Scholars Ask Scholars: Richard Salsman Interviews Jason Hill

July 27, 2022 01:01:34
Scholars Ask Scholars: Richard Salsman Interviews Jason Hill
The Atlas Society Presents - The Atlas Society Asks
Scholars Ask Scholars: Richard Salsman Interviews Jason Hill
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Show Notes

Join Senior Scholar and Professor of Political Economy at Duke, Richard Salsman, Ph.D as he sits down for an interview with fellow Senior Scholar, Jason Hill, Ph.D, Professor of Philosophy at Depaul. Listen as they discuss how Professor Hill discovered Ayn Rand as a teenager in Jamaica, his observations on trends over decades of teaching at a college level, and about his most recent books, including "We Have Overcome: An Immigrant’s Letter to the American People" and "What Do White Americans Owe Black People: Racial Justice in the Age of Post-Oppression."

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Episode Transcript

Speaker 0 00:00:00 Hi everyone. And welcome to the hundred 14th episode of the Atlas society asks. My name is Richard SSO and I'm one of four PhD senior scholars here at the Atlas society, which is the leading nonprofit organization. Introducing young people to the ideas of iron Rand in creative ways, such as through animated videos and graphic novels. I am delighted today to be joined by my colleague at Atlas society. And I, and I, I suppose professor, I could say colleague in the professorate as well. There's not that many of us trying to promote reason individualism and capitalism in the universities, but there are more than maybe people think, uh, sometime maybe we should discuss whether there are closet Aristos and closet objectives out there who need to come out. But for those who don't know, who should know, just may joined the Atlas society website and see this, that Dr. Speaker 0 00:00:56 Jason Hill immigrated to America from the democratic socialist state of Jamaica in 1985, I think Michael Manley was in charge then, right professor, uh, he went to college in Atlanta. He went to Georgia state university where he graduated in 1991. Then he earned his ma and PhD at Purdue. He finished at Purdue in 98, 2 years later, he began at DePaul university as a philosophy professor that's in Chicago. If you know, professor hill specializes in ethics, in political philosophy and philosophy of education and other things he's also learned in literature and has taught the philosophy of literature. He's taught the Victorian novels. So lots of, lots of, uh, different interests and talents here. Um, now in addition to articles and academic journals, and I've read them and they're very good. He is what we would call a public intellectual. He has the ability to bring complex ideas to the general public in a way that's very, uh, insightful. Speaker 0 00:01:56 I think very Aite and at the same time, very entertaining, very witty actually. Um, I find him to be a very courageous, uh, professor, uh, because his views are possibly not in the mainstream in various areas, but he still is out there and, uh, proud of his positions anchored. In reality. Now he has specialized, uh, in the public realm. He has talked about things recently, like, um, critical race theory, race relations in America, foreign policy. We might, uh, hope we get to talk about the overturning of, of Roe V Wade and what that means. Um, but five fascinating books and the first one, 2000. So you've been publishing for 20 years. Now, these books, fabulous books, the first one becoming a cosmopolitan, what it means to be human in the new millennium. Then in 2009 beyond blood incented, like, excuse me, beyond blood identities, post humanity in the 21st century, 2013, a fascinating book on civil disobedience and the politics of identity. Uh, I love the subtitle when we should not get along 2018. I think you've described this as your favorite so far, we have overcome an immigrants letter to the American people. And then finally last fall issued. Um, what do Americans owe black people, racial justice in the age of post oppression? So an enormously productive scholar welcome professor hill. It was great to talk to you again, we've talked before, so in full disclosure, but I, I really look forward to this. Thanks for coming today. Speaker 1 00:03:35 Thank you for having me. It's uh, it's a great pleasure to be here. Speaker 0 00:03:39 I wanna ask you, I wanna make this somewhat thematic, not necessarily biographical, although your biography is amazing for those who don't know, there is a prior interview of professor hill by, uh, the president of the Atlas society, Jennifer Grossman. So make sure you take a look at that. It's very good. I think it was a 18 months ago or so maybe more, but the, the, what I wanna ask you is I noticed in the past, you said that one of the things you first heard of in iron Rand was her last, uh, public talk, which was called the sanction of the victims. And for those of who, who don't know, she was warning businessmen, not to appease their Crips. And specifically she was warning them not to fund universities, to the extent the universities were anti-capitalist. And so, um, she was basically saying they were victims, but they didn't have to be victims. They were giving a sanction. And I wanted to ask you, do you think there's such a thing as victimology out there that the, the whole phenomenon of I'm a victim woe is me. I couldn't help it. Uh, and it going both ways, say I, others didn't earn their success. Neither did others. Uh, should they be in jail for doing bad? The whole concept of victimology. I was reminded of it. When you said, uh, the sanction of the victim influenced you a lot. Any thoughts on that? The phenomenon? Speaker 1 00:05:03 Well, yes. I mean, I, well, let me first preface this by saying that there are authentic victims out there. There are people who are, are, are, are, there are people who are victims of child trafficking. There are people who are, are, are victims of, of, of rape and of torture and of domestic violence and who have no recourse to, to legal, um, remedies. And, uh, we have to, we have to just be realistic about that, but there is something much more nefarious going on in our culture in the sense that there are people who take any sort of perceived slight against them, anything that offends their sensibilities, um, and forge an identity in the crucibles of what we can call a cult of victimology. That is anything that hurts me. Anything that offends me, that is not a violation of my individual rights at all. Speaker 1 00:05:58 Just anything that offends my feelings, I can claim to be a victim, and it's become a great cash cow in America, where if you claim to be a victim, you are not only granted a great deal of, um, I don't wanna say notoriety, cuz that has a negative connotation. Whereas you're, you're seen as a sort of iconic Saint you're stamped with the IM perimeter of sainthood and granted some kind of iconic status that makes, which is so unAmerican to me, but it has in, in recent times, it's become quite popular where if you claim that you're a victim, which means that you're the recipient of someone's, um, unwanted criticism, cuz that's really what it is that turns you into an automatic victim, or if you're born into a class or a, or a racial group that has historically been victimized, but is no longer legally victimized, then you are still in perpetuity, a victim of that racial growth. Speaker 0 00:07:00 Interesting. I, I, I remember you saying in one interview that the insight of Socrates was important to you, that the idea that the only one who could really harm you was yourself by accepting, you know, whether it was accepting unearned guilt or, um, that, uh, you know, you had to have the invi integrity of standing up for your views and taking responsibility for your character and your actions in life, but is it possible, you know, your philosophy professor, is it possible that less, uh, belief in free will or volition is causing this, that people feel that they're buffeted by forces beyond their control, rather genetic environmental. It it's like they have diminished the element of free will in their, in their own narrative and that's causing them to, or, or is it something else going on? Speaker 1 00:07:48 Well, it is. And it's, it's, it's something also much more nefarious. We do have, uh, sort of managerial class, uh, sort of, uh, Lordship class, which tells people that you are incapable of using your creative agency on behalf of your life. There, we have a managerial class of, of, of, of mainly I think radical leftists who have appropriated, uh, the agency of, of, of people who take themselves to be victims and have said that you're paralyzed, you're impotent. You have to see yourself as being a perpetual victim and that any efforts that you exercise on behalf of your life, in which you seek to remedy a situation that is not working on behalf of your life, but that you can, you can ameliorate it or you can actually overcome it is going to be useless. And people have fallen prey to this kind of thinking for two reasons. Speaker 1 00:08:43 One is that they've realized again that, uh, for some unex inextricable reason, uh, people pay attention to those who claim to be victims. And second, it gives them a feeling of empowerment by shaming, by getting, having the power to shame others and induce guilt in them. When you can sort of, um, shame others into feeling guilt that is, and guilt implies wrongdoing, it gives you a great sense of power. And so people feel a sense of empowerment paradoxically by being victims because they have the capacity to inflict guilt and shame and induce guilt, I should say, and shame in other people. And that gives them a great sense of empowerment. Speaker 0 00:09:32 Yeah. I've often thought that in addition to the obvious physical force, one way to control people is to make them feel guilty. And another one is to make them feel fearful. You know, you're, you're gonna get this, uh, it's a pandemic pandemic, uh, run into your basements and, uh, don't work. But unearned guilt is another one. Now is part of, you've talked about cultural Marxism before is part of the motive. Also the idea, if there's a victim that must be a perpetrator and the cultural Marxist approach of its black versus white men versus women rich versus poor labor versus capital. This constant is there's this inces look for victims and perpetrators to divide society, to divide and conquer. Is that what's going on? Is it that nefarious? Speaker 1 00:10:18 It isn't that nefarious. It is. It's a very mannequin world that we live in where we sort of divide the world up into. Um, you know, there must be, uh, uh, a singular, a mono causal explanation that we can ostensibly point to that's causing, let's say disparities, uh, let's just use the black white scenario. For example, there are disparities, uh, on various levels between blacks and whites. And, uh, we must chalk that up to the reside effects of slavery. Now, there are all sorts of reasons why various disparities exist between races and exist interracial among races, right? Because we're not all equal, um, because we're not all equally intelligent, we don't have the same sort of values. And how do you redistribute values, which are causally, um, uh, contributory to outcomes. Um, there are all sorts of reasons that we can ostensibly point to which can explain why there are differences, but people become conceptually very, very lazy. Speaker 1 00:11:21 And also not just conceptually lazy become because of out of political expediency, they simply conjure up a mono calls and explanations say, this is the residue effect of slavery. Um, and so it's a very mannequin and very sort of in the bad sense of the term binary way of looking at, at, at explaining, um, let's say inequalities, um, and it, it, it prevents a sort of very nuanced and, and truthful way of looking at why there are, for example, differences, why there are phenomenal that have to be explained by applying different economic models, by applying philosophical explan explanations, there are philosophical meaning tests, their economic meaning tests. There are various meaning tests that have to be passed and people don't want to go through the hard rigorous work of doing this kind of, of, of, um, this, this, this, the, the job of doing this kind of powered work. So they, they, they, they fall back on these kinds of, um, superficial, trivial explanations, really. Speaker 0 00:12:36 I think also of the, what we would call the non-essentials things you were born with and have no control over seem to have predominance today, skin color, ethnicity, where you were, where you were born nationalism, um, Martin Luther king famously said in the early sixties, we should be judging people based, not on the color of their skin, but on the content of their character. Now he was very influential and obviously influential to the civil rights act, which I wanna ask more about, I know you have views on that, but why do you think let, to stipulate that that was a dominant view in the sixties, say it was, I think it was, why have we seemed to have lost that? Do you think that is almost mocked to even by so called black leaders Speaker 1 00:13:21 Because of something else that king said, which I always write down and keep it on my, um, on my, my desk king said sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity are the greatest sin that one could commit. I'm gonna say that again, king also said sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity. And I think people fall into that. That is what Aristot would call in more philosophical terms affected ignorance, or will ignorance where people just choose to not get outside of their curated silos and emancipate themselves from their ignorance. They want to just, um, deliberately, uh, seek out knowledge that corroborates what they, what they already knew instead of challenging themselves to really seek the truth. And this is really true. Um, um, people are self willfully, self deceptive in areas that, um, will radically call into question for them to change their self image and change their conceptions of themselves in such a way that they simply cannot tolerate. And, um, I think this is quite unfortunate because it leads to, um, logically it leads to a, a set of, um, policies, for example, that stem from false conceptions about the world and false beliefs about, um, people's conceptions of themselves or about the world. But it's really, you know, I like this idea that sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity, um, are part their responsible for the tenacious way in which people hold on to beliefs about other people and about the world that they live in. Speaker 0 00:15:16 Yeah. So it points out also the importance of, uh, that we have volition that it's, uh, you can have an insight in one decade lost in another, that transfer of knowledge has to go on that I've always been interested in, in the, the content of their character comment, character itself is, uh, something we develop, right. Or, or that our teachers preachers and others develop in us. What do you think is going on today in terms of what well, let's, let's stick to youngsters for now, or being taught either in families, public schools, other settings about what their character should be. One, whether they have any control over their character, but also like what should be the top character traits you think there's trouble there? Speaker 1 00:15:57 Well, I think we've lost, we've fallen into a host at the kind of hardcore determinism where we are told by sociologists and, um, anthropologists that we are the products of, or environments. And I certainly, I know it's logically not proper to always reduce oneself as evidence of stupidity of a claim. But, um, I, I think that that's partially what's going on, that people are told that they are the products of their environment, that their character formation is not something that their response before that they're the passive recipients of other people's image in which they have been made like plasticine or doll shaped UN uncontrollably, uh, by others. And that they have had no control in either their capacity to reject or to mediate the extent to which others are attempting to control them. This is not to say that people are not influenced by their environment. Speaker 1 00:16:59 They most certainly are. No, but it overlooks the capacity to which we, as individuals of free, who possess free will have the capacity to mediate those influences to say no, or more importantly, to reject the values by which we have been raised to reformulate them, to subject them to some kind of appraisal moral appraisal. Yeah. Um, and to scrutinize them, to subject them, to meaning tests and to when we find that there are competing, um, contrasts between what we believe and what we think versus the values and the norms, and the more is of others that are part of our identity constructs. We use the faculty of reason to adjudicate among other things, to adjudicate these, these, these, these competing dilemmas or these competing constructs. Right. And, but reason as iron Rand said in her day, uh, is an outcast and almost an outlaw today, it has become an outlaw, uh, where if you use reason to adjudicate truth claims, you're told that you're basically using something that is the construct of a right. White, racist and purist. Um, so this is something that, uh, encourages a kind of passivity on the part of individuals who are made to think that they are just the passive constructs yeah. Of other people's conceptions of, of who they have become. Speaker 0 00:18:33 Yeah. I mean, I, I, I know you have, I have seen an academian elsewhere concepts, like objectivity or the scientific method or the self-made man grammar, math logic, um, dismissed as, uh, oppressive mm-hmm <affirmative>, these are oppressive things used by Western Civ and white patriarchal, you know, the whole litany, uh, if we are depriving young kids of these values, you must be objective. You must go by reason and logic, and you must know math. <laugh> the laws of grammar. Uh, maybe that's why the culture's becoming so course and crude as everyone notices, but doesn't quite, isn't quite able, um, to explain, I remember in the late eighties, I guess I'm old enough to admit the chant at Stanford. Um, Hey, Hey, ho ho Western Civ has got to go Speaker 1 00:19:31 Jesse Jackson, Speaker 0 00:19:32 That was Jesse Jackson and others. That was the late eighties. Here we are. I did think the eighties and nineties, we were moving in the right direction and moving toward capitalism, more reasonableness, but that seems to have come back. And that is a big theme. Now I want to ask you about your first book. I thought one of the most important themes in your book on cosmopolitanism was the idea you were pushing back. I think against the idea of multiculturalism that you could not back to objectivity the claim was it's still today. The claim you could not claim that any particular civilized way of living was legitimate. Provable should be universal, is humane. Uh, elaborate on that a little bit. You, you think we've lost what, what cosmopolitanism means, um, and, and universal human values, the kind of things you wrote about in that book and whether we've lost that since you wrote it 20 years ago, whether we've lost more of it. Speaker 1 00:20:29 Right. Well, I was drawing on the ancient tradition, going back to the cynics, the DESE, and the ancient stoic that, um, you know, we, we have, we have a, a common identity, which is reason, which is grounded in moral purpose. And if there's any conflict between our regional identities or ethnic identities, um, and, uh, and or larger identities, we have a moral commitment to, to choose the re the identities outside of, or the ethnic or the regionals fair. Why? Because that's the identity that every human being can relate to, which is reason. So what I wanted to do in the first, it's a tri jury of the first three books, um, blood identity cosmopolitanism, and why we should not get along is to show that, um, ethnicity, nationality, and race as primary, um, foundations for an identity. Um, it's improper because they're morally neutral markers, which say nothing about the moral characteristics of an individual, and they're conceptually lazy markers, right? Speaker 1 00:21:33 I mean, if I know someone is Croatian, I'm more likely to know that they're Catholic than if they're Serbian, which would mean that they're Eastern Orthodox, but that tells me nothing about the moral character of a person. So the books were intended. The first book, especially was intended to provide a moral, psychological framework to teach people how to re socialize the self back to a sort of more reason oriented, moral identity, and to get away from strong fixations on ethnic racial and national identities, not necessary to, to evacuate the self from those identities. These are, these are sociological. These are part of how we actually refer to ourselves and actually make sense of ourselves. It's part of our historicity, but the kind of strong sense in which people will go to wars and kill others over blood identities over ethnic identities. Oh, is so irrational is so anti reason is so against what the stoic had in mind that, um, and is, and is, and is part of the multicultural identity actually paradox with it because multiculturalism promotes the distinctness of racial, ethnic identities and the preservation of them as being really constituent of who we are, as opposed to falling back on something like individualism, which cosmopolitanism does. Speaker 0 00:22:54 Right. Um, the issue of, um, relates, uh, you did a clubhouse recently in, in defense of elite mm-hmm <affirmative> and Photocracy. And I think of that in this context, because the same issue of whether cultures or lifestyles or life choices can be considered, uh, you know, more humane or proper versus not expand a bit on your view that, uh, there's a there's maybe is populism against elite. What is elite? We know elites are credentialed, usually experienced. What, what is the issue with elitism and meritocracy and why they're being attacked? Speaker 1 00:23:33 Well, I think the colloquial notion of elitism has a bad taste in people's mouth because they think of elitist as a sort of culture of people who are trying to garner special privileges for themselves based on us set of, uh, special, uh, characteristics that they have. But when I think of elitism, I think of a set of skills and talents and merits that one does possess and not just from end doubt by, by endowment, but through cultivation, through discipline, through great tenacity, resilience, and hard work. And that distinguishes one from others that makes one rather uncommon and exceptional. And that one should take pride in one's ex in one's ex exceptional identity that one has crafted. This goes back to the sense that character Rand's notion that human beings are self-made creatures. Yeah. And that, to the extent that you have worked on yourself, I talk about this in my first book as a wonderful stylized work of art, right? Speaker 1 00:24:38 That, that, that to see yourself as a stylized work of art that you have imbued with consciously imbued, with certain values that you have in my book, I talk about morally themetized your life with characteristics that you have become a morally ambitious person that you have pinned your aspirational identity on certain values that you work on in the same way that one would work on one's body, in the gym, you work on these aspirational values. Yeah. That makes you quite properly an elitist. Yeah. And it's something to be quite proud of, and it makes others the legacies and the beneficiaries of your skillset of your values, because you bequeath to the world, the stylized work of art that you have become others become it's it's classic. It's what, it's what GA is to the world. Right? It's what Howard work is to the world. Um, you have become a walking value practitioner in the world and others benefit from that. Speaker 1 00:25:40 Now why would someone resent a person in the same way that when someone, I mean, I go to the gym, I'm not a gym breath. I go to the gym twice a week or three times a week. But when we get aesthetic pleasure by looking at someone who, you know, has a really beautiful body, for example, we don't feel resentment in that person. Why do we feel resentment? And when we look at a, a, a more, a wonderfully moral or less stylized human being yeah. Who has worked on him or herself and has paint her, him, or his, or her aspirational identity on certain values we should get, this is what, why I think Rand said that her works primarily were not didactic works. There were works in which we, we seek to emulate or to admire the characters. So that's what I meant by elitism and, and meritocracy, um, in the best sense of the term. And you're not trying to get one over another people, you're doing it for really rationally, selfish reasons, uh, because you want to become a better person. You're not just satisfied this notion of, there's nothing more annoying in our culture today than I hear about. Just, just be satisfied with who you are just, uh, yeah. You know, you know, just, just love yourself for who you are in the moment. Well, if we did that, we wouldn't become better people. We wouldn't improve on who we are. Speaker 0 00:26:58 Right. Right. So the Aris, the Aristotelian notion of actualizing your potential, is there gonna be some gap there between what your potential is and whether you've actualized it or not. So let's get to work. Let's get to maybe sometimes get to fun, but, uh, no, you're right. The, uh, what I think iron ran once called the divine right. Of stagnation. Some people feel like, listen, I don't have to change. I don't have to, uh, you know, get new skills to, uh, you know, make it in the workforce. I don't have to make myself lovable and, you know, get a mate, things like that. Yeah. This kind of passivity relating back to the earlier issue of whether you have any volition and control or what you call agency, you think egalitarianism has a lot to do with this, the idea that we should all be equal. So we don't wanna see, uh, gradations. We don't wanna see hierarchy. I, Rand defended something called the pyramid of ability. Um, you know, and, uh, that, that is something that people just don't want to hear about the idea that those at the top, they're not getting there by exploiting those down below, but they're, they're worth emulating, not end being right. Speaker 1 00:28:02 That's right. That's right. Egalitarianism outside of the political sense in that we are all equal before the law, which we, we, we should be ought to be equal. Cause government has no business, right? Government has no business discriminating against anyone based on arbitrary criteria, such as race or ethnicity, but outside of that, we are not equal. And, um, we're need the equal in frugality, in moral values, in, in intelligence, any of the endowments. And, and, and, and more importantly, we're not all equal in values, but people hate to hear this. They they're envious. They're jealous of the person who, who wants to be morally, who's morally ambitious and who's moral. Ambitiousness translates into moral what I would call moral efficaciousness and who lives a good life because that person has been morally consistent. The, the, the, the morally incompetent and lazy person, or the village idiot, who spends a life watching reality TV, versus someone who builds a skill set by like me, I'm studying foreign languages, cuz I love languages. Speaker 1 00:29:03 Um, wants to feel I'm I'm, I'm your equal or the person who does it, you know who I read you and I read books, right? We just don't watch YouTube videos or, or, or do jazz riffs. We do deep dives, right. And the TA and the audacity of such people to think, well, I'm your intellectual equal. Um, is, is something that is also a result of this cult of, of, of cultural relativism that we live in, where, where we're, we're, we're taught that there are no criteria to adjudicate among distinctions between truth claims and it applies on the personal level. Also there no criteria to adjudicate among who's better at what than, you know, you're I, I'm not Anno economist, I've read a couple I've I've taken classes in economics. But for me to say that, you know, I'm Richard Salzman equal in economics. So it'd be ludicrous. Speaker 1 00:30:00 I mean, you're, you're a, you're an economist, you're a far superior economist than I am. I've taken a couple courses I've read, but you know what I'm saying? I'm I, so for me to say, Richard Salzman is a superior economist to me is not only truthful. It, it is, it is empirically accurate. And to, to, to say that be because I'm going to read a handful of books and I can know something about some macro macro issues is ludicrous, but this is a sort of world that we live in, right. Where people want to sort of embrace this radicality. AISM um, it's a self-esteem issue. Richard. I think it's a self esteem issue. Um, people, um, don't want to, um, and it's an, it's an issue of envy. Also. It's an issue of envy. Speaker 0 00:30:52 You make an interesting point cuz isn't there a certain paradox and we live in an age where there seems to be widespread skepticism. Mm-hmm <affirmative> you can't be sure you can't be sure of anything. Reason is impotent reason is unreliable. You know, everyone's biased. Everyone has their priors. Objectivity's a joke. Right. But at the same time, everyone's an expert in everything. <laugh> Speaker 1 00:31:12 Right. Speaker 0 00:31:13 And, and sometimes I, I, I know what you're saying. You must say the same thing. You see someone opining on something and they have no idea what they're talking about. So I, I think those two are related. I haven't quite worked that out, but I think the two are related. Uh, they seem paradoxical. Like how can you be claiming knowledge where you have no basis for it on the same time you're claiming knowledge is impossible. Um, there's a, you mentioned equality. I wanted to ask you, uh, we don't have to spend a lot of time on this, but I'm noticing equity as a term seemingly distinct from, well, the three I teaching class are equality before the law equality of opportunity and equality of result. I think they're very different and they clash. Um, you're gonna get, as you would say, UN unequal results. If there's unequal, you know, talents and ambitions and career choices and things, but this concept of equity, could you, could you explain that to us a little bit? I, my knowledge of it is that disparate effect is important that that people are looking at, you know, if blacks are 15% of the population, then they should be 15% of all CEOs or something like that. It, what is this equity aspect and what is that doing? Cause that's becoming like a litmus test. Isn't it for policy, Speaker 1 00:32:29 Right? Speaker 0 00:32:30 Every agency of government they're saying, okay, the new standard is equity. Speaker 1 00:32:34 Well, it goes in, it goes in, it goes in hand in hand with diversity, right? So if you really want to get rid of equity, you better get rid of diversity because the more diverse your workplaces or the more diverse your pop, your, your company population, your corporation population is the more inequities it's going to be. Yeah. But so, so equity really, you know, is this notion of equal outcomes. Yeah. Um, and um, I think, I think Rand said it really well in, in when she said it's equal results from unequal causes and equal rewards for unequal performance. Speaker 0 00:33:11 Yeah. So it's like violating the law of causality. Speaker 1 00:33:13 It's valid in the law of causality. Right. So we're, we're not all E again, we're, it's predicated on this notion that we're, we, we can have equal outcomes because we're all equal and it's, it's, it would be a wonderful thing in the world if we're all equal, but I'm not equal of my athletic of my Countryman Usain bolt. Who's the still, I think the fastest man in the world. Right. <laugh> I'm not the athletic equal of, of Serena or Venus. Um, yeah. Um, um, what's, what's her last name? I'm drawing a blank here. Um, William Williams, right? Yeah. Right. And certainly in the value realm, Richard, which is even more important, we're not all equal in terms of the values that we choose. This is more important, the values, the values that we choose. So how do you, as Ram would say, how do you redistribute values, right? Which the values that we choose have more effect in determining the outcomes of our lives than almost anything else. Speaker 0 00:34:10 And certainly not a zero sum gain. These values can be taught and extended to others and generations. It that's right. The value of productive work, uh, the value of, you know, a solid romance, like these can be taught and conveyed the idea that, you know, if you've got 'em it's cuz you took 'em from somebody else. I, I really resist that as well. Now, CT, uh, quickly on CT, uh, critical race theory. Yeah. My interpretation of it and, and reading your stuff, uh it's the claim that America is systemically racist. Not that there's a racist here or there there's certain racist groups here and there, but it's that it's embedded in the laws and the institutions in the, uh, genetics, if you will, Obama put it that way. It's in our genetic, it's in America's DNA. And, and I know you have a, you might wanna elaborate this on, well, you, you have this view that there are three American foundings, the original one from 1776 or the constitution, then the Lincoln era, 1865 and then 1965. Could you elaborate on that? Do you think America is systemically racist or it used to be, and it isn't anymore? What what's happened there? Speaker 1 00:35:20 Well, it, it, it certainly was systemically racist in the sense that it's it's it's culture, society was suffused with laws that discriminated against blacks. That is the state. The biggest enemy against blacks in this country really, uh, was, was not private citizens. It was a state who created these racial taxonomies to begin with and then created laws that prevented in my research for that. My last book I, I looked at there were, there were so many hotelier, even the deep south who wanted to rent. Yeah. Uh, interstate interstate on the interstate highway who wanted to rent rooms to, to blacks and could not because they were leak, they were, they were prevented from doing so it was a state loving versus Virgin 9 67, which, which, which, which, which, which reversed, um, uh, overturned, um, interracial marriages. It was a state who, who made it illegal for races to, to marry. Speaker 1 00:36:14 So it was systemically racist in the sense that, um, the state created laws that kept blacks outside the pan of the human community, outside the domain of the Advil. In so many ways, I argue that since 1964, the 64 civil rights act, which incidentally I will admit was a violation of private property because it said to white people, you cannot use it civilly. And in many cases, criminally make racism illegal. It said you cannot use your private property. Um, as a site of discrimination, it's not an extension of your, you can't use it as an extension of your living room or of your, of your, of your own personhood. Um, since then one cannot properly then say, and that's as far Richard that's as far, I think as a state can actually go and still remain semi free without transgressing on the rights of individuals. Speaker 0 00:37:09 So that's why you're saying in the book, what is owed, you're basically saying nothing more is owed Speaker 1 00:37:14 Nothing more owed in Speaker 0 00:37:17 The past, but in the past you would say the civil war, I would agree that you say the civil war is certainly a reti restitution act. I, I mean a massive act of restitution. Here's the, here's the largely free largely white north vanquishing, the largely, uh, mixed and futile south. I mean, that was a wonderful thing. Wasn't it? I mean, not the widespread carnage, right. But the idea that America would do that Speaker 1 00:37:42 To Speaker 0 00:37:42 Follow America should be proud of. You were saying not ashamed of Speaker 1 00:37:46 No right. To follow through on its promise that it, that, that, that just, Speaker 0 00:37:50 Yeah. Speaker 1 00:37:51 Yes. That, that was inherent in the 1776 and the declaration inability clause, which implicitly applied to all persons. But unfortunately weren't was not applied to blacks. This, the, the second incarnation Lincoln's Gettysburg addressed, the civil war was a second grade founding. And then I argue that the 64 civil rights act, which not only granted blacks fully called before the law, I go even mature than call it a radical Eugen moment in American history. Because yeah, because, because, because the state was saying to blacks, to whites, we're going to re socialize you, we're going to make you into non the non-racist. Right. We're going to tweak with your sensibilities and those of you who don't like blacks, we're going to make sure that right. You can't apply your freedom of conscience into the public sphere any longer. That is a form of, I think, political eugenics. Yeah. The state, unless we're going to become a bloated totalitarian state. Yeah. We, we can't, we can't go any, we can't, we can't transgress anymore on trespass, on the rights of people. Speaker 0 00:38:56 So 16, 19, Nicole Hannah Jones, uh, Ebra X Kennedy, Nati, um, nasi coats. Who've criticized. They, they either don't know this history or they know the history and they're still insisting that there's a systemic racism that I believe is making, uh, people more racist. I mean, it's making them race obsessed today when I don't see systemic racism, but you know, the, the great friend and former slave Frederick Douglas friend of Lincoln, even Douglas said, I don't think the constitution itself was a pros slave document. He differed with some of the abolitionists on this, but there were even elements in the constitution itself, you know, putting an end to the slave trade after 20 years. Right. Various other things, there were aspects of that. And, uh, you could say, yes, the constitution and the declaration were right. They simply weren't fully extended to say blacks and women. That's true. Speaker 0 00:39:50 But, uh, I'm impressed by the fact that Britain got rid of slavery for the most part in most of its dominions peacefully in the 1830s, then America basically got rid of it with the civil war. And at the same time, we forget that in Russia, the czar eliminated CDOM in 1861. So I mean, in a 40 year period, Britain, America, and basically got rid of slavery and it had these residues, of course it did later. But, um, why these aren't seen as, uh, pride of a more civilized world. I don't, now I know you and I agree on this, but, uh, exactly. It's an amazing track record that seems to have been, uh, lost in the history. Um, couple of other questions is the concept of social justice, legitimate. How does, how does that differ from like plain old classical justice? Speaker 1 00:40:46 Well, uppercase social justice is very different from low case social justice. I think when people talk about lowercase, social justice, what they're talking about is people who's in a rights have been violated. So I always just apply when I think about social justice, my thing is, can I apply the inability clause here? Yeah. Is someone's individual rights not, or, or someone's individual rights being violated. And, um, is someone, for example, is someone who's seeking redress against a grievance being ignored by the law, right? Um, like if someone, if, if there're a group of women who, who legitimately have sexual harassment claims that are not being taken seriously by the court for whatever imaginable reason, um, then that's a legitimate social justice claim. Now social justice today has come to mean any kind of disparity that exists again, you know, income disparity, um, any kind of, um, feeling of being offended by someone, any kind of grief, any kind of issue, any kind of claim issued by the grievance industry complex that we live in yeah. Speaker 1 00:42:06 Is, is taken as, uh, risk for the social justice movement. So it involves everything from restoring so-called stolen land and I've written, and I've written ion this back to, you know, giving back all basically so much of the land. There was no such thing as stolen land. There was a war that was fought and the native Americans lost. They came in second, there was a war for resources. People should read the history of civilizations. Most of the earth today exists in the hands of people who origin originally did not own it. Right. So social justice can be anything from giving back, you know, most of California and, and, and New Mexico, uh, back to Aboriginal to, to, to native Americans, uh, it can consist in, um, disparities in health, uh, or medical conditions between the races between Latinos, blacks, and whites. Yeah. Uh, the fact that the fact that African Americans are more likely to suffer from, uh, hypertension is gr four. So social justice movements to reduce that to than 60 19 projects as this is a result of slavery. Uh, the fact that blacks are more likely to consume high amounts of sugar, the 60 19 project, I think thinks this is a result of, of, of, of slavery. So social justice in the upper case scenario involves any kind of misgendering someone. Yeah. Right. Someone who takes themselves to be Speaker 0 00:43:40 Yeah. Speaker 1 00:43:41 Um, uh, occupying the wrong biological body in which they're upside of birth, um, can be a form of social injustice. So it, it means everything and nothing except that someone's feelings someone's sense of, um, MIS injustice has been applied to them. And I think that the criterion that people should be using is, are your individual rights being violated by someone? And if the answer is no, then we need to just get rid of this notion of social justice. Really that's the only digital legitimate criteria in the free society are your individual rights being violated. Speaker 0 00:44:23 When, when I see it invoked, it seems to me that it's a collectivized version, namely one group owes another group. And, uh, if we, as we say today in the reparations debate, you know, America, white Americans today owe black Americans today, that kind of, uh, collectivized approach, uh, is not only not individualistic. It's not looking to who are the actual perpetrators in actual victims. So, uh, I've heard you speak before. I totally agree with you. It's not that justice does not include restitution or what you call restorative justice. Of course it does the whole civil court system, right? The tort system is a system by which we objectively owe into court and say, somebody harmed me and they gotta pay back. They gotta compensate me for, but the further back you go in time, not just that, right. That's why we have statute of limitations. Speaker 0 00:45:15 Right. Uh that's right. The, the, the evidence goes cold and who knows, who did, who did what, not just that, but the idea of group guilt or group is, is very common. I find in the social, uh, justice movement. I, I, I, I don't want to neglect to ask you cuz it's a more recent phenomenon, but there's a philosophical aspect of this. Your thoughts on the overturning of Roe V. Wade in, uh, Dobbs versus, uh, uh, Jackson women's. Uh, are you concerned about that? I, uh, I'm particularly concerned about the concurrence from justice Thomas who's hinted that maybe other protections, uh, like having to do with contraception and, uh, over Grael same sex marriage, any thoughts on the overturning of Roe V Wade and justice Thomas's take, Speaker 1 00:46:06 I was very disturbed by it. I am, I, I am someone who privately, uh, finds abortion problematic, but, um, let me just say that I am publicly radically pro-choice, that is the question belongs, uh, or the, the right pertains to a woman. And so I just wanna stay for the record that I am. I am pro-choice. Um, when I teach the question of abortion and pro or con uh, I privately find myself, um, feeling that, you know, there is something precious about life, but it is not a human being. We're not talking about an embryo is not a human being. Uh, it is a, a conglomeration of cells and, and the idea of politicians defining, uh, conception that the moment of conception or a set of fertilized cells as human beings is so evil is so preposterous to me. Um, I was very disappointed. I think we're heading probably, you know, it's, it seems like we're heading into a theocracy when you can have a chief justice who then says that, um, other spheres in which, by the way, the right to life, Liberty in the pursuit of happiness, depends on privacy. Speaker 1 00:47:25 A lot of people don't realize that and to suggest that the state has the right interfere in all spheres of life, which violate no rights of other people. If two people want consenting adults want to do something in their bedroom or wish to marry, and it's not a violation of other another person's right. It has no business even being in the, in the, in the, in the, in the realm of the court system. So I'm very concerned that this is an overreach on the part of the court, into the private lives of people. And, um, conservatives are usually advocates of limited government restrictive government. This seems like an overreach on the part of the state to interfere in the private lives of people. And the idea that something is not mentioned in the constitution is so ridiculous. Internet is not mentioned in the constitution. Yeah. Speaker 1 00:48:16 And the court has ruled on internet cases. There are lots of things that are, that are, that have not been mentioned in the constitution, right? What needs to be, what needs to be remembered is that there are things that have to be, there are some, a phenomenon that has to be presupposed in order to make sense of what's in the declaration. That privacy has to be presupposed in order for us to carve out a conception of the good life ourselves in order for life, in order for life, Liberty, in the pursuit of happiness to have any traction in the real world, one has to enjoy privacy in one's life. Speaker 0 00:48:49 Yeah. And I think the philosophers, irrational philosophers among us have to identify these, if something is a right, it shouldn't be open to vote. Speaker 1 00:48:58 That's right. Speaker 0 00:48:59 And so the, the wrangling today over whether it goes back to the states and they vote on it, or Congress should pass a vote, if it's a right. And I think you're absolutely right. The woman's reproductive choice is, are right. And these are not human beings. Child in the womb is a contradiction in term. Let's get our concepts. Right. That's the, in the womb is a contradiction in terms that's not, what's in the womb. Um, it's not open to vote. Right. That's why we have a first, that's why we have the bill of rights, thoughts on immigration policy. You're, you're one of our, you, you're one of America's most wonderful imports professor. You're a, you're an immigrant. I know you wanted to come here. What, from the age of 10, when you were watching television in Jamaica or saw other things you liked about in America, when you look at America and immigration policy today, what do you think about open borders, closed borders? Is that a false choice? How would you handle it? Speaker 1 00:49:51 Well, I am, I am very pro-immigration in the sense that I think that, um, uh, a country needs immigrants, but let me say a couple of things. I do not think that immigration is a human, right. I think it is a privilege that each country has the right to restrict and to admit by various rational criteria who gets led into its borders and who is excluded that open borders. Um, I don't think, uh, make sense from a number of, uh, strategic perspectives. Uh, we need to be sure that we have the resources and the infrastructures to support a number of persons who are coming in. Um, I think, I think we can have criteria that are fair and judicious that let in immigrants into this country and that we can have a proper immigration policy that is fair. And that is judicious. That doesn't mean that every immigrant who wants to come here is going to be let in. Speaker 1 00:50:53 Um, but, uh, the, the current, the current crisis on the Southern border is I find very inhumane. I think that they're ought to be a more humane way of handling the individuals who are applying for refugee status and it's quite horrific. It just, it breaks my heart to see families separated when they don't, that need not to be the case. It's just bad policies governing how applications get processed. Um, but, uh, the idea, the more philosophical idea that I want to address, uh, and I'm not sure how you feel about this is that people seem to think that simply because you want to enter into a country that you have a human right, or a constitutional right. And, and I don't think that is the case. I think that each sovereign country and, uh, exercising and sovereign in it's autonomy should have the right to determine by whatever criteria so long as the criteria, not arbitrary and based on something like, you know, race or, um, ethnicity or nationality. Yeah. Um, there are, there, there are other judicious ways of, of vetting people properly into admitting them into a country. So those criteria are not arbitrary and, and discriminatory that a country has, has the right, the sovereign right. To determine who, who gets let in. And we can, and that we, we can have that sort of policy, um, Speaker 0 00:52:25 And issues like, uh, issues like the contagious, uh, the infected, the disease, criminals terrorists, obviously filtering them out. Right. But you'd have to process the border to, so you're, it sounds like you're saying neither an or arbitrary nor promiscuous. I mean, today it's basically promiscuous. Anybody could come in, including those three dangerous groups they're being let in. Right. Uh, and there's no processing. There's not no idea who the criminals are or not the, I don't know why they don't go back to what I call the Ellis island, uh, model, uh, where they were rationally processed and, uh, and usually advised to immediately go and learn English at the local, uh, language. And now that's considered, uh, an imposition. Do I have to go learn, um, English Speaker 1 00:53:10 Or even the pro the process of assimilation is considered just discriminatory and a kind of trauma that you're inflicting on people if you're encouraging them to assimilate, which is, which is preposterous really. Speaker 0 00:53:21 Right. So if you're, if you're fleeing, presumably an inferior, even oppressive, uh, lifestyle and, and going, going out of your way, the work involved to go to another country, presumably it would be because you like this new country. Mm-hmm <affirmative>. And, and so the, I, I've never understood why the assimilation process is so controversial, except for those who hate America. And don't want to hear those values being upheld. But, but is it your, is it your guess that most immigrants coming here are coming here? Cause they love whatever they conceive of as America they're coming here. Cause they love America. Speaker 1 00:53:56 That's right. They want to be here Speaker 0 00:53:58 Assimilation. Wouldn't be a burden to them. It be a matter of pride almost that's Speaker 1 00:54:02 Right. Speaker 0 00:54:03 You don't assume they're coming here as parasites, you know, trying to get on the welfare roles. I mean, maybe that's the case, but, and maybe it's changed over time because the welfare state has become such a magnet. Maybe that's true. But yeah, I, I agree with you. I have a much more benevolent attitude, but I certainly think it's inhumane. What's being done down there. Yes it needs. And this is part of government's proper function, you know, not just the military, say police in courts, but to process people at the border and they're not that's right. They're not doing it. Do you think there's any such thing as American exceptionalism? Speaker 1 00:54:38 Well, I have in the past and I think I'm still holding onto that residual belief that there is something called American exceptionalism. I'm, I'm very disturbed at what's going on in America. It's not the country that I came to 37 years ago, but you know, Richard, I still think that that America is an exceptional country. If it were not, we still, we still would not have people still risking their lives to get here. And I hate when people say it's well, it's just a better of among many, many evils. I, I still think that America to this day is exceptional and I'm a pH I'm gonna qualify what I say. It's exceptional in the sense that it is still a country on which one can be in one's aspirational identity on certain dreams on certain ideals, America still gives you the chance and the opportunities and the resources to realize your aspirational dreams and, and, and, and no matter where you come from in the world, whether you're a do and untouchable India, uh, and made in Africa, uh, you can come to this country and you can wipe what I call the metaphysical slate of your background, clean and start from scratch. Speaker 1 00:55:51 And that is unprecedented. That has been an unprecedented phenomenon. I mean, ti today, it's, I've spent much time in Europe. I mean, it's very difficult to do that in France, in France, you really have to matriculate through the say to become French right in America. Oh yes. So is, you know, you don't even have to speak the language properly, cuz most Americans don't even speak the language properly, sloppy an on grammatical way in which Americans speak is quite charming sometimes, but has some, some semblance of, of knowledge of the language. And, and, but more importantly, work hard. Don't have a sense of entitlement and you can make something of your life. So in that sense, I still think that American exceptionalism still exists. I think that there are enemies of this country who want to attack it. Who would, who, who want to destroy this country from within who want to change the DNA of this country and turn it into something radically different than what it is. I, I, I, I see these gremlins every day. Um, many of them are in the universities and um, but I still want to hold onto the hope that, that, that this exceptionalism that I have pinned my aspirations on still is still existing. It's it's still by, by a thread it's still hanging on there. Speaker 0 00:57:12 Well, I've often thought if, if by exception, we mean, uh, very few countries have started with basic ideas and then codified them in a constitution. Most of them came about due to accident or blood lineage or conquering or things that I would even include. I say to my students, another exceptional one I can think of is the Soviet union. I mean, on the bad side, they were constructed on a set of ideas. <laugh>, mm-hmm, <affirmative> codified in the Bolser Vic revolution and, and a mass horror, of course. But, but those are two opposite cases where one's based on Liberty and one's based on tyranny, but they were definitely consciously based on a set of ideas. And maybe the reason we're losing it is people don't understand the ideas, uh, anymore. And that's what's being lost. But that could be, that could be rehabilitated if reason is well, we're, we're, we're up against time here. Speaker 0 00:58:03 Um, Jason, I, I love talking. I always love talking to you, but I love talking to you again today. I hope some of the questions were a bit different than what you normally get. I know you give a lot of interviews. I've enjoyed watching them over the last, uh, couple of weeks or so. I, I just wanted to, as we go, well, well, let me leave before I promote some other things. Is there any way, uh, people can get in touch with you? I'm sure. On Twitter, Facebook, I think, do you want to promote any other ways to get to your work the best way to other than the Atlas society? Of course you can go see Dr. Hill at the Atlas society, but any other handles or so you want to name Speaker 1 00:58:37 My Twitter handle at Jason D. Hill six is a place and, uh, okay. By my books on Amazon, of course, and I, my website needs to be updated, but that's WW Jason, Damien hill.com and my Facebook. Hi, my Facebook at, um, at Dr. Jason D. Hill on Facebook. I post a lot of, of, of my publications and stuff on Facebook. So they, they can get in touch with me on Facebook too. Speaker 0 00:59:03 Well, I also want to promote some of Jason's stuff on clubhouse and an Atlas society does a clubhouse. Um, and Jason's doing these periodically, and this is just a list of some of the provocative titles of late I ran and sex. I think she thought sex was good. Wasn't that's the bottom line. Speaker 1 00:59:19 That was the purpose of Speaker 0 00:59:20 It. Right. But there's way more in there. That's one real, that's a really good run. Here's another one of moral defense of elite and Mor meritocracy. Uh, we didn't get to foreign policy, but why defending Russia is in a why defeating Russia is in America's interest. I Rand on civil disobedience. Here's another one. Why government schools are vessels of evil and, and more recent. Some of these are two partners as well. So a lot of really good material and more recently a really fascinating one called allegory propaganda. And didacticism in Iran's novels. Uh, by the way, I we've talked about this before. I agree with you. There's a lot of didacticism in the novels and, uh, but that's an really interesting take. And one of the things I admire about you, Jason, is every topic you go at, you go at with a fresh independent mind. Speaker 1 01:00:11 Thank you. Speaker 0 01:00:12 That's a, and there's nothing about like, who am I disagreeing with or agreeing with you take on you take on adversaries, but from an intellectual standpoint and you are not some people call tribalists, you know, what tribe am I in? And I have to endorse what everyone else says. It's a fresh, independent, I know you've been doing this for decades, but I've only known you for a couple years or so. And I admire it so much, I think are the, the viewers and the listeners, the more they read your, your stuff and the more they watch your interviews they'll see that. But I just wanted to be on the record to tell you how much I admire that. And thank Speaker 1 01:00:45 You, Speaker 0 01:00:46 Richard, and wish to emulate it. Speaker 1 01:00:48 <laugh> thank you Speaker 0 01:00:50 Well to the listeners, I'll go out this way that be sure to check out, um, the events page on the Atlas society website. And, uh, next week we'll have Jeremy Adams. Who's the author of hollowed out a warning about America's next generation. That will be on the next session of Atlas. Society asks tomorrow night, my monthly morals and markets. I'll be talking about why MBAs aren't pro capitalist anymore. That's APM Eastern tomorrow. Jason, it was wonderful. I'll see you around, but I, I really enjoyed it. I hope you did too. I Speaker 1 01:01:25 Did. I had a wonderful time. Thank you. It was very stimulating. Thank you. Speaker 0 01:01:29 Thank you for enjoy. Thank you for joining us, Jason. Thank Speaker 1 01:01:31 You. Speaker 0 01:01:32 Take care. Speaker 1 01:01:33 Okay.

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