that. It's still something that students can gravitate toward if they want. And, and in many ways you stand out more, if you have that view, because if there's more of a rivals, you know, who share the same view, they all kind of congeal into the same view. So I think it is hard for conservatives who are overtly religious to succeed in academia and possibly also because they just not that interested in the life of the mind, but because of their own philosophy, they're not that keen on the intellect for pursuing intellectual things. Speaker 0 00:26:23 Alright. One more question, before we move on to the next topic, uh, and, uh, this is an interesting question. I find that this is a topic of conversation in my community. So I'm interested to hear your thoughts, the Zima on Twitter would, what would you say in regards to woke education in public schools? Even if people walk away, they are still forced to pay by a tax dollars, so they can't even really escape thoughts on that. Speaker 1 00:26:49 Yeah. Yeah. I, um, I was thinking about the related topic of, uh, secondary school, um, not just higher education and, um, the enrollment has been dropping in public schools. And of course there has been, um, a sort of degree of pushback, like in Virginia where, um, school, school issues and, you know, school programs were part of what got elected governor governor, um, recently. Um, it's hard to just in that case, it's hard to say because, um, you know, this was happening in the context of the pandemic. When many parents were just pulling their hair out over the fact that their kids had been at home for 18 months and public schools were not opening. And so there was a lot of hostility toward teachers unions, school officials, especially since private schools and parochial schools were often operating in person during this, during this time. So, um, but it had, so that was the pandemic frustration was part of it. Speaker 1 00:27:58 But the, the, um, the content of the education there've been, there've been horror stories, you know, by my judgment horror stories of, um, of things kids are being asked to do glitch walks and, um, you know, you're, you're white. So admit your, your prejudice and your guilt and so on and so forth that, um, is, is even worse when you're doing that to teenagers in junior high and high school, then college students just because they're more vulnerable. Um, so I think that's a factor. Um, I just wanted to say one thing, um, uh, w was secondary schools. A lot of the problem is, um, that the questioner alluded to is that these are public, they're publicly supported by, by everyone's tax dollars. They're not, you want to send your kids here or not. Um, and that's a whole different issue that, of, of private education. Speaker 1 00:29:01 There's, there's been somebody towards school choice over the pandemic years, as you might expect, and, uh, and homeschooling as well, which are great. Um, and those, so there's an economic issue here, and a justice issue, a rights issue about taking everyone's money to support some people's kids. Um, and, but we've had public education for, uh, on going on for two centuries. It's not going away. What has the wokeness, the dominance of these left-wing ideas in school is happening in schools, as well as public. I mean, some of the worst cases are elite stop prep schools in New York for wealthy kids, kids are wealthy families, so I would want to separate the economic and, uh, issue, uh, from the, the content issue. Um, but I totally agree. It's unfair if parents throw up their hands at schools to, uh, is still getting taxed for it. Speaker 2 00:30:10 Yeah. I mean, in many ways, David, I think the secondary school problem is a bigger problems in universities. One that they feed the universities. So, so if the trouble is coming from there, let's go deeper to the root. And, uh, yeah, I agree with you by the way, with your assessment, just because you have public, uh, private schools doesn't mean the educational pedagogy is rational or a fundamentally pro liberal liberal, or, uh, capitalist, but it, but we know from central planning and government control of things, that it, it, it at least protects, uh, bad teaching and bad methods. And so it's so funny because, uh, talk about conflict of interest. It's usually argued that, uh, you know, view pays, uh, you know, the Piper gets the, that, that, that tunes, the, the government hadn't runs the schools. And we wonder why the, the teaching that comes out of it is the government could do no wrong and should do more and more things. Speaker 2 00:31:09 And even if badly keep doing it, it's just outrageous. I, myself am somewhat amazed as an economist. Why vouchers have not? It's not the full answer I would re I would privatize the whole thing. I would deepen the public schools, but you need a positive alternative instead of defunding, the cops should defund the schools. The cops are legitimate government function. The schools are not only not. You cannot have the government influencing people's minds when they're impressionable, it's just terrible, but the voucher thing never taken off it's, it's, it's shocking to me actually remarkable that that to this day, the broader public really does not support the eyes, even though they're, you know, there are pockets of despair and pushback, no widespread voucher program has existed. And of course, that would permit parents to send their kids anywhere. You know, they'd take the take, take the money, the money follows the child now, as it is that the child is basically put in a zip code that the child is literally in a school based on the post office. It's incredible where they happen to live. And, um, I think it's terrible that I, I wish they were instead of showing, I don't think instead of showing up at school board meetings, not instead of, and in addition to that, parents should really be pushing for ending the public schools. And if the first step toward that is give us the money and let us send our kid where school choice, however you want to talk about that really, I think has to be pushed hard. Speaker 0 00:32:39 All right. Um, I think we have to move on to our next topic, uh, here for the sake of time. And let's, so let's go where criminal law and lawlessness, uh, Rittenhouse Arbery, Travis McMichael, all of those cases, I believe Richard, you were going to start us off on this. Speaker 2 00:32:57 Yeah. So on this top, second talk like of ours, I wanted to, uh, provide some context and so a little journalism on, uh, what's happened recently with what I call broadly the rule of law callousness. Now, I pretty much began in may of 2020 with the, uh, George florid case, but notice the George Ford case when it finally went to trial Shovan the policemen was not found to have been motivated by race. And by the way, the da in Michigan at the time, Keith Ellison, who I hate to say he's black, because why do I care about color? But the other side does. And if anything, he really would have found, looked for a racial component, have charged it's in the code. He could have charged Shovan with not only, uh, causing the death of George Florida, but, but going after him for race reasons. And he couldn't be, and when asked in an interview, he said, there was no evidence of it. Speaker 2 00:33:53 Now, unfortunately, this wasn't learned until later, but I think even if it was known that night, I don't, I'm not sure it would have changed the law lawlessness. The other thing you remember about the George Ford case is there was almost universal condemnation of how the cop handled it or the cops. And so even the idea that there was a big polarized break, you know, over the incident there wasn't that no one had an excuse for saying, oh my gosh, here's this terrible thing. And half the country thinks it's okay. Nobody thought it was okay. And so that's another reason to question the whole motivation of, of what happened in 2020 with all the riots and things like that. But there has been a lawlessness. And if you recall the riots of 2020, where, and the call for defunding the police, and they were just burning down precincts and things like that, and the police did withdraw, and we basically got a case study in anarchic. Speaker 2 00:34:46 And for those, uh, of our libertarian friends out there who loved to play around with anarchy, I mean, there's a taste of it. It's just terrible. And as a reason, not to welcome or want an arguer there. But the other thing that's been going on is what I call lax prosecutors. Uh, there, there is a strategy among, uh, I w I guess you could call it the left. They're very much of the, and I believe that really are interested in spreading lawlessness to, uh, support and fund the election of DAS that don't, uh, uphold the law, especially violent criminal offenses. And that's pretty bad. So there's a lot of what's called prosecutorial prosecutorial discretion. That's always been true, a decision about whether to press charges against someone, how far to go, how much is the system devoted to plea bargaining versus going to trial and things like that. Speaker 2 00:35:42 But that discretion has really become so arbitrary and so biased toward letting criminals off that it's just discussing. And, and that's been going as, uh, the worst cases are probably Philadelphia, but Chicago is another case. And some of these Democrat run cities to basically have DAS and assistant DA's, who will not prosecute crime. Now, the other trend, no cash bail, I mean, that began years ago, but it really accelerated in 2020. Now the thinking here notice it's really not based on, uh, principles of justice when it comes to crime. It's egalitarianism. The argument is, uh, someone who faces bail who's poor and can't pay the bail is going to be disproportionately discriminated against in terms of being detained. So you see the argument. So, so in other words, have a rich guy burned down at a CVS. You can easily pay the bail. A bails are set, not based on who the person is, but just as a fixed amount, but the same amount could not be afforded by someone who was poor. Speaker 2 00:36:46 So they're, they're going at it from an altruist egalitarian standpoint, saying a disproportionate effect on the poor. So let's have no cash bail at all. The other thing you're noticing is what is now being called smash and grabs. It's really legalized looting. It is again, the cops, not, not really their fault. They're being told to step back and not intervene there. You can see these on TV. If you watch the right channels, I guess, uh, this looting just mad mob showing up, usually by the way, notice that union square San Francisco is showing up at, uh, some of the more I am, uh, prestigious places, Gucci and elsewhere. It's almost like, uh, all this hatred toward the rich and the hatred toward the dastardly. 1% over the last years has really, fomented a hatred and a targeting, uh, of this group and the places they shop. Speaker 2 00:37:42 And you hear people coming out of these places saying, well, this is just reparations. So there's, they're also being fed with this idea of we're owed reparations. And where are these reparations? And if that's not going to be done by law and legislation, we'll, we'll do it ourselves. We'll do what we'll Institute our own kind of like rough justice and get our own reparations. It's, it's just, uh, uh, disgusting California, by the way, in 2014, seems like a long time ago, but it's caught up with us now, 2014 passed proposition 47, which basically raise the dollar amount of stuff you can do illegally criminally without being prosecuted. And the cutoff was 950. I think it was almost a tripling of the existing amount, but here's a quick list of what was in proposition 47, where you do not basically get even pro uh, arrested or prosecuted shoplifting, where the value of the property is less than 950 grand theft, where the value of the stolen property is less than that amount receiving stolen property. Speaker 2 00:38:46 Same thing, forgery where the value of the forged check is less than nine 50. You go, you go free. You're not even pursued fraud where the value is below that, writing a bad check, the illegal drugs of that value. Um, there are people literally calculating using calculators as they go through the aisles to make sure they don't go above nine 50, and then they just walk out proposition 57 in California, 2016, uh, in PO and not imposed, uh, introduced enormous leniency in terms of, uh, parole and sentencing and things like that. Leading, uh, leaving a lot of criminals out of jail. Now notice also COVID-19 in 2020 was used as a pretext for mass prison releases on the grounds that they might get COVID, but, you know, being confined in a prison. Um, and so the, you know, the feeling was unleashed these people, so they don't get COVID and then they, the recidivism rate was just enormous. Speaker 2 00:39:46 Now I wanted to say something about Rittenhouse and the, the more recent Arbery case, because here's a case where I think you can say, whereas on the ground and in the streets, there seems to be barbarism. There is some civility and justice being meted out in the courts. So now that I, I think this is just another way of saying if it's one step removed from mob rule, you're going to more likely get a rational decision. Now, the written house case I think is very interesting because here's a young kid who sees the anarchy in this particular case in Kenosha, where he did have a, uh, a youth connection and is seeing it on TV and has a lawful gun, um, uh, registered to him, goes to Kenosha, um, and to protect businesses, he saw being looted and torched on TV, and, and he's asked by local proprietors to help them and to help them defend their property. Speaker 2 00:40:50 In this case, it was a couple of car dealerships, I think. And if you know the case, you know, that ultimately he was a rundown and hounded by the mob, trying to kill him basically. And he shot back and he killed two of them and injured the third. And so the case is interesting because we have an archi, we have the cops standing back, by the way, Rittenhouse, after this happened, walked up to the cops and turned himself in and they wouldn't take him. They told him to go home. He said, I just shot two people. And I think I killed them. You need to arrest me and investigate this. Not, he still thought he was innocent, of course, but he thought he could not believe it, that the cops wouldn't even take him in night. So that actually helped in his defense, ultimately when the story was told, but this is an interesting case, I think, and really important for law and order going forward because he, uh, he engaged somewhat in vigilantism. Speaker 2 00:41:49 If you think about it, he went there to try to have law and order where the cops weren't providing it. It's also an anarchic situation to some degree. And then it's also a self-defense case and a right to bear arms case. And he was acquitted on all charges. They were, I think he was really molested twice, not only by these three that tried to kill him, but then by the da in, I guess it was in Minnesota who tried to take his life by incarcerating him for life. The kid, the kid shows enormous poise and maturity for his age. He's only 18 years old. And I think the case will be very interesting because it vindicates the right of self-defense even when you move yourself into a dangerous setting. Speaker 2 00:42:35 Uh, so there's other things to say about that, but I'll stop there for a moment. And, and just add the Arbery case is, uh, also encouraging now here was a conviction actually of three people who were chasing our Reyna Arbery. These citizens thought or claimed was engaged in a series of thefts in the neighborhood. So they says, they thought he was doing this. They suspected him of it. And so they, when they saw him walking down the street, they went after him, they drove in a car or a truck or something up to him, and he started running and they chased him and they killed him. And now what's interesting about this case is unlike written house. Here's a case where it is vigilante, so that's similar, but they had plenty of time to call the cops and report this kid. They could have even followed where he went, just to show the cops where he's hiding or something like that. Speaker 2 00:43:29 But then it would have entered the criminal justice system and the court system. And the fact that those three were convicted, I think was proper. Now, again, I always hate to judge a verdict from afar because it's really the jury and the courts and the adversarial relationship that they know all the facts. So we, we really don't, we should be much more humble about judging cases from afar, but these two cases, Rittenhouse and Arbery, I think came out the right way. And they came out in a way that basically is against, um, vigilantism when it really becomes arbitrary, but for self-defense. Uh, and so those are there's good news. I mean, the overall context is pretty bad cause we're in a rule of law business setting, but here's some sanity, I think, in some rationality on the judicial side, um, trying to bring reason to the case. So I'll stop there. I have much more to say, but I'll stop there and get your thoughts. Speaker 0 00:44:26 Dr. Kelly, you have a response you're on mute. Speaker 1 00:44:37 Um, I don't, I don't know as much about these cases as with Richard, but, um, I just, this is pure question of fact in the Barbary case where the three men, um, uh, unlike the, the, the, uh, George Floyd case, w where the show man case where they were, they, um, was a bias, um, anti-black hostility part of the prosecutor's case. No Speaker 2 00:45:06 Know, uh, that that's, that's a good point. That makes it even more interesting. No, they were not charged with, uh, what do we call them? Hate crimes and having a racial motive. No, but notice they weren't in a position of self-defense either. It wasn't marble it wasn't Arbery coming at them. But even if that, even if that were the case, it's three on one, it's doubtful that they would have been vindicated there, but so they didn't even have a, they didn't have a self-defense case. This was a case where, Hey, this guy's robbing houses. Okay. That's property violations, but it's not bodily violations. And you're pursuing him, you're chasing him down. And there were actually some evidence I heard, I don't know, I'm not an expert on this, that he was responsible apparently for some burglaries, but still, um, the idea of taking the law into your own hands. Speaker 2 00:45:58 And they were all three of them are, and then chasing down this kid and it took a while to it wasn't the Rittenhouse case was he was being attacked for like 15 seconds. Well, they were chasing them all through the town, but by the time it came down to it, they were, you know, it was all over in like 15 seconds. And so the whole issue of judging it, you know, did he fearful his life? What were they saying to him? Arbery was not threatening the lives of these three guys. And they went after him. So it's, it's almost like a, a controlled experiment. That two cases, they both seem to involve. Vigilantism they both involve guns. They both involved deaths, but neither of them racial, uh, Rittenhouse didn't kill three blacks. He, he killed two whites and injured a white, I don't think that really should be relevant, but, but just for the record. Yeah. So no racial motive in the artery case, but it was three whites killing Arbery who was blocked. That's true. But the da could not prove racial motive. Speaker 1 00:47:01 I just I'll just add one thing and then, um, want to turn into questions. And that is, you mentioned that, um, we should be humble about second guessing jury verdicts. I, I couldn't agree more. I think the legal system jury system is, does, does not work perfectly by long shot, but, uh, it's a case that as evolved over long centuries in Anglo-American law to aim for the, the greatest of objectivity in deciding guilt and versus, you know, um, and yeah, I w what appalls me about some of these cases, most prominently in George Floyd's case is that people say, oh, they made the right verdict. You know, people were not just commenting like a Biden at some point, um, express themselves. Oh, I'm glad that they, the reset decision and others Rittenhouse and right. So, you know, I don't the people in the political system, which oversees the legal system who should be setting a better example or setting a really poor one for the rest of us. Speaker 2 00:48:13 Oh yeah. Oh, here was the president of the United. I didn't even say that yet. Other than the Rittenhouse case on record saying ahead of time, the kid did the kid murdered and he's a white supremacist. Incredible. I have no evidence, others lying about whether the gun was registered or not. Gun was perfectly registered. He obviously knew how to use it, claims that he was just spraying bullets all over the place in Kenosha. He shot three times and got his victims each time. So it was a very good shot of clearly a, uh, you know, uh, so, uh, but they, you know, years ago, David, I don't know if you knew this, but during the enlightenment condor say the great French, uh, intellect, uh, came up with a jury theorem and the number's not arbitrary, apparently 12 people, he did a whole mathematical calculation of this, that the likelihood of coming to the truth was maximized at 10 to 12, not fewer than that, and not more than that. Speaker 2 00:49:12 And it's called conversation, jury theorem. So if you look it up, that might interest people. So again, it's funny because as Objectivists, our view is not that, you know, group of histology is better than individual necessarily. And group think is certainly a problem, but, but jury decisions in the context of a structure given by the adversarial system, you know, with evidence and, uh, rules about objecting to improper questioning and things like that. And, uh, and most, I think most important, a judge who is, uh, you know, the adult in the room and it maximizes the chance of getting it right. The OJ case, I don't know. Do you think the OJ case was right, David, Some of those jurors were asked afterwards and they said, no, of course we know he did it. We're just getting back at the cops. So sometimes you can get a direct testimony later from the juror admitting that they were unjust. Speaker 1 00:50:14 John Conklin was a very, uh, smart canny lawyer. Um, anyway, um, Abby, what's next? Speaker 0 00:50:24 We have a few questions. Uh, first have married Mendoza on Instagram. Even if the courts are being a bit more resilient, what would you say about the social order when private citizens and press attempt to identify the jury members in these high profile cases? Speaker 2 00:50:42 Mary you're absolutely right. And that happened in Rittenhouse. I think the judge had to throw out an MSNBC. I don't know. Was he a reporter or an investigator you're following the bus around? Yes. And I, I think even before the Shovan, uh, verdict, uh, you remember certain congressmen, uh, what's her name full of flowers or the Maxine waters was out there, you know, threatening the jury. If you don't come to the right decision tomorrow, you know, we're going to burn this place down. I mean, incredible that elected elected officials let alone private citizens are basically jury tampering before verdicts and threatening. And of course there's been violence, right? There's actually been violence on the streets. So if you're a juror and you're wondering, you know, if I render a guilty verdict just as it may be, my hometown is going to get burned down. That should not, that should not even be a consideration, but it is. If that's what you're talking about, Mary, that is, I agree with you problematic and, and trying to docs juries as saying who they are and where they live. Incredible. But as part of the pull back the police and pull back the, as part of the lawlessness. Speaker 0 00:51:54 Yeah. It's, uh, it's interesting to think though, how many people are so angry, they want to dock stirs because they haven't been given the correct information by the same media. That's helping them docs the jurors, uh, what you said, Dr. Salzman about, um, Kyle Rittenhouse, turning himself in most people did not know that some people still probably wouldn't have known a fact like that. Speaker 2 00:52:14 So he, he tried to turn himself in that night. Soon after he did the shots, they said, go home. They didn't know where he lived. He drove back home and turned himself into the local police. Speaker 0 00:52:29 Yeah. Yeah. Jim Brene on Facebook wants to know what's the end goal of the real quote unquote relaxation of these laws. When you were speaking about, um, uh, the relaxation of the criminal laws, uh, is it a larger voter count? Speaker 2 00:52:50 No, I'm not sure. It's that I think to put a nice face on it. I think, um, mass incarcerations of people for frivolous things like smoking weed, I think is a real problem, but that's been a problem ever since Nixon started the war on drugs in 1971, this has been going on a long time, but the, the argument has been, if you look at the disproportionate effect of, you know, who gets caught up in these sweeps and who gets put into jail, and once you go to jail, you know, and you have a record and one thing leads to another and your whole life can go spiraling down very quickly not to mention the prisons are in many cases unsafe. So that's the part of it where I'm sympathetic. But the answer to that would be to decriminalize these things and they are to their credit. Speaker 2 00:53:37 They are they're decriminalizing marijuana. And I dunno at some point they'll probably decriminalize a prostitution, but I think it's really the drug things that are putting people in jail. But I think I'm much more pessimistic about the motive here to me is, is, is really, I think there are people actually who want lawlessness. I know that will sound weird. Um, and the American people are very benevolent. And in many cases, I think they're frozen in space these last couple of years, because they absolutely can't believe two things. They can't believe that public health officials would mass house arrest them on mass and disempower them. And secondly, I don't think they believed that they really want to defund the cops and have anarchy and chaos that the American people can't believe that. But there is a small group of people who absolutely believe that. And then some of them are in charge. Well, we know they're in charge of things. It's incredible. Speaker 1 00:54:34 Dr. Kelly, do you have anything you want to say? There are two things, there is, there has been a, um, on the left for going well back into the 19th century. Um, an anarchist wig that wanted chaos, uh, as the most, you know, the firestorm that will bring down all these dilutions that can't be reformed from within on their views. Um, you know, the famous Saquon and Speaker 2 00:55:04 Case Speaker 1 00:55:06 Was, uh, they were probably railroaded. I don't think that was not necessarily fair, but you know, presidents were assassinated by guys in bowler hats and all this, those, um, and so that's part of the deal, but also, um, for decades, there has been a theory of crime that, um, crime is a result of poverty or neglect other social factors and all the point removing responsibility from the individual person and criminal and that waxes and wanes, um, right around for a long time. And I see this recent, um, movement that you described as, uh, just another form of that. Another chapter. Speaker 2 00:55:54 There's another theory within the Marxist critique, which says, you know, for years, David w you know, in the early years, it was, there's going to be mass unemployment. You know, the capitalists are sucking the blood and marrow out of the worker and reserve armies of the unemployed that, so when that didn't happen, that didn't really happen at all. Um, there was this more recent critique that said, they're all in jail. What happened is you've employed. These people, you've marginalized them. They are without work. They are poor. And in order not to have mass unemployment, you just basically round them up and send them to jail. So that if you look, that's a very common critique within the Marxist critique of capitalism, they're basically saying you're unemployed or in jail. So you could, that's another motive why they want to release them. They want them released because they literally think they're like political prisoners. Speaker 2 00:56:45 And this is capitalism masking. I mean, they think they're like weekers. They think this is capitalism masking its failures by imprisoning people and pretending they're doing justice and believe in law and order and things like that. And I think another interpretation of this would be if you hate capitalism, which these people do, there's two ways to undermine it. You can go authoritarian, totalitarian, you can have government running, everything, mandating, dictating everything that's, what's going on in public health, but you've got also undermine it by having anarchy. So, so it's a, it's a Testament to how capitalism needs not only Liberty, but the rule of law and anarchy basically says no rule of law and here. And he says, no Liberty. So it's like a pincer movement. Um, so don't think of them as necessarily, you know, different things. It's like Fowchee is fascism in medicine and, you know, Soros or whoever else is funding these DA's or whoever our BLM site who's funding, you know, the deep on the police movement. That's the more Marxist anarchists, the version of above both anti-capitalists notice Speaker 1 00:57:57 And both the United by, um, a preference for the subject of arbitrary discretionary use of force Speaker 2 00:58:06 And the rule Speaker 1 00:58:06 Of law. Speaker 0 00:58:08 All right. Well, one final question. Um, you're about two minutes left here. So just a quick question from Jay, any quick comments on the Jessie Smollett case and the public rush to comment before, and even after the verdict, Speaker 1 00:58:25 I followed that forbid, um, to me, that's a textbook case of there, the herd mentality on the part of journalists, uh, following plus their narrative. Speaker 1 00:58:41 They have a narrative that, um, that makes it highly plausible to them that a black gay man will be attacked in a, um, in Chicago. And so they initially had a plausibility judgment. This is, yeah, this is exactly the kind of thing that happens among all these racist people. Um, they beat up black gaze. So, and it was kind of a shock when, um, in the news media, when they started having to backpedal and try to explain the way there's the validity. But, um, I, that to me is a textbook case of the many problems in the, Speaker 2 00:59:28 I like the, I like your approach, David. So instead of getting into dish Molet himself, you know why that could be just a mental disorder, you know, someone who would be so crazy to do something like that and fake a hate crime against himself. But I think you're right, the much more interesting story is the reaction and the gullibility and expectation of the bias. Of course, this would be why, because I have a narrative in my brain also, but I also think of it as there's this narrative that the intellectuals have that America is structurally racist, right. Going up against the reality of it. Isn't actually, it's episodic racism. It's not structural, it's episodic, right. But even the episodes have to be concocted in some cases so that people will think, you know, I really got to show you that it's racist to the point where we'll have to make it up. Speaker 2 01:00:18 And the sad thing about this is if it, if that keeps happening and there are people who keep databases by the way of a hate crime hoaxes, um, actual cases of it will not be believed. So it's like crying Wolf, but the fact that he wouldn't be taken down for perjury, I mean, apparently he was, he convicted of, I don't know. I can't remember. I think he was convicted, but when someone told me he perjured himself all over the place and they're not pursuing them for perjury, he lied about the whole case during the trial. But the, so that, yeah, that's another, Speaker 0 01:00:55 Yeah, I could go on about that for a lot longer, but alas, we are out of time. So I want to thank David and Richard and all of you for joining us today. Again, I'm Abby Beringer, student program manager. If you like these conversations, we do plenty of them. You can join Dr. Salzman and I for morals and markets this month, Thursday, December 30th, right. Uh, the right and wrong of reparations. So be tuned for emails about that. Um, and please join our other, um, seminars and please consider making a tax deductible [email protected] Next week, the Atlas society asks former judge Alex Kozinski. I hope you will tune in with us then. Thank you all again, and have wonderful rest of your afternoon evening, depending on where you're at.

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