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    McCloskey VS Chomsky, How Much Authority Should Governments Have ?

    Johnathan R. Razorback
    Johnathan R. Razorback
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    Date d'inscription : 12/08/2013
    Localisation : France

    McCloskey VS Chomsky, How Much Authority Should Governments Have ? Empty McCloskey VS Chomsky, How Much Authority Should Governments Have ?

    Message par Johnathan R. Razorback le Mer 17 Avr - 13:09

    https://iai.tv/video/darkness-authority-and-dreams



    Rana Mitter [00:00:06] It's a huge pleasure to welcome you back to Hay well I say back because I see many of you have been here many times before and I hope you have and will be coming again and we're starting this evening with a debate that I suspect will be provocative and stimulating in equal measure. It's titled Darkness authority and dreams. And to discuss the core question at the heart of it do we need authority. What kind of authority do we need. Ah and we're getting our overseas transmission there as well. Do we need authority. What kind of authority do we need. And how might we rethink authority for the future. We have three very distinguished speakers joining us we have on my left although I think not on anyone else's left so to speak. Professor Deirdre McCloskey professor emerita at the University of Illinois in Chicago an immensely distinguished economic historian on my right. Professor Mark Lilla of Columbia University author amongst many other books of the recent very successful volume The Once and Future liberal. And joining us from I think Cambridge Massachusetts professor Noam Chomsky who one almost says needs no introduction but of course immensely distinguished public intellectual Professor of Linguistics at M.I.T. and the author of a very large number of very distinguished books. In times that at least some people consider to be dark troubled turbulent. Do we need authority. And I got to start if I may with Professor Deirdre McCloskey.

    Deirdre McCloskey [00:01:35] Well we we we need some authority I think gives the is the obvious answer to this but but a much smaller amount than we now have. But the problem about authority is that it's basically the art of pushing people around of men pushing women around the cops pushing poor people around the United States pushing everyone around. And I think we need to draw back from this idea that we need laws and authority to run everything. I have a cousin who works for the CIA. She she said to me and she's a very reasonable person and she said well you know a modern economy needs a lot of supervision a lot of authority a lot of people making regulate antitrust laws and blah blah blah. And I said no it doesn't. I think that like language to speak of our colleague here the language is a spontaneous order. It's not there's not some central committee that's deciding what conjugation should be in English. And the same is true of the economy. And the same is true of a lot of our life much more than people think and they think Oh we've got to have a boss here and regulations and oh gosh. And then we have to pass laws all the time. Now really I say let's stop passing laws let's have a year in which we don't pass any laws in parliament or congress and see what happens. So I think we'd be better off. There are too damn many laws too much authority

    Rana Mitter [00:03:28] Thank you very much indeed for that for a cogent statement there. I think the way theU.S. Congress is going not passing these laws might soon be the norm.

    Deirdre McCloskey [00:03:35] And that's fine. But we we real liberals and I am I'm a John Stuart Mill type nineteenth century liberal about modern clothing we think that it's a good thing that Congress can't do anything.

    Deirdre McCloskey [00:03:53] Yes.

    Rana Mitter [00:03:54] And I would like to think did read that John Stuart Mill in particular would have worn that sparkly top. I can see it very very much on on on in there.

    Rana Mitter [00:04:06] Mark Lilla. We have heard from Deirdre McCloskey that we're posting too many damn laws too much authority. Get off our backs. Is this a viewpoint that you can agree with.

    Mark Lilla [00:04:15] No I think we suffer from an authority deficit and different kinds of authority. The original authority problem if you go back to play to win Aristotle's authority over the self yes. How do you become a subject capable of reaching your own goals and setting goals and reaching them. Well that only comes when you have you know the rational part of you or the moral part of you has authority over other parts of you now. And the only way to establish that is it doesn't come naturally to us is through education. And the only way to help people become authoritative over themselves is to give them authoritative education. There is no spontaneous order of becoming a self a self can shift in society through authority. We're also suffering an authority deficit when it comes to social mores. You know it 50 years ago today or now. Back it back in 1968. People were very happy to question all sorts of authoritative mores and taboos having to do with the treatment of women. Now what we're trying to do is reconstitute those taboos and those mores and those norms because we got rid of many of them. And for many for understandable reasons. Hypocrisy and all the rest. But how do you do that when you have to do that in some other authoritative way. Young boys need to learn how to treat young girls and women when they get older. That requires that certain authority. Yeah. Finally at the political level. Donald Trump is right now destroying as many democratic norms as he possibly can. What are norms norms are not things written down there are things that are authoritative because they become taken for granted. The thing about a taboo is you don't know you have a taboo until you use it lose it. It's in that moment that it's gone that you realize that up until then it never would have occurred to you to call for your political opponent to be jailed. Yes. And then once that happens the question in all these rounds I'm talking about is how do we put the genie back in the bottle. And so I think we're too. I think Americans in particular are absolutely paranoid about authority. They have been since Tocqueville wrote and one of the problems with that is we put so many constraints on authority while at the same time asking more and more from government so the government cannot actually provide the things that we're asking them to do so we have to choose either we ask for fewer things or we give more leeway and discretion to those in public office in order to reach the ends that we want to send all those sorts of ways. I think we actually need to think through and reacquire and appreciation of authority.

    Rana Mitter [00:07:29] But within that Mark Lilla there is presumably a distinction to use highly sophisticated turns between good authority and bad authority. You're not talking about simply obeying norms or ideas because they're there already because they're inherent. Well.

    Mark Lilla [00:07:42] Part of the way norms work is that. And the reason they're authoritative is because you're not questioning them or at least when you're educated in them you're not questioning them. You begin by taking them as authoritative and then hopefully later on either you question them and reject them or you appreciate the reason behind them.

    Deirdre McCloskey [00:08:02] But but we should do we. I don't think we should be asking the government to do so much. I don't think we should be turning to the government.

    Rana Mitter [00:08:10] All that said let's hold that thought. There is a debate sort of breaking out on stage but we have another voice to hear Professor Chomsky you've just heard from Mark Lilla here in Hay the case for more authority and the right sort of authority. Would you agree with that case or would you want to argue against it?

    Noam Chomsky [00:09:14] I would argue against it in a qualified fashion. Now there is a general simple principle about authority, namely, that any form of authority, domination, hierarchy are not self-justifying. They face a burden of proof. And if they can't meet it, which I think is commonly the case, they should be dismantled in favour of more free and just social order. But there are many different facets in this consideration one has to pay attention to. Do we need authority in dark times? First, its important to recognise that yes indeed we face dark times. The symbol of that is the minute hand in the famous DoomsDay Clock that moved two minutes to midnight, closest we have ever been to terminal disaster since it was opened with one exception in 1953 when the US and former Soviet Union exploded the hydrogen bombs - for the reasons are environmental, the environmental capacity and the threat of nuclear war. We have to ask the question - do we need authority to deal with these issues? But I don't think that this is quite the way to put the question. The proper question is whether authority helps or harms in dealing with these issues. I think, if we lok closely we will see it characteristically harms. As we peak the environmental capacity, just take a look at the most powerful thing in history, I need not comment on this. The fact that you can tolerate that the authorities are acting to accelerate the race to destruction. Exactly what we don't need. As a result no counterpart can be accessed in history and technically in war. If we look at the past record, its rather a miracle that we escaped destruction. And its often repeatedly because of the reckless acts that have gone on. If you look for other issues, background different kinds of issues, voluntary subordination to authority. There is a medieval doctrine quote this that whatever has pleased the prince, has the force of law, since the people have yeilded up to him their power and authority. Voluntary and contractual submisison to the rules of philosophical axiom. Well, we rejected that act, and have subverted it. In fact, we claim to - in reality we don't. Take, say, the European Union, part of its problems is that authority has been ceded to an unelected troika, and the consequences of that we see quite regularly in elections with what you call populism, better understood as the rejection of illegitimate power and authority.

    [00:11:52] Well look at the United States. We don't have that, but we do have something similar. Now there's extensive, convincing research from academic political science showing that the single variable of campaign funding is a remarkably precise prediction of electability and programmes pursued. Other research shows that a large majority of the population is literally disenfranchised, in that their representatives pay no attention to their opinions. They are living listening to the voices of the wealthy and the powerful. So, do we need authority? Not quite. Let me just take a last analogue to the medieval doctrine - labour contracts, the foundation of our economic order. They very closely resemble the philosophical axiom as contractual submission to the ruling authority. And in the early days of the industrial revolution, such arrangements were literally condemned as so called wage slavery, differing from the chattel slavery only in the length of the tenure of the slaves. As classical liberal James Mill put it that was a doctrine held by Abraham Lincoln, Republican Party, classical liberal icons like John Stuart Mill who very much like American workers....those who work in the middle of..... The times may have changed, but the principles remaind. And I think there are good increasing questions as to whether or when authority is legitimate when it should be dismantled in favour of popular control of institutions.

    Rana Mitter [00:13:30] Pofessor Chomsky May I take that point which you've articulated very clearly and throw it to our fellow panelists here to get some discussion on that. We wanted to bring it back in and just a a moment I think Noam Chomsky said several things there that we should pick up in terms of thinking about this question of how and whether centralized authority is essential for a society to work effectively. Actually the last part of what Professor Chomsky said Mark I'd like to throw to you. You've written a great deal about identity and without caricaturing you've argued that identity politics in some ways is becoming very corrosive of democratic society. Let me take a specific example that I think relates to one aspect of what Noam Chomsky has just said. Supposing you are one of the many African-Americans who feel that the police will not be a sensible source of authority in society do not represent your interests do not have your interests at heart I'm not protecting you and your community and in a city in the United States. Is that a form of authority which they should be respecting and taking account of or do they have a legitimate just intimate case to say this is something that is widely recognized as authoritative but we don't feel it should be for us.

    Mark Lilla [00:14:45] Oh sure it's very understandable. But one has to understand that I mean if I can back up to answer the question that I really read recently Lennon's attack on Rosa Luxemburg which is called infantile leftism. And I realized that he was totally right and Luxembourg was totally wrong. It didn't tell you the life you've endorsed Lenin. Yes you know what. I'm becoming more Leninist by the day. But the point is that in the end you need a party. You need authority you have to work within a system of something and there is a kind of infantile leftism that talks about authority in the way Kafka talked about the castle. There is authority there is the wall and we have social movements where we come up and we're ramming the door. And every once in a while authority tosses things down to us right. That is not the way democracies work and we cannot exaggerate the problems of legitimacy in our democracies that know there are doors into the earth into the into the castle. There are conversations about. How about things we might do. Certain people have more voice than others. That's absolutely right. But it is not a wall. And one consequence of infantile leftism is that in rejecting authority if it throws itself into the hands of the so-called people and one populist Tribune yeah that pretends to speak for the people. Yeah yeah. And there's a long list of that beginning from the Soviet Union down to Hugo Chavez and a certain kind of infantile leftists that falls in love with these truly authoritarian figures because they're against authority.

    Deirdre McCloskey [00:16:34] Well I agree with that in part because indeed if you're going to do politics by majority vote which which which ends up with Chavez or or bomb this this this fellow and in Hungary as an example or God help us Donald Trump that's where your appealing would not you. But one is appealing to a majority rule we vote and then the minority is crushed you jail your political opponents and so forth. But there is a third way which is not infantile. It's an optimism about self organizing Yeomans free Yeomans. And indeed as as an economist I of course am very enthusiastic about this notion that a market society doesn't need massive walls massive authorities castles to telling them what to do. I think you're right that if you take the political view of naive democracy you're going to get naive results are really great. Journalist in the United States in the early 20th century H.L. Mencken said democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want and deserve to get it good and hard.

    Noam Chomsky [00:18:11] As one of those infantile leftists let me respond first to the history. Rosa Luxembourg and other left marxists who objected to Lenin's conception that the public should subject itself to the party, which subjects itself to the centra, committee, which should subject itself to the maximal leader, who would construct, what he himself called the labour army by answering to the name of leader. Those are the infantile leftists, and I'm glad to be among them. When we turn to the modern society, we have to ask ourselves, does the majority (take the United States) - does the majority hate authority? Well, the anwer is no. As I pointed out briefly, you can look at the literature, there is overwhelming evidence that the elections are essentially bought. With astonishing precision, you can predict the outcome of an election simply by looking at campaign funding. And that's only one of the many factors by which concentrated welath and corporate power will determine the nature of legislations - there is lobbying and many other devices. And in fact the large majority of the population are indeed unrepresented. Their own representatives disregard their opinions totally, and pay attention to the same centres of power. That's simply not true that we pick our leaders: we don't. Formally, that's possible. But in fact, it isn't. Same is true with labour contracts. As a classical liberal I do agree with John Stuart and James Mill that the propert form of association in an economic system is for working people to own and to control their own enterprises, not be subordinated to the masters, which is a temporary slavery as they called it. Temporary if you assume there is a way of getting out of it, which back in those days isn't a thing. Yes I think you have to question very seriously the actual role of authority, the way it functions in creating dark times, in imposing repression. Populism shouldn't mean and properly does mean, taking seriously Thomas Jefferson's distinction between aristocrats, who want to appropriate to themselves full power (Lenin was a typical example) versus the democrats, who regard the common people with the opportunities for what's now called the deliberative democarcy be the safest suppository of common interest, and I thikn the direction in which we should be trying to move.

    Rana Mitter [00:21:34] Could I put that point Professor Chomsky back to our other panelists here. I mean Mark Lilla it seems to me that infantile leftist versus future liberal is possibly the worst superhero movie ever. But if we wanted to get past that. Would you accept Professor Chomsky's proposal that the basis the actual basis of what he would call so-called liberal democracy is so corroded so corrupt that actually the pillars of authority that you're putting forward don't really have validity in the first place.

    Mark Lilla [00:22:04] No. Because what's being compared is our present reality and the disaster of our campaign finance system which I agree with entirely with some fantasy of a plebicite like democracy that is not the democracy we have in fact we have constitutional democracy. And it was constructed in a certain way so that authority was would be diffuse in different sorts of institutions. They would lean against each other and disagree with each other in other ways. It's an indirect democracy. And that allows consultation. And frankly it leaves room for elites to be in a room and to reflect on these things and our great powers after we get to put people into office that is that eventually we can get rid of them. And that's the test I think.

    Rana Mitter [00:22:51] But of probably democracy without putting words in Noam Chomsky's mouth he would say that you can substitute a Democrat for a Republican but essentially they all come from the same sort of background with the same sort of assumptions and the same sorts of. But there is power it's not really actually.

    Deirdre McCloskey [00:23:04] But there that there's there's an underlying problem here with with both the the infantile but very does distinguished left distinguished colleague in the end and the fascist.

    Deirdre McCloskey [00:23:22] Oh yeah. I don't actually mean that. But. That we're all we're both of them are assuming.

    Deirdre McCloskey [00:23:30] That our lives should be entirely political and that politics should dominate the economy the society that that's where all the action is. And I I I I I look left and right is simply an argument over how massive state power will be used on the left encouragement of class warfare on the right encouragement of the imperial expansion to curse on both their houses. Let's move to say I less governed society.

    Rana Mitter [00:24:15] I'm going to go back to Professor Miller and then to Professor Chomsky. You look in the first place and then we'll go to report.

    Noam Chomsky [00:24:22] Now you've got nothing. The most obvious. You want more government I want less.

    Rana Mitter [00:24:30] It was the CIA. It was her. It was the Andrews cousin. My cousin. I'm hoping we will get Professor Chomsky about the line because that was actually a really rather well. Well we do that. That's just too bad not enough to guarantee it.

    Mark Lilla [00:24:47] I mean I agree with Deidre McCloskey more than she might think. Yeah. And I think you are part of the art of authority is that to the extent that you can have spontaneous or you should have there you then write our will join on and so but to the extent that you. Have government that acts it must have authority within the realm that it does not like. There were so the the American movie Mr. Smith Goes to Washington has a lot to answer for. Yeah there's this idea. This kind of Frank Frank Capra view of politics in America that you can find some corn pone guy you know who is this pure individual and he'll go to Washington and I'll see how corrupt everyone is. And you know the people will flood in and and everything will change. Also President Trump right. Right. Yeah. American movies are like that. What are they about some corporate structure right. And there's one computer programmer there who understands everything and the journalists won't listen to me. Eventually they overcome them and that makes Americans suspicious of authority. I would like more limited government but more authoritative government in the things that government does.

    Deirdre McCloskey [00:26:02] Well I agree with you there. But look in in nineteen thirteen the share of all levels of government expenditure state federal local in the United States was about seven and a half percent of national income of all the stuff produced in the country. Seven and a half percent. Now it's 32 percent.

    Rana Mitter [00:26:25] But definitely let me let me come in on that. One of the reasons it rose so fast was two little things one called the New Deal and the on the back of the Great Depression and one when the second world war. Yes. Are you suggesting the United States either should not have dealt with the Great Depression or fought the Second World War.

    Deirdre McCloskey [00:26:40] Well I have great criticisms of Franklin Roosevelt's economic policy. I get into arguments with my mother who's 95 on these matters and she's an FDR.

    Rana Mitter [00:26:54] But the authority of the American system by the end of the 1920s has been heavily corroded by the fact that capitalism at that time seemed to have failed and put up in.

    Deirdre McCloskey [00:27:02] Well yeah I put that extra and haven't failed and hasn't failed. Look here we go. Where we're vastly. We're vastly better off in in in 1941. Just take one date. The average income in the United States was what it is now in Brazil. And I love Brazil. It's a wonderful place but it's poor. And I hope it will stop being poor but the way it's going to stop being poor is the spontaneous order of the market and Anna and I want to make again this point that language is a spontaneous order and an argument is a spontaneous order and the and the and the common law is a spontaneous order. And they work reasonably well they're not perfect. And and we don't need to be bossed around all the time.

    Rana Mitter [00:27:51] Professor Chomsky would you say the spontaneous order of the market will get us through.

    Noam Chomsky [00:27:56] Well actually I lost the last. Sorry. I don't know if what I said last over we got most of it actually there. But wait which we just did.

    Noam Chomsky [00:28:10] Let me just start with the last comment. 1941. Yeah we were a much richer society. Incidentaly for most of the population that stops at around 1980, when the liberal principles were instituted. By now, real wages for the majority were approximately what they were in the 1960s. We've grown by very few. However, its true that we were much richer than in the 40s we have all sort of things that we didn't have back then. For example, what we are using the computers and the internet - where did they come from? Did they come from the market? Absolutely not! They came from dynamic state sector of the economy. For decades, the creative and risky work was done either in under tax payer subsidies in institutions like my own (MIT) or other research institutions under tax payers subsidies, for the institutions like IBM, which were subsidised. Finally when IBM was able to create a computer that was fast and usable, they couldn't sell it. So it was bought by a government institution, Los Alamos. Well-established procurement is a major way in which the taxpayer, meaning the statem subsidises private enterprise. And to a large extent what we call a market is a system of public subsidy and private marketing and profit. We ought to face the reality. I agree with Deirdre McCloskey that we shouldn't take orders and that includes, crucially, the orders that are taken by the worker who rents himself toa boss. No one should do that. The idea that a private wealth and corporate power should have an overwhelming effect on choice of legislation that's a form of subordination to power that we should not accept. So I agree with McCloskey that we should not distinguish that political and economic system that are totally interwoven, but we should face the reality of each of them and question whether the authority is exercised is in fact legitimate, say, by classical liberal principles.

    Rana Mitter [00:30:50] Well that question of legitimate authority I think will lead us very neatly to the next part of our discussion we I think have had plenty of discussion but we're not going to get agreement rightly so I think on the question of whether we have too much authority or too little in various societies. But I think we need to bring particular human beings into this more because the question of leaders and leadership has also become a very very live one in the last couple of years whether in the Western world with the election of President Trump the election of President McCraw in France a rather different sort of leader from Trump perhaps but certainly some a very strong personality. All the criticism of some other leaders. Perhaps the leaders in Western Europe including for some prime minister may as not having enough authority enough leadership then of course the emergence of Aryan in Turkey Xi Jinping and China a whole variety of different sorts of leaders. And I suppose the question comes if we turn from authority to authoritarianism which is a related but different sorts of question and what Leila you obviously as our other speakers are based in the United States you've seen the phenomenon emerging there. But more broadly globally do you think that we're entering a world where authoritarianism is becoming too attractive away for leaders to operate.

    Mark Lilla [00:32:07] Oh absolutely. And what's especially disturbing about it is that these right wing authoritarians are learning from each other. So you know left wing authoritarian as well as I was more in the past. But now when Orban does something it might be mimicked on the French right. And and so on. And you know but but but authoritarian ism and I'm not even sure it's the right word. I'm not sure what it has to do with authority. I mean it has to do with nationalism and has to do with racism it has to do with anti-Semitism. It has to do with militarism has to do with all sorts of things I don't know what it makes it authoritarian ism.

    Rana Mitter [00:32:52] I think probably the idea would be in this case that in those cases that the authority is embedded in the government indeed this in this case the leaders sense of his or her own sort of the Paris charismatic ization of authority in that sense ie the leader of China ie the leader of Turkey i.e. the leader of the United States perhaps these data the rights to everyone when there is not a word for it which is simply tyranny and and I'm against it.

    Deirdre McCloskey [00:33:20] I think that the tyranny of the women of of whites over blacks over rich people over poor people. These are the things that I think should be made. Nuts should be made. I can't really say this smaller. That is the the the range of authority that men had over or over women was once extremely large. There is a marvelous statement of this by someone who said in the 18th century kings had power and women had none. Now it's the other way around. And that's OK with me.

    Rana Mitter [00:34:01] But inherently is the problem. Yeah okay. But if we're talking about certain leaders of countries which have shrunk the democracies that's one thing. Yeah. Would you say that legitimately elected Democratic leaders in the making it is Angela Merkel a tyrant in Germany.

    Deirdre McCloskey [00:34:18] That's a good question. Thank you. She didn't look like a tyrant. I mean take a look. She's a she's a German. Armstrong. I mean well she did make more than that to be fair she kept her veto a dissident background came through a very very male dominated patriarchy to get us to. I mean just like Germany.

    Rana Mitter [00:34:36] The question I mean is what is it that makes Angela Merkel not a tyrant and presumably also Who are you suggesting.

    Deirdre McCloskey [00:34:42] Is it because she listens to people. So this is the big drop of yet. And b be afraid because Donald Trump doesn't listen daily anyone he thinks he knows everything he's a complete fool and he's very dangerous precisely for that reason. She listens to her opponents to her when she did this terrible mistake of allowing them a million people from Syria. And she she she reacted.

    Rana Mitter [00:35:13] She's she's at least who presumably brought many of Donald Trump's voters would say that he listened to them and it's your idea not to let in a million people in the United States he did that and that's that's the trouble to to.

    Rana Mitter [00:35:27] That doesn't make him a tyrant. That makes him so somebody listens to a different set of people.

    Deirdre McCloskey [00:35:30] It makes him a tyrant when he does the things that Mark was pointing out to find erupt every and.

    Mark Lilla [00:35:36] I think I think I understand your question better now. Someone like Erdogan is a good example right. Where who's someone who's elected on the basis of a kind of charisma and then proceeds then to destroy the democratic institutions within. Apart from the power it comes out of his presidency. And if that's what you mean by authoritarian is that that is the problem of violence in Syria.

    Rana Mitter [00:35:58] So let me turn to Professor Chomsky. I mean you have been very critical in the first part of the discussion about the nature of what you say is so-called liberal democracy. Do you think that tyranny and democracy can be clearly differentiated in terms of leaders who who would you choose today as a genuine democrat and who would you say is perhaps an elected tyrant.

    Noam Chomsky [00:36:17:00] Not one of the personalities, I feel that this is slightly misleading. So if we look at the EU: who makes the basic decisions? It's not the national states. The basic decisions are made by the troika, the IMF, the unelected European Commission and the central bank operating in Brussels. One of the reasons we are seeing in Europe the spread of so-called populism in opposition to the main established institutions to the centrists and left-of-centre parties that had governed the country, plenty of opposition to them - outrage, anger, fear - past of the reason is that the decision making has been further removed (it was always quite remote) further removed from people themselves. And the decisions that are being made, at the higher level beyond popualr control, basically respond to the banks not to the population. The level of austerity, the version of neo-liberalism, has had dire economic effects on large parts of the population. And it has angered and outraged people. When we turn here, is Trump listening to his constituency? No he has one major legisaltive achievement so far, what economist Joseph Stiglit properly calls the donor tax bill of 1917. The bill which harms the general popuation, harms Trump's constituency, then benefits his actual constituency which is concentrated wealth and corporate power. We have been observing in the US for the last year, in my view- its the sensible system in which the figure in the White House focuses attention on himself, total media attention on Trump, his antics and showing up the falsehoods of yesterday which have now been forgotten. And while he is doing that, the more savage wing of the Republican party - Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell and the rest are ramming through a legislation, which is extremely harmful to their constituency, their voters and everyone else. And in fact the world in general. We cannot forget why the Doomsday clock has moved two minutes to midnight. That's an overwhelming fact surpassing everything else we are discussing and its largely because of these actions that are being taken udner the cover of Trump's antics. It's a good game, it plays very well but its extremely dangerous and its leading to rage, anger, irrationality, and sometimes support for the charismatic figures, that claim to represent it, while in fact they work for their own interests.

    Rana Mitter [00:39:51] Let me put that to the other panelists Deidre McCloskey. Would you say that in a sense we shouldn't be distracted by the idea of charismatic leadership figures it's sort of something that people come straight on the distraction to the real issue.

    Deirdre McCloskey [00:40:03] We shouldn't be distracted and we wouldn't be distracted if the leaders weren't so important in it look at that. Let's take that. That's seven and a half percent national income in 1913 spent whereas now it's over 32 percent. In France it's 54 percent. The government spends 54 percent of everything that's that's produced in France. Henry Kissinger who I don't entirely admire is a war criminal but still he said correctly France is the only successful communist country and there's a lot to do that if if you look in in 1938 to Massachusetts I there were appalling urban politics in places like Boston where I grew up or Chicago where I now live extremely corrupt extremely interested in this in the sense that if a certain Chomsky is speaking of and it didn't matter very much it didn't affect most people in the United States because the government was confined it was small it didn't matter. Now we have this gigantic government and we're arguing about how this gigantic power is to be used and I wish I wish we would focus more on trying to bring the gigantic power under control.

    Rana Mitter [00:41:34] So Mark - Where would you come in on this do leaders matter in the end or not.

    Mark Lilla [00:41:38] Well they do but it's possible to be met mesmerize them and I think misunderstand how certain kinds of democracies work. Let me give you an example. Had Hillary Clinton become president she won the popular vote had she become president. And had she not won Congress. Very little of her agenda would have been passed. And a lot of it would have been blocked at the state and local government. For example a few weeks ago the state of Iowa passed a law saying that abortion would now be illegal. From the moment the heartbeat of the fetus could be heard which is about six weeks which is normally before most women know they're pregnant now there's a constitutional right to abortion in America. But the way the federalist federal system works you have to go and you have to win elections in all these states. And the huge problem the Democratic Party because it's become a cultural elite party at the top because of identity politics where it's focused it's not able to develop a large message or put its concerns about minorities in a larger vision. They're incapable of going to a place like Iowa and convincing Iowans if you want to defend women it's not enough to elect Hillary Clinton or need a hat. You've got to go to Iowa. Win elections in an overwhelmingly white state of people who are very religious and that is the challenge for the Democratic Party. It's not looking for a charismatic figure. It's working through the party from the ground.

    Rana Mitter [00:43:21] But it's worth pointing out just on that Mark as you just said at the beginning of comment there. If you're looking at in terms of getting people to vote for you. More people voted for Hillary Clinton than vote for Donald Trump. The electoral college meant that in fact she didn't get to win but it didn't mean that people wouldn't vote for Hillary Clinton or the Dem or didn't you just say yes.

    Mark Lilla [00:43:39] Oh no no but not at the state level in a federal system. We live in a geographically very polarized country. So the two coasts are democratic and blue the vast center is dominated by Republicans but given our system one has to be able to go to protect women minorities LGBT people in Mississippi and Alabama and in Missouri where you know it's a crime to drive while black and many city.

    Rana Mitter [00:44:07] But forgive me if you're having a little less accident. Some people say the reason that those states in the Deep South is a Republican is the fact that a previous generation of Democrats and some up Republicans to be fair passed civil rights acts that changed the nature of the voting in those particular states. Lots of people that didn't like the changes who were Democrats became Republicans.

    Mark Lilla [00:44:26] It's true and that's the hit we had to take and Lyndon Johnson knew that.

    Rana Mitter [00:44:30] But that is not that is contemporary identity politics too that you have to take some of those hits as well for what you might think is right.

    Mark Lilla [00:44:36] If you can win but we are not winning in the center in the center of the country and we cannot protect our own people. That's the problem.

    Rana Mitter [00:44:47] We're talking here about ways in which authority and leadership come together particularly United States but also in Western Europe. But it's worth remembering that from first principles that have always been proposals of societies that didn't have leaders. Anarchy in the truest sense of the word not in the sense of being chaos or necessarily kind of turbulent conflict but operating without those kind of top down structures. I mean did McCloskey you would be I think frank in saying that you're a libertarian your someone he once is.

    Deirdre McCloskey [00:45:17] But actually I want to take back the word libera I think is the correct word. And I'm willing to give to to give to my friends on the left. Noam Chomsky and so on the word progressive. I'm a liberal.

    Rana Mitter [00:45:31] Okay. So you're a liberal but you're a liberal who wants as little government as possible. You're back. Could you therefore take that thought to its ultimate conclusion. Could we have a society really without leadership and would that function.

    Deirdre McCloskey [00:45:42] No I don't think so. And here I certainly agree agree with Mark Mark a small government with with authority and it's that where you can put bad people in jail but only the bad people and the good people where where the where the government can can defend you and the channel against the French or always thinking of an invading Britain and and and our problem is Canada which is an extremely dangerous country. And so so a small government that does those jobs effectively I'm all for it. But but I I want to go back to something I said earlier and ask Noam Chomsky if he doesn't agree that language is a self organizing evolution language is your own great scientific work on language is is very much to the point here. And either and so much of what we do and are is not about people ordering us around. Now I agree you have to learn. I completely agree with your ear your speech about education so that the schools can apply to children but once you're free adults. There there should be is there. There should be an encouragement to spontaneous orders such as language and large parts of the economy. I think you greatly existing gathered.

    Rana Mitter [00:47:12] We put those two points together and put them to Noam Chomsky. Should we be looking to a society in which leadership authority and that top down this should give way to something that's smaller more spontaneous and bottom up and if so what in practice would that look like.

    Noam Chomsky [00:47:30] Well I think it would be being both with the entire left and the classical liberal, which are very close incidentally. I would agree with that, and I think we are making a mistake by focusing solely on the political side of the major structures of authority in our society. The major structures of authority in our society are in the economy. Its run by concentrated private power, to which people can essentially at the very bottom level rent themselves in a way that was condemned by classical liberals. Furthermore that concentrated private power has an overwheling effect on the political system, in a maner which I briefly indicated, and a self-organised society would begin with economic institutions. It would go back to what JS Mill and American and other workers talked about, and Abraham Lincol talked about in the late 19TH century. Self-organiesd economic institutions. Institutions in which, capital doesn't hire labour but labour hires capital. So that would be the basic unit institutions controlled by their own participants That would lead I think we should look forward could lead to a system in which power is generally dissolved both in the political and economic systems which are closely linked, and placed increasingly in the hands of popular self-governed organisations who accept delegation of authority, but only in a highly conditional way with constant supervsion by operative groups and so on. And I think thats a direction in which society can move, but we have to face the reality of whats happening. So take what Mark Lilla correctly says about the power of states. We should remember, however, how low voting participation is. There is an important study by major political scientists, Walter Dean Burnham and Thomas Ferguson, looking at 2014 election that's legislative states. Turns out that voting participation is about at the level it was in the 1820s when there were property restructions, of course women couldn't vote others couldn't vote - and we're back to a situation like that. That is a reflection of somIs it possible that all those things I would agree with.

    [00:47:40] Well I think we're making a mistake.

    [00:47:42] What I would say solely on the political side.

    [00:47:48] Yeah. The nature struck hard at our society well the media or actually a part in our society or in the bottom. Well the economy is basically where I think it's wrong but wasn't a private power which people can essentially at the very bottom level rightly so because no one loves a woman or furthermore that once a private power has an overwhelming effect one political system no matter originally indicated only self organised side would be in economic usual.

    [00:48:39] Let me go back to what. Well Stuart Mill and Martin Walker what about Abraham Lincoln book.

    [00:48:47] Well it was 19th century self organized economic news as usual which Apple doesn't hire labor reporters. Yeah. Or that that would be the nation. You know it's.

    [00:49:05] Oh cool. By their own work isn't all that good. Well I think you put forward a system in which power is generally involve. Both the vertical technology is because in my opinion the police received money in the hands of the popular self-governing organizations which do so delegated more authority.

    [00:49:33] Only then why did this.

    [00:49:35] What it meant for instance is anybody. Well here is what we were saying maybe. So I think I've seen erection. No. Good.

    [00:49:50] We have to face the reality of what's happening. Think what.

    [00:49:54] Or will it work our out which you should not recover. Well a loan will be worthless and it is so important. Certainly by making political scientists will burn stories. The 2014 budget. That's what you should say Verizon. One important speech all about the local.

    [00:50:20] It wasn't even one more property inspection equal being watched over by Rush Limbaugh.

    [00:50:32] That is a collection of the same kind of visions that are leading authoritarian general anger towards failure.

    [00:50:46] Well this has been exaggerating.

    [00:50:48] We're only worse than a moderation in the global austerity programs. Bear in mind or wages for American workers or more workers today are actually at a level one in 60. That's just not true.

    [00:51:07] Immigration policy doesn't want to work for. That's absolutely not true. Owe more on their lives than the reaction of any rational.

    [00:51:18] Okay. Promised jobs he thinks that apart from a little disagreement I did hear at the end that in some senses what did McCloskey and Noam Chomsky have said has some areas of convergence in terms of wanting something that looks less like than like top down leadership and more like spontaneous grassroots operation. They also both engage with the term liberal which of course is something that you know very well from Iran. What do you see a liberal society also meaningfully being one where leadership is less top down and less organized.

    [00:51:48] No not not in the modern world we live in with the modern economy but these ideas go hand in hand the idea that authority is this is the castle and the fantasy of living without the castle even deeper I have to say when you you speak the word government. It sounds like you're talking about some alien spaceship that comes down right and then sucks all the energy out of the people and flies back up and that's and that's not how things work.

    [00:52:17] The whole point in our system is not to fight authority is to become the authority and that means participation. I couldn't agree with Noam Chomsky more about the crisis of participation and that's why on the other side I actually think that voting should be required in Australia for it.

    [00:52:37] Oh yeah yeah yeah.

    [00:52:38] I think that will be a good healthy report. So what. I'm into the kind of liberalism that I'm for is a kind of a kind of you know what's sometimes called civic republicanism where there's a sense of public duty public participation and you know sense of solidarity among citizens as as citizens and but that means engaging and trying to become the authority not have the fantasy of escaping out of a free.

    [00:53:07] That that vision you have would come out of a freer society in which there's which we're in which we aren't slaves. That's the key. It's it's actual slavery not not not not not not the wage slavery. That that the norms talking about actual slavery is okay.

    [00:53:27] So we have that different views I think from our panel. This debate could go on and on it deserves to. But we are coming towards time because what do you think. Professor Noam Chomsky professor Mark Lilla. Well. Professor did daydream McCloskey as our newly our newly declared superhero future liberal professor Mark Miller.

    [00:53:56] Thank you all very much.

    [00:53:57] As for more debates talks and interviews Subscribe Today to the Institute of awesome ideas I TV.


    _________________
    « La racine de toute doctrine erronée se trouve dans une erreur philosophique. [...] Le rôle des penseurs vrais, mais aussi une tâche de tout homme libre, est de comprendre les possibles conséquences de chaque principe ou idée, de chaque décision avant qu'elle se change en action, afin d'exclure aussi bien ses conséquences nuisibles que la possibilité de tromperie. » -Jacob Sher, Avertissement contre le socialisme, Introduction à « Tableaux de l'avenir social-démocrate » d'Eugen Richter, avril 1998.

    "La vraie volupté est remportée comme une victoire sur la tristesse [...] Il n’y a pas de grands voluptueux sans une certaine mélancolie, pas de mélancoliques qui ne soient des voluptueux trahis." -Albert Thibaudet, La vie de Maurice Barrès, in Trente ans de vie française, volume 2, Éditions de la Nouvelle Revue Française, 1919, 312 pages, p.40.

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